Rottweiler And His Indie Superhero Friends

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! For this quick update I think I am going to take a quick look at a superhero I discovered in a cheap box at New Dimension Comics in 2018 and got the one and only issue of this hero for only .50! When finding this comic, it made me think about how many independent comic superheroes are in the world that only lasted a handful to even one issue. Take a moment and think of some of the comics in your collection that fit what I just said…go on and take a moment and look. It makes you wonder whatever hero you’re thinking of could have been if only they lasted longer. Would they have been super popular now if they would have lasted and have video games, TV shows or movies based on them? It really does make me wonder if these characters could have been bigger to readers if Marvel and DC did not hog so much space on comic shop shelves and newsstands with their mountains of Spider-Man and Batman titles. So if you have some local comic book shops in your town that carry old cheap back issues in .25 to $1.00 bins, do yourself a favor and dig through them and see what kind of independent comic treasures you can find of forgotten superheroes like Rottweiler. And make sure if you’re in the Cranberry, PA area and love comic books, make sure to check out New Dimension Comics as they have lots of great comics at good prices and not only have a big $1.00 bin but also have a room that’s filled with $3.00 comics from the Golden and Silver Age! But if you’re ready, I am ready to take a look at masked superhero Rottweiler!

The comic company who brought the world Rottweiler was called August Comics and what follows is all that I could find about it. The information I gathered is from multiple websites as well as hearsay and things that I pieced together. It looks like August Comics was created in 1987 and was a very short lived company with only two titles under its belt, Stormbringer that lasted three issues and Rottweiler that lasted one. From what I have found, I think Paul Burke was not only one of the editors but also might have been the owner of August Comics. The company had smaller print runs but did make it into Diamond Previews and was a speck on the industry. But while they might have been small and not known by most comic readers and collectors, they did have a small fan base and have left a legacy behind for readers to discover in discount bins comic shops wide. And I for one am glad I found out about them as while on vacation. This was one of the comics I bought and read that night.

So as you can see, not much is out in the world about August Comics or the people who created it, and that was all the info I could dig up when looking for information. So let’s take a look at some other cool things going on in my life from the past few months. Last year, I had to have a pre-show for my birthday horror movie marathon way early as I had to work the PPV for Rock Star Pro Wrestling on September 7th and would have gotten in way too late for any movie watching! So we had the pre-show on September 3, 2018 as it was Labor Day and both Juliet and I were off from work. We started it off with the 1970 Kaiju film “Space Amoeba” about beings from space coming to earth to trying to take it over by entering an octopus, crab and turtle and making them giant monsters. Next was “The Creeps” a Full Moon film about Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, a Mummy and a werewolf coming to life thanks to a weirdo who wants to use them to take over the world, the only issue is they are all small! The 1987 shot on video film “Soultangler” was up next and is about a crazed doctor who is experimenting on putting part of his soul into young women he has kidnapped off the streets and can jump from dead body to dead body. And the final film of the night was the 2017 monster flick “Mountain Devil,” a documentary/found footage style film about a man and a Bigfoot he claimed to have killed in the hills of PA. Over all this was a pretty fun time as the heat outside was in the 90’s and the Horrors of the TV screen kept us entertained as we munched on a cheeseball. The Golden Turkey for this pre-show hands down for us both was Mountain Devil as it was so boring…and I mean boring, and worst it offered no scares at all. The Bigfoot is hardly seen, and it’s just mostly old white guys talking about Bigfoot. For me the best film of the Pre-Show was Space Amoeba as I found it to be a solid giant monster film, plus it was cool to see Gezora in action! And Juliet as well picked Space Amoeba as her favorite of the night! Fun time spent with some spooky Horror Movies and made me look forward to the main event day on the 8th!

On September 8, 2018 I held a Horror Movie Marathon Birthday Bash that had Juliet and I loading up on snack food and planning good eats for the day as always we have breakfast casserole, potato chips, and I decided that I wanted home made Burritos for dinner! We started off the marathon with the 1957 Universal Science Fiction Horror Movie called “Monolith Monsters” that is about giant space rocks that grow when in contact with water that are taken over a small town as well as killing people as it drains them of their body water! The second creature feature was “Curse Of The Swamp Creature” about a crazed scientist trying to make monster slaves out of transformed humans. We next watched the 1993 film “Little Devils: The Birth” about pint sized devils running amok in a boarding house. The fourth fright flick was “The Suckling” about a baby fetus that is turned into a killing beast by toxic waste that sets its anger on people at a brothel. Our next film was suppose to be Blood Mania the final film of Herschal Gordon Lewis, but a messed up DVD made us watch “Conrad Brooks vs. The Werewolf” that has Conrad Brooks and his brother battle a werewolf to the death. “Evil Bong 777” was next and had the Evil Bong and her stoner allies in Vegas on the run from Sexy Hell! Shot on video film “Burglar From Hell” was next to scare up some deaths as a killer comes back to life to torment a neighborhood. The eighth film was “Mental Scars” about a masked killer slashing his way through people silly enough to be in his junkyard. The supernatural slasher film “Thorn” about a masked madman killing his way to get to a young woman that is special to him in some odd way. Horror Comedy “Pool Party Massacre” about a madman killing off pretty women at a pool party was the next shocker. We then watched the French Horror movie “Revenge Of The Living Dead Girls” about female zombies who rise from their graves to get revenge on those who lead to their deaths and more! And the final film of the night was the 1989 film “Shocking Dark” about a group of well-trained soldiers fighting for their lives on a mission against mutants! As always a fun time spent watching the horror pictures on a rainy day for my Birthday!

So after all the films were over, Juliet and I sat and talked about them and we both agreed that the Golden Turkey of the day was Evil Bong 777 as this film seemed to have no real plot and was only used to make something quick to open the way for a part 8. It was a real let down as this one was just really bad…minus the cute ladies of the cast who were the highlights. Now onto our favorite films of the day I would say that my # 1 was Pool Party Massacre as I really enjoyed this campy modern Horror Comedy that was filled with great kills and attractive women. My # 2 was Revenge Of The Living Dead Girls while not a perfect film and clearly cut in spots this French Horror movie had a gritty feel and I loved the looks of the films dead girls. And my # 3 was Little Devils as I found it lots of silly fun with mini monsters who have weapons like acid and flamethrowers to kill humans! Juliet’s top three are as follows # 1 Revenge Of The Living Dead Girls, # 2 Little Devils and # 3 Shocking Dark! Plus I want to also say the next day it was still raining outside so we watched the 1963 film The Slime People and the 1963 Kaiju film Atragon!

So I am sure you’re also wondering what killer won the Golden Chainsaw Award for the amount of kills they pulled off! The winner, with well over 10 confirmed kills, was Frank The Tank from the SOV Horror Movie Burglar From Hell! That’s right, the rotten undead burglar turned killer Frank racked up the body count and snapped a lot of necks to win it all! The best kill from this rotten faced killer was when he shoveled a man’s guts while he sat on a toilet…yep, Frank is one sick zombie! So here is to you Frank The Tank for making this Horror Movie Marathon a little bloodier!

So now that we chatted about August Comics as well as a Horror Movie Marathon I held for my Birthday, it’s time we take a look at Rottweiler, a superhero who was gone before he could really start. As I said I found this comic at New Dimension Comics in Cranberry and want to thank them for having this comic in stock and making this update possible and allowing a reader like myself to discover the character Rottweiler. And as always I would like to remind you that I grade this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see what Rottweiler brings to the table of indie superheroes.

Rottweiler   **
Released in 1987     Cover Price $1.50     August Comics      # 1 of 1

Masked costume superhero Rottweiler chases off a pack of dogs that are attacking another dog, and once the pack runs off, he stays with the dog who is bleeding and dying. Rottweiler remembers back to his past when he was Mark Evans, a man who was working as a janitor at a lab and is bitten by a dog and must fight for his life to escape and when doing so passes out from the bite and the loss of blood. Mark awakens in the hospital and is hallucinating and attacks a nurse before busting out the window and heading into the woods, and this upsets his girlfriend who had just came to the hospital to visit. Mark feels different and almost like a wild dog himself and it’s clear the government has done something to him or the dog who bit him as they have sent out soldiers to get him back. Mark is able to take out some of these soldiers but ends up being caught again and taken back to the hospital. Back to present day and the dog passes away in the arms of Rottweiler, who starts to leave when he sees a cat and chases it away.

Rottweiler had a great story and a character that could have had an impact in the world of indie comics if August Comics would have stayed in business longer than under a year. This first and only issues in this series had the ground work for the characters origin that has a young man being bitten by a dog and this bite as well as his health care turns him into a superhero with the instincts of a dog. Mark Evans is a man with a job to do and that’s be a janitor to a lab that houses dogs that have had tests done to them, and while he is a normal guy, you can tell he really does not dig his new job. As Rottweiler he is filled with rage and power and wants to stick up for the underdogs of the world. He also changes who he is as Rottweiler, wears a full body suit and has an attitude to boot. None of the other characters in this comic have any development with the only thing known about any of them is that the army knows what’s going on with Mark and want him unharmed so they can study him. While the comic is a good read and is a great one to set up the story of Rottweiler, it does have some minuses that take away from it all. For one the comic has no major villain in place for Rottweiler and besides holding the dying dog and the backup story in the comic, we hardly see him in his costume leaving us with just a whole lot of Mark. The cover for this issue is pretty generic and is black with blood splatter and almost looks more like a Horror Comic than a Superhero one. The interior art is done by Ted Whittenbarger and is pretty good solid independent stuff and has that late 80’s feel. The one thing about this comic as well that I should say is that only 5,000 copies were printed, and if you like small press superheroes, you should give this one a read.

I feel the need to cover more independent and forgotten heroes and companies, as this update is a celebration of these micro heroes. ME Comix was a very small micro comic company that seems to have been owned by creator Pierre R. McNeil and was based out of Atlanta, Georgia and had a very small go at it all. From the way things look, the company only released two titles that each only lasted a total of two issues and both were all done by McNeil who at one point had a call out for artist and writers to join his dream of what ME Comix could have been. The first comic series was T-Bird Chronicles that was released in 1986 and that was followed by Peter Risk Monster Masher in 1987. And after 1987 they seemed to have closed for good or only made comics on even a smaller level. I have to give McNeil lots of credit as he was a man with a vision and chased his dream to be in the comic world and did so no matter how small its impact was…he did it. It also really makes you wonder what could have happened for ME Comix if Peter Risk or T-Bird would have hit it big with readers, or if other artist and writers would have jumped on board and created new characters that could have been the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spawn or Prime. Wonder what kind of stuff ME Comix would be making in 2018 if they were still around. And next let’s take a look at the comic shop that stocked the first issue of our next forgotten hero.

Bell, Book And Comic in Dayton, Ohio is one of my favorite comic shops in our area as it’s one that took the place of the Bookie Parlor in my eyes as it has amazing back issues as well as paperback books, toys and cool board games. The shop is run by Pete Bell, who has always treated me with respect when shopping and has helped me many times getting comics needed for this blog! The thing that sets them apart from the other comic shops in our area is that they have a massive Horror Comic section as well as section that has $1.00 number 1 issues and in this section on August 28, 2018 is where I found T-Bird Chronicles, which made me fully decide to make this update bigger and really showcase some amazing heroes from small time comic companies from the past. They also have a very cool cheap bin of comics that are three for a $1.00 as well as have a section for Milestone, Malibu, Valiant and other indie companies. So if you love comic books and live in the Dayton, Ohio area make sure to check out this shop as I am sure you’ll find something for your collection.

So I would like to thank both Bell, Book And Comic as well as Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock. I also want to say I am very much looking forward to reading this comic as I have never heard of it until finding the first issue in 2018. So I am sure I do not need to remind you of my 1 to 4 star rating scale and if you’re ready let’s see what T-Bird Chronicles has in store for us!

T-Bird Chronicles # 1  *1/2
Released in 1986       Cover Price $1.50       ME Comix       # 1 of 2

Thomas Bird works as a high priced security officer and not only drives an amazing thunderbird car, but also carries a very special super sonic gun and he is ready for action. Silver City is where Thomas lives, and he has a new assignment that will place him at the city’s nuclear power plant to look into drug trafficking. At the nuclear planet Leornodis Von Crock is working on a batch of radioactive steroids and cocaine and has to take matters into his own hands when worker Colleita Silverton is caught stealing info that could expose their criminal ways. Once he has captures the whistle blower, he keeps her captive and calls Carl to set up a meeting for them to buy large sums of money. As the pickup helicopter is showing up to get the drugs, Thomas Bird rushes to the power plant and uses his special super sonic stun gun to take out the workers and Leornodis Von Crock in a panic takes some of the radioactive steroids and turns into a hulking mass of muscle! Thomas Bird sets Colleita free and has her run to his car as he tricks the massive Von Crock follow him away from her, and to his shock Von Crock drops a bomb that will blow them both up! But Thomas Bird calls in his little flying robot friend A-1 and grabs on to it and is carried to safety as Von Crock is blown up. In the end Thomas is set to take Colleita home but not before he takes her to his place.

Wow this is one cheesy, silly and 80’s indie comic goofy book that showcases one smooth yet unprepared hero. Our story is very, very simple and has a doctor at the city’s power plant using his knowledge to make drugs more powerful and is found out by a hero who comes in to stop a massive sell of the drugs as well as save a young woman who has been held captive after she was captured finding dirt on the plant. Thomas Bird is a hero who has lots of tech at his disposal and uses a none-lethal gun that not only can stop humans but also mechanical things like cars! But the thing about Thomas is that while he has the means to stop crime, he really doesn’t do much in this issue besides stunning a few henchmen and freeing a young lady from captivity. In fact, he never once slugs it out with Leornodis Von Crock, he doesn’t even come prepared in his big fight as he only brought a half loaded clip for his special gun…in other words, he won this fight by luck and by his robotic friends and really didn’t even show up until way late in the dope selling game. Colleita Silverton is a young woman who wants to bring down the drugs coming out of Silver City and when she makes her big play, she ends up being knocked out and held captive and for some reason seems to fall head over heels for Thomas. Leornodis Von Crock is a smart and sinister man who uses all his knowledge to make a super drug made for the rich and powerful people. Also when pushed and near being busted, he has no issues using the super drug on himself to become a powerful hulking mass of muscle in order to smash his foe and get away from being busted. So let’s talk real quick about what I liked about this issue and that’s the indie style artwork of Pierre R. McNeil, really fun classic small press stuff. I also do for some reason like hero Thomas Bird…but also he is one of the dislikes I have for this issue as I found him to be a very ill-equipped hero who doesn’t do much to save the day and get the lady. I also found the plot a little weak and the climax a little underwhelming. The cover is great and has that 80’s small press charm, and as I said I like the simple art style of McNeil as it captures the true feeling of a true indie artist who was making a comic he wanted. Over all while I was not blown away by this first issue, I am looking forward to reading the second one to see how the final issue in this short-lived series carried on this hero.

T-Bird Chronicles # 2  *1/2
Released in 1986      Cover Price $1.50      ME Comix      # 2 of 2

Thomas Bird is not doing so well during his training that is being done by robots as his mind and actions seem to be other places while many miles away a new car with a one of a kind engine that would change the automotive world for ever is being tested. The creator of this car is C.J and he knows he will be rich and make his car company bigger than all others with it and the plan is to ship it out the next day. But unknown to him his own worker Emilo Lorre is working for Mr. Matrix the owner of the rival car company who plans of stealing the car as well as kill off Emilo so no witnesses can come forward to his crime. The next day the plane that has the car on it has been hijacked by some of Matrix’s goons and worst the plane is filled with celebrities! When Captain Hook shows up he knows this is a very bad situation and calls in Thomas Bird who along with his fancy gun is able to take the plane back as well as knock out all the hijackers before its even takes off! In the end C.J wants to pay Thomas to drive the car across country for a large sum of money making our hero an offer he cannot refuse and so he is off to do his new job.

This second issue is very much like the first and is a silly, weirdly paced action comic that showcases gun for hire Thomas Bird as he saves the day with his own style of grace and charm. This issues plot is very simple and has Thomas heading to an airport to save a plane that has been hijacked and does so in a matter of minutes of showing up and after doing so gets a high paying gig to drive a one of a kind car across country. Once more its odd as we start the issue off with Thomas Bird failing as his training and is almost once more setting him up as a hero who falls backwards into winning, but by the end when it matters he is very skilled and fast and saves the day like a true hero. The one thing I also find weird about the character seems to sometime lack confidence and even when his talk is big he seems like he don’t believe his own hype. The main bad guy in this issue is Mr. Matrix who does very little besides orders the stealing of his rivals new car, the hijacking of a plane and the murder of one of his spies that works for his rival…and keep in mind this guy just runs a car company and he has all this evil plans in mind! The rest of the cast are just supporting who offer nothing more than to move along the plot, plus we have a very small cameo from Colleita Silverton the lady he saved in the first issue. The plot and pacing in this issue is pure micro independent stuff and is not groundbreaking but entertaining for sure as you can tell Pierre R. McNeil who also did all the work on this comic series really did love his characters and the universe he made for them. The cover on this issue is good and captures the true micro comic company look of the late 80’s. While a third issue was suppose to have been released it looks like this second issue was the final and that’s a shame as I would have liked to have seen were this story would have went. While T-Bird Chronicles is not the best indie comic I have read, I still found its simple stories entertaining and if you like cheesy indie comics from the 80’s give this one a read. Check out the art bellow to see McNeil’s style.

But guess what readers and friends I am not done yet as I feel like looking at one more hero from the independent world and this time I have chosen Blood Bath from Samson Comics! Unlike the other two companies we have covered here Samson Comics started in the 90’s as their first comics where released in 1994 with Phobos and Cosmo and the Big Bang both that only lasted one issue each. Over the next following years they released many other issue that as well only lasted one issue each. Samson Comics seemed to want to make a massive impact in the world of Indie Comics and tried to with a verity titles, but like many they ended up making a tiny splash before disappearing to the great Long Comic Box in the sky. Who knows what heroes and adventures could have been made if Samson Comics would have stayed in business.

So as you can see just like August Comics and ME Comix not much is known about Samson Comics as they seemed to have came and went like so many others before them and have all seemed to close before they could really make their legacies and build their characters. Well lets take look at one of Samson Comics superheroes that lasted only one issue and I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having it in stock to help add to this update. And just like before I grade on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So lets see what Blood Bath had to offer the world of Indie Comics.

Blood Bath # 1  **
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Samson Comics     # 1 of 1

Greg and Taylor are young boys who find a strange man Blood Bath in the abandon lot they hang out in and decide that they need to help him in order to be heroes. Meanwhile an owner of a newspaper is loosing his mind as his life is crashing down around him. While in space aliens have locked onto two beings they want and are sending a recovery team to get them including one powerful warrior named Starguile! When Blood Bath awakens he chases off the kids who become scared and his mind as well is filled with bad memories including the deaths of his father and brother plus cannot remember how he got the costume. Once back fully on his feet her hears a woman scream and rushes to her aid as two scumbags are threating to kill her and he makes short work of one them saving her life. But one puts up a fight as he is filled with drugs and is looking to kill. But someone fires a massive gun blowing up a piece of the lot and their stands Starguile with aliens warriors ready for a fight.

First thing I want to say is that Blood Bath here is a pure product of the 90’s and would have fit in well with most of the heroes of Image Comics and I would say I am sure he was inspired by them as well as he is a mix of many heroes from the time including Venom from Marvel Comics. The plot has Blood Bath being in bad shape and waking up in a back lot in America and saves a woman from some drug fueled punks only to himself be found by aliens who are on the hunt for him. Blood Bath is shown to be a skilled fighter who has superhuman strength and a costume the puts fear in hearts, but he also seems to be confused by why and who he really is. We don’t get much out of Blood Bath in this issue but if I had to guess I would say he is a human with a living alien suit and he can be hurt like a normal person. A cool character who I wished we would have gotten more of a backstory for as we really get nothing here to fully understand and get behind him. The rest of the characters seem like background players and add nothing besides filler to the story, and that includes the newspaper owner who clearly has a demon or alien living inside him. While we have not much character development in this issue I still found the atmosphere and over all mood of the comic to be entertaining and good and I would have liked to have seen were this story and character would have gone. The cover is great and eye catching and I am sure made many of comic readers of the 90’s buy it. The interior art is good and solid and was done by Jamie Biggs and while it looks nothing like the cover its still good. Over all not much to say about Blood Bath besides he looked like a character I would have enjoyed when I was younger and I wish the second issue and beyond would have seen the light of day. Below is some art from this issue to show you just what the style was. Oh I should also say I hate being this guy but I am almost 100% sure that some of the pages in this comic were printed in wrong order…oh Samson Comics did you have any quality control?

Man that was lots of fun to read comics of heroes who have sadly been forgotten by readers and in I am sure in most cases never even discovered by many of you yet. I mean I have been reading comics sense I was a kid and have been to many comic shops, websites, garage sales and conventions and seem to always discover something new. And that’s why I enjoy digging trough cheap bins and reading and reviewing heroes like Rottweiler, Thomas Bird and Blood Bath all who could and should have been bigger in the comic world if only given longer and a chance. With myself being the owner of Sparkle Comics and if the price was right I would love to get the rights to these characters and bring on some of my friends and Sparkle creators to bring them back into the hands of readers much like we have done with Jeff Potters character Spring Heeled Jack who is given a chance to get new readers onboard. But lets have even more fun and set up a Fantasy Warfare fight between our three heroes! Lets set it on 5th Street in Dayton, Ohio on a boring day and follow Thomas Bird on his road trip to deliver the car. So lets pick up with Thomas in Ohio and see how this all plays out.

Our battle takes place on Fifth Street in Dayton, Ohio on a slow Monday night as Thomas Bird has made a pit stop at Blind Bobs and after eating a burger and fries, he goes back out to his car in order to get this high tech prototype car to its attend place when something catches his eye in the ally across the street and he springs into action and pulls out his sonic gun ready to bust what he thinks is a hired gun trying to steal the one of a kind car. He slowly and carefully walks across the street and peers down the ally when he spots a person wearing red and black hiding behind a dumpster they seem to also have spotted him! Thomas demands that the man step out of the shadows and show himself as he points his gun in the direction of the figure and fires a warning shot that is meant to stun the nerves of the figure for a short time. After a few seconds the person in the shadows steps out and it’s the hero Blood Bath, who now thinks Thomas Bird is a hired gun from the aliens who want to capture him as his weapon is nothing like he has seen on Earth! Before Thomas Bird can say “freeze” Blood Bath is on him and places a well placed punch to his jaw making Bird fly through the air and into the blind mouse statue on the side of Blind Bobs! Thomas Bird is dazed and can taste blood in his mouth and many of his teeth are now loose, and before he can rise again Blood Bath is on him and pulling him up from the ground so they can be eye to eye and informs Bird to leave him alone and to report that back to his people and before Bird can answer Blood Bath hits him super hard in the stomach and the hero crumbles. And before Blood Bath can hit his fallen defeated foe again his fist is grabbed and standing in front of him is masked hero Rottweiler, who says he “this man has had enough” and not knowing what’s going on Blood Bath reacts and starts throwing punches Rottweiler’s way! Blood Bath is in a blind fury as he just wanted to be left alone and was on his way out of town when he thought he was being attacked, and with this blind rage Rottweiler is able to out think and out move his new costumed foe and unleashes his own fury that is much like a rabid dog as he uses his fits, feet and teeth to destroy Blood Bath with the final blow bouncing his head off a brick wall causing him to be out for the count. Rottweiler goes to check on Thomas Bird who has made his way to the car and tries to drive away but only crashes into a near by pole…as Rottweiler shakes his head as the now one of a kind engine is wrapped around a light pole he heads into Blind Bobs to get himself some pickle soup and a B.L.T ending this weird superhero battle for the night and given Dayton something to talk about on a other wise boring Monday evening.

Winner: Rottweiler

So as you can see hands down for me the winner of a fight between these indie superheroes would be Rottweiler as I find him to be the one who would have the killer instinct and the skills to pull a victory off. So if any of these comics I have reviewed here on this update have peaked your attention, make sure to go to your local comic shop and see if you can find copies and better yet discover some Forgotten Heroes of your own, cause who knows what wonders await you in those long and short boxes of discount comics! For my next update though we are going to take a look at a Photo Comic Magazine that features the Universal Monsters The Mole People! And yep, it will be a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update that is sure to please fans of classic monsters. So until next update make sure, as I said, to visit your local comic shop and get a few indie comics to read and enjoy the adventures of these none main stream heroes and horrors. See you next update for an underground spooky adventure!

 

Land Of The Monster Bash Convention (2018)

Welcome back to Rotten Ink. I hope you have your bag packed already as it’s that time of the year once again when you all take a trip with me and Juliet as we head to Monster Bash in Mars, PA for a fun time of celebrating classic monsters and 200 years of Frankenstein’s Monster! I have been looking forward to taking time away from work, filming movies and working on comics for some time now, and what better way to do so than to hang out with fellow classic monster lovers as well as my gal pal Juliet in an area that is starting to feel like my home away from home, Cranberry Township. I cannot wait to see what classic monster car is parked up front and what statues await us inside the convention. I do have a feeling that they will be of The Monster through the ages as that seems to make the most sense. Not to mention, I am looking forward to eating at places like Moe’s and Eat’n Park plus visiting Evans City Cemetery to soak in all the horror movie magic that was shot there. So lets hop into the Mazda 3 and find some music and podcasts to listen to and make our way to Monster Bash! Oh and for this update, I am sure you guessed it, that we will be taking a look at Land Of The Dead, the fourth film in the Romero Dead series and the IDW comic adaption of it! Let’s head out to the highway and have fun along the way.

Juliet and I hit the road on June 21, 2018 and spent most of the drive chatting about comics, music and wrestling and even had to make our way through random rainstorms. As always, we stopped at the Ruby Tuesdays on the border of Ohio and West Virginia where Juliet ate a grilled chicken salad, and I had blackened salmon with rice and a loaded baked potato. It was super tasty! Once back on the road we continued chatting and time seemed to go by fast…that was until we entered Cranberry, and traffic was backed up due to a car on fire! Passing the car that was being surrounded by the fire department, we both hoped the person driving made it out of the car okay. This year we also had to stay at a new hotel as our beloved Comfort Inn was filled, and so we stayed at the fancy Hyatt and man was the room big! After relaxing and watching some TV, we decided to have Eat ‘N Park for dinner where I had a hot turkey sandwich with mash potatoes & gravy as well as fried pickles! And of course, I had to have a smile cookie as what is a trip to Eat ‘N Park without one? After dinner we watched more TV and planned our next day as it was the first day of Monster Bash!

