Alien Invasion…Independence Day

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, or, if this is your first time visiting, thanks for checking out my tiny little spot on the web. It’s June, and that means we are at the start of the Summer Blockbuster season at movie theaters.  Hollywood is about to unleash all types of films for our viewing pleasure like they have for many years now, and one film coming is the sequel for Independence Day that was 20 years in the making! It’s crazy to think that Independence Day is 20 years old and that Hollywood has just now decided to make a sequel. Could you imagine if this movie was a reality and all the nations all over the world had to come together to fight off a galactic enemy who wanted to take over our planet, I am sure us Earthlings would not go down without a fight! So lets gear up and get ready to fight for mankind as we dive into this Alien Invasion update that pits Rotten Ink against those world stealing aliens of ID4!

ID4 Aliens in cases

Before the war to settle the July 4th score takes place, I would like to talk about an alien sighting in Carmel, Ohio on December 12th 2014 that left the two eyewitnesses shocked. That night the married couple were driving home down Carmel Road when just passed the church a large grey skinned being ran in front of their truck and into the woods across the street, the alien was described as being about 7 feet tall, with no arms or face with long backward legs that where very muscular in nature. The couple called the cops and reported the sighting,but nothing was found in the area. The husband, who’s not UFO believer as well as an Ex-Marine, drew a picture of the alien creature for the police, which you can see below. I should also note that the area has had UFO sightings, and the case is still open to this day. I think that Josh Weinberg and I should go on a road trip and try to hunt and capture on video this Carmel Alien!

Carmel Ohio Alien

Independence Day was released in theaters on July 2, 1996 by 20th Century Fox and is about aliens trying to take over the world and Earth fighting back on July 4th as we will not go down without a fight. The film was directed by Roland Emmerich and stars Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Randy Quaid, Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch, to name a few.  It was one of those overblown summer movies that had the hype machine behind it before it even rolled on the movie screen. Kids at my school were all talking about the film and how they went to the theater to see it and how it was the best movie they have ever seen, and in the back of my teenage mind I thought, you all said that about Toy Story and Batman Forever last year. My parents didn’t want to see this one in the theater and neither did my Bother and I, so we all waited for it on home video. I can remember renting this film from Blockbuster Video on VHS and the family watching it after dinner and we all walked away from it saying it was ok but man was that cheesy! The acting and dialogue are all over the top and at some points so damn silly you forget this is a big budget action film and not just some direct to video Sci-Fi film. Over the years I have seen it a few more times on DVD and still to this day I find it to be a silly over done film that serves it’s purpose in entertaining the viewer all the while delivering eye rolling moments. The one thing I can say I really did like about this film was the alien design as the tiny little guys wearing these giant scary suits that make them look like some odd looking Gamera of Godzilla villain mixed with a H.R Geiger painting. But it didn’t matter if I seen the film in theaters or not as it was the # 1 film of the year brining in a total of $306,169,268.00 and beating out such films as Scream, Jerry Maguire, Twister, Star Trek: First Contact, Mars Attacks! and Island of Dr. Moreau to name a few. When this film was released did you love it? Like it? Or Hate it?

ID4 Movie 1independence day posterID4 Movie 2

Like all good over blown summer blockbuster movies of the past, lots of merchandise was released to cash in on the popularity of Independence Day and to milk those few extra dollars out of the wallets of fans.  Besides the Marvel Comics adaptation, other items included widescreen edition trading cards by Topps, novels, video games, soundtrack on CD, t-shirts as well as action figures and a PC game that was so cheaply made the diskette we had never loaded right. For years to follow, I can remember finding the action figures on thrift store shelves for as cheap as .09 a figure.  Yeah, less than a dime. The soundtrack is something I never have picked up over the years and that’s odd because the music is done by David Arnold who also did scores for such films as Stargate, Last Of The Dogmen, Tomorrow Never Dies as well as many other James Bond films. But who knows, maybe some day I will get the CD and play it on Alpha Rhythms as Arnold is also doing the music for part two and that’s for sure on my to-buy-and-play list!

ID4 ToyID4 SoundtrackID4 Trading Cards

While the PC game that came with the figures is the first video game based on the movie I ever played, it’s the one for the Sony Playstation that sticks in my mind the most as it could have been one of the weakest and hardest to play movie tie in games for that system I have ever played next to “The Crow: City Of Angels.”  It’,s not so much that the levels are hard its more that the controls keep it form being playable and enjoyable. Fox Interactive was the company that put out this game and I can remember renting it from Blockbuster Video and me and my friend Jason Gilmore playing it and being so annoyed with it that we turned it off pretty quick as the fun factor was nowhere in sight. After many years passed and when I was doing small Video Game Reviews for Bloodline Video I ended up getting the game from Game Swap in Kettering with the idea of reviewing it for the site and after trying to play it again I found it just as terrible as it was when first released and never did review it. To sum it up if you like bad games tied to movies or just want a terrible flying shooter with bad controls then check it out for sure.

PSX ID4 1Independance Day PSXPSX ID4 2

On July 4th 2009 The Angry Video Game Nerd took a look at the terrible PS1 Independence Day game and also found it to be a clunky mess of pixels and un-fun gameplay. Everything he says about the game from the terrible graphics to the poor controls is the same feeling I had when I first played it when it was released. So if you want to see the wonders of how bland this game is, make sure to check out this episode as The Nerd will fill you in on just how bad it is. That’s one thing I like about The Angry Video Game Nerd; he does fun themed holiday episodes, and this was the perfect bad game to showcase on July 4th. So what are you waiting for, go check out this episode on YouTube or his official site at Cinemassacre.

Angry Video Game Nerd ID4 1Angry Video Game Nerd ID4 2Angry Video Game Nerd ID4 3

So now that we are all brushed up on ID4 and ready to hit theaters to watch the sequel Independence Day: Resurgence, we should get to the meat of this update and take a look at the Marvel Comic Movie Adaptation of the film as well as the extra issue, #0, that acts as a prequel of sorts. I want to thank Bell Book And Comic and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock for me to use for this update. I want to remind you readers 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 lets join the fight for our Independence against those pesky aliens as Marvel Comics lead the charge.

independence day 0

Independence Day # 0   **1/2
Released in 1996     Cover Price $0.00   Marvel Comics   # 0 of 2

In Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, late at night during a massive thunderstorm three aliens crash their spaceship into the desert land owned by Mac Brazel who calls the sheriff.  He brings the army and covers up the crash by claiming it was just a downed weather balloon. While at the military base, Dr. Rose is trying to save the life of the only surviving alien and soon finds out that the aliens are not peaceful as the creature bonds their minds for a brief moment with the only message being the word “Kill.” The army takes all the alien bodies as well as technology and hides it all away in a secret base where in the year 1967 new head of the CIA Albert Nimziki visits the secret base and meets Dr. Rose who is retiring from the base very shortly and informs him that in 20 years they have not been able to crack the alien technology or their writing. They hire a young hippie named Brackish Okun to take over the department, and Dr. Rose warns him not to trust the CIA and names Nimziki as the one to stay clear from. Flash forward to 1986 where we meet Russell Casse, a crop duster who is abducted by aliens on his way home from work and is tortured by the aliens before placed back on Earth.  The thing is no one believes him, and he becomes not only a drunk but also a laughing stock in the town. We also meet a young man named Steven Hiller who wants to be the first African-American astronaut, as well as Senator Thomas J. Whitmore who is running for President and wins the office in 1993 and hires both Albert Nimzicki and General Grey to his cabinet as well as Connie Spano who’s now ex-husband David punched him in the face many years back. By 1996, Steven Hiller is an Air Force Pilot and President Whitmore is loosing support during a reelection year, but none of this will matter as over the Earth a massive alien spaceship is taking its place to declare a war to all the people of Earth.

So did you ever wonder about the backstories of the characters from the film? Well this issue is your dream come true as it covers decades and showcases just how these characters got to the places they were when the alien attack starts. Our story starts with the famous UFO crash of Roswell New Mexico in the 40’s and ends with the giant alien mother ship hovering over Earth, ready to star a war. The coolest aspect of this comic was the fact that briefly at the start they covered the Roswell cover-up and reading it made me flashback to the old Unsolved Mysteries TV Show when they covered it complete with the odd metal with alien writing on it. The aliens themselves are shown to be very mean spirited and want nothing more than to kill humans and torture them for study. Now let’s breakdown first impressions of the major players in the upcoming issues who are explored here. First up is President Thomas J. Whitmore who comes off as a good man who might be in way over his head running the country as he is breaking under pressure and the American people have seemed to turn on him for his lack of knowledge. Albert Nimzicki, the head of CIA and now cabinet member of the President, is a jerk, He comes off as a slime ball and it’s clear none of the other characters really like him. General Grey and Connie Spano are good people who are loyal to the President and want him to get elected for a second term. Brackish Okun is a goofy man as a college student in the 60’s and is an aging goof in 1996 as poor Russell Casse is a man that can’t get any support from anyone with his tale of being abducted by aliens. And lastly Steven Hiller was a young man with goals in the 80’s and by 96 he is even one step closer to his goal of being in space, and oh yeah, he’s in love with a stripper. Over all not some much action is this issue as it’s more of a history lesson about the characters. The art is pretty good, though it’s style I like for comics.  The characters loosely look like the actors who play them, and I mean loosely. I should also note that many artist made this issue and they are Terry Pallot, Steve Moncuse, Larry Welch, Steve Erwin, Rod Whigham, Phil Moy and Gabriel Gecko. Over all it’s a pretty cool issue if you’re a fan of the film as this helps bring these characters more alive by explaining a little about them. But I think we spent enough time on this issue and we should move into #1.

independence day 1

Independence Day # 1   *1/2
Released in 1996     Cover Price $1.95   Marvel Comics   # 1 of 2

People of Earth have picked up a faint message from space near the moon, and they know it’s alien in nature! President Whitmore along with his wife Marilyn and young daughter Patricia are interrupted by a call from General Grey who calls for a meeting of the staff. At the meeting Whitmore, Grey, Connie and Nimzicki find out that the large ship by the moon has launched several other smaller ships that are heading for Earth and this makes them alert the military to get ready for the unknown. But when the Alien ships start hovering over major cities all over the world, it’s clear that something wicked is up! All over we see how people are responding to these UFOs as Russell Casse’s kids watch on in front of their mobile home.  We see Steven with his girlfriend Jasmine and her young son Dylan watch in horror, plus David Levinson (Connie’s Ex-Husband) and his father Julius and boss Marty realize that the satellites they run have been hacked by the aliens and is broadcasting a countdown! David and his father rush to the White House to fill them in on the countdown as Steven reports for active duty to fly in a fighter jet if needed.  Connie, General Grey and President Whitmore watch on is horror as the alien craft blows up military helicopters. David makes it and shows them the warning as they all leave the White House just in time as the aliens attack and blow up major landmarks all over the world!

Oh man is this issue boring! Even with the aliens gearing up for the attack, there’s just hardly any action, but there is a whole lot of talking about what’s coming and what can they do about it. While reading this, I found myself zoning out and thinking about such things as Amazing Spider-Man comics and even what would I do if I ever made a new Werewolf Of Ohio. The plot for this first section of this adaptation is this: alien ships come to Earth and take up key spots around the world.  As the Earthlings watch in wonder and plan for the best and worst cases, all our heroes wander around trying to be ready for what needs to be done and by the end the aliens strike first blowing up buildings and landmarks. President Whitmore is trying to be strong and lead America in this frightful time, and Connie and General Grey stand by his side no matter how nervous they are getting. David and his father Julius are on a mission to warn many of the important people in government about the countdown signal in the cable satellites. David comes off as a conspiracy theory nut but it’s clear he still loves his ex-wife. Russell Casse is still a drunk who’s own kids don’t respect him, but it’s the opposite for Steven Hiller who’s girlfriend and her son love him as he is noble and willing to fight the fight if he’s needed. The characters, while okay, all seem like generic stereotypes taken from all types of different science fiction comics, novels and films making them familiar but nothing special. The cover is eye catching for fans of the film as it depicts the films most famous scene of the White House being blown up by a UFO laser blast. The art inside is really not my style and looks sloppy, and like before, the characters kind of look like the actors who play them.  The artist is Leonard Kirk, who is known for his work on other Marvel titles like Agents of Atlas and Dark X-Men. Over all this was not a very good issue in my opinion and was so boring that I feel as if I should just walk away from this issue and move on to # 2.

independence day 2

Independence Day # 2  **
Released in 1996     Cover Price $1.95   Marvel Comics   # 2 of 2

The Air Force and the alien starships are fighting in the air, and Steven Hiller takes one down by tricking it with fancy movies and causing it to crash. Meanwhile President Whitmore and members of his cabinet and guests head to Area 51 and meet Brackish Okun who informs them of the alien ship they have stored there for over 40 years and how in the last 24 hours the ship seems to have activated itself. Hiller captures one of the aliens, and they take it to Area 51 to be studied.  The alien is alive and awakens during the study and speaks through Okun informing them that the aliens want humans dead as they want the Earth for their own! President Whitmore’s wife is involved in a helicopter crash and sadly dies, but David finds a way to drop the alien ships force fields and a world wide attack is planned and joining the air force fight is the President, Hiller, David and even Russell Casse who arrived at Area 51 to get help for his sick son. As David and Hiller take the old UFO and enter the mother ship in space armed with the computer virus and a nuclear warhead, the Air Force with President Whitmore and Russell fight the UFO’s that are attacking Earth.  In the end Russell sacrifices himself and blows up one of the big battleships as David and Hiller sets off the warhead in the mother ship bringing it down! Earth wins the fight against the aliens and all ends well as America saves the day again.

The final issue in the adaptation has lots more build up and then comes in for the kill with a sky battle that pits Earthlings against the Alien invaders! Really that’s the plot … it starts with lots of science and cheesy pep talk dialogue and then turns into some under whelming air battle that ends pretty quick. President Whitmore bounces back from the death of his wife pretty quickly and turns the politician side of his life on pretty quick and not only gives a eye rollingly lame hype speech to the people of the world but also jumps into a jet and takes the fight to the aliens in the sky. Whitmore is so over the top, and his I love my country and will “Fight For Freedom: Wherever There’s Trouble, President Whitmore’s There” attitude is stuff of laughable b-movies of the past. Brackish Okun spent decades studying dead aliens only to be killed by the first live one he tried to study. Steven Hiller has no fear and flies a UFO into space, blows up the mother ship and then still returns to Earth to be with his stripper girlfriend. General Grey takes a backseat and just acts as the yes man of the President and Albert Nimzicki kind of just vanishes. Russell Casse decides to do something good and flies the plane that blows up the battle ship and in the process kills himself and leaves his kids orphans. David Levinson is the real hero of this comic as he is the one who figures out how to take down the UFO shields as well is on the ship that goes to space to nuke the mother ship. Connie falls back in love with her ex-husband and his father is proud of him for being a hero. Man, this movie just didn’t make a good comic adaptation as for the most part it was boring and the dark letters on dark dialogue boxes made for some hard reading at times. The cover is just okay.  The art by Leonard Kirk is as blah as the last issue, and I think I am ready to leave this invasion behind. Below is some artwork from the comic that I think looks the best of what was presented.

ID4 Art 1

While the movie is okay, this Marvel Comic adaptation was a snore fest and should be used in hospitals for people with insomnia as I am sure it will have people sawing logs in no time. With that said, I am pretty hyped to see Independence Day: Resurgence in the theater as I am a fool in my old age for Summer Blockbuster films. Plus the Aliens go down pretty easy and the threat of this invasion was easily defeated by Earthlings. But lets leave ID4 behind for something a little more sports entertainment like and that’s step into the wrestling ring and come face to face with the Master of the five count King Kong Bundy! So until then, make sure to go see a movie in the theater, read a comic or three and support your local Horror Host.  See you next update!

King Kong Bundy Logo

The Undead Files: Resident Evil

I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on the game that captured my imagination and was one of the key deciding factors for me to buy a Sony Playstation over a Nintendo 64 and other game systems. The year 1993 was the major kick off for what is called the fifth generation of gaming with such systems as the Panasonic 3DO and the Atari Jaguar hitting the market late in the year and both claiming to be as powerful as systems that came before them like The Sega CD, Phillips CD-I and the Super Nintendo.  But both failed to capture the market for many reasons, one being 3DO’s high price sticker on both the games and console and the Jaguar had terrible in-house games and very few third party releases. Sega responded to these systems with an add-on for the Genesis called the 32X in 1994 and then again a year later with stand alone system the Sega Saturn, but the console wars was about to heat up when on September 9th 1995 Sony released Playstation and Nintendo released the N64 in 1996 as well making an all out war for who would be the king of home consoles. The year 1996 also marked the death of Atari and Panasonic being console makers as both the Jaguar (who even tried to stay alive with a CD game add on) and 3DO hit the electronics graveyard, while Sega and Nintendo held on with the Saturn and N64 it was the Playstation that became the king of the home fifth gen. Consoles!

Sony Playstation System 0

As you all know, I am a gamer and have been since the days of the NES, and horror themed games have always been my cup of tea.  So I figured I would talk real quick about one of my favorites for the NES, based on the horror film series Friday The 13th by LJN. And before everyone gets worked up, this game is by far NOT the best horror theme game for the NES, but it is by far the most mistreated and underrated and seems to be the punching bag for cheap Angry Video Game Nerd rip-off reviewers the internet wide. So let’s take a quick look at Friday The 13th for the NES.

Friday_the_13th_cart

Camp Crystal Lake is back open for business.  Six counselors are in charge of the campers, but the hockey mask killer Jason Voorhees is back and is making chop steak of the kids.  He is not alone as zombies, wolves, birds, bats and his mother’s floating head all try to slow you down from the rescue. Your weapons are rocks, knives, an ax, pitchfork, torch and machete, and your goal is to light all the cabins fireplaces, kill Jason’s mom’s head to get her sweater, save as many of the kids as you can, fight off Jason in and around the cabins, and live through three days of terror. The gameplay is a side scrolling action game that adds in a maze style when you enter the cabin, and the maze controls can be confusing and cause the player to get turned around. The side scrolling also doesn’t follow the rules, and when heading right you are really going left! But once you get used to this terrible control set up, the game starts to become really fun as you hurry from cabin to cabin lighting the fireplaces and running to the cabins Jason is attacking. Jason not only will fight you in the cabins Punch Out style, he will also surprise attack you during the side scrolling section and try his best to kill you! The game is a challenge for many reasons; yes, one is being the bad controls, but also because it’s a race against time and survival of all the little campers and fellow staff members is in your hands and it can add some pressure as the Jason Alarm (a loud beep) goes off and you know that people are dying! This game is one that I used to play all the time with my brother Bryan and cousins Dino and Norman Dimitrouleas, and all of use would spend hours trying to beat it.  The first person I saw beat it was Norman, who was shocked to see that he finally beat it! I would later go on to beat it as well, but Norman was still the first and the trail blazer to beat what was a hard game. The game has a special place in my gaming heart and will be one of those games I will always remember that I played and beat.

Friday The 13th Nes Screen 1Friday The 13th Nes Title ScreenFriday The 13th NES in Cabin Screen

The game’s graphics are nothing special.  The camp counselors have no facial features, and the backgrounds are standard woods, lake, cave and trails with nothing major standing out. The normal enemies look like stock characters and could easily be placed in other games of the horror nature. Jason looks great in an odd way, as he wears a purple jump suit and has a bright blue mask and gloves on. For as long I can remember, people made fun of this look for Jason, but the funny thing is that for all those goons who laughed at the look and the game, they all sure did flock to by the super cool action figure from NECA toys! Jason in Friday the 13th for the NES made by LJN will always be one of my favorite games for the NES and once more will say that its very underrated by gamers, but I will admit that the AVGN episode was really funny as The Nerd meet Jason who was forcing him to play the game or be killed!

NES Jason SideJason NES punchout styleNES Jason ToyAVGN Friday The 13th

It was spring of 1996 when I first saw Resident Evil on the Sony Playstation made by Capcom at my cousins’ house.  Dino and Norman were always up to date on video game consoles, and besides Nintendo Power and Game Informer Magazine and my friend Jason Gilmore, they were always my key to what cool new games had came out. They much like my brother and myself were into horror films and enjoyed a good scare and that’s why Norman told me he wanted me to come see his new zombie game. I can remember that the Playstation was downstairs in a furnished basement that had a pool table as well as a giant couch.  As soon as Norman pushed power on the Playstation and that amazing chime echoed off the walls and I saw the games first cut scene of actors running from an unknown attacker, I could feel myself being drawn into the story of the game.  You have a choice of playing two members of an elite group called S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics And Rescue Squad) Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield and along side fellow members Albert Wesker, Barry Burton and helicopter pilot Brad Vickers must search a giant mansion for fellow members, all the while fighting off hordes of zombies and other nasty baddies. This is the true birth place of what is called Survival Horror in game genres, although many would say that it’s Sweet Home, a game made by Capcom back in 1989 for the Japanese version of the NES called Famicom and based on a film of the same name, but to me Resident Evil is the true starter of this style of game. I can’t express the moment I saw the first zombie in the game slowly turn around as he was munching on one of your team mates and comes shuffling after you.  Now thats’ a true scary iconic moment in gaming and something super cool that my cousin shared with me knowing I would eat up every horror filled bite! Sadly early this year the world lost Norman D, and thats heartbreaking as he was a kind hearted man who not only had friends and family who loved him but also left behind two children. This update is for you Norman…Love You Cousin.

Resident Evil Zombie Turn

I sat and watched Norman play the game and was drawn deeper and deeper into the story and wanting him to find the next key or item to move onto the next room in the giant abandoned mansion and was hyped when a zombie or infected dog or monster would appear. After we left and went home, I was craving more Resident Evil, and when I bought my Sony Playstation, Resident Evil and WCW Nitro were the first two games I bought and me and my friend Jason Gilmore spent many late nights playing the heck out of those games. After that I can remember buying Resident Evil 2 and 3 from Blockbuster Video as well as Resident Evil Survivor, and these games made me a loyal fan of Capcom as well as fueled my love for Playstation. So in a major way this update is a big THANK YOU to Capcom for making the Resident Evil series and bringing Survival Horror games to the front of the class during this era of gaming. So here is to you, Capcom, for all the years of making games that have entertained the masses and have brought us all types of iconic series from Resident Evil all the way to Street Fighter.  Keep doing what you do best and that’s make games that make players happy.

capcom

The present day world of gaming is filled with first person war shooters, terrible digital download fluff games and a heck of a lot of cellphone games.  For me, the only games that make me rush to my local game shop and preorder are survival horror and always at the top of that list is Resident Evil alongside Silent Hill and TellTale Games Walking Dead seasons when the retail discs are made available. So before we get into the Marvel Comics promo comic that was given away for free back in 1996, we should first take a look at Resident Evil in games, movies and pop culture.  So grab some healing spray and stay close as we are about to travel a path filled with the undead as we enter the world of RESIDENT EVIL! The write ups will come to us thanks to IMDB and their contributors, as I tend to babble when I write about things I love like these games.  However I will also add my thoughts to each to add my own flare.

