Beware The Wrath Of The Satan’s Six!

I think if you ever have read comics at any time in your life, one creator whose work you have seen or at least have heard of his legend being spoken about in comic shops and or blogs is Jack “The King” Kirby, a man who created some very iconic characters for both Marvel and DC as well as indies! I mean he is the creative mind behind such characters as The Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, Captain America, The New Gods, Darkseid, Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Nick Fury, Devil Dinosaur, Silver Star, Captain Victory, OMAC, The Eternals, Scarlet Witch, Doctor Doom and so many more! Jack Kirby really is a true icon in the world of comic books, and when people talk about how much he made an impact on the industry, they are not lying! And that’s why in 1993 indie comic publisher Topps Comics wanted to make a impact in the superhero genre and talked to Jack Kirby about bringing some of his characters from the past as well as new ones to readers hands with the Kirbyverse line. For this update we will be taking a look at one of the comic miniseries from that line call Satan’s Six! So if you are ready, let’s travel back to the early 90’s when the comic boom was going strong as we take a trip with Kirby and a pack of strange heroes of sorts.

Topps Comics was trying really hard to be a force in the world of comics, and in 1993 they licensed mostly unused characters Jack Kirby created many years in his past that other companies passed on as well as brought some of his indie comic characters like Captain Victory and Silver Star back to the comic world. This was called The Kirbyverse and was Topps’ way of entering the superhero market.  They thought that they had a very big chance of making a massive splash with Captain Glory, Bombast, Satan’s Six, NightGlider and TeenAgents…sadly, this proved to not be true. Topps Comics pushed the Kirbyverse hard and even comic retailers were itching to get new first issues  of the Kirby-created characters on their shelves so copies were ordered and shelves were well stocked, but the readers just was not there. They even gave away very cool chrome trading cards of the comic with issues, trying to give readers a little extra for their bucks. Diehard Jack Kirby fans bought them but were disappointed that Jack did none of the artwork or if he did, it was a page or so.  Some casual readers checked them out and of course the oil stain of comic collecting, the none-reading speculator resellers, bought the first issues thinking that they could sell in the future for millions, but sales dipped bad after the first issue and the line was considered a failure. Topps ended up canceling the titles with some of them never even finishing up their mini series run. And the worst part of it all is that the comics were really good and had a very classic superhero feel to them.  I think now in modern times the series is a little more respected and readers have discovered that they are good reads with interesting superhero characters. Topps pulled the plug on The Kirbyverse only one year into its run so 1994 marked the end. Sadly Topps Comics would close up shop in 1998 and thus ended an indie comic company that was doing some amazing and fun stuff. I hope that one day Topps gets back into the world of comic books and that they pick up were they left off as they did some really cool comics based on horror movies and I always say we need more companies doing that.

The Satan’s Six is a team of evildoers who are brought together by Satan himself to cause chaos and strike fear in the hearts of the living, well and he finds them to be dull and dolts and wants them to return to Earth in order to get their pitchfork and find their own place in Hell. Placed in charge of them is Odious Kamodious, a demon who made the deal with the Devil as well as our “heroes” to return to Earth to do evil deeds. The team consists of Knight Brian Bluedragon who’s evil deeds always seem to turn good, Dezira is a temptress who is too sweet to do any real harm, African warrior Kuga The Lion-Killer is a skilled warrior who has a soft side for animals, Doctor Mordius a failed serial killer who is much like a tame Jekyll and Hyde, Gambler and con-artist Hard Luck Harrigan is always looking to cheat and lastly is demon Frightful who is a member of the team to make sure they stay in line and do the deeds they are asked to do. And while these fiends are in limbo waiting to get into Hell they for some reason also have hero qualities to them as they fail in all things evil. Just wanted to give you a quick crash course of who the team members are before we head into the review part of this update. I also should state that Satan’s Six was an old concept that Jack had that was not picked up by a publisher until Topps Comics came along and gave them a shot on the comic shelves.

Did you know that also in 2000 Dark Horse Entertainment bought the film rights to Satan’s Six with the idea of developing a movie based on the comic? As of this posting of this update the film has never been made. I would also like to thank Bookie Parlor and Mavericks Cards And Comics for introducing me to this comic series when it was released back in 1993 and making this update possible. I also want to remind you that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready let’s travel to the offices of Odious Kamodious and see what The Satan’s Six has in store for us, and keep in mind I have not read these sense they first came out and I can remember liking them when I was a youngster so let’s see if they hold up now that I am in my 40’s!