Waking up in the morning, we got ready for our day as Monster Bash did not open until 3pm so we headed to New Dimension Comics to look around for a few minuets. While there, I found a few comics to read and add to my collection like Web Of Spider-Man # 25 & 35, Hercules # 1,7 & 9 from DC, Where Creatures Roam # 8 and Southern Blood # 0. After comic shopping we headed to lunch at Max & Erma’s where I scarfed down a turkey burger with fries, and all the while Juliet and I chatted about our plans for the day. We then went to Barns and Nobles, and I found a really cool Funko Pop Figure of The Mummy based on the 2017 film from Universal. Then we returned to the room and waited for Monster Bash to start! Check out the pics below to see the fun stuff from the morning.

At 3:00pm Juliet and I headed to Monster Bash 2018, and the car outside was not around yet. We got into the line in order to get tickets, and man did it move fast! Once inside, the wonders of all types of classic monsters surrounded us as the amazing statues this year featured Frankenstein’s Monster from the ages as full body versions of The Monster were all around, from the classic 1931 Karloff version all the way to the one in Monster Squad and others had busts like the 1910 Edison version…so amazing and all well done! But my favorite one this year was not Frankenstein’s Monster at all, but John Carradine as Dracula in House Of Frankenstein! Once inside the dealer room, we saw all types of great stuff like toys, movies, comics, books, soundtracks, posters and art and much of it was really, really cool! We were also happy to see Horror Hosts Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri, who are amazing and wonderful people and are super nice. Also on hand was Son Of Ghoul, a true icon of Horror Hosting. While looking around, we saw some amazing Halloween Masks and even took a walk around a room filled with classic posters and lobby cards. Once we walked around for a while, we bought some amazing stuff and headed back to the hotel to unwind and get ready for our first dinner and a movie night. Check out the pics below to see some of the amazing sights of this first day.

So I am sure you’re all wondering what goodies I got on this first day’s haul…and man, did I find some cool stuff! For movies I got Attack Of The 50ft. Woman, Phantom Of Hollywood on DVD for $20.00 each and Creature With The Atom Brain for $10.00! Comic wise, I found The Young Witches # 1 for only $2.00! I found an Imperial King Kong for $20.00 and a King Kong windup for $5.00! And for paperback books I got Ben and Freddy vs. Jason for $5.00 each, and for only $1.00 each I got Tales From The Crypt Demon Knight and Dick Tracy: Secret Files. So as you can see, we did really well this first day and I was very pleased with what I was able to get for good prices. Check out the pic down below to see l my haul in all its glory!

We decided that the first night of Monster Bash would be our night to eat Wing Kings and watch a movie on the laptop with the night’s feature being Attack Of The 50ft. Woman as it’s been one I have wanted to revisit for some time now. So I ordered some Garlic Wings and some fried pickles and a coke to drink! When we are in Cranberry, both Juliet and I look forward to eating at Wing Kings as they have really great wings and we have yet to have a bad meal from them. So huddled by the laptop with our food, we watched a classic science fiction horror film about a massive and mean woman causing mayhem in a city gripped by fear. And after dinner and the movie, we spent the night gearing up for Day 2 and watching New Japan Pro Wrestling and LFA MMA on TV, and I read a some comic book.

Day two started with Juliet and I eating breakfast and then us heading to the Monster Bash! The weather outside was looking like bad storms coming and would make Doctor Frankenstein very happy. To me, this was very fitting weather for this classic monster convention. Once walking in again, a rush of good vibes surrounded me as I saw familiar faces and classic monster movies and memorabilia all around. That’s what sets Monster Bash apart from all other Horror Cons, the vibe is so chill and it’s all about the movies and monsters and not the parties. After walking around for a bit, we bought some amazing stuff and looked at some cool things and headed out to do some more fun stuff in Cranberry!

I am sure you’re also wondering what cool things I ended up getting on Day 2 of Monster Bash. Just like before, I think I found some pretty cool items. I got two wood plaques to hang in my house of King Kong and Gorgo for $25.00 each, a VHS copy of Konga for only $3.00 and a DVD of a documentary called Beast Of Whitehall for $15.00. Plus I got a lot of six Monster In My Pocket figures including werewolf and Lochness for $5.00! Over all another great haul and some very cool items I am looking forward to adding to my collection.

We hit the roads of Cranberry and ended up back at New Dimension Comics where I found 40 dollars books that were sold to me at half price making the whole pile $20.00 plus tax! I found lots of great indie titles as well as a few Avengers comics that I will be reading while here. We then went to Moe’s Southwest Grill for lunch, and I had a tasty chicken burrito. After that we had TCBY and chatted about creative ideas. That’s the thing about Juliet and I, we talk a lot to each other and mostly about life and creative things…it’s nice to have a partner you gel with really well. After spending some time out in the city, we headed back to the hotel to relax and plan our second night of Dinner and a Movie.

For our second dinner and a movie, we chose something more simple and ate Bob Evans takeout where I had roasted chicken with sides, and we watched the 1955 Science Fiction Horror Movie “Creature With The Atom Brain”, a pretty cheesy motion picture that features brain-dead reanimated zombies who are being controlled by a crime boss to get revenge on his enemies. The food was pretty good, and the film was okay making for a start to a fun night. For the rest of the night, we read and watched TV and chatted more about creative ideas for future comics that could be in the works for Sparkle Comics.

June 24, 2018 was the final day of Monster Bash and we started our morning by getting breakfast at Pig Iron Public House where I once again had the Chorizo Hash. If you ever find yourself at a Pig Iron for brunch, I recommend it. And once done we made our way to Monster Bash to once more soak it all in and have one last day of shopping. The last day of Monster Bash is always a sad one as the fun weekend is coming to an end, and I know it will be another year before I can do the next convention. When walking in as well we watched for a moment as they broke down the Frankenstein Monster’s and took a glance at The Blob for the last time for the weekend. We walked around and had good conversations with Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri as well as with Ken and Pam of Cinema Wasteland. As we made our final rounds, I was on the look out for my pal David “The Rock” Nelson as I wanted to pick up some more of his amazing shot on video films and wanted to chat with him about life in general, and I sent him a message on Facebook the night before that he did not get to read and it looked like we were going to miss him until the monster Gods smiled down on us, and we ran into each other at the place I selected in the message! Once catching up with David and picking up some of his movies, Juliet and I headed out, and that was a wrap for Monster Bash 2018.

The last day’s haul were great and all stuff that I wanted and most at fair prices. I got another Imperial Dracula that was in fantastic shape for only $15.00! I also picked up six more Monster In My Pocket figures and paid once more $5.00 for the lot. I got Super Powers Which Way Book 2: Supergirl paperback book for only $2.00! I got issues 1-5 of Escape Of The Living Dead signed by John Russo and released by Avatar for $12.00. And for movies I got Kraa! The Sea Monster on DVD for $8.00, Red Sands DVD for only $1.00 and the best buys of the trip being the three David “The Rock” Nelson film I got for $20.00 each that are “Bigfoot Runs Amok!”, “Dinosaur Woman” and “The Giant Horny Toad Monster” all films I very much looking forward to watching. Not a bad year for finds at Monster Bash 2018.

After leaving Monster Bash, we headed to get more bottled water for our stay and while at the store, we also picked up the Universal and Blumhouse film Stephanie. We then made our way to The Snowman where we hung out near the horses and I drank a Yeti Milkshake. As always the shake was fantastic as was the atmosphere around the Snowman as it had just rained before we showed up. We then left and walked around the small cemetery that’s connected to the Portersville Bible Church, a very peaceful place with a great view of woods and farmland. Juliet and I walked for a while and looked at the land all around as well as paid our respects to the people buried in the cemetery. Once done we headed back to the Hotel and we read, chatted and watched a little TV until dinner and a movie round 3.

For our third dinner and movie, we chose to once more get take out from Eat ’N Park and the 4hr film “Dinosaur Woman” directed by David Nelson as we are both big fans of his independent shot on video monsta movies. While the food was good, the movie was the best part of the night as watching David’s films are an event all to themselves as they are epic and filled with lots of fun and over the top horror and characters. After Dinner and the movie, we ended up watching Kong: Skull Island on HBO and planning our next day of events!

Monday June 25th marked the first day after Monster Bash, and we started our morning by going to Cranberry Cinema and seeing “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” This is a fun one to see in the theater and as always Cranberry Cinema proved why they are better than most major chains as they gave Juliet and I each a free popcorn to munch on as we watched our movie. After the film we headed back to Moe’s for lunch, and we ate and talked about the film as well as the possibility of scientist cloning saber tooth tigers. After lunch we headed back to the hotel and Juliet and I read and played “Super Powers Which Way Book 2: Supergirl” as Juliet read it out loud I had to choose the path of Supergirl! And lucky for me I was able to have Supergirl save the day and make it out of the land of OZ, yep my adventure took me to OZ! After the book adventure I read some more comic books and worked on a few things for Sparkle Comics as well as updates for future Rotten Ink updates. We chose to have Wing Kings again for dinner and watched WWE Monday Night Raw on USA for the evening’s entertainment. After Raw I ended up reading a little more and watched a little TV before bed and geared up for Evan City.

We woke up early and checked out of our hotel and hit the road heading toward Mars in order to get a morning cup of coffee from Mars Brew House as they are also a must when we are in Pennsylvania, and as always the coffee was great! We then walked to the UFO in the middle of the small town and chatted for a moment about the second issue of Wolf Hunter that we hope will be released soon from Sparkle Comics, as well as chatted about the amazing small town feel of Mars. Once done chatting we jumped back into the Mazda 3 and headed for Evans City.

After leaving Mars we ended up in Evans City and were sad when we remembered that The Living Dead Museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so we could not go in for a visit. But all was well again once we pulled into Evans City Cemetery, and we walked around once more in the shooting location of Night Of The Living Dead and the atmosphere once more recharged my creative batteries as ideas for comics, movies and blog updates filled my head. This time around we also took time and read tombstones and paid our respects to those buried there, and Juliet and I just talked and enjoyed the sunshine. We spent some time in the cemetery before we headed out and ending our wave 1 of our vacation.

Back home from Monster Bash and Cranberry, I still had a few days left of vacation and so on June 30, 2018 Juliet and I had ourselves a very cool Horror Movie Marathon that was filled with lots of great and independent horror’s from our to be watched stack of DVDs. We also loaded up one some great eats like chips and breakfast casserole and decided on buffalo chicken and baked potatoes for dinner. The first movie of the marathon was the 1931 version of “Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde” that is about a poor doctor who experiment turns him into a sinister foul person who calls himself Hyde. The next film was “The Man With Two Heads” that was cheesy cult director Andy Milligan’s version of Jekyll and Hyde that follows William Jekyll and his transformation into Danny Blood. The third chiller feature was the indie horror creature flick called “Cryptid” about a pint sized government made creature on a rampage! Next up we had “Manhater” about a woman whose anger at men becomes a living demon who gets revenge for her. Shot on video film “Cemetery Sisters” was next and was about sisters who married and killed men in order to get money to open a mortuary. We then watched “Phantom Of The Opera” a modern 2014 reimagining of the classic story. The seventh film of the marathon was the spooky found footage film “Hell House LLC”. We then viewed “Dark Shade Creek 2” that is an independent slasher film. The cheesy “Ghost Of Camp Blood” was next and has the evil spirit of the clown mask killer looking for revenge. That was followed up by “Monkey Farm” a chilling tale about a research monkey that could possible be more than that. The chilling horror anthology “10/31” was next and delivered some frights. And our final fright flick of the night was “Carnivore: Werewolf Of London” about a couple at a cabin fighting for their lives against a werewolf. What a fun filled day with lots of great Horror Movies and a cool way to relax with Juliet.

The day was filled with some great films and some that were just okay and one that was hands down the Golden Turkey winner for both Juliet and myself and that’s Cryptid as this film was terribly paced and had some of the most useless main hero characters I have seen in a film for quit some time. I will say that the creature of the film was cool and well done and shows that this movie could have been something better with a good script. For me picking the top three spots was kind of an easy one with my # 1.) being Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932) as this is a great classic monster film that was released the same time as Universal started making their Monster films and was Paramount’s way of cashing in, plus the acting is fantastic as is the look of Mr. Hyde. For me # 2.) was 10/31 an amazing modern horror anthology film that has every segment take place on Halloween, I found myself enjoying every segment and the score was top notch, this is one fright flick I think every one should view on Halloween. My # 3.) was a hard one to choose as I enjoyed so many but I had to go with Hell House LLC. as I found it to be one of the better found footage horror flicks I have seen in quite awhile, the mood and feel of the movie is fantastic! I must say that a runner up for 3rd for me was Manhater as I also found it well done and enjoyed the super sexy demon lady. Juliet’s top three of the marathon went like this # 1.) 10/31…#2.) Hell House LLC…#3.) Phantom Of The Opera (2014)! As always the Horror Movie Marathon is a great relaxing time and event I look forward to doing multiple times a year.

I am sure you’re all wondering what fiend for this Horror Movie Marathon won the Golden Chainsaw award, and I am here to tell you it was the weird small monster from Cryptid! This little guy racked up a body count of 16 people and possibly more…while the movie was not great and was the Golden Turkey for both of us, it still wracked up a body count. His best kill of the film is eating the skin off a woman’s face, a brutal and a cool indie effect. So here is to you, Cryptid monster for all your bloodshed.

George A. Romero made a perfect zombie Horror Movie trilogy starting with the 1968 film Night Of The Living Dead and ending with Day of The Dead that was released in 1985. For years afterward, the godfather of zombie films stayed away from the world ruled by the dead he created. But 20 years after his last film, he returned to that world when in 2005 he released Land Of The Dead to moviegoers. So if you’re ready to get aboard Dead Reckoning, and go on a supply run for the rich, I think it’s time we take a look at Land Of The Dead!

In 2004, Zack Snyder and James Gunn released a remake of Dawn Of The Dead for Universal Studios, and the film sparked interest back in fans and Universal for Horror Movies that featured zombies. While the remake of his film Dawn Of The Dead was in production, George A. Romero was trying to also get a fourth film of his Dead series into production and was dealing with 20th Century Foxfor the film he was calling Twilight Of The Dead as it’s working title. Fox wanted him to call the movie “Night Of The Living Dead” as they wanted to own the rights to a new franchise, and even when he said no and wanted to call it “Dead Reckoning,” they came back with the title “Night Of The Living Dead: Dead Reckoning” and this greedy nature of Fox made Romero seek a new studio to produce the new film.  Enter Universal once more to release a new zombie film for movie goers. The film’s script had elements of the original Day Of The Dead script, and the film’s title was changed to Land Of The Dead. Universal put lots of money into the film with the rumored budget being $15 million making it the highest budget in the Dead series! While Romero wrote and directed, he hired lots of talented actors in big roles like John Leguizamo, Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento and Tom Savini to name a few and even had such stars as Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Gregory Nicotero cameo as zombies. Filming went well, and it was released in theaters on June, 24 2005 and was meet with mostly positive reviews from both critics and fans and did pretty well at the box office bringing in $46,770,602.00 worldwide and was #112 for the year at the US Box Office. In 2005 these other Horror Movies were released Saw II, The Descent, Devil’s Rejects, Ring Two, Wolf Creek, House Of Wax, Cry Wolf, Hellraiser: Deader, The Skeleton Key and Boogeyman to name a few showing that the world of Horror was very much alive and bringing in movie goers and home video watchers. So as you can see, Land Of The Dead might have been lost in the shuffle slightly at the Box Office it still has made it mark on the world of horror and shows that no one knew zombies better than Romero.

As a youngster I was really into music and when moving from Waynesville to Kettering I was the odd Monster Metalhead Kid who had a chip on his shoulder and would spend his time after school listening to the likes of Billy Idol, Alice Cooper and Motley Crue on vinyl and cassette and would call the local radio station The Edge and request songs from the likes of Adam Ant and became friends with the DJ Scott Mallory who ended up years later giving me advanced tickets to see Land Of The Dead in the theater before its release date. I was able to bring many of my friends as going with me was my then girlfriend Misty as well as my brother Bryan and my pals Andy Copp and Josh Weinberg, and I can remember waiting in line and all of us being so excited to see it, and after the movie we all left with the fact we enjoyed it but it seemed a little too polished. And what we all liked is the message of the rich using the poor as at the time that feeling among the hardworking low income was dealing with that in George W. Bush’s America. I was also really happy that Asia Argento was in it as she was one of the best foreign genre actresses going at the time. Plus the film’s effects were good minus the use of CGI blood in spots as that always looks terrible. The things from the movie that I was not that big of a fan of was the focus of the film being the rolling armored vehicle Dead Reckoning as it was large and silly and seemed like something from a video game. The other thing I was not sold on was the lead zombie Big Daddy who is showing signs of intelligence naturally and felt pain as his fellow zombies were shot and killed. But with these things I didn’t like I over all really did enjoy this film and found it to be a great sequel to Night Of The Living Dead and proved that with a budget Romero could make something very special for fans. When the film was released to home media I bought the DVD and still own and watch it from time to time till this day. While this might not be the best in the Dead series it’s by no means the worst, as that honor goes to the 6th film in the series “Survival Of The Dead”. If you have not seen this film do yourself a favor and watch it late one stormy night and open the windows to allow a breeze to role in and enjoy this zombie filled romp.

Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek handled the score for Land Of The Dead and brought something fresh and new and yet still has a very classic feel to it. The mood of the music is dark when needed and filled with action when moments call for it. While I feel it’s not as iconic of a score as the work of Goblin or John Harrison from the past two sequels, I still find it very solid and is worth listening to and even have played it on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO during October. This score can be found on CD and via Digital and was released by Varese Sarabande and is a great release for fans who collect Horror Movie scores.

Like the films in the series before it, Land Of The Dead has had its fair share of merchandise that delivered cool items for the fans. Items like posters, soundtrack, t-shirts, buttons and comics all came out. Action figures were made by Sorta Toys that were highly detailed and figures of almost the all the main zombies were made including Big Daddy and The Butcher. Also made was a Video Game that was exclusive to the original XBOX called “Land Of The Dead: Road To Fiddler’s Green” that was a first person shooter that had you trying to fight through hordes of the undead in order to get the promise land of Fiddler’s Green, the game was not well rated by fans and critics but still offered something cool for fans of the film. Over the years I have owned the comics, mini poster and soundtrack of this film. So if you love Land Of The Dead, there is lots of cool stuff for you to collect.

As I said one of the biggest pluses for Land Of The Dead for me has to be the fact the very lovely Asia Argento was cast as main character Slack. For those who don’t know who Asia is, shame on you as she is the daughter of director Dario Argento and has acted in such classic films as Demons 2, The Church, Phantom Of The Opera, Scarlet Diva, xXx, Mother Of Tears and Dracula 3D to name a few. She also has directed some films like The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things and Misunderstood. Sadly in modern news Asia was one of the victims of the scumbag movie producer Harvey Weinstein and sadly was victim-shamed in her own homeland of Italy causing her to have to move to Germany to escape the media’s hurtful words. I for one stand with Asia Argento and hope that Harvey gets what’s coming to him, and that Asia after this drama ends returns to making Horror Movies and Cult Films as I for one am looking forward to her future in films. Check out the pictures below to see Asia Argento as Slack from Land of The Dead.

So we are at the electric and guarded gates of Fiddler’s Green and that must mean we are at the point of taking a look at the comic adaption of our film of the hour Land Of The Dead that was released by IDW. And while we try and find our way in and get shelter from these terrible flesh-eating zombies I would like to thank Bell Book And Comic and Lone Star Comic for having these issues in stock to make this update possible and I would also like to remind you 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, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So I can hear Big Daddy groaning off in the distance which means that the zombies are on their way so let’s get to reading these comics before we all become a snack for them!

Land Of The Dead # 1  ***
Released in 2005      Cover Price $3.99       IDW      # 1 of 5

Riley and his crew that include Charlie, Cholo and Pretty Boy (to name a few) control the combat truck called Dead Reckoning and are on a supply run in a small town that is overrun by zombies. Riley is noticing that the zombies seem to be getting smarter and are trying to mimic their old human lives and seem to be communicating with each other now. This is his last night in command of this group, and he wants it to go smoothly but when Cholo goes off track and leads to a rookies death, and one of their biker members is knocked from his motorcycle and eaten by the undead his mission turned sour. The zombies now have seemed to come together and are ready to take the fight to the living. When back safe Riley and Cholo get into it over the antics back in town, and as they separate Riley and Charlie go to find a man named Chihuahua who owns Riley a car at his bar that includes a zombie fight cage! While Cholo is turned away from getting an apartment in the upper class high rise building called Fiddlers Green by the Mr. Kaufman who runs the town. As Cholo is leaving he beats up the security officers who have been told to kill him.

The dead are getting smarter and the living are still fighting among themselves over greed plus power and money! Our story follows the crew of Dead Reckoning and their two men in charge and their lives in a world of corruption and he dead. Our main hero is Riley who is the man in charge of the crew and after their last mission is retiring and is wanting to get a car and leave the area behind him. But sadly for him looks like his money has been taken and his car is just a pipedream and the man he was buying it from is clearly a con man. Charlie is a simple man who has one side of his face burnt and is the closest friend to Riley and is like his right hand man. Cholo is reckless and self-serving but also has most of the crews respect as he gets results, not to mention he also does all the dirty work for Mr. Kaufman and once his rich boss turned on him it’s clear there will be hell to pay! Mr. Kaufman is clearly a smug rich man who enjoys his power over others and does not value those who get him his supplies or keep him safe. The world inside Fiddlers Green is posh and filled with shops and restaurants with armed guards while out side the town is kept safe by electric fences and soldiers with the people being poor and fight for the scraps. The zombies are all around the town and are getting smarter and are bounding together and seem to have had enough of the living! Big Daddy in this issue is really downplayed as he takes a back seat to the female athlete zombie who is the one that uses a tool to knock a biker off his bike for them to all snack on. This first issue holds pretty true to the film it was based on and yet holds a feel of its own making it a really good read. The cover for this issue is amazing and is very eye catching and reminds me of a zombie cover that you could have seen on an issue of The Dead or Dead Walkers. The interior art is also well done and is done by Gabriel Rodriguez who also did IDW’s “Lock & Key” and “Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland”. A very good zombie horror comic first issue that shows he respect to the film and also adds and takes away enough to make it feel like it’s own experience. Lets see what issue two has in store for us, shall we?

Land Of The Dead # 2   **1/2
Released in 2005      Cover Price $3.99       IDW     # 2 of 5

The zombies now being lead by the one called Big Daddy are making their way to the city and are taking the war to the living! Meanwhile Riley and Charlie while waiting on answers about the car watch as a young woman named Slack is thrown into the arena with two spray painted zombies with the crowd voting on what one will get her first. Riley and Charlie make the decision to save Slack and shoot the zombies and even have to kill the little man who was the key to Riley’s car and this leads to them all being arrested including Slack. Meanwhile Cholo and his crew steal Dead Reckoning just as the zombies have broken into the outer walls of the city! Cholo calls Mr. Kauffman and wants five million dollars or he will use the guns and missiles from Dead Reckoning to blow up Fiddlers Green. This worries Mr. Kauffman who refuses to pay the money and brings Riley up from jail and demands that he gets Dead Reckoning back and deal with Cholo once and for all.

The corruption of the ones in power is clearly putting the poor and working class at risk as Mr. Kauffman and his power has put everyone in the small secure town at risk no only from the zombies but also the one man he crossed that has the means and anger to do something about it. Kauffman is such a smug and overly confidante man who lives a posh life style and rubs elbows with the rich but also has his fingers in the underbelly of the town’s illegal activities. Cholo meanwhile is also a very cold person who really only looks out for himself as he wants his money and walks away from a zombie attack leaving people to die so that he can steal Dead Reckoning, and then once had threatens to blow up the town in order to get money. Riley and Charlie clearly make a great team and while Riley acts tough and cold it’s clear he cares about peoples life and that’s why he risks it all to save the life of a woman he didn’t even know. Slack is that woman who is a skilled fighter, but due to her good looks was forced into being a streetwalker by Kauffman and his crime connections, and once they find she is talking to a group of rebels set on one day fighting the powers that be she is arrested and set to be killed in the zombie arena. This issue has some blood, gore and is building the mood to what is to come, the one thing you will notice is that while the zombies are around they seem to be only a background plot. This issue also shows that Big Daddy is the one who is leading the zombie revelation and he and his fellow undead are attacking smartly and have made their way to the cities outer border. The cover for this issue I have is ok and is just a photo still taken from the film and is nothing special, while the interior art once more was done by Gabriel Rodriguez and is once more great stuff. This second issue is solid and builds the story and brings us to the main meat of the story and that’s Riley and crew going out to get Dead Reckoning back. So let’s see what issue three has in store for us!

Land Of The Dead # 3  ***
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99     IDW     # 3 of 5

Riley agrees to get back Dead Reckoning on the condition that Charlie and Slack are set free and join him and for a car to leave the city to head north. As Riley and his crew gear up they are forced to also take three soldiers with them that’s Motown a tough as nails female, Manolete a prideful soldier who is named after a bullfighter and the massive Samoan Pillsbury who is a mountain of a man. Once out to get supplies needed they also find the aftermath of the last zombie attack and know that the city is in danger multiple ways! While getting ammo and finding a jeep stray zombies are around the leaves Manolete bitten and having to be shot by Slack, and once far away from the city Riley and Charlie pull guns on Motown and Pillsbury and let them know that they are aware that Kauffman has sent them to kill them after they get back Dead Reckoning and give them an option of going along with the plan of Riley taken the massive vehicle or getting out of the jeep and walking back to the city…they decide to go along for the ride. Cholo and his crew load the weapons and are ready to flow Fiddler’s Green away as Riley and his crew are trying to catch up with them to stop it. But while they are playing war games Big Daddy and his zombie friends have gotten across the river and are on track to attack the city!

Mr. Kauffman is upping the game against Cholo in this game of power and greed as he sends out his own task force to get his stolen war machine back. Riley clearly only takes the job of getting Dead Reckoning back in order to save the innocent people who will be killed in this little power struggle. Riley while a loner and tough as nails always does what’s right and does his best to protect the innocent. Charlie as well is a good guy, who will kill to protect his friends and those who need help he is also very skilled with a gun and always has Riley’s back. Slack who only grew up in the city has never seen the outside world and it’s clear she don’t like what she sees, but she as well is a skilled fighter and has bounded with Riley and Charlie. Motown and Pillsbury are skilled fighters who clearly work for Kauffman and would have killed Riley and his friends when he mission was over, but know that they have to play along or be left for the dead. Cholo really does just want’s what’s owed to him and does not mind killing to get it! Big Daddy and his zombie horde are causing death and destruction and make meals out of soldiers and any human they come across! This issue also brings the blood and gore and shows that while the world is under attack by greed they are the true threats to mankind. The cover for this issue is pretty great and is eye catching for Horror Comic readers, with the interior art once more being done by Gabriel Rodriguez being solid and great stuff! Over all this third issue is fantastic and is holding true to this George Romero film.