Resident Evil 1Resident Evil PSXResident Evil 2

Something bizarre is happening in Raccoon City. People are being eaten with no clue why. S.T.A.R.S. Bravo team goes to investigate more on the situation in Raccoon Forest. The team is supposedly wiped out and S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team is sent in to find out what is going on. The team, comprised of Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton, and Albert Wesker, find strange mysterious goings on. They retreat into a huge mansion where the horror and terror begins. Throughout the game, truths about the problem in Raccoon City are revealed.”

This is the groundbreaking game that started it all.  Not only was it filled with scares but also puzzles that made you think as well as taught you not to just run and gun down the zombies as bullets were hard to come by. Not to mention, it was great how you could pick to play as Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield with each having their own adventure and cut scenes. The mansion was a perfect setting for this type of game as you felt almost as if the walls were coming in, and the atmosphere of being alone and not knowing where your friends are could send shivers down a gamer’s spine while playing late at night. The game is so classic that it got a Directors Cut on Playstation, a remake on Nintendo Gamecube and an HD Remake on PS3 and other systems. Over all this in one great horror themed game and ranks for sure in my top 10 video game for the original Playstation.

Resident Evil 2 -1Resident Evil 2 PSXResident Evil 2 - 2

“In this sequel to Resident Evil, the genetically made zombies are back and it’s up to two new heroes to stop them. Leon S. Kennedy picked a bad day to join the racoon police department. He finds the town of Raccoon City crawling with zombies. Along the way, he meets Claire Redfield (the sister of Chris Redfield from the first game). Claire has come to the town to find Chris. Leon and Claire decide to separate and search for survivors on thier way to the police station. Along the way, they meet some interesting characters. Leon meets Ada Wong, a mysterious woman who doesn’t like talking about what she is up to; Claire meets Sherry Birkin, a troubled little girl searching for her parents. The game comes on two separate disks to follow the separate adventures of Leon and Claire.”

This second game is also a classic, but I cannot lie, when it first came out I was a fan of it..BUT thought that it was a little overrated by all my friends who would say it was the best Survival Horror Game and better than the original. Taking the location to the city and away from the old mansion certainly helped add a new level of horror to the series. I can remember playing this game in my parents’ basement with Jason Gilmore and trying our best to beat it, and he did! Over all, it’s a great follow up to the original game with great new characters added to the storyline wth Claire Redfield, Ada Wong and Leon Kennedy who are now mainstays in the over all story arc.The game also not only has zombies but also super tall super strong trenchcoat wearing baddies called Tyrants.

Resident Evil 3 - 1Resident Evil 3 PSXResident Evil 3 - 2

Just days after surviving the grisley disaster at the mansion lab, Jill Valentine resigns from S.T.A.R.S. and attempts to escape a nightmarish city in ruins. Trapped in a town crawling with hordes of flesh-eating zombies, hideous mutants, and a relentless new nemesis, she must rely on cunning and brute force to stay alive. What she soon discovers is that the evil created by Umbrella Corporation’s bio-tech terror is even more horrifying then she ever imagined…

This is hands down my favorite game in the series! I can remember that I bought this game from Blockbuster Video when I worked there and was super hyped to pop it into my Playstation and give it a play.  From the moment I started running around the zombie filled streets as Jill Valentine to the moment I first saw the one monster brute killing machine Nemesis, I was hooked and became a superfan of the story and characters of this 3rd game in the series. I loved hearing the booming voice of Nemesis screaming “STARRRRSSSS” and this game reminded me for some reason of my favorite zombie film Day of the Dead.  I have a story about why, but I will save it for when we take a look at Dead Dog Comics Day Of The Dead comic. I can remember when I finally beat this game I totally felt like I accomplished something major.

Resident Evil 4 - 1Resident Evil 4 PS2Resident Evil 4 - 2

Six years after the viral outbreak that destroyed Racoon City, former police officer Leon S. Kennedy is a federal agent sent to Europe to search for the President’s daughter. Unfortunately for him, he stumbles upon a scenerio frighteningly similar to what he encountered back in Racoon City…

The 4th game in the series is one that most fans of the series will tell you is the best one next to Resident Evil 2, but for me it was a fun play with a pretty cool and creepy storyline but is way overrated as being called “the best” in the series. Gone were the hordes of zombies and in their place was infected people who mutate. Gone away was the tank style controls as it was replaced with over the shoulder style aiming and movement. The game is a fun spooky play with blood, guts and gore, and while not the best in my eyes, it did change and shake the series up.

Resident Evil 5 - 1Resident Evil 5 PS3Resident Evil 5 - 2

Sent in by the BSAA, Chris Redfield has a new mission. It takes him into South Africa where he encounters a new horror and relives an old past.”

When I first started to play Resident Evil 5, I straight out was not enjoying it as the A.I. partner I had was always getting stuck and dying causing me to have to start over again. I was so frustrated that this game sat on a shelf for about two years until my friend Jeremy Hoyt said he would play the game again and with a fellow human playing the second character, the game was fun and yet still challenging. Word of mouth on this game has been very split since the day it was released, with some fans loving the more action horror approach while others hating the fact the survival element is gone as guns and ammo are aplenty. I myself am very split on this game as the one player mode would get a D- and the two player mode would get a solid B, worth the play with a friend.

Resident Evil 6 - 1Resident Evil 6 PS3Resident Evil 6 - 2

The war on bio-terrorism continues as Chris Redfield, Leon Kennedy, and other famous Resident Evil stalwarts battle a seemingly familiar adversary. However, as these veterans of survival horror pursue this latest threat, their nightmare reaches critical mass when it is discovered that it is in fact Ada Wong’s dark clone, Carla, who is championing the most deadly bio-weapon yet – the C-Virus. Chris and Leon have eradicated some of the worst viral strains, from Raccoon City and beyond. But can they overcome this most deadly strain yet? Moreover, when push comes to shove, can they shed old compassion and take down their former friends? How will a conflicted young Wesker come to terms with his lineage, and where will his true alliance fall in this deadly chess match?”

This 6th game in the series was met with mixed reviews, and I feel like it was was too harshly judged. I enjoyed the fact that the game took three different paths and each would cross at times and would get you ever so closer to the over all store of this installment. The game had the right mix of horror and action and was a fun co-op game as me and Jeremy played and beat this one as well. Lots of a gun play, some zombies as well as bosses made this one a good time. I will say that it’s by far the weakest in the series, but again, not as bad as some would have you believe.

Resident Evil Survivor 1Resident Evil Survivor PSXResident Evil Survivor 2

In 1998 a disaster struck the quiet midwestern residence of Raccoon City. An uncontrollable outbreak of the Umbrella created T-Virus transformed the city into an inescapable death trap. To stop the outbreak from spreading, Umbrella Incorporated was forced to wipe out the entire city. However, this was not the only location where an outbreak occurred…”

I wanted to cover this game real quick as it was another Resident Evil game that was one the original Sony Playstation that I spent tons of time trying to beat when I was in my early 20’s! The game was not a third person one but took the route of being a first person shooter as you took the role of a man who forgets who he is and must survive the zombie outbreak. As of the last 2 years I replayed this game, and while it’s nothing special, it still has a place in my heart. My friend Jason Gilmore hated this game so much, and I can remember him getting so pissed off at it having to use the controller instead of a light gun. Below is also is a picture that acts as a who’s who of the Resident Evil Video Game World from Zero to 6!

Who's Who Of Resident Evil

Resident Evil’s main story only has 6 installments up to this point but has a ton of spin-off games that help add to the legacy of the series, and these have been made on many systems over the years like Gamecube, Nintendo DS, Sega Dreamcast, Playstation 2, XBox 360 and many more! Some of the great games in this series are Resident Evil 0 – a game that acts as a prequel, Resident Evil Revelations that has sparked two games thus far and is a cool way to add to the creepy nature of the series as the first game in the series has you stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean! But these spin-off games have also had some bad games like the Resident Evil Outbreak series that had you picking from a cast of everyday people and trying to survive and escape the odds as well as the shoot em up cheese fest Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City that while fun for being a no brainer kind of game was very much a major time waster as well. Love or hate these side games, one things for sure, they at least help add to the Survival Horror legacy that the series help start.

Resident Evil 0 GamecubeResident Evil Outbreak PS2Resident Evil Dead Aim PS2Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City Xbox 360Resident Evil Survivor Revelations PS3

Besides the video games, Resident Evil has also broke into the world of Hollywood as several live action and some animated films have been made featuring the characters and even making some up along the way. The live action movies follow Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, with the first film coming out in 2002 and a total of 5 films thus far made for the series with the 6th on planned for a 2017 release. While they are by no means classic zombies films and fall flat when you compare them to the likes of Romero’s Dead films or even the first three of the Return of the Living Dead films, they still deliver some zombie horror filled with over the top Matrix style action scenes. While I have seen the live action Resident Evil films, many of them even in the theater, I have not seen that animated ones though I hear that they are fantastic and are better.  My friend Jeremy who is a Resident Evil fan like myself really enjoys the animated ones and recommends them to you. So if you dig the games and can’t get enough R.E., make sure to check out the films as they may hold you over till the next game.

Resident Evil Movie DVDResident_evil_retribution_posterResident Evil animated movie

One thing that has always been really cool about Resident Evil is that lots of toys have been made of the characters with some of the first ones I remember coming out via Toy Biz who were known for making the X-Men and Marvel Toys when I was a youngster. What I remember most about these toys was that they did ones for parts 1 and 2 and that they would come in two packs that would feature a hero like Jill and with a zombie! They would be packed with all types of weapons as well as sometimes other goodies. I know over the years I have had some of the zombie figures, and I think in my parents basement somewhere there is a Jill but what I remember the most about these figures is when Game Swap in Kettering first opened my friend Max brought some of his figures in and he placed them on the shelf above the DVD Boxsets.  To this day, they sit on that shelf in his honor. Looking back at it, he was also big fan of this video game series, and I would like to dedicate this update to him as he was truly a great friend and will forever live on to all those who knew him.

Resident Evil Toys

Before we get into the Marvel Comic promo issue, I would like to take a moment to say that I have been to many horror and comic conventions over the years, and it’s always cool to see people dressed up cosplaying as their favorite characters from film, video games and comics.  I always like to see was the people who dress as characters from Resident Evil! Always nice seeing a good looking goth girl running around in a S.T.A.R.S. Uniform like I use to for many years at Horrorhound Weekend. But I have not seen her the last few times I have been, so below are some pictures of people cosplaying as Resident Evil characters Jill Valentine, Nemesis and Ada Wong, so check them out and enjoy!

Resident Evil Jill CosplayNemesis CosplayResident Evil Ada Wong Cosplay

So we have made it to the Town Hall here in Raccoon City and have dodged many zombies.  Along the way, we have talked about Resident Evil in video games, movies, toys and cosplay, and we are now at the point where we will be talking about Resident Evil in comics.  I chose to review the Marvel Comic over Wildstorm’s because this was the first R.E. comic and is a direct tie in to the original game. So while you use the health spray and pick the green herbs to mix with the red ones, I need to remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So let’s get ready to enter and hope we can find a rotten ink ribbon fast!

Resident Evil Promo Comic 1

Resident Evil # 1  **1/2
Released in 1996    Cover Price Free    Marvel Comics    # 1 of 1

Richard Aiken is a member of S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team and is alone in a mansion with “things” that are watching him as he tries his best to call back to base and his boss Albert Wesker for help, but soon finds that the wires in his phone box are cut! Aiken’s team has been attacked and many of them killed.  What was just a search for missing hikers has turned into a massacre of his friends. Meanwhile Wesker gets a phone call from a shadowy figure that tells him that he must keep a secret from being discovered and that he did a good job of sabotaging the Bravo Team’s chopper. As Wesker hangs up, Barry and members of the Alpha Team show up to see if he has any news on the missing team, and this makes Wesker decided to call on his top team to find out what’s going on in the area near the abandon mansion. Meanwhile Aiken is in the mansion running from shadows, poison gas and worse a giant snake! Wesker gets his team ready that includes Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, and together they chopper to the site of the missing team and bail out in order to find them.

This comic is a pre-equal to the Capcom PlayStation video game and does a nice job of quickly explaining what happened before the events of the game and shows you some of the fate of the Bravo team. The plot is this simple: a group of special forces go missing in a area where people have vanished.  They themselves get into a world of trouble as what is waiting for them is something pure evil and their only hope is another team who is on the way to save the day. Richard Aiken is the first member of S.T.A.R.S. we meet, and sadly by the time we catch up with him, he is filled with fear and is running for his life. But he does fight to stay alive all the way up to the giant snake crossing his path and for all accounts ending his life. Albert Wesker, who is the head of the S.T.A.R. teams, is clearly a scumbag as he is shown to be hiding something from the start and is more into keeping that secret then saving his missing men. Jill, Chris, Barry and the rest of the Alpha Team are all side characters, and they clearly take this back seat as they are more important in the video game so I think they wanted them to be around but not the stars. This comic shows no zombies besides in shadows and the only “monsters” shown are the giant snake and the green gas of death. I do wish they would have shown the zombies, but again, if they did I think it might have taken away from the game when you first meet the flesh eaters, a true double edged sword. The comic has zero blood and is only a total of 12 pages with the cover the same as the game’s cover and has art done by Dave Johnson who worked on other books like Detective Comics and Action Comics. Over all this promo comic was a fun read and helps add to the story of Resident Evil but it also is way too highly priced for what it is.  So fans of the game series should check it out for sure.  Casual fans might want to stay away from a comic with little action and no true scares. Below is some artwork from the comic to show you the style of the book’s art.

Resident Evil Art 1

So while this Marvel Promo Comic might not have been great like the game it was based on, it still was a fun read and a part of the history of Resident Evil. For our next update, we are leaving the undead-infested Raccoon City and entering the fast food world of fried chicken as we are taking a trip into the 11 herbs and spices of KFC and learning about its spokesman Colonel Sanders! So from zombies who eat human flesh to a Colonel who eats friend chicken flesh, our next one is for sure going to be a great time. Until then, read a comic or three, play a video game or two, support your local horror host and watch out for the undead!

KFC Logo

Bugs Bunny The King Of Saturday Morning Cartoons

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, a zany place to relive my childhood and remember back the things that made me as well as many others happy and shaped us into the people we are today. Growing up, Looney Tunes was a major part of my childhood as reruns were still being aired on Saturday mornings as well as Sunday mornings, and many times I would rent VHS’s based on the characters from the public library or just buy $1.00 VHS tapes from Dollar Stores. I can remember drawing poor versions of characters like Daffy Duck, Road Runner and of course Bugs Bunny in art class and playing video games like Bugs Bunny’s Birthday Blow Out for the NES. Also, when we were younger candy maker Esther Price used to have a big Bugs Bunny doll in their window display in a classic car or doing other silly things.  Sadly they’ve retired him, and modern kids won’t get the joys of watching what Bugs would be up to next in that candy store window. I can also remember reading the Little Golden Books about Bugs as well as reading old comic books on him we would find at garage sales. My mom had a Bugs Bunny cookie cutter and used to make sugar cookies that looked like the famed cartoon character. I can also remember drinking Kool-Aid and chocolate milk from an old Pepsi Bugs Bunny glass. So as you can see, Bugs Bunny was a huge part of my childhood, and this update is all about that crazy grey furred rabbit! So grab a carrot, tune up your sense of humor and let’s have some fun with Mr. Bugs Bunny!

Bugs Bunny 1

So for those of you who are too young, or maybe just lived under a rock, I am going to tell you a little about Bugs Bunny and who he is.  For those of you who already know, sit back and have a good reminiscence with me. Bugs Bunny is a grey furred rabbit who walks on two legs, talks with a New York accent and enjoys pulling pranks as well as snacking on a good old fashioned carrot all the while wearing white gloves. His major catch phrase is “Eh….What’s Up Doc” that is usually said to annoy the person he’s talking to. Bugs is quick witted and always comes out ahead in bad situations. Bugs has many enemies that include hunter Elmer Fudd, cowboy Yosemite Sam, space martian Marvin as well as Taz, a tasmanian devil. One bad guy I always liked was Gossamer, a monster who is covered in red hair and had long yellow and black finger nails and wore white shoes. Bugs Bunny was such a cartoon icon that Warner Brothers used him as their official mascot and places his image on all types of products from microwave kids meals to video games. Bugs was so popular, he even was used to pitch Nike Shoes, credit cards and even Kool-Aid. Bugs Bunny also had movies on the silver screen with such titles as The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie, Bugs Bunny’s 3rd Movie and Box Office Bunny, but his most popular was the 1996 film Space Jam that had him playing basketball along side NBA superstar Michael Jordan against monsters. But I should not forget that he was also in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and shared the screen with Disney icon Mickey Mouse, making for an epic first and last time that the two had shared the screen. He also had many TV specials like Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales and Bugs Bunny’s Thanksgiving Diet. One special I remember the most was called Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue and was an anti-drug promotion that had Bugs Bunny teaming up with the likes of Alf, Papa Smurf, Silmer, Winnie The Pooh, Garfield, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michelangelo and many others to help a young boy whose brother is doing drugs. Before we move on, I want to also tell a few more fun facts about Bugs.  He is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being in the most short and feature length films of any Cartoon character, and he is the second animated character to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! So as you can see, Bugs Bunny is truly the main hare when it comes to the world of classic cartoons!

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Now that we covered who Bugs Bunny is, we should also talk about those people who brought the furry little guy to life.  The first appearance of the rabbit that was to become Bugs Bunny was in a cartoon called “Porky’s Hare Hunt” in 1938 that featured a wise talking rabbit that was given no name.  The cartoon was directed by Ben “Bugs” Hardaway and Cal Dalton. Hardaway and Cal Dalton were the creators of the character and had the bunny show up in a another cartoon sealing the popularity of the character, and Bugs was finally named by artist Charlie Thorson after several prior appearances marking the year 1939 when Bugs Bunny was used as a name for the rabbit character. All this time Bugs Bunny looked a little different then the Bugs we all know and love as well as he was portrayed more as crazy than quick whited. In 1940 the cartoon “A Wild Hare” directed by Tex Avery features what’s considered the first modern version of Bugs Bunny and is the true kick start to shaping the character that he is to this day. Bugs Bunny was voiced by a legendary cartoon voice actor named Mel Blanc, who also voiced such characters as Woody Woodpecker, Barney Rubble, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Speed Buggy among many others! So here is a big thank you to Warner Brothers, Ben Hardaway, Cal Dalton, Tex Avery, Charlie Thorson, Mel Blanc and everyone else who helped make Bugs Bunny come to life; this blog update is for you as well as all the fans who have kept the character alive.

Ben  HardawaybugsevolutionhrMel Blanc

Besides home media releases, Bugs Bunny has been turned into all types of merchandise that include Halloween costumes, books, comic books, dolls, action figures, video games, cloths, posters, school supplies, drinking glasses, frozen meals and so much more! If it was a product they could put Bugs Bunny’s face on, they did it! Besides the Pepsi glass that I would drink from, some other things of Bugs I loved was an eraser pencil topper that was green that was of Bugs Bunny’s head, the small Arby’s kids meal toy that had Bugs relaxing and of course I would have to say the Playsation game Bugs Bunny Lost In Time. So I don’t want to spend too much time on the merchandise of Bugs Bunny because we would have to spend the whole update about all the different items, but if you had some sort of Bugs Bunny merchandise, you know how important it was to you in your youth.

Bugs Halloween CostumeBugs Drinking GlassBugs DollBugs Arbys ToyBugs PSX Game

As you readers know, I am a fan of the internet video game reviewer The Angry Video Game Nerd, and I should talk about his feud with Bugs Bunny that has raged on for two episodes! In Bugs’ first AVGN appearance The Nerd was playing Bugs Bunny’s Birthday Blow Out for NES, and Bugs himself shows up to annoy him while he is playing. All through the episode The Nerd beats up Bugs, and in the end he ends up beating the Bunny up super badly and poops on his face in a cheesy and fun sight gag. In the second episode, Bugs shows up again and forces The Nerd to play the Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle series all the while this time beating up The Nerd! The Nerd finally gets an upper hand and finds out the true secret of who Bugs is, but I won’t spoil it for you readers. Great work from The Nerd, and they remain funny and entertaining no matter how many times I’ve seen them.

AVGN Bugs 1AVGN Bugs 2AVGN Bugs 3

So now that you know a little more about Bugs I think we are ready to dive into a few issues from the Whitman reprints that I got from Jason Young and his mom.  So I want to say a big thank you to them for making this update possible. Now this is by no means the whole set from them, but these are all the issues I have so I want to remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So if you’re ready, let’s go down the rabbit hole and spend some time with our old childhood friend Bugs Bunny.

Bugs Bunny 173

Bugs Bunny # 173   **1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price .25   Whitman   #173 of 245

The Long-Eared Genie” is the first story and has Bugs Bunny helping a young girl named Jennie who has been ripped off by a con man who has sold her a magic lamp that is for her father’s birthday. Bugs tricks him into thinking the lamp really works and tricks the con into paying back all those who he ripped off in order to get fake wishes! “Hare Tonic” has Elmer Fudd wanting to be a rock star with a full set of long real hair and offers Bugs a hundred dollars to help him out.  Bugs goes to an old witch friend of his for a potion and runs around town to get the missing ingredients that includes dust from a Mummy’s tomb! In the end the potion works too well, and Fudd offers him another hundred to make him bald again. The third and final story is called “Two For The Treasure” has Bugs and Yosemite Sam going after a pirate named Singood who is stealing treasure in Sam’s territory.  While on the hunt, Bugs crashes the ship into Singood’s ship, sinking them both! As Sam and Singood sword fight, Bugs takes the treasure chest and buries it.  In the end Bugs makes them carve him a canoe from a log, and he sets out to sea and tells them where the treasure is that turns out to be costume jewelry.

This is a nice way to start off this review of Whitman Bugs Bunny comics as the stories in this comic feel straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon. The best of the three stories has to be Hare Tonic as watching Bugs play a Mummy in a b-horror film as well as deal with a witch who lives in a swamp is a cool sight to see and read about. The weakest has to be Two For The Treasure.  While not a bad story, it almost has a been there, done that feel to it. One odd thing I noticed is that both Elmer and Yosemite Sam seem to be friends of Bugs, not his enemies, which kind of takes away from the overall magic of their classic toon rivalries. I can’t seem to find a name of the artist for this comic, but I must say whoever it is captures the spirt of Bugs Bunny very well, and whomever is the writer also did a good solid job. The issue also had a great rotten ink smell, and sadly a loose middle page but that defect didn’t stop me from enjoying the issue. I’m puzzled why the cover has Tweety Bird, Porky Pig and Sylvester with Bugs watching a Baseball game when the issue has no baseball and none of those other characters! But let’s see what’s up next for Mr. Bunny and see what zany thing he does next.

