Tarzan’s Great Christmas Eve Adventure

Merry Christmas Eve! It’s hard to believe it’s that time of the year again when Santa Claus is gearing up to start his big night of present giving and spreading good cheer. And for this Holiday update I decided to take us out of the snow filled cold night of December here in Ohio and take us to the heart of the jungle as we go and visit the one and old Lord Of The Jungle Tarzan! This update is going to be a very long one as I have chosen the Marvel Comics series to review and have also decided to do a Game Boy Challenge as I try to beat the game Tarzan Lord Of The Jungle, plus talk about all things Tarzan from novels to cinema and everything in-between! I want to also let you know that this update was one that I have been working on since mid 2018 as I wanted to take my time and share my enjoyment of Tarzan with you all. So if you’re ready grab yourself a glass of eggnog, grab your safari hat and listen for the yell of Tarzan cause we are heading to the jungle for this epic and long Holiday update adventure.

Before we dive into the character Tarzan we should take a few moments and take a look at the man who created him and that is of course author Edgar Rice Burroughs. Edgar was born on September 1, 1875 in Chicago, Illinois to George and Mary Burroughs and had a pretty good childhood and was well educated and when old enough went to several Military Schools and even enlisted in the Army, but was discharged when they found that he had heart issues. In 1891 he left the Chicago area when a influenza outbreak infected many and he went to live with his brother were he worked on the ranch and was a cowboy and when returning back home he took work in his fathers battery factory. By 1900 he settled down and married is long time sweetheart Emma Hulbert and also began several years of working in many different jobs like being the manager at a mining company owned by his brother, worked for the railroad in Salt Lake City and even was a wholesaler salesman for pencil-sharpeners. But by 1911 with a wife and two children Edgar decided that he wanted to try his hand and writing and he started to do so, mainly doing pulp stories for magazines and built his style and talent. In 1913 he and his wife had their third and final child John Coleman Burroughs who would go on to be an amazing artist. Edgar also would end up being a pilot after he bought a plane and this allowed his whole family learn to fly. Edgar was getting more and more respect for his writing and in 1934 he separated from his wife Emma and ended up a year later marrying actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt who was known for her roles in such films as “Down Home (1920)”, “The Johnstown Flood (1926)” and “The Return Of Peter Grimm (1926)” to name a few…but the marriage ended by 1942. Another amazing fact is that in his 60’s Edgar was in Honolulu at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and he ended up becoming a U.S. Correspondent being one of the worlds oldest! On March 19, 1950 and at the age of 74 Edgar Rice Burroughs passed away from a heart attack, and he at the time was an artist who made so much money off the movies and shows that were based on his characters he created. During his long career of being a writer he created the characters of Tarzan The Ape Man and John Carter Warlord Of Mars among others and for these characters he was placed in The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame in 2003! While he is gone and his work will forever live on in novels, comics, movies, shows, games and toys showing that he really is an icon of Sci-Fi fiction.

Growing up I read not only comic books & magazines but also lots of paperback books and some of my favorites to find at Half Price Books and the Paperback Rack were old Tarzan novels. I would gobble up any and all Tarzan books I could find and would crack them open some nights before bed and read a chapter or two all the while enjoying the jungle adventure. Still to this day when looking at paperback novels at places like Half Price Books and Bell Book And Comic when finding a Tarzan book I don’t have I pick it up! I have many good memories of reading Tarzan books in my room in Waynesville and picturing the words I was reading in my mind. That’s the thing about Tarzan is that when I read one of the old paperbacks I felt like I was in that jungle amongst the apes, lions and warriors and these books are some of the first novels that got me into reading not just comic books. I would say my favorite book of the series is “Tarzan Of The Apes” the first book in the series as I always felt it packed such a great impact and was what introduced me to the world of Tarzan. If you enjoy sitting down and reading a good book check out one of the Tarzan adventures on a cold winter night and I am sure you’ll enjoy it!

While Tarzan was a big hit in literature he was a star when it came to the world of cinema as well, as movie goers for decades could not get enough of his adventures on the silver screen. It’s crazy to think that Tarzan as been in movies sense the days of Silent Films and even as of 2016 he got a big budget movie thanks to Warner Brothers and the release of “Legend Of Tarzan”. And lets be honest Tarzan was a major box office draw in the 1930’s through 1960’s and actors like Gordon Scott, Lex Barker, Denny Miller and Johnny Weissmuller and truly made the character Tarzan a hero from many young kids world wide. Growing up I cannot count how many of these films I have seen from seeing them on TV, VHS and DVD and every time I watch one I feel like a kid again as they just don’t make jungle adventure films like this anymore. Hands down Johnny Weissmuller is the best Tarzan but I also really liked Gordon Scott in the role as well. I mean to be honest I cannot think of a really “Bad” actor to play the role. In fact over the years I have found myself buying every Tarzan live action film and who knows maybe some day here on Rotten Ink I’ll do an update that talks about each film in the series, as well as give an answer to what film is the best! While Tarzan might not be the box office draw he once was, he still made his massive mark on the world of adventure cinema and has entertained so many viewers over the years.

While he has always been a box-office draw Tarzan has also made his mark in the world of TV, as he has not only had live actions shows he has also been in cartoons. That’s right The Lord Of The Jungle has made his way to the world of animation and Saturday Moring Cartoons! And one that always sticks out to me and is one I seen when I was a youngster in reruns called “Tarzan, Lord Of The Jungle” that was shown in 1976 on CBS when originally broadcasted. The show was created by Filmation the same folks who brought the world iconic cartoons as “Masters Of The Universe”, “Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids”, “Blackstar”, “She-Ra: Princess Of Power”, “BraveStarr” and “The Groovie Goolies And Friends” to name a very small few. The cartoon ran from 1976-1980 for a total of 36 episodes that ran 30 minutes each. In the cartoon Tarzan who was well spoken would have all types of adventures with his ape friend N’kima and all his other jungle friends. Tarzan in the show was voiced by Robert Ridgely who would also voice iconic cartoon characters like Thundarr The Barbarian, Flash Gordon in “The New Adventures Of Flash Gordon” and The Peculiar Purple Pie in “Strawberry Shortcake” showing that he was a master of the voice talent arts. I am not sure where I seen episodes of this show I tend to think TV like on USA Cartoon Express or maybe it could have been on a old VHS Tape. One thing that’s for sure that I do know is that the first season was released by Warner Brothers on DVD in 2016, and the series very much has a cult following among fans of the character. If you have not seen this cartoon series make sure to track down the DVD season and give it a watch as it does a great job of bring Tarzan alive via animation.

The first ever Tarzan comic book series was published by Dell in 1948 and was a long running series having a total of 206 issues and ending in 1972. But even before that Tarzan was the star of his own comic strip that started in 1929 and has been reprinted as well as have had many talented artist working on it like Russ Manning and Hal Foster. After Dell cancelled the series DC Comics picked it up in 1972 with issue 207 and ran till issue 258 ending the original series in 1977. Marvel Comics in 1977 decided that they were going to give Tarzan and try and re-launched it with a new number 1 and their series lasted 29 issues as well as 3 annuals. From their many other comic companies have released comics based on Tarzan from Dark Horse to Dynamite and while he is not a major player in the world of comics he has very much made his mark. Tarzan has also teamed up and fought many other comic characters in his adventures like Planet Of The Apes, Batman, Predator and Red Sonja. Growing up I have read many Tarzan comics with most of them being the ones from Marvel as my late Uncle Thurman gave my brother and me a stack of them when we were younger, and can say just like the films I have always enjoyed him in comics as well.

Like all iconic characters that is geared towards kids and collectors Tarzan has had his fair share of cool figures and dolls made in his likeness making it very easy for fans to get their hands on cool action figures and have their very own adventures. When I was a kid many companies released figures based on the Lord Of The Jungle companies like Dakin, Trendmasters and Mattel and I had figures from them all besides Mattel as they were based on the animated Disney film. In fact when I was playing Toy Wars the figure of Tarzan’s mom Kala was used and was in the rebels base helping fight off attacks from Stormtroopers and Cobra Guards. But while those toys were cool and parts of my childhood the one figure I always wanted and still want to this day is the Mego Tarzan figure as I have always found it to be a must have and never have gotten one. Plus all of these figures we have talked about are just a drop in the hat of ones made based on Tarzan. So in other words if you liked Tarzan growing up and played with action figures toy companies had you covered. Check out the pictures below to see some of these toys in all their glory.

Besides toys and comics Tarzan has also made his way onto all types of other cool merchandise like shirts, posters, magazines, buttons, lunch boxes, board games, vinyl records, comic books, video games, home video, drinking glass, books, coloring books and so much more! Showing that over the year’s fans of Tarzan has had lots of great things to choose from and could add to their love for the character. It’s crazy to thank that in 2020 Tarzan is not as big of a hero to the young and young at heart, but for those of use who still really enjoy The King Of The Jungle there is so much cool collectibles out in the world to add to your collection.

Lets now talk video games as the Lord Of The Jungle has had his share of digital adventures as well. Like in 1984 for the ColecoVision the game Tarzan was released to cash in on the film Greystroke: The Legend of Tarzan. 1991 saw the release of Tarzan Goes Ape for the Commodore 64. 1994 seen Tarzan: Lord of The Jungle come out for both Game Boy and Game Gear. Disney’s Tarzan in 1999 got many video games for many systems like Sony Playstation, N64, PC and Game Boy Color! And of course many other Disney Tarzan games were made for such systems as Playstation 2, Game Cube, PC and GBA. And even in 2019 a Tarzan slot machine was released in casinos and became a hit with players. Over the years to be honest the only video game I have played of Tarzan was the one based on the Disney film for the Playstation and always wanted to play the one for the ColecoVision. But for this Holiday Christmas Eve update I have a little something special planned. So keep reading!

Game Developers Euroncom developed a game based on Tarzan that was published by GameTech in 1994 for the Nintendo Game Boy and the Sega Game Gear. The game was called Tarzan: Lord Of The Jungle and has the player take control of Tarzan as he tries to complete six stages with each having their own storyline from stopping evil poachers to curing a primate disease. The game is an action platformer and each mission/level has a time limit that is pretty tight and leaves very little room for error. When released the game was meet with mediocre reviews and scores as many just thought it was to average and to repetitive with not having a password system meaning you had to play the same levels over and over in order to try and beat it. The games sales were also not that great as the US version for Game Gear didn’t even make it out and was cancelled. Below is some screen shots from the game as well as the cover for the Game Boy Version, and I must say the box art is great…but the in game look is a little cartoonish and reminds me more of George Of The Jungle!

So wanting to do this update for awhile as I have always been a big Tarzan fan I had to really think long and hard on what video game to play and try and beat and it came down to either the Playstation one based on the Disney animated movie or the Game Boy version and for me hands down I had to pick the Game Boy one as its more classic and closer to the Tarzan I grew up loving. So I also decided that I am going to play this game on my Game Boy Color and even better drove out to the woods to play the game as while I might not have a jungle near were I live, I do have lots of wooded areas and parks! I choose to play the game near the woods by Calvary Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio as it is a super peaceful place and one I visit often to relax and read comics at. I choose September 23, 2020 to do so as it was sunny out and was only 75 degrees out with a nice small breeze. I gave myself a playtime of 35 minutes to see how far I could get in the game and the first mission had me collecting flowers to give to a witch doctor in order to get a potion to give to a sick great ape…this level is a run around and find objects to go bring to one character to only take it to another…this level is timed like all levels in this game and after running around and failing a few times I was able to clear the first level and save the Great Ape by throwing the cure in bottles at him as he tried to attack me!

The second level is as far as I got in the time I gave myself and has Tarzan trying to get stolen gold back from a Crocodile who has hidden it. I must say he gameplay for this game is easy and not hard at all to play, the only real annoying parts is the game maps are all over the pace and sometimes swinging from the vines can be annoying. The music is pretty standard stuff and is catchy. Over all this is a pretty fun fetch side scrolling game that is worth checking out if you enjoy the old style Game Boy games.

As you can see Tarzan is a true icon in culture and has made an impact on many fans life over the decades. I would also like to thank Bell Book & Comic, Lone Star Comics, Half Price Books, Game Swap Kettering and Mavericks Cards And Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible as well as letting me relive reading them again! I want to also remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you’re ready lets head to the jungle and have an adventure with the one and only Tarzan!

Tarzan # 1  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Marvel   # 1 of 29

A European man named Jules is on a Safari when all of a sudden he and his helpers are attacked by the Natua Tribe who slaughter them all leaving only Jules alive! The man runs through the jungle is fear and ends up loosing the tribe but gets the attention of a very hungry lion who now has his sites on him for dinner. As the lion is about to attack from the trees above comes Tarzan who fights with the beast and stabs it with his knife until it dead, saving Jules life for the first time as quickly the Natua Tribe are now on them and are looking to finish off Jules who is now being protected by the lord of the jungle. The Natua Tribe flings their spears at Tarzan who dodges them and uses his knife to keep them at bay until his backup arrives that is Tantor an elephant that stomp and flings the Natua Tribe all around and saves the day. Once the coast is clear Tarzan and Jules ride Tantor to the safety of Tarzans home in order for Jules to heal and rest up. But little does Tarzan know that the man he just saved is not named Jules but is Albert Werper an angry man who has sworn to kill Tarzan!

This first issue is as good as I remember it being when I was a youngster and delivers all the thrills and adventures of jungle films as well as brings Tarzan back to life in the pages of comics. This comics plot is very simple and has our hero saving a man from a blood thirsty tribe as well as a man eating lion only to have really saved his own enemy. This issue Tarzan is brave and a hero as he risks his life to save a strangers, he also can be very human like as well as very beast like and is just a very classic feeling hero. That’s the thing about Tarzan while he is a very old style hero he seems to never really go out of fashion. Albert Werper is a very tricky man as he acts like a victim when in fact it looks like he while be one foe Tarzan will regret saving. The Natua Tribe are savages who are hunting man like they are animals and even shrug off the fear of Tarzan when they think they can get the upper hand. The thing also about this issue is that it’s a very quick read is very fast paced. Plus it really showcases the fighting style of Tarzan as he is skilled in hand to hand combat as well as using his animal friends to win the big fights. The cover for this issue is great and captures the mood of the issues plot and the interior art is great and is done by John Buscema and has that classic Marvel Comics look. Over all this is a great read for fans of Tarzan and was a great issue to start the Marvel series on. A great read and one I have enjoyed revisiting and makes me really looking forward to doing so with the rest in the series as well.

Tarzan # 2  ***
Released in 1977   Cover Price .30   Marvel    # 2 of 29

Tarzan and Albert travel on the mighty elephant Tantor till they reach the bungalow house of Tarzan were this fake victim meets Muviro the chief of the Waziri Tribe as well as Tarzan’s wife Jane! That night after eating a good dinner Tarzan goes on a walk with one of his monkey friends as Jane sits and tells Albert the story of the legend of Tarzan. She shares that Tarzan was in fact raised by apes after they killed his parents, she tells of his wisdom to teach himself how to read, she talks of his rise to rule the apes as well as when they first meet and he saved her from a great ape. She shares that she was the one to teach him English as well as shares that she was to be married to Tarzan’s cousin unknown to them all before finally marring her true love. She also shares that Tarzan is from a wealthy family and has inherited it all. After she finishes Tarzan comes back home as Albert goes for a walk so the married couple can chat, and as he listens in at the window he learns that Tarzan and his wife Jane who had the Greystroke fortune are now broke after a bad investment and now Tarzan must travel deep into the African jungle to get gold from haunted ruins! Now Albert has a plan to not only kill Tarzan but also steal some of the gold.

Once more Marvel Comics and the creative team behind this comic series proves that they knew how to do the legend of adventures of Tarzan right! The plot of this issue is really the origin of Tarzan as well as sets up why Albert has a mission to kill the Lord of the Jungle. Tarzan in this issue opens his home to a stranger and even fills his belly with good food plus offers a warm bed for him to sleep in. Jane as well is very nice and shares her story with the stranger as well as is the one who cooked the dinner and as well welcomes the stranger in her home. Albert Werper is a military trained killer who is on the run for murder and has joined a band of evildoers who deal in ivory and human trafficking. He has sworn to kill Tarzan so he and his gang of goons can move deeper in the jungle to get what they need to grow. Plus he also shows that he is very mentally unstable as he kills his own Military commander and has becomes a cold-blooded member of a group that treats human and animal lives as nothing! The best part about this issue is that while it’s an origin issue we do not fully focus on that story that we all already know and we add elements of the current story. Plus like the first issue this one really does have a classic pulp hero feel to it as something and nothing all happen at the same time but it all feels very classic and entertaining. I must also say that I like the character of Terkoz as massive ape who once was the King of the apes who was beaten, disgraced and later killed by Tarzan! I would have liked to have known what his story was after he was kicked out of the ape tribe and was left to fend for himself all with hatred in his heart for the human Tarzan. The cover for this issue is great and shows not only our hero but also Jane and Terkoz. The interior art is done by John Buscema again and is amazing stuff. So as you can see this second issue as well is well done and has held up for me and makes me want to move onto issue # 3.

Tarzan # 3  **1/2
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Marvel     # 3 of 29

The next day Albert Werper decides that he is “leaving” to get back home and has an escort of Waziri Tribe warriors. Once in the jungle they run across one of Albert’s fellow raiders and he plays it off as if he is lost, and on the orders of Albert the Waziri warriors are sent away. Albert informs his fellow con man that he has yet to kill Tarzan as he is going to lead them to mass amounts of gold and that while the lord of the jungle is away they need to kidnap his wife! As Tarzan leaves for the lost city of Opar his unknown enemy Albert is stalking him. Tarzan and some of the Waziri start their long quest and our hero spends time loving having to not be civilized like when he is around Jane and his mind is other places as Albert stalks in all the while. Tarzan and his warrior friends walk and climb until they finally reach the lost city and when entering they soon start to remove all the gold bars they would need to rebuild they Greystoke fortune, and all the while Albert watches with greed in his eyes. After Tarzan takes just the amount he would need to recover from the huge money loss and earthquake happens and rocks end up blocking the Waziri warriors from his friend as well as Tarzan is knocked out on the same side as the hiding Albert who leaves his one time savior for dead as he tries to find a way out only to end up captured by weird cavemen like people who are lead by a beautiful woman named LA who is the cities high priestess and the are going to sacrifice Albert to their fire god! But lucky for him Tarzan awakens with his mind foggy and decides to save him from death and takes out many of the cavemen who are being commanded by LA who is mad at Tarzan for rejecting her to become her High Priest.

This third issue brings us readers more adventure and one-step closer to the showdown between Tarzan and Albert Werper. This issues plot has Tarzan and 50 of his warrior friends heading to a lost city that is filled with wild cavemen and their very attractive priestess in order to get gold to bail out Tarzan who has lost all his families riches, and while he is on this quest he is also being stalked by a man who he once saved and thought a friend. In this issue Tarzan has his mind filled with stress of being a married man with responsibilities in the civil world who needs money to live and the Lord of the Jungle side that wants nothing more than to live in the jungle and act like a primate. And in this issue he also finds himself hurt with a rock hit to the head and his mind foggy and shaky, and also seems to be confused on who and what he is. LA is a High Priestess to this lost kingdom and has been in love with Tarzan for many years and goes into a rage when he does not love her back the same way, she also holds lots of power as her primitive followers do whatever she asks. She also likes to take human lives in order to please her God and she is cold blooded when she is crossed. Albert Werper is a snake in the grass and not only does he want Tarzan dead but also want to steal gold, and once more when he finds himself in trouble he is rescued by a man he left for dead when injured by the earthquake, showing he has no loyalty nor respect for anyone. This issue has a slow pace and builds up Tarzan’s inner thoughts on his life and because of this the action takes a backseat and does not kick in till the end of the issue, but that’s not a bad thing as I still find it to be a solid and entertaining issue. The cover is eye catching and very cool as is the interior art done once more by John Buscema as I have always loved this era of Marvel Comics and their in house style. And before we move onto issue four I need to say that issue three for me has held up like the others reread.

Tarzan # 4  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Marvel     # 4 of 29

Tarzan now more beast like has ended his rampage of murder as the rest of the cavemen run away and LA is left crying over the Lord of the Jungle who has blown off he love that she has held for him over the years. And after freeing Albert Tarzan returns to the treasure room and steals some jewels and snaps at Albert when he tries to take some and the pair head into the jungle. Meanwhile Jane is back home waiting for her husband to return and has a few warriors around her as protection and closing in on them is Achmet Zek and his band of traders who are going to kidnap Jane on the orders of Albert so they can get the gold! The raiders attack and kill off the warriors who fight to keep Jane safe as she herself fights by their side with a riffle, but once they have her they loot her home and set it on fire leaving her devastated and rage filled. But the raiders have failed as one warrior still lives and while severely injured Mugambi only has one thing on his mind…revenge! Meanwhile Tarzan decides that Albert and he must eat and picks a fight with a pair on panthers who have just made a kill, and Tarzan fights his hardest and wins but is hurt bad in the battle and soon finds himself down and Albert stealing his jewels and ends with Albert about to stab Tarzan with his own knife!

This is a great issue that brings action and drama together and leaves us on a cliffhanger of Tarzan about to be stabbed in the back as he is injured! This issues plot has Jane being kidnapped by an evil group of looters and traders who also slaughter and kill warriors all the while Tarzan has lost his memory and is wondering around the jungle as Albert follows along. Tarzan in this issue is like a wild animal and acts like a savage beast and even picks a fight with two panthers in order to steal their food! While Albert Werper is as sleazy and cowardly as ever, tagging along with Tarzan again, getting saved by him as all the while trying to murder him. Jane shows she is a fighter as she kills many of the looters who have came for her and her warrior friends as well are all brave and loyal. And our main bad guy Achmet Zek is a total scumbag who has zero respect for human life and only wants wealth! Two of the interesting subplots that I found myself liking are LA being in love with Tarzan and the fact she has been so for many years and has the if you don’t love me then you must die attitude about it, you know this subplot is going to come back into play. And the other is the almost murder of Mugambi who has loyalty to his friends and wants to get revenge on those who injured him and killed/kidnapped. This issue really is fantastic and captures the fun jungle adventure nature of Tarzan and shows that Roy Thomas understands how to turn the novels into comics. The cover is super eye catching and still holds up to this day and as before the art by John Buscema is amazing. To sum it up this issue is great and a solid read for fans of Tarzan and shows that this comic series help shows why Marvel was the best comic company in the 70’s! On a side note I have to say that Marvel has brought Star Wars and Conan The Barbarian home and I think it’s time they bring Tarzan and Star Trek back as well!

Tarzan # 5  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Marvel     # 5 of 29

As Tarzan is passed out Albert Werper is about to stab him, but fear sets in that if his first stab don’t kill the lord of the jungle he himself might find death at the hands of Tarzan! So Albert runs off with the jewels as the Tarzan awakens with an animal rage inside him and wants to get his pretty stones back and to kill the white man Albert…but not before he takes a nap. Albert rushes to the camp of Achmet Zek and his raiders to deliver the news of Tarzan’s “death” as well as that the old ruins does hold lots of gold! Achmet Zek orders for Albert to take Jane up north and sell her to slave owners as he and his men go after the gold. Once in his tent Albert counts his jewels and soon notices that Achmet is spying on him and this makes the European know that he is a dead man for hiding the riches from the warlord, and that night Achmet returns to Albert’s tent and stabs his bed to find that his target as already escaped and has taken Jane with him. And while Achmet and many of his raiders go on the hunt for Albert, Tarzan is attacked by three apes and finds himself surrounded by LA The Princess of Opar who wants her dagger back and is willing to have her cavemen rip him apart to get it!

The plot continues in this issue and has Tarzan loosing touch with his human side and turning more animal like and his savage nature is out on control as he attacks man and animal alike. All the while his wife Jane is a prisoner of the evil Achmet Zek who has turned on his own alley Albert Werper over jewels! And the story comes to an end when LA shows up and wants what belongs to her back. I am guessing that the next issue could be an all out war as Tarzan will be in the middle of the battle between Achmet and his raiders, LA and her cavemen and the tribes who fight for Tarzan and Jane. Tarzan in this issue is very savage and has forgotten how to be a man and is more in the mindset of revenge and survival and not even slightly worried about Jane and his home as he has forgotten all about them! Plus he almost seems to enjoy killing the animals of the jungle and has no remorse for the deaths he is causing. Poor Jane is just a prisoner who is holding on to the hope that her husband will rescue her. Mugambi in the issue is healing up and stalking the raiders as he wants to save Jane as well as get a little revenge in the process. LA Princess of Opar is a woman who is very angry as she not only has been stolen from but also has a broken heart as Tarzan does not feel the same way about her as she does for him, I also think she is ready to kill and kill again along with her evil cavemen in order to get her respect back. Albert Werper is scum who is fearful of an injured Tarzan, steals jewels and even hides them from his own partner in crimes and then has no issue with selling off a woman to a slave trade in order to make extra money…total scum! Achmet Zek is as well scum who lets money and power rule his life and has no loyalty to his own raiders, he is also a coward and would kill in the night than face to face…I can not wait to see him get what’s coming to him. That’s one thing for sure this series is going right that villains are so bad you really do want to see them pay for their crimes. I also like how this comic makes you wonder when and how Tarzan will get his mind back and will he be the one to take revenge on Albert and Achmet or will the jungle it’s self deal them justice. The cover for this issue is great and the art by John Buscema is still top notch. Over all this is another great and entertaining issue that delivers all the action and adventure you would expect from Tarzan and I for one can not wait to read the next issue!

Tarzan # 6  **1/2
Released in 1977     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 6 of 29

Tarzan is beaten up by the apes and the cavemen when he shows that he no longer has the dagger and this sets LA into a rage and she vows that the next morning she will offer the Lord of The Jungles heart to their sun god! That night LA falls asleep next to Tarzan and when the morning comes his death is to take place for his crimes against them, but before he can be killed his elephant friend Tantor appears in a fit of madness as it’s matting season and he is on a warpath to kill anyone in his way and that includes Tarzan! LA frees Tarzan and the pair quickly hide in a tall tree all the while Tantor tries to get them as well as kills many of the cavemen. After Tarzan tricks Tantor in leaving he orders LA and her cavemen to return to Opar and that the men need to listen to the law of LA. Meanwhile he learn that Jane escaped the camp on her own and is trying to survive the animals of the jungle who think she could be an easy meal. Meanwhile Albert Werper has gotten a horse from a downed raider and rushes only to be taken prisoner alongside Mugambi by an army who are hunting down Achmet Zek. Meanwhile Jane runs into Achmet who is once more taken her hostage only to have his men attacked by apes as well as Tarzan who has regained some of his memory. In the end the apes and Tarzan are gunned down and Jane is once more a prisoner of a greedy madman.

This issue has Tarzan and LA hiding for from an elephant that is on a rampage and must work together to survive it. The side story has Albert being hunted and becoming a prisoner of the army as Jane once more becomes the captive of Achmet! Tarzan in this issue is gaining some of his memories back and spends much of the issue protecting LA only to late be shot while trying to save his wife from being kidnapped. The end of this comic does a great job of making the reader wonder how bad Tarzan has been shot and how will he save his wife. LA is so madly in love with Tarzan that she breaks her bound to her people as she refuses to sacrifice the Lord Of The Jungle, she is a powerful woman who really is blinded by love. Jane meanwhile in this issue is running for her life and escapes one bad location only to keep stepping into worse and worse ones! Achmet Zek is a man who feels like he has been crossed and has set his sights on killing his one time crime partner Albert Werper who is running for his life like a rat. Mugambi meanwhile finds himself as well captured by the army and taken as a prisoner, and all he wants to really do is get revenge in the name of Tarzan. Tantor is blinded with rage over wanting to find a mate and is clearly the main threat in this issue as everyone in his path are afraid of his massive power as he wants to kill any person or animal in his way. This issue is a good read but does fell a little bit like a filler issue as weird enough to say it slows the pace down of this story arch we are in, I also feel that the cover is just ok and that the interior art by John Buscema seems rushed and not his best work at all in this series this far. To sum it up I was entertained but is the weakest in the series I have read this far…but keep in mind it’s still very good just a step down from the past issues. With that lest see what issue seven has in store for us.

Tarzan # 7  **1/2
Released in 1977     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 7 of 29

Tarzan is wounded and lays on the jungle floor among the bodies of his friends the apes, his mind wonders to the evils of Achmet as well as he can not shake the sight of the beautiful blonde that was the evil mans prisoner…as Tarzan can not remember that the woman is Jane his wife. As he grows weaker his mind starts to play tricks on him as he sees himself in the jungle at night watching as his enemy tribe hide near a fire as the meat eating beasts are on the prowl, with the main threat being the lion Huma and his mate Sabor who want to make them a late night meal, and they get one when they get a tribesman and Tarzan watches with amusement as one of his enemies dies that night. Tarzan head back to his ape family and remembers back to his questions about the world around him like the moon, rain and stars and how none of his wise apes have any clues to the answers. Tarzan soon thinks that the moon one day will be eaten by Huma and this will turn night to all dark and this worries the apes as well as Tarzan! But one ape in the group has set his sights on killing Tarzan as he knows that he is not like them, and this causes great tension between the apes as well as Tarzan. As a tribe’s man is walking in the jungle the apes decide that they are going to kill him and Tarzan originally stands by the apes side until he realizes that they just want to kill him for being human and the apes have now turned on him and he as well is marked for death! Tarzan is saved by one of his friend apes as well as Tantor and as the warrior leaves and Tarzan denounces his ape tribe, the ape who started the drama is killed and things try to go back to normal. Late one night an eclipse happens and the apes think that the lion Huma has attacked and is eating the moon and in a panic they call for Tarzan who fires arrows into the sky…and when the eclipse is over they think he saved the moon and he is once more a member of the ape tribe.

This issue is one that is set around a wounded Lord Of The Jungles mind as he goes to a world when his life is more primitive and all he really knows is the ways to survive and wants to learn about the universe around him and thinks he finds the answers all about the moon! This issue is very weak on action and is more of a character driven issue and really does dive into the primitive mind of Tarzan and his memories of the past. The Lord Of The Jungle in this issue is wise in his ways but is also very cold blooded as he does not mind taking a life or even watching lives be taken, its crazy that he gets joy watching a warrior from another tribe be eaten alive by a pair of lions! I also love how the issue really does revolve around the moon and the fear that the jungle has about living in nights in total darkness. The issues main baddies are Gunto and ape who wants to have all the other apes turn on and kill Tarzan and the lion Huma who is feared by all as he is a killer and a eater of all meat. While this issue was a cool get away from out main storyline this far is does also take a little of the momentum away as we are totally removed from that plot and focus more on the past of our hero…while interesting they really should have saved it for an annual, but with that said its still a really good issue. The cover is very eye catching and has Tarzan in a battle with an ape and the interior art is once more fantastic and is done by John Buscema who really does a great job of bring Tarzan alive in the pages of a Marvel Comic. Lets see what issue eight has in store for us and lets hope that it brings us back on track and has Tarzan saving Jane from the evil grip of Achmet Zek!

Tarzan # 8  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 8 of 29

Tarzan slowly gets to his feet as he is surrounded by apes he does not know and they are angered that two of their own have been shot, but before they can turn on the weaken Tarzan one of the fallen apes is still alive and just wounded and tells them who they are about to attack and they understand and take the pair to their home to heal their wounds. Tarzan cannot shake the image of Jane out of his mind as he heals up and still don’t remember that she is his wife, but he knows that she must be his! Once he is healed enough Tarzan asks the apes for help to rescue Jane and they all want nothing to do with the mission and even one challenges Tarzan to a fight named Chulk who after defeated joins Tarzan as does Taglat and the three set out on their mission. Tarzan and his ape friends attack a trio of the Desert Warriors and steal their cloths and wear them and sneak into the camp, while inside Tarzan and Chulk try and find rare jewels to give as a gift to Jane when they rescue her as Taglat has an idea of his own goes off and rescues Jane as he now wants her for his mate! Once Taglat kidnaps Jane and runs into the jungle Tarzan finds that he has been betrayed by the ape and is now on the hunt for revenge as the warriors of Achmet Zek are left confused and scared of the noise of anger that erupted from Tarzan’s mouth. Meanwhile both Albert Werper and Mugambi are still being held prisoner, with Albert making a deal for his life and freedom that will take the army to the lost city so that they can steal all the gold and jewels.

This is another fantastic issue that brings all the jungle action one looks for in a Tarzan comic as the plot has Tarzan waking up and filled with rage and the want to rescue Jane who he has decided will be his mate not remembering she is his wife and going on a rampage with two apes to rescue her from Achmet Zek and his evil men, only to find that one of his ape friends has also selected Jane to be his mate and causing the Lord Of The Jungle to be on a rampage of revenge! Tarzan in this issue is still much like a wild animal as he has no issues killing and will fight and snarl his way to getting what he desires. In other words Tarzan really is out of his mind and has lost all connection to his civil side! Poor Jane in this issue thinks her husband is dead, is kidnapped by a group of evil warriors, is later kidnapped by an ape and all she really wanted is to have a peaceful time at her jungle home as her husband took care of business of getting some treasure to get them out of debt. Not to mention poor Mugambi who is a brave warrior and dear friend of Tarzan who was trying to save Jane as well and avenge his slain friends has been taken captive along with the scumbag Albert Werper who started this whole mess! The ape Taglat is very sneaky in this issue as acts as Tarzan’s friend and helper when his true attentions is to steal Jane away from him and make her his mate, a true scummy move and shows that Taglat is a user! Achmet Zek and his raiders are money hungry as well as cruel and after they think they killed Tarzan they planed to sell off his wife to the highest bidder, cold blooded they are! The pacing of this issue is well done and each character in our story we get to catch up with and see what they are doing as all these pieces start to fall into place before the stories climax, and I have to say Roy Thomas did a fantastic job writing these comics this far! The cover is eye catching and pretty dang cool and the interior art once again is top notch and done by John Buscema who has the classic Marvel style that I love. We are eight issues in and these are as good as I remember them as a kid and not a dud in the batch this far! Lets see what issue nine has in store for us.

Tarzan # 9  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 9 of 29

A young Tarzan is reading books at his fathers old cabin and is puzzled by all the talk of God in them as he does not understand why there is no pictures of him as he can not wrap his mind around the concept of the old mighty King of Kings! When returning to his Ape family he asks all the wise ones if they know about this good with one saying it to be the Moon, and that night Tarzan asks and screams at the Moon and when a cloud covers it he knows the Moon is not God! He next goes to a tribe of warriors and see their Witch Doctor wearing a Buffalo Head and thinks that this must be God, but once he approaches and the Doctor looses his nerve he knows that this man is not God as well. As he is leaving the tribes Chief tries to kill Tarzan with a thrown spear, as Tarzan dodges it he attacks the old man and just as he is about to kill him, he stops as he has pity for the old man who is gripped with fear. Once back home he wonders more about God, but his thinking time is cut short when a baby ape and its mom are being attacked by a massive snake! Tarzan leaps into battle and into the coils of the snake and with a well placed knife strike kills the beast and saves the lives of his primate friends! In the end Tarzan returns to his thinking about God and learns that the answer he seeks is all around him as he comes to realize that God is who gave him the feeling a pity and the act of compassion, he also soon looks around and knows that God made the Moon, The Apes, Mankind and all things good!

This issue takes place when Tarzan was younger long before he meets Jane and way before the events of our current story arch and is a nice fill in issue! The plot of this issue has Tarzan on a mission to find out who and what a being he has read about in old books called God, and goes around the jungle to find the answer only to find that the answer has been all around him at all times. This is a pretty simple plotted issue from Roy Thomas that is very heavy on religion as it takes a stance that God created everything good and that Satan created all the bad in the world. But what works for me is the fact that someone like Tarzan who lives in the Jungle with no bibles, churches and fellow believers around would question who this God is and why is he so powerful that many blindly follow him. Tarzan in this issue is very noble as he has a want to learn as well as shows that he will leap into action to save his fellow friends and as well will spare those who wish him harm when they deserve it. I also dig the Water Buffalo headed Witch Doctor as I think he added a really cool feel to the issue as many tribes back in the day did look at them as healers and saviors. The cover is eye catching and has Tarzan fighting the massive snake and as always John Buscema kills it on interior art. Over all a nice fill in issue that delivers a fun read and a solid jungle adventure.

Tarzan # 10  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 10 of 29

Tarzan is still not himself as his memory is gone all he knows is that he has spotted Albert Werper with the army and that he is the own who stole his jewels and took away the pretty white woman (Jane) that he has an attraction to! Tarzan watches as Albert leads the soliders to a burial site that is filled with tons of gold, only for them to be attacked by the raiding warriors of Achmet Zek who wants not only the gold but also wants to bring down Albert for double crossing him. Tarzan follows Albert and Achmet who are playing a dangerous game of trying to kill the other to get away with the stolen jewels, all the while Tarzan is watching as he as well just wants his jewels back and to find his lady. Meanwhile its shown that Mugambi is in fact the one who has the jewels as he has took them from Albert when they were captured together and replaced his with river pebbles! But when Mugambi takes a nap after being on the run after escaping the prison camp, the jewels is stolen by the great ape Chulk who wants them as he likes what humans have. Meanwhile the ape Taglat still has Jane and his treating her like a rag doll when the lion Numa comes to her “rescue” and attacks and brings down Taglat and then turns his bloodlust toward Jane who tries to hide from the beast in the trees. Tarzan finally finds the fleeing Albert and takes him down and as he is choking him his memories comes back and he now knows that he is Tarzan and Jane is his wife! But before he can get the answers out of Albert they are both knocked out and taken by a Military Captain who wants to put Albert on trail for murder and decides to cage Tarzan for being to wild!

Wow this issue has so much going on as we have several characters and stories going on all at once and yet they are blending together really well! The plot is this Tarzan is on the trail of the man Albert who set him up and stole everything from him as well as a evil crime lord who wants all the jewels that Albert stole, while Tarzan’s friends are on the hunt to find Jane who was taken prisoner and is now in the hands of a killer ape who is being stalked by a bloodthirsty lion and even a army Captain is thrown in who wants to capture Albert for killing one of his soldiers! Oh and most important is that by the end of this issue Tarzan gets his memory back and remembers who he is and what is going one, and when this happens he is quickly knocked out by the Captain’s men. The pacing is very fast and flows really well and at this point even with all the fill in issues that breaks up the flow of this story arch I am drawn in and really can not wait to see how this story ends. Tarzan in this issues goes from a confused Wildman back to the Lord Of The Jungle and when he is wild he seems to not be worried about killing both man and animal. Albert Werper is such a spineless coward who would do whatever he can to gain wealth or even save his own sleazy hide. Achmet Zek is as well a very evil guy who controls his soldiers with fear and again craves power and riches. Taglat the great ape is also filled with rage and only when he meets his match in the lion Numa does he realize it as he pays for his rage with his life. Poor Jane is so tormented in this issues as she is roughed up by a gorilla and then is stalked by a lion…she just can not win! The cover for this issue is amazing and very eye catching and the interior artwork is top notch as its done by John Buscema again as he is one of the all time greats in my opinion. So with that lets see what issue 11 has in store for us and see how this epic story comes to an end.

Tarzan # 11  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 11 of 29

Tarzan and Albert Werper are being held prisoner by the Congo Free State soldiers lead by The Captain who has plans to deal with Albert and have Tarzan locked away! Meanwhile poor Jane finds herself rescued and then taken prisoner by Abdul Mourak and his men who were just defeated by Achmet Zek and his raiders, and they think they can at least hold Jane for ransom and make some money this day. As night falls Tarzan is still head at a camp as a prisoner when his ape friends lead by Chulk come to rescue him, and with gunfire from the humans ringing out Tarzan and Albert are carried away into the jungle and to safety…but sadly during the gunfight loyal Chulk is shot and dies. Tarzan is upset about his friend’s death as Albert finds the jewels on the ape’s body and once more steals them. Albert then lies to Tarzan and says sense he saved his life that he will lead him to the last place he say Jane and lucky for the crook he does lead him to Jane who is once more under attack by lions who have attacked and killed most of Mourak’s people! The lion Numa once more has his sites on Jane and Tarzan comes in for the rescue and fights off the hungry lion and finally kills it and takes Jane away as the lions below still attack the soldiers. Albert Werper ran way in the jungle as Tarzan and Jane return home and are greeted by Mugambi and his warrior friends. After a few months they rebuild their home and while out hunting they find the body of Albert Werper who had died in the jungle and recover the jewels he had stolen and started all this madness.

What a fun ending for this story arch that we traveled this far with in this series, I must say I really like the ending as all comes around and all ends well and its packed with drama, sadness, action and adventure all things you want in a Tarzan story. The plot has Tarzan being freed from being a prisoner by his ape friends and saving Jane from a pride of lions and in the end reuniting with his friends, rebuilding his home and getting his jewels and gold back. Tarzan in this issue goes into full hero mode as he gets his ape friends to help save him and Albert from the Captain, he then swings into action and fights off a massive lion in order to save his wife and in the end rebuilds the life that he had before all this greed turned his world all around. Jane in this issues goes from escaping the lion, to becoming a prisoner of some corrupt soldiers, to once more being the target of a lion and in the end saved by her husband…man she had a rough go around this issue. Mugambi and the tribe warriors are noble and loyal to their friendship with Tarzan as are the apes who come to his side when needed, with poor Chulk loosing his life to save the slimy Albert. Speaking of Albert Werper he starts off this series as scum and remains scum until he dies, and its great knowing that he died in the jungle and was never able to use the jewels he stole, in fact who scummy he is its great to know he died a slow and terrible death! While The Captain, Achmet Zek and Abdul Mourak are all set up to be terrible people with agendas that will make them rich or give them some sort of power it’s the Lion Numa that is the final baddy of this story as his want and need to kill Jane is so bad that he risks his own life to get her, and even dies trying. The cover for this issue is great and eye catching for fans of Tarzan and as always the art of John Buscema is top notch. This far Roy Thomas and his team of creators show that they know how to make a great and entertaining Tarzan series.