Land Of The Dead # 4  ***
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99      IDW      # 4 of 5

Riley and his crew find Dead Reckoning and Pillsbury knocks out Motown who was planning on turning on the group and Riley and Charlie stand and meet Cholo and his crew who take the pair as hostages as Slack and Pillsbury hide in the shadows armed and ready to fire if things go south. When Riley uses a master control on Dead Reckoning to shut down its weapons Cholo and Riley get into a fight and this leads to the now woken up Motown to try and shoot them and one bullet hits Cholo and this also leads to her death as a zombie bites her and Slack putts a bullet in her brain. While at Fiddlers Green Mr. Kaufmann is stealing the cities money and is about to flee when he gets the call from Riley that Dead Reckoning has been recaptured, but when explosions in the city goes off they find out that the zombies lead by Big Daddy are in the city and want human flesh! Cholo and one of his friends decide to go and travel to Cleveland while Riley and the rest of them travel to the city and see if they can help as the city really is being taken over by the dead.

Things are really heating up as the zombies are in full force and have entered the city and are killing and eating anyone in their way. Riley and Charlie risk their own lives in order to get close to Dead Reckoning and Cholo and are able to pull off stopping the planned attack on the city. Riley once in control of the defense machine makes the decision to return to the city to help anyone he can from the zombies. Mr. Kauffman once more shows that he is a selfish person as when things get bad he tries to flee Fiddlers Green and is taking all the money of his residents! Kauffman really is a terrible person and one as a reader you really do want to see get his. Slack and Pillsbury are great back up for Riley as they watch his back during the stand off with Cholo. Speaking of Cholo that poor guy just can not win as in this issue he does not get his money, he does not get Dead Reckoning and worse gets shot and bite! This issue really has it all hit the fan as zombies are now working together and have gotten smarter and yet still want to eat and kill. The issue has lots of blood and zombie carnage and a pretty cool cover that features Slack who is played by Asia Argento predominately and again Gabriel Rodriguez did the interior art and is great stuff. So as you can see Dead Reckoning is in the hands of Riley who along with his crew are off to try and save the day. A great solid read and makes me look forward to see how the final issue plays out.

Land Of The Dead # 5  ***
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99     IDW     # 5 of 5

Riley and the crew of Dead Reckoning are on their way to try and save the innocent people of the city and they have to get a drawbridge to drop first and once more Riley risks his life in order to do so, and even must come face to face with some zombies! Meanwhile the now bitten and dying Cholo is dropped off near Fiddlers Green as he wants revenge of Mr. Kauffman who is also on the run as Big Daddy and the zombies have entered the building and are eating the rich. After Riley gets the bridge down they rush to the gates and find that many of the people have been killed by the zombies as the now fully dead Cholo has found Mr. Kauffman after he hid in a limo to get away from Big Daddy who had poured gasoline all over the limo and ground. The zombie Cholo attacks Kauffman by the limo and as the two tussle Big Daddy throws a flaming barrel at the limo that is covered in gas blowing up Kauffman and Cholo ending their greed once and for all. Meanwhile Riley is able save many lives when he fires missiles into a horde of zombies, as the survivors figure out what they want to do Riley, Charlie, Slack, Pretty Boy and the rest of the crew of Dead Reckoning all head to Canada as Big Daddy and the zombies head off back to the town they came from as their work and message was sent.

Wow this really was a great Horror Comic that does a great job of adapting the George Romero film and giving fans something more to have based on it. This issue has Riley doing what’s right and stopping Cholo from attacking the city, is able to keep onto Dead Reckoning and save lots of innocent lives from a zombie attack. Riley all through this comic mini series has been a real loner but it’s also clear he values the friendships he has in a world gone dead, plus it’s great that we have a hero in this comic and in the world it created that’s a true caring person with a tough edge. Charlie and Slack are as well loners who are looking for their own place in the world and find good friendship with each other as well as with Riley. It’s clear that Charlie owes his life to Riley who saved him from a very bad fire that left half his face scared. Slack meanwhile was a good soldier who was forced to be a prostitute who wants something better in life and for trying to better herself is sent to be killed by zombies in a arena cage, before she is rescued by Riley. Cholo is a man who has turned cold due to the world around him going to hell, his goal is to live the good life and once that is taken away from him he will do whatever he can to get his revenge. Mr. Kauffman is a rich scumbag who really only cares about himself and I love how in this comic series they keep his face hidden in shadow making him come off even more evil. Big Daddy and the rest of the zombies are flesh eaters who are adapting and learning and with their new smarts come’s skills in killing and eating humans. Land of the Dead is a film that translated really well to comics and IDW did a great job of making it happen and with this and as well as Dawn Of The Dead makes me wish they would have covered more of the films of George Romero like Day Of The Dead and even Survival Of The Dead. I also wish IDW would have made an ongoing comic series of Land as I would like to know what Riley, Charlie, Slack and the rest of Dead Reckoning is up to and what they found in Canada. The cover I have for this issue is fantastic and very eye catching and holds a classic indie zombie comic look, and the interior art by Gabriel Rodriguez is fitting for this title. Over all this is a very solid and good Horror Comic title based on a Horror Movie and is a nice comic series for fans of the film and is worth checking out for fans. Check out the art below to see how it looks in this comic and see the style of Rodriguez.

So as always super sad that our Monster Bash vacation has come to an end as I really do enjoy that Horror Convention and really love Cranberry, Mars and Evan City as they feel like my home away from home! Also sad as this is the last of the adaptation comics of the George A. Romero films based on zombies…I mean there are some more Night Of The Living Dead comics from the likes of Fantaco, Dead Dog and Avatar so who knows what next year will have in store for me to review for my Monster Bash Vacation. But for my next update, I will be leaving the world of Romero’s dead behind and once more be entering the world of Atlas Comics as I take a look at masked hero The Destructor! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Romero film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a bad guy bashing good time.

Day Of The Monster Bash Vacation (2017)

Welcome back to Rotten Ink!  Once more, it’s time for Juliet and I to take a long overdue vacation, and once more we decided to spend it in Cranberry, PA to attend the best classic monster convention of all time, Monster Bash! It’s a special year as this is the 20th year of the convention and there are lots of great guests like Ricou Browning who played Gillman in Creature From The Black Lagoon, Larry Storch from The Ghostbusters and F-Troop as well as Hammer Horror actress Veronica Carlson to name a few. Plus I am pretty hyped to see what statues they have awaiting us attendees and whether there will be a fancy monster car up front besides The Munsters Drag-U-La! It will also be great to see David “The Rock” Nelson as well as Horror Hosts Son Of Ghoul, Mr. Lobo and Penny Dreadful as they are all great people and help add to this wonderful weekend getaway. I for one have been looking forward to this vacation for a while.  After moving and the stresses of work and the creative stuff I do, getting away and relaxing with classic monster fans sounded like bliss as well as just hanging out in the hotel and chatting with Juliet who is not only my girlfriend but also one of my best friends in the world as she is truly my soul mate. So on this update, we will also be taking a look at the third Romero film, Day Of The Dead as well as the one and only issue based on the film from Dead Dog Comics. So pack your bag and jump into the car as you friends and readers are going on a trip to Monster Bash!

Our quest for Monster Bash began on Thursday June 22, 2017 at around noon.  The weather was warm and muggy as Juliet and I climbed into the Mazda 3 and hit the highway. While driving we talked about Sparkle Comics and ideas for future issues that we would love to see be released by our comic family. We also chatted about Pro Wrestling from WWE all the way to Rockstar Pro and mostly chatted about wrestlers I remember watching when I was a youngster. For our listening pleasure, we listened to the podcast The Real Short Box that has three friends Kevin, Donald and Jarred talking about comic books with the best episode of the day being them talking about their favorite 80’s comic storylines with all three having good choices and all three so different.  If you have not listened to these guys and enjoy comics, you should check em out. For lunch we stopped at Ruby Tuesday’s on the Ohio and West Virginia border again where I enjoyed grilled salmon with rice and a baked potato, and Juliet dined on a crispy chicken cob salad. It was a very good meal, and this is the same one we ate at last trip to the Bash. Once in town we checked into the Comfort Inn in Cranberry and went to New Dimension Comics where I bought a stack of comics to read at night including issues of Action Comics, Avengers and Boris Karloff Tales Of Mystery.  We spent the rest of the night in and ate dinner at Eat N Park and went to bed with visions of monsters and horror films in our heads.

Friday, day one of Monster Bash kicked off with Juliet and I waiting for the convention to open at 3pm so we decided to get some brunch at Max & Erma’s and had a good and solid meal.  From there we decided to get some coffee in Mars at the Mars Brew House, a very cool family owned coffee house that serves very good variety of coffee. After getting our order and chatting with the owner about Monster Bash and Baron Von Porkchop, Juliet and I sat outside and enjoyed the cool and rainy weather under the porch while listening to the church bells and enjoying the feel of this small town. Also while there I had to get my picture with the UFO in my Space Monkey T-Shirt, and for you readers who don’t know who Space Monkey is shame on you as he is a very cool independent wrestler who is a monkey who was sent to space! After hanging in Mars for a little while, we decided that it was time to head back to the hotel and wait for the doors of Monster Bash to be open as we both love this convention! On a side note I also want to say that I really dig the small town feel of Mars as it reminds me of Mayberry as everyone is always so nice and train tracks run through downtown and churches are all around…just a very cool small town.

When 3pm hit Juliet and I made our way down to Monster Bash.  The Drag-U-La was out front, and I was happy to see it again! Once inside we noticed that this was the most busy we had ever seen Monster Bash since we began going, and it was great to see so many people at an event that is celebrating classic movie monsters. After waiting in line for a short time, we entered the convention and saw the statues that were all fantastic! This time they were Gillman from Creature Walks Among Us, The Monster from The Bride, Dracula from Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and lastly the Hammer Horror version of The Phantom Of The Opera that was my clear cut favorite! We walked around and saw lots of amazing things and seen lots of great people. But after about an hour, the place was really hot and people started to forget manners so we decided to head to the hotel and relax and plan our Wing King and a movie night! As always this was a great first day, and we returned with some great items for our collections to fill our new home together.

So I am sure you’re wondering what my first day haul of goods from Monster Bash was, right? Well it was a good day even if it was over crowded and people kept bumping into and cutting in front of Juliet and I! So here is what I got comic book wise: Night Of The Living Dead: Back From The Grave # 1 comic for $2.50, El Toro Azul’s Monster Movie A Go-Go # 1- 2 for $10.00 and The Defenders # 70 for only $1.50! Paperback Book wise, I got Elvira: Camp Vamp for $3.75, King Kong for $4.75, Nosferatu The Vampire for $2.75 and Young Frankenstein for only $2.75! Music CD wise, I found a bootleg copy of The Cool Ghoul and his Phantasmagorical Funny Fonograf Record for $10.00, a true fun Horror Host release. And in DVD’s I got The Leech Woman for $20.00 and DVD-R’s of the films IT and Cry Of The Werewolf for $10.00 each! Over all a really great first day with lots of great items bought. The one I am most happy about finding is the paperback book of Young Frankenstein written by Gilbert Pearlman as I used to own this in my youth and am looking forward to reading it again. So check out the picture below for the cool haul from day 1.

For dinner the first night of Monster Bash we decided to eat Wing Kings and watch a movie on the old laptop.  The film we picked was Cry Of The Werewolf, a classic black and white film from 1944 as a classic monster movie seemed like the right choice for the evening. Cry Of The Werewolf stars Nina Foch, Stephen Crane and Osa Massen and was directed by Henry Levin who also did such films as “The Devil’s Mask” and “Honeymoon Hotel” and this would be my first time watching it! The plot of the movie is a princess who has the curse of the werewolf trying to keep quiet those she thinks are getting to close to her secret. And from Wing Kings I ordered 12 Garlic Wings and an order of Cheese Fries plus drank a small cup of Coke, and both the meal and the film were good and made for a perfect time for this evening. After dinner Juliet and I worked a little on some Sparkle Comics printing prep and later I read The Defenders # 70 that I bought from Monster Bash and watched some TV before going to bed and gearing up for the second day of one of my all time favorite conventions.

The second day of Monster Bash was way less busy and had less unaware people as Juliet and I were able to walk around and enjoy the world of classic movie monsters! Just being around fellow fans of classic monsters, comic books and vintage action figures is super relaxing plus seeing all the smiling faces as they are looking at DVD, VHS and comic books is really cool and feeds your inner nerd. Walking around I found a giant poster that show cased all the Marvel Comics Heroes and Villains from 1988, and I was having a blast finding all the characters and even found Man-Thing who was hiding and after talking to Juliet we decided to walk away from it, but if its still there on Day 3, it will be coming home with me as it was only $15.00 and would be amazing to hang up near my comic book collection. So after wandering around for a little while and saying hi to some of our horror host friends, we decided it was time to explore outside the convention.

After leaving the Bash, we headed to get some lunch at Moe’s and I had a really tasty chicken burrito with a lime coke to drink! Juliet and I sat in the restaurant and chatted about geeky stuff and decided from there to head back to New Dimension Comics who was having a store wide sale and we got 30% off our order! Juliet found a Star Trek: Next Generation issue she wanted to read, and I found handful of comics I wanted with such heroes as Wonder Woman, Thor and Lomax and after our brief shopping spree we decided to just drive around and check out the land and the local business in the area. After a nice and fun drive we decided to get some frozen yogurt from TCBY as Juliet cannot ever come to Cranberry and not eat there. After we had our nice midday snack we decided to go back to Monster Bash where I chatted with David “The Rock” Nelson and we once more soaked in the world of monsters, and once done headed back to the hotel to plan the night of Day 2 of Monster Bash.

Day 2’s haul at Monster Bash was also a good one as I found some really cool stuff! In comics I found Captain America Annual # 2 for only $2.00! I got a great Dr. Creep art print for free from the artist and it will be hung with pride in my editing room! I got two wood art plaques that will be hung in our horror movie room of Phantom Of The Opera and Waldemar Daninsky, and I must say having a Paul Naschy wood art piece for that room is pretty badass; they cost $25.00 each! I bought Devil Ant 1-3 on DVD-R from The Rock for $20.00 each, and I truly love supporting the world of shot on video directors. I also got the DVD of the zombie flick Sugar Hill for $20.00 and a DVD-R of the film The Dead Don’t Die for $10.00! And I got the paperback books of The Addams Family for $3.00 and Return Of The Living Dead signed by John Russo who chatted with me about finding the stock of this old book in the UK! So as you can see, I got some great stuff and I think my top purchase of the day had to be the Paul Naschy wood art…as it’s truly amazing!

For dinner, we decided to once more get some Eat N Park where I chomped down on some liver and onions with some rice, mashed potatoes & gravy as well as some hash browns and water to drink. The meal was good as always as Eat N Park has always delivered a good meal to Juliet and I when here in Cranberry! To finish off the meal, I ate a smile cookie, and I still really think it has a Monster Candy taste to them and for the rest of the night I read some comics and watched some TV before finally going to bed with the third and final day of Monster Bash to follow.

The third and final day of Monster Bash was on Sunday, and Juliet and I started our day getting breakfast at the Pig Iron right next door and I had an amazing dish called Chorizo Hash and a Pepsi to drink. Once done we walked around Monster Bash one last time and soaked in all the classic monsters and briefly chatted with vendors and said our goodbyes till next year. I must also note that the cool giant 1988 Marvel Comics character poster was gone so it just was not meant to be. After walking back to the hotel I really do think that Sparkle Comics and Baron Von Porkchop should vend one year at Monster Bash as I think that we would fit it so well and could spread our comics and Horror Host to the attendees. While we are still here in Cranberry, Pa for another two days, it’s very sad that another Monster Bash has come to an end and that I will have to wait another year to return! So as always I must praise Monster Bash for being one of the best Horror Cons that I attend and look forward to coming to it more in the future.

The third and final haul of goods from Monster Bash was pretty good as I picked up DVD’s of Monster Movie A Go-Go, a Horror Host show that has them hosting Plan 9 From Outer Space and Santa Claus Conquers The Martians as well as two independent horror films they made called Nail Biter and Children Of The Way plus a cool CD of a radio drama they made called Anton Rook The Mummy Express and I got all this for only $40.00! Plus I picked up a made for TV movie on DVD-R called Death Moon for $15.00! One cool thing about Death Moon is that it could be covered here on Rotten Ink as a “Made For TV” update! So as always another great day of cool stuff gotten and all stuff I am looking forward to watching.

After Monster Bash, it was time for Juliet and I to go on a little drive and go to The Snowman in Portersville as we love to get a cool snack and enjoy the farm land around us. On the drive over Juliet and I chatted about what is next for her to write in the world of Sparkle Comics, and while we did not lock a project many possibilities were discussed and by the end of our vacation I will have a project for her to work on! When we arrived at The Snowman, we noticed that it was the busiest it has been since we have been going, and this made me happy as I really love this little shaved ice shop. I ordered my Yeti Shake and Juliet got chocolate shaved ice and we chilled at a table and soaked in the sun and before leaving had to see the horses again with my favorite being Cookie who is the brown female horse who is 33 years old. Another great visit to The Snowman and if you’re in the Cranberry area make sure to stop by and enjoy a Yeti Shake or a shaved ice!

While leaving the Snowman and before hitting the highway again, I spotted a small cemetery near a church and had to stop and see it! The cemetery was behind Portersville Bible Church and was very tiny and surrounded by corn fields and sat on a hill with a great view! The parking lot had a very old a cool crypt that was turned into a shed and looked straight out of a classic black and white horror film and this was what really caught by eye as it was the perfect mix of classic and creepy. Many of the graves was very old and lots of the dates could not be read from wear, and the mood of the cemetery was very peaceful. As Juliet walked among the tombstones I stood on a patch of bare land and looked around the land around and breathed in the fresh air.  After a while we decided to leave and Juliet would not go to the abandon school across the street so we headed back out into the world of Pennsylvania!

After a great day of exploring and relaxing, we decided that we were once more going to have a night of Wing Kings and a movie! I was craving some wings and spending the evening watching a Horror Film and before bed reading Captain America Annual # 6 sounded like a perfect way to end the night. So I ordered 12 garlic wings and some cheese sticks and the film of the night was Devil Ant, the shot on video masterpiece from independent filmmaker pioneer David “The Rock” Nelson! The films that The Rock makes are so much fun and have so much heart and entertainment value to them and capture the true nature of shot on video backyard films. Plus The Devil Ant is packed with tons of cameos from such people as Roger Corman, Hilary Clinton, Son Of Ghoul and Svengoolie to name a few. Plus eating tasty chicken wings and watching a zero budget film is something I think every Horror movie fan should do on Sunday nights! So after dinner and the movie I climbed into bed and read the Captain America comic and went to bed ending the third and final day of Monster Bash.

Day five of being in Cranberry, Juliet and I decided to get some breakfast at Einstein Bros and after went to the Cranberry Cinema to see Transformers: The Last Knight on the big screen! We both really like the Cranberry Cinema as its a great independently owned first run theater with a great staff and on Mondays tickets are cheaper and they give you a free small popcorn! After the movie we hung out again at the hotel and I read some comics and took a nap, and once back up we ate lunch at Max And Erma’s and had desert at TCBY making it the second time we had frozen yogurt on this trip. After we had a good frozen treat, we went back to New Dimension Comics and loaded up on great $1.00 books where I found such cool comics like Night Of The Living Dead: Aftermath, Captain America and many more. Once back at the hotel and when evening came we watched WWE Monday Night Raw and had diner at Bob Evans via carry out. Before bed I read the first issue of Night Of The Living Dead: Aftermath and an issue of Action Comics. And so ended another great day of our vacation.

On the six and final day of our vacation in Cranberry we decided to head to Mars Brew House and get some coffee before we headed to what is always one of my must stops the place that for me helps get my creative juices flowing, Evans City Cemetery, the shooting location for one of the most iconic zombie and horror films of all time Night Of The Living Dead! I have been to this place many times and its charm and just beautiful atmosphere is refreshing to a guy like we who likes small town life, but has to live in the city as well as work in it. Juliet and I walked around for a long while chatting about Sparkle Comics, zombie films, graves and Monster Bash. One thing we noticed this year is that the cemetery was over run by chipmunks that darted around like little fuzzy wildmen.  This of course made us joke about doing a comic called “Night Of The Living Chipmunks”! Even at one point as we were walking the isles of tombstones we both had to dodge a crazed bird that was flying right toward us! This is such a peaceful place and if you find yourself in the area and just need a quite place to relax and maybe read a book or comic make sure to stop here and soak it all in.

While in Cranberry I sent a message to Wampum Underground to see if Juliet and I could take a tour of the main filming spot of my favorite zombie film of all time and the main topic of this update Day Of The Dead…but sadly they would not allow us, and while it was a letdown, I understand why they don’t let fans of the film in as it would be nonstop plus they store people’s personal items as well as companies. So while we could not go inside Juliet and I still decided to at least drive to it and see it from the outside, and man when we arrived I just imagined the whole area being swarmed with zombies and this made me smile. We drove past it a few times and I snapped a few pictures as we pulled over so that I could at least soak in the filming spot. Once done Juliet and I headed back home and chatted about comics, movies, life and wrestling while we listened to more Real Short Box Podcasts. I always hate when this vacation to Monster Bash comes to an end as I really do enjoy being there and just love the fact that classic monsters are being honored by the staff of the Bash as well as fans who attended the event. Once home I had a few more days off before I had to return to work and spent it working on the new house, working on Sparkle Comics and found some old movie scripts that might be finally shot for the possible rebirth of Independent B Movie. So that was the vacation part of this update and now its time for us to talk about…..DAY OF THE DEAD!

George A. Romero created the modern zombie film with his 1968 classic “Night Of The Living Dead” that I covered twice here on Rotten Ink.  One was the Prolougue & Aftermath and then I did the Adaptation of the film both done by Fantaco Comics. Then in 1978, he returned to the zombie world and made the masterpiece “Dawn Of The Dead” with last year me taking a look at the IDW Adaptation of the film, and now this year’s Monster Bash leads me to my favorite in the series hands down “Day Of The Dead”! So if you’re ready to go underground to hide from the living dead, we will start our journey into the third Romero film and enter the world of when the dead ruled the day and the dawn was over!

Let’s begin our trip to the underground world were the dead has taken over topside by breaking down the film itself. While I could babble on about this film for ever I will make it brief as I also think that those who want to really get the inside story of the film should buy the Scream Factory DVD or Blu-Ray and watch the fantastic extras that goes into the full history of the film.

Day Of The Dead was part of a three film deal that George A. Romero signed with Laurel Entertainment who wanted the third film in his dead series to be made and as part of the deal, both Creepshow and Knightriders were made and unleashed onto the horror watching masses. The idea for Day of The Dead started out big as the original budget was set at $7 million, and it was supposed to be the “Gone With The Wind” of zombie films! The original idea was to have it be high action with the army fighting zombies with boats and explosions in Florida with lots of the budget going into the effects. But after the budget was cut down to only $3.5 million, the big ideas had to be cut down to a more practical story.  The film ended up being mostly shot in Pennsylvania with some still being filmed in Florida, and they took lots of the action out of the script and added more drama. Casting was perfect and went as following Lori Cardille as Sarah Bowman, Terry Alexander as John, Jarlath Conroy as Bill, Joseph Pilato as Captain Rhodes, Gary Howard as Pvt. Steel and Sherman Horard as Bub to name a few. He hired Tom Savini and his crew to do the FX including Gregory Nicotero who would go on to do FX on the hit AMC show The Walking Dead. The film needed lots of zombies, and extras were brought in and did it for free or made a $1.00 and got a hat that said “I Was A Zombie In Day Of The Dead”. The production was grueling as they filmed under ground in Wampum, and the air down there made many actors and crew sick. When done Laurel Entertainment released it to limited theaters on July 19, 1985 and was meet with mix reviews by fans and critics and only brought in $5,000,000.00 at the US Box Office making the film not a major hit, but it did do better overseas bringing in $28 million to help the film become a minor hit. In 1985 Day of the Dead was # 115 at the box office and beat out such classic genre films as “Godzilla 1985”, “Rainbow Brite And The Star Stealer”, “The Bride”, “Re-Animator”, “Def-Con 4” and “The Company Of Wolves” to name a few. What hurt Day Of The Dead at the cinema was the fact it had a limited release and was up against other horror films like “A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Dead”, “Fright Night”, “Friday The 13th V: A New Beginning”, “Silver Bullet” and “Return Of The Living Dead,” a film that updated the the zombie genre that Romero created with faster, smarter and more threatening undead. But while for the longest time it was viewed as the weaker of the Romero Dead Trilogy, it has gained the respect and fanfare that it has been due since it was released. Again while I love many zombie films like Zombi 2, Return Of The Living Dead, White Zombie, Night of The Living Dead and Dawn Of The Dead, it’s Day of The Dead that remains my favorite.

So as you can see hands down my favorite zombie film of all time is Day Of The Dead and many of you long time readers remember that I first saw this film on USA Network when I was a kid and it captured my imagination and was a hot talk topic at school when it first aired on that iconic network. I spent sometime as well drawing pictures of Bub and wondering if he would show up in the 4th Romero Dead film. Once we got a VCR and I found the VHS tape of the movie, I of course bought it and watched the hell out of it! When playing Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on the Sony Playstation and near death I would limp around and scream “Come On” just like Captain Rhodes did in the film as it always made me and others laugh. The home video market is what helped Day Of The Dead gain fans and would also be what helped it make more money to build it up to being profitable. I also really like the fact that in Walking Dead season 4 in the episode called Us, characters Glenn and Tara are in a tunnel and are being attacked by zombies and clearly one of the zombies is Bub!! I watch this film on DVD all the time and even watch the USA Network print that my pal Jason Young gave me that he recorded when he was a youngster! So do yourself a favor and make sure to watch this film this Halloween as it’s worth the view.

I also want to note that with a heavy heart as I was working on this update, George A. Romero passed away from lung cancer, and this was a major blow to me as I have been a longtime fan of his work and even visit his filming locations as his films mean that much to me. I want to dedicate this blog update to Mr. Romero and want to think him for all the scares he has delivered to all us Horror Fans and my thoughts are with his family, friends and fans during this very sad and hard time.