Satan’s Six # 1  ***
Released in 1993      Cover Price $2.95      Topps Comics    # 1 of 4

Pristine is an angel who watches over comic books, comic creators, comic characters and sometimes comic fans and she is acting as our narrator in order to introduce us to our “heroes” a group of souls that are trapped in limbo as they have not got called to take their place in Heaven nor Hell. In limbo hanging out together is Dezira, Doctor Mordius, Hard Luck Harrigan and Kuga The Lion-Killer and they are looking for their friend Brian Bluedragon who is on a quest to get into Hell and ask demon Odious Kamodious to place them who argues that they have not done enough evil to be in Hell nor have they done enough good to be in heaven and as the pair go back and fourth Pristine cuts in and wants us readers to know a little more about Brian Bluedragon who was a knight that wanted to take his place with King Arthur who was insulted by the cocky nature of Bluedragon and had him kicked out of Camelot, while outside the gates he made a bad decision and signed his soul over to Satan and as the contract was signed he was ran over by a cart…and this made it impossible for him to go to Hell as he did nothing bad and the contract with Satan had him barred from Heaven and now limbo is his home. Pristine then gives us a brief history of the others that will make up this team. Back at the office of Odious Kamodious he comes up with a mission that will allow Bluedragon to earn his way into Hell and that’s by returning to Earth and the living and sway people to give their souls to Satan, he then gives him a team that is Morbius, Harrigan, Dezira and Kuga as well as two minor demons named Narvag and Sucnip who will drive the Hellicopter that will take them to Earth. Once on Earth they find that a place called Club Inferno is their base and the club uses a Satanic-Tech to make those who enter feel like they are wherever the desire, they meet Virus the man in charge of the club as well as full fledge demon Frightful who is the real boss of Satan’s Six!

The first issue of Satan’s Six is a great way to introduce this new team to readers as we get a quick crash course of who they all are and why they are stuck in limbo, we also see that they are not really evil and are just bored with being in limbo so would even take a deal to get into Hell in order to have a change of pace in the after life. Brian Bluedragon is a knight who’s ego seems to always get the better of him, and when he insults King Arthur of Camelot and is banned from his holy kingdom, he out of spite gives his soul to Satan. While Bluedragon is a screw up and clearly has an ego the size of the Empire State Building stacked on top of the Statue Of Liberty he is not a bad person, he just makes very bad decisions. And that can be said about the rest of his team as Dezira is a wannabe temptress from the Babylon days who is just an airhead, Dr. Morbius is a liar who wants to act as if he is a world infamous serial killer with a super high body count when he is just a scientist, Kuga The Lion-Killer is a warrior who is really a softy and Harrigan is just a guy with a gambling addiction. Virus seems like he is really into the Satanic-Tech and really wants to help send souls to Hell, he also seems like he is just following orders of the demons that are above him. Narvag and Sucnip are two goofy demons that can fly the Hellicopter and fight back and fourth like brothers. And Frightful we don’t get to see much of in this issue but its clear Hell is his business and business is evil. And poor Odious Kamodious is something of an accountant for Hell who wants to be ride of the hassle that is Bluedragon storming the gates every decade or so and comes up with this idea to get these lost souls to Satan but also wishing for a promotion if his team and idea pays off. Pristine is around and while an Angel she is mostly their to break the fourth wall and allow us the readers on the inside for a good and silly ride, oh and also Superman is flying around Heaven as he had died in the comics, while they do not call him Superman its clear that is who it is. What I like about this comics story is that while it is a Horror Comic the writers Jack Kirby and Tony Isabella do a great job and bringing humor into the mix as well as a dash of superhero and this makes for an entertaining read. And because of this Horror Comedy feel the characters are all super likable in their own ways with my two favorites being Brian Bluedragon and Kuga The Lion-Killer as I feel they are interesting and have a cool look to them. The cover for issue one is also amazing as its Jack Kirby and Todd McFarlane together and is super eye-catching and awesome. The issues interior art is done by two artist Jack Kirby and John Cleary and while the styles clash it some how works for me in a very odd way. I should also say that this issue has many guest inkers for the Kirby pages and its pretty impressive as Topps got names like Steve Ditko, Frank Miller, Terry Austin, Joe Sinnott and Mike Royer to lend their inking talents. Over all I myself would say that the first issue of Satan’s Six held up for me and was just as enjoyable of a read now as it was back in 1993! So with that let’s get onto issue two and see what’s next for our motley crew team.

