The Marvel Adventures Of Doc Savage!

Welcome to Rotten Ink and the first post in our countdown to the Christmas Eve countdown.  It’s crazy to think that we are so close to Christmas 2021, and I for one am looking forward to being around my family to enjoying a good meal with them as well as sharing fun conversations about life and entertainment. And as you friends and readers know, I like to try and cover things in December that brings back memories of not only my youth, but also yours and that’s why I chose to cover classic pulp icon Doc Savage as our first update! Growing up, I can remember Doc Savage not only in the pages of comic books, but also novels that I would pick up at used book stores and garage sales. He was a classic style hero that I liked when I was a kid and unlike Lone Ranger, Flash Gordon and Tarzan for some reason I lost interest in him over the years, and that forgetfulness ends  during this update as I will dive back into my love for Doc Savage and his epic adventures! So sit back, grab a mug of hot coco and let’s chat about the Man Of Bronze.

Doc Savage 1

Clark Savage Jr. aka Doc Savage was the son of an adventurer and and scientist who was trained from birth to become the perfect man with the physic of a bodybuilder and the intelligence of a genius! He was trained in many skills to fit his training of being a perfect man as he learned engineering, chemistry, archeology, electricity and even to be a surgeon. He was trained in fighting, being stealth, disguises, driving and other skills needed to be a master spy and man of action. He can fly planes, drive any kind of land vehicles as well as sail any boat. He can play music, throw his voice, remember anything, has a keen sense of smell and can take high levels of pain. Think about your favorite athletes from every sport and times that by 10 and that is how good Doc Savage really is! He started his life as a crime stopper and true hero after his father was murdered and along with a skilled group he calls The Fabulous Five, they save the day and solve mysteries. For his hero life he also has tons of fleet of vehicles of all types at his finger tips, has a base set in a New York skyscraper and has a company called “The Hidalgo Trading Company” and has a hideaway in the Arctic he calls “The Fortress Of Solitude”! He was given the nickname The Man Of Bronze and in his early days of being a crime fighter, those he would captured would be forced to have a brain operation in order to remove the parts on their minds that caused them to be criminals. Doc Savage is considered a true golden age superhero, and while he is not as popular now, he still has made a massive impact in the world of pulp heroes and beyond.

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The first Doc Savage novel was released on 1933 and was called “The Man Of Bronze” and was written by Lester Dent who was one of the creators of the character alongside John L. Nanovic and Henry W. Ralston. And the last novel in the series was released in 2018 as of this writing and was called “The Valley Of Eternity” and get this a total of 203 novels were written about Doc Savages adventures! Doc Savage while he made his way to comic and even cinema was more well known for his novel adventures and this is were he built his loyal fan base and fans that kept coming back for more and more adventures. Growing up I can remember seeing many Doc Savage paperback books at garage sales as well as the antique stores in town, and I know that when I was a kid I bought a few of the books…but I don’t ever remember if I read them or just had them. And I know that I got them because I knew of the popularity of the character and had to have the books just in case I wanted to read them and be hip to what was popular why before my time. And to be honest growing up I always loved many of the classic heroes of movies, TV, novel, radio and comics as Dick Tracy, Lone Ranger, Tarzan, Zorro, The Shadow, Captain Kirk, The Phantom, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Flash Gordon where all classic characters I loved and could not get enough of…while Doc Savage was in that category of classic heroes he was always sadly on the bottom of the list. Also growing up I can remember that some relative of mine had a large collection of the Doc Savage books, I want to say on my Mom’s side like maybe my Uncle Thurman or even my Grandma or Grandpa. If I have read a Doc Savage novel in my youth I don’t remember, but I know as I get older and have a little more free time I have plans of picking one up and given it a read. Oh and I should note many of the classic Doc Savage novels have fantastic cover artwork!

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Did you know that in 1975 a movie was released based on Doc Savage and was released by Warner Brothers? Did you know that actor Ron Ely played Doc Savage in the film? Did you know that originally back in the 60’s Chuck Connors was casted to play Doc Savage in a film that never was? Well now you do! Lester Dent, who was one of the creators of Doc Savage, owned the radio, film and television rights to the character and wanted to get the character on the big screen so bad, and tried to get Hollywood’s attention for decades…but they just would not bite and Dent went to his grave without being able to get a Doc Savage film off the ground. After his death in 1959, the rights went to his widow Norma Dent who as well tried her hardest to get the film to be made, and she got a bite in, well sort of you see a 1966 film was in the works with Chuck Connors on board to play Savage and producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman were super hyped to develop the film, so hyped that they forgot to secure the rights from Norma and by the time all was worked out, the filmmakers had moved on and made the western film “Ride Beyond Vengeance”. One funny thing about this never made film is that Gold Key Comics in 1966 released what would have been the comic book adaptation! I should also note that Lester did get a very short-lived Doc Savage Radio show off the ground, but sadly it did not have an impact and was canceled.

Years would pass and producer George Pal secured the rights from Norma with the idea of making a massive film series that would rival James Bond in classic spy type action. George wanted Steve Reeves who was known for playing Hercules to play Doc Savage, and while he said yes to the part, a writers strike put the film on hold and with that Reeves left the production. When the dust settled it was George Pal and Joe Morhaim who ended up writing the film and casting started with Ron Ely playing Doc Savage, Paul Wexler as Captain Seas, Pamela Hensley as Mona Flores and even Hills Have Eyes actor Michael Berryman played a small part. Michael Anderson was then selected to direct with Warner Brothers agreeing to disrepute and the film rushed into filming. The film when done went up against Jaws and was buried and bombed and worse critics and fans alike seemed to not like the films forced humor and bland story. But the film did have one major fan and that was Norma Dent who praised Ron Ely’s performance as Savage!