The score soundtrack for Day of The Dead is done by John Harrison and mixes eerie horror with an island sound delivering a very interesting and in my opinion very memorable score. That’s one thing that drives me crazy is when people try and compare the Harrison score for Day Of The Dead against the Goblin score for Dawn Of The Dead as they are two different styles for two different styles and mood of films and each do their respective film justice. Harrison’s score music is very moody and captures the dread as well as the hope that members of the underground group have, as the dark sounds really represent the zombies and the army both who are the the real threats to the group of scientist as the more island sound represents our heroes and John the pilot who has a thought that they should take over an island and restart mankind and leave the past behind us. I have played this soundtrack many times on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO, and my favorite track is “Breakdown” as I truly think its an amazing track and sums up the feel and mood of the film. This soundtrack has been released on Vinyl and CD, and the first time I owned it was on a CD called “Dead Trilogy” that had it paired with Night and Dawn and was made by Roger’s Basement a cool old website that use to offer hard to find and never released soundtracks to Horror and Science Fiction films that would also have dialogue from the films, very cool stuff and I wish Roger would comeback to the web and start this back up again. Now I also own the soundtrack on an official CD release put out by Taurus, and on the vinyl reissue from Waxwork. If you’re a lover of Horror Film score music, do yourself a favor and pick this one up as it’s really is a great listen.

Like “Night Of The Living Dead” and “Dawn Of The Dead” before it, “Day Of The Dead” has had its share of some amazing merchandise! Like a very cool Prism Sticker that was in vending machines back in the late 80’s. Movie posters for theaters and video stores that would also find their way to being reproductions for home décor. The soundtrack made its way to vinyl and CD and has been played many times on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO. Halloween masks based on the likeness of Bub and Dr. Tongue have been made for fans to dress as their favorite zombie of the film. Plus Amok Time has made some amazing action figures based on Day Of The Dead of Dr. Tongue and Bub and these figures are a must have for fans of the film. Also fan art, shirts and comics have been made as well at the film has been released on many home media like VHS and DVD. Also Day of The Dead has been released on Blu-Ray and in the Arrow limited edition release a cool mini comic book came inside called “Day of The Dead: Desertion” that was about everyone’s favorite zombie Bub…before he was a zombie! So if you are a fan of this film like me, I am sure you own many of these cool items and here is hoping for more items to be made as I will for sure buy them to add to my collection.

So while Bub and Dr. Tongue are the two zombies from the film that get most of the attention from horror fans, I want to focus on one who in my opinion is over looked but is all the same a very cool zombie, and I am talking about Beef Treats! I am sure some of you readers are asking yourself who is Beef Treats, and I am here to tell you he is the male zombie that is captured and refuses to eat the beef in a can that the doctors are trying to feed him that is supplied by the army. Beef Treats, while not a major zombie in the film, has built up a fan following and was played by actor Mark Tierno whom I have had the honor of going to dinner with along side my pal Geoff Burkman who played a zombie in Day Of The Dead, Juliet, my pal David J. Getz and fans of writers of this iconic third film in the Romero Dead series at a Brown Derby restaurant after the Cinema Wasteland Convention in Strongsville, Ohio area. The dinner was lots of fun as it was great to hear Mark talk about his time on set and the motivation behind playing Beef Treats, I also think it was humorous that during dinner he ordered brussel sprouts, and in my mind I pictured a zombie eating those vegetables and it made me chuckle. It was also great seeing the fans and such asking Geoff about his time as a zombie as he is very proud of the fact he was in that film, and as he should be. So while he is not as iconic as Bub, I must say Beef Treats is a great zombie who added his own blood stain in the world of Day Of The Dead! So here is to you Beef Treats and actor Mark Tierno, who made this zombie come undead on the silver screen.

On April 11, 2015 Juliet and I decided to take our pal Geoff Burkman to Cinema Wasteland Convention as they had a big Day Of The Dead reunion.  Geoff played a zombie in the film and wanted to chat with the star.  This is also my favorite zombie film of all time, and I wanted to meet such stars as Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Sherman Howard, Gary Howard and all the others attending.  The main person I wanted to meet was Joe Pilato who plays Captain Rhodes, one of the best characters in Horror Cinema! The drive up to Wasteland was lots of fun and we all chatted about movies, The Walking Dead and even ideas for a Babysitter Massacre 2! Once at the event Geoff went his separate way as did Juliet and I, and after walking around for a few minutes and catching up with the old Cinema Wasteland Family, I got the honor of meeting Joe Pilato, and man, was he one kick ass dude! He cracked me up as when coming up to his table he screamed out to the crowd “Oh My God It’s Billy Romero, George’s Son!” as he told me that I reminded him of a young George Romero and that was one heck of a great compliment coming from him. The people around all looked at me when he screamed this, and I think some of them really did think I was Romero’s son! While at the table I chatted with Joe for a short time and told him all the same things all fans do about how he played one of my favorite characters of all time and got his autograph as well as a photo with him. Before we left his table he asked Juliet and I if we were going to the Day Of The Dead Q & A that was happing later on in the day and we of course said yes! Lucky for us when the time came we all got good seats and listened to the cast and crew chat about the making of the film as well as shout out famous lines from the film….it was amazing to hear all this in person! As we left the convention was when we were able to go out to dinner with Beef Treats Zombie and chat with fellow lovers of this film. I must say that Cinema Wasteland does it right when it comes to showcasing amazing cult actors and directors and don’t fill their guest list with B-List cameo actors from mainstream modern cable TV series. So I want to thank Ken and Pam for making this convention rock as much as it does as they have the heart and soul of true Horror fans! Below is the pic of Joe and I from Wasteland.

My pal Geoff, as you know by now, was a zombie extra in Day of The Dead. I have known Geoff since I was five years old as he owned a record store called Renaissance Music that my dad would shop at and I would as well once as I got older. Geoff is a cool guy and has been in a ton of plays in and around the Dayton area as well as has been in lots of great locally made films like The Manson Family, The Wolf Hunter 1-2, Babysitter Massacre, Depression The Movie, Atrocity Circle and many more. So it’s my pleasure and honor to sit with Geoff Burkman, zombie extra for Day Of The Dead and ask him a few questions!

Matt: How Did You Hear About The Casting Of Zombie Extras For Day Of The Dead?

Geoff: I was friends with a WSU film student, Bill Laxson, who was a customer at the shop. A year or so after he graduated, I think, I got a call from him out of the blue, telling me he’d gotten a job as a PA on the film. Either he mentioned the possibility, or I geeked out, or whatever, but one thing led to another, and soon I was in touch with the ladies running extras casting, and the rest is history.

Matt: When Selected Who Picked That You Would Be The Baseball Catcher Zombie?

Geoff: He was an umpire, actually. That was likely the choice of costuming, based on my measurements. I had no idea what I would be until I got there.

Matt: What Was The Process Like Getting Into The Makeup? And Who Did Your Makeup?

Geoff: Day One was the umpire zombie, part of the assembly line. Sadly, I don’t recall the name of the lady who did mine. I want to say there were 4-6 stations for making up the extras that morning. Took maybe an hour or so, iirc. Overall, we were on site by 730am and fully costumed, made up and ready to rock by 10am. We didn’t get called to shoot until at least 10pm that night. So, a whole bunch of waiting around.

Day Two I played a different zombie, one of the collar gang, presumably from the depths of the walled-off cavern. For that one I’d been shown through Saviniland by Bill and intro’ed to Tom himself as a possible head-shot zombie. No such luck, my hair was deemed not thick enough to mask the squib. Still, it was either Tom or one of his assistants (not Nicotero that I can remember, although I did meet him) who did me up, complete with several facial wounds off the “Zombies’R’Us” prosthetic molds.

Matt: Tell Us About The Scenes You Were In And Did You Get To Share The Screen With The Stars?

Geoff: Nope, no screen-shares for me. Day One umpire zombie shot scenes of the devouring of Steele, which show up late in the film. Umpire dude appears in the back right of two quick floor level shots with action in center frame. Of course, a lot more takes and angles were shot than appear in the film, including a close-up of me trying to jam a bloody bone through my mask. Boy, I’d love to have the raw footage from that night’s shoot!

Day Two was scenes of the break-in to the complex after Steele shoots open the door, so my guy shows up in the panning shot of the horde swarming in. I also did background for the sequence with Rhodes slamming a zombie off his golf cart, but I’ve never found him onscreen, even with careful freeze-framing. I was there, nonetheless. I was also a part of the crowd entering Steele’s death room, but didn’t make the final cut, despite another close-up in which Romero directed me to create a momentary bottleneck in the doorway. Such is the fate of an extra, even dead ones. So, I never got to work with any of the leads, although I was privileged to watch Joe Pilato, Gary Klar, and Taso Stavrakis (as a stunt zombie) do their thing. I don’t recall seeing any of the other actors while I was there, though I could just be forgetting that, since it’s not like they go around being introduced to the extras, and I would have been far too reserved/shy to approach them.

Matt: What Do You See The Fate Of Your Zombie Being After The Events Of The Film?

Geoff: Ha, ha! Pretty sad for them, eh? Stuck in that underground facility with the only way out going up the ladder after the escaping humans. And given that umpire dude was busy chowing down while Sara’s group was busy escaping, it’s not likely he ever made his way back into the cavern and up that ladder. I figure he just ended up wandering around until maybe he found a baseball somewhere and then sat down and bounced it off a wall until he rotted away. Same fate for my collar zombie, too, minus the baseball entertainment. I’d have to say that most if not the entirety of that horde eventually just fell apart, likely in pitch black after the power went out. Good thing they were already dead; what a way to go!

Matt: Thanks Geoff for sharing your memories with me again and my readers!

Geoff Burkman is a class act and has and always will be a great friend to me. I also really like the fact that Geoff enjoys horror films as well as comic books and music, and this is why I think we get along so well. Looking at all my friends I must say I have some very creative people in my life from movie makers, Actors, Comic Artists, Pro Wrestlers, Musicians, Painters, Models, Freakshow Performers, Horror Hosts, Tattoo Artist, Radio DJs, Book Authors, Clothing Designers, Beard Competition Winners, Craft Makers, Store Owners, Photographers and so many others who all do creative things! And I must say I value each of my friendships as each person makes my life better. So thanks again Geoff for taking your time and to answer 5 Questions for my readers and me. Below is a picture of the icon George A. Romero and tons of zombie extras.

As a longtime comic book reader, I was super hyped when I discovered a cool comic book company called Dead Dog Comics in around 2004 that kept showing up at Cinema Wasteland when I was a vendor there with Independent B Movie and later Andy Copp as this company was making high quality horror comics that were original and others based on movies, I would buy first thing and read them once back at the hotel and after dinner. The first comic I got from them was Night Of The Living Dead: Barbara’s Zombie Chronicles # 1 and I was hooked and even when returning home added all their comics I could to my Mavericks Cards and Comics pull list. I would also chat with the creators and owners of Dead Dog Comics while at Wasteland, and they would tell me what was coming up and listen to my ideas of what horror films should be comics as they clearly loved what they made and created. Sadly they closed shop in roughly 2007 and the void they left would not be filled for me until 2016 when Eibon Press was unleashed on the comic reading market. One of Dead Dog’s final releases was the comic we are about to review based on Day Of The Dead. I can remember being so hyped when I picked up this copy from Cinema Wasteland and was not disappointed when I read it then and can’t wait to see if it holds up! The downside is that this series was supposed to be a 3 issue mini series but only had one issue released before they went under. So as we travel even deeper underground to get away from the zombies I can hear this echo “Remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story.” So with that, let’s see how well this comic holds up to my memories and how well it does justice to my favorite zombie film of all time.

Day Of The Dead: The Rising Of Bub # 1 ***
Released in 2007 Cover Price $4.95 Dead Dog Comics # 1 of 3

Joe, his wife Anne, and a whole apartment filled of survivors hear the call from army soldier Miguel in the streets of Florida and try to get everyone together quickly in order to be saved, but an accident leaves one of their members dead and the opportunity to be saved lost. The survivors’ morale is down as they all meet up and try and figure out where the helicopter came from and who is manning it. The survivors group is made up of all types of people from young to old and locals and vacationers all who give their ideas about where the base is that holds their saviors, but it’s Norman who looks beyond the big airfields and finds a location that he thinks is the perfect place for them to be at. The next morning the adults meet at Norman’s garage and find that his plan is to use a push car called The Phalanx to get to the local jeep dealership in order to hot wire them and get them to the target location, and before they can decide if the idea will work over breakfast they are interrupted by Kat and her boyfriend who inform Joe that Anne has killed herself. While all this is going on the zombies are gathering and Bub is now free and leading a group of the undead.

This is Walking Dead and Land Of The Dead mixed as this focuses on a group of survivors who are held up in a apartment building in Florida who want so badly to be saved and think that if they can get to the base that Rhodes and his men are at that, they can be saved and are doing all they can to come up with an idea to reach their safe zone that they are unaware has been overrun by zombies. Joe is the “leader” of the survivors as it’s clear he is the one with the level head and breaks up fights and tries his best to keep the peace among his people. He also tries his best to keep an eye on his lady Anne and his daughter Kat who are also suck in this world of the undead. Norman and the rest of the group are all good people that are trying not to snap in the bad situation that they are in and tempers do get short as they all think they know what’s good for an escape. The zombies are everywhere and are hungry for human flesh and even Dr. Tongue is on the prowl looking for a quick meal. Bub is around but only shown in one panel as he is leading a group of zombies around underground and makes you wonder how angry he is. This is a great issue as it builds up our survivors and shows that they are desperate to find help and are stuck in a bad way as the world around them is filled with the undead.  The only major downside is that while Bub and the zombies are around, they are very much second thoughts and are the cause of the whole drama but only really get to eat one person for the whole issue. I would have liked to have seen more of Bub and do realize that issues 2 and 3 would have shown him more, but still a little sad all we got is one panel in this issue. The cover is great and shows a mad looking Bub in the underground.  The interior art is done by Jeff Zornow and is fantastic stuff and captures a good zombie comic feel. Over all this very much held up for me, and I enjoyed reading it in 2017 just as much as I did in 2007…wow that’s been 10 years! Fans of the film will enjoy this issue even if it’s not as dark as the film, and I hope that Dead Dog Comics comes back and delivers more comics based on cool horror films.  All I can say is come on, Chazz DeMoss, make this happen! Check out this cool art below to see what style this comic delivers.

So the day has ended, and we have survived another zombie invasion as well as another Monster Bash vacation.  I for one can’t wait to go back to Cranberry again next year and do it all over again! So with this we are leaving zombies behind and once more stepping back into the world of Pro Wrestling as we take a look at Chyna and the Chaos! comics based on her. So until next time, enjoy the rest of this summer, read a comic or three, watch a Romero film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! So see you in the ring, my readers and friends!

Marvel At The Dead Of Night

Welcome back to Rotten Ink!  Can you believe that we are just a short time away from Halloween? Something about this time of year just fills me with creative plans, and so far, I have planned many great new episodes of Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre as well as many great ideas for future comics to be released by Sparkle Comics and it’s sister company Blood Scream Comics. For this 5th update in our Countdown to Halloween, we will be going old school with Marvel Comics as we take a look at a comic series they released in the 70’s that reprinted classic horror and science fiction stories that were originally banned after the Comic Code witch hunt.  I will also talk about a Horror Movie Marathon that my gal Juliet and I had; plus the most scary thing we will talk about is the Comic Code itself! So open the windows and let a chill in as we travel to the Dead of Night!

Comic Book Graveyard Pic 0

On June 27th – 28th Juliet and I decided to have a Horror Movie Marathon, and for the pre-show we decided to eat a little dinner and watch two horror motion pictures to set up the mood for the next day.  We selected “Silent Night Bloody Night” to start with, a creepy Christmas themed horror film that plays on the whodunit. We then watched a 2015 slasher film called “Kill Game” about a white masked killer stalking and killing some young adults who used to pull pranks, and as always one went wrong and someone was killed. Both films were solid and a great way to start off our marathon, and both Juliet and I selected Silent Night Bloody Night as the best film of the night as it was a nice blend of horror and thriller and was shot well with scenes looking like they were lifted from German Expressionist films of the 1920’s. Plus the film starred John Carradine, who is mute in his role and rings a bell or writes on paper to communicate with others, strange and amazing. After reading a Marvel Tales issue and watching The Rifleman on ME-TV, I headed to bed to start a day of horror and scares.

silent night bloody night dvdKill Game dvd

On the 28th we woke up at 7am to start the marathon and loaded up on Ruffle Regular Potato Chips, Peanut M&M’s, for brunch we had breakfast casserole and for dinner home made chicken wings with the “Oh My Garlic” sauce. The fist movie of the day was a Universal Monster classic called “Man Made Monster” that starred Lon Chaney Jr. as a man who becomes a living breathing electric chair after an experiment goes wrong. The 2nd undead feature starred Bela Lugosi and was called “Voodoo Man” and was about a doctors rituals to try and bring his dead wife back to life that leaves many women missing and turned into mindless slaves. The third film was “The Body Beneath” a weird almost retelling of the Dracula story vampire film directed by Andy Milligan.  The world’s first basher film “Methodic” was the fourth film about a super natural serial killer who wants to kill his sisters. The found footage film “Hangman” was about a killer who watches and stalks families in their own home while living in their attics and watching them from hidden cameras.  The sixth film of the day was the Fullmoon Entertainment film “Ooga Booga” about a little doll that gets the spirit of a wrongfully killed man who wants revenge inside it. “Hellbilly” a short film about a killer who wears a skin mask and kills any person he runs into was the seventh film of the marathon.  I should also note it was directed by Massimiliano Cerchi. Vampire flick “Dracula’s Widow” was the eighth film and was about Dracula’s Bride being on a rampage when she finds out her husband has been killed and wants to return home and uses a Wax Musem owner as her slave to achieve her goals. Shot On Video film “Spine” was the ninth film and was about a twisted killer who targeted nurses as his victims. “666: The Demon Child” was the tenth film and followed a group of scientists being killed by a small demon baby who could bring on the end of the world. The 1980 splatter classic “Nightmare” scared up the eleventh spot and was about a killer with mental issues on the loose looking for some kills…or is he? The twelfth film was “The Redeemer” a film about a class reunion that has a murder loose who has the power of God on his side and an extra thumb! Unlucky number thirteen went to the heavy metal horror film “Shock’Em Dead” starring Traci Lords that follows a rock star who sold his soul to the devil in order to be the best in the world, but his wish has bad side effects as he has to kill in order to live! The time with Juliet was lots of fun and many of the movies were fantastic, but the weakest film, aka the Golden Turkey of the day, is one we both picked for the same reasons, Ooga Booga.  It was not funny and down right dumb and was too much about pot…just not good…besides the puppet for Ooga looked good. My top three films of the day are as follows: # 1 has to be The Reedemer, a great slasher film filled with a creepy killer who changes costumes for every kill and the run down school makes for a creepy background.  In fact on a fun note, the late great Andy Copp and myself talked about remaking or doing a sequel for the film many years back. # 2 goes to Nightmare, a great bloodbath slasher film with a killer who has some extreme mental issues and will not go down without a fight. # 3 was a hard one to pick but I settled on Dracula’s Widow as I am a sucker for the classic monsters, and I think the taking a bride of Dracula and placing her in more modern times made for a great horror film that took some great film tricks of German Expressionist films. I should also note that VooDoo Man almost made my # 3 spot as it’s a great Bela Lugosi film. Juliet’s top three go like this: # 1 Nightmare, # 2 The Reedemer and # 3 Hangman! Very close order for our top two, but her third surprised me but she really enjoyed the grim feeling of Hangman. The Horror Movie Marathons are always a great way to unwind and watch some horror films for the first time or even again after many years. But now it’s time for the spookiest part of our update the Comic Code…..a cold shiver just went down my spine.

Man Made Monster dvdVoodoo Man dvdThe Body Beneath dvdMethodic dvdHangman dvd
Ooga Booga dvdHellBilly dvdDraculas Widow DVDspine dvd666 demon child dvdnightmare dvdThe Redeemer dvdshock em dead dvd

Back in the 50’s comics based on horror, crime and thrillers were a popular cheap entertainment for kids as well as adults who enjoyed a good read. But all this was about to change thanks to Charles F. Murphy, a juvenile delinquent specialist plus author, and psychiatrist Fredric Wertham and his book Seduction of the Innocent that took a fight to the comic industry that went all the way to the Senate and put book companies like EC, Marvel and DC in the hot seat of making comics that were corrupting the youth in their judgmental eyes. You see, they claimed that comic books about subjects of horror, crime and thrillers were giving kids bad ideas that crime was cool and that murder was okay.  This of course was the raving of two sticks in the mud who wanted to ruin the joy of comics for kids. And worse, these two loons made it so parents as well as the government listened to their theories of comics causing crime.  So began the comic companies being put on trial as well as parents holding public burnings of comics all in the name of saving our children. Murphy and Wertham pitched a code that had to be met in order for comics to be made that they called The Comic Authority Code.  Each comic had to meet the rules that had been set that included such wonderfully stupid things like bad guys always had to lose, no werewolves, zombies or vampires, horror & terror could not be used in a comic series title, as well as many sexual acts like seduction, rape and sadism were forbidden, police could not be killed by bad guys.  This was just the tip of the iceberg of the rules they set! If a comic company did not follow these rules, retails shops would stop carrying issues from that company so they all had to put the Comic Authority Code Stamp on the cover to prove they met the code. Marvel, DC, Charlton, Archie and many others fell in line and followed the rules.  Marvel even canceled many of its horror titles to fit the newly placed guidelines. The company was the most affected by this code was EC Comics who were making titles like Vault Of Horror, Tales From The Crypt and Crime SuspenStories; they tried to fight it but lost the battle and even closed up shop due to the lack of support from retailers and fans. The Comic Authority Code ruled the comic world for decades with their strict rules and at one point even attacked writer Marv Wolfman’s last name as it was against their rules. DC Comics had to fight the case and add full credits to their titles. The odd part about this code is that they had no real power over the companies and could not enforce any kind of fine or punishment.  But all retailers would not stock a comic that did not support the code so they won out anyway.  Oddly enough Gold Key and Dell never did embrace the code and were still well stocked. By the 70’s, the Code was outdated and needed to update, and it did as monsters were allowed to be back in comics as were drugs because at the time they could use the comics to teach kids that drug addiction was bad. The Code stuck around for many years but by the 2000’s most companies stopped placing the stamp on covers.  Archie was the last hold out but also discontinued using it in 2011. The Comic Authority Code was a terrible modern day witch hunt that riled up parents, government officials, religious groups and retailers all over the theories of two out of touch old men who just wanted to say that only their voice mattered. But while The Comic Authority Code did lots of bad for the world of comics in my opinion as it kept horror titles at bay, it also helped build the independent comic industry, who grew from their strangle hold to give comic readers an alternative to check out that didn’t play by their strict rules. One things for sure, love it or hate it The Comic Authority Code is a large piece of comic book history, and its appearance shaped the comics that filled newsstands for years that followed its birth. To close this part, just imagine if this code was still around to this day and they never updated it.  I would guess that Marvel and DC both would be out of business and comics would not be as iconic as they are today.

Comic Code 0

The Comic Authority Code – now that’s scary to think how loons can wield so much power! I think it’s time to get to our comic reviews, and I want to thank New Dimension Comics in Cranberry Pa, Ebay, Mavericks, Bell Book and Comic and The Peddlers Mall for having these issues in stock for this bone chilling haunted filled update.  Each of those fine places made it possible for me to find these spooky issues and share them with you like ghost stories around a campfire. So turn off all the lights, pull the covers over your shoulders and bask in the light of your computer screen as it’s time for your dose of spooky Marvel tales of terror on this dead of night.  While the moon is full and the jack o lanterns are lit, I should remind you that I grade these issues 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. I think we should now take a long look into The Dead Of Night and hope the monsters of these rotten ink pages don’t look back at us!

Dead of Night 1

Dead Of Night # 1   ***1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel Comics     # 1 of 11

“The Ghost Still Walks” a frat house prank went wrong years ago and left a pledge named Bub Lame dead after he had a heart attack in an abandoned house after seeing a fake zombie. Now a new batch of pledges are at the house, and they all know the Lane Curse that says his spirit will get into a body of someone in the house and will get revenge on the pledge master. Those who laugh at the curse soon find it’s real as one of them is the rotting corpse of Lane who wants his revenge. “House Of Fear!” Home investigator Charles Boyd and female reporter Jean are looking into a haunted house that’s up for sale.  Charles wants to prove it’s all fake so the house can be put up for sale, but while in the house they come across a ghost who attacks Charles, who now sees the house differently as he joins the six feet under club. “My Brother…The Ghoul” Hugo Luther is a man who digs up graves at the local cemetery and steals from the dead.  When he is seen by the night watchman, his identical brother is blamed for the crime and sentenced to death, but in the end the twins share more than just looks. “ I Want You To Meet My Brother Henry…He Dwells In A Dungeon” Jean is a new wife who married her husband George to get a piece of his new wealth that he was left from his uncle when he passed, but in the house she also meets Henry, his brother who is simple and deformed.  She hates Henry as she feels he is getting in the way of her master plan of driving her husband nuts and having him locked away in an asylum. Jean goes to the basement where Henry lives with a gun and fires a single shot into his room and hits a shadow. Upon returning to her room she soon finds out she killed the wrong brother.

This first issue is amazing, and if the rest of the series follows the lead of this one than this is shaping up to be a fantastic Marvel Horror Comic Series. To me it looks like all four stories in this issue are originals made just for this first issue and all of them pack an amazing creepy vide and capture the horror themes that were popular at the time. To choose the best story from this issue was very hard as they all reminded me of tales that would be seen on Tales From The Darkside or read in the pages of Tales From The Crypt or Vault Of Horror, but if I had to pick one I would say The Ghost Still Walks the opening story as I love his the story is told by a pledge who is scared yet laughs at the story of a curse, but he finds that in fact the curse is true and he is selected to be the messenger of the spirits revenge. This issue has no real weak stories as each tale of terror has it’s own charm and sinister appeal to it. The issue is packed with such ghouls and ghosts like a dead pledge ghost, a grave robbing ghoul, a deformed killer and a haunted house and each add a fright to their respective stories. The cover is great and very eye catching and this cover for this very issue is what made me select this series as this Halloween update! The art inside is also fantastic and this made for a fantastic read on this chilly fall night! I am looking forward to reading the next issues in this series and see if they hold up as well as this one that sets the bar very high and packs just enough cheesy horror to make for a solid spooky read. Over all I recommend this to any fan of classic horror comics.

