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.

Jaws Novel 1peter benchley and a sharkJaws Novel cover 2

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.

Jaws 1Jaws Posterjaws 1975 roy scheider

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.”

Jaws 2 1Jaws 2 PosterJaws 2 2

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.

Jaws 3 1Jaws 3 PosterJaws 3 shark

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 …”

Jaws Revenge 1Jaws Revenge Posterjaws Revenge 2

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.

Jaws Ride 1Jaws Ride AdJaws Ride 2

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.

Jaws for C64Jaws for NESJaws Unleashed for PS2

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.

Jaws 2 art 1Jaws 2 art 2Jaws 2 art 3

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!

Ivy Doomkitty star trekhottie star trek fanblonde star trek fan

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.

jaws_2_logo

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.

star-trek-tng-best-of-both-worlds-blu-rayBorgFirstContactiborg220

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.

star16_2100637ideja_q_hd_411tng_hideandq

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.

388070-star-trek-the-next-generation

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).

FullSizeRender (5)  FullSizeRender (3) 2_16_Pics_of_T_Shirts_296_1024x1024

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.

 51M25WE8W8L51NBPNY0G5L._SX300_TNG_Season_1_Blu-ray_cover

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.

Z003048839198-Star_Trek_-_The_Next_Generation_-_Echoes_from_the_Past_(USA)-1459584836star_trek_tng3

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.

32576517RzKVTL1L._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_51MEC-2O9WL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_

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.

25176-961DZ7ke+rbL._AC_UL320_SR234,320_

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!

2909930

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.

606531

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.

606537

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.

617455

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!

606343

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.

b7db8eb6a0a83abb6308b8842ca6f1ff_l

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.

generations_posterfirst-contact-posterstar-trek-insurrection-movie-poster-1998-1020192138Star-Trek-Nemesis-movie-poster

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.

686991

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.

654663

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….

Enterprise-E-star-trek-the-next-generation-3983726-1024-768

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!

Screen-shot-2012-03-19-at-7.34.03-AMClassicsIllustratedStrangeCaseOfDrJekyllAndMrHyde56525-ClassicsIll-JekyllHyde_13-04

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!

Whats Next logo

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.

Broadway Opening Of 'Lestat' - Arrivals

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.

LasherNovelCover_TaltosLrgMerrickBlackwoodFarmBlog_Rice_BloodCanticle

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.

2898876-anne4

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.

Scan 50

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.

marvel-at-the-movies 2

The 8th Wonder Of Giant Classic Comics King Kong

My mother was 7 or 8 when she attempted to watch the 1933 film King Kong with her mom when it aired on TV.  She watched as a group set out to sea to make a movie and landed on an island, and when King Kong showed up just the sight and sound of the beast scared her enough to make her hide behind her mom’s chair! She would peek around the corner and shiver in fright of the sight of the giant ape. Way before the gross out films of the 60’s made by the likes of Hershel Gordon Lewis became the norm in what’s “scary” about horror films, the likes of a giant ape with a love for blondes paved the way and terrified the young and old. While many not consider it a horror film, I have always viewed it as one as King Kong is a giant ape creature that caused panic not only on his home island but also New York, and he does kill and eat humans so yeah, it spells horror film to me. I saw the film when I was about 7 or 8, the same age she first saw it, and I can remember my Mom telling me about her first viewing and this set the bar very high as I sat down on the couch ready to watch it alongside my parents and my brother on a VHS that we rented from Waynesville’s library. From the moment the film started, I was hooked on every word and when Kong showed up I became a fan, and to me every gorilla toy became King Kong. The watch with my family was a great one and was one of many fun family night of watching a flick on the old VCR while eating popcorn and being entertained. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away of the film as that will happen as we review the Gold Key comic adaptation a little later on so I will give you the cliff notes version. The film is about a filmmaker and some sailors who take a fresh faced new actress to an island were the natives take her to appease King Kong, a giant gorilla who rules the land.  They save her and also take Kong to New York as a stage attraction, and he escapes running wild in the city until he is killed in the end. It’s an amazing classic film with special effects that were way ahead of their time.  If you have not seen this film, do yourself a favor and watch it!

King Kong 1933 1King Kong 1933 PosterKing Kong 1933 2

In the 1980’s Ted Turner owned Turner Classic Movies wanted to do something fresh and new to King Kong so they did the unthinkable…. they colorized it! To be honest it seemed like an odd kick Turner was on, taking old classic black and white films and turning them into color films to air on his classic movie station, and on the top of the list that sparked the most debate was what they did to King Kong. I can remember that my mom and dad were not pleased that they messed with a classic film this way, but being so young I was a little curious to see what the classic Kong would look like in color. I seen the color version after the black and white and still preferred the original to the tampered with version. King Kong was the first movie on VHS that I owned two versions of as I had to own them both, and I would say I watched the black and white more than I did the colorized one that I got dirt cheap brand new at Blockbuster Video.

King Kong 1933 Color 1King Kong 1933 Color VHSKing Kong 1933 Color 2

Now if you look at King Kong as a horror film like I do, then you would have to look at Fay Wray as the original scream queen, and she proves she has a set of lungs as she screams her head off at the first site of Kong. She began her acting career making short films and making westerns for Universal but left once she became a WAMPAS Baby Stars meaning she was listed as an actress to watch. As a teenager Wray was signed to a contract with Paramount Pictures where she made over a dozen films like the failure 1928 silent film The Wedding March.  Wray was able to make the transition from silent to talkie films and left Paramount to make other films for other companies, the most notable being RKO that hired her for her first horror films like Doctor X, The Most Dangerous Game and her most famous film King Kong.  She was proud of her work in Kong and that film saved RKO from going bankrupt! During that time as well she was in a few other horror films like The Vampire Bat and Mystery In The Wax Museum. By the 1940’s, Wray retired briefly from acting but came back to make more films and take TV parts being on such shows as Perry Masson and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Wray continued to act for many years and even turned down a part in James Cameron’s 1997 smash hit film Titanic. Sadly at the age of 96 Fay Wray passed away of natural causes in 2004 while she slept.  After her passing, the Empire State Building shut off all its lights for 15 minutes to honor her legacy. Wray was a true beauty, a talented actress and could possibly be the first scream queen of cinema.

"King Kong"Fay Wray1933 RKO**I.V.fay wray 2fay wray 3

Because King Kong was such a huge hit at the box office, a sequel was made in 1933, coming out only 9 months after the original. The film follows the film director from the first film who is now in hot water for King Kong running wild in New York and travels to find that the giant ape might have had an offspring.  That film was called Son of Kong! In Japan in 1962, they made a film called King Kong vs. Godzilla where they pit the world’s top giant monsters against each other, and in 1967 they made another King Kong film called King Kong Escapes that has our lovable Kong fighting a robot version of himself called Mecha Kong. Paramount Pictures in 1976 decided to make a remake of King Kong and added in more modern touches to the film and even trades in the Empire State Building for the Twin Towers as well as the stop motion Kong for a stuntman in a suit done by FX God Rick Baker. In 1986 the remake got a forgettable follow up called King Kong Lives that had the giant ape getting a pacemaker put in to replace his damaged heart and finding a mate who has also been brought to the USA. In 2005 a longwinded Peter Jackson remake of King Kong was made and besides more minutes added to the runtime, it was a good but unnecessary film. With all these spin off films, sequels and remakes this just shows you how much impact this film had on classic cinema, and I agree with James Rolfe who said that film students should watch the original in film school right alongside Citizen Kane. While none of them are as good as the original film, they are all still fun watches that help add to the legacy of Kong and prove that this primate of fright, this ape of terror, is truly a legend of cinema.