Satan’s Six # 2  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $2.95      Topps Comics     # 2 of 4

The female angel Pristine once more opens up the comics and gives readers a quick look at the first issue as well as a quick bio again of our Satan’s Six members. She also goes to Club Inferno and has Virus tell the viewers what Hell’s plan is for our team as well as the souls they help send their, and once she is done we join the team in action. At a museum two security guards are attacked and knocked out by Bluedragon and Kuga as Frightful is talking to a Professor Jacob Simon a man who is selling his soul to Satan, but does not want to see the guards be hurt. You see Professor Simon is a man down on his luck when he was fired from his job and made of joke out of by being called a fraud after discovering a massive old cocoon in a temple in South America of what he thinks is the ancient god Kalazzar, his peers and the board call it a fake and so his troubles begin as he is a man left with nothing. You see Professor Simon is only selling his soul to Satan in order to get help to stop the cocoon from hatching and allowing Kalazzar to walk the Earth again and he needs the supernatural hands of the Satan’s Six to help by touching it while he reads a spell at midnight, and things go wrong when Frightful’s watch was off and the creature God breaks free and is ready to rule the world! Professor Simon argues with Frightful that the contract was not meet and Pristine shows up and agrees with the old man! Professor Simon rushes Kalazzar who snatches him up as well as the team’s new pet dog Fury and this causes Kuga and Bluedragon to go into action and they start fighting the massive godlike being Kalazzar! Pristine informs Frightful that if either of his Satan’s Six members dies in battle trying to save the life of another will be a one way ticket for them to get into Heaven and this forces the demon to now get involved in the fight as he can not loose the souls! As the fight goes on Professor Simon and Hard Luck Harrigan run to Super K-Mart and buy a ton of insect killing sprays and with Doctor Mordius throwing a bomb into the cart the gas comes out and kills the Kalazzar! As the bomb goes off Frightful uses his body to cover Pristine showing that even this demon has a good side. In the end at Club Inferno Bluedragon and his team celebrate the win as in the other room Frightful is upset that he allowed them to fail in their mission. As for Professor Simon he finds that the two guards woke up and watched as he helped save the world and will try and help him get his job back.

The Satan’s Six in this second issue shows that they are kind of clueless when it comes to being evil and tricking humans into giving their souls as they act more like noble heroes as they risk their lives in order to help save a normal mans life who they are suppose to get his soul, and this makes them heroes and opens them up to become angels in Heaven! Poor Professor Jacob Simon is a man who is good at his job and discovers the gateway for a massive insect world destroying creature and is told that he is a fake and a fraud and is fired from his job, and is willing to sell his soul to Satan in order to get help in order to stop the creature from returning showing that while what is did is wrong the reason was noble as he wanted to save the world from destruction. Kalazzar is the insect God like creature that is back on Earth and wants to take over but is stopped by the Satan’s Six as well as incest killer that were bought from K-Mart! While I am sure Kalazzar was super dangerous in his time he is no match for Raid bug spray! Pristine is awesome in this issue as she uses her powers of good to point out to Frightful that not only does he have good in him but so does his team and this is awesome as it forces them all to do good in order for the Demon to not loose total control of his team! Frightful is always ready for a fight and loves being a tricky demon that wants human souls, but also shows that he is not great at his role as the teams leader as he does not stop them from doing good deeds. But I also think that Frightful has a major crush on Pristine as he is willing to risk his safety in order to save her. The Satan’s Six are anti-heroes who think they are doing bad things when in fact they are doing good things and are helping save souls and not taking them, also its clear that Bluedragon and Dezira are becoming boyfriend and girlfriend and that they are all working well together now and are meshing as a team. They also now have a pet dog named Fury that is mean and ready to bite those who stand in the groups way! I would say that once more Bluedragon and Kuga are my two favorite characters as they are the ones who fight the insect creature hand to hand and have no fear and are true brave and noble warriors. The cover for issue two is pretty great and shows the Satan’s Six in battle with Kalazzar and is super 90’s and cool looking. The interior art is done by John Cleary and is good in its own way and has the true 90’s indie comic look to it. Over all another great issue of Satan’s Six that held up for me after all these years and makes me look forward to reading the next again as well!

Satan’s Six # 3  ***
Released in 1993      Cover Price $2.95      Topps Comics     # 3 of 4

Film director Lloyd Kaufman is walking down the street in California and he is disappointed that his actor Samson has turned into Samantha and quite acting to become a showgirl in Vegas and that leaves his new movie “Ugly Annihilator” without his star! While in Limbo two demons have been ordered to guard a hole that has been caused by human pollution and the powers that be are mad that Elvis Presley escaped in order to eat at a Burger Barn, but when the Hunchback Of Notre Dame himself Quasimodo is upset that his ex-girlfriend Dezira has been sent back to Earth he makes a break for it as he wants to save her from Satan’s deal but instead once on Earth he runs into Lloyd Kaufman who casts him as the lead in his film! Meanwhile at Club Inferno things are slow when Frightful gets an order from Hell to bring back Quasimodo and when Bluedragon finds out that the deaf bell ringer use to date his lady he gets jealous and swears to re-kill Quasimodo and send him back to limbo! At the Mann’s Chinese Theater the premier of Ugly Annihilator both Lloyd Kaufman and Quasimodo are being interviewed by a entertainment show about the film and speaking about Dezira when the Satan’s Six show up and Bluedragon wants to start a fight with Quasimodo! The fight is brutal and Quasimodo is besting Bluedragon when Pristine appears and stops the fight an alerts Quasimodo that he had gained his ticket to Heaven as he risked his own soul in order to return to Earth to warn Dezira of her bad deal with Satan! Quasimodo is so happy to be going to Heaven and decides to stay on Earth for a little bit as he now has a three picture deal with Troma! In the end Dezira and Bluedragon are happy to be together and as the Satan’s Six are going back to Club Inferno outside is another of Dezira’s ex-boyfriends and its Attila The Hun!