Dead Of Night 2

Dead Of Night # 2  **1/2
Released in 1974   Cover Price .20     Marvel Comics     # 2 of 11

“He Walks With A Ghost” Barney Grill is a crook who gets his money mugging people on the mean streets, but his luck changes when we is visited by a lawyer who tells him a rich uncle has died and left him a mansion and lots of money in Hungry! Barney rushes to his new home and decides that the old family cemetery needs to be bug up and cleared away so he can add a pool and soon learns that they dead don’t like to be disturbed when they use his own tools against him. “The House That Fear Built” John and Mary live in a small house in the middle of the country when a new house is built over the next two nights, and even weirder strange lights are coming out the window so they decide to go visit and see who their neighbors are and soon find that they are aliens who are conducting an experiment to find out the weakness of mankind in order to take over our planet! It’s up to John and Mary to stop the next couple from coming over and in the house or we are all doomed! “The Nightmare” has a psychiatrist and his female patient during a visit telling him about her nightmare of living in a nice house with a loving husband and kids, you soon find out that she is an ugly witch and her psychiatrist is a skull face warlock and that to them nightmares or that of living a normal life. “The Girl Who Didn’t Exist!” Walford is a student of American Collage and he along with his fellow class mates under the teaching of Professor Haywood have found a statue of Claudia Caligara and for some reason Walford feels that she is calling to him, and over night he goes to visit the statue again and finds a tunnel to the past were he meets the real Claudia and fights an evil general to win he had in marriage! In the end Walford of 1973 is no more but now next to Claudia’s statue is one of him! Our final twisted tale is “The Frightened Man!” Franz Hyle is a dictator of a small country and he has run off the peoples only hope a man named Professor Rolfe, but things are not all sunshine for Hyle as he is visited by a green haired man who tells him that enemies are among his most trusted people. After this green haired man opens up Hyle’s mind he hears and see’s his own people plotting to take him out of power and he in turns has them all arrested. In the end Hyle is all alone and soon finds out that his green haired friend is his worst enemy and must face his real enemies the people he rules over.

This second issue is packed full of some really cool old school style horror stories as well as some that feel like filler. I think my favorite story was He Walks With A Ghost the opening tale as I love the idea of a no good scummy worm of a man getting lots of money and land only to disrespect the dead and have them come back and teach him a lesson in manners. Plus this one really reminded me of a classic style ghost story that would have been found in an issue of Tales From The Crypt or Vault Of Horror. The story that was good and my second favorite was The Nightmare while it was the shortest of all the tales it had a Twilight Zone feel and I love the idea of normal everyday like being scary to monsters! My least favorite one had to be The Frightened Man! as it really was not scary nor really that shocking as to who was the man with green hair, in fact this as well as The Girl Who Didn’t Exist should not have been in a Marvel Horror Comic and should have found a place in a Science Fiction series as no monsters, aliens or ghosts were in these stories and they felt like filler. So for those wondering this issue’s monsters and mayhem that appear are Zombies, Aliens, Witch, Warlock and Time Travel. The artwork in all the stories are top notch and fitting for this style of comic, and the cover while miss leading on so many levels (the main picture has zero to do with any of the stories and it claims to have four tales of terror when there are five) still has a great 70’s Marvel Horror Comic charm to it. Over all this was a fun issue and a nice follow up to the first so lets see what the next issue has in store for us.

Dead Of Night 3

Dead Of Night # 3  **1/2
Released in 1974   Cover Price .20     Marvel Comics     # 3 of 11

“The Hidden Graveyard” three hunters are following a dying elephant so that they can find the graveyard these beasts go to die in, they don’t care about finding it for study or science they just want the ivory! They were all warned by the natives of a meat eating beast named Kubba that makes home in the graveyard and kills what every trespasses on this land, but they think it all to be stories of myth. When finding the graveyard they soon find the myth is true and each must come face to face with the hairy meat-eating beast if they want the ivory. “Waitin’ For Satan” Mathews is a down on his luck bum who hangs out at the docks when he makes a deal with Satan to become rich and win the woman of his dreams, the pack also comes with a way for Mathews to escape being dragged to Hell that is if Satan comes to soon for him the agreement is broken, and after years of building up money and marrying his dream woman Mathews tricks Satan and gets out of the deal or so he thinks, by living a life the way he does a ticket to Hell just might be in his future. “While The City Slumbers!” an old man during a card game with his son and his friends tells a story of when he was twenty about a clan of pale skinned people named Mole Men who lived underground and wanted to over take the city for revenge for how their ancestors were treated many decades back. But on the Day they are about to attack an Earthquake happens forcing them to flee back underground and their cave was blocked sealing them in forever. No one believes the old man but in the end he has the proof a stone they gave him for safe passage during the would have been raid. The final story is “Only A Rose!” Helen is a jealous wife and when her husband Chester keeps leaving home late at night and she can’t get him to answer why she decides to follow him and watches as he delivers flowers to young women, she in a rage decides to get revenge and sends poisoned candy to the women killing them. After many nights of this and many deaths of young women she soon finds her husband was only working as a delivery guy and was not cheating as he was using the money to buy her stuff for her birthday! Worse he brings her flowers, candy and a watch and after eating the candy she finds out that the candy was returned and was the last box of poisoned ones she sent out…so in the end she dies the way she made others.

This third issue is really good and better than the second as I felt all four stories were top notch and had a good horror story appeal to them. I love the flow and vibe of this issue as it’s very down beat and only one story has a happy ending as that’s the mole men not taking over the town, but on the other hand people think the old mans crazy and the town is hot by an earthquake and massive fires so I guess it is pretty gloomy. My favorite from this issue has to be Only A Rose as I love how one woman’s insecurities leads to the death of many younger and prettier girls cause she could not trust her husband who in fact was a really good guy working as a delivery man to make extra money to but her something nice for her birthday. In the end she gets her date with death by her own hands and feels the same pain her victims did and has that classic EC Comic style ending! One that I enjoyed was Waitin’ For Satan as I loved the idea of a con man trying to pull one over on Satan who tells him while I cant take you to hell now the way you lived your life already gave you a one way ticket and I’ll be seeing you soon! Great stuff and proves you should never make a deal with the devil. My least favorite is really hard to pick cause I really enjoyed them all but if I had to say one being the weakest one I would pick While The City Slumbers while it had the feel of dread the Mole Men really never did anything to terrible and run away from the fire only to be sealed into their cave forever, while a good story not to scary. The cover is once more great but miss leading as slime people are not in the comic nor does anything come from the sewers. The art is great again and is what horror comics at this time and before were made of. For those keeping score the monsters and themes of this issue are Big ape like beast, underground pale skin men, the devil and a female killer who uses poison. So this is another great issue in this series and well worth the honors of being on a Halloween update, so lets move onto issue four and see what full moon fury we can get into.

Dead Of Night 4

Dead Of Night # 4  ***
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 4 of 11

“Werewolf Beware” Hugo is a man with a curse that turns him into a werewolf every full moon and worse he has fallen in love Erika a lovely towns girl. Things are going great till the next moon when Hugo must leave Erika behind after an argument and she follows as he tries to fight the urge to change, in the end love and a wooden stake to the gut ends the curse once and for all. “The Death Of Me!” Joe is a man who notices that when he looks into a mirror for a brief second he catches the face of a man who looks like him but his face is always twisted with hate! The man tricks the man in the mirror and captures it talking to the mirror version of his wife about killing Joe and his wife Betty off so that they can live, Joe goes around the house smashing the mirrors and is taken to an asylum were he soon finds out mirrors are not the only things that give off reelections. “We Meet At Midnight!” Hugo is a disfigured man who has grown up to a world that treats him poorly for the way he looks and now he hates everyone and everything besides books and finding the secrets of Egypt via the Sphinx. Hugo travels to Egypt and soon learns that the true secrets of the Egyptians is preservation of dead bodies via making them Mummies! The final terrifying tale is “ Worse Than Death!” George is a slumlord that only cares about money that he keeps in his home as he loves to just look at it whose apartments are fire hazards and one day a fire breaks out and kills hundreds, in the end a husband of one of the victims takes all of Georges money and flings it out the window driving the greedy man insane.

This fourth issue is really good and three out of the four stories are fantastic and they type I would hope for in a Horror Comic series done by Marvel. Each story is different and are about monsters, greed and supernatural beings and all I am sure sent shivers down the spines of readers of the early 1970’s. My favorite story in this issue is The Death of Me as I truly loved the idea of your refection being a being from another dimension who wants you dead so that it can live fully, makes you want to look a little closer at your mirrors next time you walk past them or use them to do your hair and brush your teeth. Werewolf Beware was almost the winner, as I do love a good tale about a lycanthrope that’s ending reminded me of a Paul Naschy werewolf film, not to mention Don Heck did the artwork. The weakest story has to be Worse Than Death as I feel that it was a good story it really was not scary and had zero elements of horror. The issues baddies include a werewolf, greed, the Sphinx and mirror spirits, it’s a great mix and gives the pick your chill/scare factor to this issue. The cover on this issue has to be my second favorite in the series as the werewolf looks fantastic and ties into the opening story. Over all this is a sold issue and one that proves this series has some bite to it and proves that classic reprint comics can be done if they are done right. Lets see how the next issue of Dead Of Night holds up on this Halloween update!

Dead Of Night 5

Dead Of Night # 5  **
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 5 of 11

“Deep Down” a man is walking when strange men began popping up from the ground and asking him for help and if he can help them they will make him rich! When the man goes down the tunnels with them he finds a giant gold nugget and they tell him they cant remove the nugget cause it blocks the entrance to a cave that houses a lizard dragon monster they call Dragila who will become loose and kill them all. You see all the men down in this hole are not ghouls or zombies but they are all men who are greedy and want a way to get the nugget away safe, the man spends some time thinking about how to get away safe with the gold but he comes to terms that it’s not worth it and walks away as does the 50 other men who wasted their lives waiting for this gold. “The Worst Thirst” Pete and Joe are brothers who live on a farm and their well has ran dry thanks to new neighbors who dug their well to deep stealing all the water. They now have to buy water from a trucker who brings it in from the city and this makes them very mad! So they decide that at night they will use pipes to steal the water back and in the process even kill a man to get their water back, and when they do they are so happy as the water flows high and they drink and bathe in the water. In the end the truck diver shows up and they tell him they don’t need the water but the neighbors will and the driver informs them that the well water has been poisoned and anyone who drank from it will die in two hours! “The 13th Floor” Mr. Creel owns a building and when he gets visited by ghouls wanting to rent out the 13th floor of his building he is confused as he don’t have a 13th floor but rents it to them anyway. After a the lease is up and wondering were the ghouls go he gets to see the 13th floor but his happiness to make more money turns to terror as he learns that floor only exists for ghouls. The last story is “One Must Die!” Doctor Zorg runs a zoo were he experiments on animals and how they will kill their mate in order to survive, his wife Millie is in love with Jim a helper of her husband and they have a plan to kill him via a bomb under his bed. But Zorg catches the two and dugs them and grafts their body together and in order to escape the approaching hungry wild animals they must figure out a way to get suppurated even if that means killing the other!

This issue is pretty weak and does not offer the chills and terrors of the past ones delivered. In fact I think almost all the stories in this issue are very weak and have a filler vibe to them. The best by a landslide story is The Worst Thirst as I like the feel of a backwoods brothers killing to get water something we all need and when they think they have won the really just killed themselves by drinking deadly poisoned water. The one that was ok and this is even a stretch to pick is One Must Die as I love the idea of two love birds turning on each other like wild animals to survive, and nice touch that the only way they can come apart after being fused together is a sharp giant ax. The worst is hands down Deep Down a clearly horror comedy type idea that’s pay out is that they wasted their lives over gold that they can never get, yeah not scary nor chilling just lame. The cover is based on Deep Down and shows ghouls coming from the ground and what we get is something very lame, the art once more inside is fantastic and is just like all the others very well done. This issue had a pretty good rotten ink smell and this helped add to the dead in the water feel of the issue. Over all so far this is the weakest issue in the series and I cant wait to see if the next issue pulls this series out of the grave this one placed it in. Oh yeah the monsters in this issue are greedy miners, poisoned water, a lizard dragon thing, ghouls and hungry animals.

Dead Of Night 6

Dead Of Night # 6  **1/2
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 6 of 11

“Jack The Ripper” is about a graveyard that is haunted by the spirit of Jack The Ripper that kills anyone who dares to look for his gravestone, an American who thinks its all a hoax travels to England to find the grave to prove it all fake finds out that Jack The Ripper’s ghost still has a knife to sharpen on human bone! “Down In The Cellar” old man Judson is a taxidermist who loves birds and when a hunter keeps bringing him in ones he shot the old man begs him to stop and to hunt big game, Judson begs him to check out his collection of stuffed big game that he has in his cellar and the man just laughs it off and brings in more birds for him to stuff! Finally the Hunter realizes he has gone to far by killing a bag of peacocks and takes the old man up on seeing his collection of big game that turns out to be stuffed bird hunters! “The Snowman” two mountain climbers in the Himalayas find the footprints of the Abominable Snowman and the go of to track the beast, but the would be fame has them turn on each other and they soon find out that man and his greed is the only true monster of the mountain. The last story is called “Sarah” and is about Sarah a woman who collects old artifacts and decides that if the old farmer wont sell her his sword of Benedict Arnold than she will steal it, and when she thinks she has been caught her only choice is to turn herself in!

This issue is packed with three good stories and one that’s more like a telling of a joke with a silly ending, but with that said I can say this is another good issue and almost a three star rated one at that! One funny thing before I go to far into this review that I have to point out is that according to Stan Lee who wrote the opening story Jack The Ripper was found, killed and buried and his real name was Jack The Ripper…classic comic book stuff and this made my night seeing this. The best story in this issue is Down in The Cellar another story that reminded me of Tales From The Crypt and had an ending I seen a mile away but still loved the pay off of a crazed old man who hunts bird hunters! The Jack The Ripper is a good story and shows that even after death the killer stalks and murders those who cross his path in the way of being a knife-wielding ghost! The weakest story is Sarah as its more of a joke story of a woman who thinks she’s been caught stealing by an art dealer and turns herself into the cops only to find out the man she thought had caught her cant speak English and was just a lost traveler. The Snowman is a fun story that only shows the footprints of the legendary monster and the two feuding men turn out to be the real monsters as one goes so crazy he wonders around the snow barefooted after killing his one time friend. The issues evildoers are The Ghost of Jack The Ripper, A Human Hunting Old Man and Human Greed, and the art inside is great as is the cover even if Jack The Ripper is shown on the streets and in the story he never leaves the graveyard. Well lets move onto issue # 7 and see if the quality of this horror series maintains the level of perfect reading of the Halloween season!

Dead of Night 7

Dead Of Night # 7  **1/2
Released in 1974    Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 7 of 11

“Corpse In The Streets” Arnold is a doctor who reanimates a corpse of a killer in order to turn him into a zombie that will kill for him as he is trying to raise money for a high end coat for his wife, the zombie kills his patients and Arnold robs the bodies and even sells off their cloths to make extra cash. In the end the zombie turns on his master when he falls in love himself with the doctors wife! “The 13th Floor” Hugh and his wife Mary are both sick and Hugh is working day and night to save money so they can move away to a place that rains less and the air is dry. In the office he gets on the elevator and gets off on the 13th floor and is puzzled as the building only has 12 floors and soon finds out the that floor is death and talks his way back to life only to have to live without his wife who dies that night, and they were trying to take him early so he could be with her! “Man Lost” Al is a jealous man of his brother Greg who has invented a time machine and when he drugs his brother over dinner and tries to go back and fourth in time to win at the horse races, but he should of listened as he becomes a man that time forgot and is just a shell of himself that no one can see nor hear! The last story is “Deluge!” Jason is a man who thinks the world works due to magnetism and is mocked and fired from his job, he later builds a machine that controls magnetism and this puts the world is chaos as he controls the very world and dies trying to stop what he started as the machine will not turn off!

This issue has some good stories and it has some real stinkers causing it to be a pretty standard issue that don’t pack any major frights but does have some good ghost story/campfire tales appeal. The best story in this issue is a tie between Corpse In The Streets and The 13th Floor as both were fantastic tales and each had their own charm. I like the zombie slave who falls in love with his masters wife in the first story and enjoyed the man who loved his wife so much that Death himself tries to rig time for him to pass the same time she does! The worst story hands down was the final story Deluge as it was boring and really cheesy and had no place in a comic about Horror, the only thing this story has going to it was that Steve Ditko did the art. The comics ghouls and horrors are a killer zombie, a world changing machine, a time machine and an elevator that leads to the Grim Reaper. The cover and art in this issue are both very well done and I really like the Grim Reaper on the cover who reminds me of the old Monster in My Pocket figure of that character. Over all this issue has two great stories, one that is pretty good and one that is just plan terrible! Worth a read and still is perfect for this late night Halloween update!

Dead Of Night 8

Dead Of Night # 8  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 8 of 11

“Alone In The Dark” Donald is a 10 year old boy who is left alone with his Uncle Claude who spends his time reading the youngster horrible fairy tales filled with death, you see Claude hates his brother and wife and wants to kill Donald and then them on this night! And at the stroke of midnight knife in hand Claude is about to make the kill but who is really the killer and who is the victim in this twisted tale of family issues. “The Eavesdropper!” Tony is at a bar when he over hears a plan between a man and a woman to kill her husband that night and collect the insurance money. Tony decides to follow them instead on calling the police so he can blackmail them and get a piece of the money, but he soon finds out that the attended victim might just be to close to home for his liking. “The Old Witch” George is a simple man who’s wife Helen has a heart of gold and feeds local stray pets as well as homeless people and gives them a place to stay in their home. Matilda is a old woman that she has brought home and George has a bad feeling about her and the first night catches her performing black magic in their guest room! George gets a wooden stake and while the old woman sleeps he drives it through her heart and buries the old woman out back, but to his shock his wife and neighbors call the police and he soon finds he killed his true love as a witch’s tricks are very sly. “The Slave!” Joe killed a man during a bar fight and fled before the cops could catch him, while on the run he falls ill and a poor villager takes him in and nurses him back to health were he finds that the small towns cemetery is filled with gold and jewels, and when the villagers suspect him of stealing he dresses as a slave for a man who has died and soon finds the not just riches are buried with the dead!

This is another good issue that is packed with four solid stories that are sure to chill the blood of old school horror comic fans. The issue has many horror characters showcased like an old witch, a killer and even a child werewolf showing this one was a true grab bag of monsters. The best tale in this issue is The Slave as I really liked the idea of a sleazy man who is so greedy he would steal from the dead of the people who helped him when he was near death, gets what he deserves when he is trapped in a tomb were he rots away slowly dying from starvation. The worse twisted tale is really hard to pick as none of them in this issue are bad at all! So I guess I will say the most predictable one is The Old Witch as the twist of the souls of the women changing place and the husband killing the wrong woman is something I seen a mile away. Over all this is a solid spine tingling issue that shows that old reprints can pack a punch for a new generation of ghoul kids.

Dead Of Night 9

Dead Of Night # 9  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 9 of 11

“The Empty Bus” it’s a dark and stormy night and when a bus stops to pick up Nick he is the only passenger on the bus or so he thinks, an old man appears out of thin air and sits with Nick who pulls a gun and the old man tells him a story of a night just like this about a man with a gun and murder in his eyes who dies when he tries to kill a man who use to run crimes with him, Nick does not listen and he in fact turns the story into reality. “Sazzik, The Sorcerer” Boris Grumm is a TV Producer who’s shows are so twisted that the station drops them with the help of multiple complaints, so to get even he comes up with another show based on a cruel black magic sorcerer named Sazzik! In then end Boris comes face to face with the spirit of Sazzik and he isn’t happy. “They Melt At Night!” Jeremy Miller is a scientist that people mock so to get revenge he makes a formula that melts peoples cars, his idea is to sell them the cure to make the cars no longer melt and make a ton of money, but soon finds that greed is not the answer to life and in turn has a change of heart. The final tale is “The Sudden Storm” hurricane Tessie is in full effect and the rain and winds are causing so much damage, a group of guys try and save an old couple who own a petting zoo but they refuse to leave, as the water raises we soon find out that the zoo is an arch and the owners are Noah and his wife!

This ninth issue in this series of mostly reprinted horror and thriller stores is well done but it’s clear they were running out of ideas for true horror inspired stories. The best story in the issue is the opening one The Empty Bus as it truly has a Twilight Zone feel to it and I love the message of a spirit trying to warn a troubled man not to try and kill cause it will back fire and he himself will be the one dead. My least favorite and really has no spooky nor horror elements to it at all is the last story The Sudden Storm as the pay out is a tie in to the Bible. The cover of the issue is fantastic and I love how the Grim Reaper is playing chicken with a bus, but sadly a bus is in one of the stories but this version of The Grim Reaper is not. The art inside is well done and just like all the others holds a classic horror comic look as they were originally done when horror comics sold well for companies. The monster run down in this issue is this an Old Man who could maybe be The Grim Reaper, a Hurricane, a formula the melts cars and an evil The Sorcerer. Over all an average issue with nothing that makes it to scary nor a stand out in the series.

Dead Of Nigh 10

Dead Of Night # 10  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 10 of 11

“I Dream Of Doom” a man is tormented by a monster in his dream and goes to a doctor for help as he fears if he sleeps the monster will get him! The doctor tricks him and gives him a sleeping pill and when he sleeps he meets the monster again who is not what he seems nor is the man…dreams are a key to the universe and this opens those doors wide. “I Wore The Mask Of Drothor!” is about a mask maker named Markas who is running out of ideas for masks and his sales are slipping, that is till he decides to make a mask based on a black magic cultist named Drothor who was so ugly that if anyone captured his image a curse was placed on them, the mask is so good he decides to wear it and rob a mansion but soon finds out the curse is real as his looks will now forever be that of Drothor. The last story is “I Was Face To Face With The Forbidden Robot!” Ralph is a man who wants to get fame and fortune in order to give his wife a better life and decides to reanimate a robot and set it free to capture it as robots are banned in society as they are viewed as threats to mankind. Ralph tracks the robot and has a terrible battle with it in abandon castle that leaves the robot at deaths door but before it dies it saves the life of Ralph as the castle catches on fire. In the end Ralph tells the truth about the robot being a hero and the world allows robots back into society.

This issue is pretty good and is filled with horror and science fiction and is pure marvel horror comic goodness. And the monsters in the issue are a dream machine giant purple monster, a black magic curse and I guess a robot. My favorite story is I Wore The Mask Of Drothor a great mean spirited tale about a mask maker who laughs off a curse and in Twilight Zone fashion has the curse strike and make him as ugly as the mask he made. The good one is I Dream Of Doom as I like the idea of a man being scared to sleep as it reminds me of A Nightmare On Elm Street and I like that the idea of him being wrong about the monster who is not there to hurt him but take him back to his dimension were he is a king! The weakest story as I will not say it’s bad is I Was Face To Face With The Forbidden Robot as I feel that once more while it’s a good story it feels more like one that should have been apart of EC Comics series Weird Science and it has a happy ending as Ralph gets the respect of his wife, changes the laws against robots and even will get the robot who saved him as a reword. Good story just kind of out of place and by no means a horror story. The cover is great and as always miss leading as the monster attacking a roller coaster is not in the comic and makes that scene that does happen in the opening story in a small dream sequence look way more bad ass than it is. The art as always is great and to sum it up this is a good issue. Well sadly we only have one issue left and this Halloween update will be coming to an end so I hope your not to scared as we take a look at issue 11.

Dead Of Night 11

Dead Of Night # 11  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 11 of 11

“The Sinister Scarecrow” Two goat masked members of a cult called Cult Of Kalumai break into an auction house to steal a painting of a sinister Scarecrow but they soon learn that The Scarecrow from the painting can come alive and kills them. We cut to the auction and The Scarecrow painting is up for sale and it’s a bidding war between Jess Duncan who is there with his girlfriend Harmony and his brother Dave who is a writer for a magazine against a creepy sleazy rich man named Gregor Rovik. Jess wins the painting and this puts Gregor into a rage who claims that painting will be his one way or another. Jess gets the painting home and as he talks with Dave and Harmony talk about it the Cult Of Kalumai bust in and knock out Jess and Dave and kidnap Harmony as a sacrifice to their dark master who’s image in under that of the Scarecrow in the painting! The leader of the cult is Gregor and just as he is about to kill Harmony The Scarecrow goes to life and kills all his cult members and chases him out into the yard were he had the near by trees come alive and crush him to death! In the end Jess comes to the side of Harmony and they relize that the painting is powerful and the key to fighting pure evil is in the hands of The Scarecrow.

This is the first issue of Dead of Night that does away with the multiple stories and focuses on one story that was made just for this series. The plot is about a cult who needs a painting and a human sacrifice to bring back their evil dark master, but they are blocked by a protector who is a Scarecrow that is painted over their masters portrait. The Scarecrow is a laughing killing machine who gets joy in killing the cult members and by all accounts is kind of an anti-hero. His powers are that he can control crows as well as trees and have them attack his enemies and evil-doers. The Cult Of Kalumai are terrible people who as well kill and steal and don’t feel bad for what they do, their only goal is to bring their Dark Master back to our world. Jess Duncan is a man who loves odd art and seems to want to figure out the mystery of the Scarecrow painting and has wanted to own that painting most of his life. Dave Duncan his brother is more interested in helping his brother so that he can write a story for his magazine about it’s history. Harmony is a loving girlfriend who also can take care of herself and wants nothing more than to help her man on his quest for answers. The comic is pretty violent, and while blood is not shown, many people die brutally from gunshots to necks being broken showing that Marvel Horror titles wanted to push the comic code as far as they could. While I like The Scarecrow, I like the issues with the multiple stories better, and it was clear as glass that Dead Of Night was going to become a full fledged Scarecrow series with this issue as they tried so hard to make the character iconic like their other horror characters. But sadly, this issue was to be the final as The Scarecrow was brought in as a new original story to try and help the poor sales Dead Of Night that was not a major hit with reprints only. The cover is well done and captures what the story is about, and the art inside, done by Rico Rival, is fantastic and makes The Scarecrow spooky and the Cultist sinister looking. It’s sad to think that Dead Of Night only lasted 11 issues and that even if it had continued, many of the issues that followed would just been about the adventures of The Scarecrow, if not all of them. Over all Dead of Night is a fun series that brought terror and horror to Marvel readers in the 70’s and earned its place alongside other horror titles like Werewolf By Night, Tombs of Dracula, Man-Thing and Monster of Frankenstein. While none of them reached the creepy nature of the first issue, the rest of the series had more hits than misses making for a top notch update for our Halloween showcase. Below is some artwork for the series that features the Kubba monster from issue 3, the werewolf from issue 4, and last is The Scarecrow from issue 11.