The film was a bomb, and this ended the idea of a film series as the sequel that was to be called “Doc Savage: The Arch Enemy Of Evil” was set with even some press shots even being taken, but that was as far as the film got. The film would end up getting released on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray later on. And this one 1975 film was the only film version of Doc Savage ever released. It’s a shame that this film had to be released alongside Jaws as that locked the film for failure and this also killed the push for this to become a major film series! It also makes me wonder if Chuck Connors or Steve Reeves would have played Doc Savage in the film would it have done better? Or would it have been doomed to the same fate? I saw the film only once and it was on a bad VHS bootleg some many years back. I do own the Warner Archive DVD and should dust it off and give it a watch sometime soon.

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Doc Savage was a mega hit in the world of pulp novels, but failed when it came to radio and film, but he was a semi big hit in the world of comic books as some of the biggest publishers have released issues of Savages adventures! I mean look at these publishers that released comics based on Savage: Marvel, DC, Gold Key, Dynamite, Dark Horse and Millennium all gave fans something to read. Growing up I had the Marvel Comic issues as well as the DC and Millennium ones. It’s crazy that Doc Savage comics are not going still and I would love to see the character return to Marvel Comics as imagine Doc having his own series as well as mixed in with other Marvel series like The Avengers and even Predator!

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Doc Savage really is one of those classic characters that to me belongs in the same standing with Tarzan, Zorro, Dick Tracy and James Bond to name a few and I for one am glad that he is finally getting the Rotten Ink treatment. I want to think Ebay and Etsy sellers for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. I want to remind you that I as well grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready, let’s travel to the Marvel Universe and see what Doc Savage is up to, and I also need to say that I am looking forward to reading many of these issues again, and some for the very first time so also let’s see if they hold up!

Doc Savage Marvel 1

Doc Savage # 1  **1/2
Released in 1972     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 1 of 8

A man dressed in green and yellow climbs a skyscraper that is being built with a sniper rifle in hand, he finds his target window that is the office of one Doc Savage…who happens not to be in at the moment but his five friends are who are all on edge. As Doc Savage arrives at the office he gets some very bad news that while he was away his father has passed away from an unknown sickness. This triggers Doc Savage to go to his fathers hidden safe and finds very important papers and a land grant…but before he can read them all the way through the assassin takes his shot and Doc and his friends hit not only the ground but the lights and start their work of figuring out who has shot at them and from where. The group acts fast and figures out the place the shot came from and as Doc and most of his friends rush off to get the would be killer the groups lawyer Ham Brooks rushes off to get legal papers ready so they can fly out in the morning to the land from the grant. As Doc Savage and his remaining four friends arrive the rush up the to be built skyscraper as their killer is annoyed that Doc Savage still lives and he thought his shot killed him. When the service elevator jams Doc Savage climbs out and makes his way to the gunman all the while dodging laser blasts from his gun, and when Doc Savage reaches him the fight ends fast and Doc alerts his friends that the man is speaking ancient Mayan. The only thing they get from the assassin is that he is a follower of The Son Of The Feathered Serpent and jumps to his death as he would rather die than to speak. Doc Savage and his friend return to the office to find a warning written on the wall from another of the cult members of The Son Of The Feathered Serpent and they swear as a group to get revenge for Doc Savage’s father who they all think now was killed.

The first issue in Marvel Comics Doc Savage is a very fun classic hero read for an aging comic reader like myself who enjoys a slow burn adventures…but I am sure most modern younger comic readers would not enjoy this comic as it really is very “old” in feeling. This issue’s plot has Doc Savage returning home to his office only to find out that hid dad has passed away, he now has a grant for lots of land out of the country and also has someone trying to take his life all this in a matter of minutes! Doc Savage is a hero who shows zero emotion to everything that is going on around him, and uses his skills and training well in order to achieve his goals. We also see that he not only is super strong but is also very skilled in using his brain to win. His friends are called The Fabulous Five and are Ham, Johnny, Monk, Renny and Long Tom all who have skills that help Doc Savage and each other on their world adventures. It’s clear that right now our bad guys are all from The Son Of The Feathered Serpent cult who might even been the ones who infected Savage’s father with the illness and seem to really want the land grant that was left for Doc Savage in his fathers safe. They are dangerous for sure as they do not seem to care about taking another persons life and also seem pretty set on ending their own if it comes down to it. While the plot moves pretty fast and feels like the old novels as well as even a hint of James Bond films the downside is that the comic is very wordy and much of the time the things characters are saying really don’t mean much to the over all story, and while some will find that to be a reason not to read this comic…I found it charming in a old school kind of way. The cover for this first issue is pretty cool and I think captures the elements of Doc Savage while also adding a Marvel Comics touch. The interior art is well done and is done by Ross Andru who is an artist that I feel does not get the recognition he should in these modern times. While not a perfect start for a comic series I do think it’s a good one and I am looking forward to reading the second issue.