Son Of Kong PosterKing Kong Escapes PosterKing Kong 1976 PosterKing Kong Lives PosterKing Kong 2005 Poster

In 1966 America and Japanese animation studios teamed up to make The King Kong Show, an animated adventure kid show that had King Kong befriending the Bond Family and stopping the likes of Dr. Who (and no, not the BBC version) from capturing Kong for his own evil gain. This animated cartoon was teamed with another show about a tiny special agent called Tom of T.H.U.M.B. and the show would last till 1969 with a total of 3 seasons and 25 episodes. This cartoon also helped Toho make the film King Kong Escapes and also was to be inspiration to the film that became Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, which Kong was suppose to star in, not Zilla. The cartoon over the years did not hold up well and was mostly forgotten until it got released on DVD as volumes a few years back. I never remember seeing the show when I was a kid, and I think it would have fit perfect on early morning Saturday’s back in the 80’s and could have also found a place on the USA Cartoon Express. I saw the show when I was older and in my 20’s found it to be pretty cool but only from a retro standpoint.

kIng kong Cartoon 1King Kong Cartoon 2King Kong Cartoon 3

So as we all know Toho studios made two films with King Kong in them in the 1960’s, but did you know that there are also two others made in Japan way before this that are now lost films? The first was a short silent film called “Wasei Kingu Kongu” made in 1933 the same year King Kong was released and was a team up from RKO and Shochiku Studios. Not much is known about the film besides RKO asked them to make it and that instead of a stop motion Kong, it was a man in a suit.  It was directed by Torajiro Saito with Isamu Yamaguchi playing King Kong and all that is left of the film is one single picture that was printed. Next was a 1938 film called “King Kong Appears In Edo” that made by Zensho Cinema with permission from RKO and was directed by Soya Kumagai and had a size changing King Kong attacking Edo (Tokyo) during Medieval times! Fuminori Ohashi who some 16 years later would make the original Godzilla costume made the Kong costume in this film.  Just think about that, King Kong was really Japan’s first giant movie monster and not Godzilla like we all thought! Both films are believed to have been destroyed during the bombings of World War II and neither ever showed outside of Japan making all master prints being only stored there. I learned about these missing films thanks once more to James Rolfe (Angry Video Game Nerd) when he did a top 10 list of lost Horror Films and the Japan Kong films were his # 1, and I agree with him when he said he hopes all the films he picked won’t always be lost films. Below are some pictures of Japan’s King Kongs, the first being Toho’s with the second being the 1933 version and last being the 1938 one.

King Kong JapanKing Kong Missing 1King Kong Missing 2

Tiger Electronics who are best known for making handheld games in the late 80’s and 90’s also made some console games in the age of Atari 2600 under the brand name TigerVision. And would you know it that in 1982 they made a game based on King Kong that was a follow up to their handheld games made about the big ape the year before. The game was a total rip off of Donkey Kong and had you playing as a guy who was trying to get to the top were King Kong was.  The graphics were bad and Kong was a stiff looking pixel mess. I have played the game several times and even own it and I must say that it really is a bad game. Though I do find it funny that Donkey Kong was a clone of King Kong who in turn had a game made about him that was just a bad clone of Donkey Kong. The game on release only sold moderately well and was by no means looked at as a classic.

King Kong Atari 1King Kong Atari 2600King Kong Atari 2

Ideal made a board game in 1976 based on the remake movie that had 2-4 players trying to get to the top of the Twin Towers before King Kong so that they can capture him, or you can win the game by saving the woman from his right hand via a special mission. But Kong won’t make your trip easy as he is flipping all around trying to knock your player back to the start. I own this game and played it with the fellow members of The Dayton Board Game Society who are Stephen Alexander II, Josh Weinberg, Jeremy Hoyt and Garrison Kane on one of our past meetings ,and I can remember that while the game was not all that ground breaking we all had fun trying to knock each other off the building using Kong as our puppet and it was a blast seeing just how competitive it got. If you get a chance and like classic board games based on movies then I would say check this one out, play time to complete is about 20 minutes give or take a few. I should also share we played this game on February 6th 2013 in Josh Weinberg’s basement and we also played the LJN A Nightmare on Elm Street video game for the NES and we ate Wing Zone.

Josh Playing King Kong Board GameKing Kong Board GameUs Playing King Kong

King Kong not only has been made into many video games and board games but he has also had pinball machines based around him, many comic books, novels, magazines, t-shirts, toys, Halloween costumes, soundtracks, stickers, dolls, drinking glasses and so much more. If you’re a King Kong fan, then there is something for you out there in the world of merchandise. Some of my favorite King Kong merchandise that I owned was my Imperial King Kong action figure that I use to make fight my Godzilla figure and even Kong was wrapped up in my epic Toy Wars, also would be my Crestwood Monster Series Book based on King Kong that gave the history of the film as well as some sweet photos. I also really liked my adaptation novel by Delos W. Lovelace and can remember reading it before bedtime many nights. It’s odd looking back at my youth now being 35 years old and seeing just how much of an impact King Kong has had on my life.  It’s a neat feeling knowing that a giant ape with a love for blondes truly means something to me. And for those of you who listen to Alpha Rhythms on WYSO (91.3 FM) on Sunday nights, I have played soundtrack pieces from the original score by Max Steiner as well as tracks from King Kong Lives by John Scott.

Movie Maniac King KongImperial King KongBen Copper King KongKing Kong Novel

Before we move onto The Gold Key Comic Review I of course have to talk about a ride I have wanted to go on since I first heard about it; that’s the one and only KongFrontation ride at Universal Studios Orlando that opened on June 7th 1990 and became a major attraction at the park. The ride was based on the 1976 remake as well as a ride Universal Studios had at their Hollywood park called King Kong Encounter that opened in 1986. The 5 minute ride would place you and others inside a tramcar but not before you walked down a mock New York street complete with newscasts playing on TVs to build up that King Kong is roaming the streets.  Once inside the car you are treated to explosions as well as giant animatronic King Kong’s that would roar and knock your little car around given the effect that he was attacking. In the end he would attack while you’re on the bridge but your driver would get you out safe and unharmed. This ride seemed amazing to me and just the thought of being close to a life size version of Kong was enough to make me want to go, but being a kid and having parents that didn’t like to travel out of state put a damper on getting to go. The attraction closed in 2002, and two years later a lame ride based on the terrible Mummy Remake took its place, marking the sad fact that I never got to ride the one roller coaster/attraction that I always wanted to. As far as King Kong Encounter, it had guests on a tramcar as King Kong would knock a helicopter from the sky and would end with you being eye level with the great ape on the Brooklyn Bridge as he tries to break it apart.  Of course you would make it off the bridge and would be safe thanks to your driver. The Kong animatronic was at the time the world’s largest and was so detailed that it’s “breath” smelled of bananas!  This ride as well lasted a total of 5 minutes and was one of the main attractions to the park. Sadly it as well came to an end when in 2008 a massive fire broke out and burnt the attraction up, but in Universal Hollywood they didn’t give up on King Kong and replaced it with an attraction called King Kong 360 3-D. I really would have loved to have ridden these attractions and sadly with both of them gone for good I will never get the chance to do so. But I can watch videos of them on YouTube and hear stories from my friends who did get to experience it…sigh.