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Dead Of Night is a fantastic little series from Marvel, and I was happy that I was able to get them all and share with you on this Halloween countdown update! For the longest time I collected Marvel Horror titles like Tomb of Dracula, Supernatural Thrillers, Werewolf By Night to name a few and looked past the chills that a comic series like Dead of Night had to offer, but when I first found some issues in Cranberry, PA and read them I was hooked and knew I had to get the series and see what horrors it offered. I hope you are having a fun October filled with tricks, treats, parties and loved ones, and I hope your costumes will – and have – made people shriek with fright.  So until we meet again, make sure to read a comic or three, watch a horror film or two, support your local Horror Host and have a chilling good night! Oh yeah, you’re wondering what our next countdown update is about – well let me tell you, it’s from the bakery of horror as we take a look at The Gingerdead Man!

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Dawn Of The Monster Bash Vacation (2016)

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, friends and readers.  Once more it’s my time to travel to Pennsylvania for the Monster Bash Convention, something that Juliet and I look forward to every year as we both love classic monster movies as well as enjoy Cranberry Township and all the wonders around it, from Evans City Cemetery to New Dimension Comics and everything in-between. This year I was really looking forward to spending some time with my lady and enjoy my time away from work and the stresses of TV Show making and comic book creating.  The start of this year was not a pleasant one for me as not only did my cousin Norman pass away, but I also had some stress health issues that were a major pain and downer.This year’s convention guests include Audrey Dalton from films like “Mr. Sardonicus” and “The Monster The Challenged The World”, Jimmy Hunt from “Invaders From Mars” as well as Horror Hosts like Son Of Ghoul and Chilly Billy Cardille in what could be his final convention appearance. So you, my readers and friends, are welcome to jump into the backseat of our Mazda 3 and go on another fun filled trip to Pittsburgh for Monster Bash.  For this update I am very happy to say we will be covering the George A Romero film Dawn Of The Dead as well as the IDW adaptation of this cult classic and iconic zombie film. So jump on in, and let’s have some fun with classic monsters and a town that almost seems like a second home to Juliet and me as we travel to Monster Bash 20016!

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On July 7th 2016 we started our quest for Monster Bash and stopped first at Ghostlight Coffee to get some good drinks to start our over 4 hour quest. On the drive we listened to two more chapters of the audio book “Marvel Comics The Untold Story” and chatted about Stan Lee and the mismanagement of Marvel Comics in the mid to late 90’s. In-between Ohio and West Virginia we stopped to get some lunch at Ruby Tuesday where I munched down on a New York strip steak and a baked potato.  The meal was pretty good and nothing too special. But outside by the Ruby Tuesdays was a strange giant McDonalds billboard with a sinister looking Ronald McDonald that was hidden in the woods…very strange indeed. The drive was smooth for the most part; we did run into some very wicked traffic in one section, but during this time we just chatted about comics and what our plans were for the following days. Once we hit our official hotel, the Comfort Inn of Cranberry Township, we checked in and loaded in our bags and for dinner decided to order the classic Eat’n Park where I got my usual liver and onions with mashed potatoes and rice, while Juliet ate chicken with sweet potato fries and strawberries. That night we watched some TV, and while Juliet read her book and played on her iPhone, I read a comic with thoughts of Monster Bash running in my head as a quick rain storm came down outside. A good first day and a very low key evening.

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The second day, we woke up around 9:30am, and after getting ready, we had some breakfast from Einstin Bros. where I had a tasty sausage, egg and cheese bagel with orange juice to drink.  Due to some electric issues, they gave us our meal for free! Once done, we had to find something to do to kill time until 3pm when Monster Bash opened and decided to drive around and just see some of the sights that include weird blocked off roads and a place called “Fun Fore All,” an arcade, miniature golf and family fun center. After the drive we stopped back at the hotel and waited for The Bash. When the time ticked down, I wondered what kind of theme car would be out front and more importantly what the statues were going to be this year as my guess would be aliens from Invaders To Mars, but again only a guess. We ate lunch at Max & Erma’s and headed to Monster Bash, and man was I hyped to get this convention adventure started. Walking across the parking lot, we noticed that there was no monster car up front and once entering the Hilton were the convention is held at, we noticed that major remodeling was going on and this worried me as the place where the statues have always been was gone. But after buying our three day badges, we quickly found them and I must say I was WAY OFF on what they were this year. The statues this year were the old woman from House On Haunted Hill, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Christopher Lee version of The Mummy. Walking around we saw lots a great classic monster stuff like posters, DVDs, comics, magazines, shirts and so much more. We saw familiar faces like Ken and Pam who own and run Cinema Wasteland, Jill from Lix Online and Horror Host Son Of Ghoul. A highlight of the day was when Juliet got to see original screen used props used in her favorite science fiction film “Forbidden Planet” including a very cool UFO. We walked around a while and enjoyed the world that is Monster Bash, and after awhile walked back to our hotel and read some comics and books and planned for dinner and a movie on the laptop for the night.

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For dinner who chose Wing Kings as they seem to be our go-to when it comes to eating and watching a movie on our trusty old laptop, and the film of the night we selected was the 1975 film Inn of the Damned as it was one I had seen many years back on VHS and how can you go wrong with a western horror film..right? From Wing Kings I ordered 12 garlic wings to keep the vampires away as well as some onion rings. Juliet ordered 6 Garmesan wings (a mix of garlic and parmesan cheese) and some Jalapeno Poppers, and we sat in our chairs and ate our food and watch a horror motion picture. The wings and the onion rings were fantastic, and Wing Kings really hit the spot.  The movie Inn Of The Damed was as weird, long and dumb as I remember it being when I saw it as a teen. I would say this was a great meal with a cheesy horror film that was a good combination for the night and a great way to end the evening.

Monster Bash 2016 Day 1 Dinner and a Movie

So your wondering what my first day haul was right? Well let me share with you my treasures this time around. I got the documentary DVD “Creature Feature 60 Years Of The Gil-Man” for $20.00. I also picked up the DVD-R’s for “Inn Of The Damned” for $5.00 (it’s the Cheezy Flix release) and a classic black and white chiller called “Valley Of The Zombies” for $10.00. I ended up finding some comics this first day like Attack Of The Mutant Monsters # 1 for $3.00, Beneath The Planet Of The Apes Graphic Novel for only $6.00, Giant-Size Man-Thing # 2 for $3.00, Chamber Of Chills # 6 for $4.00, Worlds Unknown # 3 for $5.00, Hellraiser/Nightbreed Jihad # 1 for $5.00 and lastly The Tomb Of Dracula # 26 for only $4.00! Over all a pretty good haul but nothing to special but all worth buying in this monster kids head.

Monster Bash 2016 Haul Day 1

We started day three around 8:30am, and after getting ready and watching a little TV, we went to brunch at a place right next door to the hotel called Pig Iron (not to be confused with the Zoo Crew member from DC Comics) where I had Chorizo Hash that was mighty tasty. Before brunch we also hit New Dimension Comics, and I found lots of great reads like some issues of Captain America, Night Of The Living Dead, Marvel Tales and Werewolf By Night. Plus at the comic shop I found the only missing issue of Marvel’s The Frankenstein Monster which means I now I have the full run. After brunch we walked back over to Monster Bash and found that a replica of the Ecto-One from Ghostbusters was parked outside, and this sparked a convention between Juliet and I on how cosplay Ghostbusters are taking over conventions. Once inside we walked around and I kept my eyes open for David “The Rock” Nelson as I wanted to buy some of his films, but sadly the quest today came back empty-handed. I did finally get my picture taken with John Russo, the man who helped create the “Living Dead” universe and picked up a few items before we decided to wonder back to our hotel and plan the rest of the days adventure. Below are some pictures from the second day of Monster Bash including the picture of me and John Russo.

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The second day Monster Bash haul was pretty weak with me only picking up three items! First, I got another DVD-R copy of the Paul Naschy film Vengeance Of The Mummy aka Mummy’s Revenge for the overprice of $20.00.  This will mark my third attempt at watching this movie on a DVD-R! I got the Marvel Magazine size comic adaptation for the film Meteor for only $3.00.  And lastly, the best find of the day is a Golden Book graphic novel adaptation of the classic epic adventure film Clash of the Titans for $5.00! The second day’s haul, while light, still delivered some great things for me to read and watch…if this copy of Vengeance of the Mummy works.

Monster Bash 2016 Haul Day 2

After Monster Bash and us coming up with a game plan, we settled on the fact we had to visit the Snowman again as I really needed a Yeti Shake! As we started on the magical road to The Snowman for our tasty cold treats, the poor Mazda 3 started to have issues, and we had to turn back around and return to the hotel.  Once back, we looked for a Mazda dealer to take the car to on Monday morning and worked on some Sparkle Comics business while the weather outside looked like a storm was blowing in. Because of the car issues, we were stuck for the evening at the hotel, and I took this time to read some comic books and work on some Rotten Ink updates as Juliet spent time writing and reading.  Dinner was coming up, and we picked the ever popular Eat’N Park as they were just across the street and we knew the food would hit the spot for this disappointing day. My meal once more was liver and onions with mashed potatoes with gravy, a sticky roll and rice and for a treat a Smile Cookie that’s a pirate in honor of the MLB team The Pittsburgh Pirates. After dinner and reading, I decided to watch some TV before bed and wondered how the third and final day at Monster Bash would go and hoped I could get some David “ The Rock” Nelson DVD’s as they would be the perfect films to cheer this Monster Kid up.

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Day three of Monster Bash and day four of our vacation started with breakfast from Einstein Bros and good talks about Dawn of The Dead and Sparkle Comics while eating.  Once done, we walked across the street for the final day of the convention, and my quest to buy David “The Rock” Nelson DVDs continued. Once we walked into the convention my quest came to an end, and I found David Nelson and chatted for a moment and picked up two of his films! For awhile we walked around and just looked at all the tables and made our final pick ups as the convention closed a few hours later. With the car being down still, we walked to Max & Erma’s for lunch and headed back to the hotel to work on some Sparkle Comics business and to read, watch TV and just have fun being around each other. Below are some pics I took of the last day of Monster Bash including a very cool Dr. Phibes statue and a bad ass Wolf Man painting, plus the picture of me and Independent film maker icon David “The Rock” Nelson with one of his horror characters, The Devil Ant.

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The third and final day of Monster Bash haul was the following items: the VHS of the cheesy film The Bat People for $4.00, the CD soundtrack to Demons 2 for $10.00, Hulk Hogan hosting the 1985 CBS Saturday Morning Cartoon previews on DVD-R for $10.00.  I also got two Horror Host DVD-R’s for $10.00 each that were Zacherley hosting a teen dance show called Disc-O-Teen and clips from Ghoulardi show.  My favorite pick ups for the day had to be the two David “The Rock” Nelson DVDs as I got the movies The Demon Monster From Outer Space and The Fishman for $20.00 each.  I always feel good supporting true independent filmmakers and David is a great guy! Over all I got some great things this Monster Bash and many of them will be talked about again here at Rotten Ink.

Monster Bash 2016 Haul Day 3

That night we ordered dinner from Pig Iron where I had a chorizo grilled cheese and fries, and we watched the Hulk Hogan 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoons preview that was not so much Hulk Hogan as it was Rowdy Piper doing a talk show style show with guests like Pee Wee Herman, New Edition and Patti LaBelle and in between showed quick clips of cartoons that would be airing on CBS. It was a fun watch as seeing Pee Wee and Piper talk to each other using sock puppets are things the 80’s were made of. After dinner we worked on more Sparkle Comics website stuff, and later I read some comic books that I picked up from New Dimension Comics days before. Over all the day was good but we both looked forward to getting the car fixed the next day so that we could zoom around town and visit some of our favorite sites in and around Mars.

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On Monday July 11th after the Mazda 3 was taken into the shop for some TLC, we finally got to go out and do things on this Dawn Of The Dead themed vacation. We ended up having to rent a car, but this helped us at least be able to go out and do things for this vacation and not be stuck in the hotel.  We first went out to lunch and had a good meal at Moe’s where a steak burrito was calling my name. After lunch we headed back to New Dimension Comics, and I bought a ton more comics as I found their dollar room. After walking out of New Dimension Comics with many issues of Incredible Hulk, Marvel Super Heroes and Detective Comics in hand, we went to TCBY so Juliet could get her yogurt for dessert as she was craving white chocolate mousse.  As for me, I did a weird mix of chocolate and strawberry with sprinkles. After driving around in traffic, we headed back to the hotel, and later that night we had dinner at Eat’N Park and then watched WWE Monday Night Raw on USA Network. Over all a fun day filled with great weather, comic books, good food and the friendly staff of all the places we visited. Check out the pics below for some of the highlights of the day!

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On Tuesday July 12, 2016 we had to squeeze so much fun things in one day as it was our last full day in Mars and also the last full day that we had the rental car. So we decided to first go see a movie at the Cranberry Cinemas and saw The Purge: Election Year at its first showing. I really love the Cranberry Cinema as it has the look and feel of a independent owned theater and has a personality that many of the giant chain theaters are lacking and makes me miss Dayton local theaters like Page Manor and Englewood Cinema even more. After the film we went and got some lunch from Moe’s, and the meal was good as always.  Then we headed toward a place that is a shrine of Pittsburgh film making as well as what I would say is “Graceland” of horror, Evan City Cemetery. When driving to the cemetery I was telling Juliet that I wished that Dayton has a location like this that was used in a horror film that made an impact to the genre. Once at the cemetery and driving up the lane, I spotted in the woods next to the road a rooster and a turkey hanging out together.  Now that was random and amazing! The weather was nice and warm with a cool breeze and walking around the cemetery always recharges my batteries and makes me want to be even more creative and to drive my self more when it comes to making a Horror Host show and comic books. Plus walking around with Juliet in this place is something special and something I look forward to every year. After Evan City Cemetery, we drove to The Snowman where I drank a Yeti Shake made with vanilla ice cream and blue raspberry shaved ice and watched the horses in the field next to this landmark. Once done we returned to the hotel and chatted, read some comics and watched TV and ate some Wing King for dinner and ended the day watching TV.  This was a great day that was super fun filled with good times and memories of why I love this town!

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On Wednesday July 13, 2016 we had to spend the morning returning the rental car and getting our car back and then hit the road back to good old Dayton and listened to the last chapter in “Marvel The Untold Story” and ended our Monster Bash Vacation…but this update has just started as we’re now going talk about Dawn Of The Dead, the second film in the Romero Dead series, and I review the IDW adaptation of this film. So let’s take a trip with the undead and chat about this beloved zombie film!

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In 1978, George A. Romero teamed up with Italian filmmaker Dario Argento to bring the movie going public a sequel to Night Of The Living Dead, and one of the worlds most classic zombie films was born, simply called Dawn Of The Dead.  Theater goers poured into the cinemas to watch as the living and the dead clashed once more in a battle of the living keeping their human sides in line as the dead do what they do and that’s eat. The start of Dawn of the Dead was in 1974 when George Romero went to the Monroeville Mall with his friend Mark Mason, who worked for a company that managed the mall.  After seeing all the ins and outs of the building and just how happy shoppers were, the idea of people surviving in a mall during a crisis became a joke between them that sparked the desire to start writing the script. Romero, along with his producer Richard P. Rubinstein, started to get investors, and when news broke of a Night Of The Living Dead sequel, Dario Argento jumped on board and helped get international investors among many other helpful things in return for international distribution. Once ready, they secured the Monroeville Mall and shooting started on November 13, 1977. The filming would start at 11pm and would end at 7am as during the day the mall was packed with holiday shoppers and doing late night shoots was better for not only the crew but also the mall. Other locations for filming included Harold W. Brown Memorial Airfield, Firearms Unlimited and Romero’s own studio, the Latent Image; all things in and around the Pittsburgh area. Shooting ended in February, 1978 and so began the editing of Romero’s next epic zombie film. The man behind the effects for the film is the master of splatter Tom Savini who also played one of the bikers in the film. In the lead roles are some fantastic actors all who are the true backbone of what makes this film work so well.  You have Ken Foree as Peter Washigton, David Emge as Stephen “Flyboy” Andrews, Gaylen Ross as Francine Parker and Scott Reinger as Roger DeMarco, not to mention such actors as David Early, Howard Smith and Jese del Gre, to name a few. Doing the music for the film is the Italian band Goblin, who scored many of Argento’s films as well as De Wolfe Music Library stock music. Romero has a cut of the film as does Agrento.  Each are different in many ways from music to runtimes as the US print is 127 minutes long, but Italy’s is 118 minutes long.  On top of that a “Directors” cut of the film was released on home video in the 90’s that is 137 minutes long! One of the biggest changes between the American version of Dawn of the Dead and the Italian version is that Romero’s is packed with comedy elements with the zombies being treated like jokes by a invading biker gang while Argento toned that way down and tried to keep the undead scary. The film also brought some very memorable zombies to the screen like Machete Kill Zombie, Helicopter Chop Top Zombie, and my favorite, the red flannel zombie; all of them gave the world of horror iconic scenes. The budget for Dawn of the Dead was $1.5 million, and it made $55 million at the box office, making it a huge hit for United Film Distribution who released the film. It was released with other 1978 horror films: Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes, Damien: Omen II, Halloween, I Spit On Your Grave, Jaws 2, The Redeemer: Son Of Satan, Toolbox Murders and many others.  While Dawn Of The Dead might not have brought in as much money as say Jaws 2, it is way more respected by Horror Fans around the world. Now I am sure many of you who have not watched this classic film are saying, “but what’s the film about?” We will cover that with the IDW Comic Adaptation reviews.

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Growing up I was (and still am) obsessed with the Romero Dead films.  You long time readers know about my first time seeing Night Of The Living Dead on broadcast TV and seeing Day Of The Dead on the USA Network in my past reviews for the Monster Bash vacations that featured the Prelude and Aftermath of Night Of The Living Dead as well as the Fantaco Adaptaions of Night; not to mention my USA Saturday Nightmare update where I covered other films I have on DVD taped off the USA Network including Day Of The Dead that was given to me by my pal Jason Young. The first time I saw Dawn of The Dead was on a VHS copy of the film my brother had bought on a boring weekend.  We made a whole night of watching it that included snacks and making dinner that consisted of boxed spaghetti that I could swear he used to live on.  I took my place sitting on the floor with my bowl of spaghetti, bag of Andy Capp Hot Fries and my glass of Mountain Dew and was glued to the TV as I watched one of the most iconic and beloved Zombie films ever made.  I was drawn into the dark mood and grim nature of the events that were unfolding before my eyes. I can remember going from amazed to annoyed as the bikers entered the mall and began throwing pies into the faces of the undead.  I didn’t understand why the zombies were being treated like jokes taking away their scare appeal. After the film was over I can remember my brother and I chatting about it, breaking down scenes and talking about our favorite kills and zombies from the movie. My favorite character was Peter, and I can remember my brother and I laughing and joking about Flyboy and how he kept screwing up at major times during their flight to get to shelter and even in the mall. Dawn of the Dead will always have a special place in my heart as watching it with my brother was a fun memory, and I can still remember the the pure enjoyment as I watched the horrors of the living dead unfold before my very eyes. To this day I own the clam shell Thorn Video VHS release of this film and must say that the film is definitely in my top 10 zombie films of all time!

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The Goblin score for Dawn of The Dead (Zombi) is one of the best in the world of horror films as each track fits the scene it accompanies.  The main title is so iconic, it makes almost everyone’s top 10 list of best scores in horror history. There’s something about the way the score just makes the scenes pop, and the opening title sends shivers down the listeners’ spines. If you’re a fan of this score, you can find in on CD and vinyl, and it’s well worth the purchase. I also want to note that I play tracks off this soundtrack all the time on the WYSO show Alpha Rythems. Just wanted to touch up on this score as I truly think it’s one of the best in the horror film world. Plus the song called “The Gonk” that is played as one of the muzak songs in the mall is also the end credits theme done to the beat of chickens for the stop motion show Robot Chicken. I want to also note that the first time I ever owned this soundtrack was thanks to a old website called Rogers Basement that used to have custom made soundtracks.  He had one called The Dead Trilogy and had the music for Night, Dawn and Day as well as dialogue from all three films.

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Did you know that Dawn Of The Dead had it’s own strategy board game? I first learned about the game in the mid 1990’s thanks to my friend Geoff Burkman (who I’ve known since I was a kid.  I job shadowed him when I was 16, and we watched Dawn of The Dead to see if we could spot Gaylen Ross’s nipple in a scene!) who had the game and told me all about it.  You see, Geoff is a huge fan of the Romero dead films and even played a zombie in Day of The Dead…but that’s for a future update. When I started working at Game Swap in Kettering, a man named Martin started showing up and bringing in tubs and tubs of horror toys, movies, posters, comics, magazines and board games and in his collection that he was selling was the Dawn Of The Dead board game. This year I asked for a reunion of the Dayton Board Game Society so that we could play this game and the the group and I could share our thoughts on it.  The players were Josh Weinberg who was Fran, my Cousin Stephen Alexander playing as the Zombies, Jeremy Hoyt took the role of Roger, Thomas “Maurice” Smith was Peter and I played as Flyboy. The game was very strategy-based and Josh, Jeremy, Thomas and I had to think wisely as the goal for us as the human survivors was to lock all the mall entrances, get the rifles for Steve and Fran and lastly kill all the zombies left in that mall. The zombies goals are to kill at least three of the players, and if Fran dies the game is over.  They also try to infect the survivors, and once infected they can be turned into a “Super Zombie” and can amp up the other nearby zombies and add to the players’ panic meters. We decided to shorten the game and just go for the shutting of the doors as we bent the rules a little as really it was made only for four players with two playing as the zombies and two playing the survivors.  But we added one extra player and only had one man playing the zombies.  The reason for shortening of the game was that it was getting to be over two hours just to complete that task. Peter, Roger and Fran survived the game, and Flyboy was infected and later become a Super Zombie, but I must say I was proud that as Flyboy I was able to lock two of the doors before I was killed. Over all the game was lots of fun and was a good and spooky time to play with great friends. So if you and your friends are into table top games and are looking for something to play this Halloween season, I would suggest Dawn Of The Dead as we all had a good time playing it.  I am sure that if we played by the official rules it would have been equally as enjoyable.

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Besides the board game, soundtrack and home video releases of Dawn, some other great merchandise has been made based on this cult classic zombie film like t-shirts, posters, a homebrew Atari 2600 game, hats, books, magazines and of course action figures. Two companies stepped up and made figures based on this film.  The first was Reds Inc. whose designs were cheap and were not the major must have items for fans and collectors. The next company to make figures was NECA, and their figures were way better in detail and quality.  These figures were very much must-haves for fans as I can remember Andy Copp wanting them when released and had me order them for him when I worked at Mavericks. So if you’re a fan of Dawn Of The Dead, you can find yourself some great official and unofficial merchandise. Below are some pictures of the action figures that were made of characters from the film.

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The film has many memorable zombies, from the Hare Krishna Zombie all the way to Machete Zombie, but for me the stand out and the most iconic from the film has to be the poster boy known as Plaid Shirt Zombie, a tall undead bold flesh eater that our heroes run into at the airfield and who meets his fate from Roger’s gun. This grey skinned flannel shirt wearing zombie is so iconic that he has his own Halloween Mask as well as a zombie in the hit AMC TV show The Walking Dead was made up to look like him in a episode.  Paul Musser is the man who played Plaid Shirt Zombie and is pretty much only known for playing this role. Below is a picture of Plaid Shirt Zombie from Dawn of the Dead, and the two following pictures are him from The Walking Dead. This is update is in honor of you, Paul Musser, for playing one of the best zombies of cinema.

Plaid Shirt Zombie 2Plaid Shirt Zombie 3

On October 18, 2015 I finally bit the bullet and visited the Monroeville Mall.  I had heard rumors from so many people that the mall was not a safe place to be and that it was rundown and filled with shady characters, who wanted to rob you of your cash.  Plus it’s been said that the mall has changed so much that things didn’t look the same as they did in 1978. But Juliet and I were in town to meet Blue Demon Jr., and our great friends Pat Steele and Ann Rotolante were also in town and it was fun showing them the Evans City Cemetery as well as the Dead Museum.  The mall was on their must-see list as Ann is a huge Romero fan, and Juliet and myself had always wanted to visit it so it seemed like a great day to do so as the weather was cold, cloudy and rainy.  When setting up our trip to the mall, I talked to my friend David who knows a guy who gives big tours of the mall and shows you places scenes were shot and even could get us on the roof, but David informed us the night before we visited the mall that his friend had a family emergency and could not do the tour, but this didn’t stop us and we went anyway.  Below are my thoughts and feelings about visiting the main set for one of world’s most important zombie films, Dawn of the Dead.  So follow me into the Monroeville Mall!

Monroeville Mall

On the drive up to the mall’s parking lot I kept humming songs from the film as Juliet would chuckle, and upon entering the parking lot I noticed the place had a good amount of cars with many people heading into the main entrance as well as many of the big stores entrances like JC Penny. When entering the mall, a rush of horror nostalgia swept over me as I realized so many great actors like Ken Foree, David Emge, Scott Reiniger and Gaylen Ross stepped into that mall and acted out war alongside extras as zombies and bikers.The mall was filled with lots of empty storefronts and had a clash of old indoor mall appeal mixed with a modern 90’s updated look.  We walked around the upstairs looking for any kind of familiar sites or even some sort of plaque stating that this was the mall from the film.  While some spots triggered memories of the film, we walked past a vape store that was playing Dawn Of The Dead on a big screen TV and that helped add to the mood of the mall.  Also upstairs, in one of the side entrances, was a giant mural the depicted lots of classic stuff from Pennsylvania like Mr. Rogers and yes, a zombie.  Walking around we took many pictures of hallways, doors, stores and elevators all the while having good conversations about Dawn Of The Dead among other topics. Juliet was happy when she spotted a TCBY.  So naturally we all had to have a small bowl of frozen yogurt as we continued our quest of the mall. The mall had a giant Cinemark Movie Theater in it, and this made me flashback to the days of Dayton Mall having one. The ground floor was more of the same with stores like Spencer’s and no clear signs of objects or landmarks from the film.  One cool store had something called Zombieburgh Lazer Tag in it, showing the owner embraced the history of the mall. Finally toward the end of our tour of the mall, Ann found tucked away down a small hallway some photos and a plaque for Dawn Of The Dead as well as a room that read “Muzak Room.”  While small, it was very cool to see that they gave the film some love and added to our growing collection of pictures. After we were done and leaving the mall, it was nice to reflect on Dawn Of The Dead and just how Romero made so many places landmarks for horror fans in Pittsburgh.  At the time we came, the mall was not filled with shady people but normal families and lots of hot woman in tight pants, and not once did I feel like someone was up to no good. I was sad that the bridge, clock and fountain were all gone but times change and sadly in the world of corporate malls, those items take up room that could be used for vending machines or another lame pretzel cart. I’m very glad to have gone to the Monroeville Mall and to have spent time there with people who also love the history and atmosphere of this landmark. Below are some more pictures from the mall that I took while I was there.