Bugs Bunny 175

Bugs Bunny # 175  **1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price .25   Whitman   #175 of 245

The Secret Of Horsefeather Canyon” has Professor Pigfeat of Hamm University sending Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny to canoe down a river that has terrible waves to see if the legends of Horsefeather Canyon being the home of flying horses is true. They crash, sink the canoe and meet Buffalo Bruce who is a cowboy and herds flying cows with his flying horses! Bruce tells them that they are stuck in his valley and that they can never leave because he don’t want his animals in a zoo and wants no scientist in his land. Porky and Bugs steal a flying horse to escape and are caught but make it to safety in time. They make a promise to Bruce not to tell the outside world about his ranch, but they do con him into doing a flying rodeo once a year at Hamm University. The second story called “Fudd Foolery” has Elmer Fudd going to an art museum and Bugs follows along. Fudd takes the radio tour in which he is walked through the museum and told the history of items by a DJ, and of course Bugs get bored and takes over the tour by lying to the DJ. While Bugs has fun toying with Fudd, a thief steals a painting and exits the museum right as Fudd figures out Bugs is being a prankster! Fudd chases Bugs out of the museum.  The crazy rabbit breaks a vase, and Fudd on accident stops the art criminal. In the end Fudd is offered a job as the night security guard, and Bugs has to work as the janitor at night to pay off the vase he broke. The third and final story of this issue is called “Small In The Saddle” and has Bugs and Yosemite Sam being the law in a small western town that is being robbed by a pip squeak crook who always seems to get away with the help of smoke pellets, but when Bugs wises up to the crooks tricks and finds him horsing around by hiding in a plastic horse the town is saved from the tiny terror.

This issue is packed with three solid and good stories.  Each was as entertaining as the last, and that’s a great and rare thing from a kids comic from the 70’s. Bugs is quick witted and is looking for a way to have fun with his friends as well as make a quick buck. The 1st story is pretty fun and has flying horses, and Bugs and Porky dressed in flannel and looking like extras from the Bigfoot horror film Night of The Demon. Not to mention Buffalo Bruce reminded me of the mascot for generic potato chips company Rodeo Bill, who was a cowboy who rode a giant potato! The second story that has Bugs at the art museum reminded me of the movie Bean about the classic BBC character Mr. Bean, and it was fun to see Bugs taking in a little culture…well ruining a little culture for Elmer. The last story is pure cheesy cowboy stuff and should have been a team up between Bugs and Roy Rogers…now that would have been cool. I could not pick a favorite of the three as I feel all of them were as good as the other.  However I must say that the artist did not get credit for his fantastic work again. So far I am two issues in, and I am enjoying these comics and think this far they are great examples of kids comics done right.  So let’s not waste no more time and get onto the next issue.

Bugs Bunny 176

Bugs Bunny # 176   **1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price .30   Whitman   #176 of 245

The Search For The Sun Gems” has Bugs Bunny traveling via a blimp with Elmer Fudd and Lord Bertie Brumly to try and trick some island natives so they can steal Sun Gems that were created in a falling meteor.  But when Bugs doesn’t want anything to do with the heist, Fudd knocks him from the plane and his good luck has him landing safely and becoming a God to the natives! But when the natives figure out Bugs isn’t a God and that his pals Fudd and Brumly are there to steal the Sun Gems, he must use all his good luck to get them out alive. The second story is called “In Stew” and has Beaky Buzzard inviting his pal Bugs over for carrot stew, but when Beaky’s meat eating brother Basil shows up for dinner he must save Bugs from becoming part of the menu! In the end Basil is out smarted by his dimwitted brother, finds that he in fact loves carrot stew and they all eat bowls of it together. The third and final story is called “The Cannonball Caper” and has Bugs being stuck between a feud that is raging on between Yosemite Sam and Sagebrush Sarah over a debit that Sam owes her.  They decide in order to pay it all back with interest that they will hold a garage sale. Bugs and Sam go to advertise the sale in town and an accident leaves Bugs riding a runaway cannon and causing mayhem along the way. In the end, Sam sells the cannon to the city gardener for $100 but is fined by the cops for the mayhem leaving him broke.  Worse, Sarah sold all his stuff, and he returns to his empty ship with nothing.

I want to first point out that the cover to this issue has zero to do with any of the three stories in this issue.  In fact Porky Pig does not even have as much as a cameo in it either! The best of the three stories is The Search For The Sun Gems.  It had a real Bugs Bunny cartoon feel to it even though I find it odd that Elmer Fudd is more of an annoying friend to Bugs than an enemy who has wanted him dead for years. Much like in the cartoon when the odds are against Bugs, he finds away to come out squeaky clean and always ahead. The weakest of the stories has to be The Cannonball Caper as I felt it was clearly a throwaway short.  One other odd thing is that Yosemite Sam also comes off as a friend and not an enemy. So between all the bad guys in this issue, I feel that Basil Buzzard was more of a threat to Bug’s well-being and I am pretty sure he would have eaten him if he would have caught him. Over all this issue is pretty standard kid comic stuff and was a solid and fun read that had the classic rotten ink smell of the decomposing ink. I could not find who did the art in this issue, but I do think that it captures the look and vibe of Bugs Bunny! So yeah, those was some zany Bugs adventures.  Let’s see what the next issue I have has in store for us!

Bugs Bunny 209

Bugs Bunny # 209  **1/2
Released in 1979   Cover Price .40   Whitman   #209 of 245

Hocus Pocus Hare” has Bugs trying to learn magic during rabbit hunting season, and when Elmer Fudd comes a hunting Bugs tries to wow him with a handcuff trick that leaves them stuck together as a pack of braindead hunters tries to shoot them! Along the way Bugs uses his magic and all attempts fail.  So what does he do but call on the calvary for help! In the end Elmer and Bugs get free of the cuffs and patch things up for a few moments until Bugs uses his squirting flower to annoy Fudd who starts his hunt all over again. The second story is called “Funny Money” and has Bugs running a hotdog stand for Petunia Pig while she runs some errands and is conned out of the day’s money by the sleazy crook Silky Fleece who replaces what he calls dirty money with counterfeit new bills that have invisible ink on them! Once Bugs figures out he’s been had, he goes to get Petunia’s money back and does so with the help of the cops as they arrest the con man.  Bugs not only gets her money back but also a reward that he uses to buy the hot dog stand and turn it into a carrot stand! The third and final story is called “Cool Head Fudd” where Bugs Bunny claims he is the master of making Elmer Fudd mad but Daffy Duck says he does it better.  So as Daffy goes off to anger Fudd, that quick witted rabbit Bugs tells Fudd to remain calm and that will annoy Daffy instead, but Fudd’s new cool head annoys both Daffy and Bugs who leave his house not liking his new cool as ice attitude. In the end, Fudd waits till they leave and blows his top at how annoying they both are.

This is another fun issue that captures the fun and silly nature of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. So in this issue Bugs learns magic, helps capture a con man, uses Elmer Fudd as a pawn more than once and even almost gets shot and killed a couple of times…so yeah just normal Bugs Bunny activities. The best story in this issue is Funny Money as I love the whole con man tricks a rabbit running a hot dog stand into given him all the money from the register only to have it all blow up in his face. Plus I can’t help but get the vibe that Bugs and Petunia Pig might have a little something going on with each other on the side…poor Porky Pig doesn’t even see it happening before his eyes! I think the weakest story in the issue is Cool Head Fudd.  While it’s cool to see Daffy do what he does best and that’s be crazy, the whole story seems very pointless and really goes nowhere in the end. I also have to say I kind of feel for Bugs as at all times it seems like some hunter or even friends like Elmer want him dead, and he is consistently having guns pointed and fired at him. The cover once more is not connected to the issue unless I guess you could say it’s Bugs annoying Fudd like in Cool Head Fudd, but I think I am grasping at straws there. The artwork is really good again and once more I can’t find a name to the artist! Let’s see if Bugs will almost be shot again as we move onto the next issue I have!

Bugs Bunny 210

Bugs Bunny # 210  **1/2
Released in 1979   Cover Price .40   Whitman   #210 of 245

Our first Bugs Bunny adventure in this issue is called “ The Fountain Of Youth” and has Bugs and Porky Pig travel to the everglades to find the famed fountain of youth and are sent by Professor Pigfeat of Hamm University. While in the swamps, Bugs and Porky get into all types of trouble even sinking in quicksand until an Indian who’s 170 years old acts as their protector. When they find the fountain, Bugs accidentally drinks the water that they were bringing back as proof and turns young again! In the end Pigfeat doesn’t think the world’s ready for the power to become young again, and they leave the young Bugs at a daycare until he grows bigger in the following week! The second story is called “Tall Tale Talk.” Bugs is hanging out with Yosemite Sam on his ship hearing over the top stories when they get a distress call from Sam’s best friend Nick Neptune who has been attacked by Captain Sigh who wants the location of a treasure! Bugs and Sam sail in for the rescue that is short lived when Sam himself is captured and it’s up to Bugs to save Nick and Sam! When Bugs out smarts the pirates and rescues Nick and Sam, they hit the sea again as Bugs is treated to more over the top stories. The third and final story in this issue called “The Bugged Carrot Patch” has Elmer Fudd using boobie traps and a radar to stop Bugs from stealing his carrots until Bugs figures out that he can wrap himself in tin foil to defeat the radar and eat all the carrots he wants after he scares Fudd into thinking he is a alien from space!

Bugs Bunny and Whitman Comics have delivered another fun light hearted kids comic issue that I am sure entertained the kids of 1979 with Bugs being silly. I really loved the vibe and story of he and Porky trying to find the fountain of youth, and the whole adventure truly reminded me of something that you could see on a Looney Tunes episode! In fact all three stories in this issue are really well done and made for a good read. Once more I am a little puzzled to why Yosemite Sam and Bugs are friends in this comic, and this issue even has them hanging out of Sam’s ship as he is telling over the top stories! Shouldn’t Sam be trying to shoot or stab Bugs cause in the cartoons he hates him! Oh well I guess murder in a kids comic is probably not a good thing, let alone in 1979. This issue also adds a character named Nick Neptune who for the most part is useless and only adds to the rescue aspect of the Yosemite Sam adventure. Over all good stuff and once more can’t find the artist! Oh and for once the cover kind of ties in with a story of Bugs stealing carrots from Fudd’s garden. So far we are four issues in to the eight I own and I am having fun, so let’s move onto the next shall we?

Bugs Bunny 211

Bugs Bunny # 211  **1/2
Released in 1979   Cover Price .40   Whitman   #211 of 245

Magic Eye Of Ahni-Kon” has Bugs Bunny helping Sinbad with his magic flying carpet when it starts to rip after his time travel.  For his help Sinbad takes Bugs on a ride, and they end up a thousand years in the past and are being stalked by bad guys who want a magical glass eye Sinbad has and worse a dragon! In the end Bugs uses the eye as well as its other half to stop the bad guys and gets a one way ticket back to his time on a special magic carpet. The second story is called “Flooded Out” and has poor Bugs Bunny’s hole in the ground being filled with water from a nearby creek thanks to work by the city! Bugs gets an idea to talk to the governor to try and get him to stop the water work, but getting time to talk to him is tricky as the guards will not let him in. When Bugs finally gets a chance to talk to the governor, he finds out that there’s nothing he can do to stop the creek from being moved. In the end Bugs figures out that he will surround his house with stone and make his own little island. The final story is called “ Caped Capers” and has Bugs stealing carrots from Elmer Fudd’s garden and only leaving him one. Fudd has an idea to scare Bugs and becomes a masked hero called The Carrot Avenger who scares Bugs. But all good things come to an end when Bugs finds that Fudd is the Avenger.

Man, Bugs Bunny is a thief in these comics and almost takes pride in stealing carrots from Elmer Fudd! At one point he even says he doesn’t want to buy them implying he would rather steal…wow Bugs, just wow! I am sure it started with carrots, then he moved up to candy from 7-11’s and then he moved up to DVD’s selling them to get carrots….it’s a sad day when you have to come to terms that one of your favorite cartoon characters as a kid is a home invasion carrot robber. Plus Elmer in this comic series is one of his friends and really think about it, he steals from his friend. The best story in the issue is Flooded Out as I feel it captured the spirit of the cartoon and my least favorite is the opening story Magic Eye Of Ahni-Kon as I felt it just kind of was bland and pointless. The cover is pretty good and ties in to the fact Bugs is a thief. The comic has cameos by Petunia Pig and Porky Pig, helping addto the Loony Tunes feel. Once more Whitman does a great job of reprinting this Bugs Comic, and I for one once again enjoyed reading it. No artist credit again so let’s get to the next issue and see what Bugs steals next. I am going to guess Petunia Pig’s heart or all her jewelry.

Bugs Bunny 235

Bugs Bunny # 235  **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Whitman   #235 of 245

In the opening story called “Hero Hare” Bugs Bunny wins a stay at a fancy resort and finds that his neighbors in the room next to his are there to rob the place! The manager doesn’t believe Bugs and kicks him out into the woods nearby. But Bugs being noble helps save the day when he captures the crooks with stolen money in hands. The second story is called “ Mutiny Of The Bunny.” Bugs is robbed and kidnapped by two pirates who plan on leaving him in the cold dead water. While trapped, Bugs meets a rat named Ripley who tries to help him escape with the help of cold hard cash! Together they learn that the ship is filled with stolen cargo and Bugs outwits the baddies along with Ripley and try to hitch a ride to port! The third story is called “Clowning Around” and has Bugs trying to help two lost clowns who have their car destroyed in an accident, and it’s up to Bugs to get them back on track. The fourth, yeah a fourth story, is called “Between Two Pirates” and has Bugs and his pirate uncle Barnacle Bunny going to visit Yosemite Sam.  Bugs finds out that his Uncle and Sam dislike each other over an old treasure map they each have a part of. So together they go look for the treasure with Sam and Barnacle at each others’ throats the whole time. In the end Bugs loses the treasure in the sea and becomes the target of Sam and Barnacle, making the two old pirates friends.

This one added a fourth story, and while the issue is good, the addition of the fourth story seemed to make the others too short and not fleshed out in any way. The better of the stories has to go to Mutiny of the Bunny, a fun sea adventure with Bugs making fools of this pirate kidnappers. The worst story had to be the very pointless Clowning Around that was clearly just a filler story. The only old familiar face in this issue besides of course Bugs was Yosemite Sam who once more acts as a friend and not a foe. New additions were Ripley the Rat and Barnacle Bunny who both added some level of fun to their respected stories. Once more the art is fantastic and it’s clear that several artist worked on this issue as the styles are slightly different. The cover once more has zero to do with any of the stores and makes me wonder what kind of carrots the designers were eating when they picked it! Over all this is the weakest thus far of the Whitman Bugs comics I own, but I still enjoyed reading it. So we only have two more issues to go and as I stated I am having a good time reading these comics and am looking forward to this next one as well!

Bugs Bunny 236

Bugs Bunny # 236  **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Whitman   #236 of 245

In “Royal Pen Pals” Elmer Fudd and a King have become psychic pen pals, and Bugs Bunny intercepts a mental message that the King is in trouble! So he and Fudd fly to his Kingdom and find Red Duke, a one time friend of the King is trying to place an impostor in his place so he can rule the Kingdom! Bugs and Fudd team up and foil this plot and rescue the King. The second story is called “Bunny Talk” and has Bugs and Yosemite Sam jogging in the mountains together, but when Sam breaks off and falls into an eagle’s nest, Bugs must find away to save him from the angry mother bird and must also learn to talk eagle to save his own hide! The third story is called “Wheeling and Dealing” has a motorcycle path being put in next to Bugs’ whole and when his Congressman refuses to move the path, he takes matters into his own furry hands and detours the bikers to Fudd’s house! In the end Fudd and Bugs turn up the heat on the Congressman by telling him he will lose a vote and he reworks the route again…that goes by Bugs hole again! The fourth and final story is simple called “Bugs Bunny” and has Elmer Fudd and Bugs trying to hypnotize each other and of course only Bugs can do it.  But it all comes in handy when they run to an old abandoned house to get out of the rain and meet two brothers who are robbers! Bugs uses his mind tricks and has Fudd save the day when he thinks he’s a pro-wrestler!

This is another four story issue and once more is pretty good and has some fun wacky Bugs adventures. Once more this issue shows that Elmer Fudd is restless about Bugs always stealing his carrots and wants to use mind control to get him to stop! The best story is Royal Pen Pals and is cool to see Elmer and Bugs really working together and saving the day for a King who was in major trouble. The weakest story is Wheeling and Dealing.  It’s funny to think that a congressman in Looney Tune world cares about one vote when in real life they will just buy the election. The cover once more is misleading and has nothing to do with any of the stories, and the art is again unknown but really well done. One thing I can say is that the comics thus far have done a fantastic job of capturing the playful mood and attitude of Bugs Bunny, and I can only imagine how much kids of this time loved to read and collect these issues. There’s not much more to say about this issue.  So we are now on the final issue and I must say that all these issues thus far have that great Rotten Ink smell and that has helped make this update even better as it captures the true meaning of the name of the blog. So with that let’s see what final adventures Bugs gets into!

Bugs Bunny 237

Bugs Bunny # 237  **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Whitman   #237 of 245

Lost Valley” has Bugs Bunny and his Uncle Buckskin find a hole in a cave that leads to a valley that time has forgot.  The people are being bullied by Grugg and his men who want them all to never leave and must mine for gold to make them rich. Bugs and Buckskin unite the villagers and all together they teach Grugg a lesson in respect. “Shipping Out” has Bugs Bunny stopping two bikers who have stolen Yosemite Sam’s ship and plan to rob yachts! Bugs uses his brain and gets the coast guard to the rescue Sam’s ship that he has got stuck in sand, leaving the bikers in their hands. “Well Suited” has Bugs working for a company called Rent-A-Thing where he has to wear a dog costume and pretended he is a dog for Elmer Fudd, but when Fudd finds out he’s been had, he gets mad and Bugs’ boss shows up to save him or is it kill him when the rabbit can’t pay for the rent! The final story is called “Getting Grey Hares” and has Bugs and Porky Pig taking jobs as truck drivers for explosives to get money for Porky to go to Hawaii to visit Petunia Pig who’s birthday is coming up. In the end they make the delivery after some close calls of being blown up only for Porky to fly away, and Petunia to fly in!

This was another solid issue that was a nice way to finish up my look at Bugs Bunny in comics! Bugs in this series is super loyal to his friends and even those he steals from he still feels the need to help them whenever he can. The best story from this issue had to be Lost Valley as it was nice to see Bugs unite a town and get the last laugh on a greedy no good bully! The weakest link story and once more the on that felt like filler was Well Suited as the whole gag is just for Bugs to eat Fudd’s carrots while in a dog suit and to be chased by his new boss for not paying him to dress as a bear…yeah, just kind of weak. It was cool to see familiar faces in this issue as well because not only do we see Elmer Fudd but we also get Petunia Pig, Pork Pig and Yosemite Sam making this final issue I have a nice closing.  In fact looking back at these comics felt almost like a reunion with old friends that you miss. The cover is great but once more is not connected to any of the stories, and as always no artist is credited but the art work is great and captures the nature of Bugs Bunny. These Whitman reprints are really fun and are good classic kid comic stuff, these are the type of comics that I could see parents still buying to this day for this young kids who are wanting to get into comics! It’s also fun to think that the comics I read were the comics my friend Jason and his older brother Joe read many years ago and that they got into comics by reading these type of issues along with the Disney ones. I guess now that I have praised these issues I should also point out a few things I felt could have been done better. The first real puzzler is that they took Bug’s enemies and turned them into friends taking away any real danger and drama.  These classic bad guys and Bugs going at each other is what made the cartoons so special and taking that element away made for cheaper bad guys who fell short in the danger department. The second thing that I found odd is that many of the stories followed the same formula of Bugs getting into hot water mostly with thieves and always out smarting them in no time.  It’s like the story writers passed around the same outline to everyone in the office and they each made slight changes to come up with their version of the story. And the final thing that was puzzling and also kind of funny is something I already touched on, and that’s Bugs stealing from his friend Elmer Fudd, I mean if I were Fudd, I would not invite him around anymore! But all those flaws are pretty minor in my book and don’t change the fact that these are fun comics that were well worth the read. Below is some artwork from this series, and I picked an image of Bugs and Porky on a flying horse because this sums up the silly and fun nature of these comics.

Bugs Bunny Art 1

So there we have it, a look at Bugs Bunny and the Whitman comics based on him and his friends. This won’t be the last update that will cover Loony Tune characters as the box of comics I got from the Young’s had many more so that’s something we can all look forward to! But our next update is leaving the warm safe world of Bug Bunny and finally getting to take a look at a comic series that was supposed to been looked at in mid 2014, The Ghosts Of Dracula!! Be ready to walk the night with Dracula, and until then, read a comic or two, support your local Horror Host and watch a cartoon from your past and as always stay nerdy!

Ghosts of Dracula Logo 2.0

Atari Centipede Invasion!

Welcome to Rotten Ink Home and Garden Edition.  Today’s topic is centipedes and how to rid your garden of them, but first before we learn how to get rid of them we must first come to understand them. Centipedes are arthropods who are elongated metameric little fellas who can have 20 to over 300 legs! They are carnivorous and live for 3-6 years given what species they are. They are eaten by mice, snakes, birds and even beetles. Some centipede bites can be fatal to small children as venom is used when they bite; in adult humans a bite will just cause the person to be ill. Wait a minute, this is not the centipede we are talking about for this update!!! Oh we are talking about The Human Centipede, that shocking 2009 Horror flick directed by Tom Six about the mad doctor who sews peoples mouths to others’ butts to make a weird human centipede thing right? Wait, I am wrong again.  We have to be talking about the DC Comics character Crimson Centipede who was created by Ares The God of War to to fight Wonder Woman and rob banks….wait….Oh I know what the topic is about!

Vietnamese CentipedeCrimson CentipedeHuman Centipede

In 1981, Atari produced an arcade machine that was designed by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey that had you defending against the likes of centipedes, spiders, scorpions and fleas in a field of mushrooms, with the player being an elf trying your best to defend yourself.  This game was called Centipede. The machine was a hit, and many players of the day dropped many of quarters into it. For many years, alongside the likes of Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Pong, it sat as one of the kings of the arcades. Nowadays classic gamers still enjoy playing this simple yet challenging game, and any retro arcade place must have it among the games to play. Game Swap in Kettering has this game, and when it first showed up I was lucky enough to have my name on the score board.  Now, a few years later, I have been knocked off. One thing that sets Centipede apart from other arcade cabinets is the fact that it uses a trackball for movement and not the traditional joystick; this gave the player the feeling of more control of their character. So for this blog I decided to grab a lucky quarter and head to Game Swap and have a showdown with the Centipede arcade machine! I really enjoy the game and on this day, January 12, 2015, the air was cold and it was after a freezing rain storm.  I went to Game Swap Kettering an hour before it opened and popped my quarter in and began my mission of conquest. And after playing it for several minutes, I ended up making it to the board but only in the # 4 spot! But nothing can beat the sounds of several arcade machines playing at the same time.  If you’re an old school gamer, you know what I mean. I should also note that at Game Swap as of this posting there is a feud going on to have their name in the top three spots and its between Garrison Kane, Josh Weinberg and a customer named Dan Little, this far Dan has the # 1 spot and looks like the others have their hands full to claim it.