Doc Savage Marvel 2

Doc Savage # 2  **1/2
Released in 1972     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 2 of 8

Doc Savage and his five friends are flying above an airfield in South America and are being fired at by enemies of the government that causes them to crash land…and to the government of Hidalgo they are happy to find Doc Savage and crew to be ok and they also give them another plane to use as our heroes fly deep into the jungle to find the location that was left on the land grant. The area they land in is called “The Valley Of The Vanished” and once out of the plane they are attacked by The Son Of The Feathered Serpent cult and as the fight starts to truly break out they are all commanded to stop by King Chaac and Princess Monja who welcome Doc Savage as they knew and respected his father, but this welcoming is not liked by all when the tribe warrior chief Morning Breeze alerts the King that he and his warriors do not like outsiders in their land! The King informs Doc that he was sent to his kingdom in order to be judged as their land has so much gold that they would like to share with him as well as the Hidalgo people…but only if he is deemed worthy in the next 30 days. That night Morning Breeze and his warriors sneak into the sleeping area of The Fabulous Five and kidnap and drop three of them into a deep well, but unknown to the warriors Doc Savage had over heard the plan and hide in the well and saves his friends before they fall to their deaths fully, and he uses parlor magic the next morning to expose Morning Breeze as a would be killer as well Doc makes himself look even more powerful. Looking like a fool Morning Breeze sulks away and meets with a man who is calling himself The Son Of The Feathered Serpent who informs his defeated warrior that he is now going to unleash The Red Death the same illness that took the life of Doc Savage’s dad. The Son Of The Feathered Serpent places the red death into the water supply of the kingdom and so many are fallen ill, and Morning Breeze and Son Of The Feathered Serpent are spreading rumors that its Doc Savage and his men that have brought this deadly illness, while in reality Doc has studied some of the people fallen ill and has made a cure that he is rushing around given to the ill as the warriors following the word of Son Of The Feathered Serpent try and gun him down! In the end Doc Savage saves the lived of all that are infected, is able to kill Son Of The Feathered Serpent by knocking him off a temple, watch as Morning Breeze is gunned down, proves he is worthy of the gold, breaks the heart of the Princess who has fallen in love with him and loads up gold and flies away with his friends.

This second issue cracks the case of what and who killed Doc Savage’s father as well as who is the man who put a hit on Doc was and it was a crazed man who ran a cult that called himself The Son Of The Feathered Serpent who was really a member of the government of Hidalgo who would fly back and fourth from the civil world and the lost Mayan one. Doc Savage is one tough hero who can duke it out with the best of them and can also use his quickness to dodge gun and laser fire…plus he has a rule that he will not kill…well that is unless he can kill you with an accident! One thing that I think Doc does in this issue that is awesome is he uses smoke bombs and his friends with ropes to appear as if he can bring back the dead. I also like that he is willing to risk is own life in order to save the lives of those in need. The Fabulous Five are around and help during the case with even Monk able to fight with some Mayan warriors, but to be honest for the most part in these first two issues you could have cut them and they would not have effected the story all that much. Now I know that sounds like I don’t like The Fabulous Five as I am saying they at this point don’t add much to the comic story, but I do like them and hope they get more to do in the upcoming issues. Morning Breeze is a sneaky warrior who is pure evil that he goes along with a plot the spread a deadly disease into his tribes water supply…what a goon and then tries to run away from battle only to be shot in the back by the one he served. The Son Of The Feathered Serpent is a man with no morals who is ruled by greed and power and who has no issues with killing lots of people to get what he wants, and because of his greed and evil ways he finds himself going splat after falling off a temple. I also like that the cold blooded main killer and villain of this two issue story arch is of course also a member of the nations Government…classic spy stuff. While the pacing is once more semi fast it does also feel like a slow burn like the first issue making it drag a little in spots. The cover is great as is the interior art done Ross Andru again, and with that let’s see what issue three has in store for us.

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Doc Savage # 3  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 3 of 8

Ham and Long Tom and hanging out at Monks house when the office of a cruise ship company is blown up! The three friends rush up to see if they can help and watch as one of the workers is shot in the back with an arrow fired by one of the members of the Silver Death’s Head group…the three friends give chase but are out stepped and worse then they go to call Doc Savage a whole attack armored vehicle filled with members bust in and take them all hostage and then flee the scene. Doc Savage rushes to his friends place only to find them missing and the cops on the scene not having any real answers. Doc Savage decides to go to the docks and snoop around the dead man’s business and finds his secretary Lorna Zane knocked out and another worker Harry Pace hiding the shadows. After a few moments of speaking to them members of the Silver Death’s Head as well as their leader Ull come busting in and want to finish the job of killing Lorna, but Doc Savage just in time hides both workers and takes a beating at the hands of the Silver Death’s Head just so he can fake being knocked out and hear them mention the name of Bedford Burgess Gardner who runs another of the cruise ship companies as well as they are looking for blueprints to something. After the baddies leave, Doc Savage along with Harry and Lorna leave as Doc leaves Lorna at his cousin Pat Savage’s beauty saloon for her safety as he takes Harry with him to find the home of Gardner. Once there they find the butler dead and Gardner is not happen to see them and as Doc Savage searches the house for the killer he is attacked by members of the Silver Death’s Head and in less then a minute he takes them all out and even manages to find a man named Hugh McCoy tied up in the closet who claims Gardner shot his own butler! By the time Doc Savage makes it back to Gardner’s room he finds Harry knocked out and the member of the Silver Death’s Head group swallows a poison capsule. And after all this drama Doc Savage is now really mad and wants his friends back!