King Kong RideSo I think our voyage through the sea of King Kong is over and we looked at the movies, video game, cartoon, missing films, merchandise as well as a theme park attraction but now it’s time for us to take a walk on Skull Island alongside Gold Key comics and see what this 1968 adaptation has to offer to the Kong legacy. I want to think Bell Book And Comic for having this comic in stock, and I would like to remind that I graded 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 let’s man up and walk through the giant gates into King Kong’s lsland and hope he doesn’t stomp us into the mud!

King Kong 1

King Kong  # 1    ***1/2
Released in 1968     Cover Price .25    Gold Key   # 1 of 1

Carl Denham is a filmmaker who can’t find a lead actress for his top secret next project.  He even has rented a boat called the “Wonderer” along with all its crew and after an agent tells him that he will not supple him with an actress, the director walks down the streets of New York and finds a pretty thief woman named Ann Darrow who was stealing an apple due to hunger.  Denham buys it for her and hires her to be in his new film. While on board the first mate Jack Driscoll falls in love with Ann, and the two start up a relationship.  They find out that they are to port at an unknown island called Kong Island. But while at the island they find that the natives are worshiping and sacrificing women to an unknown “God” and they have set their sights on Ann who they kidnap off the boat and take to the altar where a giant gorilla named King Kong falls for her and takes her deep into his jungle home! Driscoll and Denham lead some crew members on a rescue mission and while in the jungle they find that Kong is not the only giant monster as dinosaurs and sea serpents all blocking their trail to save Ann from Kong’s grip. Kong finds that he is being followed after he beats up a pair of Triceratops and knocks all the crew members off a log killing them leaving only Driscoll and Denham left.  As Driscoll follows Kong, Denham goes back to the ship for more men and gas bombs. King Kong while trying to grab Driscoll from a cave is attacked by a T-Rex and a major battle breaks out between the giant beasts! As Kong climbs to his cave home he must fight off all types of attackers and during this Driscoll saves Ann, and the two escape via the river below. As they reach the gates Kong is in hot pursuit and it’s here that Denham uses his gas bombs to knock Kong out and then takes him to New York to use the giant ape as a sideshow, but when Kong see’s Ann again he breaks his chains and escapes his cage and takes Ann to the top of the Empire State Building where he is attacked by fighter planes that lead to his death as they use machine guns on him while he is distracted by Ann being saved by Driscoll again and he falls to his death. In the end Ann and Driscoll are safe in each other’s arms, Kong is dead in the middle of the street and Denham learns that it was beauty that killed the beast.

This is another amazingly done comic film adaptation of a classic horror film much like Comic Library International’s Edison’s Frankenstein 1910 that holds just so true enough to the source material but still adds its own flare to spice it up. The plot is your simple Beauty and The Beast and follows a young actress who gains the affection of a tough sailor as well as a giant ape and when the big primate is taken away from his home and placed in the big city, his only comfort when he escapes is his blonde bombshell but even love can’t save him from being slain. Ann Darrow is a sweet woman who turns her misfortune of being poor into fame when she takes the part in a movie that leads her to charming King Kong to be put on display. Even though Ann fears Kong she also still feels some affection for him and wishes him no ill will and even tries to save the beast as the planes shoot him down. King Kong is neither good nor bad and it’s clear he is very territorial of his land and very protective of Ann who he has fallen in love with. I love the fact that he keeps not only the natives in check but also all the other giant beasts that live on the island proving he really is the King. Carl Denham, while a money grubbing rich film making geek, still really shows he cares about his friends as Ann’s safety when being taken is a big priority to him, though he does mistreat King Kong by keeping him in chained up and taking him away from his home to be looked at by New York’s rich snobs and press. Jack Driscoll is your very classic tough guy who only cares about the woman he loves and will risk it all for her. The major changes I noticed between the comic and the film is that in the comic the ship is called The Wonderer, while in the film it’s The Venture; in the comic the island is called Kong Island, while in the film it’s Skull Island. I also noticed in the film Jack is annoyed that Ann is on the ship and it takes awhile before he falls for her, in the comic it happens fast. This was the second time I have read this comic and I found that I enjoy it more and more after each read and find something very magical about the whole reading experience. The copy I have is a classic example of Rotten Ink as the smell of the decomposing ink fills your nose when you flip through the pages, while not a beat up copy, it’s still very yellowed on the pages. The artwork is done by ummm….an unknown artist as no credit is given, but I must say the art is perfect for this comic and while Kong doesn’t capture the full look of his movie appearance it still looks the part enough to draw this comic reader in. The cover as well is very eye catching and I am sure drew kids attention to it by using lots of orange and putting a giant ape crushing planes on the cover. If you like the film or like classic horror comics, than this is for sure one you should check out. I am glad I got it and I am sure a few years from now I will read it again.  Below is a piece of art from the comic just so you can see the style Gold Key went for in this comic.

King Kong Art

Really this is a great comic with great classic artwork and really is going to help us kick off our two month long horror comic countdown to Halloween 2014! So on this update we traveled to Skull Island and got to know King Kong and see what that massive beast was about, but how about next time we travel to a black lagoon and celebrate the 60th birthday of the Universal Monster Gill-Man.  So until then read a comic or two, watch a horror film and support your local Horror Host.

Creature from the Black Lagoon Logo 2

Ashes To Ashes Burial By Rats

Well this was suppose to be Ghosts of Dracula, but I misplaced the final issue so you get…RATS….. Thousands…. Millions Of Them! All Red Blood! All these will I give you if you only read Rotten Ink! That might not be the exact quote Renfield gave in the 1931 film version of Dracula for Universal Pictures, but it was close. Growing up I liked rodents, and even had two as pets that I got from my neighbor when they were tiny babies when her pet mouse had a litter. They both were little females; one was grey with a white side strip and underbelly who was called Grey Man while the other was just solid white with red eyes and her name was White Man…yeah for some reason my brother and I decided that little female baby mice looked like little people so they got nicknamed men. They were my buddies, and I used to hang out with them all the time as they were well behaved and when letting them run free in my room they never wanted or even tried to escape. Both of them had things they liked to do with me. White Man loved to fall asleep in my lap or on my shoulder while I read comics, books or magazines while Grey Man was all about me playing NES games and would spend time watching the lights on the screen. Both of them were so gentle, and I never once was bitten by either nor was anyone else I let pick them up.  They were perfect pets and well loved by me and my family. They would even take sunflower seeds from your hand and would be so gentle. Sadly as those of you long time readers remember, White Man passed away from a tumor while I was away at camp and Grey Man passed away a short time later. They both lived a long life, and I loved them both equally and miss them as they truly were perfect. I know you’re probably thinking it’s silly that I cared this much for mice, but to me they were just like the cats and dogs I owned, a part of my family. Some time passed before I got another mouse, and when I did I got him from Jack’s Aquarium and Pets.  He was a black and white male named Ben, and yes, he was named after the film that I had seen a number of times on TBS and was even hosted by Grandpa Munster on Super Scary Saturday. Ben was a good little guy.  While moody, he still never bit me and for the most part was chill.  Ben, however, was always trying to escape his cage and would even climb his water bottle and try and push the lid off the cage…he never got away, but man he tried. Ben was very different from Grey and White as he would not sit still for long and only time he would was when he would be on my bed and get warm and fall asleep. After Ben passed away, my next tiny rodent pet was a Hamster called SPG named after the Hamster from the BBC show The Young Ones, and man he was mean and liked to bite even when he was happy! Below are some pictures I took of White Man and Ben, and while a Grey Man one was taken, it was so blurry that it would not scan well.  Sorry, I know these two are bad as well, but I took them when I was a kid.