Tarzan # 12  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 12 of 29

Numa The Lion is on the prowl and after failing to capture a zebra he sets his sights on a tribe of apes and ends up killing a mother ape, and this triggers anger in Tarzan who gets his ape brothers to come together and stalk Numa into the jungle to fight back as he warns that the lion will keep returning and killing them if they do not fight back. Tarzan and the apes use sticks and stones to anger and fight with Numa and they even trick him in order to get the body back of their fallen friend. Once back in the tribe Tarzan thinks long and hard about how they are being stalked and killed by many of the jungles predators and that its time for them to come up with a way make them safe and fight back against the ones that want to eat them. That night Tarzan sneaks into the village of a Cannibal tribe and steals the lions hide they have and the next morning he plays a prank on his ape friends as he acts like Numa to try and scare his friends, but he is happy when they fight back and use stones to defend themselves and a well thrown one knocks Tarzan out cold! As the apes discover that the lion was really Tarzan the elders of the tribe want to kill him as his younger ape friends come to his aid and are willing to fight to defend him. But before a fight breaks out in the ape tribe Tarzan wakes up and is dazed but happy to know his friends listened on how to defend themselves against lions.

In this issue Tarzan is younger and not yet married to Jane and still lives with his ape tribe family and is pushed to far by the lion Numa who kills one of the female apes that was a mother to a very young baby, and this anger makes Tarzan fight back against the predator and also comes up with a plan to always make his tribe ready to protect themselves when enemies come around. Tarzan in this issue is younger and not in charge of the tribe yet and has ideas and leadership skill that he is torn about showing as the elders clearly do not like his brash ways, but what they need to see is all his ideas and actions are done to better protect and strengthen his tribe and family. The apes are also split as many of them are clearly starting to stand with Tarzan while the older ones want to kill or chase him off, as they do not like his power that he is gaining. Numa the lion is a very hungry giant cat that wants nothing more then a meal of fresh meat and sadly the apes are in his sight and become that meal he is craving. The really cool thing about this issue that is clearly going to be continued in the next issue is that rise of Tarzan in the ape tribe as his ideas and self defense plans are proven to be useful as the old timers just have the idea of run away and leave the weak behind if they are attacked better them then you attitude. I also like that they show a village of a human cannibal tribe who have a lion skin suit just laying around…awesome. The cover is well done and once more eye catching and no shock the interior artwork by John Buscema is great stuff. A solid issue and a great read and keeps up that this Marvel Tarzan series is an above average read and are great stuff! Lets see if issue 13 is as good as all that game before it.

Tarzan # 13  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 13 of 29

Tarzan notices that his ape friends seem to be on edge and are not up for play at all, and when going back to his fathers old cabin he finds the Gomangan Tribe there and they are setting a trap for the lion Numa as they have plans to capture and torture him, and Tarzan can not allow that as he hates this tribe and their cruel ways. So Tarzan steals the bait for the trap and then captures the tribes Witch Doctor and places him in the trap as the bait! The next day the Gomangan Tribe go looking for their missing doctor and soon find his mangled body in the cage as well as Numa! The Tribe quickly gets a new Witch Doctor and they take Numa back to the village as the lion is to be tortured and killed…and Tarzan decides that this is not going to happen as he brings out the lion skin he stole last issue and enters the village and scares the tribe as they think Tarzan is a white devil that can shape shift! After tricking them into chasing him Tarzan sneaks away and into the village and sets Numa free who in turns tacks the returning tribe and kills one warrior and injures others, giving them a lesson in respect for Lions and the Lord Of The Jungle himself Tarzan.

This issue is very entertaining and is fast paced and has Tarzan being puzzled by why his friends the apes are not in a playful mood anymore after he pranked them by wearing a lion suit to scare them and decides to instead pull a massive deadly prank on a tribe of humans that he dislikes as he finds them cruel. In the end he learns to respect the lions of the jungle as well as by messing with the tribe puts fear into them to never mess with him or the lions again for their cruel ceremonies. Tarzan in this issue shows that while he does have a fun loving and noble side he also very much has a cruel side as he kidnaps a man and leaves him in a cage trap that has the man eaten alive by a lion…now that’s some mean spirited revenge! The lion Numa is as well a raging beast that kills anyone and everyone that gets in its way! While the Gomangan Tribe are superstitious people who are also very cruel to the animals of the jungle as fun for them is capturing and torturing lions as a tribe, plus life is cheap to them even among their own members as they move on and forget about the dead like they don’t matter. The plot of this one is truly to show that Tarzan is using his mind to out smart both animal and man, with him also learning just ho different he is from his ape family and that he also has a playful and cruel side. The cover for this issue is great and has Tarzan in the lion skin scaring the enemy tribe and the interior art is killer and once more done by the super talented John Buscema. Over all this one is another solid issue that delivers a very entertaining read.

Tarzan # 14  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 14 of 29

Tarzan’s best friend Taug’s mate Teeka and their son Gazan are in the jungle looking for food to bring back to the tribe when a great bull ape from another tribe named Toog stumbles upon her and decides that she will now be his mate! Toog attacks and leaves poor Gazan fro dead after knocking the baby from a tall tree and beats Teeka unconscious and takes her away. When Taug finds his son he is near deaths door and this sets the ape into a rage as he wants revenge on who has taken his mate and has almost killed his son, and Tarzan who has returned from the old cabin of his parents (were he also found some bullets that he takes) makes a plan for he and Taug to track down this intruder, kill him and bring back Teeka safe and sound to her village and her injured son. As Tarzan and Taug make the journey to find Teeka she is being beaten and dragged by Toog who brings her to his tribe just in time to be warned that he has been followed, and Toog and his tribe set a trap. Tarzan and Taug are ambushed and attack with each holding their own and Tarzan even knifing one to death before he and his friend are out numbered! As all looks bad for Tarzan and his friend it’s Teeka that saves the day when she finds Tarzan’s lost pouch that has the bullets that she throws causing them to go off and scare away the attacking apes and allowing Tarzan, Taug and Teeka to return home confused by what the bullets are.

This issue follows the ape Toog who is very selfish and decides that he will kidnap a female ape from another tribe in order to return to his tribe that he was shamed from after loosing a fight with the leader. And Tarzan as always has pride in his tribe and loyalty to his best friend Taug sets his site to get her back and end the lives of the ape that took her. Lets first talk about Toog a alpha male ape who is mad that he lost a fight and was shamed by his tribe and now is wondering the jungle looking for a mate and for trouble and chooses a female at random to beat and drag back to his home and even has zero remorse for trying to murder a baby ape! In other words Toog is one evil primate who needed to be stopped as he will kill and beat the innocent in order to get what he wants. Poor Teeka goes through hell in this issue as she watches her own child be knocked form a tree and thinks he is dead, she is beaten several times by her captor and finally has to step in as her mate and friend are being ganged up on…she really does have it terrible in this issue. Taug as well has it pretty bad as he finds his son who he thinks is dead at first, then finds his mate missing and taken by an aggressive ape and then gets beaten up on by a pack of savage primates from a rival tribe. Tarzan is trying his best to understand all of the stuff he has found in the cabin that his parents died in like the books, bullets and gold…but he also shows that sometimes his anger and noble attitude will lead him to make rash and to brave of decisions. I love that Tarzan knives a massive ape with a night to show that he and his friend mean business and want their friend back! The cover is great on this one as well and as like before the interior art is amazing and done by John Buscema and this once more is a great issue that really showed that Tarzan and Marvel Comics was a great combination!

Tarzan # 15  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 15 of 29

Tarzan and his elephant friend Tantor are in the jungle when they stumble on a old man who is scared out of his mind and telling them that Arab Slavers are on his trail and wont to enslave people to work the mines of the sinister Abdul Alhazred The Mad Arab! The Slavers appear and kill the old man and then knock Tarzan out and as they are about to take him to be a slave in the mines Tantor comes to his rescue and chases the Slavers away and then carries his friend away until he wakes up. Meanwhile the Slavers have attacked a small village and have killed the King and taken his daughter Princess Ayesha as a slave and she is very upset and swears that she will get free and have her revenge. Once Tarzan wakes up he meets a group of mercenaries who have been hired to save Ayesha from The Slavers and they ask him to join in and he agrees, but as they rest he heads out into the jungle and tracks down The Slavers that killed the old man and makes them pay for the crime with their lives. Abdul Alhazred meanwhile kills one of his captives in front of the others to say they work in the dangerous mines or they die by his hands.

This issue is wow pretty dang deep as it is dealing with slavery and how others think they have the right to “own” another persons life and send them to work for them or be beaten or killed…and not to get to political but no one EVER has the right to have slaves! The plot has a vile group of slavers coming to the jungle to work a mine for the riches and is using people they are taking from villages to do so, but while doing this they have gotten the attention of Tarzan as well as have taken and angered a strong willed Princess as well has have gotten a bunch of sleazy mercenaries on their trail. Tarzan in this issue shows that he hates the idea of slavery and has set a mission in his mind first to avenge a victim of it as well as to save and free all those who are being oppressed, Tarzan is a true noble man who while be might be a wild man still understands right from wrong. The Mercenaries in my opinion should not be trusted as they are into just getting the money to get the Princess back and one is even sneaking around killing elephants in order to sell the ivory. Princess Ayesha is a very proud and strong willed woman who would do anything for her father as well as her village, and I can not wait until she breaks free and gets her revenge on the slavers who really are truly the biggest scum bad guys we have seen this far in this series. Abdul Alhazred is a massive muscle bound villain who is pure evil and has no respect for human life and really does just care about himself and his want for riches, and while he is total scum he is also a great comic book bad guy as you find yourself hating him and counting down the pages until you see him pay. Also really liked how we get to see Tantor the elephant again as it’s always cool to see Tarzan’s animal friends lending a hand against the threats the jungle faces. The cover is good and the use of red makes it eye catching and need I say anything besides John Buscema on art again. This story arch as I have said is very raw and I cannot wait to see how Tarzan shuts these Slavers down!

Tarzan # 16  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 16 of 29

The mercenaries have found the bodies of the slavers that Tarzan had killed the night before and start to question if they should team up with him to raid the mine camp, as Tarzan listens he hears them speak about how they are really going to loot and will use gliders to escape once they get what they want…but something else makes Tarzan’s blood turn cold as he finds out that the mercenary named Simon is hunting Tantor for his ivory! Tarzan rushes off to save his friend but is two late as Simon not only kills Tantor but also several apes! Simon has to leave the Ivory behind as Tarzan is raged filled and teams with ape Dak-Lat to hunt Simon down. Meanwhile Princess Ayesha is taken to Abdul Alhazred who likes what he sees and orders his men to kill all the slaves once the mine is opened wide enough! Tarzan tracks Simon down just as the animal killer uses his glider and after knocking out two of the mercenaries both Trazan and Dak-Lat give chase as the Slavers think they are demons of the sky and open fire on them all, but Abdul Alhazred has used mind control and now controls Princess Ayesha! In the end while in the Mine a portal is opened and while Tarzan fights with Abdul Alhazred and the fight comes to an end when The Slavers come in with Dak-Lat who is killed by Abdul Alhazred and Tarzan is beaten! The mercenaries tell him that they would like to join him and together they walk through the portal, and Tarzan at the last second before it closes forever is able to as well crawl through it.

Tarzan is even more enraged when he finds that the mercenaries are bad people and one has killed his friend the elephant named Tantor, and worse while this is going on The Slavers are killing the slaves and the poor Princess has had her mind poisoned! And the strangest part is that a portal has opened in the mine that takes them all away to an unknown location and the issue ends on this cliffhanger! Poor Tarzan in this issue is the hero he always is but also has some much losses as his friend Tantor is killed as well as several apes and then he also gets roughed up and watches as the odds to save the Princess and the remaining slaves become more and more low as The Salvers just gain in power. The mercenaries really are scumbags and just want to get money with Simon being the worst as he also kills animals to sell the ivory in the black market! The mercenaries are ones I cannot wait to see them get what they deserve. The Slavers are as terrible as ever as they some very evil deeds that include killing slaves on orders and not being bothered by it at all. Abdul Alhazred is so ego driven that he really does think his word is law and to him all life is cheap as he does not care who dies around him…even his own men, not to even mention he is a sleazy trickster who uses “magic” to hypnotize women into being his slaves and sacrifices. The portal in the mine is very interesting to me and makes me wonder were it leads, as was it created by Abdul Alhazred as a quick way to get back to his home or does it lead to another dimension? But I will guess we will have to read the next issue to find that out. Plus a major bummer that Tantor has been killed as he was a very loyal friend and protector to Tarzan and his death was cold blooded. The cover on this issue is ok and had that classic late 70’s Marvel look and as like before the interiors are fantastic and done by John Buscema. Like before this is a great issue and shows that Marvel Comics and Tarzan The Ape Man go hand and hand.

Tarzan # 17  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 17 of 29

Tarzan in pain makes it through the portal and finds himself in a land called Pellucidar that is filled not only with wild animals but also dinosaurs and mystic stones and carvings. As Abdul Alhazred leads the mercenaries deeper into the land as he needs to sacrifice the Princess in this land in order to gain even more power, poor Tarzan listens to the plan as long as he can before passing out. Meanwhile Princess Ayesha is the trance is walking in this savage land heading toward the place she has been told to wait at, but lucky for her she is being followed by Hyena like creatures and she unaware of the danger falls into a river breaking the mind control and alerting her to the fact she is in danger and in a unknown land. But her savior is a young wild man who fights of the hyenas and whisks her away from Abdul and his helpers when he notices the fear on the Princess’s face as he thinks she is a goddess! Simon ends up picking up the trail of the Princess once they find the bodies of the slain hyenas and Abdul is getting angry as he wants his victim and craves his soon to be power and is loosing faith in the mercenaries as he is seeing them as fools not warriors. Tarzan wakes up to find that a spear is pointed at him by a priest mounted on a bird creature and none of these natives look friendly, so Tarzan does what he does best and that’s fight and in the fight the Priest is killed and Tarzan does his best to fight off this Death Cult Tribe and finally he must jump off a cliff to escape their spears. And once Tarzan finds land again he is meet by Pirates who have their guns pointed at him and as well do not seem friendly!

This issue is like Tarzan trapped in a weird savage jungle land version of the land of Oz as its friends with cannibal death cult tribes, pirates, wild men, dinosaurs and beasts! This issues plot thickens as Abdul Alhazred leads the scummy mercenaries into a savage wild world were he plans to kill the Princess in order to gain power as Tarzan is weak and must fight for his life against cannibals as a wild man saves the Princess and is acting as her protector…this is stuff of pure cliffhanger novels and movie serials. Tarzan barely gets a moment to catch his breath as he has been beaten up and once he wakes up he is under attack again! But the one thing you have to say about Tarzan is he does not back down from danger and will fight with his last breath. The Princess Ayesha is as well fighting for her life in a strange land, and if not for the unnamed young warrior she would have been killed by the lands savage meat eating animals. Abdul Alhazred shows that he does not care about anyone or anything but himself and what can benefit him! He is using the mercenaries and I am sure once they reach their goal and when he gets the power I am sure he will kill them all! The savage land of Pellucidar is very interesting as I like that the land has dinosaurs as well as cannibal tribes and pirates and they all seem like they are in bad moods and are out to kill! And I am sure at some point in this series we will see a clash between the Pirates and the Cannibals and while I don’t remember if this happens from reading this series in my early teens, I sure hope it does. And like before this issue ends of a major cliffhanger as a pirate has his gun pointed at Tarzan as the Lord Of The Jungle is getting out of the water, and you know that these guys are bad news for our hero. The cover for this issue is great and reminds me of a Marvel Conan The Barbarian cover and as always the inside art by John Buscema is great. To sum it up another great issue and I cannot wait to reread the next issue after all these years!

Tarzan # 18  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 18 of 29

Princess Ayesha and her Warrior savior climb onto the back of a pterodactyl and try to get away from Abdul Alhazred and the mercenaries who are right behind them and they open fire on our fleeing heroes with a bullet from Simon’s gun hitting the warrior, but they are able to get away. Meanwhile Tarzan is given an offer from the Pirates and their Captain to join them or die, and Tarzan joins as he hopes they can help him get his revenge on Simon and Abdul! Meanwhile the Cannibal Death Tribe meet up with Abdul Alhazred and are on his side as they think that the profits have talked about his coming, and when the tribe mentions Tarzan the mercenaries loose their cool and this causes Abdul to turn on them as well and threaten them with death! Meanwhile Tarzan and the Pirates spot the bad guys and before they can do anything they are attacked by a sea creature that leaves many of the dead and Tarzan and the Captain fighting for their lives as they could become lunch for the creature, Tarzan ends up removing one of the creatures eyes and in the end breaks its jaw ending its terror. For his heroic deeds The Captain tells his crew that Tarzan is now his blood brother as he has saved them all. Meanwhile someone has snuck and stole the Pirates buried treasure showing that another player is in this game of life and death in a savage world.

This issue explores the savage world of Pellucidar more and lets you see more of the groups that live there. This ones plot has Tarzan hanging with the Pirates and fighting off a massive sea monster while Abdul Alhazred and the useless mercenaries team with the Cannibal Tribe! And let us not forget that Princess Ayesha and her Warrior are still on the run with the Warrior being shot and also we have an unknown person watching from the shadows and stealing the Pirates loot! Tarzan in this issue is filled with revenge as he wants nothing more then to kill both Simon and Abdul with his own hands, but as always he proves that he is a real hero as he single handedly kills a giant sea creature and saves the lives of many Pirates…I also like that in this issue Tarzan is not impressed with the Pirates gold they try and give him and he looks at it like they just threw garbage at him. Abdul Alhazred keeps up his ego driven killer attitude up in this issue as he treats his mercenaries like scum and would kill them if given the chance, and I am sure will once he gets his power. The Warrior protecting Princess Ayesha has been shot, and this issue does not show us if he is dead or how bad the wound is…so as you can see we have so many questions that need to be answered with the biggest being who is the man in the shadows that steals the gold! This issue is a fun and solid read that brings action, adventure and drama and continues this storyline and is pretty much none stop action! The cover is great and once more reminds me of a Conan The Barbarian cover and the interiors are still being done by John Buscema and are great like before. Lets see what’s next in this story and see how closer Tarzan gets to his revenge.

Tarzan # 19  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 19 of 29

The pterodactyl that Princess Ayesha and her wounded warrior crashes and unlucky for them they seem to have been spotted by a race of mutant looking people. Meanwhile at sea Tarzan and The Pirates run into Abdul Alhazred and his ship filled with Cannibal Tribesmen and mercenaries and a bloody battle breaks out that leaves many on both sides dead as knives, swords, guns and clubs are all used to dispatch the other sides forces. The Captain pulls out his gun and shoots Abdul Alhazred in the face and finds that the bullet does no harm, and this scares the Captain and he wants to now break the ship away and no longer follow…and this angers Tarzan who punches out The Captain and tries to take over the ship only to find the crew is very loyal to The Captain and Tarzan jumps over board and starts his journey for revenge alone. Meanwhile one of the missing mercenaries is spotted on the beach and his friends what the ship pulled over but Abdul Alhazred is not having it and has the mercenaries beaten on his ship and the one is left behind. The Pirates return to find their treasure gone and they blame Tarzan and the left behind mercenary plays into it and says he watched Tarzan and the Cannibal Tribe steal it, and this letting him get a ride to the ship so get could get his revenge on Abdul Alhazred as well as Tarzan! While back on the ship of Abdul Alhazred he tells his beaten mercenaries that he had to do that because the Cannibals only respect power and that’s why he is showing it.

In this issue we follow as Tarzan becomes a blood brother to the pirates, to turn on them and now be their enemy. We learn that a mercenary that was missing is alive and is now lying and teaming with the pirates in order to get to his friends and get revenge. We also see that mercenaries are really at the mercy of Abdul Alhazred who commands the Cannibal Tribe and was able to take a bullet to his face and not be phased! And lastly we see that Princess and the Warrior have crashed and we do not know if they are alive or dead, but we do know some strange looking people watched them fall from the sky. Tarzan because of his quest for revenge goes from a hero to a scumbag in the eyes of the pirates as he turns on The Captain and then ditches them when they do not follow him as he claims he is the Captain now, man Tarzan will stop at nothing to get his revenge on the murderous dogs he chases. Abdul Alhazred is truly powerful as he shows that his coldness and evil ways really are bringing him power, as he is almost immortal as he takes a bullet to the face and does not even flinch, its clear that once he is able to sacrifice the princess and gain all that power he will kill everyone around him and will return to Earth and do the same until he rules the world with an iron fist. I am guessing also that the lost and found mercenary is the one who stole the Pirates gold and is blaming Tarzan for his own deed, but again I am just guessing here. The cover is good and eye catching and this time around Sal Buscema is doing the interior art and its great stuff. So with that lets see how this story continues and how the Princess survived the fall and who are the strange people who watched!

Tarzan # 20  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 20 of 29

The scumbag Simon is at it again in this new land as he uses his riffle and kills a whole herb of elephants to prove power to the cannibals, and when Tarzan finds them his rage burns even hotter as he wants to find and kill the men who killed his friend Tantor as well as avenge the slaves who have lost their lives in all this madness. As Tarzan heads out to find them he runs into a Saber-Tooth Tiger that is hungry and wants to make a meal out of Tarzan, and as the pair fight they stumble into weak ground and fall underground were they become allies in a fight against spear fighting lizard men who are on the attack and both man and beast win this day. Meanwhile another race of Lizard people have found Princess Ayesha and her Warrior and they watch as the lizard people hypnotize humans and lead them into the water, and sadly this fate comes for both the Warrior and Princess as they are lead into the water and disappear…but are they dead? Meanwhile Abdul Alhazred has the ship docked and sunk and tells his followers that they now will travel by foot to his desired spot, as the mercenaries and Cannibal tribesmen do what they are told. The Pirates along with the mercenary named Ike Frazier are still on the hunt for Tarzan and the Cannibal ship and while at see the are caught in a dark whirlpool at sea and The Captain, Crew and Ike are taking down into it. Meanwhile the Princess awakens in the water and fights of the Lizard people and saves the Warriors life and they run off to find safety together. In the jungle Tarzan is found by some slavers tribes men who try and take him hostage, but they fail to keep him and by the end of it Tarzan is heading toward the place of that Abdul is heading ridding on a pterodactyl.

This issue is crazy and is none stop action and plot twist and turns and is leading our cast of characters all over the place with many of them having doom all around them! And as a reader you find yourself drawn into not only this issue but also this massive story arch that has been taking place over about six issues this far. I mean just in this issue Tarzan goes from fighting a Saber-Tooth Tiger to killing a bunch of lizard humanoids living underground to getting captured and ending the issue flying away on a dinosaur…I mean if this does not draw you classic hero readers in I don’t know what would! Not to mention we really get to see the strong will of Princess Ayesha as she shakes off being hypnotized by humanoid human eating lizards, but also kills one and blinds another with one of their own teeth…The Princess is badass! Also its good to see while injured The Warrior that has been watching after the Princess is ok and is still doing his best to help her. The Pirates and Ike are in deep trouble as a whirlpool is sucking them down and both the Captain and Ike think that Abdul is being its creation and of course Abdul is on his quest to gain his power. This issue no joke is action after action and throws so much at you that it takes a moment after reading it to soak it all in! A great issue and once more shows that Tarzan should still be at Marvel Comics and that classic writers of the past should be brought back to bring the series alive again…but sadly I am sure this will never happen…but both Conan The Barbarian and Star Wars are back home at Marvel so never say never I guess. The cover is pretty great and has Tarzan choking a Saber-Tooth Tiger and Sal is on interior art again this time around and did killer work. A great issue in this great series that is bringing this story together is the best way to sum this issue up.

Tarzan # 21  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 21 of 29

Tarzan on his dinosaurs fights off more tribes men who all wish him dead now as he heads to a city in the swamp and that’s the same place Abdul is leading his people as something inside it holds the power he seeks. Meanwhile the Princess and Warrior are hiding out and watch as one of the lizard people enter and after talking to another on a screen activates a sound weapon that will hurt the humans of the planet! This sound alerts many of the animals as well including the Sabre-Tooth Tiger as well as Abdul and his pet hawk leading them all to the same location! With the weapon now set off near the swamp castle a the swamp water boils and out comes the Pirate ship and the crew find themselves in the middle of a massive amount of tribes men driven mad by the weapon and looking to kill as a large amount of them died from the canon! Tarzan once more saves The Captain from drowning and the pair with the remaining pirates fight off the tribes men and find out that all sides have been played by the now missing Ike! Abdul enters the castle and he now has no need for them even after Simon kills one of his own, but Princess Ayesha sneaks into the room and uses the cannon and has it pointed at Abdul killing his pet hawk and zapping him.

This issue answers the question we all have been asking sense this story started and that’s the power that Abdul Alhazred is crazing is really a cannon that is being used by lizards to fight human tribesmen! Now the main thing being we are not sure if he wants the cannon it’s self or if he is looking to have blasted himself with it to amp up his already dark and odd powers…so did Princess Ayesha hurt him or did she give him what he wanted, I guess we will have to wait until next issue to find out as this is the cliffhanger we are left on. Tarzan by now is just sick of all this and is taking the fight to anyone that is a Slaver or connected to Abdul Alhazred as he is taken over by rage and just wants to deal out cold justice. It is great that Tarzan and The Captain patch things up and learn that they both have been used by that snake Ike from the mercenaries who tricked them for his own gain and for his own set of plans. Simon of the mercenaries is really out for riches as he shoots his own fellow mercenary in order to get in good with Abdul who dismisses him as the madman has no loyalty just as Simon don’t. The Lizard Men are also pretty evil as they use a high tech weapon that kills many of humans lives and they seem to think its funny, these Lizard men as well need to be brought down and I hope Tarzan and the Princess do just that by the end of this tale, as I truly do hope that Princess Ayesha gets her revenge on everyone that has treated her terrible in this series! I also like how we see that the Sabre-Tooth Tiger is on his way to join this battle, and his team up with Tarzan reminds me of the 60’s Marvel Comic character Ka-Zar and his sabre-tooth cat Zabu who ran around the jungles of the Savageland. This issue is a solid read and is clearly wrapping this story arch as its clear that all the main players are in one area and an epic battle is about to break loose! The cover for this issue is ok and while fitting not all that eye catching and the interior art is done once more by Sal and is great. Over all another great read for this overly solid series based on the classic book character.

Tarzan # 22  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 22 of 29

Abdul Alhazred is now in pain after being shot with the cannon as Simon thinks about shooting him and taking all the power he has from the crystal for himself as he know understands that Alhazred’s raw and strange power is tied to this land and the crystal that also powers the cannon. Meanwhile the Lizard men bust in and attack Princess Ayesha and the Warrior, but the Princess grabs a metal pipe and bashes the controls to the cannon causing it to explode and after they all lay lifeless in the rubble. Meanwhile Tarzan along with the Pirates is on their way to confront Alhazred and his lackeys, but when they are almost their Tarzan splits from the Pirates and send them on the path of Ike who is the one who stole their treasure! As The Captain leads what’s left of his men after Ike Tarzan swings away in the trees to find Alhazred and Simon as the Lord Of The Jungle wants revenge. Tarzan in front of the Pyramid meets up with the savage warriors that had been blasted by the cannon and takes lead of the remaining men as a stampede of Dinosaurs and the Saber-Tooth Tiger stomp by heading toward the pyramid themselves, while The Captain and the Pirates see this and decide to give up the search and to find a boat and leave, unknown to them Ike was killed by the stomping dinosaurs. Alhazred snaps out of his pain and starts to beat up Simon as Tarzan and his Warriors break into the pyramid and fight with The Lizard People and the Cannibal Warriors and this massive fight gets broken up when the Dinosaurs come stomping in crushing anyone in their way. Tarzan breaks away from the fight and heads toward Alhazred and once to him he finds Simon dead from a broken neck and Alhazred wants to sacrifice Tarzan to the crystal to gain more power!

Man this storyline is getting crazy as this issue has Tarzan on his way to Abdul Alhazred all the while dodging rampaging dinosaurs, beating up Cannibal tribesmen, dodging the death stares of the Lizard Men and patching up his friendship with the Pirate Captain. While Abdul Alhazred himself is injured by the thing that gives him his power, turned on by his Mercenary hired guns and needs more human lives to feed to the crystal! Tarzan in this issue is super focused on bringing Simon and Abdul Alhazred to justice as they have wronged him over and over through out this story arch, and he also sticks to his word when it comes to not given up and being loyal to his friends, even when his anger sometimes made him make bad decisions. Abdul Alhazred shows slight weakness and we truly get a look at his power as we now know that it comes from the massive crystal that demands he give it human souls in order to get more power, and he truly shows he has zero respect for human life and the only thing that matters to him…is himself. Simon is so greedy that his own want for power is what leads to his neck being snapped and his soul given to the crystal. The other Mercenaries are just lambs in line to the slaughter, well besides Ike who is crushed to death under the feet of rampaging dinosaurs. Poor Princess Ayesha and her Warrior protector go down with a fight as The Lizard Men want then dead, and after the explosion I am not sure what her fate is! So much going on with so many characters involved, but damn it this is a great story and captures the mood and feel of a good Jungle Adventure! The cover is eye catching and has Tarzan fighting with dinosaurs and the interior art by Sal Buscema is great and showcases why I love Marvel Comic from the 70’s and Early 80’s. Over all a great issue that is winding down a storyline that has been one hell of a ride this far.

Tarzan # 23  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 23 of 29

Tarzan draws his knife and is ready to make Abdul Alhazred pay for all his crimes in the jungle against the slaves he has murdered, and Alhazred is more joyed with the idea of killing Tarzan to please the crystal. Tarzan goes onto the attack and after stabbing Abdul Alhazred a bunch of times he sees that the blade does not inflect any damage! That’s is until one blow cuts deeps and causes Abdul Alhazred pain and he starts to bleed and its clear that the Crystal is drawing power from his pain and anger as well, showing Abdul Alhazred is not the chosen one but just a pawn for the Crystal. This angers Alhazred and his fight with Tarzan gets more intense and grows with emotions of anger, hatred and rage and the Mercenaries do what they can to keep the Cannibal Tribe at bay, and with the combined forces of Tarzan’s knife and a gun shot from one of the dying Mercenaries they are able to wound Alhazred and he stumbles into the Crystal that drains him of all his life. With that the Mercenary dies leaving only one of them left, who now stands with Tarzan as he is ready to go home and put this nightmare land behind him. Meanwhile the savage warriors have defeated the Lizard people and the Cannibal Tribesmen and are now up with Tarzan who gives them one last order to destroy the Crystal and they obey. And at the wreckage of the cannon Princess Ayesha and her Warrior are still alive and he must fight off and bare handed kill one of the remaining Lizard People to save his ladies life, and in the end as Tarzan and the Mercenary head to find a way home, the see the Princess with her Warrior and know she is happier here then returning home to a destroyed village.

This issue wraps the story of Abdul Alhazred that madman who graved power and had no respect for human life, and in his end he learned that he himself was no one special as the thing that gave him his powers is also the same thing that took them back as well as his life. Alhazred is a great example of a classic bad guy as he is opposing, crazy, mean, strong, a killer and a great foe for our hero. His end is also very fitting as he himself faces the same grim death that he has sacrificed so many to and even with all his power and anger he just becomes a pile of dust. Tarzan after all this adventure and time in this issue he gets his revenge for the death of the old man as well as all the slaves over the years, its great to see him go full savage with his fathers knife and put up the fight of his life against a bad guy who clearly was stronger then him, but also not clearly as battle ready. I also like the fact Tarzan in this strange land has managed to make new friends with the Warriors and the Pirates! A plus for me as well is the fact Princess Ayesha and her Warrior boyfriend have a happy ending as that poor girl had some terrible luck and moments in her life in this series, so glad she was able to find happiness. I also like that the French Mercenary who was the only one among the bunch who was a good person not only lived but also found his inner power and learned how to fight to stay alive and to protect others. The Lizard People and The Cannibal Tribe are great backup bad guys who are as evil as the madman they follow, and they as well get brought down. This was a solid and great story arch that took Tarzan from the jungle all the way to a savage land in the middle of the Earth on a quest for revenge, and it takes so much twist and turns of action and drama that it really delivered a great comic book reads. The cover is eye catching and reminds me of a cover you would see for another Marvel Comic series like Spider-Man, Captain America or even X-Men. The interior art by Sal Buscema is fantastic and again holds that 70’s Marvel charm.

Tarzan # 24  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 24 of 29

Tarzan and The Mercenary have found the portal to take them back to their world and are seen off by Princess Ayesha, The Warriors and even the Pirates who all wish them well on their travel back, and Tarzan with The Mercenary enter the portal and once back home use TNT to blow up the cave that held the portal and then go their separate ways. Meanwhile Jane with the Waziri Tribe are with Jad-Bal-Ja the black maned golden lion and are watching a wild grass fire and making sure that it will not reach their houses, and also making sure that they will not be stomped to death by the stampeding animals! The fire has been started by rich white people Mr. Tory, Miss Lyle and their hired gun Ian Chalmers who ends up seeing Jane who is trying to help the scared animals who are heading toward a massive gorge and rushes to try and help, and this of course would kill them all if they fall over and Jane could not stand by and witness this. So along with Jad-Bal-Ja and the Waziri Tribe they try and save the animals life, but Jane is knocked out of her jeep and she falls off the cliff of the gorge and while hanging on the side the rhino that knocked her over is on a rampage and is about the push the jeep over as well…so death is closing in. But as Jane looses her grip Ian is to late and she falls and as the hunter is shaken he is about to be attacked by Jad-Bal-Ja as the lion blames this man for the death of Jane…but lucky for Ian Jad-Bal-Ja is netted by Mr. Tory who wants the beats head for his collection! Ian who has been a hunter in Africa knows that the black manned lion is that of Tarzan’s and that means the lady was Jane and he warns his boss that trouble is coming. Tarzan meanwhile is almost home only seeing the fire, but is more focused on getting home to see his wife.

This is a great way to end the Abdul Alhazred story to get into this new story that has British and American Game Hunters being the cause of hurting Jane and capturing Tarzan’s Lion friend! This issue’s plot has Tarzan getting back home and closing the portal to that savage land for good while his wife Jane is trying her best to save the life of animals that are running for their lives from a fire that is set by a rich hunter named Mr. Troy who wanted to eliminate the tall grass, and his actions lead to a major accident that leaves Jane falling over a cliff! Tarzan in this issue is on a mission to get back to his wife as he has gotten his revenge, but has been gone for so long due to being stuck in the savage land…and even during this quest to get home he still knows that the portal being left open would be dangerous so he uses some good old TNT and blows up the cave that houses it…Tarzan is a true hero who while flawed is a good person at heart as he wants to protect and save. Jane Greystoke as well shows how great of a person she is as she puts her own life in danger in order to save the lives of animals and she as well has no fear of danger and she is a fitting wife for Tarzan! The black maned golden lion known as Jad-Bal-Ja is awesome and is very much loyal to Jane and the beast does what he can to protect her and listen to her orders. Ian Chalmers is an American Hunter who is a gun for hire to help the rich hunt dangerous animals, and does not wish to hurt people nor even animals for no reason and I think he knows the danger they are now in with Jane being “killed” in an accident and also now that they have captured his friend the lion. Mr. Tory and Miss Lyle are so out of touch and are killing animals and causing land destruction for there own gain…and I don’t think they care or even really gets just what they have done. This is a great story to follow the long saga we just ended and I also like that this one appears to be very Jane centered as for many issues now she has been nowhere in sight so its great to see her also be a hero. Good action packed cover, great interior artwork from Sal Buscema and cool new characters make this a story I cannot wait to see what’s next.

Tarzan # 25  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 25 of 29

Tarzan returns home just as his son Jack “Korak” Clayton III does as well and the Waziri Tribe tell them of the fire and accident and this sets father and son off on a mission of rescue and revenge! Meanwhile we find out that Mr. Roger Tory is in fact not filling the animals as he wants them to put on display in New York to make tons of money as he thinks Jad-Bal-Ja will be a big prized feature as no one has seen a black maned lion before! Like before Ian tries to warn his boss that things will get really bad when Tarzan finds out about the accident of his wife, and Tory brushes it off and says they will deal and kill Tarzan if needed and they head back to camp. Unknown to them Jane has climbed out of the gorge, while she is hurt she is very much filled with anger and rage over the fire and accident. As Mr. Troy is packing up the animals to ship to New York they are confronted by a very angry Tarzan who goes crazy in the tent freeing many of the animals, beating up many of the hired men of Mr. Troy before setting his sights on the fat man himself, and just as he is about to kill the man he thinks killed his wife Tarzan is hit with a electric cattle prod and is attacked and shocked until he is knocked out. Once out cold Mr. Roger Tory, Sarah Lyle and Ian Chalmers cage Tarzan and decide they will take him and show him off in New York as a wild man! As they are loading up the animals and Tarzan they are confronted by a shotgun touting Jane who wants them to let her husband go, but Roger tricks her and gets the gun away and decides he will kidnap her are well to but in his “Great Show” and as Ian tries to talk sense into his boss he is made fun of and sent away. As Roger with his crew and cargo fly away Korak shows up with gun in hand to get answers from the natives left behind.

The plot thickens as this issue has the rich fat business man and his crooked crew now not only stealing animals from Africa but also is now kidnapping Tarzan and his wife Jane in order to turn them both into a sideshow attraction in New York! And their only hope is if their son Korak The Killer can track them down and set them free…well that is what we are lead to believe right now. Lets start with talking about the stories bad guys and the worst one is Mr. Roger Tory a rich fat American who thinks money can buy anyone and anything and that he can do what ever he likes cause he has the money to back it up. It’s also clear that life of others means nothing to Roger as he has no issues with killing animal or human and loves to also talk down to people as well as cheat them. Young woman Sarah Lyle is a greedy woman who only is around Roger as she sees him as a meal ticket to money and fame, she is also very mean hearted and only cares about herself and money. Another scumbag member of Roger’s crew is Smithers who is his accountant of crime and has it out for Jad-Bal-Ja as the beast clawed him during the fight in the tent…really he is a weasel and scum. Ian Chalmers is a hunter who needs the money of Roger’s in order to pay off gambling debuts, and he hates all the shady stuff but has to go along as the money talks and his own fears keep him in line. Tarzan lets rage blind him in battle in this issue and leads to his capture as he leaves himself open for attack. Jane is able to climb a gorge, over take a worker and steal his gun and even confront the hunting party, sure she gets captured in the end but she is one tough cookie! Korak takes his sweet time to aid his father in the search for Jane and is even late in order to save his parents from being kidnapped…in other words for a man that has the nickname Killer sure does not impress in this issue. And to me the thing that is great is that taking Tarzan to New York to display for a crowd reminds me of King Kong! The cover is great and shows action and just like before the interior art is done by the talented Sal Buscema and I great like before. So lets see what happens when Tarzan gets to New York and lets see if Korak can make up for his late to the party foul in the next issue.

Tarzan # 26  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 26 of 29

Tarzan is filled with rage and hatred as he is trapped in the cage as Roger informs him that he plans to make him the main attraction as his new themed club and that Jane is indeed alive and if Tarzan acts up he will have her killed, and in order to keep Tarzan quite Martin will be injecting his throat with a tranquilizer so that he can not alert people of his kidnapping! As the planes land Jane is placed in a sack and taken away as Ian watches, but does not act to save her while Tarzan is bound and yet still is able to almost kill Martin Smithers before he is finally injected and passes out. Roger loads up his new attractions and heads to his club as he has money to make. Meanwhile back in Africa Korak gets the answers from the helpers of Roger and heads off to try and hire a small plane to take him to America. Meanwhile back in New York Roger is leading a parade in order to build hype for his club and in this parade is a caged Tarzan as well as Jad-Bal-Ja, and as Tarzan is angry the crowd just cheer and laugh. While in a room in the Empire State Building Jane is being held captive and when she has a failed escape attempt, she soon learns that Ian Chalmers has fallen in love with her…and she will use this to her advantage. In the end we see the inside of the club that is filled with rich people and Tarzan is stuck in a cage with his yells and grunts going unnoticed.