This third issue is has a strange story plot that follows two owners of cruise ship companies that has one dying in a terrorist attack and another being accused of killing his own butler we then even have three of The Fabulous Five kidnapped by a group that calls themselves the Silver Death’s Head. Doc Savage in this one starts off just minding his own business at his office when three of his friends drag him into a murder investigation as well as a kidnapping plot as three of his friends end up missing. Doc Savage uses all his skills in this issue as he not only uses his fists he also uses his detective and chemistry skills as well in order to follow the clues to solve the crime as well as save his friends. Poor Monk, Ham and Long Tom are in the wrong place when an explosion goes off a few floors above Monks house and this leads them on the bad side of the issues bad guys. The Silver Death’s Head group wear costumes made of silver dollars and while they are lead by Ull it’s clear that some one else is calling the shots and while this issue wants you too think that its Gardner one of the cruise ship company owners I think that that the shots are being called by Harry Pace a man I just don’t trust at all! I do like also that this issue introduces us to Pat Savage an owner of a beauty shop who is also an adventurer who is the cousin of Doc. The look of the Silver Death’s Head group is really cool and reminds me of bad guys you would see in an issue of Amazing Spider-Man or Captain America at the time of this comics release. This issue has a really fun detective feel to it as I felt as a reader I was along for the ride to solve the case with Doc Savage and I also feel that the stakes are high in this issue as three of his friends lives hang in the balance. Great interior artwork from Ross Andru and a eye catching cover for this issue and I feel like this is the best issue this far in the Doc Savage Marvel Comic series…let’s see if issue four keeps up the good work of making Doc Savage apart of the Marvel Universe.

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Doc Savage # 4  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 4 of 8

Doc Savage along with Harry Pace and Hugh McCoy find an old waterfront warehouse that is being used as a base for members of the Silver Death’s Head and after taking out many of the members and chasing off many others, Doc Savage finds his friends Monk, Long Tom and Ham tied up in a roof and sets them free. And after searching around they find a map that they will follow, and Doc Savage sends Ham to find all he can on Gardner as he has a hunch. Doc Savage and the rest head to the docks and all get aboard his own designed submarine as Doc informs them that he thinks that the Silver Death’s Head have their own and that’s how they get around to commit their crimes as well as avoid the police. And as always Doc was right as their sub is attacked by the Silver Death’s Head groups and when some of their members in scuba gear try and break into Doc’s sub he and his friends are forced to get into gear and fight them under water! Once Doc makes quick work of them he then follows a boat that Ull and the real head of the group are escaping on…he of course grabs a rope that is on the boat and follows them to a secret hideout. Doc busts in and knocks out Ull fast and then takes down the leader who ends up being Hugh McCoy who was also Gardner…you see Hugh created Gardner in order to have a fake face in order to mastermind these crimes.

Ok, Ok I was wrong as I was thinking Harry Pace was the main brains behind the Silver Death’s Head group and it was that slime Hugh McCoy the whole time, but hey Doc Savage didn’t figure it all out until the un-masking either! This issue’s plot has Doc save his friends and then find a map, go underwater to fight goons in scuba gear only to follow the two leaders of the crime group to a hidden hideout to kick them around and solve this case that involved murder and kidnapping! Doc Savage is a man of few words, but a man of action and you can always tell when his mind is working on solving a problem and coming up with a plan to end the issue. Doc Savage also we find out hates when people brag about the things he does as he does them not for the glory but because they are the right thing to do. Glad to see Ham, Long Tom and Monk alright even if as always they really don’t add much to the story and are just around for a reason to fully get Doc involved when they are kidnapped. Well I guess Ham does his job as he does dig up info on “Gardner” and his business that rose to power super fast in the world of shipping and cruise vacations. Hugh McCoy is a mastermind as he uses a fake persona to open a business, murder his computation, work alongside a murderous group and try to match his wits with Doc Savage all in the quest for power and money. Hugh also does a great job of acting friendly with the good guys, all the while playing them for fools. Ull and the Silver Death’s Head group are killers for hire who have the money and power to make people dead, but also wear heavy outfits that make them noisy as well as smell like silver…so stealth they are not. This case aka story arc of Doc Savage is very interesting and had me guessing all along on who the main man calling the shots was, and while I was wrong it made the ending a little more fun! The cover is great and pretty eye catching for the time of release and like before the interior art of Ross Andru is top notch. Another solid issue of Marvel’s Doc Savage, and I cannot wait to see what the next issue has in store for me.

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Doc Savage # 5  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 5 of 8

A hunter is attacked and killed in his cabin and is discovered by his friend, the man’s dying words is for him to track down Doc Savage and hire him to crack this case and avenge him! The other hunter who’s name is Carl MacBride makes his way to New York and while traveling meets Jean Morris a country girl who fills him in on how Doc Savage works and takes cases. But once Carl arrives at Doc Savages office and once there before he can say a word a mobster with a tommy gun comes up the other elevator and blasts the man with gun fore before running away. Doc Savage along with Monk and Ham give chase and find that the shooter runs to a mansion that was is highly protected and find that Jean is also inside as she has a job interview and been hired by a man named Griswold Rock who owns a small railroad in Michigan and before they all know it the floor beneath them gives way and a giant monster appears causing them all to fall to the floor below and as they Doc Savage and his men get to their feet the watch as a red truck speeds off with the monster in the back and the gunman behind the wheel…and oddly enough Jean is also missing. Before the leave they find Griswold Rock locked behind a door who tells them he has been held prisoner by one of his former employees named Pere Teston who forced the man to sell his stock and bonds. Doc Savage along with Ham and Monk call in Long Tom, Renny and Johnny as he is going to need all their help in order to track down this red truck and crack this case. Renny in his plane is the first to spot the red truck, but he is shot down by the tommy gun mad man and taken from the wreckage and kidnapped. Renny watches as the gun man is joined by other hoods and they set a bomb that will blow up the truck, the monster in the back and him! He also sees that they have Jean with them…and as they all leave before the big explosion Doc Savage just in time arrives and saves Renny…but the poor monster is killed. Doc Savage has a hunch now with all the clues he has gathered and wants to solve this case of murder and crime.