This is such a crazy issue that brings together so many amazing elements that include classic literature character Quasimodo, Troma Entertainment co-owner Lloyd Kaufman, Hollywood and of course our stars Satan’s Six! The plot is simple and has Satan’s Six having to bring back an escaped soul back to limbo, but like before instead of getting souls for Satan they help a soul go to God. The Satan’s Six are hired guns from Hell who are really just being used and while they try to complete their tasks they just are not very good at it, and with Dezira being a temptress and a sweet woman she has a charm to her that makes people fall in love with her and that’s why her new boyfriend Bluedragon is so protective of her and when he finds out that her Ex is back on Earth his pride and ego kicks in and leads him to making bad decisions that has him getting beat up. Really while Satan’s Six get along with each other, they are also very much at times disorganized and seem very reluctant to help at times in battles and that goes more for the likes of Harrigan who is not a fighter and is just a gambler. And this failed mission of soul gathering is the fault of Frightful, who sends the team to Hollywood alone as he claimed he has an allergy to Hollywood, and is not their to truly guide them from winning God a soul from Limbo. Quasimodo aka The Hunchback Of Notre Dame is a man who has fallen in love with a temptress by the name of Dezira and escapes limbo in order to try and save her soul from Satan and in doing so ends up not only becoming a movie star for Troma Entertainment but also gets a ticket into Heaven! Its also really cool to hear why Quasimodo was in limbo as he was a good soul but he did kill a person inside the house of God making him a strange case for where is soul would end up. Pristine once more comes to the team’s rescue as she saves another soul and is clearly doing her best to not allow the members of Satan’s Six to damn their own. And good old Lloyd Kaufman just wants to make his movie and make big profits and find his next big star, and let’s just say its awesome that they have Kaufman in this issue and I will speak more on that a little later in this update. The cover is cool and is a spoof of TV show Entertainment Tonight and has Bluedragon and Quasimodo fighting it out! The interior art is solid indie 90’s stuff and is still being done by John. Like before this issue has held up for me after all these years and I am shocked that I forgot that Lloyd Kaufman was a character in this series. Well let’s see what the fourth and final issue has in store for us.

Satan’s Six # 4  ***
Released in 1993      Cover Price $2.95      Topps Comics      # 4 of 4

At the Inferno Club Odious Kamodious is yelling at everyone and is really mad at Frightful as the Virus alerts them all that the number of souls being sent to Hell has dropped sense Satan’s Six has been sent to Earth so the team has done the opposite of what they have been contracted to do. Odious Kamodious then tells Frightful that he has a replacement as the Leader of this team set and its Jason Voorhees! And with that Jason Voorhees is in the Inferno Club and from the start tries to attack everyone and while Bluedragon, Kuga and Frightful try to hold Jason off the one who summoned him Odious Kamodious uses a spell and sends him back to Hell. Odious Kamodious then alerts them that they will no longer be trying to win over souls for Hell but they will now be soul collectors who are sent after people who have sold their souls and their first collection is a guy named Big John Gavin who signed his away for help against crime bosses and to rise to power and wealth in the city of Chicago’s crime. The team gear up and get ready as Harrigan seems to be bothered as they are returning to his home town, and they also learn that Angel Pristine is going along this bounty collecting mission. While Big John knows they are coming for him and alongside his friend and muscle bound trainer Bjorn they come up with a plan to fight the demons off and to save his soul. Satan’s Six shows up at Big John’s home and we find out that he was once a bad guy but has now turned his life around and was once the best friend of Hard Luck Harrigan and changed his life after Harrigan was killed in a Mob shootout. Frightful doesn’t care about the change as the contract was signed and its time for his soul to be collected, while Big John runs from Bluedragon and Kuga his friend Bjorn has a fist fight with Frightful as Dr. Mordius by accident turns his own head into a giant flower from a bad potion all the while Pristine and Dezira watch from the sidelines. While all this madness is going on Harrigan disappears and all of a sudden lawyers for Big John show up and discover that the world soul is spelled wrong in the contract as its sole so Big John pays up with one of his old smelly shoes and the Satan’s Six is forced to return to base with one shoe as their prize. Later that night Pristine visits Harrigan and informs him that she will put in a good word for him in Heaven as she knows that it was he who changed the wording on the contract to save his friends soul from damnation. Harrigan tells her thanks but he now has new friends that need his help as Fury is chasing Dr. Mordius around who still has a flower head mistaking him for a tree.