White ManBen Mouse

In 1995, New Concorde Pictures released a film to cable TV and video called “Bram Stoker’s Burial Of The Rats.”  The film was produced by Roger Corman, the master of the B-movie, and was directed by Dan Golden.  It was based on a story by you guessed it Bram Stoker and adapted to screen by a total of 4 writers. The film follows a young Bram Stoker as he is taken prisoner by a rouge group of female bandits called The Rat Women who are ruled by a flute playing queen and seven white mice whose tails are tied called The King. The twisted tale is to show how and why Bram went on to become of the world’s most famous horror story writers. The film stars Kevin Alber, Adrienne Barbeau, Maria Ford, Olga Kabo and in smaller roles actresses Nikki Fritz and Linnea Quigley who each played Rat Women. Now I can remember this on VHS sitting on the shelf of K&L Video and the poster hanging on the wall of the video store for awhile and always trying to get my brother to rent it because it had Maria Ford in it who I really liked at the time but I will get into that more later.  My brother always shot it down and said that it looked boring and would then go for films like Deadtime Stories or Don’t Go Into The Woods. So it would be years after it’s release before I would see it, and I found the film entertaining and goofy and must say Maria Ford looks fantastic as a warrior woman. The film performed badly with critics and fans, and as of 2014 it has a 4.1 out of 10 stars on IMDB. But I don’t want to get too much into the plot of the film here, as the comics we will be covering from Cosmic are the adaptation of the film. But before we move on we will take a look at some of the lovely actresses that are in this film.

Burial 1Burial Of The Rats VHSBurial 2

Adrienne Barbeau started her career in entertainment in the 1960’s.  After being a Go-Go dancer, she landed some roles in theater in such musicals as Fiddler On The Roof, Grease, The Best Little Whore House In Texas and even a nudie musical called Stag Movie. She left the theater in the 70’s to become a TV star and took roles in such shows as Maude, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, All In The Family and even participated in The Battle Of The Network Stars. Along the way she married horror film director John Carpenter as well as posed for a high selling cheesecake poster that helped spark her rise as a sex symbol and was a topic for drive in movie critic Joe Bob Briggs who helped the actress gain more attention. In 1980 she starred in her first horror picture when she played the lead role in the film The Fog.  She went on to star in many other horror/sci-fi films over the years that include Escape From New York, Creepshow, Swamp Thing, Two Evil Eyes, Unholy and Burial Of The Rats. At this time she also took some roles in comedies that went on to become cult classics like Back To School, Father Hood, The Cannonball Run, Cannibal Women In The Avocado Jungle Of Death and Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island. Barbeau at the time of acting in films still do roles on TV with one of her biggest being the voice of Catwoman on Batman The Animated Series in the 1990’s, and speaking of her voice talent she also lent her pipes to a few video games like God of War III, Halo 4 and Batman: Arkham Asylum. As of 2014, Barneau is 69 years old and shows no signs of slowing down as she is still taking work in movies, TV and video games. Barbeau in acting is known for always playing the tough woman who has the take no crap attitude as well as for her large natural breasts. In the film Burial Of Rats, she plays Queen Rat.

Adrienne Barbeau 1Adrienne Barbeau 2Adrienne Barbeau 3

Olga Kabo is a Russian actress and theater performer who at a young age mastered the English language as well as dance and acting as she got her first major role by the age of 15. As she grew up she got more and more roles and became a very popular actress of Russian cinema and was the star in such films as Lysistrara Comedy, Burial Of The Rats and The Ice Runner becoming a sex symbol with these roles. Nowadays, at the age of 46 she spends most of her time acting on stage and still being a popular draw to fans who come to see her perform. In Burial Of The Rats, she plays Rat Woman Anna.

Olga_Kabo 1Olga_Kabo 2 Olga_Kabo 3

In the 1990’s, one woman’s name stood out to me when it came to being in low budget horror and sleaze films and that name also marked another big celebrity crush for me. I first laid eyes on Maria Ford in the 1990 slasher film sequel “Slumber Party Massacre III” where she had darker hair and played the part of Maria. I quickly became a fan of the beauty and began buying her films from local video rental stores with the second film I saw of hers being  “Stripteaser” with many more to follow like “Showgirl Murders”, “Rain Killer”, “Deathstalker IV: Match of the Titans” and “The Unnamable II” to name a few. Something about the skinny blond haired Maria Ford drew me in and I was taken back on just how sexy girl next door she looked. I even got my friend Jason Gilmore to become a fan of hers and by watching her films he also found an actress that he became a fan of named Nikki Fritz. Around this time I would say one my favorite actress in these style of no budget films would be Maria Ford as well as J.J. North and Ariauna Albright, Charlie Spradling, Denice Duff and my top was Tina Krause. I spent so much time and money buying films that had her name on the cover box.  While many were terrible, it was okay because I got to see Maria do her thing and act well even with poor scripts she was given. As I grew older Maria Ford’s roles became fewer and fewer, and the last major one I could remember coming out was one that was released to VHS when I worked at Blockbuster called “Perfect Fit” and that was a dark comedy. Maria Ford also went on to be in a bunch of Cinemax Soft-Core Adult titles and had small roles in many Hollywood films as the cute girl like in “Beethoven’s Fifth” and “The Addams Family Reunion”. She was also on TV with roles on 7th Heaven and The Drew Carey Show showing that Ford had a lot of talent. While over the years her appearance has changed, I still find myself a fan and would love to work with her sometime in my life.  Could you imagine her being in a Baron Von Porkchop episode…that would be epic! In Burial Of The Rats, she plays the lovely Rat Woman Madeleine. Oh and look at these pics below, and see why the young Matt Brassfield fell in love with Maria Ford! Also I want to say that she is not just an actress but she is also a model and dancer.

Maria Ford 1Maria Ford 2Maria Ford 3

From pet rodents to the beauty of Maria Ford, I think we are ready to tackle this comic series don’t you? Now I am sure your wondering why I did not talk about Bram Stoker and his writings, and the simple answer to that is I am going to really cover his career when I take a look at Topps Comics 4 issue run based on the Francis Ford Coppola film “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” and to be honest I am really looking forward to that. Before I do I want to remind my readers 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, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I also want to think Lone Star Comics for having all three of these issues in stock.  So with no more wait let’s go see what it’s like to be Buried Like A Rat!