This is a very interesting issue as of course it’s an action detective story, but it has a dash of horror added into the mix with monsters and a creepy cabin in the woods. This case has Doc Savage watching a man who was coming to him for help to solve the murder of his friend get gunned down only to follow the killer to a mansion that houses a giant monster and even more questions and no answers…yet. This issue Doc Savage is the hero like always but also seems a little confused by what the giant monster is and why a man was murdered in his office before he could speak. And Renny of The Fabulous Five owes his life to Doc as he was about to be blown sky high, before being rushed out of the way of a car bomb, but to also be fair Renny did a great job of tracking down the truck that the gang was looking for. Who is Jean Morris , Griswold Rock and Pere Teston and can any of them be trusted…only the next issue I am sure will give us that answer. The Monster was massive and looked like something straight out of a 40’s Atomic Age Horror Movie…but for some reason I have a feeling it was not real, as it’s a robot or a prop. The pacing for this issue is a little faster than the others as the killing and then the case really kick in fast and this one also seems a little more confusing as in the case is not as easy to piece together. The cover is pretty cool and looks more like a Marvel Horror cover or even a Doctor Strange one and the interior art once more is done by the underrated and under talked about Ross Andru, another solid issue in the series, and I cannot wait to read the next issue!

Doc Savage Marvel 6

Doc Savage # 6  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 6 of 8

Doc Savage and his two friends Ham and Monk are flying above a lake in Michigan the area that the hunter was killed that started this whole case, but to their horror they are attacked by two massive giants that come out of the lake and if not for Doc Savage’s grenade that scared them off they could have surly all meet their deaths. Doc Savage on the time they bought away from the giants searches the cabins around and finds no clues, and when walking through the woods the tommy gun gunner tries to take them out, but slips and falls into a bog and drowns. Doc Savage uses rope to get the id and body of the man out of the bog and finds a note that says Death Mill! Doc Savage sends Ham and Monk to town and looks into the mill and finds Griswold Rock inside who claims he got a telegram from Savage to meet him there. With all of them back in town they get word that Renny in a helicopter has been shot down and as Doc Savage and Monk rush to his aid…its clear this is a trap as giants and gunmen are all around and Renny is not even there yet! As a gunfight breaks out and the Giants run off into the woods on a mission, the fight is a standstill and the gunmen flee and Monk follows them as Doc Savage hitches a ride with the now arriving Renny back to town as Doc has a bad feeling. Once back in town they find that the giants had attacked the hotel and took away Griswold Rock and left Ham injured! But now Doc Savage has it as he knows that the giants are old prisoners who have been given a chemical to grow that size, he thinks that Pere Teston is apart of these monster attacks in order to get money from towns that he has threatened with attacks and that the murdered hunter stumbled onto their plan and was killed for it. Doc and his crew go and try and solve this case and even along the way save Jean Morris who as well had been captured back at the mansion…but they are all captured by the giants that take them to the criminals base and Doc and his crew are thrown into a hole and left to die. That night Doc Savage has a plan and after making a human ladder he climbs to freedom and gathers papers that prove his chemical made giants theory as well as bugs the office of the main man in charge before sneaking back into the hole. Doc Savage then uses his brain and has the guards turn on each other by informing them that the chemical used will make the prisoners forever giants and that they are being used…this causes the hired guards to be attacked by the prisoner guards! Doc Savage then once more exits the hole during the battle and tosses down a rope for the rest to escape and run down to the water as he wants to bust the boss all his own. But things turn south real fast when a giant busts open a tank filled with very poisonous gas that kills everyone who breaths it in, as Doc Savage and his crew flee they find Pere Teston tied up and rescue him as it was Griswold Rock all along who was the mastermind of the giants.

This is a pretty solid issue that has Doc Savage and his friends heading to the woods of Michigan in order to solve some murders as well as battle giants…but the payout at the end seemed very rush and they could have cut down on the plane attacks and crashes and it would have allowed for more panels to be used for the big ending that seemed very underwhelming. Doc Savage who is a great hero and detective sure did make many mistakes in this one and his plans seemed to almost always lead to danger and even allow the bad guys to hear their plans as he took in the crime families leader on his word that he was kidnapped and held prisoner…you would have thought Doc would have been smarter then that. But I do give Doc credit when it comes to fighting the giants as he knows he is strong, but not match for them…but would die swinging if he had to fight them hand to hand. Being six issues into a only eight issue series its clear that the two main members of The Fabulous Five are Monk and Ham as they seem to be getting more adventures and are clearly the two most important in these comic series, but I will say Renny gets a tiny bit of time to shine in these last two issues. Jean Morris who was a lion tamer is around and really adds nothing to this story besides a female character. The Giants are dangerous as they are just prisoners and criminals who are turned into these monsters and who are being used as test rats by a man who just wanted more and more money and power and that man is the chubby, sweaty looking Griswold Rock who was a small time business man but a large con-artist. The Horror element of the first part of this story arch kind of fades in this second part as it becomes more of a crime adventure thriller. I do like also that this issue takes us out of the big city and takes us into the woods of Michigan and has Doc Savage having to fight in water, woods and even a hidden island. The cover is pretty great and is pure 70’s Marvel style and as always Ross Andru interior art is A+ stuff. The next two issues are the ones that I read in my youth so let’s see how well they hold up.