This issues plot has Roger Tory getting to New York and with cruel tactics, drugs and beatings he does what he can to try and get Tarzan under control so that he can use this Lord Of The Jungle as a way to get money from those who enter his club. And all the while Jane is being as well held against her will and worse away from her husband as she is as well being used as a way to keep Tarzan in line. This is a great way to bring Tarzan to an American city and captures more reader’s attention as the series is not just Jungle adventures anymore and brings the drama and action to the society that they can identify with. Tarzan in this issue really is just a prisoner who while fights back against Smithers, spends the rest of the issue in a cage unable to speak and only with the want to escape and find his wife. Jane as well is helpless as even when fighting back and trying to escape the odds are just not one her side. And like before Korak is taking his sweet time to help is parents, he always seems to be like 500 steps behind when it comes to being the hero he needs to be. Roger Tory and his cronies are really put no value on human lives, as they will kill, mistreat and exploit anyone to make some money, in fact they are human traffickers…man these guys really are pure scum. Ian Chalmers shows that while he is a good hunter he really is spineless when it comes to standing up against the crimes of Roger, plus the fact that he is fallen in love with a wild man’s wife shows that this made is also not very smart! I like how this story arch is going and I feel that it shows the downside of humans as they really would pay to stare at and laugh at a human in a cage that was different from them. The cover is great and one that I remember from my youth and the interior art by Sal again is top notch. Over all another great issue in this Marvel Comics Tarzan series and to me proves that they do the Lord Of The Jungle right.

Tarzan # 27  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 27 of 29

Roger Tory is living large at his club as his customers are spending tons of money and are enjoying all he has on display including Tarzan who many think is just an actor playing a wild man, at one point many of the people at the club throw their drinks at him and laugh at his anger. Meanwhile Korak is on his way to take a private plane and fly it to New York in order to try and save his parents. Meanwhile at the Safari Club the mobster Blackjack and his gang show up as Roger owes them lots of money from a scam he pulled off in Chicago and they have came to collect and tell Smithers to go and get his boss. Meanwhile Tarzan and Jad-Bal-Ja are placed in a cell that is protected by unbreakable glass and are forced to fight for their lives against a massive Albino Gorilla who has been drugged and put into a rage! As Roger meets with Blackjack the alerts the mobster he can pay him in full in about a week, but this is not good enough for Blackjack to takes his tommygun and shoots the glass of the cell freeing Tarzan, The Albino Gorilla and Jad-Bal-Ja into the crowd who go into a panic! Meanwhile Jane once more take the chance to try and escape and knocks out a henchman as well as Ian and then breaks the widow of her room on the 85th floor and climbs up the building as Ian when woken up thinks she has committed suicide.

Tarzan who is the most feared and respected living being in the jungles of Africa is now stuck in a cage in New York being mocked, laughed at and used to as entertainment and all the while the man behind this torment is being threatened by a crime boss who wants the money he is owed and this is all comes to a dangerous event by the end of this issue as chaos breaks out in the club and a rampaging gorilla is set free! Oh man were to start but I for one love how this story is playing out as it really does remind me of King Kong as well as all the classic Jungle Movies of golden age Hollywood. I also like that now we have more bad guys added to the mix as the mobsters are just as bad as Roger and his goons and greed is what is pushing both bad sides. Tarzan in this issue goes from being mocked by the crowd to being put in a fight to the death against a gorilla for their entertainment, and because of the drug they injected him with he can not tell them this is not a show and he is no actor! Jane once more uses her charms and inner power to fight to escape and does just that by the end of the issue and even climbs the Empire State Building to do so! Korak besides saving a British Soldier from a panther attack he is pretty useless and spends the time trying to get to a small plane so he can fly to NY to save his parents, really this far Korak is moving at the pace of a snail and is doing no good at this point to save his family. Ian Chalmers is a guy who clearly down on his luck and while good at heart is so far in debut to Roger that he is nothing more then a hired gun that he keeps spineless. Roger, Smithers and Sarah are all about the Safari Club as they want to make all they money they can off stolen animals and a kidnapped couple, and its shows when they are faced with people that are bigger and badder then them they are cowards. Black Jack and his gang mean business and will kill to get what’s owed and will even put the lives of people not involved in order to get it, I think Black Jack is not done with causing issues for everyone. Jad-Bal-Ja the lion shows that he is loyal to Tarzan as he does what he can to help fight the rampaging Albino Gorilla who is so drugged that he feels no pain and only wants to kill anything and everyone in its sights! The cover is great and eye catching and shows Tarzan and the Albino Gorilla fighting and Sal does the interior art so you know its good. A great issue and I cannot wait to reread the next issue and remember how this story plays out.

Tarzan # 28  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 28 of 29

Ian Chalmers who original freaked out as he thought Jane jumped from the window on the 85th floor of the Empire State Building, now notices that she is trying to climb to the top of it! Meanwhile the cops have shown up to the Safari Club and before they enter the club they gunned down a lion and walk in as Tarzan and Jad-Bal-Ja are in a fight to the death against the Albino Gorilla and notice that The Black Jack Gang are standing with Roger watching this chaos. During the fight Black Jack starts to get a respect for Tarzan who is clearly the underdog but is fighting like a King and has zero fear in his eyes, he alerts Roger that if Tarzan dies he will die as well! And Black Jack then notices that Roger is hiding the knife of Tarzan and takes it and throws it to him and Tarzan uses it to end the battle and the life of the Albino Gorilla, and after the battle Tarzan is filled with rage and lets out a yell that chills the blood of everyone in the club. The Cops draw their guns and are about to gun down Tarzan and Jad-Bal-Ja when Black Jack and his gang pull their guns and warn the police to go take a hike or they will bring a war to the police department, and this works as the cops leave and Black Jack takes Jad-Bal-Ja and Roger to the docks and Tarzan rushes to the Empire State Building after getting Jane’s location from Roger. Tarzan reaches his destination and gets passed the cops and makes it to Jane just in time as Ian and his goons have surrounded her, Tarzan knocks them out and he and Jane jump onto a plane that flies by that is being flown by their son Korak and they head to the docks to meet with Black Jack

Wow this was a fun issue that is packed with action and drama and has Tarzan killing a massive gorilla, become friends with a gangster, knock around some police officers, get to the top of the Empire State Building, rescues his wife and flies away on the wing of a plane…yep this issue is pretty dang great! Tarzan in this issue is a man on a mission to survive a fight against the odds as well as to find and save his wife from the crazy world of New York City! Tarzan is the true hero of the jungle and his family and I love the fact he has zero fear when it comes to almost dying at the hands of the Albino Gorilla as well as when it comes to rushing past the cops like they are leaves in the wind. Jane as well has zero fear in her escape from Roger’s Goons and risks her own life in order to climb a building to safety with the idea to get away and save her husband. The useless Korak shows up at the last minute to try and play hero with his plane, he really is useless in this adventure. Black Jack and his Gang are bad guys for the most part, but do have some respect for Tarzan and his family and that’s why he decides to help the Lord Of The Jungle escape. Roger is truly a spineless coward who fears Tarzan, Black Jack as well as being sued by the guests of his club, not to even mention his goons including Ian have all failed in their missions and Sarah in the end dumps Roger! I really liked the fight between the Albino Gorilla and Tarzan who ended up having the use a knife to end the fight. I also was a fan of Tarzan running around New York City in order to find his wife and dig that they used the Empire State Building as the final stand place between Tarzan and Roger’s Goons. The cover is great and eye catching as it reminds me of King Kong and the interior art by Sal is great like before. Well next up is the final issue in the main series, so lets see how Marvel wraps up Tarzan.

Tarzan # 29  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 29 of 29

Tarzan along with Jane, Korak, Jad-Bal-Ja as well as a few other apes are all on a small boat in the middle of the ocean, they are all weak, thirsty and being burnt by the sun that is shinning down above them…and then Tarzan remembers back to what has lead them to this situation…he flashes back to New York as when he and his family arrive at the docks they are rushed onto a massive ship set but by Black Jack who handles the police when the show up and turns in Roger for kidnapping. While on the ship Tarzan and his family are treated like guests of honor by the Captain who even events them to the massive ball that is happing that night. While Tarzan goes to the ships cargo to visit his animal friends he stumbles upon a blackmail scheme going down between a sinister chap in a Top Hat and Mr. Vorga about rigging peace talks between two nations, as Top Hat has letters that Vorga had written to a sleazy female bar singer and will release them if he does not do what is asked of him. Tarzan as heard enough and snatches the letters from Top Hats hands and runs him off and threatens him if he comes back to Vorga’s room he will regret it. While at the ships ball Mr. Vorga and his wife sit with Tarzan and his family, but things get bad when Top Hats hired goon dressed as a clown stabs Vorga in the back and Tarzan gives chase as the goon and Top Hat run away…but Top Hat as other ideas and uses dynamite to blow up the ship and Tarzan just in time is able to save his animal friends and get them on a life boat along with Jane, Korak, the wounded Mr. Vorga plus his wife and the ships captain…and then we cut back to currant times as they are all hungry, thirsty, sun baked and missing land, when in a distance they spot land and better yet right near Tarzan’s home and they are all saved!

It’s crazy as this was the final issue in Marvel’s amazing Tarzan series and just like almost all the others before it, this issue delivers a great read that features the classic hero doing what he does best and that’s saving the day as well as beating the odds that are stacked against him. This issue has Tarzan and his family on a cruise ship that is taking them back home and before they can be dropped off a crazed man blows up the ship and causes Tarzan and the rest to fight for their life against the cruel sea and the blistering hot sun. Tarzan in this issue takes up for a man who is being bullied and as well shows that he is not only loyal to his family and animal friends but also to those who can not defend themselves, and when things get bad on the ship he not only goes after the bad guys but also does all he can to save lives from the sinking ship. Jane and Korak are around and while they are only bit players in this issue they do serve a purpose of being the motivation for Tarzan to fight harder and the reason to survive. Top Hat is a crazy man who wants to bride to get what he wants and when that doesn’t work he decides murder is the answer and then when confronted he ends up killing himself and others by blowing up the ship causing it to sink! I think the best part of Top Hat is that he looks like a cartoon bag guy complete with curly mustache…its great classic bad guys stuff. Marvel in this final issue gets Tarzan and his family home and it’s a fitting end, but also I wish his final adventure with Marvel would have been bigger and better and would have had him fighting a great cat or a super crazed witch doctor, and not the sun being the main threat. The cover is good and pretty dang eye catching and as always the interior art is done by the great Sal Buscema who did a great job of bringing Tarzan to the pages of this comic series. Tarzan The Lord Of The Jungle is great and is one comic series that I feel was really well done by Marvel and that the team on this book cared about what they were doing, and I for one had a blast re-visiting this series after all these years…and once more I want to thank my late Uncle Thurman for introducing me to it as him giving me these comics when I was a kid made me a life long fan of the character. Check out below for artwork done by Sal for this series.

But I know what you readers are thinking this is the Christmas Eve update for 2020 so we need more Tarzan…well you are in luck as its now time for me to take a look at the King Sized Annuals! So here is more Tarzan for your Holiday enjoyment.

Tarzan Annual # 1  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .50     Marvel     # 1 of 3

Tarzan returns to a site in the jungle that holds all types of memories from his time as a youth picking berries with his mother and then he remembers back to his first crush Teeka a young female ape who captured his attention, and he remembers back to having to fight Taug in order to win her hand! Tarzan and Taug are in a battle to the death that is until a panther shows up and is looking to bring down an ape for lunch and the cat has its eyes on Teeka, and while the others flee Tarzan with his rope and knife come to her rescue and after running the panther off Tarzan and Teeka spend the afternoon together, but when he leaves to find food she ends up going to Taug and this breaks Tarzan’s heart who goes on a multiple day long solo hunt. While in the jungle we watches a tribe build a cage and then later watches as Taug is captured in the cage and is taken away by the tribe. Tarzan thinks that this is the best thing to happen for him as with Taug out of the way he thinks Teeka will be his, that is until she sees the sadness in her eyes and this sparks him to try and rescue Taug. Tarzan saves Taug and the ape returns to his mate as Tarzan at that moment knew he was different from his ape family. We join Tarzan once more as he chuckles about his part memory and then he finds his old vein rope in the spot and remembers back again to a time when he first learned to swing from vines, and during a time he had a major fight with Bukawai a disfigured human witch doctor who lives in a cave near the ape tribe and has two hyenas as pets. One day a massive storm hits the jungle and Tarzan is injured when lighting hits the tree he was seeking shelter from, and who finds him is Bukawai who takes him to the cave and ties him to a pole and wants to watch as Tarzan dies, but Bukawai during this is being cruel to his hyenas who see Tarzan as a fresh meat meal. Tarzan figures away to free himself and ends up chasing off the hyenas and then ties Bukawai to the poll and the hyenas return to eat him! Back in currant times its now getting late and Tarzan is done remembering the past and swings off back into the heart of the jungle.

This first King Sized Annual is a great read for Tarzan fans and has a good plot that follows the Lord Of The Jungle as he dealt with his first crush and the heartbreak that comes along with it, and he also remembers back to the time when he had to face and bring down a evil witch doctor. Tarzan really is feeling nostalgic for his past as he remembers times with his ape parents, his first crush and even the first time he learned to swing around on vines in the trees. Tarzan even in his younger days had no fear and would fight to the death against anything that gets in his path of what he wants as he takes on a raging ape, a panther, a pair of hyenas and a crazed witch doctor. I think what works for this annual is the fact its moments from Tarzan’s past and showed how he has grown as just a young boy living with apes to becoming The Lord Of The Jungle! It’s also great to see that Tarzan’s ape father truly hated him and wished for his adoptive son’s death all the time. The issues main bad guy is Bukawai a witch doctor who was badly disfigured from disease and was shunned by his tribe cause this as well as the fact Tarzan disproved his cures and medicines, while he is crippled and broken down his hate and want for revenge keeps him going and all he wants to do is watch Tarzan die! But because his hate took him over when he had the chance to do so his cruelty to his pet hyenas turn them on him and he became a quick meal for them. The cover for this issue is great and very eye catching and features Tarzan standing over the body of a gorilla he brought down and the interior art done by John Buscema and is great stuff and once more has the classic 70’s Marvel appeal. Great read and a must for fans of Tarzan as it’s a fun story with more of Tarzan’s backstory explored.

Tarzan Annual # 2  ***1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 2 of 3

Tarzan and his lion Jad-Bal-Ja stumble upon a massacre, as dead bodies of humans are all around and only an old man who clings to life is able to tell Tarzan what has happened. You see a King, Queen and the Princess had been overthrown from their kingdom by the Kings brother who then gave the order to slaughter them all while they left…but the old man begs Tarzan to care for The Princess who is still alive with his dying breath. Tarzan finds the Princess who was in hiding and she is mad and wants revenge for the death of her parents…and Tarzan agrees to help her do so. Tarzan gets them to the Kingdom Of The Cliffs and as they walk across the bridge they are attacked and taken as prisoners to see The King! As the Princess shouts about how her parents were murdered by this new King he himself acts shocked about the death of his brother and ordered that Tarzan and Jab-Bal-Ja be placed in a cell and the Princess to be taken to her old chambers. The King is worried now as many of the warriors are grumbling about if the claims of a murder squad sent to kill the former King is true. Tarzan finds out that he is be to sacrificed to the Kingdom’s giant snake god and when that time comes all hell breaks loose as The Princess is able to stab The King with a dagger, Tarzan breaks the skull flame pillar that held the serpent back, the giant snake appears and is looking for human meat and Jab-Bal-Ja break free of his cage and attacks the giant snake along with Tarzan who as well breaks free! Tarzan and his lion with the help of the warriors would the giant snake that makes an escape that is heading toward the Kingdom’s High Priest who wants to throw the Princess from a cliff and end her rule before it even starts! Just as the Priest is about to toss her over the giant snake appears and knocks the Priest over the cliff as it as well goes over ending both terrible lives and as The Princess is about to fall Tarzan once more saves her and she takes her place as the true Queen of the Kingdom as Tarzan heads home with his lion to see Jane.

The second King Size Annual could be the best issue in all of Marvel’s Tarzan series as it really is a great fantastic read that brings action, adventure and even a dash of fantasy and has Tarzan saving a Princess and helping her get revenge on those who murdered her parents and stole her place of ruling the Kingdom. Tarzan is as always a true hero as he fulfills an old mans dying wish, protects and helps a Princess reclaim her kingdom as well as slays a massive snake that has been keeping a kingdom at bay. Jad-Bal-Ja the golden black manned lion is also very much a hero in this issue as he fights off warriors, sets Tarzan free and then also starts the main attack of the giant snake! The Princess is young but is a true fighter and is filled with rage and revenge and wants to bring down her Uncle who is the man who took over her Kingdom and as well ordered the murder of her parents. The Uncle King is truly a coward and scum as he forced his way into power and murdered his own brother and then also wanted to marry his own niece…yeah he is gross and when he takes a knife to the gut and dies you as a reader feels good about it. The High Priest as well to the Kingdom is a terrible person and wants power and wants to murder those by feeding them to a massive snake that ends up being the key to his own death. I loved the over all feel and story of this issue as it truly brings out a great adventure for Tarzan that would have made for a great movie as well! The cover is pretty great and the interior art is done by Sal Buscema and is great stuff! Now that I am thinking about it this issue reminds me of an issue of Conan The Barbarian and in fact it could easily been an issue if you just swapped out Tarzan for Conan. Over all this could be hands down my favorite issue in this series and shows that 100% Marvel knew how to make comics based on The Lord Of The Jungle.

Tarzan Annual # 3  **1/2
Released in 1979     Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 3 of 3

Tarzan, Jane, Korak and guests are in London and are celebrating Guy Fawkes day by given dressed up kids pennies and heading toward the Opera for a show that features Jane’s friend Julia Hague, and while going in they find out Julia’s sister Evelyn has gone missing in Africa! Jane and Tarzan make their way to Julia’s dressing room and find out that she is not missing but kidnapped, and that she is not allowed to tell a soul…but she has and a Dwarf in the Opera house has heard this and before Tarzan can grab him he escapes into the crowd. Later as the Opera starts Julia is singing her heart out and Tarzan is able to stop her murder as the Dwarf armed with a gun, Tarzan and Korak surround him and the Dwarf ends up jumping to his death from a booth. Now safe Julia shows Jane and Tarzan a box her sister sent her that has a tiny human skeleton in it and Tarzan knows were he must travel to Africa to save her, but worse someone in the shadows is once more watching and listening. Tarzan and his friend Pierre D’Arnot are on a small plane flying over the place called The Great Thorn Forest and are shot down by Max Hunter a man who works for Sykes and is the kidnapper of Evelyn, Tarzan is thrown from the plane wreck as Pierre is knocked out and still in the plane when its attacked by a savage all female cavewoman tribe called the Alali Women and after Tarzan and the now rescued Pierre run them off they soon find that Sykes and his group are also under attack and that the Alali Women have run off with Evelyn after Tarzan uses a flamethrower tank to scare them off, Tarzan and Pierre then capture the kidnapers and find out that they did so to sell off the mini skeletons that she found as they think they would be worth millions to the right buyers. Tarzan then rushes off after the Alali Women to save Evelyn only to find them at war with the tiny Ant-Man warriors, and the tiny warriors make short work of the Alali Women and during the fight both Tarzan and Evelyn are hurt and are shrunken down to have their wounds treated as the warriors and their King and Queen are friends of Tarzan! Meanwhile a rival race of Ant-Men use their tiny arrows to bring down Pierre and the kidnappers quickly tell the Ant-Men that Tarzan is the one who dug up their graveyard and that they will ride with them in the tank to get revenge for this crime! Tarzan leads the good Ant-Men against the invaders and white small and even turning normal size he is able to stop the flame tank and bring the would be kidnapers to justice as the good Ant-Men run off the bad ones. In the end Korak arrives with a plane and picks up Tarzan, the injured Pierre and Evelyn and they return to London.

This final Tarzan Annual is a great read and delivers a solid adventure for Tarzan as he goes from a London Opera House all the way to a tiny Ant-Man village in Africa and all the while he is fighting off a mad dwarf with a gun, wild cavewomen out for blood and a group of greedy kidnappers who seek money and fame. Really this story is as crazy as that summery discretion sounds! Tarzan clearly does not understand the customs of the civil world, and yet he at times is more human then the people that surround him in the big city of London. Tarzan also shows that he is loyal to his friends as well as his wives friends as he is willing to travel to a part of the Jungles of Africa that is dangerous in order to save the sister of a woman he has just meet, but is close friends of his wife Jane. He also shows once more he has no fear as he is willing to fight off all enemies that come at him in this issue. Pierre D’Arnot is a Frenchman who is close friends of Tarzan who as well rushes into a unknown danger to help, and is very useful with a gun, and thank the heavens that he wears a leather jacket of he would have been a dead man thanks to the tiny arrows of the Ant-Men. Korak and Jane are around and do their best to help with this kidnaping plot as well as keep the victims sister calm. The Ant-Men have two sides one kingdom is peaceful and is ruled by friends of Tarzan while the other side is bad and are looking for a war as well as a reason to truly hate Tarzan. The Kidnapers Martin, Max and Sykes are true scumbags who will snuff out a life, lie, cheat and steal all in the quest to make a quick fortune off anyone and everything. Plus the Kidnapers in their grasp has eyes, ears and killers in London and also are in control of a very powerful flamethrower tank that makes them super deadly. The Alali Women are a cave woman clan who want to mate and kill males that are foolish enough to stumble in their area, they are deadly and bloodthirsty and not to be messed with. This is a crazy adventure that is well paced and showcases once more that Marvel Comics knew how to make a great Tarzan adventure comic. The cover is eye catching and showcases Tarzan in danger from not only the Ant-Men but also the Alali Women. The interior art is done by the team of Sal as well as Ricardo Villamonte and is great stuff. No joke I am a little sad that this is the final issue for this update as I have had a great time covering Tarzan and his Marvel Comic adventures and wish it would have lasted a little longer. But with that said check out the artwork below to see the style used in these annuals.

Wow that was lots of fun re-reading the Marvel Comics adventures of Tarzan and for me they really held up and were fantastic 70’s comic reads that showcases just why Tarzan is still to this day a classic hero of pop culture. It’s a shame that Marvel Comics have not brought Tarzan back to the company as I feel that he could fit in perfect with their currant plans of returning characters like Star Wars and Conan The Barbarian as well as the newly added Ultraman. I would love to see a comic that would pit Tarzan against Conan as that fight would be epic and awesome. This was a long and epic Christmas Eve update and I hope that this holiday season brought you some joy and thank you for spending some time here at Rotten Ink. Our next update will be my countdown of films I seen in the theater this year and it’s a strange one indeed so I will see you back for that one. Until next time make sure to send a message to your loved ones, enjoy your holiday season the best you can and as always make sure to leave milk and cookies out for Santa! Be safe and I will see you next year to chat about the cinema.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Howling

It’s close to Halloween now, and for this countdown update we are going to once more take a look at a werewolf film that sparked a comic book series. To me along with The Wolf Man (1943) and An American Werewolf In London (1981) it ranks as one of the best werewolf films of all time, and of course I am talking about The Howling. Werewolves have always been my favorite classic monsters of myth and cinema as something about turning into an uncontrollable beast when the moon is full is just kind of cool and sparks a young Monster Kid’s mind like mine into being creative and have helped lead to the creation of Scars, The Carrier, Emo and Werewolf Of Ohio, all film characters that I have played in cheesy shot on video films. So as the full moon rises in the sky and what we hope is the wind howls all around us, it’s going to be an amazing time as I am happy to bring you From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Howling! So grab some silver bullets (and I am not talking about the cheap beer) and stay on the path as it’s time to visit The Colony and hope the werewolves stay away.

Before we prowl to deep into the woods around The Colony, we should take a moment and learn about the werewolves that run wild in The Howling. While there are tons of werewolves that are roaming around in this film, we will be taking a look at the Quist siblings who are some of the most blood thirsty of the pack. Eddie Quist is a very violent man who is branded a serial killer, though in reality he is much worse as he is a werewolf! Eddie is very mean spirited and likes to toy with his victims before he murders them in brutal fashion. Eddie also likes to talk very dirty to his female victims before turning into the raging beast to rip them to shreds. Eddie’s sister Marsha Quist is very cunning and uses her sex appeal and stunning exotic looks to draw her prey into a death sentence as brother T.C. Quist is a great tracker and hunter and uses these skills as a man as well as a werewolf. The siblings are the troublemakers of The Colony as they are sick of killing and eating cows and crave the hunt and taste of humans.

As werewolves, they have many tools to get the job done. Let’s start first with their appearance as they are beast-like and strike terror in those who see them. They also have sharp teeth and claws that can slice, rip, tear and mutilate human flesh and can do so fast or even slowly. They are also very fast moving and are excellent hunters and stalkers, and poor humans stand no chance against them. They also have a bone-chilling howl that can freeze people with fear and as well leave them open for an attack. They can also call upon many other werewolves, as they are pack killers as well as solo killers and this makes them very dangerous. As humans and werewolves, they also can shrug off attacks with normal weapons like bullets and none-silver knives. But as you can see, they do have weaknesses as silver bullets and knives can kill them as well as fire. The Quist clan, as well as the rest of the werewolves, are a violent pack of wolves and killers and show that while they can be killed, they are super skilled killing machines.

As you can see, Eddie Quist and the werewolves that make up The Colony are skilled killers, who are true beasts of no mercy. Now let’s take a look at the film they are from, The Howling. As always, I will be taking the film’s write up from our friends at IMDB and after I will write about the film’s production as well as my love for the film.

The Howling (1981)

“In a red light district, newswoman Karen White is bugged by the police, investigating serial killer Eddie Quist, who has been molesting her through phone calls. After police officers find them in a peep-show cabin and shoot Eddie, Karen becomes emotionally disturbed and loses her memory. Hoping to conquer her inner demons, she heads for the Colony, a secluded retreat where the creepy residents are rather too eager to make her feel at home. There also seems to be a bizarre connection between Eddie Quist and this supposedly safe haven. And when, after nights of being tormented by unearthly cries, Karen ventures into the forest and makes a terrifying discovery.”

In 1977 writer Gary Brandner wrote a werewolf novel called The Howling. Embassy Pictures wanted to make a film based on the book and originally hired director Jack Conrad, but after they clashed with him, they let him go. Joe Dante stepped in and brought in writer John Sayles to write the script that only took small elements from the novel it was based on. The script’s tone was horror but also added a dash of satire to make the film feel like Piranha (1978), a film Dante and Sayles worked on together. The film went onto casting, and names like Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan and Christopher Stone were brought in as the main cast with names like Belinda Balaski, Elisabeth Brooks and Robert Picardo rounding out the supporting cast. But what many people enjoy are the cameos from classic genre actors like John Carradine, Roger Corman, Forrest J. Ackerman, Dick Miller, Slim Pickens and Kevin McCarthy, who helped add a level of specialness to the film.

The film’s special effects went to Rob Bottin, who took over for Rick Baker who left the production to help John Landis on his film An American Werewolf In London, and Bottin did an amazing job with his transformation of Eddie Quist that rivaled the work Baker was doing on London. The production was your normal Hollywood shoot with deadlines and stress, and when done the film, it was scored by Pino Donaggio who delivered a great sounding score that helped bring the eeriness of the movie theme to life.

The film hit theaters on March 13, 1981 and was a hit for Embassy Pictures at the US Box Office bringing in a total of $17,985,893.00 on a budget of $1.5 million and ranked # 41 at the American Box Office that year. The year it was released, it came out with such other Horror Films as “An American Werewolf In London”, “The Evil Dead”, “Halloween II”, “Friday The 13th Part 2”, “My Bloody Valentine” and “House By The Cemetery,” to name a few. The film was well received by horror fans and was met with mix reviews from critics, many of whom kept comparing it to the novel. Even in 2020, the film has a major cult following.

I saw The Howling after I saw An American Werewolf In London, and it was because of my Dad that I was able to watch the film when it aired on a paid cable station like HBO or Cinemax. And after seeing the film, I was hooked and loved every second of it as I found the werewolf design to be badass, the effects were top notch and it was well cast as even as a kid, I marked out for John Carradine in any film. I also loved that the Grandma from Texas Chainsaw Massacre was in the bookstore! And whenever I hear someone say exotic beauty, Marsha Quist (Elisabeth Brooks) comes to mind, as they play that up for her big time in the film.

After seeing this film my brother and I tracked down the paperback novels of The Howling 1-3 written by Gary Brandner, and after reading the books I became more and more obsessed with this film and all the sequels that followed. I would go on to buy the movie on VHS and later on DVD and have also seen the film on the big screen over the years thanks to Horrorama events.

Back in the 2000’s, indie comic company Dead Dog Comics announced that they were doing a comic mini series based on The Howling movies, and I was super hyped as they were one of my favorite comic companies and they were doing comics based on one of my favorite werewolf films…but while the comic mini series was released, the Howling connection was dropped as rights issues kept it from happening…so if you want to check the comic series that was supposed to be The Howling, find the four issues of “Curse Of The Blood Clan” released in 2005. Over the years, I have bought The Howling soundtrack CD, t-shirts and hoodies, Scream Factory’s statue and even an old prism sticker. Say what you will about The Howling, but it’s one of the best werewolf films of the 80’s and is a true rival to An American Werewolf In London in story and effects.

Like all classic movies that spawn a massive cult following and a franchise, a lot of great merchandise was released around The Howling. Besides the film on all types of home media from Beta to Blu-Ray as well as the Space Goat Comic series, it has also had its fair share of shirts, posters, statues, soundtrack releases, a paperback novel with movie poster cover, stickers, fan art, Halloween masks, it’s been featured in many magazines and has had fan made toys! So if you are a fan of The Howling, there is lots of very cool stuff out in the world for you to collect.

The Howling really is a fantastic classic creature feature that helped bring werewolves back to the main stream, and it’s also great that in 2017 they got a chance to bring werewolves back to the world of comic books. I also want to talk about the elephant in the room when you talk about Space Goat, the company who made this comic series and who also did series based on Evil Dead 2. Their comics were great and came out on time and readers enjoyed them as they delivered some great horror comics based on great classic movies…but things got really bad for them when they decided to get into the world of board games and used Kickstarter to get the money to make them. Shon C. Bury was the founder of Space Goat Productions, and he had some big ideas for his company’s board games as he wanted to do one of Evil Dead 2 and The Terminator. Both had very cool game pawns, and both looked great and had gamers very much looking forward to getting them and having epic game nights with friends. The crowd funding goal was blown away on both games and over a million dollars was raised. New perks were added to the campaign, and the buzz for these projects hit a fever pitch! And they even promised that The Howling was going to get the board game treatment…but before they could get that game on Kickstarter, the lies and missed dates from the other two board games started to show through, and it was clear after months and years that Space Goat aka Shon had made promises of these board games that they could not deliver and in fact never did!

So over a million dollars of fans’ money went MIA. Later Shon reached out to backers to try and get more money from them to “make” the board games and help Space Goat stay alive. Also at this time former employees started to speak out about Shon, who they painted out to be a toxic person who treated everyone terribly at the Space Goat office, Shon responded by apologizing and seeking help for his anger issues.

But as time passed and the funds ran dry, Space Goat and Shon disappeared from the world of comic books and board games, and no full board gamers were delivered or made and only some backers got any perks sent to them. Then as quickly as they came, Space Goat Productions was closed and went to the great long box in the sky. It’s a shame that all this drama and board game stuff clouded up their comic branch as I feel that they were shaping up to be a good solid indie company that was delivering original and license issues to readers’ hands.

I am not sure what Shon is up to these days, and I know that for many the wound of not getting what they were owed via the crowd funding board games or even a refund is still raw. But again all drama aside, Evil Dead 2 backers ended up getting a break from another board game company called Jasco who honored their old pledges to right the wrong, and sadly because of this drama, and, for a lack of a better term, scam, the world lost a very promising comic company. And I fear that if Space Goat or Shon every tried to return to the world of comic books, they would be met with lots of anger and bad press for the sins of the past.

Before we move onto the update, I also want to take a moment to say that at time I think about what other cool horror movie themed comics they had in the works before they went under. They had Evil Dead 2 and The Howling with a Terminator series on the horizon…but what else was in the works we didn’t know about? Who knows, maybe one day I can track down Shon and ask him about what comics were to come.

So as you can see, the werewolves that make up The Howling universe are deadly and the film that started it all is a true iconic film of the 80’s! But now it’s time for us to take a look at the four issue mini series released by Space Goat in 2017! I want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for pulling these issues for my file when they were first released. So with that, let’s travel to The Colony and see what these bloodthirsty werewolves have in store for us comic readers.

The Howling # 1 ***
Released in 2017   Cover Price $3.99     Space Goat   # 1 of 4

Chris Halloran’s life has changed for the worse after he shot his best friend Karen White live on the news as she turned into a werewolf…and even worse, all of his fellow station workers who witnessed the event have had a hard time dealing with it as many have killed themselves over the events. Meanwhile in Santa Cruz, Vera comes home and finds Marsha Quist in her study. She wants to know information about to whom she sold a relic called the Hand Of Akkara. Vera is scared and pulls a gun and shoots Marsha who shrugs off the bullet wound and tells her the name “Joe Valentine” as the buyer. As Marsha starts to transform into a werewolf, Vera runs for her life and finds shelter in a carnival funhouse…but the werewolf Marsha finds her and knocks the woman’s head off! Marsha then howls at the moon as the first issue comes to an end.

The first issue of The Howling is a good solid horror comic that takes place after the events of the movie and has Chris dealing with the after effects of the killing of Karen on live TV and also has werewolf Marsha Quist looking for a relic as well as being still upset about how The Colony tried to change the werewolves and their want to hunt and kill humans. Marsha Quist is still using her looks and sex appeal to get what she wants and has no issues now turning into a werewolf and dealing out death in her quest to feed her hunger and to find a relic that we the reader are just learning about. Chris Halloran is the hero from the movie who thought he killed all the werewolves of The Colony only to find that many are still alive as the body count was low. He is also dealing with the mental strain of having to kill his friend on TV as well as looked at for murder. The story is intriguing right now, and I cannot wait to see what happens next with both Chris and Marsha and you know that more werewolves are on their way. This issue has some great use of blood and gore, and when the character Vera gets her head knocked off, it’s well done and showcases some gruesome great artwork. The cover is very eye catching and reminds me of the Scream Factory DVD. The interior art done by Jason Johnson is great stuff, and I would like to see more Horror Comics done by him! This is a great issue, and I cannot wait to see what issue two has in store.

The Howling # 2  ***
Released in 2017   Cover Price $3.99     Space Goat   # 2 of 4

Marsha Quist shows up at the house of an employee of Joe Valentine and asks were she can find Joe. When he doesn’t answer she rips his penis off and learns that Joe is always at a night club on Friday nights! Meanwhile Chris has started to notice that all the witnesses to Karen’s transformation are dying, and worse, the footage of the event is now missing from the station and his old boss seems to be covering something sinister up as if someone or some group is covering it all up and forever silencing all that saw it. Chris does some digging and finds out details about the murder of Vera and her husband, gets a shotgun from the black market, visits Walter at his book store and buys more books on werewolves and orders more silver bullets.  While leaving the book store, he meets a strange woman who leaves him a note and says she can help him expose the truth! Meanwhile Marsha Quist finds Joe at the club and tricks him into going back to his office with her with the promise of sex and once in the office she uses a sword from his wall to stab his leg and demands the Hand Of Akkara. As Joe opens his safe, a ton of guards come to his aid and they pay for it with their lives as Marsha turns into a werewolf and slaughters them all. Once Joe opens the safe, she also kills him and at the end off the issue she is holding the Hand Of Akkara and she is very pleased by this.

This second issue of The Howling from Space Goat is yet another great read and does a good job of moving the plot along as well as delivering some great werewolf kills! The plot for this issue has Chris uncovering what he thinks is a cover up of the werewolf clan and the killing of Karen. Chris really is digging deeper and deeper into this as he wants to avenge the death of his friend as well as his girlfriend Terry who was killed by a werewolf in the film. I also love that we see bookstore owner Walter back again as he now believes in werewolves and is going to hook Chris up with more silver bullets to protect himself from them if they come calling. It’s also very fishy that the tapes are missing from the TV station and that Chris’s old boss seems to be denying that Karen turned into a werewolf on air! Marsha Quist again turns up her hotness and uses her amazing looks to bait and kill her victims and boy does she have many in this issue. Each one is pretty bloody in nature showing this series is not pulling any gore punches. I also like that Marsha can change from human to werewolf at will and in the end by using her charm and death dealing skills is able to get the Hand Of Akkara that clearly is going to be a relic that will cause an uprising of werewolves. The killing of the office guards is a fun horrific time and her ripping the penis off of a victim is brutal and shows that Marsha is a killing machine. The cover is pretty great and for some reason the way Marsha looks reminds me of the face of the werewolf from the film “Cross Of The 7 Jewels” and its both awesome and also makes me laugh. The interior art by Jason Johnson is really good and once more this guy should be hired to make more comic based on Horror Movies! Another solid issue, and I cannot wait to read issue three now!

The Howling # 3  ***
Released in 2017   Cover Price $3.99     Space Goat   # 3 of 4

An all-woman adult film is being filmed when Marsha Quist shows up and kills both actresses and alerts the cameraman that she is in need of his camera skills very soon. Meanwhile Chris calls his old boss about a big scoop, and soon a man with a gun is sent his way, but this hit will not go off as planned as Chris was waiting for the hitman as was Ruth, the woman he met at the book store. They take the would be killer hostage and plan on getting information from him as they turn him over to a rag tag group of freedom underground hosts. Ruth used to work for the F.B.I. and as she leaves to meet up with her old partner who has proof of werewolves, she tells him she will leave a note with Walter at the bookstore. Time passes and Chris heads to the store and finds the note was left but it was one alerting him that someone has Ruth hostage. Luckily for Chris his silver bullets are in and might help him on his rescue mission. Chris is sent to the Porn Shop where Karen first met Eddie Quist and in a peep booth sees a video that has Marsha with Ruth and she tells him to meet her at the Colony! Chris knows it’s a trap but heads there anyway and with him he brings the Government group that is sending the hitman with the promise they can have the werewolves and brings the Freedom Group to clash with the government group…giving them a better chance of leaving alive. Once Chris frees Ruth, they find a tape that says play me, while outside Marsha Quist calls all the living werewolves to her side and uses the Hand Of Akkara to bring back the dead werewolves as a showdown to the death is on the horizon as the Marsha wants to bring back the rule of the wolf.

This third issue turns up the flame and allows the plot to thicken as Chris and his new partner in finding the truth, Ruth, stop a murder attempt as well as return to the scene of The Colony in order to have a final showdown with Marsha and her army of werewolves. In this issue, Chris is a hero who knows that his life is in danger but will do what he can to expose the truth to the world as well as save the lives of those he can. I also like that while he is our hero, he is also very much a normal guy who has fears of the unknown just like the rest of us. Ruth is a former F.B.I. agent who left her job after her department was shut down and all their data proving werewolves real was taken away. Her partner stayed on and is feeding her information making her a big help to Chris and his cause. Walter the bookstore owner comes through again as he not only delivers a case full of silver bullets, but also acts as the middle man between Chris and Ruth who have to talk in secret at times. The Government Agents and the weird Freedom Fighters are both gun carrying men of America who think their side is right in the cause…what cause you ask, well whatever one they are told is right! Marsha Quist with her Hand Of Akkara relic shows that she really does have the power as she can use it to not only bring the werewolves together but can also bring the dead ones back to life! One very cool part of this issue is that we get two key locations from the movie as we get the Eros Adult Store that starts the film as well as the Doctor’s Cabin at the Colony that was the location of the death of Eddie and Terry, nice touch having them both in this comic. The issue is bloody and filled with some great kills as Marsha has no time to deal with the adult film actresses and massacres them with a fast a brutal manner. The cover on this issue is pretty weak, and the werewolf version of Marsha looks weak and very odd, not an eye-catching cover at all. Jason Johnson’s interior art is well done, and I should also note that the characters that are returning from the film do not look like the actors who played them so for those hoping to see Walter look like Dick Miller…you will be disappointed, but again I have to stress Jason’s artwork is fantastic. Well we only have one issue left in this series and thus far Space Goat has done a great job continuing the story of The Howling, so let’s see what the final issue has in store for us.

The Howling # 4 ***
Released in 2017   Cover Price $3.99     Space Goat   # 4 of 4

Chris and Ruth hit play on the tape, and Marsha informs Chris that Ruth is not who he thinks. She is Donna who is a werewolf who’s loved one was shot and killed by Chris on that frightful night! As Donna transforms, Chris is forced to shoot her with a silver bullet, killing the woman he thought was his only ally. Meanwhile outside Marsha uses the Hand Of Akkara to bring back the dead werewolves that have all lost their human side making them total beast and for all accounts zombies, and they rush the Government Group and the Freedom Fighters and they all soon learn that silver bullets do not work on the undead werewolves unless you shoot them in the head. In the end, the werewolves kill the agents and the fighters with brutal fury and Chris stands alone against Marsha Quist who is joined by the zombie wolf versions of her brothers Eddie and T.C. with other werewolves starting to gather around. Marsha rubs it in that he has failed, and Chris is upset that he knows death is near and that he did not get revenge for Terry and Karen… and with that the werewolves attack and kill Chris. Moments later Marsha is holding the head of Chris and tells the werewolves that their time to rule is at hand once more.