Burial Of The Rats 1

Burial Of The Rats # 1   **1/2
Released in 1995    Cover Price $2.50    Cosmic Comics    #1 of 3

In 1854, a woman slits the throat of her abusive husband and flees into the sewers where she finds a nest of young rats and is happy to become their Queen. Years pass and it’s now 1864 as Bram Stoker and his father are traveling by coach when their driver is killed by rats, and they are attacked by hooded figures.  During the attack Bram kills one of the assailants and is knocked out and taken to a castle where he is to be judged by The Queen and as for the father he is left knocked out in the middle of the woods. While captured Bram finds that his two capturers are beautiful woman.  Anna has dark hair and a mean spirit, and Madeleine, who is blonde, seems to have a touch of compassion in her. Bram is sentenced to death by a pendulum that he is tied to and after each woman takes turns hitting a switch with a hammer he is lowered deeper and deeper into a pit that holds blood thirsty rats! Anna has the honor of the first hit and Madeleine is to deliver the last which she does half heartedly sparing Bram’s life! Bram is thrown back into his prison cell, and it’s clear that both the Rat Queen and Anna want him dead but Madeleine seems to want to spare his life knowing that he only killed one of their “sisters” trying to protect his father. It’s clear that a bond is happening between Bram and Madeleine as she brings him his book and even bathes him with a wet cloth, but Anna and The Queen have other plans as they want Bram to come along on a raid with the hope of him trying to escape so that they can kill him! As Bram is being prepared for the raid, his father who is tired and beat up makes his way to help…

The first thing I want to say about this comic is the mood is just right and has a real sleazy Roger Corman feel to it. This issue follows a young Bram Stoker way before he wrote Dracula or any of his other horror stories as he becomes a prisoner to The Rat Queen, a crazy woman who plays a flute that controls the city’s rats as well rules over a group of warrior women. Bram Stoker, who is the main focus of this series, is by no means a man’s man in this issue and in fact is shocked when he shoots one of the hooded attackers and after doing so is quickly beat down. Even if he is no Lone Ranger or Tarzan, I find myself cheering for him to survive this bad situation. Madeleine, who was once a prostitute who was forced into being one when her family was murdered, is still a pure and loving woman who is clearly hiding behind a warrior’s attitude. Anna however has nothing but hate in her heart, as she was once a slave who was beaten with whips by a high-ranking village official  While she is a bad girl, I really like the character who you know is also clearly in love with Madeleine. The Rat Queen is a crazy old bat who gets joy in killing men and bossing rats around.  She is clearly one of those characters that you hope meets a very horrible end. The Rat King is pretty kick butt as its seven white rats whose tails are all locked together.  They all wear crowns and love flute music. I must say that so far this adaptation is starting off right because this first issue is very entertaining and is making me looking forward to the second issue. The art of the comic is great and has most the characters looking like the actors that played them in the film and is done by Francisco Solano Lopez who should have been hired to do many more horror movie themed comics! The cover is just a blown up image taken from the films VHS cover box and the poster used to promote the film. So let’s get back to the story and see if Bram tries to flee on the raid or it he will stay and try to be with the lovely Madeleine.

Burial Of The Rats 2

Burial Of The Rats # 2   **1/2
Released in 1995    Cover Price $2.50    Cosmic Comics    #2 of 3

Bam traveled along with the Rat Women as they entered the village and killed all the priests inside the church stealing all the gold and letting the rats eat the flesh off their victims. Bram leaves a blood smeared note in an open book for his father and heads back to the castle with the Rat Women. Madeleine steals a pen and paper and brings it to Bram in his cell and he starts to write about his time with them and talks of the raid he just witnessed. The next day as Bram is reading his writings to Madeleine, Anna over hears it and reports it to the Rat Queen who sneaks up on this happening.  To Anna’s shock, the Queen likes what she is hearing/reading and allows Bram to continue his book in hopes that when it comes out it will make all men fear them! When Bram and Madeleine are alone they confess their love for one another and make love, but that night Bram also has a nightmare that has everyone on the castle turning into Rat People! At dinner Madeleine brings Bram to the feast and he talks The Queen into another raid to save a 12-year-old girl who was busted for stealing and as punishment was sent to work at the whore house.  Anna is against the raid as she feels it’s to soon after the attack on the church by they go ahead and do it anyway. Bram enters the whore house and looks for the young girl and when he finds her a fat slob of a man is in with her, he deals with the man as Anna and Madeleine make their way into the room via the window and all together they save the young girl and the rats have a feats on the fat mans flesh. The raid does not go off without it’s downsides as the madam of the house runs to the police and a witness sees the women and hears them call Bram’s name! As they flee back to their home Madeleine is captured, and Bram is believed to be the ruler of the Rat Women by the police!

Oh the horror of watching rats eat the flesh off of dying men…no, really it’s a pretty cool scene for this second issue in the adaptation. This issue’s main focuses are the fact Bram’s writings have saved him, and he is in love with one of the Rat Women.  They do another raid too soon but it’s all for a good reason to save a young woman and Bram proves that he will do the write thing and is a huge help in the raid and lastly that Bram’s father has not given up on finding his son alive. Bram in this issue while still not a tough guy like Wonder Man or STEEL he is very smart and uses what little power he is gaining from respect from The Rat Queen to his own advantages. I love the fact that he could have easily tried to escape during the second raid but knew that saving the young girl was the more important thing to do. Madeleine is truly a warrior with a heart and while loyal to her fellow Rat Women love is also on her mind. The Rat Queen while crazy also seems to know right from wrong and in a weird way by this issue you as the reader start to wonder who the real bad guys are, given the fact everyone they have murdered has been a terrible person! Anna is filled with not only hate this issue but also jealousy as its clear she wants the affections of Madeleine and despises the fact Bram is getting it and not her. The issue is filled with more rats eating the skin off men’s bones as well as has Anna blowing the neck off a priest who has been molesting women in the church, all gruesome stuff that the horror comic fan in me was very happy to see. The art once more is done by Lopez and is fantastic, but his time around the cover is a little weak and kind of generic or better yet I should say is good for a pin up but not a main cover. Well at this point we have one more issue to go, and then we will be at the end of Bram Stoker’s adventures with the Rat Women.  I don’t know about you, but I really can’t wait to see how this one ends.  So let’s not waste time and dive right in and hope we don’t get eaten alive by the rats.

Burial Of The Rats 3

Burial Of The Rats # 3   **1/2
Released in 1995    Cover Price $2.50    Cosmic Comics    #3 of 3

The Rat Queen and the Rat Women return to the castle and are happy about the night’s raid, but word comes quick that Madeleine has been captured and that one of the other Rat Women is dead! Bram is upset by this news and so is Anna, and the two argue in front of The Rat Queen.  To prove his loyalty to the Rat Women he must pass two tests to be one of them: the first test is to drink the blood of Anna and the second one will be decided by Anna after they rescue Madeleine.  They all rush off to do so and clash with prison guards and army soldiers alike, but the rats and The Rat Women are successful.  This rescue also has some downsides as Bram saves Anna from her old “master” by killing him before he killed her and thus robbing her of her revenge, and second Anna, unbeknownst to anyone else, knocks out and kidnaps Bram’s father! Back to the castle Madeleine is weak but still gets up to watch Bram’s final test set before him by Anna, to stab and kill his own father! When he refuses Anna pulls out a gun and is about to shoot them both, just as she pulls the trigger Madeleine jumps in front of her man and takes the bullet! Anna is tore up that she just shot the woman she loves so she commits suicide and as this happens the army has shown up and attacks the castle killing many of the Rat Women and even Rat Queen dies when she kills the Captain and breaks her flute causing the Rat King and his fellow rats to attack and kill her. In the end Bram, his father and the body of Madeleine escape the castle that is burning and Bram knows now more than ever he must become a writer.