Monroeville Mall hallwayMonroeville Mall DoorsMonroeville Mall Zombie painting

So there you have it, I wandered the halls of the Monroeville Mall just like so many zombie fans before me, and I can’t stress how amazing it felt to be there. While not as special to me as the Evan City Cemetery, it still is a must visit for fans of the Romero Dead series. So while I sit here in the hotel room in Mars, PA, I think it’s time for me to start taking a look at the IDW comic adaptation of Dawn of the Dead and see how well they capture the bone chilling magic of the film. I want to think Ebay, Dark Star and Bell Book And Comic for having these in stock and as always must remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So let’s head out to the mall with Fly Boy and see what kind of undead fun we can stir up!

Dawn Of The Dead 1

Dawn Of The Dead # 1 ***
Released in 2004    Cover Price $3.99    IDW    # 1 of 3

Fran is asleep and wakes up at her job at the TV station during a debate between a host and his guest. The doctor is talking about the dead coming back to life and eating the living, and worse, the station is showing outdated safe zones causing people to die by trying to reach them as the station manager is still worried about ratings.  Fran is met by her boyfriend Steven who is the station’s helicopter pilot and wants her to meet him on the roof later so the pair can escape using it. Meanwhile, downtown a SWAT team is surrounding a building being overrun by a gang, and they soon find out that besides the gang, the building is filled with normal residence as well as zombies.  Roger is a good team member and is friends with Steven.  He’s suppose to escape with them as well, but when he meets fellow SWAT member, Peter, they bond over the horrific things they are having to do in this building killing zombies.  Roger invites Peter to get away with them. The helicopter is ready and Steven, Fran, Roger and Peter all get aboard and while flying high above see that the zombies are everywhere and that humans are trying to fight back. Stopping at a small airfield, they have run ins with some zombies and tension between Peter and Steven breaks out as by accident Steven almost shoots Peter while trying to kill a zombie. They are low on fuel and need a place to sleep and soon find a giant mall and land on it’s roof.  The parking lot is filled with the undead, and they decide to go into the mall to look around.

This first issue in the adaptation of the cult zombie film Dawn Of The Dead packs a punch but also pulls many of its powerful blows as many iconic scenes from the film have been cut for this comic book. Gone are many of the scenes of Peter, Roger and the SWAT Team blowing away zombies in the apartment building.  Gone is Peter having to shoot the zombie kids at the small airfield.  Gone is Steven and Fran fighting for their lives against zombies in the hanger on the airfield as well as the iconic zombie who gets his head chopped off by the helicopter twirling blades. I do understand that things would have to be chopped out of this adaptation of a over two hour film to be able to fit into three issues  that total only 26 pages each, but these things I mentioned are things that should not be cut as they are very iconic scenes in the movie. But even with these cuts, I still found this IDW Comic to be very entertaining, and it captures the emotion and characters of the film pretty well on the slick comic pages. Fran and Steven come off as a loving couple who are both bull headed yet will watch out for each other no matter what, Fran has a sense of responsibility, and she goes into a rage when she finds out that the station she works for is giving out very outdated info to the public, while Steven is more a man who wants to protect himself and those he cares about. Roger and Peter are SWAT team members who have a terrible job of clearing out a apartment building where the residents are hiding the undead as well as gang members, and this sets them off to run away and go on a unknown quest with Steven and Fran in the helicopter. All the characters are very likable right now with Peter being my favorite as one panel shows him crying for having to slaughter some zombies, but he is still as tough as nails. The zombies are everywhere but have not been too much of a major threat yet for our survivors, and the classic Plaid Shirt Zombie is played down but still present. I can’t wait to see more zombies become more threatening and add that true gloom and doom to our story. The comic is pretty bloody and filled with gore as many zombies and people are blown away complete with brains and guts spewing everywhere.  The zombies do get to bite the flesh off of some humans making it feel slightly like a gore comic…with my favorite kill of the comic being the head shot of a SWAT member by the hand of a gang member as the panel is gross and well done. The cover is pretty sweet and has the feeling of the late 70’s mixed with a independent comic cover of the early 2000’s. The art inside is done by Chee Yang Ong, and it’s fantastic as he knows how to draw zombies and has many times with his work on other undead titles like Wake The Dead and Zombie Tales. Over all, this is a great comic adaptation, one that captures the mood and feeling of being here in Pittsburgh. Let’s see what issue two has to offer as we now enter the mall.

Dawn Of The Dead 2

Dawn Of The Dead # 2 ***
Released in 2004    Cover Price $3.99    IDW    # 2 of 3

The survivors enter the mall from a skylight and find cases of spam to eat and a small safe room to rest in.  As Steven sleeps, Peter and Roger decide to hit the mall stores and try to get things they might need like a TV, radio and food, all the while dodging and killing the zombies that are wandering around inside the mall. The noise of gun fire awakens Steven who decides to go down and help, along they way he picks up the blue prints of the mall and is attacked by a zombie lurking in the shadows, but thanks to a handgun he found, he is able to save himself. Steven joins Peter and Roger, and together they get the supplies they need and find that ducts above the stores can lead them from store to store without being attacked by zombies. During this time they also decide that they may all just stay in the mall for awhile. Fran is pregnant, plus she wants to learn to fly the helicopter and come up with a plan to rid it of zombies and keep them out. The plan is for Fran to keep watch with a rifle on the mall’s roof, Peter and Roger to drive trucks to block the entrances and for Steven to fly high above them and keep watch in his helicopter. The plan is going well but Roger gets sloppy and is bitten by a zombie, and this marks him for turning into a undead flesh eater.  But before he turns, he wants to help ride the mall of the zombies. Thanks to the gun store and a prize car inside the mall the group is able to kill off all the zombies and bask in the glory that is the spoils and goods from the stores.

The heat is on for our survivors as they are faced with not only hordes of zombies but also the fact one of their own has been bitten and is dying and at some point will turn into a zombie.  The plot of this issue really has them at the mall discovering what treasures are inside the stores and working together to secure the mall and rid it of zombies. Fran is a little more on edge as she feels like they are treating her like a den mother and not a member of the team because she is going to have a baby, and I give her big props for standing her ground and demanding respect. Steven, Roger and Peter all have dreams of staying for awhile at the mall and relaxing and coming up with a plan as well as listening for any news on what’s happening in the outside world. The zombies, while slow, are flesh hungry and try as hard as their undead bodies will allow to attack, eat and kill our heroes, and sadly for Roger, he has chunks of his flesh eaten and now is infected with the disease that is bringing the dead back to life. This issue is blood and gore filled as well with many gruesome zombie deaths being present complete with exploding heads. So fans of blood soaked comics will be happy as the splatter is present and gore-tastic in nature. Like in issue one, many scenes are missing like Steven running from the zombie and wasting bullets trying to hit him in the boiler room, and many other scenes are cut or trimmed down. I will also say that while Peter is still my favorite character so far in the adaptation series, with Fran’s attitude change her character has broken out of being just a generic background character and into the front of the pack showing she has more to offer than just standing around whining about having to eat spam. The cover like before is great and show cases zombies as well as the iconic Dawn of The Dead logo, and the art is once more done by Chee Yang Ong and looks great. I do need to make the comment that the characters look nothing like the actors who play the parts in the film, but they hold all the characteristics of them to make it work. This issue is not only very horror themed but also has the drama appeal that made the film so iconic.  So over all we have another great issue in this Pittsburgh zombie cult classic adaptation.  Let’s see what issue three has in store for us.

Dawn Of The Dead 3

Dawn Of The Dead # 3 ***
Released in 2004    Cover Price $3.99    IDW    # 3 of 3

They clean up all the zombie bodies and place them into the freezers to kill the smell and tighten and lock all the doors.  The mall is theirs, and they go on a shopping spree and enjoy the spoils of their hard and dangerous work. Things are not all good are Roger is becoming more and more sick, and death is near for him.  Fran, Steven and Peter wait in the other room as Roger is dying and watch the news that features more arguments and less reason to why the dead are rising. Roger dies and returns as a zombie, and Peter is waiting for him and quickly kills his close friend. Time passes and Fran learns how to use the helicopter, and while training, a group of bikers spot them and decide they want what’s in the mall and don’t mind killing to get it. They enter the mall, and by opening the doors, thousands of zombies also enter causing an all out war that leaves many of the bikers dead, tons of zombies dispatched and poor Steven dead and now a zombie. Peter and Fran wait for an hour in their mall hideout home, and finally the zombie come calling lead by Zombie Steven.  Peter kills him and urges Fran to leave as he will not be joining her…as she is about to fly away, Peter changes his mind of committing suicide and decides to join her on the escape. As they fly away the helicopter has very little fuel and the whole area is covered in zombies, making it clear that no matter how far they run the zombie will be there.

Dawn Of The Dead Lite is the best way to sum up what this three issue comic series is and while that might sound like I am saying it’s bad, I am not as I found myself fully enjoying it and loving every undead blood soaked moment. The reason I call it lite is many scenes and iconic characters seem to be missing from this comic adaptation, and with this issue many moments came to mind that are just nowhere to be seen or are so chopped up and shorten they seem like they are missing. Iconic moments like the Hare Krishna Zombie trying to attack Fran is gone, the Machete Head Zombie and his scene of the blade going into his skull is gone…in fact the whole climax of the biker gang invading the mall and running wild is so cut down they seem like just a small plot ink blot to move the zombie back into the mall. Now as I said before I understand things needed to be cut and trimmed in order to fit into three issues of a comic book, but to remove iconic characters and scenes seem very silly. I mean the talk show host and doctor arguing over zombies is left in but no Hare Krishna Zombie death? It j seems like a very odd choice of things to keep and things to cut. I should also note that the Hare Krishna Zombie does make an appearance in the comic, but his death and attack on Fran does not. Plus the comic at times does some odd things like for some reason a Elvis Presley Zombie is the first zombie to come through the elevator and try and eat a hurt Steven…why? But again while changes are present the comic holds a real charm to it and does a pretty dang good job of smashing all the drama elements into the pages, much like the film in the comic each character has their own personality and each are likable people that you find yourself cheering for to make it out of whatever situation they are in. Peter is clearly the man with the plan from the group, while Steven is the brains figuring out blue prints and escape routes. Roger is the wild card reckless but also skilled at tactics, and Fran is more of the voice of reason pointing out the dangers and also coming up with back-up plans. The bikers are a bunch of thieves who feel they are owned the stuff they steal who kill and destroy and to be fair when they are killed by the zombies or the bullets from the survivors guns you can’t help but feel that they deserved it. The bikers that are truly missed in this comic is Blades, played by Tom Savini (who is seen in just one panel), and the blood pressure machine using biker who gets eaten while testing it. The zombies are a threat in this issue as the hordes of them that enter the mall are hungry and want to chomp on any human they can get their rotten fingers on. The blood, guts and gore are present again in this comic and many of the deaths (or is the re-deaths?) in the comic are more graphic than those in the movie and that’s sure to please many gorehound comic fans of such titles as The Dead and the original Walking Dead. The cover for issue three is good but the weakest of the three, and the art inside is done by Chee Yang Ong again who really captures the zombie nature of the film. I wish IDW would do more of these horror movie adaptations or even original stories based on classic cult films.  So far, off the top of this comic reader’s head they have done Motel Hell, The Fly, Land of The Dead, Masters Of Horror and IT! Terror From Beyond Space, and all those were entertaining and well done for the most part minus The Fly. I would love to see them tackle the likes of Pumpkinhead, Killer Klowns From Outer Space and Night Of The Demons, to name a few. Over all, while it’s is not 100% perfect, this three issue Dawn of The Dead series hit home and was the perfect comic series to read during this vacation to Monster Bash. If you’re a fan of the Romero Dead films, check this one out and take a look below for a examples of Chee’s work in this comic series.

Dawn Of The Dead Art 1Dawn Of The Dead Art 2Dawn Of The Dead Art 3

So we are leaving the zombies of Dawn of The Dead behind as well as the 2016 vacation to Monsterbash and Pittsburgh and as always it was a blast and it’s a shame it had to come to an end. It’s always great to take in the local Pittsburgh eateries like Eat’N ‘Park, Wing Kings and The Snowman as well as support local businesses like New Dimension Comics, The Dead Museum and Cranberry Cinemas and visit iconic sights that horror classics like Night Of The Living Dead and Dawn Of The Dead were filmed. And the thing that brings us to town is Monsterbash, a convention that feels like home and offers so much to an aging monster kid like myself. So I want to thank Juliet for always being not only my girlfriend but my Pittsburgh pal. I want to thank my co-workers at Game Swap Kettering for holding down the fort, and I also want to thank my cousin Stephen Alexander for feeding and watching over our two cats Leslie and Streets J while we were out of town. And a big thank you to everyone we meet while in Cranberry Township as they always make us feel welcome. In closing, Dawn Of The Dead is one of the most iconic zombie films ever made and George A. Romero could be one of the best directors to make zombie films ever and thanks to IDW, we horror comic readers got to enjoy a pretty fun and bloody adaptation of this cult classic. Our next update will take us away from the undead and will pit DC Comics top detective Batman against the hairy beast man of the Himalayas the one and only Snowman. So forget about Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice this is the real battle you have been waiting for. So until next time, watch a zombie film or two, read a comic or three and as always support your local horror host! See you next time for this epic showdown!

Batman vs Snowman Logo

Return Of The Living Monster Bash Vacation (2015)

Juliet and I headed back to Mars to once more attend the Monster Bash Convention for another adventure filled with monster movies, podcasts and landmarks from George Romero zombie films! This time around we started our quest on Saturday June 20th missing a day of Monster Bash due to her work having a big event on Friday. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to these vacations in Pittsburgh and Monster Bash all year long. It’s always a fun time hanging out with Juliet with no work worries and knowing that I have time to relax and spend time with all the things I love: my gal and horror films! This year’s theme was The Mummy as one of the guests was Ron Chaney, grandson of Lon Chaney Jr. who played the Mummy Kharis for Universal in the films The Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse not to mention he played a Mummy in Face of the Screaming Werewolf! Valerie Leon who was in Hammer’s Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb was also a guest along with Liesl Ehardt who is an actress who’s second cousin is Zita Johann who played Helen Grosvenor in Universal’s 1932 shocker The Mummy! Other guests included Conrad Brooks from Plan 9 From Outer Space and other Ed Wood films, Tom Savini the master of gore FX, composer Kevin Slick, The Blob – yep the movie prop that was the jelly alien, Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria Price and Night of the Living Dead alumni John Russo, George Kosana and Chilly Billy Cardille who also was a long time horror host in Pittsburgh as he hosted the show Chiller Theatre and is also the father of Laurie Cardille who played Sara in Romero’s Day of the Dead. Other horror hosts who attended were Son of Ghoul, Mr. Lobo, The Patient Creatures and the cast of Ghoul A Go-Go! And I must not forget the no budget film maker David “The Rock” Nelson among many other book writers, historians and comedy tribute groups. So pack a bag and come along on our journey as we return to Monster Bash!

Lobby Card Bash June 2015

Friday (June 20th 2015) before the trip I worked a full shift at work, and Juliet put in a super long day working her job as they had a big station reunion party going on. After work, my cousin Stephen Alexander II and one of my best friends Josh Weinberg got some chicken wings from Frickers and headed to my parents house where we watched Bellator MMA 138 with my dad. The event was a fun one as we all took sides on who was going to win the main event fight between Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice. My dad and Stephen had Kimbo, while Josh and I picked Shamrock.  They won as Ken was knocked out in the first round just over two minutes into the fight.  While Ken put up a good fight, the stone hands of Kimbo were just too heavy for him. Juliet picked me up a little later, and when we got home, she went to bed and I decided to stay up and pop in a DVD of The Toxic Avenger Part II and have a Troma good time as I drifted into slumber.  I was a little bummed we missed the first day of Monster Bash but was really looking forward to the next day’s trip and the official start of my vacation! Plus spending time with my Dad as well as Josh and Stephen was a really good time and helped wash away the missing the convention’s first day blues.

Frickers LogoBellator-138-posterToxic Avenger Part II dvd

So bright and early on Saturday June 21st 2015 Juliet and I hit the road to start our trip to Monsterbash.  The sky was grey and lots of rain fell from the sky as we made a quick stop to Ghostlight Coffee before setting out on this epic fun trip.  My drink of choice was an Italian soda as I felt the need to have a rush of sugar as we left very early in the morning. The first thing we listened to was the first chapter of an audio book called “Marvel Comics The Untold Story” written by Sean Howe and read by Stephen Hoye.  This was fantastic as Juliet and I enjoyed the look at the early days of Marvel and how Stan Lee got his job with the company and rose to power. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but old school comic fans should check this out as it’s very enjoyable and shows just how much of a goofball Lee is! We then listened to The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana as he spoke with one of the best big men in the business Vader! While I wished Vader would have spoken more about his time with WWE and WCW, it was still nice to hear him talk about his career in Japan. After Art of Wrestling we listened to the second chapter of Marvel Comics The Untold Story, and Juliet and I had a fun time talking about the stories we heard about comic legends like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Wally Wood. We ate lunch at Max & Ermas and talked about comics and what this trip has in store for us. That’s one fun thing I really enjoy, talking comics with Juliet as I think her love for the funny books burns as bright as mine. The drive up was smooth minus the rain and the countryside of hills, cows and horses is pleasing on the eyes and makes me miss growing up in a small town. But let’s get to the Bash and all the wonders the first day of this convention had in store for us.

ghostlight-coffeeMarvel Comics Untold Story LogoArt of Wrestling 2

On the first day of Monster Bash I was hyped to relax with classic monsters and to see what statues they had set up this year as I figured the theme would have to have a Mummy. I was right as they had one that looked like Lon Chaney’s Kharis character and it was fantastic.  They also had one of a female ghost, Forest J. Ackerman as the Frankenstein Monster, Boris Karloff from the film The Raven and the show stealer was the Christopher Lee Dracula, a touching tribute to the late actor. These statues rank among the highlights of the con for me as I always look forward to what they will be from year to year. While walking around, we saw lots of friendly faces and many of the guests like Tom Savini and Chilly Billy seemed in great moods as they spoke to fans. I got so hyped when we found The Blob as it was open and on display and they were allowing people to take pictures of it! I was second in line and after the guy in front of me who took forever to take his picture, I was able to set up my shot and take a picture of one of the worlds greatest monsters from outer space! We shopped and had a good time just looking at all the cool things that vendors had for sale.  One thing I really wanted was an action figure of Paul Naschy as the werewolf Waldemar Daninsky, but the $100.00 price tag scared me away from it.  I saw horror hosts Mr. Lobo and Gruesome Graves wandering around, and while I wanted to chat with them, they both were busy and I didn’t want to be that guy who interrupts a conversation. I had a great time walking around for a while, and once we were done for they day Juliet and I headed back to the hotel to relax and plan dinner and the next days’ plans.

Monster Bash MummyMonster Bash LeeMonster Bash The RavenThe Blob (Real)

This first night’s dinner had to come from the great Eat’N Park as I truly think whenever Juliet and I are in this area, we have to have this cool diner’s food. This night I felt like an old man as I ordered the liver and onions with mashed potatoes and gravy as well as garden rice.  For some reason I get cravings for liver…maybe I have an iron deficiency or maybe I was just getting into the mood of zombies, I mean I am in Pittsburgh. My meal came with a roll that was almost like a sticky cinnamon bun and a sugar cookie that still reminds me of the old Monster Candy sticks. Juliet had a buffalo chicken wrap and a chocolate pretzel cookie, and as always we enjoyed the food and had a good time hanging out and chatting. Yeah, I know lots of you are sick of friends posting pictures of food on their Facebook, Blog or Instagram so I will say sorry ahead of time as this blog will have a few of these sections.

Day 1 Food 2015

So I am sure your wondering what the first day goodies had in store for me.  Well, it was a pretty good shopping day as I was able to find some cool stuff from VHS to comics! I got a VHS of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 hosting the film I Accuse My Parents for $5.00 as well as a MST3K Magnet for $3.25 that showcases Joel and the bots! I got The Tomb Of Dracula issues 39, 51, 52, 56 as well as the My Name Is Bruce one shot comic all for $10.00! I also picked up a comic based on the cheesy kids’ horror film The Willies for $5.00 as well as a comic based on the Van Damme film Cyborg for only a $1.00, both comics I never even knew they existed.  Look for both of these on a future Rotten Ink update! I also found the Mondo Macabro DVD of Mystics In Bali for $10.00, as well as DVDs for $10.00 each of Horror Hostess Vampira on the George Cobel Show from 1955, Elvira Mistress of the Dark hosting MTV and Weird Al hosting the 1984 ABC Saturday Morning Preview Pack. I got a DVD of the Son of Ghoul hosting Dick Tracy for $20.00 and the Marvel Comic of Man-Thing # 5 for $7.00! All the stuff for the first day was pretty cool but I think I am most hyped for The Willies comic as I look forward to reading it and sharing my thoughts here on Rotten Ink!

Day One Goods

Sunday June 22nd 2015 was our second and last day of Monster Bash, and we began our morning eating a hearty breakfast from Einstein Bros.  As I ate my sausage, egg and cheese sandwich I popped in the DVD of Son of Ghoul hosting Dick Tracy and had a few chuckles.  As I finished up my meal, we headed down to the convention! Today they had a specialty car out front, a weird Ghostbusters car that looked nothing like the Ecto-One but at least the people who made the car were getting into the spirit of fun monsters as they wore the busting suits and had big smiles on their faces. This morning was a little slow but made it so much easier to look at all the vendor tables and go shopping. As we walked around we saw no budget filmmaker David “The Rock” Nelson filming himself holding his giant toy rubber ant he calls The Devil Ant attacking The Blob.  This put a huge smile on both my and Juliet’s face as this was the first time she got to see the man work the crowd. I was going to buy some more shows from The Son of Ghoul but sadly he was not at his table. I looked around for Gruesome Graves but could not find him, but shopping was a lot of fun and just the vibe of this convention is so good as fans talk to each other and almost everyone seems happy! I will say that the rooms this year were a little hot, and I am sure both celebrities and vendors felt at times like they were being steamed like vegetables as it was muggy. After shopping for about two hours, we headed back to the room for a bit to relax and chat about what the rest of the day would hold, as well as watched some TV. We traveled back to Monster Bash for a while and then decided to hit to road and see what was around our location. I must say I really love Monster Bash, and this is one of my favorite conventions to go to every year and I look forward to coming back next year! This year the vendors seemed to be very heavy on DVD, Blu-Ray and posters, and while some places had comics and toys they were not as all stocked, really bummer was the lack of old horror host shows as I was really looking forward to finding old shows of Morgus, Chilly Billy and Sammy Terry but didn’t even find a one, but here is hoping I will next year.

Wolfman BannerFrankenForestThe Frankenstein Monster 2015Monster Bash Poster

The last day of the convention I found a few good treasures as I loaded up on comics and DVDs! On this day I was able to find many Marvel Comics I needed for my collection that included Incredible Hulk # 205 for $5.00, Son of Satan # 6 for $4.00, Master of Kung Fu # 46 for $3.00 and Frankenstein Monster # 17 for only $2.00! I also got a full set of Ultraman comics for $5.00.  This is one set that should be a fun read and make for a great update sometime in the future. I got the low budget film Tales Of Dracula for $10.00 and this one peaked my interests as it has not only has Count Dracula in it but also a werewolf and Frankenstein’s Monster and it’s said to be a tribute of the Universal Horror Pictures. I also found the Paul Naschy flick Werewolf in The Amazon for $15.00, I can never pass on a Naschy film I have not seen! I then also picked up two DVD’s of Horror Host Mr. Lobo and his show Cinema Insomnia; one was his Haunted House Special and for the other he hosted the cheesy classic The Atomic Brain and they were $15.00 each. The one from this batch I am most hyped for is watching Mr.Lobo host Atomic Brain as I am sure it will be a fun late night watch.

Day two goodsFor lunch, Juliet and I drove around for a little while and found the locations of some areas that we want to visit in the coming days. We decided to eat lunch at Moe’s once again, and I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy this burrito place and how I miss it being around the Dayton area.  While Hothead is good, I still would rather eat Moe’s. I had a steak burrito, and it was fantastic as the steak was cooked to perfection and it had an amazing flavor and the chips and queso added to the very good meal. One thing me and Juliet noticed and laughed about is that every woman in there and working was attractive and lovely in their own way, must be in the water we teased. We then went to Target to get bottled water and some snacks and found that the target was even amazing and had a big selection of music, movies and books and every person we came across seemed happy and friendly, making me really love this town! We came back to the hotel and I worked on this update as Juliet played iPad games and read her book.  All the while we had Bar Rescue on the TV for background noise. I also read The Incredible Hulk # 205 and found it to be a very great issue. We decided that tonight we were going to watch a movie and eat some local chicken wings, but we will get to that later.

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We decided that we wanted to have wings for dinner, and we picked a place called Wing Kings, a local restaurant to order from.  We tried to order the food at 7:30 and the phone was busy for several minutes as we tried to call in our order.  So Juliet decided at 8pm to just drive to it and order, and she found out the place was closed, and oddly enough it seemed they closed way early as they were suppose to be open till 9pm.  For a place voted Best Wings in the Cranberry Journal, this was not a good first impression for us! So we decided on Buffalo Wild Wings instead as they were open and were happy to take our order and money. The food was good, and after eating the relaxing was re-refreshing and helped charge my brain battery that was running low. I also felt the creative bug back inside my soul and many ideas for Baron Von Porkchop episodes as well as comic book issues filled my mind. Over all this second day was a fun one and being around Juliet is always a blast, the only major strike out was Wing Kings failing to rule the last day of Monster Bash.