The Howling comic mini series ends with a loud howl at the moon as the werewolves come together both alive and dead ones and they have a new queen with Marsha Quist who wants them all to rise up against humans and rule the world once more. The plot of this issue has Chris thinking he will be a hero and save the life of a newly made friend in his quest to expose the world that werewolves are real only to find out she is one and then must face off with Marsha Quist, the sister of two of the werewolves he killed off in the film. Throughout the series Chris Halloran is a man who is haunted by the past of having to kill his close friend on TV as well of the loss of the love of his life all because of werewolves. He tries his best to uncover why people in Government and his former employer the news station is covering everything up, only to be tricked himself and lead to his death that is very brutal by the hands and fangs of the beasts he wanted to warn the world of. Chris is a hero that the world needed and never got to know that he was around and trying to save them from a doom that is now on its way. Donna aka Ruth is a female werewolf who tricks our hero into thinking she is a former F.B.I. agent who is also trying to expose the world to the facts of that the beasts are real, but really her husband who was also a werewolf was killed by Chris in the film and she wants revenge as well. The Government Agents and the Freedom Fighters are two well armed groups that are at war with each other and both have interest in the werewolves, and while they are ready to protect themselves and have the right tools of the trade to stop the werewolves, they are not ready for the zombie werewolves that make short work of these would be heroes. Marsha Quist is savage and is so filled with revenge that she comes up with a plan that works and also makes it that she is the new Queen of the Werewolves! The comic is as bloody as the others as humans are bit, shot and torn apart and delivers some really good gory moments. The cover for this issue is pretty dang eye catching and shows Marsha and her werewolf brothers looking super deadly, and the interior art done by Jason Johnson is great stuff and he was the right choice to do this comic series. I am very surprised as I find that Space Goat did a great job on bringing The Howling to the world of comic books and delivered a good quick paced story that adds onto the lore of the film. Check out the art below to see the style of Jason Johnson.

The Howling is one of the best werewolf films of the 80s and our next update will showcase one of the best zombie films from the 70s as for the Halloween update we will be taking a look at the Fulci film Zombie 2 and the Eibon Press mini series based on it! I hope these horror themed updates up to this point have help make your 2020 Halloween season a little better as it’s clear that the virus crisis really has put a damper on the year and has stopped many the normal events and activities that take place during this time of the year. I hope The Howling update has you howling at the moon, and until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time as we Alert The Crew…The Boat Can Leave Now!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1956)

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame is one of the oldest movie monsters in the world of cinema, only behind the likes of Frankenstein’s Monster, Vampires and Witches to name a few. Over the years, many amazing films have been made about his deeds to save a young gypsy from the crooked arms of the law and church with the most popular being the 1923 version starring Lon Chaney Sr. as Quasimodo aka the Hunchback. But one of the most respected versions of the film came in 1956 and was a French and Italian production that brought together actors Anthony Quinn and Gina Lollobrigida as the main leads. And with this version came a very cool comic book adaptation done by Dell Comics in order to promote the movie and make a few coins while selling copies. And with this we will be having a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update all about this amazing film! I should also remind, and I am sure most of you never forget, that all the films based on the Hunchback of Notre Dame are based on the 1831 novel of the same name written by Victor Hugo. So if you’re ready let’s take a look at one of the world’s most classic movie monsters who in fact is no monster at all, it’s the cruel people around him that are the true monsters!

Before we take a look at the 1956 production we should come to understand the misunderstood “monster” of the film Quasimodo and the ways he deals with those who are evil and cruel. Quasimodo in this version is simple minded with his speech being bad. He has some strength and is easily told what to do by those he trusts. His means of dealing with people who stand in his friends’ or his way is the following: his appearance is deformed and it seems to shock those who look at him causing hysterics, he uses large stones, wood beams and even hot boiling metal that he drops from high above his Church home! He also will use his bare hands to throw humans off the roofs as well. Quasimodo also can use this knowledge of the Church itself to his advantage when it comes to fighting off his enemies. He also has a very high tolerance for pain making him very hard for people to hurt. But Quasimodo does have weaknesses as he is a normal man who can easily have his feelings hurt and can be killed with any manner of weapons like a sword or arrow. He is also very easy to confuse, and if you are a beautiful woman, he can be controlled and tricked. While Quasimodo might not be the most powerful nor even the most deadly we have covered on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update, he is one that is a force to be tangled with when he thinks those he cares about are in danger.

So as you can see, Quasimodo in this version is not super bloodthirsty unless you mess with the love of his life and then he would attack like a savage. But now that he have looked at the Hunchback Of Notre Dame himself we should now dive into the film he is from and chat about it. As always I will be taking the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB and it will be followed by some production chat and then some brief memories and thoughts I have on the film. So I hear some bells ringing in the distance so I think that’s our cue to take a look at the 1956 version of Hunchback Of Notre Dame!

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1956)

Paris, 1482. Today is the festival of the fools, taking place like each year in the square outside Cathedral Notre Dame. Among jugglers and other entertainers, Esmeralda, a sensuous gypsy, performs a bewitching dance in front of delighted spectators. From up in a tower of the cathedral, Frollo, an alchemist, gazes at her lustfully. Later in the night, Frollo orders Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer and his faithful servant, to kidnap Esmeralda. But when the ugly freak comes close to her is touched by the young woman’s beauty.”

Producers Raymond Hakim and Robert Hakim teamed up with director Jean Delannoy to bring the Victor Hugo story Hunchback Of Notre Dame to cinemas for the first time in color! The film was an Italian and French production, and it followed a very sword and sandal style of filming as those films were very popular at the time. The film’s two leads Anthony Quinn and Gina Lollobrigida were the only two who spoke English and the rest of the cast all spoke French and were dubbed over to play western theaters. The film’s production was for the most part pretty smooth, and the budget of the film was $1 million dollars. The film brought in $2.25 million in the US making it a success for distributer Allied Artist Pictures. The film was also the first to more closely follow the novel and has the character Esmeralda die in the tragic ending. Anthony Quinn who played Quasimodo is also known for being in such classic films as Lawrence Of Arabia, Last Action Hero and Avenging Angelo to name a very few and was on TV shows like Hercules And The Legendary Journeys and the Cosby Show. While the lovely Gina Lollobrigida is known for her roles in films like Beat The Devil and Death Laid An Egg. The film is well respected by film critics as well as film lovers and is truly a well made film.

I first saw this film when I was a youngster and it was on regular TV and can remember enjoying it as I have always been a fan of the tale of the Hunchback as he is truly a misunderstood man who people think a fool and a monster. I can still see in my mind the bright colors of this film and can remember thinking even as a kid that Gina Lollobrigida looked beautiful. And while I enjoyed this film, I never did own it until 2018 when I ordered it on DVD from Ebay…and that’s shocking as I have collected Horror Movies on VHS and DVD/Blu-Ray for many years and am a true sucker for classic monsters. And to be honest, I know why I didn’t own this film and just recently re-watched it after all these years and that’s because I forgot all about it as the film oddly fell out of the light and was not shown on cable nor was the home media release easy to get. The one thing that always stuck out to me about this film was the fact that the horror aspects are very much downplayed and the drama is turned up on high, not to mention even the look of Quasimodo is downplayed with less deformities and even his back is not as humped like in other film adaptations and is more just curved. But while the film is by no means scary, it is a great watch and is another great film released about the world’s favorite bell ringer. There’s not much more to say about this film besides if you have an extra 2 hours and enjoy the Hunchback, I recommend checking this one out.

We are now at the point of this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update where we will talk about the comic adaptation of the film. This one was done by Dell Comics as part of their Four Color comic series that featured fun comics based on not only movies but also TV shows and cartoons. I want to thank an Ebay seller for having this comic in stock and making this update possible as well as my gal Juliet who ordered this comic for me. And before the bells start ringing, I want to remind you that I will be grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the issue stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s join Quasimodo and see if this comic captures the magic of the film.

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame # 1  **1/2
Released in 1957     Cover Price .10     Dell Comics   # 854 of 1354

It’s the Feast Of Fools in Paris, and the town’s people of Notre Dame are drunk and rowdy and are even ruining the play done by Pierre Gringoire. When it comes to picking the King Of Fools, they disturb Church Archdeacon Claude Frollo with their noisy ways and he sends hunchbacked, deaf and deformed Quasimodo to ruin the throne. During the celebration, gypsy Esmeralda and her pet goat Djali are singing and dancing in the town square and has captured the attention of all the males in the crowd as she is beautiful. And then comes the time to choose the King Of Fools, an honor given to the ugliest man in Paris, and thanks to Esmeralda the crown goes to Quasimodo who soaks up all the attention. But as always, the stick in the mud Claude Frollo orders Quasimodo to follow him and wants him to kidnap Esmeralda and bring her to the church! But as Quasimodo does what he is ordered, he is stopped and captured by the King’s guards lead by Captain Phoebus who leads Esmeralda away where the two hit it off before Esmeralda runs off into the night. Meanwhile poor poet and play writer Pierre Gringoire is mugged and set to be hung by the gypsies but is saved by Esmeralda who agrees to take him as a husband for four years. The next day Claude is visited by the King who wants the Archdeacon to use alchemy to make gold as Paris needed more riches, after they talk they watch as Quasimodo is whipped and is shown mercy by Esmeralda who gives him water. And later that night the soon to be married Captain Phoebus meets Esmeralda at an inn, little do they know they are being watched by Archdeacon Claude who has as well fallen in love with the gypsy girl and he uses her own dagger to sneak and stab Phoebus in the back leaving her under arrest and the Captain shamed for cheating on his fiancé. The next day Esmeralda is tortured to confess she is a witch and is set to be hung, but Quasimodo saves her and brings her into the church where she is safe from the laws of man. While in the church, Quasimodo and Esmeralda become friends and she learns that Archdeacon Claude is a cruel man who wants her dead for she does not return his feelings of love and has convinced the King to go into the church and remove Esmeralda to pay for her crimes. When news spreads, the Gypsy rush the church to save her and are attacked by Quasimodo who believes they are there to hurt her. In the end the Kings men show up and kill Esmeralda with an arrow! Quasimodo in a rage throws Archdeacon Claude from the top church window ending this sad tale.

This Dell Comic Four Colors issue does its best to try and cram an almost two hour movie into pages of a comic book. The main story is intact with Quasimodo falling in love with Esmeralda and wanting to protect her because she also showed him compassion when he was in need of help and a friend. But many moments from the film are missing like the build up of Captain Phoebus healing from his stabbing and turning his back fully on Esmeralda when she asks for him to meet her at the church. It also changes the ending and does not have Quasimodo going to the crypt where Esmeralda’s body is and dying next to her of sadness. It also has Archdeacon Claude begging not to be thrown from the church, but in the movie, he embraces his death and does not say a word as he wanted to die. One other change this comic makes is that Quasimodo uses his fists and punches lots of people in the face and uses brute strength. So while it has most of the core of the film, it does change lots making it feel a little off as far as a full adaptation, but it is a great read for fans of the story and the 1956 feature. Quasimodo in this comic is a man with a big heart who allows love to guide him to do what’s right. The sad part is he knows he is “ugly” and the people of town treat him really badly and tease and mock him. Esmeralda is a gypsy who everyone loves as she as well has a big heart and is stunning to look at and wants to always do the right thing. Her only flaw is how good looking she is as she gets the attention of a Hunchback, a Captain, a Poet and an Archdeacon, and this becomes her downfall. Archdeacon Claude Frollo is a man of not only the church but also science who is not a good person as he would rather a woman he has a crush on die than to not return his feelings and be his. This comic has a few moments of violence but is bloodless and really feels like a Drama/History/Horror story with the latter being the most down played. The cover for this comic is a photo from the movie and is pretty cool and eye catching for fans of the film. The interior art is done by an unknown artist and is pretty good classic 60’s style art and very loosely looks like the actors from the film. Over all this is a cool comic based around one of cinemas classic movie monsters. Check out the art below to see how this comic looks.

So while Hunchback Of Notre Dame from 1956 might be more drama than horror, it’s still a very cool film based on a classic monster movie character that spawned a comic book from those crazy folks at Dell. And while Quasimodo aka The Hunchback Of The Notre Dame might not be as brutal as Uber Jason from Jason X, as silent and deadly as Michael Myers from Halloween or even as menacing as Tall Man from Phantasm, he still has the skills to kill, and while he is not a bad guy, he is a killer. For our next update, we are leaving the world of Horror and Notre Dame far behind and heading toward the world of DC Comics to take a look at another hero they barely use as a main character, and that’s The Atom! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a micro hero good time.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Killdozer!

Back in the 70’s and 80’s made for TV films were very popular and were the networks’ way of trying to keep viewers staying at home instead of heading to their local cinemas. And in 1974, thanks to ABC a Horror/Science Fiction hybrid film based on an old 1940’s novel was unleashed on viewers and sparked a cult following…that film is Killdozer! This made for TV movie not only got the comic book adaptation treatment from Marvel Comics but also has been talked about in TV shows like Beavis And Butt-Head, Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Tonight Show as well as in the film Planet Terror. In fact, some people think that the real life rampage of Marvin Heemeyer, who used a bulldozer to cause panic and destruction in Colorado, was inspired by this film and even the media used the name Killdozer when covering the tragically ending event. So as you can see, this film really has become a cult film and is the newest entry in my From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update. So put on your hardhat, as Killdozer is ready to strike fear into our hearts and souls!

Before we get to the film and the comic, we must first get to know and understand our “monster.” Killdozer started out as a normal giant bulldozer that was doing work on an island. It makes the mistake of trying to remove a metallic rock that fell from space, and in turn, the alien rock takes over the bulldozer and turns it into a human killing machine that runs on its own and seems to have a mind as well with one goal, to kill. Killdozer does not talk, does not listen to reason, and almost seems to like to stalk its human prey before going for the kill. Killdozer’s power came from the rock that fell from space and not much is known about its full power and whether the glowing blue life force that left the rock to enter the bulldozer was indeed a living being. Killdozer pretty much ruled the small island it was on and used much of the environment against the humans. Killdozer is massive in size, and his main tools for killing are its large blade plate with its other tools of death being its continuous track that can run over and crush as well as its ripper that can shred human flesh. Killdozer can withstand fire and explosives and even can keep moving without fuel. But while Killdozer might seem unstoppable, it does have some weaknesses like it can be tricked and out maneuvered as it is slower moving, and it as well does not like electricity. So while Killdozer can be stopped, it will take lots of will to live and strategy to do so, and while only a machine with a mind of it’s own, it still is a killing machine that humans should be afraid of.

So as you can see Killdozer! is a several ton terror that is driven by unknown powers from space and almost seems like it could be a prequel character to the Stephen King story and movie Maximum Overdrive! Now we are at the point where we will take a look at the film and its legacy as well as my first time viewing of the film. The movie’s plot will be taken from our pals at IMDB, and the rest will be written of course by me. So let’s take a look at the film that was inspired by a book that sparked a comic.

Killdozer! (1974)

“Construction workers building an airstrip on a small Pacific Island encounter an ancient non-material lifeform which has lived in the ruins of an ancient temple for millenia. The entity is of course malevolent and commandeers the earthmoving equipment to the general detriment of all concerned.”

Killdozer started out as a novel by Theodore Sturgeon and was released in 1944. Thirty years later, ABC along with Universal Television developed a made for TV movie based on the book in order to scare viewers and keep them from going to the cinema to watch a horror film. The film premiered on February 2, 1974 on ABC and was met with mixed reviews by critics and viewers. It would be many years before Killdozer! made its way to home video when Universal, through their DVD-R on demand service called The Vault, released it. Killdozer! It was released on TV the same year as these other Horror Films scared viewers on the big screen: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell, The Bat People, The Ghost Galleon and It’s Alive, to name a few.

I watched Killdozer! for the first time on January 16, 2018 via the Universal Vault DVD-R release…and I must say that while it’s was nothing too special, it had a fun early 70’s cheesy horror film feel to it and was very entertaining. What worked for this movie was the atmosphere as it was set on a very small island that gave our contract workers a very small area to hide in from the killing machine. The film starred Clint Walker who was in other made for TV Horror movies like Scream Of The Wolf and Snowbeast. It co-starred Neville Brand, who was in a number of Horror Films that include the 1977 Tobe Hooper film Eaten Alive, and they, along with the rest of the cast, do a great job pulling off that they are scared of a killer bulldozer. Another thing that shocked me is how good the score for the film was as it added to the over all Sci-Fi and cheesy nature of the film and was done by Gil Melle, who did scores for such other films as The Sentinel, Blood Beach, Frankenstein: The True Story and Death Scream, to name a few. Over all I must say that if you enjoy movies that have machines that running wild and try to kill every living person they see, then Killdozer! is one you will want to watch. I should also note that this film is bloodless, and all the deaths do not show harm coming to the characters.

Killdozer! found itself getting the comic book treatment the same year as the film aired on TV thanks to Marvel Comics and their series called Worlds Unknown that features cool science fiction and horror stories in every issue.  They have covered the likes of The Day The Earth Stood Still and The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad, to name a select few. And for issue 6, they adapted Killdozer! and even played up the fact it was also a made for TV Movie! I want to thank Amazon for having this in stock for this review. So before we frightfully dive into this comic, I need to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s travel into the comic world and see what kind of mayhem Killdozer! has in store for us.

Worlds Unknown # 6  **
Released in 1974     Cover Price .20     Marvel Comics     # 6 of 8

A war in space that took place long before our written time caused a killer cloud that took over machines and made them act as if they had a mind of their own. And during this battle, one of these machines was blown out of space, and it fell to Earth on an island where it remained for many centuries! Tom Jaeger and six of his workers are dropped off on the island a billion years after the cloud has fallen, in order to make a landing strip for the air force in three weeks. One of the workers finds a temple and after hitting it with his bulldozer, he unleashes the cloud that takes the machine over and kills the worker driving it and turns its attention toward Tom who does his best to shut the machine down. The bulldozer does not stop there and targets and kills two more of his crew, causes Tom’s own workers to think maybe he is the one doing the killing. But once the Bulldozer goes on a rampage again, Tom and his worker Chub figure out a plan to stop it once and for all by making it enter the water and then electrocuting it! As they set their plan into motion, Al the other living crew member tries to sell out his fellow man, but if does not work as Tom’s plan kills the Killdozer.  He and Chub then watch as Al loses his mind.

Marvel Comics tried to take the novel and movie based on Killdozer and make a comic adaptation of them, and sadly, after reading it, they fell a little short. The plot is about seven construction workers on an island who become the target of a killer bulldozer that has been taken over by a cloud alien from outer space, and the humans must stay strong and together in order to stop the dozers killing rampage. The story has elements of the film as well as some of the novel and blends them together to sadly make a mediocre horror comic that does not pack any major chills and all the kills happen off panel. While it is only mediocre, it still is a fun read and it’s very cool to see Killdozer itself as a comic character. I do enjoy that in this comic Tom’s crew start to turn on him and wonder if he is the one killing them off until they finally see the Killdozer roaming around on its own. I also liked the idea of a temple being built around the cloud from an ancient civilization in order to keep it prisoner. The downside to this comic is none of the characters are that likable nor do we really get to know them at all. The pacing is fast and yet still pretty lackluster. Tom is a focused man who tries his best to warn his crew of the Killdozer! and Al is a coward who is willing to throw his fellow man under the dozer in order to save his own butt! The rest of the crew members are throwaway characters who are all manner of generic. The cover to this issue is very eye catching and showcases Killdozer about to kill. The comic interior art is done by Dick Ayers and is well done and has that classic 70’s Marvel look. Over all, this was a fun read and is a cool comic for fans of the film or novel of Killdozer but is not what I would called a must read for Horror Comic readers. Check out the art below to see Killdozer in all its Marvel Comics glory!

So while Killdozer did not set the comic world on fire, it was still very cool to see a comic based on a made for TV horror film. And while Killdozer has a very small cult following, it still made its mark in the world of Horror Films and Horror Comics, no matter how small the mark is. My next update will be about another DC Comic Superhero that I feel is very under used, and that’s Hawkman! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for our flying adventure with Hawkman.

Rawhead Rex: The Sinister Pagan God Of Womanizing!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my ghouls and ghosts.  It’s hard to believe that October is here as it feels like just yesterday I was in Pittsburgh at Monster Bash with Juliet, and to top it off, we are at our 4th update in the countdown to Halloween.  For this one, I decided to leave the horrors of the sea and the supernatural and instead look into a monster god of Ireland that was created by the master of the twisted macabre himself, Clive Barker –  your horror fans know I am talking about Rawhead Rex. This quick update will be a good way to chill your blood as we take a look at the book the character came from as well as the movie and comic book that followed. So make sure to hide your girlfriend or wife as the mighty and sinister Rawhead Rex is on the prowl here at Rotten Ink, and he has been gone for way too long and his want for female companionship is out of bloody control.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Rawhead Rex 0

Who or what is Rawhead Rex? Before we dive into this update, I feel that it’s my duty to give you a quick crash course on him. Rawhead Rex is an ancient demigod demon who is the living evil embodiment of the male sex drive as well as macho-ness, and the need to kill and make it with women. He spent his time tormenting villagers eating kids and foundling and impregnating women. But when the town finally had enough of his rampage, they defeated him by burying him alive where he would sit for centuries. That is until a farmer set him free and reignited his rampage of murdering, including corrupting a worker at the nearby church in order to help him kill. Rawhead is so cruel, he sets a policeman on fire and even eats a child in front of his father all the while being so gleeful about his nasty deeds. The father and townspeople come together, and, with the help of an idol that represents pregnant women, are able to defeat Rawhead Rex, who is killed when the idol is used to bash his brains in. The movie version is very similar to the above origin that’s from the book besides the fact that a mother has to use the idol to send Rawhead back into the ground where he is buried alive once more. In the book, Rawhead is a 9 foot tall skinny penis headed monster with a mouthful of razor sharp teeth, shaggy black hair and tiny evil eyes, while the movie version is more of a muscle bound giant ogre looking creature with glowing red eyes and messy hair. His weakness is women who are pregnant or on their period as well as that idol. Rawhead is very cruel and doesn’t care who he kills or corrupts and is just a foul demon who enjoys the extreme sins of life and gets his sick jollies of using and abusing women. Below are pictures of the two looks of Rawhead Rex from today’s comic as well as two from the movie based on the short story that started it all.

Rawhead Rex From Eclipse ComicRawhead Rex In Cheesy ActionRawhead Rex From The Movie

Clive Barker is one of the world’s best horror writers and should be looked at with the same respect that people have for the likes of Stephen King. In the mid 1980’s Barker released a series of books that were titled The Books Of Blood Volumes that compiled many creepy dark horror themed stories.  Many of these stories would go on to be made into full films like “Candyman”, “Lord Of Illusions” and “Midnight Meat Train” to name a few, and many would also get comic adaptations thanks to Eclipse Comics. The book series lasted for six volumes that ran from 1984-1985 with each story being written of course by Clive Barker.  This is the series that put him on the map of must-read horror authors as they were highly praised by readers and critics alike. I can remember that my brother bought several of the Books Of Blood from Half Price Books and the Mary L Cooke Library sale in Waynesville when we were growing up, and I can remember the covers that had Halloween masks with eerie lights behind them and always wanting to read them but comic books and movie adaptation novels always seemed to win out when I wanted to read something. The older I got, the more I read – and not just comics but novels and short stories – and can remember reading Books Of Blood Volume 1 and enjoying the creepy horror and fantasy mixed short stories. This book lead to me reading more of Barker’s novels, and he quickly became my favorite horror author even over Stephen King! If you enjoy good spooky short stories, I recommend that you give the Books Of Blood a read, as I am sure you will truly enjoy them on a cold October night.

The Books Of Blood Volume 3

Rawhead Rex was made into a movie in 1986, directed by George Pavlou and starred the likes of David Dukes, Kelly Piper and Donal McCann with a script by Clive Barker himself. Empire Pictures was the distributer with Colin Towns doing the film’s score, and it was released in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The film was released to select theaters in 1987 and was pretty much panned by critics and fans as they found it boring and the title monster Rawhead not to be scary and too fake looking. But many diehard horror fans of the 80’s found the film enjoyable and grim as the film tackles many topics from the loss of a child to religion and tying it all together is the brutal killing machine Rawhead Rex. The film is really just a monster flick with gore and taboo subject matter thrown together into 89 minutes that show that with good is always evil and with religion comes history of violence. I first saw this movie with my brother Bryan when we rented it from K&L Video, and we both watched in amazement at how weird and cheesy the film was.  A short time later I watched it again via buying a VHS copy of the film and watched it with my pal Jason Gilmore and can remember having a grand old time as we both laughed at the rubber bouncy headed monster and some of the best and oddest dialogue of all time like a worker for the church busting our leads camera and then telling him to get the F out of the church as it has nothing for him. As time would pass and the more times I watched it the more I found myself really loving it.  In fact, I own the film on a overpriced DVD, the movie poster and even showed it on year at Horrorama. If you like monster run amuck movies that mix in old religions and a monster who pees on people to baptize them…check out Rawhead Rex as I am sure you’ll enjoy it.

Rawhead Rex 1.0Rawhead Rex Poster 00Rawhead Rex 2.0

Collecting horror films on VHS was always a fun time, and I can’t count how many times friends like Jason Gilmore and even my brother Bryan would hit video rental and used stores looking for tapes of films we really wanted to see or just own and watch again. I was a collecting machine and had so many VHS horror films that my room was packed with them.  I would collect your mainstream horror like Friday The 13th and Halloween, all the way to weird shot on video films like Death Row Diner and Blood Hook. And some of my old hard to get crown jewels in my collection were Evil Dead, that was out of print and for some reason really hard to find used in the Dayton area, the 80’s rock n roll slasher flick Rocktober Blood and Rawhead Rex, another one that was super hard to find but when I did it made my day. I can’t count how many times me and Jason Gilmore watched it and laughed and had a good time at the expense of the rubber suit that was crossed eyed in shots and head bounced as he ran. To this day I regret selling off my VHS horror collection to use the money to by the then new format DVD as many of the titles I got ride of never made it to disc, and I miss the amazing cover art of the VHS that some how made even the worst movies seem like gold. And the same place I got my copy of Rawhead Rex from called Second Time Around was the place that ended up getting my collection way back when and looking back at it, man, they really did short change me on what they paid out for them! But here is to all of you who were wise and kept your VHS tapes, and here is to all you new collectors as VHS is a great and grainy way to watch the horror flicks and no streaming or disc will match it.

rex-2Rawhead Rex VHS Coverrawheadrex

Rawhead Rex might not be a household name like other horror movie icons of the 80’s, but this doesn’t mean he didn’t get his fair share of merchandise to keep fans happy. Rawhead Rex has made appearances in many horror magazines as well as graced the cover of a few.  Of course he has his story in Clive Barker’s Book Of Blood Volume 3; he has had his own comic book issue as well as guessed starred in the Epic Comics Nightbreed series.  He has a movie poster, t-shirts as well as statues and even a mini figure as of late made as part of the Video Nasteez limited figure collection. So if you like this pagan god and his womanizing killing ways, you can find some cool collectables for your collection.

Rawhead Rex on a TshirtRawhead Rex SatueRawhead Rex Mini FigureRawhead Rex on the cover of Fangoria

As you can see, Rawhead Rex for some reason has always been around in my life.  To me he is up in the same class as other 80’s monster icons like Pumpkinhead and The Predator.  So while the moon is rising in the sky and I think that Rawhead Rex is awake and out of his unmarked tomb, I can hear him growling and screaming at the top of his lungs to have me remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. He is also reminding me to thank an Ebay seller who had this comic in stock for me to review for this update. So before Rawhead Rex wrecks my apt and knocks over all my comics, I think we should just dive right into the comic book review and see how well this pagan monster transfers from a short story to a comic!

Rawhead Rex Comic 1

Rawhead Rex # 1  ***
Released in 1994    Cover Price $9.99    Eclipse Comics    # 1 of 1

Zeal is a small village in England that is being filled with city tourist looking for a slice of the good old country life.  The locals like the money, but they don’t like the drama the tourists bring. A farmer working in his field comes across a stone in the ground and spends time digging it up and notices a foul smell coming from the ground around it.  After working for some time, the stone starts to move by itself, and a giant creature known as Rawhead Rex emerges and kills the farmer, stuffs him in the hole and starts its way into the country side as a bad storm blows in. The villagers are taking shelter to get out of the rain, and so is Rawhead, who picks a barn and slaughters and eats the pony that was inside! Ron and Maggie Milton are in Zeal looking at the house they bought some time back that’s still not ready for them to move into yet, and they plan on staying in town for a couple more days for an upcoming festival. Meanwhile Rawhead Rex decides that he is going to kill the family that the barn belongs to and makes short work of the father, has the mother fall down a flight of stairs and eats the child alive! At the church, Reverend Coot and worker Declan both have felt something odd at the day’s service as if they had sensations of extreme joy and lust.  This puzzles them, yet also brings about stories of the village’s past before God ruled the world, a time when Rawhead Rex walked and ruled. The police have left the scene of the farmer’s death, and while driving, Rawhead Rex attacks killing them and even ripping off one’s penis before the patrol car explodes. Reverend Coot is up late thinking when he catches a shadow outside in the graveyard and goes for a look only to find Declan kneeling before Rawhead Rex who is now urinating on the one time holy man who is 100% under his control now. Coot runs as Rawhead gives chase, and in-between the attack, Coot is able to phone the police for help.  But with the help of Declan the Reverend meets a brutal attack as Rawhead breaks his bones and guts him.  The police are too late to stop the attack but after shooting at Rawhead, he retreats into the woods and hides. Ron decides that Maggie and the kids should leave Zeal until the killer on the loose is caught as stories of the brutal murders begin to spread. The next day, while driving his family, his son is killed and eaten by Rawhead before his eyes. After reporting the murder to the police, Ron goes and visits the dying Reverend Coot who tells him with his dying breath that he thinks an item inside the alter at the church is the key to stop Rawhead Rex. Ron rushes to the church and finds a naked and crazy Declan who tries to kill him, but the fight turns as fires outside in the village set by Rawhead Rex distracts Declan.  Ron beats him down and finds a stone in the shape of a woman in the alter and rushes to town to battle Rawhead who has accidentally been burnt by the fires he set.  Declan tries to help his new god but falls prey to Rawhead who rips him apart to show his strength. But with the help of the villagers who attack Rawhead, the death of the monster comes brutal as Ron bashes his head in with the woman stone leaving the monster dead in the street.

This was a very cool comic based on the short story by Clive Barker, but I should also note that it’s very slow-paced and is filled with lots of dialogue mixed in-between brutal kills and the conflicts between city life and country life. The simple plot is of an ancient monster freed from its tomb in a small village in England and runs amuck and is stopped by a grieving father and townspeople once and for all when they stand together against it. The complex story part of this comic is that Rawhead Rex is truly the raw nature of man who wants to kill and eat and is self-absorbed and is gluten for sins.  Add in a Father who is questioning his faith and finds that this demon demi-god is the answer as well as a family who must deal with the brutal death of a son and you’re just skimming the top of this wild story. Rawhead Rex is one mean spirited killing machine as he uses his hands, teeth and size to torment and kill and the only emotions he shows is joy when killing, disgust when around a woman who is having the time of the month or a baby in the oven and fear when he knows that the stone has been found. The fear for Rawhead was so bad for the stone that the demon demi-god poops himself with fear!! But with that said Rawhead Rex is very evil and not a demon monster that anyone would want to tackle if real. Declan is a madman who turns on God in order to worship and due the bidding of Rawhead who ends up not being his savior but his angel of death, very interesting character as his madness comes on fast and his loyalty knows no bounds. Reverend Coot is a man who tries to use the power of God to stop the evil of Rawhead but sadly just becomes another body for the meat wagon, but his dying words are what leads to the plan to defeat the demon. The poor Milton family are just in the wrong part of England and the hungry of eating kids leaves the son dead and the father in such a rage the revenge is the only thing on his mind, and this rage leads to the death of Rawhead once and for all. The fact that Ron bashes the brains out of Rawhead shows you just how mad he is!! The comic is filled with curse words, some slight nudity and lots of gore with my favorite death being the death of the Milton son who has his head bitten off, dragged away and later picked apart and ate by Rawhead who is relaxing in the hills acting like he was eaten a bowl of potato chips! Rawhead really is one sick son of a devil as he really does eat children in this comic! The cover is cool and showcases the razor sharp teeth of Rawhead Rex but also really does feel dated and has the 90’s independent horror comic look to it, the art inside is done by Les Edwards and has a nice painting meets pen look and this captures the dark and sinister story really well. I should also note that this comic has a back of story taken from the Books of Blood called “Twilight At The Towers” and it’s a good read as well and a perfect backup story. Over all I really enjoyed this comic adaptation of Rawhead Rex and while some parts dragged the over all feeling of dread made it a good comic to read on this October night. If you’re a fan of the short story or even the movie give this comic a read as I am sure you’ll be pleased with the brutal nature and creepy monster. Check out the art below to see the style of Edwards as well as see the glory of what Rawhead looks like in this twisted comic tale.

Rawhead Rex Art 1

Rawhead Rex has been defeated again and sent to his grave thanks to a very determined father armed with a statue of a pregnant woman, and with that womanizing monster out of the way, we can continue our countdown to Halloween. While the Halloween update won’t be a custom made comic from a artist friend, it will be something fitting for this year. But before we even announce what that topic will be, I should share what our next one will be about – the classic Marvel comic reprints called Dead Of Night! So I hope you come back to visit for the 5th update in our countdown. Before we go I want to once again say I truly do enjoy the legend of Rawhead Rex, and this update was a fun one to write, even if the comic much like the DVD and VHS was hard to find and cost a good penny to get. So if you’re a farmer, whatever you do, don’t free Rawhead Rex as your town won’t be ready for his path of rage and gross behavior. Until next time, watch a horror film or two, read a horror comic or three and support your local Horror Host and have a great October!

Dead Of Night Logo Marvel

Terror Of The Deep Blue Sea…JAWS!!

GET OUT OF THE WATER! I am not screaming this at you because you just ate a hamburger and dove into the pool.  We all know you could get a cramp from that, but I am screaming this because our 1st countdown to Halloween update is all about that terror of the ocean Jaws! Humankind has always had a slight fear of the ocean and the Great White Shark has always been the foe of those looking for a good time in the ocean as they are known man-eaters and are not afraid to take a bite out of you! But in 1975, thanks to Steven Spielberg and Universal Studios, the world became afraid to go swimming as the film JAWS chewed its way to the top of the box office and made viewers scared to enter the water! The first time I saw Jaws is when my Dad showed it to me on cable TV, and I can remember even at a young age loving the mood and slow burn approach as the final showdown of man vs. shark unfolded before my young eyes. I can remember getting the same charge and wonder when watching JAWS 2, but the series lost steam for me when I watched part 3 and the revenge. So this update is going to be a fun one that I hope helps build you up for Halloween that is just around the corner.  So lets get on our wetsuits and dive into the water as we take a look at JAWS 2 and the Marvel adaptation of this classic late 70’s drama horror film.

The Shark Is Waiting For You

To understand JAWS, we must first travel back to 1916 and the Jersey Shore line as a rogue shark attacked people along the coastline and beyond.  For 12 horrifying days, this man eater went on its rampage leaving four dead and one injured. The first attack took place on July 1 with the victim being Charles Epting Vansant, who was 25 years old and was attacked by the shark while on vacation and swimming at Beach Haven.  His legs were being bitten by the shark and by the time help got to him, the shark had stripped the flesh off of his left thigh.  Charles would go on to bled to death from his injuries. Witnesses claimed that the shark even followed Charles up to shore before returning back into the Atlantic Ocean. The next attack took place on July 6th when 27 year old Charles Bruder was swimming at Spring Lake where he was attacked by the shark who bit his abdomen and, rumor goes, even severed the young man’s legs turning the water around him blood red in color.  He also bled to death from his injuries. On July 12, a group of boys went swimming in Matawan Creek when Lester Stilwell, who was 11, was attacked by the shark.  The other boys fled and ran to town for help.  Among them was Watson Stanley, a 24 year old business man who dove into the water to save the youngster, but he was bitten by the shark in the thigh and bled to death from his injuries. Stilwell’s body was found later downstream on July 14. Less than 30 minutes after the deaths of Stilwell and Stanley, in the water near Wyckoff Dock, Joseph Dunn, who was 14 at the time, was bitten and attacked by the shark who clamped onto his leg.  Dunn’s brother and a friend saved his life when they pulled Joseph away from the shark and were able to get him to the hospital in time.

After the attacks, panic filled the good people of the New York and New Jersey coastlines and many fishermen and trackers tried to hunt down the wicked rogue shark. Most believe that Michael Schleisser, a lion tamer for the circus, caught the shark when on July 14 he did battle with one that nearly sunk his boat and was nearly 8 feet in length. After beating the shark with a broken oar, he found the belly of the beast was filled with human flesh and bone! The shark was dubbed “The Jersey Man-Eater” and was mounted and placed on display in a shop off Broadway, until the body of The Jersey Man-Eater went missing some time later. But even after this, people still didn’t think that this was the right shark and that the real killer shark was still out in the water looking for more humans to chomp on.  Over the years, TV shows and channels like In Search Of, History Channel, Discovery and many more have covered this case and have given their own opinions on wheter the real Jersey Man-Eater ever was caught. The real downside to this story is that in 1916, before many of these attacks, boat captains had warned people about seeing the shark or sharks in the water, and they were laughed at and ignored.  Lives could have been saved if only they would have listened to those who know the sea better then most. Below is a picture of The Jersey Man-Eater and Michael Schleisser, the man who captured him and “stopped” the 12 Days of Terror.

As a youngster, author Peter Benchley loved to go fishing with his dad in Nantucket, and during this time, he would encounter sharks.  This sparked his fascination with these powerful predators of the waters. These boyhood memories would stick with him, and he would spend years thinking about writing a novel about a shark that attacked people and would not go away as its bloodlust was just too powerful. In 1964 fuel got added to the fire when a 4,550 pound shark was caught off the shore of Long Island, New York.  By 1971, Benchley was struggling as a freelance writer, but fate was about to change when he had lunch with his editor Thomas Congdon who encouraged him to write his fiction book about the shark attacking a resort.  History was made as the novel Jaws hit bookstores and became a hit with readers and some critics. The book had many titles during its production like “Leviathan Rising” and “The Stillness In The Water,” but out of the need for something easy to fit on the cover, they stuck with a simple title “JAWS.” A funny fact about the book is that it climbed California’s best seller list when the film was going into production as Steven Spielberg and many of the other producers bought hundreds of copies of the book to hand out to crew and family! Growing up, I had a paperback copy of JAWS and can remember reading through it but never finishing it.  I’m not really sure why I never finished it as I always enjoyed the movie and like most kids was in awe of the ocean and all the fish and animals that live in it. I could go on and on about the book and go into more detail on its creation as well as it’s impact on culture, but I just wanted to give you a little nibble and not a chunk about it.  So to sum it up, if you love the film make sure to read the novel if you have not done so yet.

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So up to this point, we took a look at the true events that inspired JAWS with the 1916 attacks near the Jersey Shore, and we also took a quick look at the novel that inspired the film series, written by Peter Benchley. Now I think its time to go out into deeper water and take a look at the JAWS franchise that has a total of four films under its man-eating belt. Growing up, I watched these movies so many times, and for me, the shark “JAWS” was just as much an icon of horror as Norman Bates, Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Leatherface, Chucky, Dracula, Tallman, Cemetery Zombie and so many other amazing characters that shaped my youthful mind! So let’s get to the fat of this review and take a quick look at the films in this series with film write ups being taken from our good friends at IMDB.

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JAWS (1975)

It’s a hot summer on Amity Island, a small community whose main business is its beaches. When new Sheriff Martin Brody discovers the remains of a shark attack victim, his first inclination is to close the beaches to swimmers. This doesn’t sit well with Mayor Larry Vaughn and several of the local businessmen. Brody backs down to his regret as that weekend a young boy is killed by the predator. The dead boy’s mother puts out a bounty on the shark and Amity is soon swamped with amateur hunters and fisherman hoping to cash in on the reward. A local fisherman with much experience hunting sharks, Quint, offers to hunt down the creature for a hefty fee. Soon Quint, Brody and Matt Hooper from the Oceanographic Institute are at sea hunting the Great White shark. As Brody succinctly surmises after their first encounter with the creature, they’re going to need a bigger boat.”

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JAWS 2 (1978)

The small island resort town of Amity is trying to bounce back from the financial troubles that suffered after becoming known as the site of shark attacks four years earlier. Mayor Larry Vaughn is welcoming developer Len Peterson and his new resort to Amity. Two scuba divers are exploring the area where the Orca sank after police chief Martin Brody killed a huge shark four years ago. A shark shows up and devoured the two divers, but not before one of the divers takes a close-up picture of the shark’s eye, and sometime later, while a mother is driving a boat that’s pulling her water-skiing teenage daughter, the shark devours the daughter and causes the mother to accidentally blow up the boat, then a killer whale is found on the shore with a huge bites on it. After Brody sees this, he knows there’s another huge great white shark in Amity’s waters, but Vaughn and Peterson explain these attacks away as non-shark accidents, because the thought of another shark in Amity’s waters would drive…”

I decided that since Jaws 2 is the film the comic adaptation we are reviewing for this update, I would share a few fun facts about the film. Steven Spielberg was asked to direct the sequel but turned it down as he felt he made the “definitive” shark movie and claimed that “making a sequel to anything is just a cheap carny trick.” He later stated that he would have possibly come back to direct the sequel if he didn’t have a troubled production at sea with the first one. One of the film’s early ideas was to have the sons of Brody and Quint be on the hunt for a new man eating shark that was causing chaos. One of the scripts was a downbeat one, and Universal stepped in and made them make it a little more cheery! Susan Ford, daughter of former president Gerald Ford, shot the film’s publicity photos.  Martha’s Vineyard was used as the location of Amity’s town scenes, and the crew was met with mixed reactions this time around as many of the locals thought that the big production and its workers were rude and not happy go lucky like the first film’s crew. Roy Scheider, who played Sheriff Brody in the original film as well as this sequel, was not to happy to be in this film and was paid a large weekly salary but was always in a bad mood and would complain and argue with the director. Students from Gulf Breeze High School were hired to play extras at $3.00 an hour and were able to miss school in order to film. Just some fun facts that I wanted to share.