It’s a love triangle that is built on blood, teeth and romance and sadly we all know that for one person it’s not going to end well…and that person is Bram as the rage of Anna leads to Madeleine’s death and then the raven haired beauty commits suicide.  He is robbed of his love and even revenge. This issue brings the whole story to an end and focuses on the rescue and untimely death of Madeleine and shows what events cause a young Bram Stoker to write his classic horror stories like Dracula. Bram in the issue also shows that when pushed he will fight back and kill if he has to, his love for Madeleine was strong so strong that he was willing to throw away his old life to become a full member of The Rat Women. Madeleine in the issue is pretty much at death’s door from the start as she starts off the issue a prisoner where she is being tortured for answers and when rescued she is weak and then gets shot! Poor woman, all she wanted was true love with her soul mate. Anna is a sad case as she really does love Madeleine, and it’s clear to me as a reader that they had something going on before Bram showed up and stole her away. Plus I feel bad for her because she so wanted revenge on the man who beat her when she was a slave but Bram as well took that away from her. Mr. Stoker, Bram’s father, is kind of just a pawn in the story and while he plays a part in how the story unfolds, he just kind of was a background player in terms of how much impact he had on me. Rat Queen turned out to be all right, and all she really wanted in life was to be free of man’s world where women were treated lower than the rats she commanded.  It’s a fitting end for her as she is eaten alive by her King and all the other rats she once commanded. By the end of this issue, it seems as if the men of the evil world around them win as the castle is on fire, the Queen is dead as are many of the other Rat Women making one truly wonder if the right side won. The art by Lopez captures the feeling of the low budget film so well you almost wish the series would have continued with more adventures of young Bram Stoker and what’s left of the Rat Women.  The cover on the last issue as well is pretty good and reminds me of some of the covers used by Eternity for their comic based on The Puppet Master films. Over all this series held true to the film and was entertaining enough that it kept my interest during every issue. If you’re a fan of Bram Stoker, horror comics, the film itself and even comics like Red Sonja and Kull The Conquer then I would say you should check this comic series out. Below are some samples of the artwork used in the comic.

Burial Art 1Burial Art 2Burial Art 3

The three issue comic adaptation of the low budget Roger Corman film is packed with blood and gore, a pretty interesting story and characters that are entertaining and capture your interest and for that Cosmic Comics gets a big thumbs up from this comic reader for being able to turn a so-so film into a enjoyable comics. The one thing that is off is while the characters of Madeleine and Anna look like actresses Maria Ford and Olga Kabo, the Rat Queen looks nothing like Adrienne Barbeau as in the comic she looks like a 99-year-old hag! Cosmic also did a few more series based on Roger Corman films like Little Shop of Horrors, Death Race, Caged Heat and Rock N Roll High School and at some point on here I will be sure to cover them.  I would also like to dedicate this update to Roger Corman for being the man when it comes to making and producing B-Movies and to Maria Ford for being a very underrated actress. So next update I am thinking we will take some time away from comics and do another Horror Host Icon, and this time around I think I am going to take a look at the world’s youngest Horror Host Dr. Freak! So make sure to come back for that one as I am sure you’ll learn a thing or two about this zany horror host! So until then read a comic or two and enjoy a B-Movie!

Dr. Freak Logo

DC’s Second Greatest Detective

Hey gang! This update is going to be a smaller one, and I am going to take a look at DC Comics’ run of Sherlock Holmes that started in 1975 and lasted one whole issue.  Yeah, believe it or not the series sadly lasted one issue, making me wonder if DC only had room for one master detective spot, and Batman was their choice. But more than likely, it was a rights issue or just very poor sales for issue one that kept this from becoming an ongoing series like planned. But before we go to the comic review, let’s talk a little about Sherlock Holmes and his impact on culture.  So we have to start at the beginning with the stories for books (4 total) and magazines short stories (56 official). In 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created a fictitious detective by the name of Sherlock Holmes for Beeton’s Christmas Annual for the short “A Study in Scarlett,” and the story was so popular that he was asked to write more stories based around this character.  He did so with glee until he grew sick of the character and wanted to move on, but the fans and publishers wouldn’t allow him so he continued unwillingly, even at one point killing off Holmes in the short story “The Adventure Of The Final Problem,” only to bring him back by fan request. But even after the books and short stories, Sherlock Holmes would gain even more fans with films and shows!

sherlock-holmes200px-Sherlock_Holmes_Portrait_Paget3_the-hound-of-the-baskervilles

The first Sherlock Holmes movie was made in 1916 and stared William Gillette as Holmes and Edward Fielding as Watson.  Many more would follow in the 20’s and had such actors as John Barrymore, Clive Brook and Eille Norwood playing Holmes. But Holmes’ true movie break started in 1939 when actor Basil Rathbone stepped into the role as the great detective for 20th Century Fox and made “The Hounds Of Baskerville” and “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.”  Both films were hits at the time, and from there Universal picked up the series and made a total of 12 films that included “Dressed To Kill”, “The Spider Woman”, “Terror By Night” and “Sherlock Holmes and The Voice of Terror”. Sadly in 1946 the Rathbone era of films ended, and many other films based around Holmes would pop up that included Hammer Horror’s “Hound of Baskerville” starring Peter Cushing as Holmes in 1959.  “The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes” had Robert Stephens in the roll and had him searching for the Loch Ness Monster in 1970.  Nicholas Rowe played a teenage Sherlock Holmes in 1985’s “Young Sherlock Holmes”, and most recently Robert Downey Jr. played Holmes in 2009’s “Sherlock Holmes” and then again in 2011 in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows”, and these are only a few films that were made about the iconic character.

DVD CoverYoung_sherlock_holmessherlock-holmes-movie1

Sherlock Holmes has also been a TV draw and has had numerous live action shows and even cartoons. Most of these series are on England’s BBC, who brought us other great shows like The Young Ones, Monty Pythons Flying Circus, Dr. Who, The Mighty Boosh and horror host show Dr. Terror Presents to name a few. The most recent BBC Holmes inspired show is called simply “Sherlock” and started in 2010 and is on its third season that starts in 2013. In September 2012, CBS began a new show called “Elementary” where the Holmes legend is set in modern times, and one time Charlie Angel Lucy Liu plays Watson. Not to mention in 1999 on Fox Kids, the animated show “Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century” aired for two seasons. Showing that Holmes is not only a box office hit but also a boob tube hit! 