Doc Savage Marvel 7

Doc Savage # 7  ***
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel     # 7 of 8

In the Canadian woods on the estate of Alex Savage the uncle of Doc Savage a man transforms into a werewolf and has the want to kill and murder Alex…and he does just that. The next day Doc gets a phone call from his cousin Pat Savage about the attack and murder and this puts Doc into a thinking mood as the murder was said to be very beast like. Doc Savage decides that he is heading to Canada to be with his cousin Pat during her sad time as well as he wants to find out what killed his uncle and why their household seems to be under attack. Doc along with Ham, Monk and Renny take the train to get there and even while ridding gets a fake telegram warning him not to go to his uncles house. As Doc and Renny make their way to the railcar of Ham and Monk they get all types of stares from passengers many who think they are dangerous killers with many having plans to protect themselves. When Doc gets to his friends he finds that he has gotten there just in time as some one has gassed them and left an image of a werewolf on their window. And this same thing was done to El Rabanos and his friends the Ovejas whom all thing Doc Savage and his men are bad people, and worse after the gas clears they find another werewolf image on a window, watch a black painted plane fly away from the train and are forced to a stop as logs now block the train from moving forward! As Doc Savage removes the logs his friends give chase to El Rabanos who runs into the woods, after clearing the way Doc as well gives chase and his jumped by four men with guns…they are no match for Doc who defeats them and rushes to find his friends. Meanwhile Pat Savage is home with her two Native American friends Tiny and her husband Boatface when they hear the howl of the werewolf, Pat grabs her gun to look for the beast only to find nothing and to return home to Tiny and Boatface knocked out from gas and she checks on a ivy cube with a werewolf on it that is very priceless. Unknown to Pat her cubes hiding place was seen by Boatface who steals it and tries to sell it to the werewolf, but the mans greed delivers his death as the werewolf murders him over the price of the cube. Pat and Tiny awake from the sound of a howl from the werewolf and notice Boatface missing so they head into the woods with gun in hand to find him. Meanwhile Doc Savage finds his friends at a tiny airfield in the woods and watch as El Rabanos and his friends make an escape in a plan and even kill one of their own airmen in the leave, before he dies he tells Doc Savage a string of clues. In the end Doc Savage with Monk, Ham and Renny make it to his uncles house to find Pat missing and the body of Boatface now in the living room of the home, Doc orders his friends to stay at the home as he rushes off to find his cousin only to be shot while walking across a rope.

All I can say is 100% this issue held up for me after all these years and has a super classic werewolf horror movie feel to it and that’s why I enjoy it so much! In this issue Doc Savage gets the sad news from his cousin that his uncle has been killed in a savage way and this makes the Doc head to Canada to figure out the murder as well as all the strange things going on around his uncles estate. This issue takes Doc Savage from his city office, to a train traveling across countries, to the snowy woods for Canada all the way to his uncle’s home in the middle of now where, and all the while he had to fight and use his detective skills. Doc Savage and his cousin Pat Savage are going through a very hard time as their loved one has been brutally murdered and all signs point to it being the work of a werewolf, but they also have to deal with shady people as well and thieves who want to steal an ivory cube that the Savage family owns. El Rabanos and his group are very shady and are clearly involved in this killing as they are also trying very hard to spread rumors of Doc Savage himself being a cold blooded killer and a curse to those who see him. As always Monk, Ham and Renny are around, but do very little in the over all story besides their friendship. Pat Savage is a warrior her own self as she along with her trusty gun have zero issues running off into the woods to face the werewolf, as she wants revenge really bad for her fathers death. Tiny is a loyal housekeeper to the Savage family even if her husband was a thief who allowed his own greed lead to his death. And finally The Werewolf is a talking beast who wants the Ivory Cube and who is also savage in his attacks and plans for murder, a classic looking werewolf that reminds me of Jack Russell the Werewolf By Night another Marvel Comics series that was running around the same time. The Werewolf while very beast like in nature and look, also has a human side as well that allows him to talk and plan. One has to wonder who the man beast is and if he is truly a werewolf or just a man in a suit playing a legendary creature. The cover is awesome and eye catching and the interior artwork by Ross is amazing stuff. A great issue and my favorite in the series this far in both art and in story, so let’s see what issue 8 the final issue has in store for us!

Doc Savage Marvel 8

Doc Savage # 8  **1/2
Released in 1974     Cover Price .20     Marvel     # 8 of 8