Game Swap Centipede

Beside the arcades, the one place many people could play Centipede was at home thanks to their Atari 2600! The cart was put out by Atari themselves and came packaged with a special DC Comic Book that is the comic we will be reviewing this very update! Centipede was a solid selling game for Atari 2600, and those few kids that I knew who had a 2600 all had this game. While the port of this arcade game to home console was a fun play, it did lack the smoothness of the arcade as well as the graphics were below mind blowing. But I am sure if you own an Atari 2600 now or even then, I would almost guarantee that you have or had a copy of Centipede, and you have some great memories of playing it.

atari 2600 centipede bixcentipede 2600Atari 2600 Centipede cart

If you didn’t have an Atari 2600 or an arcade near your home there were many other ways to play Centipede at home as it was also ported on Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, PC and many others! A new and improved version of Centipede came out for PC in 1998 and for Sony Playstation and Sega Dreamcast in 1999 that changed the vibe and core of the classic game. Instead of the Elf, the player now played as a ship called Shooter who was fighting the bug and mushroom invasion. I can remember the hype being around the reboot game, and I for one bought it when it was released as well as the many other PSX reboots that followed like Frogger, Pong and Blaster Master. So no matter how you look at it, if you play video games at all there was many of ways to play Centipede at home!

Centipede Box Atari 7800Centipede psxcentipede C64

So we took a quick look at Centipede at the arcade and home consoles, and now I am thinking it would be a good time to take a look at the mini comic book made by DC Comics based on this video game! Now for those of you who don’t know and are wondering why and the world did DC make a comic based on Centipede to be a give away when gamers bought the game, the answer is simple: as DC’s parent company also bought Atari and to modernize and utilize their assets, they had DC help make an extra bonus for those who bought the game. So with that I need to thank Game Swap Kettering for having this comic in stock and I also need 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. So grab a pocket full of quarters, cause we are headed to the DC Comic Arcade to read a little Centipede and maybe even get the top score!

Centipede # 1

Centipede  ***
Released in 1983   Cover Price 0.00   DC Comics   # 1 of 1

Oliver is the littlest elf of his village on Mt. Mushmore where he and his parents harvest mushrooms. Oliver’s best friends are insects that live in the forest like Spider, Scorpion, Flea and Centipede and they all play games and eat berry jam and mushroom bread together. Well one day the evil Wizard who lives nearby turns all of the mushrooms into poison toadstools as he hates shrooms but loves stools! Oliver’s Dad gets all the other elf villagers together and leaves Oliver to watch over the family farm as they all storm his castle and try to get him to stop his evil ways.  This of course backfires, and all the elves are turned into Toadstools! Oliver is the last elf left, and the Wizard goes after him and a chase ensues that ends up with Oliver getting the Wizard’s wand and the Wizard using his magic glance on his insect friends to turn them bad.  They hunt Oliver down in the forest and against their will, they are out to kill their little elf friend! But Oliver uses the wand and turns his attackers into mushrooms, and right when he is about to turn the wand on The Wizard the two come to terms and The Evil Wizard turns his frown upside down and becomes friends with the elves that are turned back into humans.

This is a pretty fun promo comic made by DC for Atari and almost has a Smurfs feel to the whole thing that gives it a family fun vibe. The story is pretty simple and true to the spirit of the game with a evil wizard making toadstools and turns the forest insects into blood thirsty creatures.  The world’s only hope is the smallest elf in town who outsmarts the Wizard and saves the day. Oliver is a likable hero who is very simple and enjoys life with his insect friends and helping on the mushroom farm his family owns.  While he is the smallest elf in town, he has a big heart and courage to back it up. Think of Oliver like this Willow Ufgood from the film W.I.L.L.O.W. meets Wally The Wizard with a dash of Papa Smurf. The Centipede and the fellow creatures of the woods are fun loving and only turn evil when a spell is placed on them.  One weird thing is that the Centipede’s whole body is made up of tiny circle smiling faces that when they come apart each section has a mind of its own. The very evil Wizard is your generic old sorcerer who hates all the nearby villagers and wants to ruin their crops in order to plant his own and can do so thanks to his trusty magic wand. Without the wand, he is no threat and in fact even with it all he does to stop you is turn you into a toadstool, but of course he is taught a lesson by Oliver and he turns his frown upside down. Think of the Wizard as a cheap imitation of Gargamel from Smurfs with the look of Jarvis the Cookie Crisp Wizard.This comic is really well done and gives more depth and character to a video game with zero story on screen and tiny spirits as the characters! DC could have turned this into a kids comic series, and I am sure it would have done better then the likes of Atari Force, a series DC made that we will have to cover at some point here at Rotten Ink. The art is done by Howard Post and Robert Smith and looks fantastic and holds the charm of a classic 70’s kids comic! To sum it up, this is a great promo comic that did its job in adding something more special to the source material. Check out some of the art samples below and enjoy the video game inspired goodness.

centipede art 1centipede art 2centipede art 3

We finished with Centipede way early so I figured why don’t we take a look at an Independent Comic I got off the website Indy Planet that is based on the classic Sci-Fi comics of the 60’s thats called King Cactor! So let’s go leave the safety of Oliver the elf and see what a giant angry monster can do!

King Cactor #1

King Cactor  # 1  ***
Released in 2014   Cover Price $3.00   James Rubino Comics   # 1 of 1

King Cactor is a giant cactus man who has just emerged from the hot sand near Las Vegas and is on a destructive path going towards towns.  The army is trying to step in and stop him, but to their horror, nothing they have is fazing him! By the time he hits a small town, the army drops a nuclear bomb on him killing the over a thousand residents and barely hurting the green prickly skinned beast! The general has no other options as he calls on a creepy scientist named Professor Tarterez who spends two weeks and over two billion dollars on an aircraft that he tells them will drain the water from King Cactor’s body leaving him a dried up husk! This is a set up as Tarterez uses the craft to gain mind control over the giant beast and use him to destroy all the humans! Professor Tarterez thinks he is about to rule the world with his mind controlled King Cactor, but he forgot about Benefield, a solider who never trusted him and snuck aboard the craft and saves the day! As the craft crashes to the ground with both Professor Tarterez and Benefield inside, King Cactor heads into the heart of the desert away from towns and people. But like any good sci-fi story, this is not the end as it shows that Benefield is alive, but is he human?

This is a fun science fiction throwback comic that captures the feeling of a 60’s comic books that inspired it, and I must say that I fully enjoyed this comic and all the cheesy action it packed inside the pages. The story follows a giant monster who has returned after a few years of hibernation and is back causing destruction.  The military, who is powerless against it’s rage, has to count on an evil Professor who will do what he can to make things go his way. King Cactor is a giant cactus monster who is super strong and can shoot needles and can survive all types of bombs and guns! Professor Tarterez is an evil man who looks like the Devil and wants to rule the world and kill off many human lives.  One thing about him is that I am not sure why he is so anti fellow human. Tarterez is clearly a bigger bad guy than King Cactor as he is doing is evil deeds with a human mind and it’s been thoughtout. The Army, who are the good guys, are noble but are also outmatched by the pure power of King Cactor, and this makes them have to do so drastic things like bomb a whole city killing everyone who lives there. Benefield is clearly the issue’s true hero as he cares about his fellow man and even sacrifices his own life to save the world from more destruction. The comic has a great pacing, and I would read every issue if this was to be turned into a full fledged comic series. I should also say that King Cactor was used in another comic before this issue called Tales From The Seventh Galaxy # 1 making this the big guy’s second comic appearance. The art is done by Thomas Ahearn and looks fantastic and captures the right feel for this style of comic. I say check out this independent comic if you’re a fan of old school sci-fi comics starring larger then life giant monsters.

King Cactor Art 1

So from an arcade classic turned into a DC comic to a giant Cactus monster who runs amok, this update is coming to an end, and I still must say I could not knock Josh Weinberg off the # 1 spot on the Centipede arcade machine at Game Swap Kettering, but one day he will drop to the # 2 spot and my name will be the new champ of the machine! Our next update will be all about that lovable rich blue cartoon dog named Foofur! So until then, read a comic or two, visit your local comic shop, play a classic video game and as always have a good time!

Foofur logo

Matt Goes To The Movies 2014

Matt Goes To The Movies 2014 Logo

2014 was a pretty good year for movies, and while I didn’t get to visit the theater just about every week like last year, I still was able to catch many great films at my favorite theaters. It’s odd that after all these years I still feel the excitement of watching a film in the theater with some popcorn and an Icee. But before we get into my lists, I should say that my favorite theater is Cinemark at the Greene in Beavercreek, but man since they bought the theater from The Rave that place has had some issue and cutbacks that have really taken away from the place. The first thing you will notice is that on many days they are understaffed and many of the faces from last year are no longer working there, although my friend Chris still does so that’s a plus. Plus they did away with the flavor powder to put on your popcorn….so no more cheese popcorn for this movie goer. Others issues I have had is that during John Wick they left the lights on.  When my pal Jeremy Hoyt went and told them they turned off all the lights besides the center one that sadly we were sitting under…I felt like I was being interrogated by Dick Tracy! During November Man almost all the speakers besides the front two didn’t work, and worse, they had the front two cranked and it sounded like crap. During some movies, due to them going all digital with no projectionist when the film would start it would have no sound or no picture. Plus one of the most annoying things is the fact that they cram so many Coka-Cola and Microsoft ads at the start of every movie that it feels like your watching network TV! But to be fair for every bad experience, I have had way more good and that’s why it’s still my favorite theater. So let’s take a seat here at the Rotten Ink Theater lobby and let’s talk films of 2014!

Rotten Ink Cinema Lobby 2014Let’s get those bad films out of the way first, the ones that I left the theater wondering why film or even digital pixels were wasted on making them! So let’s take out this stinky trash before it smells up the joint! This year since I didn’t go and see one or two films a week, I was lucky enough to miss many stinkers but here are at least two that left a fowl smell in the theater.

WORST copy

# 2

300 Rise of an Empire

A direct follow up to 300 takes place at the same time and after the events of the first film, and instead of land battles, it’s mostly all about water warfare. Themistocles and his brave warriors go to war at sea with Xerxes and his evil sister Artemisia all for the glory of Greece. The film has some fun over the top boat battles and even a few sword to sword fights, but many times the action is pure cheese and some of the green screen effects look as if it was a made for the Sy-Fy Channel film. The scene that has Themistocles riding a horse from boat to boat and throwing fire is down right silly and mind numbingly bad. Highlights include a naked Eva Green who plays Artemisia. Over all, it’s a very poor follow up to the original and was a bland sword and sandal film. The film grossed $106,580,051.00 at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers.

# 1

Million Ways To Die In The West

This film just plan sucked! I saw it with my pal Jeremy Hoyt with a theater semi-full of people, and hardly no one laughed and many groans were heard at the poor attempts at humor. The film follows sheep farmer Albert Stark, who is a weak man with no backbone and no shooting skills, that is until he meets Anna, the wife of a gunslinger outlaw who has set his sights on killing Albert who has fallen in love with his wife! It’s up to Anna to help Albert get a backbone and survive not only a fight with her husband but that also with his ex-girlfriend’s mustachioed boyfriend. The film was written, directed and starred Seth McFarlane, who is a one trick pony with his gross and pop culture humor. So in other words, if you think fart jokes are top of the line comedy than Seth wrote this one for you. The film’s only real highlights are cameos from celebrities playing famous characters they have played in past Western films like Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown from Back To The Future Part III! At the US box office, this film brought in $43,139,300 for Universal. I hope they don’t make a sequel to this film…as the thought makes my brain hurt.

Those were the only bad films I saw in theater, but I should also note that I saw two really bad ones that went direct to video like Wolf Creek 2 and Dario Argento’s Dracula 3-D. But let’s not inhale any more of this stinky trash!

Wolf Creek 2Trash CanArgentos Dracula 3D

Up second, we are going to take a look at action.  While last year we called it 80’s action, this year we are going to add more into it besides films starring aging action stars; plus I am going to add action thrillers into this category. So get your Rambo headband ready because I am about to tell you my top 6 action packed films of 2014!

80s action copy

# 6

sabotage

Arnold Schwarzenegger geared up in this action thriller film that was pretty solid even though it had many plot holes. Breacher is the leader of an elite DEA team.  His wife was murdered by drug lords in Mexico, and he has his team steal money from their busts. When $10 million goes missing from one of their heists, the DEA turns up the heat and disbands the team. But when members of the team are starting to be murdered off, the team must figure out who is killing them and what happened to the money they stole that went missing. The film takes many twists and turns; it also has a solid line up of supporting actors like Joe Manganiello, Terrence Howard and Mireille Enos and some great gun play that all help add to the over all action film feel. The film sadly did very poorly at the box office grossing only $10,508,518.00 in the US for Open House Films, but both Juliet and I enjoyed it.

# 5

The Equalizer

Who doesn’t like seeing Denzel Washington kicking ass and taking names? This action drama follows Robert McCall, a retired black ops agent who is now working at a home improvement store after his wife’s passing. He comes out of retirement and takes on the Russian Mafia when his young friend Alina is beaten badly by her pimp who happens to be a Mafia member.  The bodies pile up as Robert takes the war to the streets and to crime that he witnesses. It’s a fun action flick based on the old 80’s TV show on CBS, that has Robert killing scum bags with all types of weapons from guns to hammers. Denzel is fantastic as is Chloe Grace Moretz who plays Alina.  In fact I think Chloe is an actress to keep an eye on because if Hollywood gives her the roles, she will pull them off. If you want to see scum bags get what they deserve at the hands of a man who knows no fear, then check this one out! The film did pretty well at the US box office and grossed $99,306,000.00 for Sony. I saw this film with pal David J. Getz, who was way too hard on it and took the stand of Denzel being to old to be an action star, and to that I say he’s wrong!

# 4

november man

The November Man is an action thriller that stars former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan who plays Peter Devereaux, a retired CIA agent who must go head to head with his former protege David Mason when a large plot involving a Russian general and a young female witness to crimes he has committed’s life is in danger. Throw in a hit woman who has been hired to kill her and you have a race to find out the truth and who is the real bad guy! One thing I like about the film is the good guy Devereaux is not a real nice guy as he lies and even hurts innocent people to make things go his way, but with that said he has his reasons and over all he truly is a “good” guy. Pierce Brosnan is fantastic in the role of Devereaux, and that’s what makes this over all average film a heck of a lot better. Sadly this is the movie that when Jeremy and I saw it at the theater, only the front speakers were working and to “fix” it when Jeremy told them, they turned up the front ones louder…doh! The film grossed $25,018,119.00 for Relativity via the US box office.

# 3

John WickThis was the surprise action hit of the year for me as I can safely say that I really enjoyed every bullet riddled moment! Keanu Reeves plays John Wick, a one time enforcer for a crime family who has retired to spend time with his wife who passes away from an illness. After her death, she leaves John a puppy and together they morn the loss. But when the son of the crime lord makes the mistake of stealing John’s car and killing his dog, they awaken “The Boogeyman” who will not stop till the son is dead. What follows next is nonstop action that felt like a video game come to life as bullets and fights break out in clubs and hotels, all ending in deaths! Plus it was funny to see WWF Superstar Kevin Nash in a small role, not to mention the supporting cast was also fantastic with names like William Dafoe, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki and John Leguizamo all doing great performances for an over the top action film like this. The film did pretty well for Lionsgate at the US box office, grossing in $40,649,000.00 and bringing them in a profit. This is a movie I will buy on DVD when it’s released to show to Juliet and my parents.

# 2

Expendables 3

My favorite action star of all time, Sylvester Stallone, returns as Barney Ross for The Expendables 3.  The film has Barney disbanding his old crew when he finds out that Conrad Stonebanks, an old teammate turned enemy, is still alive when Hale Caesar is injured by him in a raid. Barney turns to his pal Bonaparte to get a younger crew that consist of such actors as Kellan Lutz, Rhonda Rousey, Victor Ortiz and Glen Powell, and when they go after Conrad and fail and become his prisoners, it’s up to Barney and his old crew to save them and stop Conrad once and for all. This film has a paper thin plot but is heavy on the action! It was nice to see Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Jet Li and Arnold Schwarzenegger all return for a third time. Plus the addition of other classic action stars like Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas (who steals the movie) was a nice way to spice up the cast. The new crew sadly are all forgettable besides Rhonda Rousey, who is a great looking tough UFC chick who can rock a red dress and bash a head in and look fantastic doing it. Not as great as the other two films in the series, but still a solid action flick that sadly did poorly at the US box office for Lionsgate only bringing in $39,322,544.00, but thank God the overseas viewers loved it where it brought in $166,850,000.00! Here is to hoping Sly will give this franchise a break and focus on a new Rambo film…or a sequel to Cobra.

# 1

Walk Among The Tombstones

A Walk Among The Tombstones is a film that mixes many genres together and does so really well; it takes elements from Action, Horror, Thriller and Drama and sprinkles in elements like Noir, Detective and Serial Killer. The film follows former cop now unlicensed private detective Matthew Scudder, who takes a case that involves kidnapping, ransom and murder, and once he’s involved he becomes a player in this sick and twisted game set up by a group of killers. Along the way he meets a young boy on the streets who becomes his somewhat partner and helps him stop the killings and expose the identities of the killers. I really dug this film and enjoyed the fact that it was a Noir Action film that kept me on the edge of my seat.  Plus the film’s killers are true scum of the earth! I saw this film with a pretty packed house and with my friend Jeremy, and you could hear many people talking at the end about how much they liked it. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, and the story has some surprises that are best left for you to discover when you watch it. The film did pretty bad at the US box office bringing in a total of $26,307,600.00 for Universal on a budget of $28 Million, and that’s a shame cause this film was pretty badass!

Liam beating Sly on my top action films, I would have NEVER seen that coming! So we whooped some ass with action now let’s get our nerd minds a good workout as we take a look at my top four Sci-Fi and Fantasy films! So charge up your Lightsaber and set you phasers to stun, we are talking Science Fiction now.

SciFi

# 4

transformers age of extinction

I hate to say it, but I really enjoyed Transformers: Age Of Extinction in the theater while eating popcorn, drinking a blue Icee with my gal Juliet.  That says a lot for me because I was by no means a fan of the other three films in this series directed by Michael Bay. This one’s plot is simple; the people of Earth have turned on the Autobots and have ruled it open season on killing them and taking the bodies away to be studied to see if we could create ones that would become weapons of war. When the Yeager family find and help Optimus Prime, they become the target of the CIA, and worse, Megatron is back in the form of Galvatron! Can Optimus and the remaining Autobots stop them from ruining the world..well of course they can! The film is packed with stupid robot one liners, wall to wall over the top action and the worst cameos for the Dinobots ever, who only have a few minutes on screen and are a waste of film as they really add nothing to the story. The film scored big for Paramount at the US box office bringing in $245,439,076.00 and when adding in foreign gross, it did over a billion dollars! So if you don’t mind checking your brain in at the door and want to see Mark Wahlberg team up with Optimus Prime, then this Sci-Fi Action film is for you.

# 3

Robocop

I generally dislike remakes of classic films, and when I heard Sony was remaking Robocop, my eyes rolled and I thought here we go again another heartless retelling all for the sake of a quick buck. But after seeing Robocop the week it came out, I must admit I was wrong and I think the people who made this film really tried to capture the feel of the original and update it all at the same time. This time around Alex Murphy is a cop on a mission, and when going after a crime boss he is blown up via a car bomb. OmniCorp, who create robots to fight wars, wants to make a super cop and use Murphy as the test subject and create Robocop! And once he gets revenge on those who originally set him up, he also soon finds that Raymond Sellars, the CEO of OmniCorp, is not a very nice man and wants Robocop shutdown for good when he finds he can’t control his mind and looks at him as nothing more than a computer. Can Robocop stop the evil corporation? Will his wife and son accept him? Will Raymond succeed in pulling the plug? All these questions are answered in this fun PG-13 action romp. Joel Kinnaman plays Robocop/Alex and does a pretty good job, but he is no Peter Weller. The supporting cast is also fantastic with such names as Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson and Jackie Earle Haley. The film did weak in the USA box office grossing $58,607,007.00 making the film a miss for Sony. It’s a shame; I would have liked to have seen a part two.

# 2

maleficent

Maleficent was fantastic ,and when seeing it in IMAX 3D, I felt like a kid again watching a Disney take on a fairy tale unfold before my eyes. My favorite animated Disney film has always been Sleeping Beauty so when I heard they were doing a live action film based around the villain Maleficent my interest was peeked. The film follows Maleficent, who is a fairy, and when a human boy misleads her and cuts off her wings to gain power in the nearby kingdom, she turns mean and waits for her revenge on the day the boy is now King and is going to have his first child.  Maleficent places a curse on the child to sleep forever until true loves kiss awakens her on her 16th birthday. But the film takes a twist as we see that Maleficent ends up befriending the young Princess and wants to try and undue the curse but can she do it? And worse the King has sent his whole army to kill her. This family fun flick was amazing and added so much more depth to the Maleficent character.  Plus Angelina Jolie does a top notch job as the “evil” fairy Maleficent. The special effects are top of the line with the fairy moors being breathtaking, as is the dragon that appears to help her in her fight against the army. The film did really well for Disney at the US box office, grossing in $241,381,217.00 and proving that the classic characters never go out of style. If you have not seen this film, you should check it out.

# 1

dawn of planet of the apes

The Planet of the Apes films have always been some of my favorite Sci-Fi films to watch, and these new films being made by Fox are just as great as the originals! This second film in the rebooted series follows Caesar, the leader of the ape population trying to work alongside the remaining humans who have survived a mass sickness that killed off most of the population.  This team up pisses off primate Koba who was abused by man many years back, and he sets a plan in motion where he makes an attempt at Caesar’s life sparking a war with the humans and apes. But can an injured Caesar stop the war or is it too late? The film’s special effects are top notch and throughout the whole movie, you forget that the apes are CGI! Plus with actors like Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell and Kirk Acevedo playing the humans, you know you’re getting sold acting. My favorite ape in the film has to be Koba; he is so bad yet somehow I think he really thought he was doing good by starting the war and killing any man or ape that got in his way! This was one of the films I was most looking forward to this year, and it was by no means a letdown as I loved every minute of it! The film was a hit for Fox and grossed $208,532,326.00 here in the United States showing that people still love seeing a world run by primates!