Satan’s Six is not for everyone as it really is a very silly Horror Comedy comic that has elements of Superhero to it and the humor is super cheesy as is the plots and jokes. The final issues plot has our team going to collect a soul on a contract date and soon finds that the one they are after was the best friend of their teammate Harrigan and he uses his gambling under hand tricks in order to save his friend from an Eternity in Hell. The Satan’s Six members seem to know that they are failures and go along with the job change as it seems like it would be more easy to do, and like always the fail in their mission and another person is saved. Hard Luck Harrigan is the main focus of the team in this final issue as we get to know that he is from Chicago and only sold his soul in order to save his but from some bad dudes he pulled a con over on, we also know that he died via being shot multiple times by Mobsters. While Harrigan has done bad things in his life he also clearly cares about his friends old and new and will do the right thing to protect them. The other member that takes a spotlight is Frightful the demon who is saddled with having to lead these goofs in mission that they always seem to fail, he is super annoyed by them and it’s clear he knows that this experiment will not end well for him nor Odious Kamodious who came up with this earn you place in Hell plan. And that’s the thing while all the members of Satan’s Six stay the same for the most part, their more good nature is brought out over the four issue mini series. Having a cameo by Jason Voorhees that also acts as a plug for the film and comic adaptation was also a nice touch and helped add to both the Horror and the Humor as he tried to slash Odious Kamodious with his trusty machete causing the demon to scream for help. And just like the Lloyd Kaufman cameo, we will talk a little more about it later in this update. The comic is bloodless and goreless and the Horror elements more come from the fact it’s about Hell and souls being taken to it than your normal 90’s Horror Comic flare. And I am proud to say that I enjoyed this mini series in 1993 when it was released and in 2021 still found myself enjoying it and wishing that Topps Comics would have given us more, well they kind of did with the three issue mini series “Satan’s Six Hellspawn” but that will be for another update in the future. The cover for this issue is eye catching as it has stars all around a chrome version of Jason Voorhees’s hockey mask and would surly bring Horror Comic readers in. The comics interior art is done by John Clary again, and I have to say I think is art got better every issue. Now one thing that many readers had issues with is that Jack Kirby only did a few pages in the first issue before John took over, and I get it as we all love Kirby’s work but keep in mind this comic series came out very shortly before his death. I would say that if you enjoy 90’s indie Horror Comedy Comics, enjoyed Topps Comics, like the characters of Jack Kirby then make sure to check out this mini series as its worth a read and is pretty dang enjoyable. Check out the artwork below with the first being Kirby and the other two being Johns to see they styles used in this comic.

Ok so let’s now quickly talk about how issue four of Satan’s Six has a cameo from Jason Voorhees from the Friday The 13th film series and the coolest part about this is that this is Jason’s first comic book appearance! The version of Jason used is from Jason Goes To Hell and that makes sense as Topps was also gearing up to do the adaptation of that film. While many reviewers trash the cameo from Jason as they use terms like “Shoe Horned In,” I myself feel like the cameo was well done and showed that even in Hell Jason can not be controlled and just has the urge to kill and kill! And even during the cameo Pristine points out that the cameo was to advertise from the film and comic, as the cameo is used as a humor bit as well as a horror one. It’s also cool to see The Satan’s Six team up on Jason to keep him at bay until he is sent away again. Take a look at the art below to see how Jason looks in this comic.

Ok the other shocking and super random cameo is from Lloyd Kaufman, director and co-owner of Troma Entertainment! That’s right, the mastermind behind the films Toxic Avenger and Class Of Nuke‘Em High shows up in issue three of this series! And Uncle Lloyd being in this comic just shows how much fun Topps Comics had making these issues as they did not follow the normal rules of mainstream comics and added crazy cameos as well as took chances on some classic heroes as well as unproven properties. I just wanted to quickly address how random and awesome this comic cameo was, and let’s be honest, more comics need Lloyd in them! Again all you Troma fans, make sure to check out this issue in order to see Lloyd hire the Hunchback Of Notre Dame for a movie roll.

Satan’s Six might not be the most iconic Jack Kirby created team and in reality they are not even really known to many comic readers as they failed to make a major impact on readers and comic history. But for me, a comic reader who grew up reading Topps Comics, they are a very cool and iconic part of my childhood that brought me some laughs as well as chills and even delivered some amazing cameos that pleased the Monster Kid that I was and am. I really like all the members of the team, and my favorite is Kuga The Lion-Killer as he is truly a brave warrior who has a soft spot for animals. But while Satan’s Six is over, do not worry as we will visit that world again when I do cover the Hellspawn mini series and this will also not be the last time that we take a look at the Kirbyverse here on Rotten Ink as at some point I will cover Captain Glory, Bombast and the others. But for now its time to leave the Kirbyverse as we will next be meeting up in the 1930’s and will be going on some heroic adventures with the one and only Doc Savage in the Marvel Universe! So until then, make sure to read a Topps Comics or three, watch a Horror Comedy film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you in a few weeks for a classic hero good time.