AnimatedBBC SherlockElementary-TVseries

Not only has Sherlock Holmes conquered books, movies and TV, he has also stepped into the world of video games and has made a nice little mark in that digital entertainment. While there are way too many to talk about, Holmes has had games on so many systems that include Commodore 64, PC, Sega CD, Turbografx 16, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360 and PS3. While some are text based adventures and point and click games, others have you fighting Jack The Ripper and clearing your name of murder. The newest Holmes game out via Atlus for PS3 and 360 is called “The Testament of Sherlock Holmes” and has been meet with some good reviews. Who knows what future systems await a Holmes game and only time will tell when he will pop up next on our home consoles to solve a crime or two.

Sherlock_Holmes Sega CDSherlock vs The Ripper PCSherlock PS3

But wait, Holmes has also been made into a comic book hero many times from different companies like Dell, Classics Illustrated, Dynamite, IDW, Blue Water, Moonstone and so many more.  While none of his comic series had a full long run lasting more then 23 issues, he still remains a draw and has had comics based on him as late as 2012 from Blue Water comics in a series called “Sherlock Holmes Victorian Knights” that as of now is still running and with its fourth issue out soon. While he has not become a top seller in comics, Holmes remains a popular character and even has teamed up with Batman once!

classicsDELLsherlock Bluewater

One other thing I should talk about is the 1986 film “The Great Mouse Detective” by Disney that had a detective mouse named Basil, who also happens to live on Baker Street (in the same house as Sherlock Holmes) and takes the case of trying to find a missing little mouse girl who has been kidnapped by a bat.  The cool thing about this film is when you hear Sherlock Holmes speak in the film, it’s actor Basil Rathbone’s voice that was taken from his classic Holmes films.  Not to mention horror film icon Vincent Price voiced the film’s lead bad guy.  This film, like everything else animated Disney touches, was a hit and sparked all types of merchandise from stuffed dolls to a video game.  Growing up I found this film a fun little throwback that had a simple plot and a very likeable lead character.  If you have not seen it check it out for sure. 

the-great-mouse-detectivetheGreatMouseDetectiveGreat Mouse C64

Before we get into the review, there are a few other things I would like to talk about.  The first is the closing of Hostess, the company who gave us not only Wonder Bread but also Twinkies, Ding Dongs and HoHo’s.  Wonder Bread began making bread in 1921 and became a favorite of kids as they used the likes of Howdy Doody and other TV stars to promote the surgery white bread. But the company was mostly known for their snack cakes made popular by mascots like Twinkie The Kid and others like Fruit Pie The Magician, Captain Cupcake, King Ding Dong, Happy Ho Ho, Chief Big Wheels and Chauncey Choco-dile. It was a sad day when 2012 marked the end of a company that made its mark so deeply in American culture, and not to mention the fact that thousands of people are now out of work as the planets are all now closed. Times had been hard on the company, who mismanaged money and could not keep up with the health food trend that is sweeping America, and when workers went on strike over pay decreases this was the final nail in the coffin of the struggling company. I know someone will come in and buy the brands from Hostess, but it just won’t be the same, R.I.P. Twinkie The Kid and company, you and your sweet snack cakes will be missed. 

Hostess Icons

I do have a funny story about a Hostess product aimed at people my age when we were kids: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pies, a crispy pie crust with a very sugary pudding center and green icing on the crust.  Sounds great right..right? They were terrible, but I found myself asking for them at grocery store Big Bear because they gave away stickers inside the package and I had to collect them all.  So I would get my mom to buy me one, and I would force myself to eat this terrible snack enjoying the crust more than the terrible pudding death that waited for me inside. At some point I know I came close to getting that sticker set and packed away many of the Turtle Pies.  So I feel good that I did my part back then to help Hostess stay alive. I know many people did enjoy the Turtle Pies, but I for one was not a fan…but as I said I did sill eat them.

turtle pudding pies

Another cool thing about Wonder Bread was the free giveaways and mailaways.  You could get cards from football stars to DC comic heros to even Warner Brothers cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny. One of the best things they ever offered was Wun-Dar, a brown haired version of He-Man for the Masters of the Universe toy line, who was a mail away and has become one of the most collected figures in the line.  Not to mention that he is so popular that Mattel made an updated version of the character for their order direct Masters Toy Line. Companies just don’t do these kind of cool promotions anymore leaving this generation of kids having to do with out the excitement of the “giveaway”  But then again, kids in this day and age are glued to their over priced Apple products so I am sure a free toy is nothing to them.  Man, I just sounded like a grumpy old man!

Superman Cardwonderbreadwun_dar

It’s funny like everything that disappears, Twinkies have now become a collectors’ item as people have snatched up stores’ stock to sell them high on Ebay and Amazon.  Only in America would some one pay $80.00 for three boxes of Twinkies online. But enough of this depressing stuff of people loosing their jobs, the death of Twinkie The Kid and friends, nasty pudding turtle pies and the lack of giveaways. Let’s just look at this blonde girl eating a twinkie, a hottie and sexy singer Katy Perry eating ice cream.

Twinkie The BlondeSnack Food QueenKATY-PERRY

Two updates ago, I told you about the first no budget movie that I was apart of with Fairmont Productions called Teen Suicide and its sequel Suicide 2.  While we were wrapping up Suicide 2, I began working on another project with my brother called “Twisted Batman Theatre” and Brass Bros was open for business.  My older brother Bryan was in college at the time, and I was just a year fresh out of High School in 1999.  He was taking a Shakespeare class at Sinclair Community College, and for one of his projects he decided to make a video.  So he wrote this script that combined the 1960’s Batman TV show starring Adam West with the works of Shakespeare and had the idea to make the film stop motion by using his Super Powers Batman and Robin and would add Billy Dee Williams as the guest detective (a Star Wars Power of The Force Lando Figure).  The team would have to solve the cases of Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth. The script was funny and filled with pop culture references, Shakespeare quotes and one liners, and my brother also took the time to make sets for the figures that almost looked like early silent German horror films meets Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. He borrowed our grandparents’ VHS camcorder and hired me as the camera man and to do a few of the voices needed.  We set up the “sets” in the basement and began the long process of making the film. How we pulled off the stop motion was we would hit pause while recording and move the figure where we wanted and then un-pause it, and we would do this as quick as possible all the while he would be doing the voice overs as we filmed.  This process made tempers fly, and I can’t count how many times I quit or got fired from this production, only to come back for more.  Even though it was a pain, I still enjoyed working on this film a lot.  Not only did I get to make another film but I got to help my brother make his vision come to life. The filming took a few days and many hours to complete, my brother hand wrote all the credits, did his best INXS Mediate video impersonation and then edited the film on two VCR’s. The best thing about the film was he also used many of the Batman rogues like the Super Power figures of The Joker and Penguin, the Toy Biz versions of The Riddler and Mr. Freeze, The Batman Returns Catwoman and The Animated Series Bane and gave them a plan that was lifted from an old Cracked Magazine. I had a blast on this film and got to voice Paul Stanley of Kiss (Kiss was used to portray the Witches from Macbeth) and do the laugh for The Joker, and would do it again in a heartbeat. 