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JAWS 3-D (1983)

Michael Brody and Sean Brody, the sons of former Amity police chief Martin Brody, work at Florida’s Sea World, a seaside park run by Calvin Bouchard. Sean befriends Kelly Ann Bukowski, and Michael’s girlfriend Kathryn Morgan is Sea World’s head scientist who always works with Sea World’s dolphins Cindy and Sandy. In its man-made lagoon, about 40 feet under the water, Sea World opens the Undersea Kingdom, a new set of underwater glass tunnels that have their own control room, and Calvin’s friend Philip FitzRoyce is there to do some filming. When Sea World diver Shelby Overman vanishes, everyone is worried. Michael and Kathryn head into the water, where they find a baby great white shark and decide to bring it to Sea World to put it on display, but at Sea World, the baby shark dies. When Overman’s body is found, Michael vomits when he sees it. Kathryn looks at the body and knows that the baby shark could not have been the shark that killed Overman, because the baby shark’s bite radius …”

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JAWS: The Revenge (1987)

Ellen Brody still lives in the island resort town of Amity, and her sons Sean and Michael don’t work at Sea World anymore, and some time ago, Ellen’s husband Martin Brody died of a heart attack that happened because he was afraid of sharks. Sean is now a deputy in Amity. One night, during the Christmas season, Sean is called to untangle a log from a buoy, and when Sean goes to the buoy, he’s killed by a great white shark. After hearing about this, Michael, who is studying to be a marine biologist, visits Amity with his wife Carla and his 5-year-old daughter Thea. Wanting to get away from Amity and spend Christmas with Michael, Carla, and Thea, Ellen goes with them to their house in the Bahamas on an airplane whose pilot is Hoagie Newcombe, and Hoagie starts falling for Ellen. Michael’s friend Jake, who is also studying to be a marine biologist, lives next door to Michael. Sometime later, while Michael and Jake are out at sea, their boat is attacked by the shark that killed Sean. …”

The first film in the series was directed by Steven Spielberg and was a mega hit not only at the box office but also with critics.  The sequels were directed by Jeannot Szwarc for part 2, Joe Alves for part 3, and the 4th and final was directed by Joseph Sargent.  While mostly hits in their own right, they never did capture box office gold like the original. In 1975, Jaws was the top grossing film, beating out Rocky Horror Picture Show, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Deep Red, Death Race 2000 and Dog Day Afternoon to name a few and bringing in a total to date of $260,000,000.00! Jaws 2 in 1978 was the 7th highest grossing film with $77,737,272.00 beating out such classics as Dawn Of The Dead, The Deer Hunter, Revenge Of The Pink Panther, Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes, Debbie Does Dallas and Damien: Omen II. Jaws 3-D in 1983 was # 15 with $45,517,055.00 beating out films like Scarface, Psycho II, Porkys II, Twilight Zone The Movie, The Outsiders, Cujo, A Christmas Story, Krull, Strange Brew, Amityville 3-D and The Evil Dead. Poor old Jaws: The Revenge was not a shinning star in 1987, locking in the # 54 spot and only bringing in $20,763,013.00.  It did, however, beat out other cult films like Born In East L.A., Masters Of The Universe, Over The Top, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, Hellraiser, Creepshow 2, Prince Of Darkness, The Gate, Back To The Beach, House II, Who’s That Girl, Death Wish 4 and The Chipmunk Adventure to name a very select few. It’s clear that Universal decided not to make a 5th film due to the poor performance of Jaws: The Revenge that had a massive drop in box office dollars and was showing signs of a tired franchise. With no new JAWS movies being talked about and the idea of remaking it shot down by fans and Hollywood itself, those looking for shark movies to send shivers down their spine will have to watch the series on DVD or get their fix with the many clones that this series has sparked like Deep Blue Sea, Shark Attack, Open Water and countless terrible made for TV films. I will always say the first two JAWS films are fantastic and a great way to spend time watching right before you vacation or head to your local beach. I should also say I would love to see Universal do another JAWS sequel as I feel the time is right to unleash the giant shark again on movie goers. Oh, and my girlfriend Juliet would kill me if I didn’t mention that the mechanical shark from JAWS was named Bruce and that many special effects people had to work very hard to get it to move and work right as the salt filled water and air made for a very tricky production.

Jaws Attacks

Amusement park Universal Studios Florida had an idea to take a popular tour attraction from their Hollywood sister park that had during the tour of the studio seeing Jaws who would try to attack as they passed and turning it into a full ride of its own! Universal along side Ride & Show Engineering with consultant Steven Spielberg began planning on constructing the Jaws Ride that they hoped would be a major attraction for the Florida theme park. The ride opened on June 7, 1990 but was plagued with many issues as the special effects of the ride seemed not to want to work and many times daily it would have to be evacuated from all the breakdowns. The ride was a flop at first as Ride & Show Engineering failed to make the ride to work and failed at designing the ride to work in water, and for years Universal tried to make the effects and ride work, but could never make it happen as it was just to poorly made by the designers. But hope for a solid and iconic ride was in the cards as Totally Fun Company, Oceaneering International and ITEC Entertainment came to the rescue and redesigned the ride almost from the ground up! The ride reopened in 1993 with Roy Scheider, Steven Spielberg and Lorraine Gray being on hand to introduce a crowd of fans and riders to the horror ride experience of their life! In 2004 the ride was shutdown for a short time and then became a seasonal ride in 2005 when gas prices rose after hurricanes slowed down production of the petroleum, but due to the mass amounts of complaints from guests they opened it full time again in 2007. While it was a major attraction on January 2, 2012 Jaws The Ride was closed down by Universal Studios Florida to make room for new attractions that turned out to be Harry Potter World and the ride “Harry Potter And The Escape From Gringotts” and this was terrible news for me as I have always wanted to ride Jaws but never got a chance…stupid Harry Potter! I am guessing for those who don’t know what the ride was about I should fill in. The ride has a “captain” taking guests around Amity Island all the while Jaws attacks as explosions and special effects go off all around. In the end thanks to a power cable JAWS is defeated and you make it out of the boat alive! On a cool side note on March 31, 2001 Universal Studios Japan was able to get a version of the JAWS Ride that is still open till this day, showing that they understand that the ride is iconic and didn’t need to break it down for Potter and his magic world. By the way I have nothing against Harry Potter…or do I? My cousin Stephen Alexander was able to ride it in his youth as has many other of my friends so at least they have their memories of this iconic and groundbreaking ride. Below are some pictures of the ride taken by happy guests as well as an old school ad for it.

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One thing about JAWS I remember just as well as the films I grew up watching, is the scene in Back To The Future II when Marty McFly played by Michael J. Fox is walking down the street in his hometown Hill Valley now in the future (2015) and playing at the Holomax Theater is Jaws 19 directed by Max Spielberg, who is the real life son of Steven, the director of the original JAWS. The film’s tagline is “This Time It’s Really Really Personal,” and as Marty walks by the cinema, a giant holographic JAWS pops out and comes toward Marty who screams and soon finds its all just an illusion to sell tickets to the film. Sadly 2015 has passed, and so far we have not gotten a JAWS sequel since 1987, but here is to Robert Zemeckis and the cast and crew of Back To The Future Part II for making a fun moment in that classic film.

Back To The Future 2 Jaws

JAWS also made it so that it was not safe to play you video game system of choice as many games have been made based around this killer great white shark. The Commodore 64 version was released by Box Office Games a game sadly I have never played but will track down and do so someday. The Nintendo Entertainment System got one put out by LJN and this is the one I remember the most as it was a game I have owned for years and have spent many hours going from port to port to get shells to trade for tools of the trade to try and defeat JAWS. More modern games made for PS2, Xbox and WII were made by Majesco and has you the player control JAWS and complete missions that including humans and other ocean life. So as you can see JAWS in video games allows players to be humans but also the shark depending on the systems you play it on and the companies who developed them. I really do have good memories of playing JAWS on the NES and even with the last few years I watched my cousin Stephen beat it! So for all you readers who are gamers there is many ways to pick to play JAWS.

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The Angry Video Game Nerd in 2012 episode 101 entitled Spielberg Games reviewed JAWS for the NES and gives his typical funny review of it all the while ripping it a new one over it’s beyond repetitive game play and the over all cheesy way and awkward way you must beat JAWS in the final battle that has you as the player spear him in the neck with the end of your boat! Also during this episode he looks at NES Games like Jurassic Park and Hook, so if you like funny and crude reviews done by one of my favorite internet stars make sure to give it a watch.

AVGN Jaws

Like all good Horror Movie Franchises JAWS has had it’s massive share of merchandise from video games to soundtracks and everything in-between. Topps did trading cards for JAWS 2, many pool toys where made to make your swimming pool a scene from JAWS, T-Shirts, Pog Slammers, Novels, Hats, Posters, Magazines and even in 2015 ReAction figures were made! Some of the things I have owned about JAWS over the years to present include the Novels, Marvel Comic Adaptation for JAWS 2, the POG Slammer, trading cards, soundtracks and just last year (2015) Juliet got me the ReAction figure of the shark! So all you fans of this film there are many great collectables out in the world for your collections. Oh and I am almost pretty sure that my cousins Dino, Norman and Nick had the pool toy JAWS as I can remember us one summer playing out the movie in their pool!

Jaws Pool ToyJaws 2 Trading Card packJaws ReAction Figures

John Williams is the master of movie music and has done the scores for such films as Superman The Movie, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, E.T., Raiders Of The Lost Arch and JAWS! These titles are just a drop in the hat of the amazing work he has done in films that have inspired and entertained viewers for decades. The JAWS 2 soundtrack is refreshing, as Williams did not recycle his old music from the first one and added a new flavor to fit the over all nature, mood and characters of this sequel. While the familiar JAWS theme is present it’s done in a new way with only it playing along with a new piece of music to sandwich it between. While I find JAWS 2 to have a fantastic and fitting score it still does fall a little short at being as iconic as it’s predecessor. While I wrote much of this update I played my CD of JAWS 2 as background music and found it very fitting and really put me into the frame of mind to write about these series of films and the Marvel Comic. The track from this soundtrack that I like to play on WYSO is called “End Title. End Cast” that mixes soft melodies and booming horns. Over all if you like score music to films like I do this one is a good one to have in your collection. This soundtrack can be found on Vinyl, Cassette and CD so many ways to own it in your collection.

Jaws 2 Soundtrack CD

There is blood in the water now and the sharks are starting to circle us so I think its time that we take a look at the Marvel Super Special of JAWS 2 and see just how well this comic holds up to the film. I want to point out that I will call the great white shark JAWS through out this review and in fact did so throughout the update, I know that’s not the sharks name in the film but as a youngster I grew up calling the shark that name and find myself still to this day doing it, so in other words old habits die hard. I want to thank Lone Star Comics from Texas and my favorite store to order comics online from for having this issue in stock. I want to also point out that make sure your oxygen tank is filled and your flippers not broken as 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 if your ready this cool September night lets dive deep into the ocean and come face to face with the one and only razor toothed menace of the ocean JAWS.

Jaws 2 Comic

JAWS 2  # 1  ***
Released in 1977    Cover Price $1.50    Marvel    # 1 of 1

A pair of lobster divers find a sunken boat and think of the money they can make of the salvage, but soon find that they are not going to live long enough to make that money as Jaws the great white shark is back and makes a quick meal of them. On Amity Island Chief Brody is still scared by the events that took place there three years before as is the town that has lost traction of being a good place to vacation. Brody and his fellow officers find the divers boat abandon and later a group of collage age skiers are attacked by Jaws and their boat blown up leaving no evidence of the shark attack. While Brody is being laughed at for his obsession of sharks his young sons teenager Mike and youngster Sean are taking a boat out to a small island that holds a lighthouse and spending time with friends, but as they are in the water so is Jaws who once more targets some divers who are sadly in the wrong place at the wrong time. Brody along with a helicopter hit the water to bring the teens in as it’s now clear that Jaws is back! Mike and Sean along with friends are having a great time when Jaws attacks and eats and kills many of the youngsters with her powerful jaws and razor sharp teeth, the beast of the ocean also brings down the helicopter and kills it’s drivers! Finally Brody is able to trick Jaws into bitting down on a power line that was at the bottom of the water and brought to the surface thanks to a drag line and once Jaws chomps down on it, the great white shark is fried and Brody meets all the surviving teens and his sons on the Light House island.

Jaws 2 translated from movie to comic very well and has enough cut and some slight adds that make it feel like it’s own adventure, as they could not squeeze a nearly 2 hour movie into a standard comic magazine special. The plot is this Brody and the town of Amity are not over the shark attacks that took place three years in the past and now the shark is back and hungry for flesh and revenge and when Brody’s own children are on the menu he must try his hardest to save them and the town form the sharks warpath of chaos. Sheriff Brody is a man stuck in the past who has grown to fear sharks and even the ocean and spends most days on duty watching the waters. He is getting to the point were is paranoia is effecting his relationship with his teenage son Mike are he wants him to stay clear of the water as he fears that another shark attack could happen. But even while paranoid Brody still has the respect of the towns people and steps up to be the hero again when the shark comes calling for human hide to chew on. Sean and Mike are just normal youngsters who want to just enjoy the summer and travel the waters on Mike’s new boat. But when they don’t listen to their fathers they of course run into trouble that leaves many of their friends dead! The Shark or as I call JAWS is one mean mama who wants to eat as many people as possible before summers end, she travels the waters looking for divers, swimmers and skiers and seems as if she has a bone to pick with Brody as she targets his children. That’s one thing I really do like about this comic adaptation they really push home that JAWS is a female so that should make female readers happy that the killer of this horror comic is indeed a female. The comic is pretty bloody and has the shark eating and ripping people apart with also depictions of blood in the water. The horror element of the comic is present as they try and build the idea into the readers mind that JAWS is always in the water and will not stop killing and eating humans, they add the drama factor with Brody and his son Mike not seeing eye to eye and mix them all together with a small town feel. The art work is done by the team of Gene Colan and Tom Palmer and for the most part its fantastic, the only downside is that none of the characters besides JAWS looks like the actors who played them making for a slight disappointment. But with that said the shark art and murders are top notch stuff and pretty brutal for a Marvel Comic from the late 70’s. The cover as you can see is good but also very cheesy and does great job of mixing sex and violence. Over all I must say I had a fun time reading this comic and it was a great way to kick off the first update in my countdown to Halloween! So check out some artwork below and see just how cool JAWS looks in this fun comic adaptation.

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So now that the waters are safe, and we made it safely past the jaws of that great white shark, we should take a look at another horror icon that has made the leap to comics.  I am thinking that in honor of his fifth film, we should look at the Tallman from the Phantasm series and the comic made by Xmachina! So make sure to come back for that one as I am sure it will be a bone chilling good time! It’s now time that I leave you as I have some Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre and Sparkle Comics duties I need to get done, so until next time, stay out of the water, watch out for sharks, read a comic or three and support your local horror host.

Phantasm Logo

Star Trek : The Intergalactic Icons Of Space

Space is a vast place filled with all types of mysteries and things that we have yet to discover.  Many people my age grew up with space and planets like Mars being things that sparked imagination as well as discussion in and out of school.  Not to mention things like Star Wars, Flash Gordon and The Last Star Fighter were popular films, and some even had toy lines that all kids still played with. But one space themed show always got my attention was Star Trek.  Characters like James T. Kirk, Spock and Leonard McCoy were all interesting and already had iconic status in the mid 80’s when I first remember watching the show. So for this update, I figured that in honor of the new Star Trek film in theaters, the announcement of a new TV series in the works and the fact that earlier this year Juliet spoke about Star Trek: The Next Generation, it was time for me to take a look at Marvel Comics series based on the original crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise! So set your phasers to stun and be ready to beam aboard as we boldly go where Rotten Ink has only gone once before!

Enterprise Ship In Space

Gene Roddenberry was born on August 19, 1921 in El Paso, Texas and later with his family moved to Los Angeles and became a fan of stories about Tarzan and John Carter Warlord of Mars. Roddenberry majored in police science but found his calling in aeronautical engineering that lead to his stint with the United States Army Air Corps and would lead him to later working for Pan American World Airways.  During his time as a pilot, he would be involved in a total of three crashes, two as the pilot with and one as a passenger. The last crash, while working for Pan American, was so bad that 14 people lost their lives and many others were seriously hurt.  A short time later this lead to him stepping down in the company and pursuing his love for writing fiction and working for the Los Angeles Police Department as a traffic cop and later as a member of the Public Information Division as his writing was really good. During this time, he was also able to serve as an advisor for such shows as “Mr. District Attorney” and “Highway Patrol” in the 1950’s. These shows kicked off Gene’s dive into television as a producer and writer, and he delivered for such shows as “The West Point Story”, “Bat Masterson”, “Have Gun Will Travel” and “The Wrangler”, but in 1966 it was “Star Trek” that made Gene a true icon of science fiction Television. Gene would go on through out the 70’s and 80’s writing and producing shows and the Star Trek movies. His next TV hit would be the 1987 series “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Gene was married twice with his last wife being Majel Barrett who is the voice actress of the starships in the Star Trek universe as well as played Nurse Chapel in the original series and Lwaxana Troi in the Next Generation. He also had three children with his son Rod following in his footsteps in becoming a TV producer with his biggest upcoming work being the new 2017 Star Trek series! Sadly this icon of TV writing and producing passed away on October 24, 1991 at the age of 70, and while gone, his work lives on and entertains viewers still to this day. This update is for you, Gene Roddenberry, as well as all the cast and crew who made Star Trek possible.

Gene Roddenberry 1Gene Roddenberry 2Gene Roddenberry 3

I first watched the original Star Trek TV Show with my dad who would tune in when it aired in reruns. I can remember always being so hyped to see what strange alien was going to be on next, and Spock was my favorite character as he had pointed ears. My dad also use to tease my mom about Captain Kirk as she was not a William Shatner fan and used to say he couldn’t act.  I was around 5 or 6 years of age at the time, and as I grew up I have always had a very big attachment to this series and love it still to this day. Star Trek first aired in September 8. 1966 for CBS and was produced by Paramount and quickly became a hit for fans of science fiction television who loved the futuristic tech talk and quickly bonded with the likable crew lead by the Starfleet rebel Captain Kirk or so you would think! The truth is when Star Trek first aired, it did very poorly on the Nielsen ratings and was canceled by NBC after 3 seasons and a total of 79 episodes, and it was not until its syndication run that it built up a major cult following that sparked it into the major science fiction brand it is today. Imagine that, when originally airing the show was not catching on and was not gaining viewers, and once it was cancelled and shown in reruns it became a mega hit, much like modern shows like “Family Guy” that was cancelled and fans were able to bring it back for more seasons that lead to it wearing out its welcome years ago. Once the show picked up steam in the world of syndication, this lead to a string of movies as well as a ton of spin off TV series. It’s odd that to me as a kid, Star Trek was just so magical and filled with so much high tech wonder and was as enjoyable to me as Star Wars and Flash Gordon, both of which I also grew up with. In 2017 a new Star Trek series will be released for CBS and the premier episode will air on broadcast TV with all following episodes only available via their subscription based streaming service called “ CBS All Access,” and to me, this is a really dumb and not only limits the amount of people watching this series, but also cheapens it. I should also note that in 2006 Paramount and CBS decided to re-master and re-due the effects for the original series and once more it went into syndication, and I can remember my friend and roommate Patrick Neeley watching them at night and talking to me about them the next day. The original Star Trek series has been in my life for as long as I can remember from watching with my dad to popping it in on DVD for my viewing enjoyment, it still remains an amazing series that defines the term science fiction.

Original Star Trek Cast On Set

As I said the cheesy wonderful aliens were one of the reasons I loved this series when I was a kid, and hell, even to this day, because who could forget such characters as the lizard race Gorns, the fuzzy furballs the Tribbles, the one horned white gorilla Mugato or the Salt Vampire, not to mention the Klingons and the likes of the powerful Khan! While much of the time the aliens were just guys and women in greasepaint or rubber suits, something about these basic looking aliens was a draw for viewers like myself. I can remember as a kid loving the Gorn and Salt Vampire and wishing toys were made based on them so I could have them attack my Star Wars figures! Plus the show was our first taste of Khan who would go on to be one of the most sinister bad guys in Star Trek history. So if you’re a fan of aliens and all the different races that could be out in our shared universe…or just like cheesy TV shows with actors with greasepaint on their faces or wearing big old rubber suits, make sure to check out the original Star Trek series as its sure to please that alien need. Check out the pictures below to see some of the aliens from the series and to show you just how different they all are from each other.

Star Trek Khan TVStar Trek GornStar Trek Salt Vampaire

One thing I need to briefly talk about is the episode called “The Devil In The Dark” that has Kirk, Spock and McCoy traveling to Janus VI, a planet that has lost over 50 miners to a creature that lives underground. As the episodes goes on, Spock learns that the creature is called a Horta after a mind meld and later finds out that the Horta is just protecting eggs that will allow its race to continue. The Horta in appearance is compared to a silicon-based lifeform that has a rock and lava look. But for me as a youngster, it reminded me of meatloaf…not the singer, the food! I can even remember eating meatloaf and joking about it being on Star Trek. I mean really look at it, it’s like meatloaf with ketchup and marshmallows on it! Compare the picture below, and you be the judge.

hortaGood Old Meatloaf

Many Trekkies considered “Star Trek: The Animated Series” to be the fourth season as many of the actors returned to lend their voices to their animated versions as well as it continued the five year mission they were on. Star Trek: The Animated Series first aired on NBC on September 8, 1973 and lasted 2 seasons and a total of 22 episodes that were 24 minute long that followed Captain Kirk and his crew of the USS Enterprise on all type of adventures in space. The series was made by a team-up between Paramount Pictures and Filmation with Gene Roddenberry overseeing its production. Filmation’s original idea for the series was to have young teen characters being cadets following the main cast around turning it into more of a straight kiddy show, Roddenberry put his foot down, and that idea was later used for the 1977 live action series Space Academy. But like all Filmation Cartoons, the budget was low, and the series suffered with poor reused animation and many other small errors. The series did have William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Majel Barrett and Nichelle Nichols all return to voice their respected characters but sadly Walter Koenig did not return as Chekov was replaced in the cartoon by two characters called Arex (a three armed thin alien) and M’Ress (a female cat person) who were a major part of the crew now. While after its run ended and some years later, the film series started, the animated series seemed to be left out of canon as many issues and characters from the toon seemed to be missing and forgotten. The series during its run was not a huge hit with kids watching Saturday Morning Cartoons, but was respected by reviewers and parents who found it entertaining. Growing up I only saw episodes on reruns as well as on VHS, and I can remember liking it but also was confused by it as by that point I had watched the live action series as well as many of the movies. Love it or hate it, Star Trek: The Animated Series is a part of Trek history, and I for one enjoy every cheesy moment of it. Those looking to watch the series it has been released on VHS, DVD and Laserdisc and from time to time pops up on Netflix.

Star Trek The Animated Series 1Star Trek The Animated Series DVDStar Trek The Animated Series 2

With the animated series being canceled in 1974, fans would have to wait for their next Star Trek fix until 1979 when Paramount released “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” to the theater going audience. The film was directed by Robert Wise and brought back all the major actors and characters from the classic series with a budget of $46 million dollars and had a run time of 132 minutes.  It also had a score from Jerry Goldsmith and was produced by Gene Roddenberry. The film brought in $82,258,456.00 and came in at # 5 for the year beating out such films as “Alien”, “The Jerk”, “The Muppet Movie”, “Moonraker”, “The Black Hole”, “Mad Max”, “Tourist Trap” and “Zombi 2” among many others. The film was met with mix reviews with many critics being down on the film’s plot that they said was too thin and spread out for over two hours, but fans were a little more behind it as they got to see their favorite characters back on a all new adventure. Growing up I can remember watching this movie and while I found it entertaining, I think mostly cause the fact it was Star Trek. I was always more drawn into “Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan” and “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock” when wanting to watch them on VHS via a library rental. I don’t want to get too much into the plot of this movie as the Marvel Comic series first 3 issues in the series are an adaptation of the film so I will save it for those. While not as well loved as many of the sequels this film started it all for the film franchise that is still going to this day.

Star Trek The Motion Picture 1Star Trek The Motion Picture 2Star Trek The Motion Picture 3

Star Trek also has amazing music that helped not only the TV Show but as well as the Movies! The original TV Show soundtrack was done by the likes of Sol Kaplan and Gerald Fried among others with Alexander Courage being the man behind the Original Series title theme. With the movie soundtracks being done by the likes of Jerry Goldsmith as well as other composers like James Horner, Cliff Eldelman, Leonard Rosenman and Dennis McCarthy. The most iconic theme for the films that would latter be the opening theme for Star Trek The Next Generation was done by Jerry Goldsmith and remains a very iconic piece of score music. The soundtracks for the TV Show as well as the Movies starring the original cast has been released on many different formats from Cassette Tapes to CDs and are must haves for fans of the movie and show. I for one own many of these soundtracks on CD and play them on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO many Sunday nights, one of the listeners favorites is a track called “The Mountain” off the Star Trek V: The Final Frontier soundtrack. So if you’re a score music fan, make sure to check out some of the Star Trek movie releases they are well done and great songs to relax to.

Star Trek CDStar Trek TV SoundtrackStar Trek The Motion Picture soundtrack cd

Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise have not only jumped from TV to movies but also to video games! Some of the top games starring the original cast include “Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator” was originally a arcade game and in 1984 was ported to the Atari 2600 and has you taking control of the Starship Enterprise and defend against invading Klingons. Next up “Star Trek: The Rebel Universe” for the Commodore 64, IBM PC and Atari ST in 1987 and has you take control of the bridge and try and find the secrets of the Quarantine Zone. And lastly “Star Trek: 25th Anniversary” was released in 1992 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and has you take control of Kirk, Spock and McCoy and try to solve the mystery of the tear in space-time! And of course this is just a drop in the hat of video games that was released starring the original Star Trek cast, but these three are the ones I remember best from my younger days! So what is your favorite video game starring Kirk and the crew?

Star Trek The Rebel Universe C64Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator Atari 2600Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES

The Original Star Trek series has had its massive share of merchandise based around it and cover all types items like Halloween Costumes, Drinking Glasses, Trading Cards, Toys, Video Games, Lunch Boxes, Novels, Comic Books, Magnets, Shirts and so much more! Growing up I can remember playing a strategy board game with my Uncle Thurman that was lots of fun and I am sure we drove him mad as at my brother Bryan and I’s young age we didn’t get the rules all that well. Growing up I also had a Captain Kirk 3 ¾” Mego action figure I got from a garage sale that joined my Toy Wars alongside Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures. I also when a youngster owned many of the Novels and Book and Record sets based on the TV Show and Movies as well as some of the Marvel Comics. Funny enough early this year while working at Game Swap a young lady brought in a large box filled with vintage Star Trek figures and toys and what was really neat was seeing the Mego dolls mint in package! So if you’re a fan of Spock, Kirk or any of the other crew members of the Enterprise many amazing products are out in the world for you to collect.

MEGO Star Trek dollsStar Trek LunchboxStar Trek Novel original cast

Playmates was a major force when I was a kid in bringing action figures into the hands of the youth with such toy lines as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Toxic Crusaders, Dick Tracy, Darkwing Duck, Monster Force, Barnyard Commandos, The Addams Family, Earthworm Jim to name a few and also on this iconic list is Star Trek! The toy line for Star Trek mostly focused on Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as the newer TV series that followed like Deep Space Nine and Voyager, but also in the line was the original series that showcased some of the characters in their younger selves and in some waves them older. While I had maybe a couple when I was a kid the older I got for some reason I started to collect them, I bought myself all the original series crew as well as Voyager and Juliet the Next Generations crew and together we have gotten many of the Deep Space Nine crew members. The Playmates figures for some reason have a collectable appeal for me and as I find them cool looking and the fact they covered not only the Starfleet crew but also many of the aliens from the past to the then present. Below is a picture of my original crew figures as well as some of the Aliens from their show and movies.

My Original Star Trek Playmates Figures

You know what just for the fun of it and cause I love going back and playing old NES games on my trusty old RES (Retro-Bit Retro Entertainment System) I picked the day May 25, 2016 to just play around and try to see how far I could get in Star Trek: 25th Anniversary in just 1 hours of play! Now this game is one I played when I was younger and never could get very far as I have found it to be a very hard play, but will it be as difficult as I remember? The weather outside was around 84 degrees with the sun pocking out from some hazy clouds, I decided to go up against the game around 6pm and stop at 7pm and see just how far in the game I could get! So with a tall glass of water I was ready to travel to 8-Bit space. I started these two hours with big dreams and hope that I would make it far and to no one’s shock I didn’t make it off the first level…as frustration of playing the same opening stage sent me into a poor game play frenzy! At first I forgot that the Blood Worms can hurt you if you don’t bring the flower to the medicine man of the village and then after getting the eye key and once in the tunnel I kept screwing up the patterns you had to memorize on the wall to get through the doors and by the time 7am came around I was still on the first level! During my little 8-Bit quest my landing Party was me as Kirk and always Spock but sometimes I would switch McCoy with a Security Officer. The game play on this game is a little clunky and has your characters follow a grid to get from point A to pint B. Still as challenging as I remember and I recommend old school gamers to give this one a try, as it’s a fun play that offers enough tough moments to make for long time play. Below is some pictures I took while playing the game.

Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES in the RESStar Trek 25th Anniversary NES RES Still 1Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES Res Still 2

Want to just touch up on this as I fell many Trekkies will agree that there is nothing more sexy than a woman who embraces geeky culture like Comic Books, Video Games and Science Fiction Films/Shows and a woman in a Starfleet uniform is pretty top notch stuff. I mean who could resist the beauty of my favorite cosplayer Ivy Doomkitty dressed as a Starfleet officer? I know I cant! But I just wanted to let all you true nerd girls out in the world that you are appreciated and keep being you!

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So before we get into the Marvel Comic Star Trek Original Crew Series I would like to take a brief moment and just kind of give you a crash course of the main crew members of the USS Enterprise, I feel that many of you all ready know and love the characters but I figured on a slim chance their could be some newbies reading this update to the Star Trek universe I should do my duty and educate you with some slight knowledge and research. So sit back and relax and get to know the crew of the Enterprise, as I will guarantee that by the end they will seem like old friends.

Captain James Tiberius Kirkwilliam shatner

James Tiberius Kirk is the Captain of the USS Enterprise, he was born in Riverside, Iowa and as a youngster witnessed a massacre that claimed 4,000 lives by the hands of a madman. Kirk went on to join the Starfleet Academy and became the only person to every pass the Kobayashi Maru test that was designed to be unbeatable; he did so by thinking outside the box and reprograming it! He survived on many ships and even thought a class at the Academy all the while getting promotions until finally becoming the youngest Captain in Starfleet history! Kirk took over the USS Enterprise for a five year mission, and along this journey he made friends and lots of enemies as Kirk always did what was right. Kirk is also a ladies man as he has hooked up with not only human women but also a few aliens! Kirk is noble, cocky, adventures and smart and has earned the love and respect of his crew as well as higher ups of StarFleet even though he tends to break lots of rules and disobey orders. Actor William Shatner played Captain Kirk in the series who is also known for his TV Roles in shows like T.J. Hooker, Rescue 911, The Practice and TekWorld! Shatner is an icon for Sci-Fi fans and remains active in acting even at his age of 85!

Chief Science Officer SpockLeonard Nimoy

Spock is Vulcan who’s mother is human and this gives him slight emotions, something that full blooded Vulcans find illogical! His father is the very wise and highly respected Sarek, who loves his son but also finds his friendships on the Enterprise odd. On the U.S.S. Enterprise Spock has two roles: science officer and first officer and is best friend to Captain Kirk and will do whatever it takes to keep the ship and its crew safe and is very loyal to the Starfleet, Spock even gave his own life to save the lives of the crew when Kahn attacked the ship causing a radiation leak. After being reborn thanks to the Genesis Project, he rejoins the crew and takes his position on the Enterprise again and later becomes a federation ambassador where he tries to patch up the relationship between them and later also tries to help Romulus from a supernova that leaves him trapped in a parallel timeline. Actor Leonard Nimoy played Spock in the series who is also known for his TV roles in such shows as Mission: Impossible, In Search Of, Ancient Mysteries and Fringe. Sadly on February 27, 2015 the world lost Nimoy from complications of COPD. Leonard Nimoy was and still is a icon of geek culture and beyond.

Dr Leonard Bones McCoyDeforest Kelley

Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy is the medical officer for the USS Enterprise and is also very close friends with Captain Kirk. He is divorced and would later marry Natira, the priestess of Yonada, and has one daughter. McCoy at one point has to take the essence of Spock who has passed away and return it to his body on the planet Vulcon in order to return his friend and some time verbal punching bag Spock back to full life. While he gets annoyed with Spock and his logical ways, it’s clear throughout the series and movies that he really does care about him and looks at him as a good friend. While he is good at what he does in the medical field,  McCoy can be very tense and can get very angry when requests are made he feels is impossible or to demanding. One thing that has eaten away at McCoy his whole life is the fact he helped his father commit suicide when he was gravely ill, and after his father’s death a cure was found that would have cured him. McCoy is a loyal sometimes cranky crew member who is the best damn medical doctor you could ever ask for, and later in his Star Fleet career he would become an Admiral. Actor DeForest Kelley played McCoy in the series who is also known for his roles in such TV shows as The Lone Ranger, Route 66 and Bonanza among many other western shows. Kelley would sadly pass away on June 11, 1999 at the age of 79 from stomach cancer. The world lost a great character actor and one of my favorite characters of the Star Trek universe.

Commander Montgomery %22Scotty%22 ScottJames Doohan

Montgomery “Scotty” Scott acts as the Enterprise’s second officer and chief engineer and is truly the man who makes the star ship come alive and keeps up the maintenance and acts as the miracle worker when things need to be fixed in a pinch or even under pressure of battle. While many of the crew are his close friends, he looks at the Enterprise as a son and treats it with high respect and acts as if the ship is truly his responsibility. When both Kirk and Spock are off ship, Scotty becomes the acting commander of the ship, even though he would rather just be the ship’s engineer. After his retirement from the Star Fleet, Scotty gets aboard a shuttle that crashes in a Dyson Sphere and uses the transporter to store himself in the buffer for decades and is recovered by the USS Enterprise-D and its commander Captain Picard, and even in the future he saves the ship he loves one last time. Smart, witty and lovable, Scotty is a guy who is loyal to his fellow crew members and his ship. Actor James Doohan played Scotty in the original series and is also known for his TV roles in Encounter, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The F.B.I. to name a few. Sadly in 1994 James Doohan passed away at the age of 85 from pulmonary fibrosis. Scotty is a great character and really is the blood that keeps the star ship up and running.

Lieutenant Hikaru SuluGeorge Takei

Hikaru Sulu is the third officer, a Lieutenant and senior helmsman of the USS Enterprise and later becomes a Captain and commands the USS Excelsior. Sulu is very wise and good at what he does and has pulled the starship out of danger many times. He is a master of fencing, botany and gymnastics and when need be could and has taken control of the Enterprise as acting officer in charge. Sulu would later in life go on to have a daughter named Demora Sulu who as well is working for Star Fleet. Actor George Takei plays Sulu in the original series and also starred in such TV Shows as Batman Beyond, The Simpsons and Archer to name a very select few. Takei is still active in acting and even runs his own social media that is filled with some funny thoughts and posts.  He is 79 years old as of this update going up.

Lieutenant Nyota UhuraNichelle Nichols

Nyota Uhura is a lieutenant and chief communications officer for the Enterprise and is well respected for her talents and skills. She is skilled at singing and has entertained her fellow shipmates with songs during off duty get togethers. During her time with the Federation, she has been promoted to lieutenant commander and then full commander later on. She as well as the rest of the crew also get in trouble when they disobey orders to get the reborn body of Spock off Genesis and goes back to just being communications officer under Kirk’s crew. It’s implied that she and Scotty might have been romantic together and in the new Trek universe she is dating/romantic with Spock. Actress Nichelle Nichols plays Uhura in the original series, and she has also been on TV shows like Futurama, Batman The Animated Series and Heroes. While slowed down, Nichelle is still active as an actress and is 83 years old as of this update posting.

Ensign Pavel ChekovWalter Koenig

Pavel Andreievich Chekov is the navigator for the Enterprise and is super smart and an honor graduate from the Space Academy. When needed he can also fill in as the ship’s science officer when Spock is away and is very capable of doing so. He later gets promoted to a lieutenant as well as tactical officer and chief of security. He is loyal to Captain Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise crew and even helped Kirk hijack the Enterprise so they could get the newly reborn Spock off of the Genesis planet. Actor Walter Koenig played Chekov in the original series and also made appearances in such shows as Ben Casey, Columbo and Babylon 5. Koenig is still active as an actor and is 79 years old as of this update’s posting.

Nurse Christine ChapelMajel Barrett

Christine Chapel is the head nurse of the Enterprise and works under the orders of Dr. McCoy. She mostly stays on the ship when others explore planets but has left from time to time. While originally she was trying to work things out with her fiancé Dr. Roger Korby, his disappearance left her without a man, and she began finding herself having feelings for Spock.  The fling would end up going nowhere. Later in her career, she becomes a doctor aboard the Enterprise and later is stationed at the Starfleet headquarters. Actress Majel Barrett played Chapel.  She was the married to show creator Gene Roddenberry and appeared as the voice for the computers in many of the Star Trek shows and movies. Barrett passed away in 2008 from leukemia.  She was 76 years old.

Spock Kirk Scotty

So that was just a very brief look at the crew of the USS Enterprise and many great facts and achievements from them have been left out of this quick look as I really think that if you have never watched this show or movies, you really should check them out for yourself as they are truly great science fiction watches. So I guess we should beam onto the Marvel Comic series based on Star Trek’s original crew, and I should also thank Mavericks Cards And Comics, Bell Book And Comic, Dark Star and Lone Star Comics for having issues in stock so that I could do this review. I am also getting a message from my communicator from Kirk telling me 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, its entertainment value and i’s art and story. So if you’re wearing a red shirt, you might want to change out of it now as it’s time to go on 18 missions with the crew of the USS Enterprise. So beam us to it Scotty!

Marvel Star Trek 1

Star Trek # 1  ***
Released in 1980    Cover Price .40    Marvel    #1 of 18

A powerful light cloud being is floating in space and is destroying ships and what ever else gets in its way! It’s been years sense the USS Enterprise went on a mission and Kirk is able to finally talk his way back into becoming the Captain of it once more and is setting out to try and stop what ever this thing is from reaching anymore planets, his crew has many familiar faces on board like Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Uhura as well as some new faces including Captain Decker who is forced out of running the ship and into a officer role on this mission by Starfleet and Kirk who is taking over causing some major heat between the two. At the Enterprise Crew meeting they watch in horror live as a space station is attacked and just vanishes thanks to the light cloud! And worse just before this the teleport was not ready on the remodeled Enterprise and many new crew members lost their lives, and this brings aboard a “drafted” Dr. McCoy who was retired and Ilia a Deltan who will act as the ships navigator on this dangerous mission. Decker and Ilia know each other and its clear that this once Captain had a relationship with her. While taking off on their mission the Enterprise gets stuff in a wormhole along side a meteor and Decker over rides Kirks command to use Phasers and uses torpedo’s instead and this saves the ship damage and gets them out of the wormhole but also causes even more of a rift between the two Captains! Once safe and back on track a small ship asks to board the Enterprise and to Kirks shock and joy the pilot of the small ship is Spock!

This Marvel Comic series starts off with an adaptation of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and to be honest it was a wise choice as it was a great way to showcase the crew as well as bring everyone up to date on what was happing with the original crew. Plus it also helped add to the amazing over all enjoyment this comic reader and Trekkie had relaxing and reading it and remembering back to the first time I had seen the movie as well as read this issue in my younger days. The story this far has Admiral Kirk hooking and crooking his way back into becoming the Captain of the Enterprise that is being sent out on a important mission to stop an unknown cloud object from reaching the planet that its two days away from. Throw in some drama between the ships former Captain as well as some old relationship baggage and your have this issue in a nutshell. Captain Kirk in this issue is a man on a mission and his mission is not just save people from the unknown that’s heading their way but to also get command of the Enterprise once more. Kirk is as cocky as ever but it’s clear he is slightly outdated when it comes to all the improvements that have been made to his ship. Captain Decker is a man of pride and he feels betrayed by Kirk and Star Fleet as he is taken off Captain duty and forced to serve under the man who weaseled the position away from him, but Decker is also a slime ball when it comes to his love life as its reveled that he just up and left Ilia without even so much as a goodbye. Speaking of Ilia she is straight business and wants to do the best at her job, but while she puts on a strong front it’s clear she was hurt by Decker’s past behavior. Dr. McCoy is upset that he was forced back into active duty as he was enjoying retirement, but quickly comes around when he sees that his good friend Kirk is the one who really wanted his help on this mission. Spock starts the issue off on his home planet trying to ride himself of emotions that his human side has and soon finds he cannot and returns to the Enterprise unannounced and is a sight for sore eyes for his friends. The rest of the original crew Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Uhura all are present but are background players. The Cloud Light Thing in the sky is clearly a force to be wreckend with as it not only takes down a federation station but also a Klingon ship! What is this cloud…I guess we will have to read more issues to find out! The plot while slow is a good way to reintroduce the crew to fans as well as to new readers and that’s why it was wise to kick this series off with the film adaptation as it was the new Trek product out and could help kick of Trek-Mania for youngsters of 1980. The cover is cool and eye catching for classic Science Fiction fans and the art inside done by the team of Dave Cockrum & Klaus Janson (Inks) and is pretty great stuff with most the characters looking close to the actors who played them. Over all a great solid first issue to kick off Marvels Star Trek series and makes me really looking forward to the next mission…I mean issue.