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

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

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

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

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1956)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Incredible Hulk vs. The Great, Great, Great, Grandson Of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

Welcome back readers! Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and that you’re not to burnt out on turkey as Christmas is just around the corner. My Thanksgiving was nice as always, spent with my family. This month of December we will be leading up to my big Christmas Eve update that will be as fun as last year’s look at Thundercats. So I am sure you are wondering what I have planned, but you’ll have to wait until next update for that teaser. This update we will be taking a look at a one shot comic that was based on an episode of the 1982 NBC Incredible Hulk cartoon put out by Marvel Comics the same year.

No Turkey

In 1966, a 30 minute cartoon series called “The Marvel Super Heroes” went on the air in the US via syndication.  It was made by Grantray-Lawrence Animation and Marvel Comics Group and features not only The Incredible Hulk but also episodes based around Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Prince Namor. But we are not going to talk about the other superheroes of the show and just focus of the Hulk ones that were based on the comic books and used artwork done by Jack Kirby and others as the animation.  They would crudely animate them and use over the top voice overs.  Each episode would be chopped into three chapters to tell the whole story of the chosen story arch. The Incredible Hulk had a total of 13 solo episodes and along with the others lasted till late 1966 for a total of 65 episodes among them. I can remember catching these shows years and years later in the 80’s on TV and also on VHS and always thinking how cheesy they were.  While I enjoyed the Hulk episodes, I found the Captain America ones to be the best. Some episodes can be found on VHS, and on DVD for Region 2 players but as of 2014 no DVD nor Blu-Ray are planned for the US market.

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In 1988, Marvel Productions made a cartoon series for NBC called “The Incredible Hulk” that was played during their Saturday Morning Cartoon lineup. The animation style was chosen because it was very close to the artwork that was being used in the comics at the time, but much like most cartoons of the 80’s many shots were reused saving money for the company. The episodes would follow Bruce Banner who would find himself in bad situations that only is alter ego, The Hulk, could get him out of. In this series he would meet and fight with such super villains as Doctor Octopus, Puppet Master, Spymaster, Hydra and Quasimodo, and would also team up with the likes of Rick Jones, She-Hulk and Betty Ross. The series also introduced a new set of friends with a Hispanic father and daughter named Rio and Rita who joined The Hulk on his adventures. The series only lasted one season and a total of 13 episodes, but even with such a short run thanks to reruns and VHS when I was a kid I was able to watch this series and will forever say it’s my favorite Hulk animated series to date. The cartoon had a few episodes make it to VHS and once more as the complete series was released on Region 2 DVD. No US release on DVD and Blu-Ray are planned.

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In the 1990’s FOX Network was one of the top stations when it came to cartoons, and I am not just talking about the Saturday Morning line up.  They showed many great cartoons from Batman The Animated Series all the way to X-Men; they had the lock on superhero cartoons for years. In 1996 UPN started to show another cartoon based on Hulk called yet again “The Incredible Hulk” that was made in the hopes to capture the same popularity as FOX’s major Marvel cartoon hits like 1992’s X-Men and 1994’s Spider-Man, and while many others cartoon series tried like 1994’s Fantastic Four and Iron Man and even later 1998’s Silver Surfer, they all failed to capture the magic and Hulk was as well a miss when it came to kids watching. This series followed The Hulk who was less dimwitted than the cartoons that came before and would add more smashing and fighting as baddies like Abomination, Wendigo, Leader and so many more became the punching bags for the old green menace. The cartoon’s main attraction was that it had the voice acting of Lou Ferrigno doing the Hulk, giving it a tie into the live action show and that it had many cameos from other superheroes like Iron Man, Thor and Fantastic Four. I watched the cartoon from time to time but was way older at this point and was more into girls, rock and roll and horror films than watching toons on TV. The series lasted two seasons for a total of 21 episodes that have not come out complete on DVD in the US, though at one point this series and many of the others that came before it could be watched on Netflix for a short time. Over all seen a few episodes even as of late and must say it’s a pretty good series but not nearly as fun as the 1982 one. Oh yeah and for season two, the show had a name change to “The Incredible Hulk And She-Hulk” after UPN felt that the first season was way too dark and that by adding She-Hulk they might can get a female audience to watch.