Twisted Batman DVD

Twisted Batman Theatre played to his class, got a great response and earned him a good grade for the project. It did so well that he was asked if they could show it on monitors in Sinclair’s then soon to be reopened media department.  Bryan of course okay’d it but was never sure if they played it. After that the film sat and collected dust for a short time until we decided to open Independent B Movie, and Twisted Batman was snatched up by us and was released on VHS at conventions we attended.  It sold pretty well to people who remembered and loved Kenner’s Super Powers toy line and not to mention to Batman fans. Years later the film had a very short DVD run, but was recalled when the disc was found to have a flaw in one of the extras. Brass Bros was going to work on a sequel to Twisted Batman in the early 2000’s but it never came about.  I had even planned sequel I was going to direct in 2007, but that never came about either. Bryan would go on to make a short film called Nightmare (that we will talk about shortly) and then had a film he started called “The Kenny Rogers Project” in which he mixed horror and humor into a film about Country Music Star Kenny Rogers alongside George W. Bush and rocker Ted Nugent who were killing people and making people sick with roasted chicken. The film had many faces in it that would become main stay actors for years to come including Matt Hoffman, Josh Weinberg, Garrison Kane and Jason Gilmore, but sadly was canceled midway through filming. Bryan would also try his hand at making a public access show years later with “Josh Vs.” a show that had my friend Josh Weinberg challenging celebs at horror convention to dumb contests like arm wrestling and push-ups. He filmed one episode where Josh had a staring contest against Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses), but lost faith in the project after the first episode footage went “missing,” and David Hess of Last House on The Left let him down on episode two. While it’s quiet now who knows what lies in the future for Brass Bro.’s Studio. 

Holy Brass BrosJoker HAHAHA

Sometime in late 2001/ early 2002 my brother took a class at Sinclair alongside Josh Weinberg that was being taught by local filmmaker Andy Copp, and one of the class projects was to make a short film.  He made another mostly stop motion film called “Nightmare” that followed an old man on his deathbed that sees visions of a bloody eyed baby doll, a ventriloquist dummy with a cracked face, a hooded masked wearing demon, death himself and a woman who holds a heart. The film was shot in my bedroom at the time, and while I did some camera my brother shot this one mostly himself.  In fact, the only live person in the film was a girl named Carley Owens who was in Bryan’s class and worked at Blockbuster Video down the road from the one I worked at. A scene was shot and never used in which I played the hooded demon who jumped up from his rocking chair and pointed a gun at the old man’s head.  Sadly that footage is lost forever. Like Twisted Batman Theatre, Nightmare found a home with Independent B Movie and was released on VHS and sold fairly well. The short film was also a extra on the short printed Twisted Batman DVD. 

Nightmare VHS

But now onto the DC comic of Sherlock Holmes! Remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. This review was made possible by Mavericks Cards and Comics.

Sherlock Holmes 1

Sherlock Holmes   ***1/2

Released in 1975    Cover Price .25    DC Comics   #1 of 1

Sherlock Holmes has been targeted and escapes an attempt to snuff out if life as he walks down the road.  Even at home on Barker Street another chap makes an attempt at ending his snooping ways. So he and Watson decide to get out of the country for awhile to avoid the murder attempts so they head to a snowy mountain region, and while on a snow covered mountain the man behind the attempts shows his face.  Both he and Holmes struggle atop the mountain, and both are believed to have fallen to their deaths during the struggle. Holmes knew his attacker would be there and even sends Watson away on a task before the fight. Watson returns home, and a man is gunned down in the streets with a firearm that makes no sound.  As he is looking into the murder, he is visited by a homeless man who turns out to be Sherlock Holmes alive and well and looking to help crack this case of the silent gun murder.  Once more using his brain, he is able to set the killer up using a stuffed doll of himself showing why he is considered one of the best detectives in the world. So I am sure you’re wondering he survived the fall.  To that I will say, I don’t want to spoil it all for you.

This could be one of the best Sherlock Holmes comics I have ever read and follows the classic story well, adding just a little more spice to make it appeal to fans of Batman, Dick Tracy and other hip detectives. Sherlock Holmes has only the slightest trace of the cocky attitude that he has in most of the books, making him more likeable. The chemistry that he has with Watson in this issue is top notch and again goes back to the way Batman and Robin interact and even the way Dick Tracy and Sam Catchem work together. The art style is really good and has the DC of the 70’s look. It’s strange to start your first issue off with what looks like the death of the title character, but it also works really well as it hypes you up to see just how you will survive his fall. This issue also delivers on his return, and it’s great to see the master detective dressed as a homeless man to set up a assassin who is trying to kill him if he in fact did not die in the attack. The art is top notch DC work, and the cover is eye catching and very cool  It’s a shame this is the only issue in this series as I really would have looked forward to reading them for this blog. Also, below this is a cool picture of Batman and Sherlock Holmes showing both of DC’s greatest detectives.

Holmes and Batman

The City of Chicago needed a master detective on November 22nd 1987 during a Dr. Who marathon when the broadcast signal of PBS Channel 11 was highjacked by a strange man in a Max Headroom mask.  The pirate broadcast sound was muffled as the man yelled, groaned and said all types of odd things from new Coke slogans to even humming the theme from the cartoon Clutch Cargo. The broadcast ended with his bare ass bent over with the rubber mask to the side of the camera as a person smacked him with a flyswatter. The broadcast only lasted a total of 90 seconds before the signal was cut by the pirate. This was really his second attempt at this as earlier in the night he made a small broadcast during the news on WGN Channel 9. To this day no one has been able to identify who this man was and why he did what he did.  I for one enjoyed his odd antics that I was able to see thanks to my brother Bryan and our friend Andy Copp, who had the incident on a VHS tape. The Max Headroom Pirate has never stuck again, and no one is sure if he ever will, but one thing is for sure he is still out there waiting and watching the airwaves of Chicago. I am sure that if Sherlock Holmes was a real person, he would have found out who this broadcast pirate was.

pirate

Speaking of pirate broadcasts, the other famous one happened a year before in 1986 when a man named John MacDougall going by the code named Captain Midnight was upset by the treatment satellite dish owners were getting from movie channels like HBO who were charging fees to watch.  So he hacked into their feed and placed a simple text message that ran for about 4 1/2 minutes that said “Good evening HBO From Captain Midnight $12.95/Month? No Way! [Showtime/Movie Channel Beware!].”  His message was clear, and he wanted HBO to see that the fees just were not right. But unlike the Max Headroom Pirate John was caught and forced to pay a high fine and be on a year of probation. Captain Midnight

In 1977, the United Kingdom also had a strange pirate broadcast that only affected the audio of a TV Station from an “Alien” named Vrillon who said he was a representative for the Ashtar Galactic Command and wanted to tell us Earth people that we need to get rid of our evil weapons and to live in peace and be ready for our evolution as a race. The message went on for about four minutes before he left our world. Many think this was a hoax, and the British government passed it off as one but those who heard the distorted voice think it might of really been a message from an alien from beyond the stars. Much like Max Headroom this pirate never was caught. Below is an image of what Vrillon is thought to look like.

Vrillon

Wow, this update took us from Sherlock Holmes to Hostess closing to Twisted Batman and ended with pirate broadcasts! My next update is something I spoke about in my look at the AniMax issues from Star Comics, and that’s a list of my top 10 Cartoons, Toy Lines, TV Shows or Celebrities that should have been made into a comic for Star, if they would have lasted that long and or could have nabbed the rights to do so. I will also be joined by some guests who will share their top 5, so until then, stay young at heart my friends. 

Top10