I saw a few other films that fit this genre this year that were entertaining but just couldn’t make the cut for this list: “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson, a film about a drug that allows a woman to use 100% of her brain after she is used as a mule to smuggle it to the USA when it’s surgically placed into her body.  When the bag leaks she becomes less and less human. “Pompeii” is about the town that was covered in lava and ash via an erupting volcano and follows a gladiator who has fallen in love with a young woman of power, and it turns into a tragic love story starring the likes of Kit Harington, Kiefer Sutherland and Emily Browning. “Legend of Hercules” is about a clean cut son of Zeus who is more of a gladiator than the hero we all know and love. All are entertaining movies in their own right but none were strong enough to make the list.

LucyPompeiilegend of hercules

So let’s trade our phasers in for capes as we now take a look at my top 7 Superhero films of 2014, and man I must say that films based on comics are dominating the box office and shows that comics are more powerful money makers then any company could have ever imagined.

SUPER HERO copy# 7

sin city a dame to kill for

This follow up to Sin City was laced with all the same techniques that wowed audiences upon it’s release in 2005 and even brought back many of the actors from the first film. Sadly it tanked at the box office and put the nail in the coffin for this series. The film follows many stories from Marv, who can’t remember why he killed a bunch of rich brats, to Dwight McCarthy falling for a woman who is using him and many others to get what she wants. There is also a story line of a lucky gambler named Johnny who tests his luck against corrupt Senator Roark and stripper Nancy who wants to kill Roark for crimes he committed in the first film. All the stories come together in the end and all ends well for some, while others end up dead.  The film was a lot of fun and not nearly as bad as many critics would have you think, but as I said it bombed and only did $13,757,804.00 at the box office for Dimension Films. The film also has an all star cast like Josh Brolin, Micky Rourke, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Powers Boothe, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Lloyd and Jessica Alba to name a few.

# 6

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I was very lukewarm on the idea of a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie that was a reboot to the series done by those masters of butchering of childhood memories, Platinum Dunes. But I must say the film was way better than I could ever expect it to be, and while it is flawed with a cheesy script and a Shredder who looks more like he should be in Transformers, the Turtles’ banter is well done even if they look like steroid goofy faced mutants. The film follows the Turtles who are going up against the foot clan who are tormenting New York and even have a plan in motion that will poison and kill many thanks to a gas they will be pumping into the air.  Alongside April O’Neil, the Turtles clash with the foot and their leader The Shredder, and of course along the way we learn about Master Splinter as well as a connection they all have to April. Again the film is flawed, but I enjoyed checking my brain at the door and watching a comic book/cartoon inspired film that tried to keep some of the basics of source material and also tried to add more of an update to it for modern fans. For me I would put it on par with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and say while bad, it was fun to watch. The film did pretty solid numbers at the US box office for Paramount bringing in $191,204,754.00!

# 5

Hercules

I am pretty sure many people who went to seen Hercules had no idea that it was based on a comic book from Radical Comics and to be honest, much like my cousin Steve Alexander said, this is truly one of the year’s most underrated films. The film stars WWF Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Hercules, a mercenary who alongside his friends are creating the legend of Hercules, the son of Zeus. But when he finds out that he was hired to help the wrong side in a conflict, he and his friends stand against the odds and leave everyone wondering if he truly is the son of a God. The film is filled with great Sword and Sandal action as well as likable characters; this is one film I would have loved to seen sequels made about. The Rock as well does a fantastic job as Hercules and pulls off the role of being maybe a con man yet maybe not, making the character tough when needed and light hearted when the mood is right. The film sadly did not do as well as it should have and grossed only $72,688,614.00 for Paramount at the US box office. With the film being out on DVD and Blu-Ray, do yourself a favor and check it out.

# 4

Amazing Spider-Man 2

I feel like Amazing Spider-Man 2 was judged way too hard by critics and fans who seemed to want to try and nitpick it to death.  I for one really enjoyed it and found it better than the overblown Spider-Man 2 made by Sam Raimi that I think was praised way too much by fans and critics. This time around Spider-Man is locking horns with three super villains who are all gunning to take Spidey down for the count! You have the Rhino, a man in mechanical suit who feels as if he has been wronged by Spider-Man; you have Electro, a man who was a one time Spider-Man fan who after an accident finds that he has the power of electricity; and Green Goblin, who is really his long time friend Harry Osborne who is slipping into madness! And worse as Peter Parker is having issues coming to terms with the death of his girlfriend’s father to whom he made a promise that has him staying away from her. Action, Drama and Spider-Man one liners help make this one a good Super Hero film! Andrew Garfield is fantastic as Spider-Man, and Emma Stone makes one hell of a Gwen Stacy. The strangest casting had to be Paul Giamatti as The Rhino…his performance is down right silly! The film did pretty well for Sony at the US box office grossing in $202,853,933.00 even though they try and act as if it wasn’t a hit for them. I for one am looking forward to Amazing Spider-Man 3 as well as the spin off Sinister Six movie.

# 3

guardians of the galaxy

Guardians Of The Galaxy is the Marvel Comic team that showed the world that you don’t have to be a triple A team to have a hit movie! The film is about Starlord, a goofball outlaw who teams up with other misfits of space like the living tree Groot, talking raccoon Rocket, psycho brute Drax The Destroyer and green skinned female assassin Gamora to protect a infinity stone from getting into the hands of Ronan The Accuser, who is an evil Kree alien who is back stabbing the powerful Thanos in order to collect the jewel and become all powerful. The movie has lots of sci-fi action, drama and comedy and has some of the most likeable characters of any movie this year! Plus I really liked Ronan as a bad guy, and he is a prime example of a cold blooded super villain who will kill whomever gets in his way. When Juliet and I went to see this movie in the theater, it was a pretty packed house and it was clear that everyone in that theater that day had a blast watching it.  The overly positive remarks of people leaving their seats when it was over was a clear sign that Disney and Marvel Studios did something very right. The film did fantastic for Disney at the US box office grossing in an impressive $332,309,276.00 making this a huge hit. If you have not seen this film yet, do yourself a favor and check it out!

# 2

captain america winter

Captain America is one of my favorite Super Hereos of all time and has been ever since I was a kid.  This second film from Disney and Marvel Studios was a fun kick butt action film laced with enough drama to make the film feel very important in the over all movie universe they are creating. This time around Captain America, Black Widow and Nick Fury have became a target by a group controlled by a very high official in America, and they even bring Cap’s old World War II buddy Bucky Barns back from the “dead” and call him Winter Solider, a well trained killing machine. Can Captain America stop this evil group and talk sense into his one time friend? Watch and find out! While the original film was set during World War II, this second film takes place in modern times right after the events of The Avengers and trades in Red Skull for The Winter Solider and does a nice job of making the odds looking against Cap at every twist and turn. I must say Christ Evans makes the perfect Captain America/Steve Rogers and who would have thought that was possible? The film did great for Disney grossing in a massive $259,766,572.00 at the US box office. If your a fan of the star spangled Avenger like myself, make sure to give this film a watch.

# 1

X-Men Days Of The Future Past

The X-Men films, as well as the spin offs like “First Class” and “Wolverine,” are fun comic book action films that make for some amazing popcorn munching theater watches, and “X-Men: Days Of The Future Past” was just that and more as I found it to be my favorite Comic Book film of 2014! I know what those of you who know me are saying, the X-Men beat Captain America? But let me tell you, while Cap was amazing, X-Men was a fun thrill ride filled with some great faces from the franchise’s past. The film follows the future where mutants are being hunted and killed by Sentinels made by Bolivar Trask, and their only hope is to send Wolverine to the past to unite the mutants and stop an event that triggered the mutants’ death sentence. The whole mess is started by the younger Mystique, so can Professor X and Magneto put aside their differences and stop the terrible events to happen in the future…watch and find out. The film is based on one of Marvel Comics’ top story lines for the X-Men and FOX did a fantastic job of making it come alive on the big screen. The film stars all the classic characters from the series rich history with many actors returning such as Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Halle Berry (Storm), Shawn Ashmore (Ice Man), Daniel Cudmore (Colossus) and Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde) all returning from the first three films as well as actors who played the younger characters in First Class like James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) and Nicholas Hoult as Beast. Not to mention the addition of new characters like Bishop, Quicksilver, Blink, Sunspot and Warpath. I don’t want to ruin the end but let’s just say it feels like a High School Reunion, and all the faces you see are ones that make you smile and feel good about the journey you made to get there. The film did pretty well for Fox at the USA Box Office grossing in $233,921,534.00 and even more overseas! While I like the First Class actors, I am hoping that the next film based on The Age of Apocalypse story will feature more of the originals.

So now that we are retiring the cape, let me talk a little about some cool things Game Swap Kettering did this year for me.  They allowed us to have private screenings of Baron Von Porkchop specials. The first one was near Halloween, and we set up a projector, screen and big speaker as well as a buffet of wings, pizza, chips and cookies. Friends in attendance included Juliet, Stephen Alexander, Maurice, Joe G, Garrison, Todd The Fox and V and we all watched Baron host White Zombie as he tried to enjoy a peaceful Halloween that’s interrupted by an ax murdering zombie named Fulci! They also got a sneak peak at an episode for season three that has Baron hosting the film Face Of The Screaming Werewolf. Then around Thanksgiving we did it again, and they got a sneak peek at the new Baron Von Porkchop Black Friday special where he hosted the Independent B Movie film Razor as well as the First Black Friday special whose film was Farmer Joe. Those specials has his feud with a Chicken Man he made that has become a thorn in the Baron’s side. But a big thank you goes to Game Swap in Kettering for allowing us to do these fun screenings. Whenever I get a bigger place to live with a basement I would love to start a Horror Host Fan Club that has meetings once every two months and we project and watch host shows…who knows maybe 2015 will be that year! Below is a cellphone pic from the Halloween episode screening.

Baron Von Porkchop Screening

So while doing a rundown of the films of 2014, I figured I would take a brief moment to give you my top three best Survival Horror Games of 2014 as well as the worst, because those of you who know me understand that I love to play a good solid Survival Horror game! Now I need to state that of the “modern” game systems, I have a PS3 and will soon get a PS4 so all games on the list are ones I got for PS3. I also want to say that the games I buy are on physical disc, and I do not download games so while many horror themed games did come out as digital only games, I have not played them and won’t unless a disc is released.  I like to own what I pay for. So let’s start off with what I found to be the worst of the horror games that came out in 2014 that I have played. And I won’t ramble much I promise…okay, maybe a little rambling.

Worst Horror Video Games

# 1

Escape Dead Island PS3

Escape Dead Island is one of those games that just reeks of a quick cash in with boring fighting mechanics as well as a storyline that is a little weak. This game follows Cliff, a party boy who wants to get his dad’s respect so he goes to the island of a zombie outbreak along with his friends Linda and Devan and finds out that the stories are true and zombies are running wild on the island! Along the way he also meets Xian, a woman who is looking for her friend Rob who went missing while getting intel on the corporation responsible for the outbreak. While the other two games in the series “Dead Island” and “Dead Island Riptide” are first person shooters, this game changed to a third person game.  In the two games that came before you could customize your weapons multiple ways, and in this game your weapons are very limited and barely upgradeable. Plus I can’t help but notice the style of animation is clearly trying to rip off Tell Tale Games’s style with the more cartoonish look. Over all this is not a bottom of the barrel game, but it’s close.

So now that I spoke about the “worst” Horror Game this year that I would more label at “weakest,” let’s move onto what I considered the three best games that helped make 2014 a pretty good year for horror themed games!

Best Horror Video Games Logo

# 3

Alien Isolation PS3

After the complete mess that was “Aliens: Colonial Marians,” Sega redeemed themselves with this fun moody game that allows the player to take control of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen who travels to a space station that has been sending out distress signals.  Once she gets there, things go wrong as she is separated from her small crew and finds that Xenomorphs are on the prowl and hungry for a human host! The game stacks the odds against you, and the player must use their wits in order to survive this terror in space. The downside to the game is that I felt it took forever for the story to really kick in and that slowed the scares from coming in. The game is a first person shooter and plays much like Call of Duty and so many other shooters like this. I must also say that some of the cut scene graphics are really ugly on PS3, and it’s clear that the development team spent more time on the newer generation consoles versions. A major plus for this game comes via DLC that allows you to play as Ellen and has many of the original characters from the first film like Dallas and Ash back, and they are voiced by the actors who played them in the film! While not a perfect game, it was a fun game that helped make 2014 in gaming a little spookier!

# 2

The Walking Dead Season Two PS3

The Walking Dead Season Two is a great follow up to Season One and helps add more to the story it created. This is a point and click adventure game made by one of the best independent game companies, Tell Tale Games, who have made some of my top favorite games of the past 4 years and this game adds another hit to the list. This time around we follow Clementine (who was a major character in the first game), a young girl who is trying to survive this zombie outbreak.  Along the way she meets people and she loses people all of whom are running from Carver, a man that use to lead them in a group.  All comes to a head when she meets Carver herself, a jerk of a man who runs a camp that is held up in a home improvement center and who takes Clem and her friends hostage and makes them work for the group’s needs putting them in danger. Your choices impact the story so when playing make sure to choose wisely. One cool aspect of this game is some returning faces from the first game as well as references to choices you made. The downside is the new characters seem to have less development then those from the original and the settings are a little less impactful as in the first game I truly felt like I could be zombie food at any moment. But with that said, this is a great game and one hell of a fun play.  So if you liked the first or just want to play a fun story driven point and click adventure horror game, then this one is for you.

# 1

The Evil Within PS3Take video games Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Clock Tower and mix them with Horror films like As Above So Below, and you have the new Survival Horror Game by Shinji Mikami, the mastermind behind the original Resident Evil series as well as Dino Crisis! This game is about Sebastian Castellanos, a detective who along with his partners Juli and Joseph, go to a distress call at the Beacon Mental Hospital.  When they get there, everything is in chaos and the world as they know it has changed and infected people and monsters are wandering the world above as well as below. Can Sebastion get to the bottom of what’s going on as well as unearth the truth of why and who is responsible! The game is packed with great atmosphere and at all times I feel as if the odds are against me as ammo comes in only ones and twos and most the time it’s better to run than to fight. So if you’re not too scared, get this game and beware of Safehead!

It was very hard to pick between Evil Within and The Walking Dead Season Two for the # 1 spot as both are solid and super fun games, but in the end I had to go with Evil Within as I felt that it truly captured what a Survival Horror Game is all about and at all times I felt as if the odds of survival were against me. One game that came out that while I bought I have not played yet is Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow 2, so who knows where it would have placed.

Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2 PS3

So we talked a little about screenings of Horror Host Baron Von Porkchop as well as Survival Horror Video Games, now let’s get to the bloody meat of this update and take a look at the Horror Films of Hollywood!

horror copy

# 11

Tusk

Tusk was so close to being on my worst films of the year list as once more Kevin Smith smoked a bunch of pot and unleashed another over the top film onto the small masses who still watch his films. But then I read some interviews with Smith and he explained that he wanted to make this film because he wanted to and not for a studio or for quick cash.  I began to see that the film is labor of love much like the film The Wolf Hunter is to Matt Hoffman. It’s about a podcast host who travels to Canada for an interview with a kid who is a Youtube sensation after cutting off his own leg with a samurai sword.  When he gets there, he finds the kid has committed suicide, and he then travels to an old mansion to talk to an old man who has a story to tell or so the letter left in a mens room says. The rest of this film has the old man turning the podcaster into a human walrus as his co-host and his girlfriend try to find and save him.  Oh yeah and throw in a dimwitted investigator, and you have the film. When the podcaster is turned into full Walrus, I laughed out loud in the theater and thought to myself what and why am I watching this! I should also note that Juliet and I were the only people at the theater watching this film at the time. It stars Justin Long, Johnny Depp, Haley Joel Osment and Michael Parks and all do fantastic with the silly parts they are given. Again when you see Long, who plays the podcaster, as a walrus you can’t help but to laugh as he swims and grunts around. The film did poorly for A24 and only grossed $1,826,705.00 and didn’t even get a foreign release. If you are to watch this cheesy thriller/comedy horror film check your brain at the door and be prepared for long goofy dialogue and unlikable characters.

# 10

the pyramid

Hollywood horror films are lacking mummies, and when The Pyramid was announced I was hyped believing that we got a mummy film in 2014…I was sadly wrong. I first need to say that I was hyped to see this film and was ready for a creepy Egyptian found footage film taking place in an old pyramid where the viewer was not sure what was stalking our characters.  So when this film was a disappointment, I think it’s because of my own hype I made for it. The hype I made for it was the fact it was the last theatrical horror film of the year and again the setting and the possibility of it being about a Mummy. The film is about a father and daughter team as well as her boyfriend being followed by a documentary crew who are in Egypt during stressful times who find a pyramid that could be the oldest one ever found.  When they are told to leave due to the outbreak of civil uprising, they send in a robot real quick to get a sneak peek and when the bot looses contact, they go in to retrieve it and soon find the pyramid was a place to keep something in and not things out! One by one, they fall victim to the hunter who is a jackal headed god who has been placed there because it went mad after the death of its father. Can any of them survive and can they also dodge the evil cats that are roaming around…yeah the film has evil cats. The characters all seem brain dead with the cameraman and father being the worst two.  The CGI for the cats and jackal god are downright eye rolling, and the film was just kind of boring.  I was not the only one who felt this as Juliet and several others in the theater also expressed these feelings. The film was pulled from wide release to limited, and we had to see it at the Regal Cinema in Beavercreek.  Doing this made the film only gross a small $ 2,638,300.00 for FOX at the US box office. No Mummy but a heck of a lot of CGI Cats is what I got in The Pyramid.

# 9

Ouija

Ouija is a film based on the Hasbro board game and produced by those masters of crap Platinum Dunes.  It’s your typical paint by number ghost story. When a young woman commits suicide, her friends don’t believe it and soon find that she was messing with a Ouija Board on her own and had unleashed something terrible, but they only learn this after they themselves use the board to try and speak to her. Now the evil is after them, can they find the answers on how to stop the spirit or will they all become victims? No major gore, some cool spirit effects, some good creepy shots, pretty actresses, released at Halloween time and a fun film to torment my friend Jeremy with as he had to be dragged to this film kicking and screaming! The film did $50,856,010.00 for Universal and is clearly a teen PG-13 horror film that was nothing special and not fully terrible.

# 8

The Quiet Ones

The Quiet Ones is a Hammer Horror Film that follows a camera man who takes the job of documenting a college professor who, along with his helpers, are trying to cure a sick and possessed young woman named Jane whom they have locked in a room and wont allow her to sleep for any long period of time as well as keep her human interaction to a minimum. But when her treatments become more and more cruel, the camera man must come to a decision on whether to help Jane escape who he has fallen for or stay true to his assignment as the Professor thinks she can be cured. So is she possessed or being abused…watch and find out. The film is a little slow and while well acted for the most part, many decisions characters make are annoying and add to frustration as a viewer. Olivia Cooke plays Jane, the sick girl, and she is fantastic and probably the best actor in the film. I saw the film with Stephen, Garrison, Todd and Josh, and all of us felt the same way about it and that’s it was okay but way too slow and a little too long as a good 15 minutes could easily be cut out of the 1 Hour 38 minute run time. The film at the US box office brought in $8,509.867.00 for Lionsgate.  All I can say was much like Ouija, it was just okay.

# 7

deliver us from evil

A group of soldiers from Iraq have come back and are acting very aggressive and all have strange behavior. New York cop Ralph Sarchie is called in to investigate the crimes and soon learns the truth that demons are real and want to teach him a lesson for butting into their plans. Along with a Castilian priest, he must find faith and save the souls of the infected as well as save his wife who has been kidnapped by the possessed. It also shows that Sarchie is gifted and can spot evil. The film is said to be based on a real case and the real life of Sarchie. The film stars Eric Bana as Sarchie as well as the likes of Olivua Munn, Sean Harris and Edgar Ramirez with music by Christopher Young. The film was nothing special and for the most part is a run of the mill possession film with no surprises and a few gross moments. I watched the film with Jeremy and watching him go crazy with the overly religious tone of the movie made me laugh. The film didn’t do so hot at the box office only grossing in $30,577,122.00 for Sony on a 30 million dollar budget in the US. Not much more to say about this one, besides if you’ve seen one modern possession movie, ya pretty much have seen em all.  It’s not bad and has some good creepy moments – worth a watch to fans of this horror film topic boom.

# 6

Godzilla

I have been a fan of Godzilla since I was a kid and can remember watching the films all the time on TBS on Super Scary Saturday hosted by Grandpa Munster. But when Godzilla is made by Americans, it tends to not be so good; I mean just look at the over blown 1998 film that Hollywood spewed out to the fans that seemed like it was made more to sell toys and Taco Bell Cups than to entertain the movie goers. So when Warner Brothers said they were releasing a Godzilla film, I was stand offish even though in the back of my mind I was scream YES, a new Godzilla film on the big screen,  The more time passed and after seeing the trailer I became very hyped to watch it! The film has an accident that happens at a power planet in Japan that’s caused by a giant monster who is looking for its mate and when it wakes up it causes havoc and destruction.  As this is going on a US Solider is trying to get home to his family, and Godzilla has come from the sea and is on a path to clash with the other two monsters. You see Godzilla is acting as Earth’s protector! The human parts are what they always are in my opinion in giant monster films, and that’s filler. The major flaw I had with the film is more time is spent on the boring solider trying to get home and less on Godzilla who is why we all went to see this film in the theater. I must also say the shaky camera and pull away shots of the early monster fights was annoying and didn’t add suspense for me as much as it added frustration. Even with those small flaws I really enjoyed the film for the most part and am looking forward to part two as well as the announced Japanese Godzilla film in the works. The film did great for WB at the US box office bringing in a whooping $200,676,069.00, making it a hit for them this year.

# 5

i frankenstein

Frankenstein’s Monster was back on the silver screen this year with an Action Horror film called I, Frankenstein that followed The Monster who was a pawn in a war between Heaven and Hell who need him to find the secrets of life created by man and not God. The good side is gargoyles who at first want to protect or kill The Monster, and the Demons who are working for evil and they want him to study and make soulless husks so demons straight from hell can take over the bodies of the newly made soulless bodies. But what none of them counted on is that The Monster is a fighter, and he will be pawn to no man or creature! The film has a real Underworld feel to it, and the action is fun and over the top, plus for the most part is well acted. I think this film is pretty underrated and was judged way too much just by the trailer, the fact it’s PG-13 and that Aaron Eckhart plays The Monster. The film did terrible at the US box office and only grossed $19,075,290.00 for Lionsgate on a $65 Million Dollar budget, and it’s a shame as it’s not at all that bad of a film.