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So that was a look at the cartoons based on The Hulk from my generation, but a 2013 series called “Hulk And The Agents Of S.M.A.S.H.” airs on Disney X-D and follows The Hulk who leads other Gamma monsters into battle is being made for kids of this generation. I have not seen the show but will probably watch it once it hits DVD. But now let’s talk about the 1982 episode of The Incredible Hulk called “When Monsters Meet” where Bruce Banner and Betty Ross travel to Paris and become the target of an ancestor to The Hunchback Of Notre Dame who wants a key that Betty is wearing around her neck as he knows it will unlock a vast amount of treasure just waiting for his taking. Of course when this Hunckback appears so does Banner’s anger, and The Hulk is set to stop the creep once and for all. What a cool idea for a cartoon, and I am sure it had both Super Hero and Monster Kids happy as the two titans of brute power slugged it out for their amusement on Saturday Morning Cartoons. This episode as well as the rest in the series was narrated by Stan Lee who helped try to build the mood as well as fill in the blanks of what and who the characters are, making you as the viewer feel as if you now knew everything about the likes of Quasimodo. The episode is the fourth episode in the series when it aired and helped set the bar for the episodes to come. I first watched this episode on VHS via the Marvel Comics Video Library Volume 5 that I bought from a local video store when I was in my mid teen years, and I can remember thinking just how fun and silly the cartoon was and how The Hulk looked like he should in animated cartoon world. If you’re looking to watch this episode you can via VHS, DVD and even on Youtube, check it out if you like 80’s cartoons and enjoy all things Hulk.

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Before we move onto the comic adaptation of the episode we just spoke about I want to talk about another horror film I would love to see get made into a comic mini series and it as well was made in 1982! The film is called “Curse Of The Cannibal Confederates,” and it could be one of the cheesiest horror films I have ever seen, but damn would it be a fun film to turn into a comic. The film was directed by Tony Malanowski and follows six friends, one being a blind girl, as they go camping and hiking, but while finding an old church and graveyard in the woods they bother some items left behind and one takes a journal written by a Confederate general who was tortured alongside his men and are the ones buried in the graves. Taking the journal off the Church land makes the General and his men rise from the grave as zombies to eat the living and get back what’s theirs. The movie is released by Troma and is ranked as one of the worst films in their vast library or so Lloyd Kauffman says in his book “All I Need To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger”, but this didn’t stop the film from coming out on VHS and DVD from Troma as well as part of Brentwoods/BCI sets on DVD called Toxie’s Triple Terror Volume 1. If a comic series was to be made, it could follow a new set of campers who go out into the woods and stay the night at the old church after hearing the legends of the Confederate Zombie Soldiers.  They bring cameras along with them to make a documentary and at night they all get a little drunk and get destructive and burn an old confederate flag taunting the spirits of the soldiers, and this act brings the dead back to life once again! The comic is then about them trying to get out of the woods alive, and as a side story two cops, who are the sons of the cop characters from the movie who are killed and eaten, are also around trying to see if the legends are true and if their fathers really died as legend tells. This could be a fun mini series and could make up for the lame movie kills with over the top zombie art kills and a spine tingling story. I would like to see Troma make the comic themselves and if not them than IDW.  If I could get one of my comic book friends to make it I would say that Bruce O’ Hughes, Eric Shonborn or Justin Wasson would be the best for the job as each have their own styles and all that could fit the mood of the story and characters. Maybe someday once I get the Night of The Demon Comic done. I will try and get this one done. Oh yeah and the film has an alternate title “The Curse Of The Screaming Dead”. So until then for god’s sake please don’t read any journals found near cemeteries.

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So we took a look at cartoon versions of the Hulk, the episode from 82 that this comic is based, a comic series I would love to have made based on a Troma movie as well as a little about my Thanksgiving.  So now I think its time that we take a look at this one shot Marvel Comic starring one of my all time favorite superheroes, The Incredible Hulk, and guest starring one of Horrors most iconic characters The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  So I have to remind everyone that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I was lucky to get this comic for free thanks to Joe G and Mavericks Cards and Comics who gave this away for Free Comic Book Day some years back. Joe use to work for Mavericks and was helping out on Free Comic Book day and when the normal stock of free comics were given away Joe brought some of his own in to continue the fun…and I was lucky enough to get this issue, so a big thanks goes out to Joe and Mavericks for going above and behind that Free Comic Day. So let’s travel to Paris and watch two monsters clash in the streets for our amusement.