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Monday June 23rd 2015 we started our day off going to the Cranberry Cinema, a locally owned theater to see Jurassic World, and when walking into this theater I was amazed and fell in love with it just by entering the lobby.  When we ordered our tickets from the friendly staff and ordered our drinks, they gave us two free small popcorns..yeah what theater in Dayton offers that? When entering the theater they had classic red seats and the atmosphere was top notch and was super clean, and it shows the owners and employees care about this place. The other cool part of the theater is that it had multiple screens and the hallways were filled with upcoming posters for movies as well as cardboard cutouts. Over all this could be my favorite independent movie theater chain as it was an amazing experience that Juliet and I both enjoyed, and next year we will definitely be back to see a movie. Our next stop was New Dimension Comics, a very cool comic shop that is right down the street from our hotel, and just like Cranberry Cinema this comic shop impressed me big time. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by both friendly workers. I noticed many long boxes of old comics for $3.00 each, and I was in Rotten Ink Heaven as I flipped through many comics and finding gems from Marvel, Dell and Gold Key, it was like a overload of superheroes. After buying tons of issues I started to get light headed and we ate something small at Burger King and went back to the Hotel so that I could take a nap. But man I am very impressed with Cranberry Cinema and New Dimension Comics as both of them helped add a layer of greatness to this vacation this year.

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On Tuesday June 24th 2015 we started our day by eating another breakfast from Einstein Bros.  This time I tried the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, and then we decided it was time to visit the Evans City Cemetery as the weather outside was cloudy and rain was on its way as it was near 80 degrees.  When we got to the cemetery we were the only people there as we pulled to the very back and got out to walk around. The sky was grey with thunder echoing off from the distance as sounds of birds, frogs and insects filled the air that smelled like fresh rain. As I walked around I kept thinking about how George Romero and his crew made horror film history in the very spots I was walking around. I thought about Bill Hinzman as the Cemetery Zombie shuffling around trying to capture Judieth O’Deh, and this was inspiring to a one time no budget filmmaker like myself to know that if your heart is into your project you can make some fine horror art. The walk around was super pleasant and the view from the cemetery of trees and farmland was stunning and really made you feel that if indeed the undead would rise it would take you some time to get to shelter. After walking for some time we drove up to the old chapel and peeked inside to see a bare floor with some rotten spots. As we left, I felt like Evans City Cemetery is a place that I would love to be laid to rest in and that any aspiring horror filmmaker should visit this location and just walk around for awhile and allow the peaceful atmosphere inspire you. After we left we stopped back by New Dimension Comics, and I picked up a few more $3.00 Marvel horror comic issues, and we stopped to eat at Moe’s once more.  During this time there was also a major thunderstorm with flash floods, downpours and lots of lightning so we headed back to the hotel for a bit.

Evans City Cemetery Old SignEvans City Cemetery Graves 2015Evans City Cemetery The View

Later in the day Juliet and I traveled to Portersville to a place called The Snowman, a shaved ice parlor that is a giant fiberglass snowman! We learned about this place thanks to Cranberry Cinema as a commercial for it aired during First Look, and we both knew we had to check it out as the said they had a milkshake called The Yeti. The place was about 22 minutes away from our hotel and upon arriving at this roadside attraction it was really cool to find that The Snow Man was in the middle of a farm and surrounded by land with three horses behind fences eating.  The place was not super packed but a mother and her kids seemed to be enjoying the treats, and the weather that was now in the lower 80’s and sunny. Juliet ordered some shaved ice in the flavor of yellow cake batter, and I got a Yeti Shake that was blue raspberry shaved ice mixed with vanilla ice cream with whip cream and must say it was a very tasty shake. The place was fun to just sit at one of the tables watching the horses and soaking up the farmland around you. Juliet, before we left, went and got t-shirts of the Yeti character, and we both left that place very happy and will go back again when we come to town. On the drive back we found an NPR station with the same frequency 91.3 as WYSO that was called WYEP that sparked fun talk of radio and music in general. As we headed back to the hotel we decided that tonight we would have a movie night in the room and give Wing Kings one last chance not to be closed and be a no show for this year’s vacation. Below are some pics of The Snow Man and all that is in its flurry embrace.

The Show ManThe Horses of The Snow ManYeti Milkshake

So that night we selected Werewolf In The Amazon as we are both fans of the work of Paul Naschy and Wing Kings was open and we placed an order.  Juliet got Garlic Parmesan wings and I got just Garlic wings, and we shared some gravy fries. The food was pretty good; the wings had a nice garlic butter taste mixed with a crisp tasting wing, the fries were good but I was not a fan of the gravy. Over all they were a good wing place that had some tasty food for a night of watching a horror flick on our laptop. The film Werewolf in the Amazon on the other hand was pretty cheesy and bad, and it was clear it was made at the tail end of Naschy’s career and whoever made it had a good idea but could not put it together to make sense. The film takes place in the Amazon and follows a group of friends who take a trip into the jungle.  There is also a werewolf, Amazon warriors and Dr. Moreau…yes, that Moreau, and in the end it’s no real shock as to who the werewolf is and who survives the night of terror. This film was really lame, and it’s only highlights were Paul Naschy playing Dr. Moreau and the women who are easy on the eyes. The print of the movie was terrible and looked as if it was downloaded off the internet back in the mid 90’s and the source was a VHS tape that sat in a car for a week during the summer. After the film we watched WWE Tough Enough on USA Network and planned out next day of vacation.

Werewolf In The AmazonWing Kings Logowings and a movie

On Wednesday June 25th 2015 we started our morning by putting on the TV, and as we got ready on HBO 2 Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong was on. I felt it was a fitting end for our stay at this hotel as this extra long weekend was all about Monster Bash and that giant gorilla was a perfect send off. We then decided to go to the heart of Mars so that Juliet could get a cup of coffee from Mars Brew House, and when entering the coffee house I was impressed on how welcoming it was with its tables and chairs as well as a living room area with artwork on the walls. The man working the counter was really nice and gave me a small sample of a frozen coffee that was really tasty! We walked around the small town as she sipped on her cup of joe and we chatted about how cool this small town was, as well as checked out the new aliens in some of the business’ windows.  We had two hours to fill before one of our top attractions of this years trip opened so we decided to go back to Evans City Cemetery for a while.  We listened to more chapters of Marvel Comics The Untold Story and then headed to TCBY Yogurt and enjoyed a frozen treat. I had cookies and cream yogurt with whip cream, sprinkles and hot fudge, it was really good.  Then we headed to downtown Evans City for what I would say is the main event of this vacation, something that was really the cherry on this fun and amazing vacation with my # 1 girl!

Mars PA Alien SignMars Brew House PaintingWelcome To Mars

The Living Dead Museum and Gift Shop is in downtown Evans City and is a business that will catch the eye of any monster kid as the front of the store as a sign with zombie eyes in a dead stare and the windows have fake boards on them to keep out the dead. When we first planned this vacation, besides Monster Bash and the Cemetery, this was on our have to do list.  When we first tried to visit it on Monday we found out that it was closed for the day and would open up at noon on Wednesday so we knew before we left that this was our last stop before we made the long trip back to Dayton, and I can 100% say I am glad we did! We came in right as it opened and was greeted by a worker who was super friendly and as she went about her business of opening duties me and Juliet walked around the gift shop looking at t-shirts, comics, toys, cards and DVDs of all thing zombies! I was really drawn in by the T-shirts and bought myself a Return of The Living Dead shirt and got my cousin Stephen a shirt that said Pittsburgh Zombie Capital of the World and while checking out we bought two tickets to the museum, only $3.00 a ticket and I must first start off saying that it was well worth every penny and more! To enter you had to drop the ticket into a booth that housed a zombie who was your gate keeper to the world of the undead. The museum had a screening room as you walked in that was playing a documentary on the making of Night of The Living Dead as you moved deeper the area was plastered with stills, papers and information on Night as well as a statue of the Cemetery Zombie.  That was just the beginning as many more zombie films are covered as is a history of zombies in pop culture. The area also had a wall of bloody hand prints that were made and signed by actors in Romero zombie films as well as so much more statues and props used in films like Dawn of The Dead and Day of The Dead. Some of the highlight statues included the cover zombie to Fulci’s Zombi 2 and Tor Johnson as the zombie from Plan 9 From Outer Space. I don’t want to spoil too much of what treasurers or is that horrors await you when entering The Living Dead as I think if your a fan of Night Of The Living Dead you should do yourself a favor and check out this cool and amazing store and museum. After leaving this amazingly fun Museum we hit the road for home and so ended one heck of a fun time with Juliet and for this year.  I say bye to Mars and Cranberry Pennsylvania, but I know that next year I will see you again. Below is some pictures from The Living Dead with one being the cool as hell Cemetery Zombie statue. And I guess as this is Rotten Ink we really should take a look at our comic based on Night of The Living Dead and the people who made horror movie history.

The Living Dead StoreThe Living Dead ShirtThe Living Dead Cemetery Zombie

George A. Romero was born in February 4th 1940 in New York and was brought up in the Bronx.  His father was a commercial artist and this helped push him to graduate from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and start doing his own short films as well as commercials in and around the Pittburgh area including a segment for the popular kids show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.  Doing this helped inspire him to get into the horror film industry and he along with friends opened Ten Productions and in 1968 he directed and co-wrote with John A. Russo one of the most influential zombie horror film of the modern times with “Night Of The Living Dead” and this cult classic pushed Romero as a household name for horror film fans and monster kids of the 60’s. Many films followed in the early 70’s like romantic comedy “There’s Always Vanilla”, witchcraft thriller “Season Of The Witch” , bio-nightmare film “The Crazies” and vampire arthouse fright flick “Martin.” While these films did okay, his next huge hit came in 1978 with his sequel to Night of the Living Dead with the mall zombie romp “Dawn Of The Dead”. His next two films he made were the apocalyptic motorcycle knight film “Knightriders” and the anthology Stephen King team up film “Creepshow,” and then in 1985 he made the third in his zombie films and my all time favorite “Day of The Dead” that follows a group stuck underground as the world above belongs to the dead. Many more films followed including “Monkey Shines”, “Two Evil Eyes”, “Dark Half” and “Bruiser.” He also wrote films like “Tales From The Darkside: The Movie”, “Creepshow 2” and “Night of The Living Dead,” a remake directed by Tom Savani. In 2005 Romero returned to the world of zombies and wrote and directed “Land Of The Dead” and other zombie films followed like “Diary Of The Dead” and “Survival Of The Dead” and while he has slowed down he still is active and even traveling the horror convention scene. I really hope that some time soon Romero returns to the world of the undead and makes a film that has the blood, guts and raw energy of his zombie films of the past. George even in 2015 is working on a comic series called Empire Of The Dead for Marvel and here is hoping that he continues to make groundbreaking entertainment as to me he is one of the best do it yourself filmmakers of all time. This update is in honor of you George and all you have done to entertain us all.

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I can remember the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead was when I was a young kid and it was playing on local TV.  I lived in Waynesville and my brother Bryan and I were both hyped on watching as the station ran all types of promos for its showing making this monster kid more and more excited to view it.  While our parents watched TV in the living room, we plopped into their bedroom with a small bowl of popcorn and watched a film that changed my life as for the first time I had a little bit of fear run down my spine of watching a black and white shocker.  The horrors of watching as zombies ate the flesh of characters Tom and Judy who were much like every day people was shocking to me. At this point most of the horror films I had seen were aired on Commander USA’s Groovie Movies, Grandpa Munster’s Super Scary Saturday and classic Monster movies from Universal on VHS, and while people died in those movies and many of them had killers and monsters, for some reason that night those zombies did their job and made for a chilling night of TV watching. I can remember the next school day many kids who watched the TV airing of Night of The Living Dead were talking about the scary moments and the slow moving zombies.  The film has always had a special place in this monster kid’s heart! The first time I owned the film was on a VHS copy that was presented by Blockbuster Video, and later I would go on to buy it on DVD from Elite Entertainment as well as the colorized version on DVD put out by Legend Films, not to mention I have many Horror Hosts episodes of them hosting this classic zombie romp.  The film remains a staple that I must watch every year around Halloween. Night of The Living Dead is one of those films much like the Universal Monster films that is a good way to introduce youngsters to the world of Horror cause while its creepy and does have gut munching, its by no means as extreme as say showing them The Walking Dead or even some of those made for TV horror films that air on SYFY. For me, Night of the Living Dead is a must see for any true horror fan and is a film that will always have a place in my movie collection.

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The Cemetery Zombie played by actor Bill Hinzman is one of the most iconic zombies ever on film and is clearly the grandfather of the undead zombie movie icons. The Cemetery Zombie is the first zombie seen in Night of the Living Dead and is the one to start off our undead nightmare as he is the one who chases Barbra and kills Johnny! Bill would be in many other Romero directed films like The Crazies, Knightriders and There’s Always Vanilla. Hinzman would go on to star in many other Horror Films like Legion Of The Night, Santa Claws, Evil Ambitions, The Drunken Dead Guy, Shadow: Dead Riot and River Of Darkness that he stared along side pro wrestlers Kevin Nash, Kurt Angle and Psycho Sid! Bill also directed two films; his first one was the 1988 slasher The Majorettes and then in 1988 he directed and starred as the main killer zombie in Flesheater. Not only was Hinzman an actor and director, he has also produced and written films showing that he was a man of many talents and loved the art of making movies. I had met Bill Hinzman many times during my convention traveling days and he was a staple at Cinema Wasteland.  But during Scary Camp, the Dayton Horror Convention put on by A. Ghastlee Ghoul, is when I really got to chat and work with Hinzman who acted in a TV show that my brother was working on called Josh vs. that would have had my close friend Josh Weinberg going up against celebrities in goofy events like 20 yard dashes and paper, rock, scissors and Bill Hinzman in complete Cemetery Zombie makeup gave his prediction on who was going to win between Josh and Sid Haig in a staring contest! I was asked to not only get him on board but also was the one to film and direct him and for sure it was one of the highlights of that weekend. Sadly Bill Hinzman passed away in 2012 at the age of 75 from cancer. I just wanted to take my time here and show respect to Mr. Bill Hinzman who was a great person and gave so much to the world of horror.  He is truly missed.

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So now that we have talked a little about the film and the people who made it, I think it’s time that we travel to Evans City Cemetery and once more read some Night of The Living Dead comics made by FantaCo this time it will be the film adaptation. So make sure to beat them and burn them as we once more take a look at the living dead in the cemetery that is holy ground for horror film freaks like myself as we spend an evening with the living dead. I want to thank Lone Star Comics as well as Amazon and Ebay for having this comic series in stock and as Johnny says “The Comics Are Coming To Get You Matty” ….wait he didn’t say that.  Let’s just get to the comics.

Night of the Living Dead Comic 1

Night Of The Living Dead # 1 ***1/2
Released in 1991     Cover Price $4.95     FantaCo    #1 of 4

Barbra and her brother Johnny are heading out to a grave of their father for their mom at a cemetery out in the middle of nowhere.  This seems to get on Johnny’s nerves, but his sister who is spooked by the cemetery does it out of respect for her mom. As Johnny starts to tease Barbra about being scared he starts to claim that they dead are coming to get her and to her shock she is attacked by a walking corpse who kills Johnny who tries to come to the aid of his sister as he falls and cracks his head open on a tombstone. Barbra runs for her life as the Cemetery Zombie follows looking to eat this young woman.  She finds shelter in an old farm house, and as she hides she also meets Ben who has also came to the farmhouse in a old truck that’s low on gas and the barn has a locked gas pump. Ben fights off zombies who are trying to enter the house via open doors as Barbra slowly slips into madness and is overcome by fear. As the issue ends, Ben looks outside and sees a horde of zombies heading toward the house looking for flesh to eat.

This is a good solid movie adaptation of Night of The Living Dead that captures the vibe and feel of the film in this first issue and has a very dark brooding mood being set into place as the zombies seem twisted and the main color used in the comic is black. The story so far is that Barbra goes to a small cemetery where she watches her brother get killed by a zombie.  She runs to a nearby farm where she finds the bodies of the homes owners who have been eaten and runs into Ben, a man who arrives in a truck who attacks the zombies and the two strangers in the end must find a way to survive as the zombies are now all around the farm house. Barbra who is timid from the start gets even worse.  As the threat gets larger, she becomes hysterical it’s clear fear has taken her away from reality. Johnny is a smart ass who gets joy in teasing his sister as well as just being a negative person, but when his sister is in danger he snaps into being a hero and dies trying to save her life. Ben at this point is a man with a plan and that’s get the gas pump unlocked and his truck filled with fuel and he is going to try and get Barbra and himself to a safe place and figure out what is going on.  He also has no fear as he attacks many zombies with a tire iron and bashes in many undead skulls. The Cemetery Zombie is one hungry and motivated flesh eater who uses rocks to break a car window and gives chase like a slow animal stocking its prey. The rest of the zombies are used to get their brains smashed but as more come they become more and more dangerous and the numbers are in their favor. The creepy and helpless vibe so far in the comic is what made the film a classic one, and the art done by Carlos Kastro is well done for this style of book. So far the comic has only made small changes from the film as the comic opens with a zombie eating a bug and watching Barbra and Johnny driving into the cemetery, and I should note the comic is in black and white and this far while violence is happening it not a blood bath like most modern zombie comics. Reading this near the site of opening scene made this even more special and is helping add to my vacation, looking forward to reading part two.

Night of the Living Dead Comic 2

Night Of The Living Dead # 2 ***
Released in 1992    Cover Price $4.95    FantaCo    #2 of 4

Ben sets a fire outside the door, and the zombies seem afraid of it.  He rushes back inside and starts to board up the windows and has to be stern with Barbra to get her to help him look for supplies like wood and nails. Ben, as they get one room safe, tells her about how he got the truck and in a flashback a diner he was at is attacked by the living dead and how he took the truck to get away as he watched the zombies attack and kill people all around him. Barbra comes back to reality and talks about the graveyard visit and how she was attacked by The Cemetery Zombie and how she thinks Johnny might still be alive.  She gets frantic and smacks Ben who tries to stop her from opening the front door and he in turn smacks her and knocks her out. Ben places her on a couch and sets another fire out front to scare away the approaching zombies and starts to snoop around and turns on the radio to hear the news broadcasts that are reporting mass homicides around the state as well as the fact the killers are eating parts of the victims.  During his snooping he finds shoes for Barbra as well as a gun and bullets. As Barbra comes to Ben puts the shoes on her and heads upstairs to get ride of the bodies of the owners of the house who had been attacked and killed, but finds that one has be reanimated and attacks him! Ben bashes its skull in as Barbra lets out a scream downstairs as people have come out of the cellar!

This second issue is the major set up to the story as many pages are about the radio broadcast that tells the story of mass killings, people being eaten and the world not sure of what or who is to blame. The plot is that Ben and Barbra share how they ended up at the farmhouse with Barbra slipping even deeper into madness, Ben figures out the zombies hate fires and uses it to keep them at bay as he finds supplies. When Ben is attacked and kills a zombie, people from the cellar appear and our issue takes the next step. Ben, who’s back story is a little more flushed out, is a hitchhiker who stopped at a little greasy spoon dinner for a meal and reacts when we watches the place catch fire and people start to be killed. He is a very much take charge kind of person as from the start he calls the shots to Barbra and has plans to board up windows and doors to make their new base safe. Barbra is a mass of nerves and not much else her mental breakdown is in full swing and she is more like a scared baby rabbit than a human being. The zombies are becoming a horde of killers all around the farmhouse, and while they might be slow moving, their numbers make them a major threat to any living person. This issue is very downbeat as both our survivors at this point have seen death and things that are driving them close to madness.  This is a great issue to set the mood for the rest of this adaptation series. The major changes in this issue show Ben’s backstory of the attack at the greasy spoon and also has Ben being attacked by the zombie of the house owner up stairs. The artwork is done by Carlos Kastro again and while I really do like the style I should also point out that the quality does change and sometimes the characters look a little deformed and their features don’t let them look like the actors who are playing them. But like the first issue I enjoyed this one and look forward to issue three.

Night of the Living Dead Comic 3

Night Of The Living Dead # 3 ***
Released in 1992    Cover Price $5.95    FantaCo    #3 of 4

Ben meets Harry Cooper and Tom who have been hiding in the the cellar along with Tom’s girlfriend Judy and Harry’s wife Helen and his injured young daughter Karen.  Ben gets a little annoyed that they did not come up earlier and help him secure the house, and worse Cooper and he are going at it to what is the safest place for them to hide as Harry thinks they should all go to the cellar and Ben thinks they should protect the ground floor of the house. When Ben is attacked by a window that a zombie is able to bust through the boards, it’s Tom that comes to his aid as Harry watches and finally goes to the cellar after Judy comes up to help them board up the windows better. When he goes back down Harry and Helen fight over them staying in the cellar and not being near a radio to hear the updates of what to do and when help is on it’s way.  They decide to go up and help. While upstairs they find a TV and hear a news report for help stations as well as that the dead are coming back and eating the living and they think that it’s all connected to a satellite that was shot down when it was coming back to Earth as it was covered with radiation. Ben comes up with a plan to get to the gas pump, and he and Tom get to the truck with the help of a torch as Harry throws Molotov cocktails from the upstairs window.  As they get to the truck Judy decides that she wants to help as well and jumps into the truck! When they get to the pump an accident happens as the gas and the torch meet and set the truck on fire, in fear Tom and Judy drive the truck away in flames and it blows up killing them both.

The flesh is hitting the fan as Ben and Harry are butting heads and both are on power trips on who is going to be in charge and what and where and who and so on and this is the plot of this issue. Both Ben and Harry are acting like spoiled kids as they both can’t work together cause they would have to take orders from the other. The death of Tom and Judy is sad and really brings an emotional touch to the already high dooming mood. Ben and Barbra are pretty much acting the same as they have for the past two issues, and Ben seems to have taken on the role of protector of Barbra as he clearly understands she is not in her right mind. Tom and Judy are sweet silly country youngsters who seem to want to stop the in house fighting, and while they could take charge as the house is owned by Tom’s family he still would rather stick together and get the house safe for everyone. Harry Cooper is a pure hotheaded butthole who is clearly un-happy with his life and takes it out not only on his wife but anyone who is around him. Helen is just a normal housewife who loves her daughter but can’t stand her husband who bullies her and treats her like dirt. The tension between the characters are adding more danger to the already zombie threat that is surrounding them. And by this point in the story you the reader should be catching on that the story is not so much about the zombies but that of the humans who are all so different and how they must act together to survive the situation. The artwork is done by Carlos Kastro again and is enjoyable and captures the gloom very well again and the zombies look soulless like the way they should. Next up is the final issue, and let’s see how this one ends and if it has any changes from the film to comic.

Night of the Living Dead Comic 4

Night Of The Living Dead # 4 ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $5.95    FantaCo    #4 of 4

After the truck explodes Ben is left outside with his torch and as he makes his way from the gas pump to the farmhouse, Harry will not open the door leaving him a sitting duck for the zombies who are approaching.  Finally Ben kicks open the door, and he also beats up Harry as he almost got him killed. The zombies outside turn their attention to the burned bodies of Tom and Judy and start to rip them apart and eat the pieces. Ben tries to figure out away to get to a new car but Harry’s is turned over a mile away and Barbra’s is in the cemetery with no keys as Johnny had them on him. After things cool down, the survivors listen to a news broadcast that says the local authorities are out shooting and burning the undead.  When the power goes out chaos breaks loose as the zombies start to push their way in, and Harry instead of helping grabs the gun and shoots Ben, who in turn gets the gun back and shoots Harry who stumbles into the cellar. The zombies attack Barbra, Ben and Helen, and they try to fight back the best they can. Helen is able to escape down to the cellar but finds that her daughter Karen is now a zombie and is eating her father’s guts and then turns and kills Helen with a spade. Barbra is taken by a horde of zombies as she freezes when her brother Johnny is one of the undead. Ben escapes to the cellar and pushes zombie Karen out the door and bolts himself in and hides. The morning comes and so does the rescue party who by accident shoots and kills Ben as he is about to come outside to get help. In the end Ben’s body is thrown into a fire that is roasting the living dead.

This fourth issue is a lot of fun and is chaotic, filled with panic, scares and raw emotion. The plot of this issue is the breakdown of the survivors as Ben and Harry just can’t get along and both want to be in charge and both want the power of having the only gun in the household, and when they stop working together they leave themselves open to an all out attack from the zombies who work as one large flesh eating team all in sync and all ready to consume their prizes. Ben, by the end of this adaptation is a very proud man, who tried to come up with ideas to save the group and himself but sadly his idea fails and gets two people killed. The good thing about Ben is that he is not a selfish person as all his ideas are for the best of the group. It’s really cool to watch Ben adapt to the situation and become more and more of the story’s hero as its goes along. Barbra never does snap back to reality and almost becomes childlike all the way up to her death at the hands of the zombies, but even she snaps to it when the undead are trying to break in and does her best to try and keep them out. With Barbra it’s sad to see her slowly slip deeper and deeper into madness as fear takes over her very soul. Harry Cooper is the opposite of Ben and is a bullheaded loud mouth who has his own butt in mind most of the time, but to be fair he also really cares about his sick daughter. Harry is so consumed with people listening to him and his ideas that he risks the life of Ben to try and get that power.  He is also a chicken as when the threat is turned up he runs and causes more issues when he shoots Ben and gets himself killed in the process. Helen Cooper is your typical unhappy housewife who only stays with her husband for the sake of their child who she loves with all her heart. Karen who is sick by a bite from a zombie is turned into a flesh eater and kills both of her feuding parents. The zombies in this series start out as slow moving terrors who are easily over powered by the living and by the end are in a frenzy and want to eat some human meat and use their numbers to force their way into the farm house. The thing that sticks out both in this comic adaptation and the film is that while he is the most scummy character Harry Cooper’s idea of them hiding in the cellar was the best idea as zombies are unable to get in at the end. This is a great adaptation, and Fantaco did a fantastic job of keeping the story of Night Of The Living Dead going in the 1990’s. Carlos Kastro did the artwork again and while it’s good I did find this issues art to be a little scattered and almost rushed looking, but even with that said the artwork for this whole series is creepy and holds the vibe of the film. In closing if you’re a fan of the film and enjoy reading a good horror comic then check this one out for sure, check out the artwork below of some of the zombies from this series.

Night of the living dead adaptation art 1

This yea’rs vacation was a lot of fun and was packed with many great places and moments and showed me that taking time away from the stresses of the world and relaxing is something that I need to recharge the battery that is my brain. While I am sad to be done with my vacation, in a matter of a day when this is posted as I will miss the hotel room and the wonderful towns all around it I also must say that it’s good to be home with my cats Leslie and Streets J and as well as planing a film shoot with Baron Von Porkchop. Evans City is truly the home of zombies but our next update is about a icon of Cincinnati, Ohio and will focus on baseball player Pete Rose! So stop using that ball bat to crush zombie skulls and lets head to the ball field and play some ball. Until then enjoy life, read a comic or three, support your local Horror Host and watch out for the living dead.

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