Marvel Star Trek 2

Star Trek # 2  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .40   Marvel   #2 of 18

Captain Kirk welcomes Spock back into the crew as he takes his place as the science officer, but while everyone is happy to see him, Spock shows no emotions toward them and this causes some tension between he and McCoy. Spock also helps Scotty figure out a way to save fuel and go into warp drive and while flying they run into the cloud that attacks! After a very powerful blast the Enterprise is in trouble until they are able to send the cloud a message of peace and that attacks stops leaving them puzzled and relieved that the cloud has given up its aggression. As the Enterprise flies through the cloud the find at in the middle is a ship so huge its like nothing they have ever seen before, and worse a living energy comes aboard and kills a security officer and tries to steal the ships records and when Spock tries to stop it Ilia gets the beings rage and it makes her vanish into thin air. The alien cloud ship then pulls the Enterprise into its docking and sends a robotic version of Ilia onto the ship who is suppose to record the everyday functions of humans for a master named V’ger, while the real Ilia is deceased this robot has her memories and Kirk decides that Decker should be her guide on the ship hoping that the relationship between the two can help take it off course for Earth as it’s now only six hours away! In the end Spock lurks in the shadows and gives a crew member the Vulcan nerve pinch and the issue ends leaving us not knowing why he did his action.

This second issue in the Movie Adaptation part is the set up for what the story is really about as we learn the cloud is really around a giant ship that is a beings named V’ger who records and loves knowledge. The Enterprise is the only hope for Earth as they are the only ones who have gotten this close to the ship and have the key to maybe save Earth in the forum of the robotic Ilia. Captain Kirk is as sure of himself as ever and his war of words and control with Decker rises to anger in this issue as every suggestion Decker gives the Captain is ignored and this even leads to Ilia being killed causing tension between the to very hostile. The thing is Kirk is not listening to Decker but is listening to Spock who he trusts and who he doesn’t feel intimidated by, and worse Kirk orders Decker to be the guide to the robotic Ilia and try to charm this machine with the memories of his one time lover in order to save Earth. Dr. McCoy is the man who figures out the make up of the robot and is the possible key to save them all if they can teach the machine to bring the message back to it’s master that people deserve to live. Bring the question who or what is V’ger and why does he want to combine with the “Creator” and if he does what does this mean for the universe? This is the main question that should and was on the minds of readers of this comic. While besides Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Decker the rest of the crew have small parts but are all very important to the issue as their actions and jobs move the plot along. The Science Fiction action is high in this issue as we get a space battle as well as a semi fight with an alien energy being that leaves two crew members dead. Plus the issue ends on a cliffhanger as Spock knocks out one of his own fellow crew and his reasoning is left with the message “Continued Next Issue”! The issues cover is pretty great and has the energy being reeking havoc on the Enterprise bridge and the art inside is once more done by Dave Cockrum who does a solid job of capturing the actors likeness in some shots, while in others his art seems a little rushed. Over all a solid issue that moves the plot along and is doing a good job of capturing the mood and feel of the movie it’s based on. So lets get to issue three and see why Spock did what he did and who or what V’ger is!

Marvel Star Trek 3

Star Trek # 3  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .40   Marvel   #3 of 18

Decker is trying all he can to get to the memories of Ilia who is very robotic and just wants more and more data for her master V’ger who plans on absorbing the crew after he gets the information he seeks. Meanwhile Spock has knocked out his fellow crew member so that he could get into a space suit and float into the center of the ship that he has figured out is V’ger! Kirk goes out after Spock and they find the V’ger breaks down all that is kills and stores it as part of it’s own being, and when Spock attempts to mind meld with it and is overloaded with its power but finds the V’ger is a living machine that comes from a planet of living machines and his quest is to find out the meaning of its life as well as find God to get the answers. V’ger has reached Earth and is about to kill all humans living on it but Kirk as an idea and says he has the answers its looking for and after a small outburst V’ger allows the Enterprise to enter into it’s main brain frame were Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Decker and the robot Ilia exit the ship and find the V’ger is really a missing NASA satellite called the Voyager Six that went missing 300 years ago and that its real creator is man! Decker enters the satellite’s missing code ending its reign of terror as it now has the answers its seeks but this turns Decker and Ilia into light beings and the next evolution for mankind. In the end Kirk and the Enterprise crew have saved the day and head into space for many more adventures.

The movie adaptation ends here and has Kirk and the crew having to use their wits and knowledge to stop the destruction of Earth. So V’ger is really just a missing NASA satellite that 300 years ago did not get to fulfill its mission of sending back data is collected to the space station after it was lost in a black hole. So in reality many people lost their lives all over a satellite that could not share its data with NASA. Kirk is very quick with his plan as he is able to save the Earth by bluffing and then able to prove that man is V’ger’s creator when he comes up with the code that is needed to unload its data. Decker is also a hero as he manually enters the code after they learn the satellite has been damaged and this causes Decker to become something more than human and as well be with Ilia forever. Spock who was having issues of his own due to his failed test on Vulcon has his answers and at one point cries for V’ger who will not truly have his. The nice touch to the end of the comic is that the Enterprise heads out into space looking for more adventures and is the perfect set up for this Marvel Comic series. The cover is great and has The Enterprise in battle showcasing the ship and what it can do, the inside art is once more done by Dave Cockrum and is fitting and better looking than issue two. Marvel Comics did a great job of adapting this film into a comic and I could say that in the 80’s and 90’s no one did these types of comics as good as Marvel. So with this Motion Picture adaptation out of the way lets see what new adventures the Marvel Bullpen have in store for us.

Marvel Star Trek 4

Star Trek # 4  ***
Released in 1980    Cover Price .40    Marvel    #4 of 18

The Enterprise has been selected to transport an alien named Raytag M’Gora who is insane and was captured and must be returned to prison that he escaped from. Also on this mission they must play host to Ambassador R’Kgg who’s people are open to negations with the federation, while Kirk don’t mind given the Ambassador a ride he is very angry about the prisoner as his ship is not set up to transport a crazed alien like that. While beaming Raytag M’Gora aboard the alien breaks free and runs amok until Spock is able to use the Vulcan Nerve Pinch to knock him out and place him into his cell. Raytag M’Gora begs Kirk not to return him to the prison planet as he claims it’s a terrible place and it is what drove him mad and warns them if they get to close to the area he will not be the only prisoner! The closer they get crew members begin to see werewolves and monsters with Sulu and Chekov seeing a ghost. Kirk don’t know what to make of these supernatural sightings but believes his crew and soon comes face to face with Count Dracula who appears on the bridge and knocks security around before disappearing, adding to the mystery that is unfolding on the Enterprise. As Dracula escapes he makes his way to Ambassador R’Kgg and kills him, and after doing so the evil visions disappear until the Enterprise finds a Haunted House planet and Kirk, Spock, McCoy and other crew members beam down and find a young woman being attacked by Frankenstein’s Monster! They are able to defeat the Monster but soon find themselves surrounded by monsters and the young blonde woman tells them she has been held prisoner there for a long time and wants to leave. But no one is leaving as well armed Klingons appears and take the landing party prisoners and send a message to acting commander Scotty that they have his friends and want the ship turned over. In the cell Raytag M’Gora lets out a crazy laugh as our issues ends.

The Crew of the Enterprise vs. the monsters is the best way to describe this fun and entertaining issue, and while it does not feel like a Star Trek episode it does feel like an episode of the animated series mixed with Scooby-Doo. The plot has Kirk and crew getting tricked into a Haunted House world while trying to deliver a alien prisoner back to prison and it appears that the illusions and plan was that of the Klingons who hate the federation and want to see Kirk and his crew pay for crimes they feel the universe has infected them with. Kirk is right to not want to take this mission as the ship and crew was not prepared for the evil and madness that waited them during this one. Spock tries his best to put logic to what he is seeing as many of the monsters that appeared were based on legend of Earth’s novels and ghost stories, but he is also the one who finds that the monsters are made of a living organism. Ambassador R’Kgg seemed like a good natured alien and while killed supposedly by Dracula I think there is more to R’Kgg than what we have seen in this issue and almost think he is playing possum on the words of Raytag M’Gora who was the last person he talked to. Speaking of Raytag M’Gora while I think he is crazy and has a violent streak in him, I do think he was trying to warn the Enterprise of what was awaiting them at the Haunted House planet. Plus who is this young blonde woman and why is she in this Haunted House world? Nice to see that the Klingons are the ones behind this set up and fake haunted planet, as it makes sense that they would do whatever they can to capture Kirk and his crew. Not to mention a highlight for this Monster Kid comic reader is the fact that Dracula from the Marvel Comic series Tomb Of Dracula has a cameo as the issues also has a werewolf, ghost, grim reaper and Frankenstein’s Monster to name a few of the ghouls who attack. While again it does not feel like the TV Show nor the movie that spawned this series it does have a nice comic book feel to it and that’s what makes it fun. The cover is cool and the art is still being done by Dave Cockrum making this solid and fun issue for this reader. While again many of the crew take small roles its great to see Kirk and Spock take on monsters even if they are not real and makes me look forward to how this mission will work out for them, so lets not wait and move onto issue five.

Marvel Star Trek 5

Star Trek # 5   **1/2
Released in 1980   Cover Price .40   Marvel   #5 of 18

The Klingons to show Kirk on this Haunted House planet they mean business kill one of his crew members as everyone watches on unable to help. They then turn on Kirk and the crew and take Spock hostage and they beam up to their Bird-Of-Pray were they tell Spock that he is the only one that will survive from the Enterprise as they have orders to kill the crew and take the ship to learn how it’s new warp drive works! While Kirk and his crew deal with the unknown woman they beamed aboard that they find out is not human and worse the Kingons attack their warp drives and leaves the Enterprise stranded in that location! Spock finds out that the “Monsters” that are attacking his fellow crew members is due in part to a man who was a Horror Movie archivist who is being used as a weapon by The Klingons! Working with the Klingons on this take over mission is Raytag M’Gora who has a projector implanted in his skull that helps bring the monsters to the ship, and we also find out that the unknown woman is the image of the “weapons” wife! Spock figures out and is able to warn The Enterprise to destroy the image of the woman that triggers the archivist to wake up that in turn over loads the projector inside Raytag M’Gora killing him and sending the monsters to the Klingons ship! Spock and the Archivist beam aboard the Enterprise and they leave the area and complete there mission and deliver the dead body of Raytag to the prison planet.

The monsters of the movies run wild on the Enterprise thanks to a horror movie fan! The plot of this issue has The Klingons using a new weapon they developed that allows a persons fears to come to life against the Enterprise so they can take over the ship and learn new federation secrets, but thanks to the brilliant mind of Spock the plan not only fails but also backfires as they become the target of the monsters. Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise Crew are helpless in this saga as The Klingons dismantle their warp drive, take Spock hostage and have the monsters under their control, but I should say while the odds were grim Kirk very lost the fighting spirit. Spock meanwhile even as a hostage keeps his wits just like all Vulcans would and is the brains behind turning the tables on his captures. The Klingons are cold-blooded killers and not only murder one Star Fleet security officer but also have plans in place to kill everyone on the Enterprise! The monsters while just made real by imagination and memories are still a force of destruction and murder, and the poor sap who is creating them is just a pawn in a sick game of ship stealing. Raytag as well is a pawn but a willing one as he felt by helping the Klingons they could save him from a fate of being a prisoner the rest of his life, as for the mystery woman she is just a sad case as she is just the memory of the Archivist’s murdered wife. The classic banter between Spock and McCoy is present in this issue and that’s always fun to read as it really made me flashback to many of the scenes from the films were the two were at odds over silly disagreements or just McCoy not understanding the lack of emotions of Vulcans. While this was a silly plot for the most part I still found myself enjoying reading it and wondering what adventures the Enterprise would have next. Being five issues in I must also say that my favorite character has to be Spock as while not done perfect and for some reason is slightly off he seems to shine more than most the other crew members. Kirk is great just as is McCoy but while they are as well close to their movie and show characters they still are slightly off. The art in this issue is done by Dave Cockrum again and while it is good for some reason some panels seem off as in one panel has Kirk looking like a pig face version of The Phantom Of The Opera and another has McCoy looking like a bug eyed monster, very odd a very sloppy. The cover is great and eye catching and leaves you wanting to see why McCoy is killing a woman with a phaser. Over all a slightly above average comic adventure of the crew of the Enterprise that leaves you wanting to see what the next adventure awaits us.

Marvel Star Trek 6

Star Trek # 6  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #6 of 18

The Enterprise is picked to escort Ambassador Phral of the planet Yannid VI to a signing that will allow them to join the federation, but after the transporter has an issue and when Phral appears onboard he has a knife in his back and is dead! Kirk calls the palace on Yannid VI and they confirm that the Ambassador was alive and well when he left to beam aboard The Enterprise and this could cause major issues of them joining the Federation. Kirk assigns Spock and McCoy to try and figure out what happened while he tries to talk peace and confirm that they will find the murderer of their citizen. While investigating Spock and McCoy find lots of odd details about this murder like that fact it appears he has dead 15 minutes before he was beamed up as well as all video of the beam up is missing due to a power surge. Tension is running wild on Yannid VI as many of the people want to join the Federation while others want to join the Klingons and this becomes dangerous when Sulu, Chekov and a female crew member DiFalco are attacked at a bar and are able to escaped when they are beamed aboard the Enterprise. Kirk has been very edgy sense the death of the Ambassador even snapping at his crew and finally comes clean and tells them about when he was younger he on accident shot Phral on a rescue mission that at the time was a prince and put the would be ruler into a coma making him miss his turn of ruling. Spock has news for the Captain as he thinks the body on the ship is that of an imposter set up by the real Phral who wants revenge on Kirk and wants to start a new life. Kirk, Spock and McCoy put on disguises and beam down to Yannid to find a famed plastic surgeon as they think she might be helping him on this set up, but she is killed and Kirk and crew are found by the Prince and his guards who blame them for the death of the Doctor as well as the Ambassador! Spock using his logical mind is able to trick Phral who has had plastic sugary into exposing his true idientity and this clears Kirk of wrong doing as well helps Yannid VI in joining the Federation as they see Kirk and crew are men of their word.

Spock does it again as just like Sherlock Holmes, Dick Tracy or Batman he uses logic and great detective skills to solve a crime of murder, set up and betrayal. This issues plot is this an Ambassador who is to sign for his planet to join the federation and who has bad blood with Kirk is killed while beaming aboard the Enterprise and this leads to Kirk being the prime suspect and puts a strain on them joining the greater cause of peace with the Federation, but thanks to McCoy and Spock they are able to find the answers to who is the real killer and expose a plan that would have not only caused Kirk to loose his career but also could have caused war! Kirk is a man with lots of stress and some guilt as he feels like an accident when he was a young Star Fleet member left a man who was to be King in a coma making him loss his chance at ruling, not to mention he was sent to save the Prince and in turn is the one who ended up hurting him. But while Kirk is short tempered he still does his job and puts his two best crew members on the case to solve who set this murder up. Spock and McCoy are fast and solve the case in short time as all the evidence don’t add up and they are onto the twisted plan that was put into place thanks to video from Yannid and the body onboard. Nice to see Sulu and Chekov get to show off a little as they sword fight off their attackers in the bar! Ambassador Phral is a bitter, greedy and lying man who set up his own “death” in order to get away with stolen money. His actions caused a Civil War on his home planet as well as could have caused a war with the Federation! Not to mention he murdered a doctor as well as some poor soul to get away with his crimes, but thanks to Spock and McCoy his cover is blown and he is taken away for punishment. This was another great adventure and love that Sherlock Holmes reference and feel to it, not to mention McCoy gets to deliver “She’s Dead Jim” during the books final. The cover is ok and nothing special and the art is done by Dave Cockrum again and is pretty good, I should also note that Marvel’s Editor In Chief at this time was the one and only Jim Shooter! To sum it up a good issue that made for a fun read that blended Science Fiction with Detective touches that entertained for sure.

Marvel Star Trek 7

Star Trek # 7   **1/2
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #7 of 18

The Enterprise is sent to a planet that in a short time will be surrounded by a poisoned cloud that will leave its 200 residents dead and the world un-livable. Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy and two security officers beam down to the planet to try and talk to its people to come with them in order to survive. Once on the planet Kirk and crew soon find that the simple minded aliens have been awaiting them and have giant statues built of the crew members in town that have been their for millenniums, and worse they will not leave as they think Kirk, Spock and McCoy will protect them from the approaching death cloud. While Scotty takes control of the Enterprise and tries to disrupt the cloud with phasers and fail Kirk, McCoy and Spock follow a alien who is about to evolve and find that these aliens are very smart and when Spock mind melds with the alien he finds that the planet has a defense system that defeats the cloud and that this alien race can see the future and as our crew leaves they have more questions than answers.

A planet is in danger over a dangerous cloud and Kirk and crew must try and stop it and save the alien race that dwells on the planet is the plot of this issue and while solid and good it does kind of feel like a throw away issue, as the dangerous cloud has a been there done that feel to it. The threat seems high for the crew as always as they must risk their own necks in order to do their job for being the saviors of the universes. The Alien race are simple weird looking creatures who are all kind hearted, but while they seem dim witted they are in fact slightly more intelligent than they appear and can also see into the future. Kirk in this issue goes to the planet to try and talk to it’s people about beaming aboard the Enterprise in order to survive but finds himself stuck on the planet and death approaching and must send his own ship and crew on what could be a suicide mission in attacking the cloud to try and break it up! Kirk is under lots of pressure but as always he holds his cool and helps lead the charge in everyone’s survival. McCoy and the security guards are just around and don’t offer too much to this issue but are at least cool to see around. Scotty steps up this issue and burns his hands bad trying to beam down Kirk and his landing party even after he warned them this was not a good idea and as well takes control of the Enterprise and tries his best to defeat the cloud and protect his fellow crew members. Spock is the true hero once more as his actions and quick thinking is what saves the day and gives him the idea of pulling a lever that activated the planets defense. The Cloud is just that a cloud that floats around space and spreads poisoned air and radiation to planets it passes by. The cover is pretty great and is very eye catching and the art inside is done by Mike Nasser and is really good! Over all a good issue but nothing special.

Marvel Star Trek 8

Star Trek # 8  **1/2
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #8 of 18

The Mox an alien race has attacked The Enterprise and has the ship in a force field that is also sending out electronic waves that is driving the crew mad with massive headaches as well as is draining their weapons and warp drives of energy and if this continues to much longer the ship will explode. Kirk and crew are in bad shape and when Spock is kidnapped and beamed aboard the enemy ship it is now not only a battle for survival but also now a rescue mission. Kirk, McCoy, Chekov as well as a few fellow crew members beam down to a near by planet that is populated by The Mox and start their rescue mission as the Enterprise is still in a bad way in space. While on the planet they are attacked with older style weapons from guns to spears and find another race is on the planet that as well are after The Mox! On the ship Professor Fowler is dying from a heart element as Dr. Christine Chapel tries to explain to her that the ship is stuck due to an attack and her life is in danger as she needs a heart transplant! On the planet Kirk soon finds out that the aliens that attacked them are called The Orgs and they are on a mission to attack The Mox who are really robots who are at war with the Orgs who they find threatening as they are battling over the planet they both share. In the end Spock is able to use his skills to free the Enterprise from the force field that was holding it and in turn Kirk uses the ships phasers to stun all The Orgs and with the help of Professor Fowler who sneaks herself onto the planet she with her new robotic heart is able to bring peace between The Mox and The Orgs and this mission comes to an end.

The war between machines and humanoids takes place in this Star Trek issue as they cant get along as one wants what the other has and the other lives in fear of what the other wants to take away. Kirk and the crew are under attack as well as The Mox who are the machines go on the attack and hold them at bay as they want to steal Spock who they think can talk to some simple creatures who have strong psychic powers that live on the planet and think they can protect them from the attacking Orgs who are planning to go to total war that night, so as you can see once more Spock is the main hero who not only helps The Enterprise escape the force field trap that is about to blow up the ship from the pressure but also helps stop the war that is about to break out. So what I have learned these eight issues so far is that while Captain Kirk is in charge the really hero in Marvel Comics eyes was Spock. Professor Fowler is a character who is very sick and is in need of a heart transplant who for some reason gets a second wind knocks out several crew members, hijacks the transporter room and beams herself to the planet as the war is going on, is able to get a robotic heart and stay on the planet and brings peace to the two feuding sides. But really you could have cut Fowler out and the story would have been just as impactful and a little less mashed up feeling. The cover has Spock being surrounded by The Mox and is ok and the art inside is done by the team of Dave Cockrum & Ricardo Villamonte and looks pretty good and the characters look like the actors pretty well. Over all another fun issue and shows that Star Trek and Marvel Comics made a good team to bring entertaining issues to readers hands.

Marvel Star Trek 9

Star Trek # 9  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #9 of 18

The Enterprise is heading for some down time and while heading back to a base station they find a missing federation ship named the Endeavor that has been missing for 22 years! They try to communicate with the ghost ship and get no response, but they do get attacked by the ship and must defend themselves and shot down the attacking ship. Once the Endeavor is down Kirk and crew beam aboard it and find the crew all long dead and killed by phaser shots, and worse one of the Enterprise crew members becomes possessed and tries to murder his friends! Spock and McCoy get the possessed crew member under control and they all head back aboard The Enterprise and learn from the ghost ships logs that a madness swept the ship and caused people to become murderous and savage after picking up an 89 year old woman who was supposed to have died at the age of 36 who is the grand mother of Enterprise crew member Karen Hester who is a zoologist and one time lover of Captain Kirk. The mission is clear now and Kirk along with Spock, McCoy and fellow crew head to the freezing cold planet and find that it held a secret and illegal lab that was conducting transporter beam experiments that caused many deaths and the possessed crew members have the spirit of those who died being guanine pigs and want to kill Karen as she is related to the head doctor who conducted these experiments. In the end Kirk figures out a way to trap the possessed spirits that call themselves Unity on the planet and blows up the secret lab with them inside and in the end the infected crew members are getting better and Karen transfers off The Enterprise as she still loves Kirk and knows she has to let him go.

This feels like an episode of the classic Star Trek series as the plot has a ghost Starfleet ship being taken over by the spirits of people who were killed during transporter experiments and now want revenge against the doctor who conducted them, who has long been dead and they confuse her relative and currant Enterprise crew member as their target and its up to Kirk to save the day. The Unity is the spirits and by all accounts they are very dangerous as they can force living people to turn on each other in fits of rage and don’t care about anything else besides revenge. Kirk is calm and shows why he is the captain of the Enterprise as he is quick witted and able to trick The Unity to it’s death as well as saves his infected crew members from a death that would be right around the corner, so for this issue Kirk is the true hero! Karen Hester is a woman who while a member of the Federation is really just hung up on Kirk as she dated him for three years and can not get over the fact they broke up, she is an interesting character as he grandmother was responsible for the deaths that made up The Unity. The rest of the crew are around and play background characters very well and add their own touches to the adventures that unfolds before us readers eyes. The cool thing about this issue is that it allows Kirk to be the hero and not Spock like so many other issues in this series has allowed. The cover is pretty cool as The Unity looks great, but the crew members look pretty sloppy. The art is done by Dave Cockrum & Frank Springer and looks good and fitting for this sci-fi comic based on a TV Show and Movie. Over all issue nine is really solid and one that was a great read and captured the mood and feel of Star Trek really well.

Marvel Star Trek 10

Star Trek # 10  **1/2
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #10 of 18

Captain Kirk is getting over the flu and worse the planet the Enterprise is researching is surrounded by magnetic fields and a ground team must take some readings form it’s surface. Spock and McCoy volunteer and after crashing on the planet thanks to the magnetic field they soon find themselves without a way to communicate with the Enterprise and have even stumbled upon a primitive race that is about to sacrifice a woman named Shulu to the dragon god, and after she escapes their grip she runs into Spock and McCoy to protect her from the angry tribe that want to see her dead! Spock and McCoy’s phasers clog up as well thanks to the magnetic field and while McCoy and the girl get away, Spock is captured and forced to be a slave to the Dragon Lizard worshiping tribe as McCoy along with the smaller tribe that Shulu comes from come up with a plan to rescue Spock that has McCoy teaching them how to make and use bow and arrows. A rescue mission happens and Spock is set free and the evil tribe leader is killed and McCoy soon learns that his new friends are just as cruel as the ones they over threw and Spock and McCoy find themselves once more being hunted as the new tribe in power turns on them for questioning their customs, in the end Kirk and a shuttle comes down and saves the pair from what would have been a for sure death at the hands of primitive humanoids.

This tenth issue adventure is pretty good but also feels a little lackluster and almost like a throwaway episode of the show as they stretch the plot out as long as they could and than padded the rest of the issue with looks at the uniforms and gear of crew members to meet the page count. The plot is this Spock and McCoy get stuck on a planet with primitive man and save the life of a young woman who was going to be killed to please a false god, Spock gets kidnapped and enslaved and this forces McCoy to team with the smaller tribe and break federation rules when he teaches them how to make new weapons and defeat their enemies and saves Spock. And before the pair is saved they learn that one mans evil ways just leads to more evil ways. Captain Kirk in this issues takes a back seat as he is sick with the flu and only in the end comes to his friends aid when they are late to report back to the Enterprise. Spock is noble and stays behind to save the life of the young woman and McCoy and becomes a slave for his deeds, Spock truly is a logical and iconic hero character. McCoy shows that he is a loyal friend to Spock as well as proves he will not stand by if human lives are in danger. The cover for this issue is great and makes it look like in the issue Spock was going to gladiator fight with a primitive man and while that would have been amazing and fit the tag line “ Spock…The Barbarian” it sadly did not live up to that epicness and instead we got a middle of the road fun story. The art in this issue is done by Leo Duranona and Klaus Janson and for the post part looks rushed and seems unfinished, and besides the ships and a few panels of crew members it’s the sloppiest work this far in the whole series up to this issue. To sum it up a cool read but by far the weakest issue this far, so lets just move on past this one.

Marvel Star Trek 11

Star Trek # 11  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #11 of 18

Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise watch the logs of another federation ship that’s crew was slowly killed by radiation and the effects it had on their bodies and minds. The Enterprise is to move Dr. Wentworth and his patients off a planet that could be effected by the radiation and must beam them all aboard and take them to a new location. First beamed aboard is a young lady named Andrea Manning who is the doctors assistant and who also has a unknown strange past with Scotty who seems sad and not to pleased to see her. With the guests now all aboard Dr. Wentworth tries his best to spill his mumbo jumbo on the crew about not taking orders and to live their own lives as it’s clear his clinic is not so much for healing, as it is a cult! In the engineering room a Witch from classic folklore attacks Scotty, knocks Kirk and Spock around plus kills two security officers before disappearing. The Witch’s name was “Black Annis” and was a myth from Scotty’s youth and after seeing it he has fallen into a bad state of fear that leaves Kirk, McCoy and Spock worried about his health and mental well being. Meanwhile Wentworth has used his power of persuasion on Sulu and Uhura and they have changed course from the Starfleet base to now a vacation planet and this angers Kirk who does not know why now his crew are not listening to his direct orders. After arresting those who are uprising against orders they soon find that more Scottish folklore monsters are after Scotty and that Andrea Manning is the one who is responsible for these terrors! As Spock and McCoy try to stop Andrea from bringing more monster to life, Kirk has it out with Wentworth who is on a quest to take over the Enterprise and spread his mind control across the galaxy…but this don’t end well for the Doctor as Kirk with a well placed punch leaves the old man knocked out on the floor. And after summing the Loch Ness Monster to attack the Enterprise, McCoy quickly sedates Andrea and the monster vanishes and they crew snap out of their brainwashed trances and deliver the Cult members to the Starfleet base.

This issue’s mission has Captain Kirk and crew going up against a Cult ran by a doctor who has the power to mind control and his assistant who can bring things form your memories to life and use against you. This has a real 60’s Manson Family and even Health But Guru feel to it as Dr. Wentworth the madman with the power of mind control wants to rule the galaxy and will use other to get it all the while faking spreading the message of being once self, when really your just being his puppet. Andrea Manning while a cult member and the doctors # 1 (as The Joker from the Tim Burton Film would say) has he own reasons for unleashing monsters from Scottish folklore onto the Enterprise as she is very upset with Scotty who was once her boyfriend and who dumped her for so he could focus on his career in Starfleet, and man she wants to mentally break him before she murders him as she tries her best to scare him to a state of 100% terror. Kirk handles his crew turning against his orders, his friend Scotty being scared out of his wits and a cult leader trying to steal his ship really well and gets to work out his frustration from all these things with one well placed and powerful punch to the cult leaders face. Scotty gets the worst of it all as the fears of his youth are used against him and all because he broke up with a young lady many years back. Crew members McCoy, Spock and Chekov all do their part to stop this sinister plan while poor Sulu and Uhura fall victim to mind control. Over all this is a very solid fun issue that had the right blend of action and science fiction sandwiched in-between a cool cover of the Enterprise under attack. The interior art was great and done by Joe Brozowski and Tom Palmer and could be my favorite art this far in the series as the characters look like the actors who played them and all side characters as well looked fantastic. This issue is making me look forward to the next issue mission as Marvel at this point in time is doing Star Trek justice in the world of comics.

Marvel Star Trek 12

Star Trek # 12  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #12 of 18

Janice Rand is now a Lt. Commander of the Icarus and is married to a Phaetonians alien named Kadan who is without a body and a energy ball inside of a pyramid case and along with more of his race they are about to take on a mission to travel to uncharted space, the downside is that Rand will be the only human aboard the ship and for the rest of her life she will not have any more human contact. This upsets Kirk who has had a past relationship with Rand, as he feels that not only her time in space alone is a bad idea but so is the fact that she is married to a alien with no body! After some words Kirk gives her his blessing on this mission that turns bad quick as the barrier drives the Phaetonians mad and now her once loving and logical husband Kadan is a madman who is controlling the starship that is now gone mad killing ships that get in its way, all the while Rand is now a prisoner! Rand during the impact with the barrier gains physic powers and sends a mind message for help to Spock and this causes Kirk to spring into action and try and save his one time woman and also the planet of the Phaetonians as Kadan plans on crashing the Icarus into it as he and the crew feel homesick! Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Sulu beam aboard the Icarus and fight off traps and force fields until Spock is able to join minds with Kadan and save the planet and the Icarus crew from certain death. In the end the Phaetonians are taken to a mental asylum as they have gone mad, Janice Rand goes back to normal and is now safe and feels important as she helped Spock with Kadan’s mind meld as well as now she can divorce her husband and all ends well for Starfleet.

Captain Kirk has done it again as he on this mission not only saves a planet from destruction along with his crew but also hits on a married woman and by the end of the mission opens her mind up for a divorce! Kirk is a real ladies man as well as a great Captain and friend to those aboard his ship The Enterprise. Janice Rand is still hung up on Kirk and marries a alien who has no body, but does have a big brain and chooses to take on a mission that will have her dying in space with a ship with no human crew members! Her goal is to chart un-charted galaxies and to make an impact in her life time…but in the end does so as she truly does help Spock take control of her husbands mind who is the one controlling the out of control ship headed for impact with his home planet. Spock once more is the main man who saves the day as his mind meld technics is what allows them to take control of the ship and deliver it to a safe place. What really worked for his issue was the fact that the ships Enterprise and Icarus played cat and mouse games and the chase felt like a true episode of Star Trek! I also want to note that while Kirk and crew were on the Icarus the Enterprise was being commanded by Scotty who’s idea to save the planet was to wreck the two ships together killing everyone on board both ships, and the worst part is he was going through with the idea until Spock at the last moment was able to take control of the runaway starship! Over all while this issue is nothing to special it does have a great feel to it and I found myself enjoying reading the story as it unfolded. The cover is great and has Kadan in the center as well as an illusion of what his people use to look like above Kirk, Rand and Spock who are in pain over his power…very cool Marvel Comics stuff! The art inside is ok and is slightly sloppy in spots and is done by the team of Luke McDonnell and Tom Palmer and again while ok it does not have the appeal like the last issue did in the art department. Over all our 12 mission with the crew of the Enterprise and Marvel is well done and shows that comics based on Movies and TV Shows can be done right when in the hands of creators who care.

Marvel Star Trek 13

Star Trek # 13  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #12 of 18

Hephaestus is a resort planet filled with peace, as it’s a neutral zone and important minerals wanted by the Federation so Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise is sent down to get permission form the planets president named Mukii and talks go well as he agrees for them to mine the minerals they need. But also on the planet is Klingon Commander Kagg and his crew who want to talk Mukii and his people out of helping the Federation and more allow them to protect them and act as their allies. As tension between Federation crew and Klingon crew heat up leaving Chekov in a fistfight with a very rude Klingon who was abusing a native of Hephaestus, this resort planet is slowly turning into a war zone. As Dr. McCoy enjoys a drink at the bar he is approached by his estranged daughter Joanna who lets out her rage on her father who in turn tries to defend is actions and even meets her ill Vulcan soon to be husband Suvak who during the argument passes out! The fight leaves the native Hephaestus dead and both the Klingon and Chekov in jail, with Dr. McCoy and Dr. Chapel having to perform an autopsy on the dead primate man learning that a chip is what gives them intelligence, and when Kagg shows up the plan is revealed that the Klingons want to take over the planet and want to know were the secret base that makes the chips that makes the Hephaestus people smart is and has found it and placed a bomb in the factory to blow it up and stop the only source for the chips to be made! In Kaggs escape he takes nurse Joanna McCoy hostage and this leaves to Spock and Kirk trying to track him down, as Dr. McCoy and Dr. Chapel stay with Suvak who is dying and shows true love and courage as he goes to his loves aid in the factory and holds Kagg at bay as Kirk and the rest of the crew are beamed aboard the Enterprise, but not before Kirk sends the blueprints of making the chips to his ship. The factory blows up killing Suvak and Kagg in the process. In the end the rift between Joanna and Dr. McCoy is even wider as her love is now dead, but words from Spock speak logic to Bones who ends up ending the issue beaming down to speak to his daughter and rebuild their relationship.

This is like classic Star Trek meets classic Planet Of The Apes as the natives of Hephaestus are smart ape people who look and dress a lot like the apes from that film series wrapped up into one classic Marvel Comic issue. The plot of this issue has the Enterprise having a showdown with Klingons on a natural planet that is run by smart primate people who are being targeted by the Klingons as they want to take over their planet and by the Federation who wants to have them as allies and use some of their land for mining. And throw is a couple of murders of the Hephaestus people as well as the drama of Dr. McCoy seeing his daughter after many years of being at odds as well as the fact she wants to marry a Vulcan who is dying and you have this action back issue wrapped up. While Kirk and Spock are the main focus of the hero part of the issue and both risk their lives to save the Hephaestus people, it’s Dr. McCoy who steals the show as his drama with his daughter and the raw emotions of hating the fact she is marring a Vulcan is what drives the issue into being more than just another space adventure and rescue comic. Joanna McCoy has followed in the footsteps of her father as she is a nurse, but her feelings toward her father are every bitter and she does not respect him nor want him in her life! The Klingons lead by Commander Kagg are as blood thirsty as ever and kill and bully their way into trying to conquer and take what they want, but as always they fail and end up one the bad end of the outcome. The Hephaestus is a race of Primate Aliens who have gotten their smarts from Aliens who visited their planet years back and gave them chips in the back of their necks that allowed them to become smart, I dig the fact that with smarts came the want to make money as they turned their planet into one giant spa! The cover is great and has Kagg holding a gun to Joanna McCoy’s head and Kirk and Spock about to spring into action to save her! The interior art is done once more by the team of Tom Palmer and Joe Brozowski and looks great! Over all another great issue and proved that Jim Shooter who was the Editor In-Chief during this time was one of the best things to happen to Marvel Comics, a great read about a fun mission from the crew of The Enterprise.

Marvel Star Trek 14

Star Trek # 14  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #14 of 18

The Enterprise has found a planet that looks like ancient Egypt and it’s about to be in the patch of a lethal meteor shower that will leave any living thing dead. Kirk, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura, Chekov and many more crew members beam down to look for life and warn them of the coming doom from the sky while Scotty, Spock and a small handful of others stay aboard the Enterprise to monitor the approaching meteor storm. While on the planet Kirk is possessed by the spirit of Menteptah II a long dead pharaoh who watches as the Enterprise crew have to fight off a giant sphinx robot that they finally bring down by blowing its head off with their phasers, but the crew themselves are soon on the end of a phaser blast as the possessed Kirk blasts them and keeps them hostage. Kirk then takes his new prisoners communicators and destroys them as he thinks they can help him bring his long dead people back to life, but he missed one as McCoy had taken one off of a security officer that was killed during the battle with the giant robot. When caught using it McCoy is stunned and he and Sulu are taken to a primitive sick bay that has the hole crew getting iv’s filled with drugs that will make them slaves to the possessed Kirk who has already conned Uhura into thinking she was his queen. Spock beams down to the planet and snaps Kirk back into reality as McCoy escapes the sick bay and uses modern medicine to snap the crew out of their brainwashing. The mummies come alive as they were just normal men in a state of long slumber and are beamed off the planet to a safe location away from the meteors and harmful sun radiation that was effecting their planet. Kirk and Spock were also able to save Scotty and the Enterprise that was hit by a powerful shrinking ray fired off by one of the pyramids when they figure out the ancient computer system that controls the plants defense system. In the end everyone is back to normal and once more the crew of The Enterprise has saved the day.

“Captain Kirk and the Curse of the Space Pharaoh” is what I nicknamed this issue that has Kirk being possessed by a dead pharaoh and controlled by an Egyptian God statue who wants to use the Enterprise crew to wake up his followers that have been asleep for decades. When Captain Kirk first goes to the planet he is doing so with a noble cause as he wants to save anyone that may be on the planet from the approaching meteor shower of death, but once he gets possessed he becomes a madman with power who wants slaves and wants to please his God by doing what he commands. If not for Spock Kirk and most of the Enterprise crew would have been in a trance and no longer themselves forever! Spock for most the issue hangs out on the Enterprise with Scotty and a skeleton crew, but once he hears the message from McCoy he becomes a one man army as he beams down and rescues the day. I also like the side story of the Enterprise shrinking due to a pyramid laser ray as it adds even more adventure and drama as Scotty is in total danger. The cover is classic early 80’s Marvel and the art inside is done by Luke McDonnell and Gene Day and looks fantastic! Over all this is another solid and good issue and holds the magic of the TV Show and the Characters and is worth the read for sure.

Marvel Star Trek 15

Star Trek # 15  **1/2
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #15 of 18

Captain Kirk calls a meeting in his room and when McCoy and Spock show up they are greeted by a monster who shocks them, but they soon learn that its just Kirk in a costume and that many of the crew will be wearing them as they are going undercover on a prison world! Their mission is for a four man team to act as guards and break into the death row section of the planet where prisoners are killed in brutal ways no matter the crime they committed, the second part of the mission will follow after the success or failure of the first part of the mission. The Enterprise captures the real guard ship and Spock uses mild melding to calm them and sends them back home as members of the Enterprise will be taking their place as the mission is now told as they are looking for a young man named Tak who went missing heading for the prison planet and they need to bring him back safe and find out why he went their in the first place. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Uhura put on the costumes and head for their mission were they run across just how brutal the planet and its executions really are. While sent out to find a missing prisoner Kirk and the crew find Tak as well as are busted by a guard they must knock out and leave in a ditch! Tak informs them that he wants to die on this planet as an accident he had while drunk left his true love dead! Tak once more runs away before he can be rescued and shape shifts into a prisoner about to be executed and is saved my Kirk and crew again only for they themselves to be saved by the guard they knocked out who kills the evil warden and takes over the prison and wants to run it way different. Kirk and crew along with Tak are beamed aboard the Enterprise and Tak is set to get the mental help he needs.

This fifteenth issue in this Marvel Comic series of Star Trek issues is a good read, but could be one of the weakest this far next to maybe issue ten. The issues plot has the Enterprise crew going on a top-secret mission in a territory that is hostile and must save a young alien man who has went missing on a planet that is the galaxies worst prison with the most brutal death row! Kirk tells his crew that this mission is one they can by no way connect to the federation so if they must die in order to protect their employer so be it! The crew is wearing goofy costumes most the issue, besides Kirk who’s mask is ripped off so the good old captains face is seen by not only the prison guards but also us readers. The Warden is super evil and gets pleasure in watching the killing of his prisoners as he finds that they do not deserve respect in life or death, but he meets his maker by the hands of his own guard who puts a phaser blast hole in his back as he wants to change the evil ways of the planet. The cover for this issue is pretty good as it makes it look as if Captain Kirk has turned into The Devil as the crew look on fearful! The interior art is pretty sloppy and weak and is done by Gil Kane, and that’s shocking as his work for the most part was pretty good in other Marvel and DC Comics. While this issue is not terrible and was an enjoyable read, I just found it to get semi generic and nothing special. I do like how it has a message of don’t drink or do drugs and drive as it could lead to death! To sum it up this issue is like a throw away episode of the TV series and while worth the read will be one that you would rate lower.