Hulk Vs Quasimodo 1The Incredible Hulk vs. Quasimodo # 1   **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Marvel Comics   #1 of 1

Bruce Banner and Betty Ross are on a trip to Paris and visit the famed cathedral of Notre Dame, as high above them Quasimodo and his large bat humanoid friend Salvatore watch and target a key necklace that Betty is wearing.  You see her necklace key alongside The France Prime Minister Of Finance’s opens a hidden vault filled with money and gold. While Quasimodo hatches a plan to kidnap Betty and get the key, Bruce and Betty meet up with Professor Jaques Royale who gives Bruce an untested cure, that Bruce shrugs off as a cure for a cold so Betty doesn’t get hip to the fact he is also The Hulk. As Bruce tries to get them a taxi, Quasimodo pops from the sewer and grabs Betty, taking her back down with him.  As Bruce gives chase Quasimodo puts Betty in a hidden room deep in the sewer and comes out to face Bruce who quickly turns into The Hulk, and the two monsters exchange punches. As the fight between the monsters rages on the formula cure falls from the Hulks pocket and Betty climbs the side of her prison wall and escapes only to be followed by Salvatore who finds out the location of the hidden loot and tells Quasimodo who has shaken the Hulk off his trail by making him fall into water and almost drowning! Betty meets up with The France Prime Minister Of Finance, and they enter a metro car filled with gold and head to the secret hidden spot.  Meanwhile The Hulk has turned back into Bruce and finds the cure at the same time Quasimodo finds him. Quasimodo says he will trade information on where Betty is and will not go after her and the gold if Banner gives him the cure. Bruce gives him the cure, and when it doesn’t work fast enough Quasimodo goes on a rampage to steal the gold as Bruce turns into the Hulk and makes quick work on the attacking Salvatore, and goes to stop Quasimodo who turns into a normal man thanks to the cure.  The Hulk stops the train car that was out of control. In the end all ends well for everyone besides Bruce Banner who still is cursed with The Hulk.

This comic follows the cartoon it was based on for the most part; the one major change is that I felt the fights between the two in the toon were way more epic than they are in the comic. The plot is simple: Bruce and Betty go to France each with their own “secret” mission. Betty is to help transport gold to a hidden vault with a key that was entrusted to her by her father Thunderbolt Ross, and Bruce is there to give some science lectures but mostly around to get an untested cure. The Great, Great, Great Grandson to The Hunchback of Notre Dame Quasimodo wants what both of them have and more so wants to be cured and not an ugly monster any more. This clearly is not in the main story arc of the ongoing comic series as many changes are around from Betty not knowing Bruce is the Hulk and the fact that Quasimodo for the most part fought the Hulk fist to fist and was able to hold is own for the most part. The Hulk is the slow-witted Green Skin Goliath that we all know and love who just wants to protect Betty and smash things. Bruce Banner is the same old same old smart guy, but is a lot less of a sad bastard. Betty for some reason is like a secret agent in this issue and holds literally the key to all of France’s money.  While she does play the helpless victim for a short time, she clearly can take care of herself as she escapes Quasimodo’s prison cell on her own. Quasimodo is a jerk for the most part and while he knows he’s ugly and a monster he thinks by stealing gold and money that he can buy himself happiness. In fact even though it looked as if Bruce was going to give him the cure formula Quasimodo bullied his way into snatching it from his hands. Salvatore the giant bat is pretty much a generic henchman who can bully the weak humans but is no match for The Hulk. The comic, while not the completely the same as the cartoon, holds true enough to the source material to make it an enjoyable read. Oh yeah and at the end of the issue, they try and make sure to remind you to watch Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends and Incredible Hulk on NBC Saturdays! The comic’s artwork is well done and is by the two talented artists Sal Buscema and Steve Mitchell, and the cover is fantastic and reminds me of an old Monster Magazine like Creepy meets a classic 70’s Hulk Comic cover. Great Read, Great Cartoon Adaptation and once more thanks Joe G and Mavericks for having this comic out for Free Comic Book Day.

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Nothing says the holiday season to me more than The Hulk…am I right or am I right? Here is to hoping that some day Disney will get in gear and release all these Hulk cartoons as well as all the rest of the classic Marvel cartoons on DVD/Blu-Ray. Thus far they have released the 1967 Spider-Mans, The 1992 X-Men series as well as the 1994 Iron Man and Fantastic Four, but nothing more for a few years now. Fans have begged for them to release the 1994 Spider-Man series, and while they have put select episodes on DVD and VHS no full seasons are in the works. Well over all I find this one shot issue a very cool tie into a very underrated Saturday morning cartoon tht should have truly lead to a comic series based on his animated adventures, and if Star Comics was around at this time it would have been a perfect fit to go alongside Wally The Wizard and Thundercats. Our next update will bring us a little closer to Christmas, and while doing some deep thinking on what to do and I decided that we will take a look at a Dell Comic based on a Roger Corman film that was adapted from the writing of Edgar Allen Poe that stars horror actor icon Vincent Price and that’s Tomb Of Ligeia! So until next time have a safe Holiday Season, buy your Christmas presents from local stores and make sure to stay nerdy and read a comic or two.

The Tomb Of Ligeia Logo