# 4

As Above So Below

As Above So Below is a “found footage” style film that follows Scarlett, an alchemy scholar who wants to find the famed philosopher’s stone that is said to be able to heal the sick and dying among other amazing things. She follows clues and finds that the entrance to achieving her goal is inside the catacombs below Paris, and along with her camera man and friend they hire some local urban explorers and find that this quest is more then they bargained for as they face sins of their past and find the gateway to Hell. This film was packed with some solid acting and atmosphere that was downright spooky and well done unlike The Pyramid that had a very similar type of feel. All the characters are likable and while they do make some dumb decisions, I still found myself hoping they all make it out okay. The film is by no means a bloodbath but what it lacks in the red stuff, it makes up for with heart and mood. I saw this film with Juliet, Todd The Fox and V, and we all left the theater thinking the film worked and was okay. Universal released this film and at the US box office it grossed in $21,321,100.00 on a $5 million budget. If you are a fan of the found footage horror genre then make sure to check this one out, oh yeah liked this one so much even bought the DVD when it was released.

# 3

The Purge Anarchy

The first Purge film was my # 9 horror film of 2013 out of thirteen and while I enjoyed it, I found it lost among many other solid horror pictures. The sequel The Purge: Anarchy in my opinion is a way better film and that’s why it’s locked itself as the 3rd best Horror film I saw in theaters in 2014! The film follows a man named Leo who is going out to purge a man who killed his son in a drinking and driving accident, but he gets side tracked from his task when he saves a mother and daughter as well as a young couple all of whom are being targeted by what seems like a government elite team hired to reduce the population not to mention a rag tag bunch of mask and makeup wearing youngsters who have set their eyes on them as well. Leo does his best to keep them all alive as well as get to his goal. The film is filled with surprises as well as a positive message in the end and that’s why I think I enjoyed it so much.  It was not your typical modern downbeat horror flick. The film is also well acted with actors like Frank Grillo, Cameron Ejogo and Zach Gilford. The film did great for Universal at the box office here in America grossing in $71,962,800.00 and making it that a part 3 is in the works. More action and suspense then the original and a solid good sequel, check it out if you liked the first one. I saw it with Juliet who also really liked it!

# 2

anabelle

The Conjuring was my # 1 Horror film of 2013, and this off shoot titled Annabelle is my # 2 for 2014 showing you that the makers of this film series are doing something right. It’s the 1960’s and satanic cults are all the rage, and a young couple is attacked in their home by cult members that leave the would be attackers dead.  When the female attacker dies in the baby’s room holding the Annabelle doll the odd events start happening. It gets so bad that something seems to be trying to hurt the woman and her unborn baby, even at one point setting the house on fire! After the baby is born, they move and find that whatever it is followed as the doll the cult woman held when dying is possessed by a demon who wants to take a soul real bad! Can they get rid of the demon before it’s too late? The Annabelle doll is the same one used to open The Conjuring and is over all creepy looking.  That’s one thing I really liked about the film, the longer it went on, the more sinister looking the doll became. And while the doll is never seen moving on its own, the dead eyed stare of its porcelain face is what terrified the audience. The demon who is the real baddie of the film is not seen too much, but when he is, it’s effective. This is supposed to be based on a true story and is a nice appetizer for the next Conjuring film that should be out in 2016. The film did well for New Line Cinema at the US box office bringing in $84,273,813.00 making it a hit for them. For some reason the film also seemed to get a lot of hate from Horror fans, but most of the ones I knew who trashed it, I question their taste anyway as they go to see Seth Rogen movies! I saw the film with Juliet, who loved it.

# 1

Dracula Untold

Universal is trying to breath new life into their classic Monsters, and the first on the list was Dracula.  This film, Dracula Untold, is about how Prince Vlad became a vampire! I was really hyped for this film that was set to release in October…yeah finally Hollywood gets that Horror Films and Halloween go hand and hand. The film follows Prince Vlad whose people are being bullied by the Turks and the sultan who want all the male kids to be given to them to become soldiers in the large Turkish army. So Vlad makes a deal with a Vampire that lives in a cave to gain powers to stop the Turks.  By doing so, he is putting his own soul at risk, but he gains the powers to single handedly kick the butt of his enemies. But when things go wrong Vlad goes full vampire, and once he does that, there is no going back. This film is filled with horror and a heck of a lot of action and is really well done. Luke Evans plays Dracula and does so with grace and it’s the first time that I can remember that you find yourself cheering for Dracula as he is not the bad guy and only takes the curse to save his son as well as the sons of all his people. I saw this with Juliet and Jeremy Hoyt, and both of them really enjoyed it as well did all the others in the IMAX Theater as praises were being said as people left. This film ends as well with a lead up to a sequel or to link to another Universal Monster film, and this makes this Monster Kid happy. The film did okay for Universal at the US box office bringing in $55,991,880.00 and did more overseas. If you like your horror mixed with action and enjoy classic monsters, then check this one out, because I really enjoyed it locking it in as my # 1 Horror Film of 2014.

2014 in Horror Films was filled with lots of ghost/possession films, and I have a feeling this trend will continue for awhile as they seem to be films that can be cheaply made and return a big profit. While sitting in the theater this year the two films that I noticed seem to have the audience in it’s grip were Annabelle, that had a few people gasp and jump when the evil things would happen on the silver screen, and As Above So Below where the audience had an eerie hush as the characters went deeper into the catacombs. Ouija had the worse response as people laughed at many of the scares and many of the younger people in the audience seemed to be having a fun time teasing the young ladies with them. 2014 was an okay year for Horror in the theaters, and I for one am looking forward to seeing what 2015 has in store to send shivers up my spine. Well the next update is something terrifying as we take a look at another Draculina Photo Comic based on a film of Jess Franco called Tender Flesh! So until then, support your local theaters, read a comic or two and always support your local Horror Host and see you next update.

Tender_flesh_(1998) logo

DC At The Movies: Batman (The Christmas Eve Special)

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas Eve.  While this has been a year filled with lots of ups and downs for me, I have also had a great time loving life and am happy for all my friends and family in my life who have helped make me the person that I am today! While last year we covered Thundercats, this year we are going to cover something a little different as we will be looking at the movie series Batman that started with the Tim Burton directed film in 1989.  When that movie came to theaters on June 23rd the following Christmas every male kid I knew wanted Batman stuff for presents, and boy was their a lot to choose from! On this update we are going to cover the DC Comic Movie Adaptations of the Batman films so let’s sit back with some eggnog and wait for Santa to come down the chimney and talk DC At The Movies: Batman!

Batman 1989 Symbol

When I was a kid, the most popular superhero films were the Superman films starring Christopher Reeves as Superman/Clark Kent.  The only other DC heroes I could think of that had their own movies were Swamp Thing in 1982 and Batman had a film based off the 60’s TV show in 1966.  They did also have some great TV shows like previously mentioned Batman as well as Shazam, Wonder Woman, Legend of Isis and of course Adventures of Superman. Marvel at the time was mostly just focusing on TV with shows and made for TV Movies based on Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, Captain America and Doctor Strange and did have the bomb Howard The Duck in 1986 a cheesy film directed by George Lucas, but I must say as a kid I really liked the film Howard the Duck.  I guess very loosely you could say that the Conan films as well as Red Sonja were a sliver connected to Marvel who made comics based on those characters at the time. But when 1989 came around, and Tim Burton, director of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, made Batman, the youth at the time exploded and Batmania was born! You couldn’t turn on the TV without hearing something about this film, and most kids at school had Batman t-shirts, folders, backpacks and toys. If your grew up when the 1989 film and its sequels came out, then you know what I am talking about when I say Batman ruled the world for those months leading up to the releases and the months that followed. So before we get too much into the insane popularity and merchandise of Batman I should give you a crash course on the films, and of course I will be getting the help of IMDB for these write ups as I would be far too long winded to tell you the readers the plots. So let’s set the bat signal off and see what these films were all about! Oh I will also put on here who played Batman as well as who played the main villain in each of these films.

Batman (Keaton)Batman 1989 PosterThe Joker (Jack)

BATMAN (1989)

Gotham City: dark, dangerous, ‘protected’ only by a mostly corrupt police department. Despite the best efforts of D.A. Harvey Dent and police commissioner Jim Gordon, the city becomes increasingly unsafe…until a Dark Knight arises. We all know criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot…so his disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. He becomes a bat. Enter Vicky Vale, a prize-winning photo journalist who wants to uncover the secret of the mysterious “bat-man”. And enter Jack Napier, one-time enforcer for Boss Grissom, horribly disfigured after a firefight in a chemical factory…who, devoid of the last vestiges of sanity, seizes control of Gotham’s underworld as the psychotic, unpredictable Clown Prince of Crime…the Joker. Gotham’s only hope, it seems, lies in this dark, brooding vigilante. And just how does billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne fit into all of this?

Batman – Michael Keaton

Joker – Jack Nicholson

Bob The Goon – Tracey Walter

Batman (Keaton 2)Batman Returns PosterThe Penguin (Danny)Catwoman (Michelle)

Batman Returns (1992)

Having defeated the Joker, Batman now faces the Penguin – a warped and deformed individual who is intent on being accepted into Gotham society. Crooked businessman Max Schreck is coerced into helping him become Mayor of Gotham and they both attempt to expose Batman in a different light. Earlier however, Selina Kyle, Max’s secretary, is thrown from the top of a building and is transformed into Catwoman – a mysterious figure who has the same personality disorder as Batman. Batman must attempt to clear his name, all the time deciding just what must be done with the Catwoman.

Batman – Michael Keaton

Penguin – Danny DeVito

Catwoman – Michelle Pfeiffer

Batman and Robin (Val & Chris)Batman Forever PosterThe Riddler (Jim)Two Face (Jones)

Batman Forever (1995)

The Dark Knight of Gotham City confronts a dastardly duo: Two-Face and the Riddler. Formerly District Attorney Harvey Dent, Two-Face incorrectly believes Batman caused the courtroom accident which left him disfigured on one side; he has unleashed a reign of terror on the good people of Gotham. Edward Nygma, computer-genius and former employee of millionaire Bruce Wayne, is out to get the philanthropist; as The Riddler he perfects a device for draining information from all the brains in Gotham, including Bruce Wayne’s knowledge of his other identity. Batman/Wayne is/are the love focus of Dr. Chase Meridan. Former circus acrobat Dick Grayson, his family killed by Two-Face, becomes Wayne’s ward and Batman’s new partner Robin the Boy Wonder.

Batman – Val Kilmer

Robin – Chris O’ Donnell

The Riddler – Jim Carrey

Two Face – Tommy Lee Jones

Batman Robin Batgirl (movie cast)Batman & Robin PosterFreeze Ivy Bane (movie cast)

Batman & Robin (1997)

Batman and Robin are back working side-by-side to stop the villains of Gotham City, but is there tension appearing between them, especially when one villainess who calls herself Poison Ivy can make anyone fall in love with her…literally. Along with Poison Ivy, the icy Mr. Freeze is freezing anything which gets in his way from achieving his goal.

Batman – George Clooney

Robin – Chris O’ Donnell

Batgirl – Alicia Silverstone

Mr. Freeze – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Poison Ivy – Uma Thurman

Bane – Jeep Swenson

The first two films were directed by Tim Burton and have a brooding dark feel to them while the latter two were directed by Joel Schumacher and take a more neon and goofy approach. Say what you will about any of them, you cannot deny the impact they had on the youth at the time as well as the box office. If you look at 1989, Batman was the # 1 film of the year bringing in $251,188,924.00 beating out the likes of Lethal Weapon 2, Back To The Future Part II, Ghostbusters II, The Little Mermaid, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Born on the Fourth of July, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Karate Kid Part III, 007: License To Kill, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Halloween 5, All Dogs Go To Heaven, No Holds Barred, Cyborg, Kickboxer, Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, The Burbs, Major League, Tango & Cash as well as Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade! So as you can see it had very stiff competition and ended up beating them all. Batman Returns took the # 3 spot in 1992 beating out Wayne’s World, Lethal Weapon 3, Hellraiser III, A Few Good Men and Alien 3 to name a few! While in 1995, Batman Forever took # 2 and beat out such films as Pocahontas, 007: Goldeneye, Seven, Braveheart, Halloween 6: The Curse Of Michael Myers and Billy Madison. Batman & Robin took # 12 in 1997 and beat Scream 2, Austin Powers, Cop Land, Jackie Brown, Wishmaster, An American Werewolf in Paris, Lost Highway, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation and Alien Resurrection. But one thing I want to point out, is does anyone else notice that in every Batman movie in this series Bruce Wayne has a new love interest and almost always shows them that he is Batman! I think if I was Bruce Wayne, and while all the ladies are very lovely, I would try to stay with Chase Meridian played by Nicole Kidman as she is smart and very good looking! But no mater how you slice it, Wayne knows how to pick the ladies!

Kim BasingerBatmans RŸckkehrNicole Kidmanelle macpherson

The first batch of action figures based on the Batman movie was made by Toy Biz and showcased not only Batman but also The Joker and Bob The Goon. While many kids like myself rushed to get these figures to have our own Batman Movie style adventures, the figures themselves looked terrible and nothing like the actors from the film. I can remember many kids bringing these figures to the playground, and while we were happy to have them, we still all knew that the figures just looked cheap and were shells of what they should be. I had Batman and The Joker and skipped Bob The Goon, The Joker’s action was a squirting flower that acted like a squirt gun while Batman’s was his belt could be used as a hook. While Toy Biz tried, they really did fail, and the license was quickly taken away and given to Kenner.

Toy Biz Batman ToyToy Biz The Joker ToyToy Biz Bob The Goon Toy

When toy company Kenner got the license to make Batman movie toys, they went for the kill and made figures that looked like the actors as well as accessories like the Batmobile, The Batcopter and the Batcave. They also stayed with the film series and made figures for Batman Returns, Forever and Robin! Each series focused on many different versions of Batman and did all the core bad guys from the movie. On some of the molds they reused ones from their old Super Powers line as The Penguin is the same figure just his suit is painted a different color. When Kenner put these out I had to get my hands on one of the Batman’s as well as Catwoman, and they quickly replaced the Toy Biz ones when it came to Toy Wars. One thing that always cracked me up is the Poison Ivy figure done for the Batman & Robin line looks nothing like Uma Thurman who would not give them permission to use her likeness and looks like a man in drag instead! Don’t believe me, just take a look below, as well as take a look at some more of the Kenner Batman figures!

Kenner Batman ToysKenner ivy & Freeze

Back in 1989 Taco Bell released collector cups featuring Batman, and these were something that I felt I had to have when I was a kid and begged my parents to take me to Taco Bell to get one! When I did get one I can remember drinking everything from Mountain Dew to Chocolate Milk out of it, and it lasted away! After so many washings, the image on the cup began to disappear and sadly the Batman cup was retired and sold in a garage sale. I also remember them doing the cups for Batman & Robin, and I also collected those and got the whole set. McDonald’s did cups for Batman Returns, but I never did get any of those.

Taco Bell Batman Cups

McDonald’s had some Happy Meal toys as well as other merchandise for Batman Returns when the film was released, and many kids I knew had the cars that came in the meal. I can remember having Batman but none of the others. My cousins Dino and Norman had them all and so did Nathan. During this time, they also had pen necklaces that had Batman, Catwoman, Batmobile and The Penguin as topper caps on a very cheap pen. McDonald’s took some heat for putting out these toys in their kids meals by parent groups who thought the film was too violent and should not be geared towards the youth.  Parents groups sure can be silly sometimes.

McDonalds Batman Returns Happy Meal BagMcdonalds Batman Returns ToysBatman Returns Neck Pens

Trading cards have been made for all the films, but none were as popular as those based on the 1989 film put out by Topps. I used to get packs of the cards at United Dairy Farmers as well as at Big Bear and would trade my extra cards and stickers to my neighbor Carmen Fields who was making a whole set. The cards were well done, and they did two sets based just on the first film! I used to love buying old wax packs of cards and chewing on the stale gum as I flipped through to see what cards I had gotten. Oh the good old days!  But while the cards were cool, the whole set doesn’t sell for much as on Ebay.  They go for about $14.00 for both 1 and 2.

Topps Batman CardsTopps Batman Cards 2Batman Returns Cards

Batman t-shirts was also all the rage when I was younger, and while I didn’t have any for the first film I did have some for Batman Returns and as of the last few years I do have a Mr. Freeze one from Batman & Robin thanks to my brother Bryan who found it at a thrift store. I can remember that when I got my Batman Returns shirt for school I felt really cool with my all over print shirt Batman design and wore that shirt for many years after, mostly for gym or to sleep in. Sadly the shirt got holes in it and went to the big washing machine in the sky. But I am sure many of you reading this remember just how important it was for you to have the right cool shirts or shoes to fit in, I however was always just me and would wear movie and band shirts way past there popularity like my old blue Alice Cooper shirt or even Flattop from Dick Tracy. But while my old Batman shirts are gone or way too small at this point, I still have great memories of wearing them and being me.

Batman Returns T Shirt 1Batman Returns T Shirt 2Joker T-Shirt

Do you remember when companies like Post and Quaker Oats made cereals based on all types of cartoons and movies like The Addams Family and Gremlins? Well of course Batman cereal had to be made and company Ralston was the one to deliver it to the masses. Every morning when I was a kid my Mom made sure we ate some breakfast, and while some times it would be eggs & toast or oatmeal, it was mostly cereal and Batman was one that we tried and kind of liked. I can remember the main reason I choose it from the shelves of Big Bear is because it came with a free bank shrink-wrapped to the box. While the original Batman cereal was pretty good, the Batman Returns one made as well by Ralston was not so much! I can also remember eating Batman cereal watching Saturday Morning Cartoons.  Man I really do hate that in October 2014 Saturday Morning Cartoons ended on all major stations, ending an era.

batman cerealBatman Returns cereal

What would a movie be without a video game tie in back in the 80’s and 90’s and of course Batman had a number of game come out based on the blockbuster flicks. First Batman: The Video Game for NES came out in 1990 by SunSoft, and this game was super popular with the Brassfield cousins as we would all try and beat it while at our Grandparents house or even at each others. This game was followed up by Batman: Return Of The Joker, a follow up to a movie game that has no ties to any Batman movies by SunSoft for the NES and Sega Genesis in 1991 and 1992. When Batman Returns was released, a video game was made for many home consoles like NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Sega CD and even Sega Master System. Batman Forever, a very cheesy beat em up game, came out for Sega Genesis and SNES while Batman Forever The Arcade Game was made for Arcades, Playstation and Sega Saturn. Batman & Robin also got the video game treatment as a game was released for Playstation, and I can remember getting this game from Blockbuster Video and trying my hardest to beat it…I never did and I blame it on the poor controls. While they all have a charm in their own way Batman: The Video Game for NES remains the best video game based on this series.

Batman NesBatman Returns GenesisBatman Forever GenesisBatman & Robin PSX

When Batman and Batman Returns came out in theaters I did not get to see them as we had to wait for the VHS tapes for hit the library and local video rental store.  My Dad was not a fan of the 1989 film when he watched it and didn’t want to spend money on the second one. But I can remember me and my brother trying to get them to take us but it didn’t work. Well for my 15th birthday, my parents and brother took me to the Belmont Drive-In to watch Batman Forever and I can remember the night we went it was kind of rainy out but while I was not a fan of the movie it was fun watching the flick in the old family car with everyone. I can remember that they also made snack food for us to munch on. Sadly the old Drive-In went out of business thanks the those wonderful land hogs at Reynolds and Reynolds who bought them out and let the land sit empty for years till they built another soulless building in its spot. I saw Batman & Robin in the theater inside The Dayton Mall with my Brother and younger cousin Nick when our aunt asked us to babysit him and offered to pay for our tickets and snack food, how could you go wrong. After the movie we played on the arcade machines that were in front of the theater. In closing, I miss the Belmont Drive-In and wish it was still around today.

Belmont Drive In

Well my fellow Bat-Fans, we are at the point of looking at the comic adaptations and I for one can’t wait to relive many of them. You see in my youth I had read the comics based on Batman and Batman Returns and want to see if they hold up! And want to thank you for spending this Christmas Eve here at Rotten Ink. So before we Biff and Pow our way into action, I should remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. I want to also thank Mavericks and Lone Star Comics for having these in stock.  So put another log on the fire and get your self another glass of Eggnog we are going to be having a good Bat Time.

Batman 1989 1

Batman  # 1  ***
Released in 1989   Cover Price $2.50   DC Comics   #1 of 1

A family is robbed and left in an ally.  As the crooks make off with the loot, they get a visit from Batman who teaches them that he is the night! Crime Lord Carl Grissom is being targeted by Gotham Police Department but up to this point they have nothing on him as he has a rat in the department who fills him in and helps cover things up. Reporter Alexander Knox along with photographer Vicki Vale are on the case of who and what Batman is, as crime on the streets is lowering as criminals are in fear. Billionaire Bruce Wayne is in fact Batman, but no one besides his butler Alfred knows his secret. Grissom’s girlfriend Alicia is cheating on him with his right hand man Jack Napier who he sets up at a chemical plant that leads to Batman knocking him into a vat of chemicals, and his face is turned white and his hair green and Jack becomes The Joker! Bruce Wayne however finds himself falling in love with Vicki Vale.  As they go on a date The Joker shoots and kills Grissom and now is in charge of his operation. Vicki is following Bruce Wayne and while out The Joker attacks and his men fire guns into crowd.  When the attack is over, they interview Vicki on TV and The Joker likes what he sees. Weird deaths are happening all over Gotham as people are dying of laughter and it’s shown that The Joker is using chemicals in every day products to spread his death. The citizens found out thanks to Batman who saves Vicki Vale from a Joker attacks at a restaurant and gives her the secret.  The next day Bruce Wayne on his date with Vicki is about to tell her that he is Batman when The Joker once more attacks and with this attack Bruce Wayne figures out that Jack Napier (now The Joker) is the thug who shoot and killed his parents! The Joker throws a parade in downtown Gotham and not only giving out free “money” but also poisoning people via balloons. Batman spoils his fun as The Joker takes Vicki prisoner on top of a bell tower.  Batman comes to her aid, and the fight leaves The Joker falling to his death as Batman becomes the savior of Vicki and Gotham.

This is 100% a comic movie adaptation done right, as the look and vibe of the comic captures the magic of the film. The story of this comic is Batman is new to Gotham, and the cops nor the civilians know what to think of him as he takes down crooks with his vigilante justice, and during one of his crime stopping nights he takes a crazy crook and by accident turns him into an even more crazy crook, The Joker, who is tormenting the city! Throw in the fact that Batman is Bruce Wayne, a rich respected man who is torn between doing what he thinks is right and love as he falls for a beautiful photographer who has also captured the eye of the crazed Joker! Batman comes off as a focused hero to the helpless who takes his crime fighting very serious, while Bruce Wayne is an odd rich man who is complex and is torn between fighting and love. Vicki Vale is a likable female lead who has just the right amount of damsel in distress to make you as the reader want to see her get saved. The Joker is crazy and seems like his whole goal in the issue is to cause chaos and to murder the helpless, very great bad guy character and changed just enough from the normal comic series that was also going at the time of this comic adaptation’s release. The Joker’s death is impactful as he falls from high above and dies still with a laugh as a laugh box in his pocket goes off after the impact. The cover is very eye catching, and fans of the movie would for sure nab this one up.  The art inside done by Jerry Ordway is fantastic, and all the characters look like the actors that played them in the movie. I can remember that I read this comic when it first came out as our friend Mike Cessna had it, and I loved it back then, but then again I did have Batman fever! In closing if you like the 1989 film and like comics then check this one out as it was made for you.