Marvel Star Trek 16

Star Trek # 16  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #16 of 18

Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Chekov, a security guard and Themon (who is Chekov’s girlfriend) beam down to a federation planet for its annual check-up to its people but what they find instead is a tribe of trolls who attack them and kidnap Themon! Before the battle gets to fierce McCoy and an injured Troll are beamed aboard the Enterprise so they can study what they are! While Kirk and the crew fight on against the trolls they are saved by gnomes that are lead by Torval who informs them that the colony people of this planet they were looking for are dead and eaten by the trolls! Kirk and his crew are lead to a cave were the trolls live in order to try and save Themon, while aboard the Enterprise beamed up with the now un-needed supplies are two bat riding trolls who attack and are quickly captured when the crew learn they are powerless with out their hats on and once this happens they turn back into gnomes! When Kirk and crew find Themon she is trying to communicate to the trolls who are far less hostile now and seems to understand what they crew are saying! Meanwhile McCoy figures out the real trolls are in fact people and with some medicine they will turn back normal and he comes down to the planet and transforms the trolls back to normal. Kirk and Spock put two and two together and figure out Torval and his gnomes are the real bad guys who have set this whole thing up, in the end they defeat the gnomes who explain that only four of their race are alive and they just wanted a place to be left alone, and they get it as the leave them be and transport the colony away and all ends well.

This issue pits Kirk and the Enterprise against Trolls and Gnomes on a planet that was set for research and once the smoke clears they find that the gnomes whom they thought were allies are in fact the enemies who are using hat magic to destroy and trick those who stand in their way of living on the planet alone! Kirk in this issues is leading not only the ship but the landing party and seems to be is a world of disbelief as he jokes off the fact that they are being attacked and saved by creatures of Earth folklore. Not sure why he is acting like those who are stating and believe what they are seeing is real are crazy, he just does. Nice to see Chekov used more in this issue and even given a girlfriend in the blue skinned Themon who seems to be just as into Chekov as he is into her. The rest of the crew serve their purpose with McCoy being the real hero as he figures out the cure to make the trolls back to normal and saving them from a terrible life. The Gnomes who get their power from the their hats are few in numbers with only four being all that’s left of their race, but when their little minds are together they can kill and disrupt to get their way of wanting to live in peace. The Trolls are savages at first but once they can calm down and understand what the Enterprise crew is saying they become as gentle as babies. The threat in this issue while small still packs a great adventure feel to it as the gnomes try their best to even crush the crew and trolls alive with a cave in! The cover is eye catching and the art inside is done by Luke McDonnell and is ok but in some spots is really bad as one panel has Kirk looking like Sloth from the film The Goonies, as he eyes are weird and off center. Over all another fun Marvel Trek mission that was well worth the read and highly entertaining for fans of the TV Show and the movies.

Marvel Star Trek 17

Star Trek # 17  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel    #17 of 18

The Enterprise is called to a planet where a federation satellite crashed, and its fuel may cause the atmosphere to become toxic when coming in touch with the air. To see if the fuel has affected the air Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to the planet that is very primitive in nature much like medieval times.  A young child witnesses them beaming down and believes they are angels. While in town McCoy heads to the town’s hospital that is a barbaric house of pain and suffering as the sick are not cured but left to heal by the hands of faith. While Kirk and Spock make the mistake of talking to a old man who studies the stars, the townspeople think they are evil so they are attacked and taken away, and when they discover Spock’s pointed ears they think he is a devil. McCoy finds that the air is poisoned and that the sick and elderly are being affected, but he as well is arrested and branded a devil worshiping evildoer.  The young child is also captured as they think she is mindlessly following the evil ones, and Gorman, who is the star researcher, saves her from being tortured and causes the holy warrior guards to give chase tricking them to leave and making it easier for Gorman and the young child visit Kirk and Spock in their cell and give them back their broken equipment that they use to free themselves, but sadly they must leave McCoy behind as he is in another cell and informs them that the air is turning toxic and they must get the Enterprise to drop the anti toxin into the atmosphere before it’s too late. In the end Kirk saves McCoy, who is about to be drowned by the Holy Warriors that think he is a witch, as Spock is able to contact the Enterprise by making a primitive radio that alerts them to drop the antidote right on time. In the end Kirk, Spock and McCoy return to the Enterprise, and Gorman and the young girl know that science is the way to cure and create things to better mankind.

This issue’s mission lands Kirk and select crew on a planet that is much like the medieval era where superstition runs wild and people still think witches and devil are out to get them.  In reality, the ones they target just understand science and want to use it to better mankind in its quest to evolve and cure illness and understand the world around them. This issue reminds me a lot of the third Evil Dead film “Army Of Darkness” as the future seems to clash with the past and by the end it all mashes together for the better. Kirk, Spock and McCoy put themselves in danger in order to find out if the planet’s people are in trouble from toxic air thanks once more to the federation who goofed up and wants the Enterprise to be the clean up crew in secret to protect its reputation. The people of the planet are so into superstition that they are on a witch hunt and are clueless that the air around them is slowly killing them. Gorman and the little girl are great side characters as they are clearly the only ones smart enough to figure out Kirk and crew are their to help and even are the key to how Spock and Kirk free themselves from the jail. The story feels like a classic 1960’s episode of the TV show, and once more, Marvel showed that they could do science fiction right when based on a popular franchise. The cover on this issue is okay and while not really showcasing what the issue was about, is eye catching to Trekkies for sure. The interior art this time around is being done by Ed Hannigan and looks pretty good like your typical B-Title art from Marvel. Over all this issue was great and a fun read that captured the silliness and epic nature of Star Trek missions.  So what I am saying is this issue was good stuff.

Marvel Star Trek 18

Star Trek # 18  ***
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Marvel   #18 of 18

The Enterprise is being blocked by a giant ship planet that sends over probes that allows it to beam aboard both Kirk and Spock.  They meet a giant robot named Sustainer who informs them that he wishes them no harm and needs their help, but this help will have one returning to the Enterprise and will leave the other dead. Before they can get answers, Kirk and Spock find themselves on opposing pirate ships.  Kirk dies saving Spock’s life when a piece of the ship falls and crushes him. As Spock carries his dead friend and Captain, the Sustainer informs him that he can bring Kirk back to life.  This confuses the pair even more as they escape the sick bay and find they are now in some sort of mechanical maze, that this time leaves Spock dead and resurrected. Sustainer brings Kirk and Spock to the bridge of his planet ship and shows them the Enterprise on the screen and starts to use his ships power to heat up the Enterprise, slowly cooking the crew alive! The only way he will stop this massacre is if Kirk or Spock give their life for them and this time the death will be final, Spock uses the nerve pinch on Kirk and volunteers death for the lives of his fellow crew members, but Kirk awakes just in time and once more saves Spock from death’s grip. Sustainer is happy this has happened as he never wanted to kill and was only stealing the emotion of friendship and doing great things for others as his creators are in sleep chambers on this ship.  They are greedy and self centered, and by stealing these emotions from Spock and Kirk, he can now install those feelings into his creators making them a better race. In the end Sustainer sends Kirk and Spock back to the Enterprise, and all ends well as the galaxy is shaping up to be a better place for all alien races.

The final Marvel Comic mission has a message about loyalty, sacrifice and helping others in need and is told between Kirk and Spock who are being tested by a giant robot who in turn is trying to use emotions to teach his creators a better way to live their lives instead of being selfish. Kirk and Spock have respect for each other as fellow Starfleet members but also are close friends as they clearly would risk their own lives to save each other from danger and death. The rest of the crew of the Enterprises sadly are just pawns in this game of stealing emotions and self sacrifice as they are trapped in a tracking beam and later are almost cooked to death like sardines in a can. Sustainer is a giant robot that is loyal to his creators and yet knows that they are flawed and that their own selfish nature is what has lead to their almost complete extinction. His plan for help is to trick Kirk and Spock into doing tests that always leave one person dead.  Each time the death comes from a selfless act in order to help the other, as Sustainer is taking that emotion and thought process and pumping it into the sleep chambers of his creators in hope it will make them better beings. It’s strange that this story is how they decided to end the Star Trek Marvel Comic series with a moral meaning issue and not a battle with the Klingons or some other alien race, as I would have liked to have seen maybe a few more aliens from the TV show make an appearance during this 18 issue run. While Marvel only ran Star Trek for 18, far less than the 107 made for Star Wars, it still was a fun and high quality science fiction comic adventure that took classic characters and allowed them to battle Klingons, fight gnomes and even find a haunted house planet to keep their mission going and act as a way to keep fans happy as they waited for the next movie to come out in the series. The cover is okay and informs you that this was the final issue in the series and showcases Kirk and Spock in a mind meld.  The final issue art duty went to Joe Brozowski, and you could tell he gave it time and respect. Being a long time fan of Star Trek I will say that while I highly enjoyed this comic series, it does have flaws like odd character attitude changes and cheesy missions, but if you like fun with your Trek I would say make sure to give this series a read. Below is some art from this series and yes it’s all taken from when they fought the monsters as it combined two things I really love lots: Star Trek and monsters!

Marvel Star Trek Art 1Marvel Star Trek Art 2Marvel Star Trek Art 3

This month I covered things that I was a huge fan of in my youth and still am to this day including Horror Host show Super Scary Saturday hosted by Grampa, Sunday Funnies iconic character Dick Tracy and last but not least sci-fi mainstay TV and movie franchise Star Trek.  It was a blast going back to my past and re-visiting my past memories and joys that these media characters gave me and still do. Our next update will be our first in our countdown to Halloween and will take us out of the unknowns of space and into the deep blue ocean as we take a look at Jaws 2 and the Marvel Comic adaptation of the film.  So until then, make sure to take a few moments and give some thought to movies, TV shows, comics, music, books, video games, horror hosts and most importantly the people who have been impactful on your life and helped shape you into the person you are today. So read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host, and I’ll see you on Amity Island for our next Jawsome update.

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The Next Generation Of The Final Frontier

First officer’s blog, Stardate 69885.3.  Greetings, Inkfleet cadets – Juliet once again reporting for blogging duty.  Today we’re heading to the final frontier to talk about a show (and the comics based on it) that is and was incredibly important to me, Star Trek: The Next Generation, which I’ll henceforth be abbreviating as ST:TNG.  So why The Next Generation and not the original series?  As I’ll get into further along in this update, I adore the original series, but ST:TNG was such an important part of my childhood, for better or worse.  Matt, on the other hand, is a HUGE original series fan so it’s only appropriate that I handle this one while he takes on the original series at a later date.  So settle in with some tea – earl grey – hot and prepare to bolding go where no one has gone before.

 USS_Enterprise-D_These_Are_the_VoyagesTNGopeninglogo1350487566-0

In 1986, 20 years after Star Trek’s debut and as Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner were demanding larger salaries during the production of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Paramount began to consider a new Star Trek television series.  This actually wasn’t the first first time they had toyed with the idea.  In 1977, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry had announced that Star Trek Phase II would be coming to the small screen as part of the newly created Paramount Television Service.  The series was to feature a second five year mission for the original series crew, but when Paramount Television Services failed to launch, the plot for the pilot episode was rewritten and became Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Star Trek: The Next Generation was announced in October of 1986, the cast in the spring of 1987.   Originally Gene Roddenberry hadn’t planned on being involved in the production but came on as creator, working with Paramount exec Rick Berman, after he was unhappy with some of the original concept designs.  The show premiered in October, 1987 in what’s called first-run syndication, meaning that any TV station, regardless of network affiliation, could carry the show in the timeslot of its choosing – a fact that I actually just learned while researching this blog that clears up a lot of my own confusion as to whether I was viewing the episodes first-run or in syndicated re-runs (both, kind of).

star trek the next generation series premiere tv ad2

The first episode, “Encounter at Farpoint,” introduces us to the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D (Kirk’s Enterprise was the NCC-1701 in the show and then the NCC-1701-A beginning in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home) roughly 70 years after Kirk and co’s original five year mission.  Captained by Jean-Luc Picard, the Enterprise’s ongoing mission is, like in the original series, to seek out new life and new civilizations.  This Enterprise, however, is home to more than officiers, and the presence of children and families on the ship becomes a subtle but important theme throughout the show’s run.  The Federation and the Klingons enjoy a relative peace, making it possible for a Klingon officer, Lt. Worf, to be head of security.  New threats, however, have emerged most notably with the Borg Collective joining other villainous races like the Romulans.  The Borg are a cybernetic race assimilated from other conquered species.  Their origins are a bit vague as they hail from the faraway Delta Quadrant (where Star Trek: Voyager takes place), but their story and the threat they pose is explored throughout ST:TNG and the subsequent movies and shows.  I’m actually really curious to see if they’ll be a part of either the forthcoming CBS Star Trek series slated for 2017 of which very few details have been revealed, or, if perhaps they’ll make an appearance in the Abrams-verse Star Trek films, which are simply an alternate timeline/universe split off from the original series – more on that in a moment.

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I would be remiss to mention the Borg without mentioning Q, as he both begins ST:TNG and introduces the Borg to the Enterprise crew and the viewers.  Q is an omnipotent being, one of many like him who form the Q Continuum.  Masterfully played by John de Lancie, Q serves as a both a framing device for the entire ST:TNG series and a recurring meddlesome presence who, although typically arriving humorously, often raises huge philosophical and ethical questions about the Enterprise’s mission to “seek out new life and new civilizations.”  So although he was a bit over the top, Q really helped add a whole new dimension to the stories of his episodes.  Speaking of dimensions (see what I did there?), Q was often (especially in the novels – again, stay tuned, we’re getting there) involved in stories that explored the concept of multiple dimensions and the space-time continuum.  Although The Original Series dealt with these concepts quite a bit, I feel like they really shone in ST:TNG, and the novels that centered around time were particularly interesting and well crafted. We’ll talk about those in a moment, but first a bit about my history with the show itself.

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I was four years old when ST:TNG premiered so unlike The X-Files, I don’t have a distinct memory of the first time I saw the show.  Rather, the show’s been ever-present in my life; much like public radio, ST:TNG was just always there.  By 1991, our local station had also started re-running episodes daily as I do have very clear memories of watching ST:TNG every night at 7pm after Little House on the Prairie in our then-new house (which is my parents’ house to this day).  Several year later, I think after the show had ended in 1994, they moved the reruns to 11pm, and I remember being completely upset because that was past my bedtime. Pretty quickly, however, my bedtime was changed to accommodate watching ST:TNG every night even though I had probably seen every episode five times over already – thanks, Mom and Dad!  That should be some indication of how much the show meant to me.  I’m going to get into that a bit further, but first let’s talk about some of the merchandise as this kind of all ties together.

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There was SO.MUCH merchandise for ST:TNG.  The variety of toys alone was rather staggering.  I can remember going to the Bookie Parlor (yes, the same comic store Matt’s spoken of fondly many times here on the blog) as a child and being rather amazed at how many ships and playsets were available, not to mention the posters, books, comics, t-shirts, lunchboxes, pogs and more.  In terms of action figures, the first set of ST:TNG action figures came out in 1988 from Galoob.  This set of 10 3.5 inch figures came out as a limited release and are pretty rare to find today.  The largest and popular assortment of ST:TNG figures were the 5” Playmates figures that were released in waves of 10-23 figures beginning in 1991.  Funny enough, I never had any of these as a kid.  I couldn’t even tell you why, but I only ever got a handful of the First Contact figures which were larger at 6 inches tall.  However, thanks to the heroic efforts of Matt, in my 30s I’m now the proud owner of a nearly complete set of the 3.5” ST:TNG figures.  Other notable merchandise that I actually owned includes a replica communicator that actually featured Patrick Stewart’s voice,  a giant poster with bios of each crew member and a more recent acquisition: a complete of set of PEZ dispensers of the whole ST:TNG crew (check out the photos below).  Though not exclusively ST:TNG, I also owned and proudly wore a Women of Star Trek t-shirt that featured the amazing ladies from the original series all the way through Deep Space 9 (my version of the shirt pre-dated Voyager’s premiere though I’ve seen later editions that included Captain Janeway).

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There were also VHS tapes, and lots of them.  Beginning in 1991, tapes of individual episodes were released and eventually every single episode made it onto VHS.  They also made it onto LaserDisc, released with two episodes per disc.  Again, a full run of the series was released in this format.  The first season of ST:TNG came out on DVD in 2002.  All seven seasons were eventually released, and in 2007, the full series was released in a 49 disc set.  The series was also released on Blu-Ray, remastered from original 35mm footage using a special technique that allowed for maximum picture quality.

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The the video game department, ST:TNG had lots of options for the PC gamer, from movie tie-ins for Generations and First Contact to highly specialized games such as Armada and Borg Assimilator.  On the home console front, NES, Gameboy and Gear Gamer players got Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1993.  Sega would follow in 1994 with Star Trek: The Next Generation – Echoes From the Past and Generations: Beyond the Nexus.  ST:TNG made it to the Playstation 2 with Encounters and Conquest (which was also available for the Wii), and was represented in the Xbox 360 and PC game Star Trek: Legacy.  Arcade fans got to experience the super cool Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball machine.

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Of all the really cool pieces of Star Trek: The Next Generation merchandise that I either owned or coveted, by far the most important items to me were the paperback novels.  They began in 1988 with Ghost Ship, the first of the numbered series, which went all the way to 63.  I was the proud owner of all of the ST:TNG numbered paperbacks through #45 (at the time, that was the most recent release).  I got the majority of the early run at a library sale, and began seeking out others at the library and then buying them from Books & Co as I found them.  There were also one-shot novels outside of the numbered series including titles like Q-Squared, Vendetta, Imzadi and Kahless.  These books were hugely, hugely important to me as a young reader.  I had always been an advanced reader for my grade level, but because I was so excited about having more ST:TNG stories to consume beyond the seven seasons of the show, I devoured these books, sometimes reading one in a single evening.  From the age of 11 to 13, you typically didn’t see me without one or several ST:TNG paperbacks in my possession at all times.  My quest to find new ones to read meant I spent a lot of time looking through the sci-fantasy paperbacks at my local library and eventually I began picking up other titles, both by genre mainstays like Piers Anthony and Anne McCaffery and other random one-offs, some very good and other delightfully cheesy.  But it wasn’t all warm fuzzy scifi nerd joy for a young Juliet.  As I’m sure you can imagine, the other 11-13 year olds I went to school with didn’t quite think the ST:TNG novels were as cool as I did.  Pair that a teacher who required you to track the pages you’d read, out loud, in front of class each day (remember that sometimes I’d read a whole novel on a usual day), and you’ve got a lot of pre-teen mocking and accusations from  classmates and a teacher that I was lying about the reading.  Sigh. Pre-teen angst aside, I learned a lot from these books as I came to understand which of the regular authors tended toward which type of stories and who was stronger with certain characters.  It’s helped me as a writer think about my own strengths and the type of stories I both like to tell and am good at writing.  By far, my favorite ST:TNG novel writer was Peter David.  I absolutely loved his use of multiple timelines that could both stand on their own as interesting stories and intersected in interesting ways.  David’s Q-Squared more than likely laid the groundwork for me to fall in love with even more complex timelines in novels like The Man in the Empty Suit and even experimental work like House of Leaves.

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The novels weren’t the only books released around the ST:TNG franchise.  There was an episode guide called The Complete Guide to Star Trek: The Next Generation that was re-released several times as the show was renewed for additional seasons (and that at one point in my life, I had memorized – no joke).  There were also several technical manuals, books about the science of Star Trek, and a host of other random series tie-ins like Make It So: Leadership Lessons from Star Trek:  The Next Generation.

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This of course brings us to the comics.  There were several series of ST:TNG comics released by DC and later their Wildstorm imprint.  For our purposes, I’ll be covering the first ST:TNG six-issue miniseries, now called Volume 1, released in early 1988.  They were written by Mike Carlin, who was also group editor for Superman at the time and later served as DC’s executive editor from 1996 until 2002.  The artwork was by Pablo Marcos, who had previously made a name for himself doing horror comics for Marvel.  Marcos would stay on for a good portion of the second ST:TNG DC run (Volume 2), the bulk of which was written by Michael Jan Friedman.  Big thanks to Matt for tracking down the Volume 1 series for me via Lone Star Comics, and before we engage, remember that here on Rotten Ink, we grade comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and look for how close the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s set a course for the DC six-issue mini-series of Star Trek: The Next Generation….Engage!

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Star Trek: The Next Generation  #1  *
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.50    DC    1 of 6

We begin with Captain Picard’s opening narration (the same one that opens the show), which leads into a monologue of his reflections on the Enterprise, its mission and the fact that unlike his prior command posts, this ship is carrying not just his crew, but their families including many children.   On the bridge, Picard’s crew, including Commander Riker, Lt. Worf, Lt. Yar, Counselor Troi, Lt. Commander Data and Lt. LaForge, are ready to proceed with their first mission as they conduct scans of a nearby planet and adjust to working together.  An alien race makes contact and expresses and interest in meeting the Enterprise crew.  As Picard begins to make plans for an away team, Dr Crusher and Wesley visit the bridge to ask for more medical supplies, but everything is interrupted when the supposedly peaceful aliens fire on the ship.  After consulting with Riker and Troi, Picard decides that the away team will go ahead as planned with Riker, Troi, Yar, LaForge and Data visiting the alien planet.  As soon as they arrive, they’re fired on again again and pursued by warriors in a large armored vehicle.  Meanwhile, back on the ship, Picard has to deal with young Wesley asking him about his plans for dealing with the potentially hostile aliens and a husband and wife bridge team who are bickering nonstop.  Back on the planet, Yar gets the hostile aliens under control for the moment, and Troi probes their minds to discover that their actions aren’t necessarily purely hostile but that they’re involved in some kind of war games.  The team is then transported elsewhere, by another set of aliens who apologize for the welcome the Enterprise crew has received to their planet thus far.  Out of concern for his crew, Picard has jumped into a transporter and ends up on the same ship as his away team to be greeted by the aliens, who appear to be children.

Huh.  So…that was….an issue that I read.  The beginning of this issue read almost like it was going to be a comic version of the first episode of ST:TNG, Encounter at Farpoint but ended up veering off to its own story. According to the editor’s notes in the back of the comic, DC began work on this ST:TNG mini-series in early 1987, right around the time the show began shooting its first season, which I think, explains a lot about why some of the characterizations feel just a bit off.  For example: in the show, Data rarely speaks with contractions, save for some very deliberate scripting choices and the occasion flub, but in this comic, he uses them nonstop.  It’s entirely possible that decision wasn’t made until Brent Spiner began shooting as the character so the DC folks had already started working on the comic and this wasn’t communicated to them.  The way the characters interact with one another, even the way they address each other (commonly by first names instead of by last name or title) also feels just a bit off from the show. Speaking of out of place, the biggest problem I had with this issue were the things that felt like DC trying to “comicfy” ST:TNG – as if the show itself didn’t have the right elements for a comic in the 1980s (come on guys, it’s in space!) so they added giant Mad-Max-esque armored vehicles, warriors who looked like your usual Conan-Krull-HeMan clones and gave the bickering bridge couple capes…just so you were sure you were reading a comic book  The art itself is okay – very much of its time and nothing to write home about.  The cover is pretty cool with a painted looking Enterprise in warp flight over the LCARS display.  Let’s see if they can iron out some of my complaints in the next issue, though it’s got Picard fighting aliens in front of a Christmas tree on the cover so I’m not exactly optimistic.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation #2  *1/2
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.00    DC    2 of 6

The Enterprise is en route to a Federation Starbase for standard maintenance, and the crew is preparing to celebrate Christmas on the holodeck.  The sensors pick up an alien vessel traveling at warp speed nearby so Riker proceeds with the usual diplomatic greetings, but when the communications channels are opened, the Enterprise’s instruments go berserk.  They recover quickly and finally reach the strange mummy-like aliens who are happy to accept the crew’s invitation to join them in their holiday celebrations.  The rest of the crew make merry on the holodeck, which is made up to look like ski slopes, but Picard and Yar excuse themselves to greet their alien visitors.  As they proceed to the holodeck, one of the aliens wanders off and catches Wesley, who’s also wandered away from the party, but says that he’s “not the one I’m looking for.”  Wesley tries to warn Picard and the rest of the crew, but when confronted, the aliens just say that there was an odd presence that they were chasing, which could also explain the earlier malfunctions on the Enterprise.  Picard doesn’t seem terribly concerned, so Wesley throws a tantrum and leaves the party.  Troi chases after him saying she believes him because she’s sensed something strange as well.  The aliens and the Enterprise crew clash as the presence once again wrecks havoc, materializing to look like Santa Claus (seriously).  When this happens, the aliens are unmasked and revealed to look suspiciously like a race of Grinches (again, seriously).  Finally the presence is freed out in space and the aliens agree to stay and celebrate Christmas with the Enterprise crew.

I spent the first few minutes of this comic extremely confused because I thought that this was going to be a continuation of the story from issue 1, but nope.  Instead we forge ahead into a rather ridiculous holiday story that ultimately results in the Enterprise crew and some aliens bonding over the spirit of Christmas.  It’s exactly as cheesy as it sounds, and I groaned loudly when the mysterious presence began to manifest itself in the shape of Santa Claus.  I won’t tell you what I said, when, upon flipping back through the pages to write this review, I realized that the aliens looked like the Grinch. Sigh. I suppose I should mentioned that I’m not a fan of holiday specials in general so the concept was already rather painful.  But even putting that aside, this just felt way too wacky to be ST:TNG – like bad fanfiction.  The art in this issue was slightly improved from the last – the characters are starting to look a bit more like themselves.  Let’s see if we can take a few more baby steps towards a good read in issue 3.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation  #3  **1/2
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.35    DC    3 of 6

The Enterprise is beginning another mission when Picard catches Yar and Wesley running through the corridors playing a game.  He chastises them, and Yar tells Wesley a bit about her childhood on a rough colony planet before she’s summoned to the bridge.  The Enterprise has encountered a strange ship of unknown origin with no apparent lifeforms on board.  Yar volunteers to lead an away mission, saying that it’s best to investigate now that get caught in a trap later.  The mission, however, quickly goes awry as the team is attacked by invisible assailants, who seem to somehow know Tasha Yar.  Back on the Enterprise, Picard has to figure out whether or not to destroy this mysterious ship, and as he grapples with the ethics, Q appears on the bridge to throw his two cents in.  The alien ship begins firing on the Enterprise, and Picard makes the decision to protect the civilians onboard by separating the saucer section and commanding from the battle bridge.  Meanwhile, Wesley observes the transporters being used without anyone seemingly being beamed aboard the saucer section, while Deanna senses a psychic attack on Tasha Yar.  Q tries to bait Picard into destroying the alien ship, but then the Enterprise receives a hail of distress from the human-like creatures aboard who claim to have been abandoned by their leader.  While Q continues to argue with Picard, the aliens board the battle bridge and accuse Q of breaking his part of their deal.  While Picard tries to make sense of the arrangement that Q has made, Gordi informs him that the saucer section has vanished in space as our story is to be continued.

FINALLY, a comic that feels like ST: TNG and not some silly kids book (no offense if that’s what you’re into, it’s just not what I’m after in a Star Trek comic).  The story for this issue very much had the feel of a regular episode with moments of comedy, adventure and drama as well as Q meddling about as Picard tries to navigate the Prime Directive and captaining a ship with both commissioned crew and civilians onboard.  If that wasn’t enough, we got the ship separating, which always felt like a treat in the show (by treat, I mean thing that would cause a young Juliet to demand the attention of everyone around me: “Look! Look!  They’re going to the battle bridge which means THEY’RE GOING TO SEPARATE THE SHIP!!”).  The art’s still not fabulous, but for the most part, everyone looked remotely like themselves.  I’m actually a bit excited to see how this one wraps up so let’s move on to the next issue.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation #4  **1/2
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.35    DC    4 of 6

The saucer section is lost in space as Q argues with Picard’s crew on the battle bridge about his role in this situation claiming that there’s someone else controlling the situation that even he does not have influence over.  Meanwhile, the saucer section under Riker’s command is experiencing strange turbulence as it hurls through space.  In sick bay, Tasha Yar awakens to see a mysterious cloaked figure named Reglech, who she recognizes from her childhood on the colony planet.  While Picard discovers that Q has mysteriously lost his omnipotent power (and manages to get a good punch in), Wesley sneaks onto Riker’s bridge and manages to be in the right place at the right time when Riker relieves his helmsman of duty.  Tasha, meanwhile, has wandered away from sick bay with Reglech who taunts her about her childhood.  As a Q appears on Riker’s bridge, other Q’s watch as Tasha overpowers Reglech and observe that she shows promise.  Tasha brings “Reglech” (who’s now revealed to be another Q) to the bridge and the Q’s leave the saucer section, which finally stops shaking.  Meanwhile back on the battle bridge, Q finds himself abandoned on the Enterprise, powerless, and lashes out.  As the saucer section comes back into range, Q’s tantrum causes Gordi to be shot by a phaser, seemingly killing him….to be continued.

Interesting that this comic came out in May 1988 because almost exactly a year later, season two episode “Q Who” would air, the main plot of which is that Q is kicked out of the continuum for his meddlesome behavior.  That aspect of this issue is interesting, but feels kind of rushed in comparison to the way the story is told in the episode.  The bits about Tasha’s childhood are also interesting but rushed.  One thing that did annoy me was that the Bickley’s, the bickering husband and wife crew members from the first issue, are back and bickering in full force.  Seriously, who are these people and why are they necessary?  They aren’t even comic relief, they’re just annoying.  Another thing that’s more bothersome than outright annoying is Data’s reaction to Gordi’s apparent death.  I’m hoping they better explain his emotion-drive outburst in the next issue because this early in the show, it’s really not fitting for the character.  So is Gordi really dead?  Let’s find out!

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Star Trek: The Next Generation #5  **1/2
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.00    DC    5 of 6

Gordi is seemingly dead, and Data is furious.  The Android attacks Q as the saucer section is re-attached to the ship.  Dr. Crusher arrives on the battle bridge and begins to tend to Gordi.  She takes him and Q (who’s still powerless and was pummeled by Data) to sick bay.  Worf and Picard discuss whether or not Q’s lack of power can result in him eventually changing and shedding his trickster nature, while Data worries over Gordi in sick bay.  Reglech has been confined to the detention deck with the aliens from the ship back in issue 3 (hey, remember those guys?) and manipulates them into facilitating his escape.  Tasha pursues the escaped Reglech, who goes to sick bay as Q is awakening.  Reglech is to kill Gordi, but Data jumps in the way, seemingly unhurt by his phaser blasts.  Then Q jumps in the way, sparing both Data and Gordi as he willingly sacrifices himself.  This puts Q back in the good graces of the continuum and he leaves the Enterprise unharmed as Gordi finally awakens.

All told, this isn’t a terrible arc, though really, I think the story would have been better served over a few more issues.  I seriously forgot about the aliens from the beginning of the story and was a bit shocked that for all of issue 4, they were apparently biding their time on the detention deck.  The Enterprise crew is once again all over the place.  It’s really interesting because for as well as they’ve got Picard down in this story arc, other characters just seem so off in terms of characterization.  Data is by far the worst offender.  Whereas others seem off, there are things about him in this story arc that are straight up canonically wrong.  As I mentioned in the prior issue’s write-up, I was hoping that his emotional outburst over Gordi’s attack was some kind of product of Q’s meddling, but apparently, it was just the product of bad writing -or- of the comics being written/produced prior to or concurrently with the beginning of the first few episodes so the characters weren’t really properly fleshed out.  And that’s the thing I have to remember, people reading these comics in 1988 only had a handful of ST:TNG episodes to compare the characterization to whereas I have multiple viewings of seven seasons under my belt, not to mention the novels.  So with that in mind, I’ll move on to the final comic in this six-issue mini-series.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation #6  ***
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.00    DC    6 of 6

The Enterprise is finally on its mission to the mystical planet Faltos (which is where they were headed before the great Q interruption that made for the last story arc).  As Picard gives the orders to set course, Data begins to argue with him about the coordinates, saying that Picard is wrong.  Just as Data is about to be relieved of duty, the crew figures out that he is telling the truth, Starfleet command has implanted secret information about Faltos into Data’s brain.  The Enterprise finds the mysterious planet and send an away team to meet with the Faltos world tribunal, made up of many different races of aliens. Deanna has a bad feeling about the mission, but Riker doesn’t want to keep the tribunal waiting so they proceed.  The tribunal treats them as welcome guests, so welcome, in fact, that they’re informed that the Enterprise’s crew will now be permanent residents of the planet as so many visitors have done before them.  Naturally, the away team and Picard are outraged, and as they try to figure out what to do, Data realizes that perhaps there’s additional information hidden inside him.  So Picard and Dr. Crusher beam down to the planet under the pretense of diplomacy and proceed to help Gordi tinker with Data.  they learned that Data’s creator, Dr. Soong, studied crystalline energy while trapped on Faltos and used that knowledge, now implanted in Data, to escape.  So Picard and his crew put their plan into action and escape in the Enterprise, but not before the leader of the world tribunal uses his powers to remove all knowledge of Faltos’ location from Data’s (and thus Star Fleet’s) memory.

Story-wise, this was actually a pretty good way to wrap up this six-issue run.  Of all these comics, this one felt the closest to an actual episode of the show, just adapted to the pacing needs of a single issue comic, and there’s a part of me that actually wonders if this story wasn’t somehow recycled for an early episode of Voyager that’s very similar.  I’d love to know a bit more about Faltos, and see more of the planet, but even that didn’t bother me as it was obviously the easiest thing to skip for page restraints without messing up the actual story.  The art, on the other hand, still wasn’t great.  There are panels where everyone looks good, like comic stylized version of their TV characters, but in others, the characters, Data in particular, just looked ridiculous.  Earlier in the series, I was really unsure as to whether I’d be interested in reading the volume two comics, but I think with this ending, I may give them a shot at some point.  Speaking of which, I have a few more comics to cover here on Rotten Ink, the two movie ST:TNG movie adaptation comics.

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Of course, there were actually four ST:TNG movies, or three and a half depending on how you classify Generations since it is technically both an original series and Next Generation movie.  Generations was released in 1994, and the tactic of having a film covering both shows was interesting.  On one hand, I get it – all of the Trek movies up to that point were based on characters from the original series, and only three years prior, while ST:TNG was still on the air, Star Trek VI came out in theaters.  The flipside of this is that ST:TNG ended a successful TV run only months before Generations was released in theaters so it kind of begs the question, what else did that property need to do to prove itself worthy of getting its own film.  But ultimately Generations was a good passing of the torch and paved the way well for First Contact, which to me is the best ST:TNG film.  I’ll leave the plots of both of these for a moment as we’ll get to them in the comic reviews below.  After First Contact in 1996, Insurrection followed in 1998. I have mixed feeling about that one.  I don’t think it was quite as bad as many people claim, but it reminds me a lot of X-Files: I Want To Believe in that it really wasn’t a film, just a two-part mid-season episode on the big screen.  And then we have Star Trek: Nemesis.  I’ll level with you, dear Rotten Ink readers, I’ve only seen once, in the theater, and even fourteen years later that still feels like enough.  I ought to be able to have the same attitude about Nemsis that I do about Insurrection because I think the logical side of my brain knows that’s the case.  However, because Nemsis was considered such a commercial flop and a mess of a movie, it ended up being the last Star Trek movie before the JJ Abrams films (which I actually don’t mind especially since they’re attempting to simply make them an alternate universe which keeps in the spirit of Star Trek), which just really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  But we aren’t talking about Nemesis as there wasn’t a comic adaptation of it.  So here with go with Star Trek Generations.

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Star Trek Generations # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $3.95    DC    1 of 1

Captain Kirk, Scotty and Chekov are in attendance for the high profile launch of the Enterprise B.  On the ship’s maiden voyage, it encounters a distress signal from the Laku, a transport ship of refugees.  The rescue effort, however, goes completely awry resulting in Captain Kirk’s death.  Years later, the crew of the Enterprise D is celebrating Worf’s promotion when news arrives both of a personal tragedy for Picard’s family and in the form a distress call from the Amagosa star observatory.  The crew meet Dr. Soran, who was once a refugee on board the Laku.  He’s in league with the Klingon Duras Sisters, stealing trilithium and kidnapping Gordi, all in an effort to return to something called the Nexus.  Picard agrees to a prisoner exchange, but tricks the Klingons and goes after Soran, entering the Nexus himself.  While the Enterprise battles the Duras Sisters, Picard meets up with Kirk, who’s been living inside in perfect fantasy in the Nexus since the launch of the Enterprise B all those years ago.  Together, the captains defeat Soran, but not without a price as Kirk truly dies this time around.  Picard returns to his own reality to find his crew safe, but the Enterprise D destroyed.

I should have known that with Michael Jan Friedman credited for the story adaptation, this would be a great comic.  As I mentioned above, Friedman wrote most of the ST:TNG Volume 2 comics as well as a good number of original Star Trek and ST:TNG novels.  So not only is the characterization spot-on, the plot follows the movie extremely closely with good pacing for a comic adaptation (pacing is one of those things that seems really tricky to nail when adapting a film into a single comic).  The only thing that didn’t quite work story-wise was the subplot of Data getting the emotion chip, and that’s really because so much of what makes that great in the movie is Brent Spiner’s acting, not the script itself.  Plus, a tricorder singing about “lovely little lifeforms” just doesn’t read with the same charm it has onscreen.  Gordon Purcell’s artwork is wonderful.  Everyone looks, not just like the actor that portrays them, but there’s a lot care to capture their facial expressions and mannerisms.  Also, (and I realize that this also has to do with age and changes in the way comics are printed) the colors are really rich.  This comic both does the film justice and is an interesting read on its own.

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Star Trek First Contact # 1   ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $5.95     Marvel     1 of 1

Picard still has nightmares about his time with the Borg, and because of his when they attack Earth, Star Fleet sends the Enterprise E (yes, they got a new ship) to patrol the Neutral Zone instead of into the action.  But when they learn that Star Fleet is losing, Picard disobeys orders takes the Enterprise into the thick of battle.  They’re able to destroy a Borg cube, but not before it launches a smaller sphere ship that creates a temporal vortex that sucks the Enterprise in.  Quickly the crew realize that they’ve been transported back in time, and that the Borg are trying to go back to assimilate Earth before First Contact (the first time humanity used warp engine technology triggers a visit from the Vulcans) and thus change the future.  The Enterprise destroys the sphere, but not before some surviving Borg beam onto the ship and begin assimilating it, including the Borg Queen who takes a special interest in Data.  Meanwhile on the ground, an away team attempt to aid Zefram Cochane and his assistant Lily in succeeding in their destiny of flying the first warp ship thus alerting the Vulcans to the fact that humanity has evolved in its intelligence.

Switching things up a bit, this adaptation was released by Marvel instead of DC.  Luckily, in the same vein as DC’s Generations adaptation, this was written by John Vornholt, who’s written a ton of Star Trek novels so it’s safe to say that like Michael Jan Friendman, he’s well versed in the universe and the characters.  The story fit the film nicely, but for me didn’t have the same impact as the movie.  To be fair, First Contact is by far my favorite ST:TNG movie, and to again draw an X-Files comparison, like Fight the Future, it’s one I still get excited about watching no matter how many times I’ve seen it (and I still get a little teary-eyed when First Contact happens).  So for most people, this comic will absolutely do the job and then some, but I still came away just a little underwhelmed.  The artwork by Terry Pallot and Rod Whigham is good.  Slightly more cartoony than the Generations artwork, but still great for the human characters.  Actually my super minor artwork complaint is more about the space scenes.  In panels where something is happening with the Enterprise, especially when it’s fighting the Borg cube, there are super cartoony sound effect words that for me ruined the mood of what otherwise would be a very dramatic moment.  The overall presentation of the book is nice – it’s thick with a cardstock cover as part of the Star Trek 30th anniversary line of products.  Again, this is certainly worth a read to get a taste of the film and for ST:TNG fans.  Earlier in this update, I showed you the Enterprise D, so check out the Enterprise E below….

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Alas, it’s time for me to set coordinates for another mission and return the helm to Matt for our next update.  We’ll be staying in space (sort of) and in the 90s for his next update, which is also (sort of) holiday themed. While I was crying over Vulcans in First Contact in 1996, earlier that year another space movie was released that also pitted hostile aliens against humanity for the fate of the future.  Since we’re two years too early for X-Files Fight the Fight, I’m obviously talk about Independence Day.  So join us next time as Matt dives into this film, its comic tie-ins and it’s sequel…20 years later.

independence-day-image

The Spooky, Kooky Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Boo! I’s sure that I scared no one with that, but welcome to this very spooky Pre-Halloween update here on Rotten Ink that’s sure to chill the bones of at least a few of you readers as we take a look at Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in all media including the book, movies, video games and of course, comics! This update we will look at all types of things from a creepy voice mail to a horror movie marathon Juliet and I had, as well as take a look at another independent horror comic and of course the history of Mr. Hyde! So open the windows and let that chill fill the room because it’s going to be a creepy and spooky good time with Mr. Hyde and all his bizarre friends! In the world of classic monsters, most people think of Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Wolf Man and even The Mummy but many seem to always forget about Mr. Hyde, a character who is so twisted and brutal that he enjoys turning people’s stomachs as well as murder.  So this update is for fans of the mostly over looked classic horror character.