Doc Savage is holding onto the rope when the man fires one more bullet knocking him off and sending him to his death, or so the man thinks as he returns to camp he is meet by the Werewolf who is in charge and is told of the news that Doc Savage is dead and with this the Werewolf is happy as he knows now nothing will stand in his way of entering the Cave Of The Werewolf. Meanwhile in a tent in that very party we find Pat and Tiny tied up and being held captive and when they try to escape the ones holding them captive inform them that they are no longer needed as her cousin is dead so their worth is low, but before Pat and Tiny can be killed Doc Savage rushes to their rescue and after beating down the bad guys the Cousins and Tiny start to head back to the Savage home as Doc Savages is sure that El Rabanos and the Ovejas are involved in this murder and werewolf attacks, as they make their way home Doc Savage is challenged by the Werewolf and after a quick fight the beast is knocked out and his mask taken off to show just a thug in a costume. Once back at the Savage home Pat finds that the cube is missing and just then Senorita Cere Oveja comes busting in screaming that the werewolf is going to kill her father and El Rabanos if Pat does not give him the cube, Cere tells them that the original werewolf was just a nickname for one of her relatives that was a pirate and that the cube holds the location to all his stolen treasure and that she and her father along with El Rabanos was just trying to find it as they think the gold is theirs due to heritage. Doc sends Ham, Monk and Renny to search the pine trees in the area that has a birds nest in it as feathers and needles was found on the body of Boatface. After some time Ham finds the cube in a nest Doc solves the puzzle of it and unlocks the hidden map inside. The werewolf shows up and uses his gas on Pat, Tiny, Monk, Ham and Renny and takes Doc Savage hostage as he informs the hero its been a trick all along and El Rabanos and the Oveja’s are his partners in crime! Doc Savage awakens in a cave with his friends as El Rabanos is bragging to him that he was the mastermind behind this plot all along and killed his Uncle to draw Doc their to figure out the map puzzle, he also says he will turn on the Werewolf and the Oveja’s in order to keep all the treasure for himself! But surprise Doc Savage is free and his friends are not knocked out as Monk made an antidote for the gas and they are ready for a fight. After knocking out El Rabanos with a punch Doc Savage does after the Werewolf as his cousin and his friends go fight with the rest of the gang. Doc Savage out fights the Werewolf and after El Rabanos wakes up and fires his gun the cave collapses with only Doc Savage, Pat Savage, Tiny, Monk, Renny, Ham, The Oveja’s and the treasure escaping…all others are dead. In the end they inform The Oveja’s that they will not get a penny of the treasure and it all will go to build hospitals in Canada and also that Pat Savage is now apart of the group.

This issue holds up as well and while some of the horror elements are gone, by middle of the issue it becomes a crime thriller that has some twists and turns that many of true crime lovers will see coming, but are still super fun to watch unfold. Doc Savage through out this issue as well as the whole series is a man who keeps care of his mind and body and will risk it for good, as he believes that doing the right thing and helping others is very important. He will not kill unless he has no choice and has nerves of steel and is not shaken by anything and that includes near death experiences as well as facing monsters. And one thing about Doc Savage as well is that he is always one step ahead most of the time and has back up plans in order if things go wrong for he and his crew. The Fabulous Five are the best friends of Doc Savage and while around they don’t do much in this series, but with that said I would very much miss them of they were not around as the friendship between Ham and Monk is fun as they poke fun at each other all the time and while Renny, Long Tom and Johnny do very little they are still cool background hero characters. Pat Savage is the touch as nails, sweet and strong cousin of Doc who is an hero in her own right and who rushes into danger to avenge and save the innocent, and after loosing her Father to murder she is ready to join her cousin in the hero business. Tiny who’s husband Boatface was a loser shows that she is close to the Savage family and when all hell breaks loose in the cave she even fights with the hired thugs and bear hugs some of them into submission! The Oveja’s and El Rabanos are slimy and play all sides in order to get what they want and that’s the hidden pirate treasure, and would even turn on each other in order to get it. The werewolf is not a real creature but is a mad man in a costume who seems like he really does think he is one, he as well is motivated by greed but also has pride as he wants to be the man who kills Doc Savage! While he fails and is made quick work of and is later killed in the cave in, I find him to be a cool bad guy who a great classic werewolf look and has a Marvel Horror look. The story of this case is really cool and is set in the woods of Canada with a werewolf on the loose and oddly reminded me of the silent film Wolf Blood from 1925 that is a semi werewolf film set in the snowy woods of Canada. The Doc Savage series from Marvel Comics reminds me why I loved the 70’s era of Marvel as they had some many amazing comics going beyond their Superhero and original Horror lines with titles like Godzilla, Planet Of The Apes, Tarzan Lord Of The Apes, Star Trek, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica showcasing they knew how to make good comic based on film, novel and TV properties. The cover for this one is eye catching and really cool and again like clock work Ross’s interior art is amazing and he really was one of Marvel’s talented artists of the time that should be way more respect in these modern times. Over all I have to say I enjoyed the Doc Savage comic run at Marvel Comics quite a bit and while Doc Savage is a dated character and even by 1970’s he was a little out of date, they did a great job of bringing the 1930’s into the 70’s and making it seem right at home in the disco era. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Ross and see how this series looked.

Doc Savage Marvel Comic Art 1Doc Savage Marvel Comic Art 2Doc Savage Marvel Comic Art 3

But wait there is more as the Doc Savage fun continues, as we will be also taking a look at his two other Marvel appearances that had him teaming with the likes of Spider-Man and The Thing! I also want to say that a Giant Size Doc Savage # 1 was released by Marvel but was just a reprint of the first two issues in the series. It also makes me wonder why Doc Savage only lasted for eight issues, I would guess poor sales…but I could not say for sure. So if you are still up for some classic detective adventure, let’s go on two more adventures with Doc.

Giant Size Spider-Man 3 Comic

Giant Size Spider-Man # 3  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .50     Marvel    # 3 of 6

Desinna is a strange woman from another world and time who has sent a message to Spider-Man to meet her at an old building in New York that is set to be torn down, and while inside she shows Spidey a look into the past as Doc Savage in the 1930’s also has gotten a message to investigate that very building as something is just not right with it. Back in the 70’s before Desinna can inform Spider-Man on what is going on the ground shakes knocking her out and Spider-Man is faced with a giant goat legged monster that wants him dead! The giant is named Tarros and he is also from the past and his body is made up of an electric field, and Spider-Man out smarts the giant and over loads the field and sends him away. After the fight Desinna wakes back up and once more has Spidey take a look at Doc Savage in the 30’s at this same sight. While Doc and The Fabulous Five are looking around they meet Desinna who informs them that she is from another dimension and that her world they have created a time machine, but something has went wrong and scientist Tarros had his life spirit taken away and now its twisted and evil and is about to run wild in New York, just then the Giant Tarros appears and Doc Savage and his friends spring into action fighting the creature and Doc Savage being the man he is figures out a way to trap Tarros into a dated stone that’s in the building trapping him inside it as long as the building stands. Back to Spider-Man’s time he figures out that Desinna is worried that when the building is demolished the next day the evil will be unleashed again, but Spider-Man has figured it out and Tarros is not the bad guy it’s Desinna who tricked the old man and had him stuck in time! Spider-Man frees the spirit of Tarros and Desinna is sent back to her world to face punishment.