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So The Joker is dead, and Batman is now a full savior of the city.  So what baddies awaits him in this second comic movie adaption?  Let’s read on and find out!

Batman Returns 1

Batman Returns  # 1  ***
Released in 1992   Cover Price $3.95   DC Comics   #1 of 1

It’s in the past as a family drops a baby in a basket off the side of the bridge, and as the basket floats down the river and into the sewer, a family of penguins are there to rescue it. Max Shreck is a very powerful businessman in Gotham and is a man with a vision of a more powerful city.  He has the Mayor in his back pocket and he even runs his poor assistant Selina Kyle day and night. While giving a speech about Christmas, Max and company are attacked by a band of scary circus performers know as The Red Triangle Gang.  As Batman comes to save the day, Max himself comes face to face with a strange deformed man called The Penguin who lives in the sewer and knows all Max’s dirty little secrets.  So the two team up to allow Penguin to come above ground and be loved by the people of Gotham. Max has an idea to have a power planet that does not give off energy but takes energy to store, and when Selina gets too close in looking into the plant, she is shoved out a window by Max and is saved by cats who she now has a bond with.  This also makes her an anti hero as she dons a leather cat suit and calls herself Catwoman. Bruce Wayne and Max have a meeting over the power planet but don’t see eye to eye, as Selina shows back up to work to Max’s surprise as he thought she was dead. This bad meeting makes Max turn to Penguin who he now wants to make Mayor, and they hatch a plan of mayhem as they set the Red Triangle Gang free on the city.  As Batman takes out the trash he comes to find that Penguin is not a good role model as Max wants them all to believe and also meets Catwoman who is targeting business owned by Max. Catwoman and Penguin team up to frame Batman and to get the people of Gotham to turn against him by killing The Ice Princess and making it appear as if he did it.  While he is trying to save her ,they will turn the Batmobile into an out of control death machine! With the Ice Princess dead and Batman able to get back control of his car after a nasty joy ride, he is able to use messages he tapped of Penguin to have the people of Gotham turn on him and as he goes back to the sewers he tells his gang the plan of stealing all the first born children of the city and how he wants them all to die in a watery grave! Also by this point Catwoman and Penguin have turned on each other and to make things worse Bruce Wayne has to go to a costume party put on by Max, and that’s when Selina and Bruce find out each others secret identities. Penguin crashes the party and kidnaps Max who he has now turned on, as Bruce turns into Batman and stops the kids from being killed.  With one plan stopped, Penguin now sends his animal penguin brothers above ground complete with bombs and rockets strapped to them to cause death and destruction! Batman stops this attack as well and knocks Penguin out a window and he falls into the sewer bellow. Meanwhile Catwoman kills Max and herself as Batman is powerless to stop her and looses his love.  As Penguin once more appears and is at death’s door complaining of the heat and dies in the sewer water as his animal friends take his body away. Bruce Wayne won’t forget Selina Kyle as Catwoman’s shadow is seen in a ally.

Good comic adaptation follow up to the original but slightly looses the magic of the film, as many plot moments seemed a little rushed. Bruce Wayne/Batman in this comic are almost one and the same as he allows emotions to interfere with his personal life as well as his crime fighting mission. I also am puzzled as too how quickly Vicki Vale is thrown to the side and in a matter of seconds, he is head over heels in love with Selina Kyle who he briefly meets as Bruce during a meeting at Max’s and once for seconds as Batman during the first Red Triangle Gang attack. Bruce is really like a love struck teenager who is longing to be loved and chooses the most complicated women to fall for. Max Shreck is your typical rich big business man who acts as if he cares about the people, when really he cares about his own personal gain. Max is a total scumbag who kills and manipulates whoever he can to become more powerful in Gotham. Penguin is also a very violent and conniving man who kills and takes advantage of whoever can get him ahead in his plan to take over the city. The fact that he runs a gang of circus rejects and has a plan to kill children shows you just how gross of a person he is. Penguin’s death is a little to close too The Jokers with it coming via a fall, but it still works as he makes one last attempt to kill Batman grabs the wrong umbrella, and then falls just short of making it into the cold water before he dies. Penguin is nothing like the comic version and is not classy in any way and is more of a freak, but he still does use umbrellas of all types to fight with. Catwoman/Selina Kyle is an interesting character as she is not good nor bad and while she loves Bruce Wayne, she dislikes Batman and does take the life of his boss Max in the end. This really is a cool adaptation and is a nice follow up to the first with an equally cool cover, but I will say the artwork by Steve Erwin, while good, does lack the charm of making the characters look like the actors of them film, while some do, many don’t. I can remember buying this comic as a kid from The Bookie Parlor and thinking how cool I was cause I had it.  Also while reading this comic, I listened to the score for the film done by Danny Elfman. If you like the film and liked the original film adaptation, this is a good one to have in your collection!

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Penguin is dead and Catwoman is missing, who will be the next to step up and get beat down by Batman? Well let’s see in this next issue based on my least favorite Batman film of all time or should I say forever?

Batman Forever 1

Batman Forever  # 1  ***
Released in 1995   Cover Price $3.95   DC Comics   #1 of 1

Two Face has escape Arkham Asylum and is robbing a bank and has a live hostage, as Batman approaches Commissioner Gordon.  Batman also meets Chase Meridian, a doctor in abnormal psychology.  He goes in to save the day, but while he does save the guard Two Face gets away. Edward Nygma works for Bruce Wayne and is a little crazy.  When Bruce shoots down his idea of a TV that broadcast into your brain he decides to kill the manager and seek revenge on Bruce whom he leaves a riddle for. Bruce takes the riddle to Chase, and after they crack it, they go to a charity circus event and when The Flying Graysons are on, Two Face enters complete with a bomb.  As son Dick Grayson gets the bomb to safety, his parents are murdered by Two Face and Bruce can do nothing to save them. Dick stays at Wayne Manor as once more Two Face tries to kill Batman and fails.  While at his hideout he gets a visit from Nygma who is know calling himself The Riddler, and they two form a team to kill Batman that involves Nygma’s TV Mind Box! Dick sneaks and follows Alfred to the Bat Cave and takes the Batmobile for a drive and saves a woman from some street punks and gets a taste and wants to join Batman as a team who of course rejects the idea. At a party for Nygma’s new invention that is making his company out do Wayne Enterprises two to one, Two Face crashes and Batman this time around is hurt in the fight but is saved by Dick who is wearing his circus outfit and a tiny mask. Alfred tries to push a bruised up Bruce that he should train Dick and allow him to help in crime fighting.  As Bruce thinks it over he becomes Batman and meets Chase at her house as it’s clear she has feelings for Batman as well as Bruce Wayne, but she in the end chooses Wayne! The Riddler finds out thanks to his TV machine that Wayne is Batman, and the evil pair decide to make a statement. Bruce invites her over to tell her he is Batman, and Two Face and The Riddler come in and shoot Wayne, kidnap Chase and blow up the Batcave. After the attack, Batman along with his new sidekick Robin (Dick Grayson) head to Nygma’s factory and battle it out with the baddies. The end fight leaves The Riddler’s brain boiled by his own machine, and Two Face falls to his death into spiked rocks and ocean water. With The Riddler crazy and in Arkham Asylum, Chase knows now she loves the man behind that bat.

I must say I liked this comic adaptation better then the film it’s based on! Gone is the terrible over acting of Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face; missing is Jim Carey’s version of The Riddler just being silly and Ace Ventura like.  Instead we get a fun kid friendly Batman adventures that is laced with some fun silly moments. The story has Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman once more falling for a woman who is torn between the two, not knowing till later that they are the same person.  Along the way Batman makes enemies with a crazy inventor and a baddy from his past comes out to play. He also adopts a circus performer who turns into his sidekick in fighting crime. Batman/Bruce Wayne in this issue is on the verge of walking away from crime fighting to settle down with a woman he once more just meet, but by some point comes to learn that both sides of his life are important, and they can come together. Dick Grayson/Robin for the most part takes a back seat and is used just right, not forcing him down your throat and allowing him to become important to the film’s end plot. Chase Meridian is smart and pretty but besides being a love interest does nothing to special to make her on the level of Vicki Vale or Selina Kyle. The Riddler/ Edward Nygma is crazy and wants to really show Bruce Wayne up and is obsessed with power.  His defeat coming by his own invention is well done, as is the fact his head becomes misshapen with the overload. Two Face loves to kill and is a good comic book villain in this comic. The lame thing is once more Two Face, much like The Joker and Penguin before him dies via a fall! The cover on this one is okay and not as eye catching as the other two.  The art done by Michel Dutkiewicz is really great and helps add to the over all appeal of the comic. To sum it up, a solid good adaptation that is better then the movie it’s based on!

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Two Face dead via a fall onto some pointy rocks and The Riddler looks like the Elephent Man and is in the loony bin.  So who’s next on Batman’s list to rid Gotham of?  Let’s read the last to find out!

Batman & Robin 1

Batman & Robin  # 1  **1/2
Released in 1997   Cover Price $3.95   DC Comics   #1 of 1

Batman and Robin try to stop Mr. Freeze from stealing a giant diamond but fall short when Robin is turned into an icicle and Batman must save him from freezing to death as Mr. Freeze escapes. Meanwhile in South America, Dr. Pamela Isley is working on a chemical that will make plants stronger as her partner Dr. Jason Woodrue uses it to make super soldiers and creates Bane, a muscle bound brute who does what he’s told.  When Isley finds out, he attacks her and knocks her into chemicals that turns her into Poison Ivy who kills Woodrue with a kiss, and she and Bane heads to Gothan City. Meanwhile Mr. Freeze is only doing all these bad things so that he can get money for research to cure his sick wife.  While Alfred’s niece Barbra comes to visit and stays at Wayne Manor. Batman uses diamonds from his private collection to lure Mr. Freeze out of hiding but it also draws out Poison Ivy who turns Batman and Robin against each other to get her attention. But the trap works, and they are able to capture Mr. Freeze and send him to Arkham Asylum, but the heat between Batman and Robin grows deeper. Ivy and Bane break Freeze out, and Batman and Robin find them at Freeze’s old hideout and while they fight off Bane they also come face to face with Ivy again who uses her charm to make Robin and Batman fight which leaves Robin knocked out.  She also unplugs Mr. Freeze’s wife and blames it on Batman making him want to kill his enemy. During this time we also find out Alfred is sick with the same disease that was killing Freeze’s wife leaving Bruce, Barbra and Dick helpless to save their friend and loved one. Barbra finds out the secret and becomes Batgirl and teams with Batman and Robin to fight off Ivy, Bane and Mr. Freeze who plans to make the whole world freeze in another ice age. Batgirl takes out Ivy with Robin beating Bane and Batman knocks around Mr. Freeze and tells him that Ivy pulled the plug on his wife but he saved her just in time and talks sense into him and gets him to help cure Alfred’s diseases. In the end, Alfred is okay and Batman & Robin have a new partner in Batgirl as Ivy gets a new cellmate Mr. Freeze!

The first thing that I have to say about this adaptation is that I hate the fact it starts off showing a movie set setting up the first shot…this takes you 100% out of the comic and makes you say who cares it’s all just a movie.  Dumb move by DC for allowing this to be the opening panel of this comic. But take that terrible mistake out of the picture, and this is a fun average adaptation that showcases the silly nature of the film it’s based on. The plot is Alfred is sick and his loved ones want to save him, Batman has an issue trusting that Robin can handle himself, Ivy wants to save Mother Earth and Mr. Freeze wants to save his wife….this comic is all about saving. Batman is a little controlling in this one and seems to almost have a chip on his shoulder, but as Bruce Wayne he is more caring and worried about his sick friend Alfred. Robin is a ball of rage as he feels Batman just won’t let him be the hero he is. Batgirl is a waste in this comic and besides the very end when Barbra becomes Batgirl, she is given very little to do. Alfred is caring and sick so you find yourself hoping and knowing he will get better. Poison Ivy is an extreme environmentalist who puts nature over human lives, and for all accounts is like a pretty ex-girlfriend who is borderline psychotic. Bane is a mindless brute who says nothing at all through at the whole comic.  He is as far from his comic counter part and is nothing more than a glorified henchman. Mr. Freeze retains all his cheesy one liners that all tie in to cold, and is a bad guy that you feel sorry for as he is doing everything bad to try and save his wife, but man when he’s doing bad he goes for broke! Much like the movie that I don’t think is as terrible as people say it is, this is pretty average and cuts out many of the really silly things from the movie like the Bat Credit Card. The cover is average as well and for some reason more reminds me of the kid’s novel version that you would find at a book fair. The art is done by Rodolfo Damaggio and is pretty well done.  In some panels it seems rushed but is not terrible looking even then. Over all if you like the film check it out, otherwise I would avoid this one.

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That was a good time for me, and we have read some pretty good comic adaptations that did the films they were based on justice. The art of making movie adaptations seems to be lost as now it’s not so much a comic of the movie as they are mini series that act as lead up to the films. Say what you will about them now, but The Batman films was a series that got the young and young at heart hyped to go to the movies and I for one grew up being a Batman kid thanks to not only the 60’s TV show but also the 89 Burton film.  So with this I should tell you the next update will be my top films of 2014 and I look forward to bringing you that. Well I hope you all have a great Christmas and Santa brings you all what ever you asked for.  Until then spend time with your loved ones, read a comic or two and have a safe holiday.

2014

Rotten Pixels

This update I think I am going to take a break from comics and films and talk about another great past time for me:  video games.  So I’m dubbing this one Rotten Pixels. I grew up in the prime time for gaming and was a fan of home gaming consoles from the start.  While I never owned a Atari 2600, a childhood neighbor named Brad Burns did when I lived in Waynesville and I remember playing games like E.T., Superman and Raiders of the Lost Ark and being captivated. A few years later my parents got my brother and I a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) for Christmas after our cousins Dino and Norman showed us the wonders of Super Mario Brothers, Ninja Gaiden and Contra. The system was a hit at the Brassfield house, and even my parents would play on occasion.  My Mom liked playing Mario, while my Dad would play sports games like Blades of Steel and WCW Wrestling against us. Those times spent playing the system with my family will forever be amazing memories. The games that seemed to capture my attention were games based with horror themes like Castlevania, Friday the 13th and Ghost and Goblins.  The more monsters, the better, I always thought.

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As time passed, we moved up to a Sega Genesis that we bought off a guy Bryan went to school with for $30.00.  While the system had better graphics and some amazing games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast and Golden Axe, it failed for the most part in the horror department.  While some great horror games would come out like Castlevania Bloodlines and Splatterhouse 2-3, the system was bogged down with some off the wall and down right crappy movie tie in games like Bram Stokers Dracula, Marry Shelly’s Frankenstein and The Lawnmower Man. The Sega Genesis years for me belonged to the super hero games like Captain America and the Avengers, Spider-Man Maximum Carnage and Incredible Hulk.  While I still loved a good spooky horror game the games were just not being made as fast leaving me fighting super villains and not horror icons. The Super Nintendo would come along, and my brother would be the one to take that step and get the system when we moved to Kettering.  While the system had great games, once more I found it had the same bad horror film game tie ins and even less horror games coming.

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We made the next move to Nintendo 64, and while it was a solid system, the lack of horror inspired games led this to be the system of “name brands” for me like Super Mario 64, Legend of Zelda Ocrina of Time and Goldeneye. But in 1995 Sony released the Playstation, and things would never be the same.  The system had many great titles and a ton of horror games that become known as survival horror, making this my favorite system and making me a loyal Playstation buyer. Games like Clock Tower 1-2, Resident Evil 1-3, Silent Hill, D and Nightmare Creatures 1-2 kept the gamer in me happy with chilling monster filled games. But during this time there was also a lack of games based on horror films, something that continues to this day.  Sure, every once in a while we will get a game like PS2’s Underworld: The Eternal War and Microsoft Xbox’s Land of the Dead: The Road to Fiddlers Green, but the Underworld game was a European only release, and Land of the Dead was a rushed mess.  But back to the system at hand, Sony Playstation would have many horror inspired games come out during its run like Evil Dead Hail to the King , Juggernaut, Over Blood, Legacy of Kain, Dino Crisis, Castlevania Symphony of the Night to name a few. I spent many of late nights in my room or in the family room playing these chilling games alone or with great friends like Jason Gilmore and Andrea Seay, and enjoying every spooky moment. The PSX had a few movie tie-ins that were based on horror/sci-fi films like Evil Dead, The Crow and Alien. Then In 2000 the Playstation 2 was released and like its predecessor it had a nice amount of Survival Horror games released including sequels to Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Evil Dead and Clock Tower, and introduced new series like Siren and Fatal Frame.

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In 2006, the Playstation 3 was released and along with it came HD survival horror games! Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Siren, Splatterhouse and Castlevania all have sequels that came out with top notch graphics and continued the amazing story lines. The PS3 also had horror writer and director Clive Barker help make a game called Jericho.  Konami released games based on the SAW movies to be a companion to their popular Silent Hill franchise.  There were many more great games like the goofy cult classic Red Seeds Profile, zombie first person shooter Dead Island, and the F.E.A.R. series that added end of the world themes with the supernatural.  These are just a handful of amazing titles that have come out on this amazing system. While they are not the best of the PS3 horror titles, the SAW games are some entertaining games that show that horror films CAN make some good solid games! Kanomi has only released two in the series and there is a rumor of a third game which, as a fan I am hoping will come.

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In 2013, PS3 and Xbox 360 were supposed to get a game based on Childs Play’s killer Chucky! TikGames is the company that making the game, and they claim that in game you will play as Chucky and spend the time plotting against and killing all those who are in your way. The downside to the game is that as of this point it will not be a disc based game but a download only title that it appears will not feature the voice talents of Brad Dourif who has voiced the doll killer in five films. While I am hyped for the game I am still a little let down in the game’s handling, and I feel like the download games are most the time just throw away games. As you can see by these pics at least his look is well done. But as of late 2012, it looks like this game has been canceled.

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I could go on and on about video games, but that’s not the full reason for this update.  The main reason is the fact that there are many horror films that would lend themselves to becoming amazing video games for a present generation system (aka PS3, XBOX 360, WII).  So I would like to do a Top 20 list of films that should be made into games.  I chose from a list of many, and it was hard to choose just 20, but I was able to limit down my list and choose ones that would lend themselves to the gaming world. But enough of the build up, let’s start the list with a nice runner up one that came close to making the final cut.

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# 21.) Puppet Master Series

Andre Toulon is a puppeteer who has the secret to turn his puppets into living, killing beings! At first Toulon used his puppets for good to fight the Nazi’s that were responsible for the death of his wife. But after his suicide, others used the Puppets for evil as did Toulon when his secret formula later brought him back to life. The Puppets (Blade, Jester, Pinhead, Miss Leech, Torch, Six Shooter, Tunneler) have become good and bad guys and have dispatched  ancient demons and even had a fight with The Demonic Toys, another film series from Full Moon Pictures. What the game could be about is that at first you play as Alex Whitaker (psychic from the first film) who must find a way to fight and capture the puppets and turn them from evil to good at Bodega Bay Inn and must use them to help stop a evil cult who wants to steal the secrets of the puppets for an evil plot. The rest of the game is spent playing with your choice of a team of three from all the puppets and using them to fight back against the cult. While the game at this point would not be a huge IP (Intellectual property) for a company to pick up, its cult following and 11 films done and one on the way proves this franchise has a good fan base.

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# 20.) Rawhead Rex

Clive Barker’s short story of the same name from The Books of Blood Volume 3 came to the silver screen in 1987 and told the story of a pagan god who was released onto the countryside of Ireland and an author who must risk his life and that of his family in order to stop the killing machine once and for all. The film’s subject would be a perfect fit for a video game as Rawhead would be the main boss and his followers, the goons you must fight off. Rawhead would pop up through out the game and give chase much like Nemesis in Resident Evil 3. It would be great if the character you are is caught off guard from the start of the game and must use whatever he can find to fight off the crazed followers. The gameplay would be very close to Silent Hill and Red Seeds Profile and would have the vast world of Ireland’s countryside complete with farms, barns and small towns. The movie, while very low key and having a cult status, should be and should have been made into a bloody good survival horror game.

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# 19.) Wishmaster

 A evil Djinn grants wishes to those who posses a gem that binds him to do the bidding of the owner.  The Djinn, who can become more powerful by capturing the soul of the possessor, must do so to bring on the end of mankind and the age of the Djinn’s. The film sparked three sequels, and while the second in the series had the same Djinn, the following two sequels had a new one showing that there is more than one of the powerful beings. The game would be a fun one that would have the player making the mistake of waking the Djinn from the gem and causing chaos all around them, with many Djinn’s and the fact they can use their power to create monsters and have the ability to steal the looks of those they choose.  It would make this game a fun time trying to figure out who is friend and who is foe. They could get all crazy with enemies and backgrounds given the fact the villains are so powerful and will be as cruel as possible to get what ever they want. Plus getting Andrew Divoff who played the Djinn from the first two would be a must to voice him again for the game. This could make a great PS3 game and would have also made a great PSX game. While the series has lost a little steam in this day and age, it still leaves itself wide open for a good game.

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# 18.) Phantom of the Opera (1925)

At the Opera House in Paris, a deformed madman roams the sewers causing terror and killing those who go against his wishes to turn a young singer (Christine) into the star of the show. But the singer’s lover Raoul wants to marry her and take her away from the demanding Phantom.  This clash leaves people dead and the Phantom being hunted like a wild animal. The game could follow the aftermath of the film and follow up to what happens when the Phantom who is believed to be dead is in fact not and sets out to get his songbird back, leaving the player to control Raoul having to find Christine who has been kidnapped in the underbelly of France. Besides the Phantom the player would have to also beat rats and vagrants that have been hired by Phantom to stop him at all cost. This could be a mix between a game like SAW and Uncharted and mix horror, action and puzzles together to force Raoul to stop the madman and rescue the lovely lady. The look of the Phantom would have to be taken from this 1925 version and keep the whole Lon Chaney Sr. look of the character.  It would also be cool if his grandchild Ron Chaney would lend his voice to the Phantom character. The legacy of The Phantom of the Opera has lived on not only in the reprints of the novel the whole property is based around, but also in stage and film making the character a classic in the world of horror. I think TellTale Games would be the perfect company to make this one come to life.