All Hallows Eve Hyde Mood

In 2009 a voicemail message was uploaded to Youtube by a member named Hellsinger85 that had a man warning him not to answer they door if he came to it because it wouldn’t really be him.  As the message goes, the man lets out a yell and seems to turn into something sinister complete with evil laugh and his last words are a name, Kaylee. Hellsinger, the uploader, seemed puzzled and a little scared of the message as he did not know who the strange man was on the other line and wanted help to see if it was a prank or really some sort of psycho with a Mr. Hyde side. He claimed that a CD arrived in the mail and that the message was what was on it taken from someone’s answering machine.  It’s complete with a message left by AT&T. Now for some time this message was up for debate on whether it was real or a stunt cooked up by Hellsinger85, who was working on a movie about the strange things going on in and around his town of Amory, Mississippi that included zombies and sewer people.  His work on this film has many people thinking it’s a hoax and all part of the plan for his film and website. So if you’re not too scared make sure to look it up on Youtube under the title “Creepy Voice Mail” and give it a listen and see what you think…is it real or fiction? Is there a Mr. Hyde running loose in Mississippi? Only those who have come face to face with him when he came to the their door knows for sure. So during this Halloween season if you get a knock on the door, think twice before opening it.  Who knows, it could be Hyde.

Creepy Voice Mail

So before we get to far into this strange case of a doctor with a split personality, I would like to take this time to look at an independent horror comic book that I got from a cool little website called Indy Planet that only deals in small independent comics that you can buy digitally or print on demand.  Since I am an old school comic reader, I buy the physical copy because digital just doesn’t have the soul of a paper comic in my hands sitting in my favorite spot. But any way let’s see what this spooky comic made by Zak Greene Comics has to offer on this creepy update!

Tomb Of Madness 1

Tomb Of Madness # 1  **
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   Zak Greene Comics   # 1 of 1

The first spin tingling tale of terror is called “ The Creeping Vine” and has a man in the middle of the jungle with a broken GPS and a cellphone battery that’s about dead.  He finds a flower he has never seen before and when asleep at night, the vine of the flower infects his foot and body with a rash that causes open wounds! The man must stop the infection the only way he knows how and that’s with a very sharp machete! The second story is a slasher called “Night of The Massacre” and has a masked killer butchering a dorm of college girls but get the surprise of his life when they return as zombies!

This horror comic is entertaining in its own right, but I should also point out that it’s by no means original as many elements of the plots of the two short stories are lifted from horror films like The Ruins, Maniac and Slaughter High. The first story, The Creeping Vine, is a nice way to start the comic as it’s a very simple plot with some very gruesome moments as the flesh is peeled away around the wounds as well as the fact the man chops off his own body parts with a machete.  The reader never finds out  who the man is, and I like it that way. The second story had some major potential and is the better of the two stories as it follows a masked killer who is killing off some coeds but gets the tables reversed on him as the girls begin to rise again in death…are they zombies or demons…I couldn’t tell you. In my mind I would like to think that this segment took place right when the zombie outbreak is happing in the film Return of The Living Dead or if they are demons, then some one read the book of the dead like in Evil Dead. The killer is a mix between Michael Myers of Halloween and ChromeSkull from Laid To Rest, and once more we have zero background of who he is nor do we even get a name to attach to him. And the lack of backstory on this story is what hurts it from becoming a solid horror story. The art is good and is done by Zak Greene and has a very independent comic look to it. As far as I know a follow up issue was never made, and the Tomb of Madness only stayed open for one issue, so who knows what other terrors awaited us if Greene would have made an issue two. Over all fans of cheesy independent horror comics might get a kick out of this one as I know I did. Also just look at the killer’s mask…it reeks of cheap and cheesy slasher films and reminds me of the Conscious Killer from the film Frightmare released in 2000.

Tomb of Madness Comic Killer Art

Man, I love a good Horror Movie Marathon, and Juliet and I decided to have another on August 11th 2015 to relax and watch the horrors that our DVD player had to offer. I really enjoy having these events with Juliet as well as a house full of friends who all have fun dissecting the films after they have completed. We skipped doing the pre-show as I was worn out from work and went to bed early so that I could be fully charged for the day of horror watching that started at 7am! As always we loaded up with all types of yummy snack foods like potato chips, M&M’s, hummus and trail mix and ate breakfast casserole for brunch. We spiced up dinner this time around as normally we always fix a bunch of chicken wings but instead we went for a roast cooked slowly in a crockpot and it was fantastic! The first movie to kick off the marathon was “Night Of Terror” starring Bela Lugosi about a scientist who invented a serum that can bring someone back to life after 8 hours without oxygen.  But during his test run a killer is one the loose around his mansion and twists and turns take hold. The next film called “Curse Of The Witching Tree” has a mother moving her two children into a farmhouse that some terrible crimes took place in, and now the spirit of the witch hung in a near by tree wants revenge for her death. “Tales Of Dracula” is a black & white film that’s in the spirit of the classic Universal Monsters movies that has Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and a Werewolf all arriving in a small village around the same time and each have their own reasons.  It’s a fun film but a terrible ending that is tacked on for a sequel. The next film has a slasher that will appear in the We Kill The Dead comic book and was called “Billy Club” about a baseball team getting back together to honor some of their teammates that had been murdered way back when by a fellow team member.  Now someone dressed as an umpire is killing off the rest of the team. “IT Follows” was next an amazing film that was great when I saw it in theaters and was just as great on watching it on DVD.  The film follows a young woman who is being stalked by an unknown force. The sixth film was “Jinn,” a flick that pits a man against an evil Jinn who has cursed his family for centuries. A found footage style film called “The Den” was next and was about a woman who is on a chat site that’s targeted by a killer who ruins her life along his hunt. Next was another found footage flick called “The Pigman Murders” and follows a group on a hiking trip being killed by some hill people who wear pig masks. “Jessabelle” is about a woman who is injured in a car wreck and must return to her Dad’s home and finds some freaky tapes that her mother made before she passed away, and worse some evil spirits are on the loose, and the story has twists and turns. The reboot to “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” was next and followed a young woman in 2013 who was attacked by the Phantom Killer and her race to figure out who or what the killer is. Low budget slasher flick “Blood Slaughter Massacre” was next about a clown masked killer on the loose and a cops quest to stop him. The last film and another slasher that will appear in the We Kill The Dead comic called “Jonah Lives” is about some youngsters playing with a oujia board and bring back a zombie who has blood lust on his brain! The event was a blast and Juliet and I had a lot of fun watching all these different types of horror flicks and as always we had a blast picking our worst film and our top three best! We both agreed for the worst film as The Pigman Murders was a boring bland film with no real horror elements to it.  In fact, by the time the killers start their murder party, I found myself not caring about the people they were killing off. Juliet felt the same way and this was the only film of the day I couldn’t wait for it to end. My top three best of the night are # 1. IT Follows as I love the atmosphere, characters and creature of the film.  I don’t wanna say too much about this film as I think it’s well worth the watch for those have not seen it. # 2. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a movie I waited for a long time to come to DVD and it lived up to what I wanted.  While by no means a must see film, I love the small town feel as well as seeing The Phantom Killer once more on a rampage was a fun time. And my last # 3. was The Den, a cool film that mostly takes place as if you’re watching it from the lead character’s laptop.  It’s filled with suspense, horror, good looking women and even some funny moments, good stuff and if you like found footage films check it out! Billy Club and Jessabelle almost made it to the list as I found them both really cool as well. Juliet’s top three are as follows #1. IT Follows, # 2. The Den and # 3. Jessabelle, all good choices for sure! Horror Movie Marathons are a fun time, and I suggest that if you and your friends like horror get together and have one.  It’s a fun way to share your love for horror and be around good friends all day long.

Night Terror dvdCurse Of The Witching Tree DVDTales Of Dracula DVDBilly Club dvdIT Follows DVDJinn dvdThe Den dvdThe Pigman Murders dvdJessabelle dvdThe Town That Dreaded Sundown 2014 dvdBlood Slaughter Massacre DVDJonah Lives DVD

So I think its time to take a quick look at the man whose mind created Mr. Hyde as well as the first time I fully read the book! Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13th 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland and from a young age was a very sickly person as his body was sensitive to cold weather giving him coughs and colds very easy.  This caused the family to move several times and affected his schooling and ability to make friendships. His father’s family’s trade was in lighthouse design, while his mother’s side has his grandfather being a preacher. Much of his education came from tutors as he was sick more often than not and could not attend school, but as he got older and well in health he attended many schools and universities and formed friendships that helped shape him into a worldly person. Over the years Robert became a traveling man and visited France, United States and all over the South Seas, all the while writing and becoming very good at it! In 1880 Robert married Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne who was a divorcee with two children at the time of their wedding from her first husband who was a solider in the Civil War.  He fell madly in love with her the first time he met her and risked his own health to travel to be with her as he fell ill many times on his journey. When better and now a married man Robert did some more traveling and took his journeys as inspirations for his writing.  That’s one of the coolest things about him, he used life experiences and things he had seen as the foundations for many of his wonderful stories. Sadly in 1894, his life would come to an end when trying to open a bottle of wine for he and his wife he collapsed after asking her if his face looked strange.  He died a few hours later to what’s believed to have been a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 44. The man lived a life full of adventures and illness and wrote some of the world’s most classic stories like Treasure Island in 1883, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886 and The Master of Ballantrae in 1889, to name a few.  Not to mention, he co-wrote in his later years with his stepson Lloyd as well as authored tons of short stories used in magazines and such. This tiny write up doesn’t do the man justice so I encourage you to go out and read more about this interesting and talented man who’s mind brought us all Mr. Hyde.

Robert Louis Stevenson

When I was a young kid, I used to love to get paperback novels and read them, and The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was one of them that I owned but for some reason I never got around to reading the whole book until about three years ago when I picked up another copy of it on paperback from Half Price Books and spent a cold winter day relaxing on the couch with the novel in my hand and under covers, and I was blown away by it! The atmosphere of the writing and setting really draws out a dark and grim picture, and I am sure scared people of 1886 silly as he wrote about Hyde’s twisted deeds. The original novel I had was from Wal-Mart when they had a ton of classic literature paperbacks two for a dollar.  I loaded up and read many of them like The House of Seven Gables and The Invisible Man, but for some reason I never got around to reading The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and if memory serves me right, I am sure I didn’t cause I was starting to work on a comic series based on Bat-Bat from Mighty Mouse and was getting into also writing my own horror short stories. But if you have not gotten around to reading this classic novel, please take the time sometime this winter and give it a read, I know I was glad I did!

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Novel 1The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Novel 2The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Novel 3

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde over the years has been transformed from the pages of the novel to the silver screen in many film adaptations with some good, others bad, and some just plan odd like Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde and Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde. But whichever are your favorites below I am going to give you a quick rundown of five of the most popular classic ones that chilled the bones of movie goers from the 1910’s all the way to the 1940’s and one from the 50’s that tickled funny bones. The write ups are taken from IMDB, a good site to learn all those who were involved in your favorite horror films as well as all other type of films. So enjoy this quick look at Mr. Hyde in cinema!

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1913 1Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1913 2Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1913 3

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1913)

“Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.” On imdb it has 5.4 out of 10 stars.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – King Baggot

Utterson – William Sorelle

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1920 1Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1920 posterDr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1920 2

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1920)

“Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story: Doctor Henry Jekyll’s enthusiasm for science and his selfless acts of service have made him a much-admired man. But as he visits Sir George Carew one evening, his host criticizes him for his reluctance to experience the more sensual side of life. Sir George goads Jekyll into visiting a music hall, where he watches the alluring dancer Gina. Jekyll becomes fascinated with the two contrasting sides of human nature, and he becomes obsessed with the idea of separating them. After extensive work in his laboratory, he devises a formula that does indeed allow him to alternate between two completely different personalities, his own and that of a brutish, lascivious person whom he names Hyde. It is not long before the personality of Hyde begins to dominate Jekyll’s affairs.” It’s imdb star ratting is 7 out of 10!

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – John Barrymore

Utterson – No One The Character Does Not Appear

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931 1 Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931 posterDr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931 2

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1931)

“Based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Henry Jekyll believes that there are two distinct sides to men – a good and an evil side. He believes that by separating the two man can become liberated. He succeeds in his experiments with chemicals to accomplish this and transforms into Hyde to commit horrendous crimes. When he discontinues use of the drug it is already too late.” This is my favorite film version of the story and has a 7.7 out of 10 star ratting on imdb.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – Fredric March

Utterson – Arnold Lacy

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1941 1Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1941 posterDr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1941 2

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1941)

“Dr. Jekyll believes good and evil exist in everyone. Experiments reveal his evil side, named Hyde. Experience teaches him how evil Hyde can be: he kills Ivy who earlier expressed interest in Jekyll and Sir Charles, Jekyll’s fiancée’s father.” This version has a 6.9 out of 10 star ratting on imdb.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – Spencer Tracy

Utterson – Cut from the film again

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1953 1Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1953 posterCostello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1953 2

Abbott/Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1953)

“Slim and Tubby are American cops in London to study police tactics. They wind up in jail and are bailed out by Dr. Jekyll. Jekyll has been murdering fellow doctors who laugh at his experiments. He has more murders in mind. At one point the serum that turns Jekyll into the murderous Hyde gets injected into Tubby.” This fun and silly comedy has a 6.7 out of 10 star ratting on imdb.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – Boris Karloff

So as you can see, Jekyll and Hyde have been on the silver screen quite a bit, and these are only a drop in the hat of the films based on the characters as I left our such ones as “Mary Reilly”, “Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde” and “Dr. Black And Mr. Hyde” to name a very few more. But they were not just in movies. I should also note that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has also been turned into TV mini series and made for TV Movies as well as turned into a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. So let’s spend some time taking a look at the video game that haunted many players’ dreams. In 1988 Bandi and Toho teamed up to release a side scrolling action horror game that followed Henry Jekyll trying to get to the church in time for his wedding but for some reason the towns people are not having it and attack the good Doctor as he walks through the town. As Jekyll, you have no weapons to defend yourself so you must try and dodge and jump your way to safety, but if you take to much damage you go into a nightmare world and become Mr. Hyde who can punch and use his Psycho-Wave powers to fight off strange creatures. As Hyde you play the stage backwards and if you don’t calm down by the time you reach where Jekyll transformed, you will be stuck by lightning and die ending the game and causing you to start over. The game is very challenging and as Jekyll it’s almost impossible to dodge every bomb placed for you and every crazed animal out for your blood. As Hyde it feels like a normal side scrolling game were you as the player are trying to get from point A to point B. I can say that I have beat this game some time back and found it to be one of the hardest NES games I have every played. The game is pretty much hated by most gamers and has been the butt of many jokes on the net. I will say while it is a pretty bad game it is not as bad as people say it is and I for one have played a lot worse.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES 1Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES BoxDr Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES 2

The Angry Video Game Nerd hates the NES Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  He considers it the worst game in history and has made two videos about just how terrible it is! The first one is just him sitting in a chair cutting to gameplay as he rips the game apart. The second one is fantastic and has him playing the game more in-depth all the while he is drinking hard liquor and getting more and more worked up over the game. Finally he gets so drunk that he blames Robert Louis Stevenson for ruining his life and turns into Mr. Hyde and goes to the graveyard and digs up the body of Stevenson who is now an evil skeleton who overpowers the Hyde Nerd. When Nerd wakes up he finds that the game he has hated for all these years is in fact a deep game that teaches players about Good and Evil and after playing a few more seconds he remembers that nope the game just sucks. If you’re a classic game fan and enjoy good old comedy, check out his video for this game.

AVGN Hyde 1AVGN Hyde 2AVGN Hyde 3

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have had such an impact on society that many other products have been made with their image from posters, t-shirts, toys, model kits, comics, Halloween masks, magazine covers, video games and so much more! There is something to be said about a horror character who was created in 1886 who has had so many items based in its image even in 2015! Some of my favorite Mr. Hyde items have to be the NES game because while its cheesy and frustrating it still has childhood memories for me, the Marx model kit and the Silent Screamers action figure. One that I wished I had was the Don Post Halloween Mask as if I would have had it in my teen years I would have surely made a film that pitted The Werewolf of Ohio against Mr. Hyde, and if I had it now as an adult you would surly see it on an episode of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre! So from comics to toys, if you are a fan of the sinister Mr. Hyde there is merchandise out in the world to make the collector side of you very happy.

Hyde on Famous Monsters MagazineMr. Hyde Halloween Mask 0Reel Monster Hyde Figure

My favorite comic company has to be Marvel Comics and even to this day I find myself buying golden, silver and bronze age issues from local comic stores and beyond. And while we are on the topic of Mr. Hyde, I feel the need to talk about the character that has had many appearances in Marvel issues! While he has been featured in Marvel Classic Comics and Supernatural Thrillers, the one we are going to look at is Calvin Zabo who after drinking a serum turns into the super strong criminal Mister Hyde. Mister Hyde was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck in 1963 with his first appearance being in Journey Into Mystery # 99 where he fought Thor who would go onto be the thorn in his thieving side alongside other superheroes like Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain America and Ghost Rider. The character’s appearance in the Marvel Universe is a twisted and brutish face, muscle bulk with messy hair, and most of the time wears a green coat. He is super strong and has a very bad attitude as greed and power is what drives him to commit the crimes he does. I don’t want to spend to much time on Marvel’s Mister Hyde, but I must say I did really enjoy the storyline that had him on the hunt for his one time partner in crime The Cobra who he blames for them getting busted and ratting him out.  He is so filled with rage you know that he would crush his skull like a melon if you could get to him, but thanks to Spider-Man, no Cobra head smashing happened. Below is a picture of Marvel’s Hyde, not as scary as he’s described in the novel but still a great character in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel Mister Hyde

So are you scared yet…are you thinking about that odd voice mail or text you have gotten this past week? Are you thinking about the horror film you just watched or the survival horror game you just played? Or maybe deep inside you fear Mr. Hyde because you realize that we all have a monster side just itching to get out and do whatever your primitive urge is…or maybe you’re just scared because we are getting so close to Halloween! So to keep up the cold chills running up and down your spine it’s time we look at Classic Illustrated look at Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a classic comic adaptation of the novel. I need to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this issue in stock and need to remind all you ghouls 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. So get your lab coat on as we are about to help Jekyll defeat his evil Hyde side, or at least witness this strange case unfold on comic pages that are given off a true rotten ink smell.

Classics Illustrated 13

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde #13   ***1/2
Released in 1968   Cover Price .25   Classics Illustrated   #13 of 169

Dr. Henry Jekyll is acting odd and calls his close friend Mr. Utterson to his estate and draws up a will that leaves everything to a man named Edward Hyde, and when Utterson tries to ask questions, he is asked to leave. The next day Utterson goes on a walk with his friend Richard Enfield who tells him a story of a man who ran into a young girl on this very street and stomped on her! He chased the man down and made him pay the parents of the young girl for her pain, and this creep’s name was Edward Hyde! Utterson now wants to know more about Hyde and wonders what he has on Jekyll that makes him leave all his wealth to this strange looking man. Hyde and Utterson meet, and the meeting does not go well, nor does the one with Jekyll after to tell him of the foul things Hyde is doing in town. Later that night it’s shown that Jekyll, after taking a serum, turns into Hyde who goes out on the town and this goes on for awhile until one night Mr. Hyde stomps and beats a man to death as Jekyll’s maid witnesses the attack.  Now the police and Utterson are on the hunt to bring the murderer to justice. Utterson goes to Jekyll and finds that his old friend looks sick and makes a promise that Hyde will never be seen again, and gives his old friend a letter written by Hyde but is found out to be written by Jekyll! Time passes and Hyde is not seen, and Jekyll seems to be doing better health wise that is till he once more drinks the serum and turns into Hyde and robs and causes mayhem. Worse now Jekyll is turning into Hyde without the serum and sadly his secret is known by a fellow Doctor friend who watches him turn from Hyde to Jekyll with his medical help the think they might have found a cure.  This sadly is not the case and in the end Hyde/Jekyll take a lethal dose of what could be a cure and dies.

This is a great comic adaptation of a classic horror novel that keeps all the classic chills and thrills of the source material. The story is pretty close to that of the novel and has a well liked Doctor falling victim to having a split personality due to an experiment that went wrong. As Doctor Jekyll, he helps the people of London and spends time with his friends and servants, making him a model citizen. And as you the reader as well as other characters notice a change in his health and even attitude of Jekyll it makes you worry about him showing that he is a well-developed character. Mr. Utterson is like a poor man’s Sherlock Holmes who is loyal to his friend and won’t give up until he solves the mystery of who Hyde is as well as what hold he has on his dear friend. Mr. Hyde is a nasty man who is odd looking and has a face that reminds you of a mix of a primate and a drug addict who has been strung out for 3 days on a bender.  Plus it’s said he has a face that makes people hate him and look away with disgust. He is short in stature and always walks with a cane, hat and long coat. Hyde is a thief and a murderer and even gets joy on stomping on a young girl who by accident runs into him on the street.  In fact that seems to be Hyde’s thing as he also stomps a man to death in the road, makes me wonder why he stomps so much and let alone that a pretty brutal way to kill someone. I think that is what makes Hyde such a scary character, the fact he don’t care about his fellow man and he is so filled with barbaric rage that he is willing to crush them with his feet. The two sides of Jekyll also reminds me of friends who have battle drug and alcohol addiction and how when they did their said poison they became a totally different person, not quite like Hyde but one could see a change in who they were. While some of the plot is changed, and the story felt a little sped up in spots Classic Illustrated did a fantastic job on making a comic that I didn’t want to put down and enjoyed reading for his Halloween update. The cover of this 1968 reprint edition is cool and has an oil painting look to it, while the interiors is stuff classic horror comics are made of as the colors are not too bright and in many panels lots of black is used on and around Hyde. I could not find the name of the artist who did this comic, but from what others say, it’s a man named Arnold L. Nicks.  If he is in fact the artist I have to say I really like his take and look of Mr. Hyde. The comic had a great rotten ink smell to it and best of all the night I read this comic the wind was howling and the air was super chilled helping add to the comic’s atmosphere. The one downside that I must point out is that in the book it’s a nice slow burn into finding out Jekyll is Hyde, and the ending when the servants and Utterson along with the police are at the door and they find the body loses lots of impact in the comic as its rushed into a small amount of panels. But even with those flaws I would say that this is one heck of a fun read and classic horror literature fans should check it out. Below are some of the artwork from this comic so you can see the cold stare in Hyde’s eyes and the look of a madman who wants to stomp your guts out!

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So I hoped this update didn’t scare you too much on this cold October night but I also hope it opened your eyes to be on the look out for Mr. Hyde, a nasty guy who wants to stomp the life out of you! I can’t stress that if you have not read the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde you should and after that you should give this comic a read. After reading this comic and doing this write up this October night, I figured out that we have covered The Fly, unknown serial killer The Axeman of New Orleans, a ghost knight named Alaric de Marnac, Horror Host Dr. Creep and the mean Mr. Hyde but what’s next on the major Halloween update is a mystery to me as I am not sure what my friend and great artist Eric Shonborn has in store for us! So until then make sure to visit a local haunted place, watch a horror film or two, support your local Horror Host and have a creepy and fun time!

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The Witching Hour Is Close At Hand

Greetings, Inkerinos!  It’s Juliet, once again reporting for guest writing duties here on Rotten Ink.  The last few times I’ve been here, I’ve primarily talked about comics based on TV shows that meant a lot to me at one point or another.  Today, we’re going to do something a little different and talk about a comic series that was not based on a TV show but something else that had a huge impact me on me, Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour.49712

For many people, the instant association you make upon hearing Anne Rice’s name is Interview With A Vampire, and while I love that book and the series of books based around the original title, The Witching Hour and the subsequent Lives of the Mayfair Witches series (which did end up crossing over with the Vampire Chronicles books at a few points) remains my favorite of her work.  The Witching Hour was released in 1990.  At the time Rice had already released several Vampire Chronicles novels, the Sleeping Beauty erotica trilogy written under the name A.N. Roquelaure (that I maintain is infinitely better than 50 Shades could ever dream of being, and by the way, a new installment, Beauty’s Kingdom, is being released this month!!!), and many one-shot novels like Cry to Heaven, The Feast of All Saints and The Mummy or Ramses the Damned.  Before I tell you too much about the plot of The Witching Hour, I want to share with you a bit of how I came to read the book, and why Rice’s work is so special to me.

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Anne Rice

My mother grew up in New Orleans, which is where Anne Rice is also from and where the majority of her books take place at least in part.  There are few authors who hail from and/or celebrate New Orleans in their writing that I can recall my mom reading, talking about, and when I was old enough, sharing with me:  Anne Rice and mystery writer Julie Smith.  More recently I fell head over heels in love with the writing of Romanian-born Andre Cordrescu and was happy to return the favor in a sense by sharing with my mom his New Orleans, Mon Amore. I knew who Anne Rice was long before I actually read her books and actually briefly met her prior to that as well.  The occasion was a book signing here in Ohio at what was then a great, independent local book store (that’s now sadly owned by a chain), and I believe it was for the release of Servant of the Bones.  Because we knew the lines were going to be insanely long, my mom and I went to the bookstore right after I got out of school.  Two things stick out from that day:  my mom and Anne Rice chatting for quite a while about New Orleans and seeing some of the best-dressed goth kids in my young life in line to have their books signed and thinking that I’d LOVE to dress that way.

The Garden District in New Orleans

The Garden District in New Orleans

It would be only a couple more years until I read The Witching Hour, my first time being from the signed hardcover edition my mom had gotten that day.  The book had both an immediate and lasting impression on me as both a reader and writer.  At the time, The Witching Hour was the first adult book that could be considered to be in the horror genre I had read, but even after I moved on to other works by other authors in the genre, it has a special place in my heart because the worldbuilding and family history that make up the story felt really akin to the numerous fantasy paperbacks I spend several summers checking out from the library.  It was a perfect entrance into the horror genre for that, and the fact that it meshed gothic horror with a modern story and an added twist of ritual and magic (which is basically what I would later spend my college career studying…well, the Ancient Greek version of ritual and magic).  I was already writing when I read The Witching Hour, but it’s the first book I can remember reading and thinking, “I want to read more things like this” and then thinking, “maybe I should write things like this” and examining what it was about the story and its structure that worked for me and thinking about how I could apply those elements to what I wanted to write and how to bring a story together to make it effective for a reader.

This is the real house in New Orleans that the Mayfair mansion is based on it.  Anne Rice lived there for many years, and yes, I've made it a point to go see it on every trip to New Orleans since reading the book.

This is the real house in New Orleans that the Mayfair mansion is based on it. Anne Rice lived there for many years, and yes, I’ve made it a point to go see it on every trip to New Orleans since reading the book.

So what is it about?  Without giving away too much, it’s about a family of witches.  But it’s far more complicated than stake burnings and spells.  There’s a mysterious being known as Lasher whose attachment to the family goes back centuries and a prophecy involving the thirteenth witch, all of which is revealed through present-day action and a comprehensive history of the Mayfair family compiled by a strange organization called the Talamascha.

The Witching Hour spawned a sequel called Lasher, and a third book, Taltos followed. In 2000, Merrick began weaving the Vampires Chronicles and the Lives of the Mayfair Witches together.  This would continue in Blackwood Farm and culminate with Blood Canticle, in which Rowan Mayfair and the vampire Lestat finally meet face to face.  At the time, Blood Canticle was to be the final volume of both series as Rice was leaving the horror genre supposedly for good.  Now that she’s returned to her roots with Prince Lestat and a new volume of her Sleeping Beauty erotica series, I can’t help but wonder if (and get super excited at the remote possibility that) Anne Rice might give us another Mayfair Witches story at some point.

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Unlike the Interview With a Vampire/The Vampire Chronicles, which had a bit of merchandise and a higher pop culture status because of the films based on two of the books, The Witching Hour/Lives on the Mayfair Witches was pretty contained to the books themselves.  The one notable, though to my knowledge unintended, tie-in was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called Sub Rosa that had a plot very similar to the Witching Hour.  Millennium Comico began what was intended to be a 13 issue series based on The Witching Hour in 1992, perfect timing as Lasher was coming out in ‘93.  We’ll talk about the fate of the series after the comics so remember that we grade these on a 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true the books stays to the source martial.  So let’s travel to New Orleans’ Garden District and meet the Mayfair Witches.811556_01

The Witching Hour  #1  ***1/2
Released in 1992     Cover price $2.50    Millenium Comico    #1 of 13

This first issue opens with a doctor who’s been haunted by strange dreams ever since his meeting with a strange Englishman named Aaron Lightner who works for something called The Talamasca.  In their conversation, the doctor had recounted to Lightner how he had first encountered the Mayfair family in their New Orleans Garden District home when he had been summoned to treat Deirdre, a young woman in a seemingly waking coma who was under the care of her three aunts.  As the doctor began to explore treatment options with many roadblocks from the aunts, it was revealed that Deirdre has a daughter in California, and there are strange signs and mentions of “Lasher.”  Then one day, a strange man appears on the front porch.  He’s there to visit Deirdre and oddly, she seems to respond to him, even calling the name Lasher.  But just as soon as he appears, the man disappears.  Lightner tells the doctor that he’s recorded other stories, ghost stories, from the Mayfair house in which people claim to have seen the same man.  We then move, via a tabloid cover, to California where Michael Curry is grappling with both his strange psychic powers and a recent near-drowning from which he was saved by a mysterious woman he’s now obsessed with finding.  Michael reflects on his childhood in New Orleans, thinking he saw the ghost of a man in the Garden District and then blacks out dreaming of being visited by an Englishman there to hear his story.  Next we meet Father Mattingly, a New Orleans priest who recalls Deirdre as a troubled child who claimed to have visions of visitations from a man who her aunts claimed was the devil himself. It’s revealed that Deirdre’s grandmother, Stella, was murdered by her brother Lionel – a crime that the family covered up, and Deirdre’s mother Antha committed suicide by jumping out the window of the house.  There’s talk among the older priests of the legacy of the Mayfair women; their vast wealth and jewels, the fact that even when they marry they do not take their husband’s names, and, of course, the mysterious man who seems to haunt the family.  Father Mattingly wanders to the Mayfair house and notices Deirdre on the porch, but is interrupted by Aaron Lightner who invites him to lunch.  Later that evening, he passes by the house again on his way back to the rectory and notices a young man standing on the porch caring for Deirdre and muses that although he could not save her, he’s glad that this man is there to help her.

As I’m sure you noticed, there’s A LOT going on in this first issue, and yet we barely got anywhere.  I had kind of figured that would happen.  Actually when I agreed to cover The Witching Hour comics for Rotten Ink, I remember telling Matt that I had no clue how they could possibly manage to turn the book into a coherent comic because, as I mentioned above, it’s massive and in-depth and spans years and locations and characters.  This first issue, however, does a damn good job of it.  It’s a really visual book with beautiful, at times water-color-esque artwork that I think really works for this type of story.  A lot of attention was obviously paid to the way the visuals could do what Anne Rice’s prose does in terms of moving the story along and giving you the necessary information to start to piece together the story.  I’m already concerned, however, as to how in the world they’ll ever get this story accomplished in a mere thirteen issues.  I suppose that From Hell was originally done in eleven issues, but those had twice the page count of this first issue.  I fully acknowledge that some things will have to be cut for clarity and space, but it’s not obvious to me what that will be — I’d assume it’s going to be a truncated version of the Mayfair family history as Rowan’s story will probably begin to take precedent as we get further into the series.  Let’s get to issue two and see if that’s indeed the case.512HF8oJwKL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

The Witching Hour  #2  ***
Released in 1993     Cover price $2.50    Millenium Comico    #2 of 13

Issue two begins with Dr. Rowan Mayfair watching a TV broadcast featuring an interview with Michael Curry where he implores the woman who saved him from drowning to come forward so he can thank her.  Rowan recounts the events of Michael’s near death experience, but we learn that she has secrets of her own.  Like Michael, Rowan is plagued by abilities she cannot control; she can kill people via some kind of telekinesis, which we see play out in a flashback from her childhood.  Nevertheless she finally agrees to meet Michael, and with Aaron Lightner looking on from the shadows, the pair form an immediate connection, sharing their deepest, darkest secrets through conversation and their powers which give them an almost psychic bond.  But, Michael is due on a trip to New Orleans, which has Rowan very apprehensive because she was born there but forbidden by her adoptive mother to explore her family history.  Michael’s first stop in New Orleans is to the Garden District house from his youth, the place where he saw the so-called ghost, the moment he attributes to awakening his powers.  At the gate, he sees the man, unchanged from his childhood, and then the figure comes at him, passing through him and confirming that it’s some kind of otherworldly being.  Aaron Lightner is there to witness the whole thing and informs Michael that it’s imperative that they talk.  The book ends with a page of text about a dark ages magician and alchemist called the Talamasca, the first historian of the mystic and the order that grew out from his followers, saying that only its most experienced members deal with witchcraft.IMG_0177

And here we go!  At least I think so.  I hope so. Okay, I should back up.  This issue begins by establishing Rowan and Michael, their powers and their relationship.  It’s a lot to cram into a few pages, and I wonder if people who’d not read the book would understand the depth of the connection and all of the psychic powers information.  Then again, I’m not sure if this is the type of comic that would have gotten a lot of attention from people who hadn’t read the book.  Maybe…maybe not.  It’s odd because this issue felt both slow and rushed until the very end – then it was just right.  When Michael finally arrives in New Orleans and has the experience at the house, I was excited.  Perhaps it’s because that’s the first real moment of action in this issue that wasn’t just a flashback or vague psychic vision.  Actually, and this going to sound weird, the text-only page was the most exciting for me.  I adore the Talamascha. I’m a bit of a sucker for secret societies that study the mystic, and I love that this is one of the things that connects the Mayfair Witches series to Rice’s Vampire Chronicle books (David Talbot is a high ranking member).  I haven’t found any evidence to prove this theory, but I’ve often thought that it was the inspiration for the Watchers Council in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  To make things cooler, this comic included tear-out Talamasca calling cards AND my copy had both cards in tact.  How cool is that?!  Check out the picture above.  Speaking of pictures, the art in this issue was good. It definitely wasn’t as clever in the layout department as the last one, but still a very solid offering.  Let’s get to the next one.218898-19377-116150-1-anne-rice-s-the-witc

The Witching Hour  #3  ***
Released in 1993     Cover price $2.50    Millenium Comico    #3 of 13

Rowan awakens from a dream about an incident in her past at a strange hospital.  As she catches her breath, she realizes that someone is standing outside her house and comes face to face with the vision of a man, the same man, she realizes, that Michael has been seeing.  Meanwhile in New Orleans, Aaron Lightner formally introduces himself and the Talamascha, explaining that Michael holds a enormous power and mistakenly thinking that it was Rowan who sent Michael to New Orleans because the infamous belongs to the Mayfairs and will be hers.  Back in California, Rowan receives a call from one of the aunts who had cared for Deirdre, her mother, who is now dead.  Rowan is torn between joining Michael in New Orleans and keeping the promise she made to her adoptive mother to never set foot in the city.  Aaron continues to explain what he and the Talamascha know about the Mayfair family, saying it’s strange that the man made himself visible to Michael because he ought to be after Rowan.  He goes on to say that the Mayfairs are a family of witches and that the man has been attached to the family for centuries.  We see, in a flashback, the circumstances under which Deirdre was made to give up Rowan and learn that there’s a green jewel that’s passed down to the Mayfair women.  Aaron becomes panicked upon learning that Rowan is traveling to New Orleans for the funeral and gives Michael the Talamascha’s journals on the history of the Mayfair Witches.

And here we have a shift from the first part of the book to the second.  But first let’s talk about covers.  The cover for this one is a bit confusing to me because it’s kind of more appropriate for what I assume will be the topic of issue 4, the original Mayfair witch.  Regardless, there’s A LOT happening in this issue, and we move back and forth from Rowan in California to Aaron and Michael in New Orleans with flashbacks sprinkled in.  I think the back and forth worked really in terms of the page layout – without much need for explanation, the reader could move seamlessly from place to place.  That can be challenging in the wrong hands, even with visual support from the artwork, which was the most straightforward/regular comic style we’ve seen in the series so far.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m curious about the pacing of the issues.  It’s taken us three issues for the set up, which seems about right, but the history of the Mayfair Witches is pretty exhaustive so I’m curious how they’ll pull off that AND the actual story of Rowan, Michael and Lasher.  So let’s get to issue four and see what happens.

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The Witching Hour  #4  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover price $2.50    Millenium Comico    #4 of 13

The history of the Mayfair Witches begins as told by Petyr Van Abel, an agent of the Talamascha in the 17th century.  Petyr arrives in a small French village, where a comtesse named Deborah is to be burned in the square as a witch.  As a child, Deborah had escaped Scotland with the help of Petyr after her mother, Suzanne was also burned for witchcraft. On their journey from Scotland, Deborah refused to speak, save for conversations in the night with someone or something Petyr could not see.  At the Talamascha motherhouse, Deborah had exhibited a strange power, the ability to read the mind of anyone she touched with bare hands through visions, a similar power to Michael’s, and she calls upon a being known as Lasher.  Petyr finds himself falling in love with Deborah, but his loyalty to the Talamascha prevents him from acting on his affection.  Later, when she’s about to be married, Deborah visits Petyr for one night of passion, and he does not see her again.  Back in the village, we learn that Deborah’s daughter Charlotte has escaped the village and it’s persecution, and Petyr vows that he’ll do anything to save Deborah including calling upon “her devil” if need be.  We end in the present with Michael realizing that Deborah is one of the figures that’s been plaguing his dreams and realizes that Lasher is the first word he said after coming back to life from his near-drowning.

I adore the history of the Mayfair Witches so it was fun to finally see it getting under way in the comics.  It’s a very detailed story, but I thought that for the most part, the visuals helped move things along.  The only flaws with the artwork were that the handwriting sections of Petyr’s journal (used as narration) were a bit hard to read and transitions between years and places weren’t as obvious as they were in the last issue.  A couple of times, I had to go back and re-read a section to be sure I was in the right place.  Again, not sure how that would go for someone who hadn’t read the book and was coming at the story completely fresh.  Speaking of the book, this issue did a great job of capturing the feeling of unraveling the story of the witches along with Michael as you and he read the history.  So let’s find out what happens to Deborah and where her daughter Charlotte ended up in issue five, which came out 3 years after issue 4…..uh oh.2901137-ann5

The Witching Hour  #5  **
Released in 1996     Cover price $2.50    Millenium Comico    #5 of 13

It’s the morning of Deborah’s execution, and she’s brought out the village square to burn for her crimes.  She claims innocence but then summons Lasher whose presence is made known in a violent storm.  Deborah is transported to the top of the highest building in the town and then throws herself from it, falling to her death at Petyr’s feet.  Back in the present, Rowan has arrived at her mother’s funeral and is overwhelmed by the large, strange Mayfair family.  Aaron Lightner arrives to apologize for Michael’s absence and accompanies Rowan to her mother’s coffin.  We return to Petyr’s narrative as he arrives in Port Au Prince to visit with Charlotte, who’s revealed to be his daughter.  Charlotte’s husband has fallen ill, and she seduces Petyr in the hopes of baring a daughter who can also communicate with Lasher.  Ashamed of what he had done, Petyr leaves the house later that night and sees Lasher himself, who tortures him with visions of Deborah and the undead.  Petyr’s final letter to the Talamascha reveals that he’s gone mad, terrified to leave Port Au Prince for fear of Lasher.  Back in the present, Aaron tells Michael that with Petyr’s death, the Talamascha decided not to engage with the Mayfair’s directly, but simply to observe them from afar, which is what they’ve been doing ever since.  He then tells him that it’s imperative that Michael continues to read the history.

…..And that’s it.  Seriously.  The series just ends.  Not only do we miss out on the rest of the history of the Mayfair witches, which is an awesome story, but we basically entirely miss out the whole Rowan-Lasher story, which is a big freaking deal because (spoiler alert): she’s the thirteenth witch.  The writing was all over the wall, or rather, the page with this one.  First of all, it came out three years after the rest of the series and was only labeled as issue #5, not #5 of 13 like the others.  The artwork was different than (though trying to mimic the style of) the rest of the series, and even the paper seemed cheaper.  It strikes me as more strange that they even bothered with a slapped together fifth issue so far after the fact rather than just never continuing the series after issue 4.  After waiting that long, it must have been such a disappointment to original readers/fans of the series.  Obviously they didn’t know that they wouldn’t finish it when the book was planned, but part of me wonders if it wouldn’t have been wiser to do a series focused exclusively on the history of the Mayfair family rather than incorporating the modern story into the book.

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This was a disappointing end to a promising series, and it feels like an extra shame because there’s so little out there about the Witching Hour.  Perhaps if another Lives of the Mayfair Witches book does come out, a great modern company like IDW or Dark Horse will take on some kind of comic adaptation of one of the stories.  Here’s hoping. While I go back to my bookshelves, it’s time for you to join Matt on a field trip to the Rotten Ink theater for another installment of Marvel at the Movies, coming up next time.

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