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The Phantom has made it to a few games for the PC.  The first is called “The Return of the Phantom,” a game that is very similar to the idea I would want but is one of those early point & click adventures.  The second is “Mystery Legends Phantom of the Opera,” both helping tide over fans of the character. And if ya need more Phantom there was also a pinball machine made by Data East for arcades. So PC gamers they have gotten a Phantom fix, but what about us home console guys, why are we left out in the cold?

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# 17.) Tombs of the Blind Dead

The Knights Templar were the Catholic Church’s right hand men and were the warriors who spread the word of God, until they were all set up and murdered by the same church they worked for and were accused of witchcraft. The Knights were blinded by fire pokers before they were killed, and for this the Knights placed a curse on the small European town that they were executed in. Years later they return as blind zombies to get their revenge and make all pay for their wrongful deaths. The series of films featured them in old ruins and even on a ghost ship showing you cannot escape the blind dead who hear you breath and your heartbeat. The film had three sequels and a handful of copycat films making it a very well loved iconic Spanish horror series.  So if you have not seen them, I recommend them. The game could take place in the small town and could follow you and a group of other survivors as you must survive the night of the Blind Dead’s attack.  Guns, torches, swords and blunt objects are your weapons, and the game will send you into harm’s way many times to save fellow men from what could be their deaths.  Everything in town can be used and every building is open for hiding because the main focus of the game is to save others and survive! The game’s path can change whether or not you are able to save people in your group and depending on the amount you don’t affects your ending. The game could also be multiplayer and would allow you and friends to try and survive the night of terror. This game would fit in perfect with the zombie craze that is sweeping the consoles now and is one that could appeal to fans of the film and those who don’t know the series.

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# 16.) Leprechaun Series

Forget about Lucky from Lucky Charms cereal, this pint sized terror is an overprotective mean magical terror of his pot of gold and will murder you and your friends to get it back! A family moves into an old house and after taking a dried up four leaf clover off a box a newly freed Leprechaun torments them. His weakness is not only the power of the four leaf clover but also that of dirty shoes that he feels like he must clean. The Leprechaun has been in a total of seven films and has been to Las Vegas, Space and even the Hood twice.  He kills in all types of silly yet fun ways, and delivers funny rhymed remarks while doing so. The game could take place with a group of friends who stumble upon his gold and make the mistake of splitting it and making themselves the target of the pint sized terror. This one would be fun to play as either the human who must get the gold back from his friends and or stop the Leprechaun or you could play as Leprechaun and avoid the means of defeating you from the thieves and collect all your gold back. This is just a small idea that would make for a good cheap download game, but I know that there is a full disc-based game to be made with some other idea beyond what I’ve come up with here. This character lends itself to the world of video games and with the cult following, it could easily be a good selling game as well. Warwick Davis is a must to voice Leprechaun and it would be nice to see the look captured in video game form as well. With a reboot of the series in the works for 2013 from Lions Gate and WWE, there might be some hope this film series might get the game treatment.

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# 15.) Phantasm

After the death of a long time friend, brothers Mike & Jody and ice cream man Reggie go to the funeral and find out that the new mortician called the Tall Man is not what he seems.  He is super strong, super tall, loves the cold and controls hooded dwarves and silver flying spheres that can kill a man in seconds! Tall Man has spread death and chaos around the world for many years and wants to ruin the whole world. This amazing yet odd series has four films total and begs to be made into a video game that could be almost an official number 5 in the film series that seems to have had problems for years getting made. The game could finish the storyline that has been presented into the films and could have you play as Reggie and Mike and have them go to war with Tall Man and his followers.  You would have to switch between the two depending on the mission and at times the two would have to complete a mission together. I would love to see this game made, and it should have all the actors from the films voice the characters they played in the films.  It would be a must to have Angus Scrimm voice the Tall Man. Someone should pitch this idea to director and creator Don Coscarelli and a game studio and get this game made! Also when you die, Tall Man should say “You Played a Good Game..But You Died” then laugh…that would be amazing!

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I should also mention for gamers who still have an Atari 2600, they can get their hands on a fan made game cart based on this popular film series.  It’s a maze-based game and plays like an early version of Final Fantasy. The game has not only Tall Man and the dwarves but also an amazing midi version of the films main theme. This is a must have game for fans of the film series and all that’s horror for the Atari 2600. Copies of this cart pop up on Ebay from time to time so keep your eyes open. I happen to be the proud owner of a copy of the game, and I must say while simple, it is a fun gaming experience.

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# 14.) The Howling

The Howling series is one that’s run for a total of 8 films so far and for the most part each follow a different town with different issues dealing with werewolves. The first film follows TV reporter Karen White who helps in the capture and killing of a brutal serial killer whom she thinks turned into a beast before he was gunned down. The station sends her away to a nice resort to relax but instead she finds out that she is in the company of a town filled with werewolves and the killer she thought to be dead is back and is in fact a werewolf! The sequel to the film had Karen’s brother trying to get to the bottom of his sister’s torment and fighting the queen of werewolves. While low budget after the original, the series has a wide open door to making a good video game and has enough characters and locations to keep it fresh. It would be great if in the game you must escape the resort only to find that the whole town is werewolves and it becomes a race to escape the hellish location. Throw in key werewolves from the other films in the series and bam, you have a great survival horror game like Resident Evil that substitutes the zombies for werewolves. Or another idea could be that you are a hunter who goes to different locations from the films to kill off werewolves, you see one of them killed your wife and now you want revenge on them all. This one also could be a first person shooter and support motion controllers. Or one last idea would have you play Ian the werewolf from part 6 and have him at war with other werewolves, that way you can have them fight! While this series does have some stinkers, it still could be a fun cheap IP that could make for an entertaining gaming experience.

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# 13.) The Hills Have Eyes

The Carter family goes out into the desert looking for an old family mine, and while on the quest they suffer some car issues that lead to them fighting for their lives against an inbreed family lead by the father named Jupiter.  The death toll rises and only one family will make it out alive. The film spawned an official sequel and a remake that also had a sequel. The game could take place in the desert and would have you playing as a new family that finds themselves the target of the hills family.  The goal of the game would be to rescue and dispatch the cannibal family before you and yours become dinner. It would be a prequel as well that way you can add in all of the family and show a little backstory of who and what they do, and as well they could make up and add new family members. The plot of the game could also take many twists and turns and could really build up the suspense and horror of what this family does. It should be based on the original films and not the remakes and must have Pluto look like Michael Berryman, and include the rest of the family and from the first and second film making this a full tie in. This one could be made and while the IP is not a major household name if the right amount of survival horror and terror is placed in the playing experience I am sure horror gamers would check it out. I would like to see Rock Star or Konami handle this title.

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# 12.) SCREAM

Sidney Prescott is a teenage girl who is dealing with the murder of her mother and the relationship she has with her boyfriend. But when fellow classmates are being slaughtered and she gets haunting phone calls, she becomes the focus of a killers sick game.  The killer known as “Ghostface” is out for blood and fame, and Sidney must fight to stay alive and to figure out who the killer is! This one also was made to be a video game and with the graphics and advanced programing this could be an amazing game! The game again could play like Silent Hill mixed slightly with Resident Evil and could follow you as Sidney Prescott or another young lady who is being stalked by Ghostface and how you must find who the killer is and save those he has also targeted. I know many people have said they would like to play as the killer but to me that would not be as fun as trying to survive his attack. With the The Weinstein Company getting into the video game business with the birth of TWC Games, one would think it’s only a matter of time that a home console gets a game based on this film series. Fans want a game as you can see by this “fake” PS3 cover.

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TWC Games did make a Scream 4 game, but sadly it’s just an iPod/cell phone game and to me those are not really true games they are just small games for none gamers who play the games while waiting. In the game you play as Ghostface and must kill your target and avoid being captured by the cops. So with this I must say come on TWC Games get on making a full game for PS3 and Xbox 360.

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# 11.) Hammer Frankenstein Series

Doctor Victor Frankenstein is a man hell bent on creating life and finding the secrets of life and death.  Along the way he doesn’t care who he has to kill or swindle to get what he wants. After many failed attempts to create life Victor has been hung, been burnt and attacked by his own monsters many times.  If fact when we last see him, he is a patient in a mental hospital who is in fact running it.  The Hammer Frankenstein series has a total of seven films and every installment has a different monster! Victor Frankenstein was played by the amazing british actor Peter Cushing who American fans also know as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars.  In fact David Prowse who played two monsters in the series was also the man in the Darth Vader suit! The series left itself wide open for another sequel and what better way then to do one in the video game world.  It could take place in the asylum and have you play as The Baron as the inmates have turned on you.  You working on a new monster, but something goes wrong as you must battle your old monsters from the past.  All the creatures from the past seven films could be present and you must destroy them and your new creature all the while trying to escape the inmates, guards and monsters. Or you could play as a man who has had his girlfriend kidnapped by Victor who has taken a shine to her and has decided she will be his.  So you travel to the asylum and must battle inmates and all the monsters of the past that have been rebuilt by Victor in order to save your woman. This would be a Hammer fan’s dream, and this could happen if Hammer that has now been reopened decides to get into the growing game market. I would line up to play a game based on this series, and I am sure many others would as well. I would like to see Konami, Capcom or THQ tackle this one.

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Well this is the end of the first wish list for horror films that should be video games, and we have made it from 20 to 11 and have even had one bonus film! To me it’s odd that more film companies have not gotten into the game business.  I mean WB has been in and has made a killing on their Batman titles. Universal has gotten kind of into the game world with working alongside companies like Telltale Games and TikGames to bring Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and the soon to released Childs Play to gaming consoles, and even Paramount has released new games based on Days of Thunder and Top Gun. The Weinstein Company has said they will be making games when the only thing that has been released is a cell phone game based on Scream, and one company that should get into the gaming market is Lions Gate that owns the rights to many horror properties that could make great games.  I mean Lions Gate has the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie coming out made by the people who did the SAW series and what’s keeping them from teaming with Konami and Zombie Studios to make a game based around Leatherface and his family? Well while you try and figure out the answer I will see you all back for part 2!

 

 

Marvel Smurfs

I was born on September 8th 1979, and I was lucky to be a kid through both the 80’s and 90’s. Much like every kid from my generation, I loved toys, video games, horror films, Saturday Morning Cartoons, horror hosts, surgery breakfast cereal, pro wrestling and of course comic books. I grew up in a small town (Waynesville, Ohio) that was dubbed the antique capital, and from day one I was the strange kid who spent his time drawing demons, the rock band Kiss and Frankenstein’s Monster and never making the move on the girl of my dreams who just so happened to be good friends with my next door neighbor who at that time was basically my best friend. I know you’re all thinking wow what a wuss, but if you would have seen how beautiful this young lady was and how she could make your heart skip a beat you would understand why a oddball like me in my Ultimate Warrior or Alice Cooper shirt never made a move.

On Saturdays my mom would take my brother and I to the neighboring town to a store called Big Bear & Hearts and for grocery shopping/ The store was one half food (Big Bear) and the other half department store (Hearts). Cool things in this store included not only the Street Fighter II Arcade Machine but also the giant stuffed bear that was like your greeter. The toy department was magical in my eyes and was always packed with the newest G.I. Joe, Transformer, Battle Beast, WWF wrestler and every other new figures. If we were good we would get a toy and usually along with it a comic or a Mad or Cracked Magazine. I was always into The Incredible Hulk and Captain America and most of the time that’s what I would pick to go alongside my new Monster in My Pocket, G.I. Joe or whatever toy I was into that month. Then we would be off. After we checked out and would stop at the store’s snack bar for an Icee (Blue Berry or Coke) and sometimes a soft pretzel or nachos, we would get home in time to watch Commander USA’s Groovie Movies or sometimes Grandpa Munster host his Super Scary Saturday film on TBS.

Comic Books were a fun way to leave reality and to step into the boots of your favorite hero or villain, leaving behind all the annoying life drama just for the brief moments it took you to read the issue. DC had some great heroes like Superman, Batman, Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman and Flash. While they had some great issues and characters, I have always been a Marvel man due to amazing characters like Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, Man-Thing, Iron Man and Thor. Marvel also had great comics based on toylines like Transformers and G.I. Joe. Comic books have always been apart of my life thanks to my Mother who bought them for me, my older brother Bryan who read them to me when I was younger, my Uncle Thurman who gave me many of his older issues and my cousin Chris Jones who got me one of my first new Hulk issues off the newsstand when we has babysitting me.

Comics and other things from my youth made me more creative and lead to me to making my own comic books with such characters as Benny the Squirrel, Robo Raccoon, Fred The Mole, Mr. Emo and many more. Most of the comics I made were to amuse myself and sometimes my Mom and friends. But even without any real talent for drawing, my Mom and Dad would encourage me to keep up the good work. I was never really good at art so the hobby faded, but the creative bug stayed with me and lead me into the world of films and TV shows. To this day I am the proud owner of two small film companies, Independent B Movie and Bloodline Video, and have made such films as Werewolf of Ohio, The Sadness, Cocktober Blood, Bark at the Moon: Scars and am currently making the popular horror host show Terrifying Tales of the Macabre hosted by Baron Von Porkchop. So for all those people that were told comics will rot your brain, that’s in no way true…well maybe not completely true.

One off the wall brand that always peeked my interest even before I was in school was Star Comics, the kiddy branch of the mighty Marvel Comic juggernaut. They would make comics about popular cartoons or toy lines and were be a cheap way for parents to keep us youngsters happy till the next episode. One of the first times I discovered Star Comics was when I was really young and a cereal company gave away free issues with a mail-in. Oh the good old days of amazing and cheap prizes in your cereal! So this little blog is about re-living my youth, looking back at Star Comics, Topps Comics and other wonderful Marvel Comics that have always peeked my interest that are not normally what you would think of when someone says Marvel. And who knows, maybe I will review some other comics based on cartoons, toys, video games and TV shows from other companies. So let’s start this off with looking back at The Smurfs’ short run at Marvel.

I am going to grade these comics on a standard one to four star scale. For each issue I am going to be grading the story, the art, how true it was to the cartoon or toyline it was based on and its entertainment value. So with that said, let’s look at The Smurfs!

Smurfs #1  **

Released in 1982     Cover Price .60     Marvel Comics     #1 of 3

The premiere issue is filled with three major stories and a few small fillers. Major story number one is called “ The Smurf Plane” and shows a Smurf building an airplane to impress the other Smurfs and later using his plane to save Smurfette from the evil Gargamel. “Nearer. My Smurf, To Thee!” is the second and has a Smurf who is trying so hard to hit the bullseye on the target with his bow and arrow. The third major story “The Smurf of Youth” has Smurfette fearing she is getting old and ugly and conning two other Smurfs into following her and a strange map she found to the fountain of youth, that really is just another sinister trap from Gargamel. Once more they don’t fall for it and escape unharmed.

The first thing you notice upon opening up this issue is the so-so art work that almost seems more of an amateur’s drawings for a youngster in their family. While it’s not that bad, it’s still puzzling to me how the Smurfs in this issue just don’t seem to look right. The sub par artwork aside, for a premiere issue it seemed very dull and rushed with the third major story “The Smurf of Youth” being the best in the book and keeping a silly fun shallow vibe throughout. I am puzzled as to why no one besides Papa Smurf questioned Smurfette as she vainly insulted herself by saying that because she’s older she is ugly, so one can only imagine just how foul Papa must be in her eyes. Smurfette does not come off as a good person in this issue and like I perviously stated seems self-absorbed. The first story is fun yet really anti-climatic. And the second story while “cute” still is just a filler entry. The best moment in this part being a Smurf using bees as darts. Most of the smaller stories also seemed like page filler and while fun and silly, they really just left you wishing the writers would have just made one solid story. Oh and a really odd thing is that Gargamel keeps calling Smurfette “The Smurfette” making for some odd reading. I mean is there some fake Smurfette running around as well? This comic doesn’t capture the good natured heart and soul of the cartoon and almost seems like a strange fan made comic. This issue # 1 didn’t impress me, and really gives a person nothing to talk about besides Smurfette’s shallowness sticking out like a sore thumb. I am sure even in my youth I would have found this issue to be a bland way to bring the Smurfs to comics. The cover on this one, while okay, should not have been used for an issue one. This looks like it should have been the cover for an issue after # 6! And man look at the Smurf in the plane he just looks super pissed off to see Gargamel!

Smurfs #2  **

Released in 1982     Cover Price .60     Marvel Comics     #2 of 3

This second issue is much like the first and has three major stories and a handful of small fillers. The first major story is “The Smurfs and the Evil Bird,” in which Gargamel turns himself into a bird to sneak into the Smurf village to kill them all while they sleep. But his plan is discovered by Papa Smurf who runs him out of the village but not before he takes a hostage! With the help of Mr. Crane, they get the Smurf back and Gargamel gets his. Second is “Smurf the Birdie” where Farmer Smurf wants to protect his corn seeds from the birds and must find the perfect scarecrow. After a failed one, he gets a statue of Smurfette that keeps the birds away because of all the Smurfs are just staring at the statue! This leads also into a few pages of Smurfs trying to win Smurfette’s affections. The final story is “Sticky Smurf” in which Gargamel uses a sticky sundae to capture a Smurf but the treat turns out to be so sticky that he also gets stuck in the desert! And of course it’s up to Papa Smurf to come up with a position to free his trapped friend.

This is not an improvement over the disappointing issue one and still has the same bland art inside. This time around also rocks one hell of a lame cover, I mean take a good look at the cover. While the bird and the background look okay, the Smurfs on the ground look terrible. In this second issue the best of the main stories would have to be the opener “The Smurfs and the Evil Bird.” This seems like it could have easily been on the cartoon and also makes for a shocking moment as Gargamel tries to smother the Smurfs with smoke as he clogs the chimney of Papa Smurf hoping to kill him. Also I should state that in this issue it’s shown that the Smurfs drink Brandy! Wow, these Marvel Comic Smurfs are badass party animals! That’s one thing I have noticed so far, Marvel has changed some of this happy go lucky kids cartoon’s concepts into a little more sinister and sly ways to work in some adult style shockers from drinking to narcissism to even murder, making the issues a little more enjoyable to see just how much they will push the limit. The best moment in this one comes when a Smurf wins a kiss from Smurfette after he brings her was she thinks is a fur scarf, that turns out to be really a pet caterpillar! Smurfette being the classy woman she is throws the insect out and is mad for not getting a real fur like she thought. Wow, what a Smurfy Bitch! Issue two is only slightly better than issue one and still does not bring the charm of the cartoon to cheap comic paper. Maybe issue three, the final in the Marvel Smurf series, will be just the right amount of fun this series needs.

Smurfs #3   **1/2

Released in 1982     Cover Price .60     Marvel Comics     #3 of 3

This is the third and final issue and once more it semi-follows the formula of the past two issues with this time only two main stories and a few filler ones. Story one “ Monster Smurf” shows how all the other Smurfs get sick of Jokey Smurf’s pranks and decide to pull an ultimate prank on him in return. Then up is “Smurf Ball” were Hefty Smurf is two strong to play smurfball with the others so Handy rigs up a ball on a rubber band that Hefty can play with on his own and it leads to him on accidentally leading Gargamel to the village. It’s up to his quick thinking to save the day.

This third go around is still a major let down. While this issue is closer to the cartoon, it still lacked something to make it rise above and pull it out from being a two and a half star issue. This issue’s best offer is “Monster Smurf” just due to the fact it showed Jokey Smurf being the prankster we all knew and loved from the cartoon. This one also took out the third story and focused more on short stories that mostly dealt with Harmony Smurf and his lack of ability to carry a note. It was also nice to see an issue that focused on other Smurfs beside Smurfette who seemed to be a huge part of the past two issues. Like I said earlier, this one is the closest out of the comics run to capture the lighthearted fun tone of the cartoon and is the best issue in the series for doing so. The cover is also an improvement and is more eye catching and better drawn than the issues that came before it. So it seems just as the series seemed to be changing for the good, it was cancelled never to fully redeem itself.

My connections to the world of the Smurfs in my youth was very loose. While I watched the cartoon and enjoyed it, I only had a few of the small figures and they acted as the wussy background characters the good guys had to protect when I would have my all out toy wars. I also remember my Grandmother had a few on a shelf that when we would visit she would let us play. She also had glasses we drank from. My aunt also had a few, but again the toy line was never my thing. The cartoon and toys were always thought of more as a girl items with all their positive messages, cheesy romantic figures and no beat ’em up action or moveable parts so I am not sure why Marvel, who mostly made comics for young males, decided to make this short comic series. It also makes me wonder why only three issues – were the sales that bad they pulled the plug on it fast? Or were the people who owned the rights to the Smurfs that hard to work with? I tend to think that it probably started out as a trial run with only three issues being made with the option of more, but sales were most likely mediocre at best and the deal was just not in the cards. I happened to get these issues at Maverick Cards and Comics run by Jack Maverick in Kettering, Ohio in 2008 in a brand new sealed three pack that someone before me bought at K-Mart for a dollar when it was released. I paid three for the set! Not a bad pick up at all and they sure did come in handy for this blog. But now I am off topic. Over all Marvel’s Smurf run was a mediocre outing with some odd behavior coming from the pint size blue little bastards. The issues did not wow me now and I would be so bold to say that even in my youth I would have not been impressed.

On a fun side note in 1982, a Smurf game called “Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle” was released for both Coleco Vison and Atari 2600 and marked the first time the characters would be in a video game. The little blue mushroom house living icons would also have games on many of the top systems such as Playstation, Nintendo DS, Wii, NES, PC and many more home systems!

One thing I have noticed about Smurfs as well is that almost every one of my girlfriends (past and present) have loved them! I am not sure what the appeal is to women but they seem to really have a bound to the Smurfs. In fact here is a pic of my current girlfriend’s Smurf Collection and this is a drop in the hat compared to how many she really has.

Another thing I would like to briefly talk about is “The Smurfs Enchanted Voyage,” a boat ride at Kings Island Amusement Park here in Ohio. The ride would have you sit in a boat and travel down a path that had scenes all around you and voices and the theme song would play throughout. I first heard about this ride via my mother who went to the theme park for a Christmas celebration with her friend and was able to ride it. Many years later my brother and I went to the park with some family members and were able to ride it and I must say, being young the ride was pretty sweet! I remember being amazed by the Smurfs from around the world. Sadly the ride is no longer running and has been changed to many different things that included “The Phantom Theater”. Below are some pics of the ride. Sadly I did not take these myself – I was able to find them online, so thanks to whom ever shared these pics with the world.

In 2011 the Smurfs came to the silver screen for the first time and guess what? It was not an animated feature film but a CGI live action one! I have not seen the film nor do I have any desires to, but it did do well at the box office showing that these little blue forest dwellers still pack a punch in the eyes of the youth.

So my next update I think we will look at Marvel’s A-Team run that also only ran for three issues, and I will share some of my fond memories of Mr. T and the A-Team.

Oh yeah, and this blog is a work in progress and I am still working out the bugs of how I want things set up, but I hope you enjoyed this entry and I hope reading also helped trigger some past fun memories for you.