This is a fun idea of a crossover between Spider-Man and Doc Savage that could have been a heck of a lot better as the major downfall for me is that Spidey and Doc never really meet nor do they even really team up! The plot has a lady from another dimension playing victim to heroes from two different decades in order to try and cover up her evil actions in her own world. Desinna is a pretty woman who has a sinister side that is hidden deep in her charm, she is a mastermind that tricked a wise old scientist from her world and is still using her charm to trick heroes into covering up her mistake and doing her dirty work. When she is figured out and sent to face punishment she still tries to use her charm and beauty to save her own hide. The man she tricked is Tarros who’s spirit was stuck in a field of energy and can not speak English and because of his monster look is easily judged by those tricked by Desinna’s charm and words. Doc Savage comes to the aid of a woman in need and battle a massive electric monster to save our world and hers, and uses his brains and strength to bring the creature down, but sadly he was played a fool all that time ago and was tricked into just beating down a victim even more by the one who started the crime. In other words the hero Doc Savage that has always been shown to be a very smart man as well as a great detective was tricked by a pretty face and the old time belief that women cannot be bad. Spider-Man meanwhile has to sit and watch the events of the past and then solve the case that he is about to be made a fool of just like Savage was by a lady who is evil. I like that Spidey quickly figured it all out, and even after fighting with the spirit puts the pieces together to help save him and allow justice to happen in another dimension. Also I get the feeling that Spider-Man knows that Doc Savage really dropped the ball bad, and is in his own way making excuses for him by saying he was a product of his time. While this was a fun way to bring two heroes together from two different periods of time, I felt that it could have been done better like why not have Desinna take Spider-Man back in time to team with Doc Savage in order to bring down her enemy, and have them both figure out she is the real bad one, or even vice versa. The lack of real interaction between Spidey and Doc was a major letdown and much of the issues pages are spent on Desinna’s lies and tricks. But with that said I did enjoy the elements of each hero doing their thing, that’s why I have given it a slightly above average star rating as while flawed it was still a fund read. The cover is pretty cool and reminds me of an old Marvel Team Up cover and the interior art is great as once more Ross Andru shows his talents. Over all a fun issue and a good read for fans of Spider-Man and Doc Savage, just don’t go in thinking you will see them fight the monster together. Check out some artwork below from this Giant Size issue.

Giant Size Spider-Man 3 Comic Art 1Giant Size Spider-Man 3 Comic Art 2Giant Size Spider-Man 3 Comic Art 3

Up next let’s see how Doc Savages team up with Fantastic Four member The Thing goes! And again what a strange crossover for our hero of the 1930’s!

Marvel Two In One 21

Marvel Two-In-One # 21  **1/2
Released in 1976      Cover Price .30     Marvel     # 21 of 100

At the Baxter Building The Thing is working out and The Human Torch goes to the elevator and is greeted by Janice Lightner who faints once she enters, meanwhile in 1936 Mrs. Lightner travels up the elevator and as well faints once hitting the office of Doc Savage! And in both times the Lightner ladies tell the story of abuse, crazy ideas, madness and wasted fortunes and Janice is the daughter of Mrs. Lightner and it seems like the past and present are playing out the same. The ladies asking for help both speak of The Sky Cannon a powerful weapon that pulls down star energy and places it into a human host and in both cases the weapon is about to be used by the males of the family to show that they are not mad and true power is out there and can be placed into one man! All the heroes from both decades rush to the lab and have their flying vehicles struck by The Star Cannon merging both words together so Doc Savage, Renny, Monk, The Thing, Human Torch and Janice Lightner fall from the sky as inside the lab father and son merge into a new super villain named Blacksun. As the heroes shake off the fall and introductions happen Blacksun appears and is ready for a fight using his beams of energy to try and bring down the heroes, Monk and Renny uses their none kill bullet to no effect and an attack by the Human Torch is shrugged off. The Thing is next up and tries to clobber Blacksun only for it also to fail, but Doc Savage is up next and notices that when the clouds black the stars he has a chance to land punches and does just that causing Blacksun to try and run away into space as he wants to enter a black hole. The Thing and Doc Savage hold onto the villain for as long as they can before falling back to solid ground, but Blacksun as well learns that he can not breath in high altitude and falls to Earth hard causing an end to his rampage and also sends Doc Savage and his crew back to the 1930’s. In the end The Thing and Human Torch promise to Janice to get Blacksun (her brother and father as one) the help that he needs.

See this issue of Marvel Two-In-One was done right as Doc Savage comes to the then modern time and fights alongside a Marvel superhero in order to stop a villain from destroying the universe. The plot for this issue has the Lightner family in the 1930’s and the 1970’s following the same path at using a weapon called The Star Cannon in order to draw pure power from the stars and when they fire it up it merges Doc Savage and his crew into the 70’s in order to help The Thing stop the end of the world and light as we know it. The Thing and Human Torch show why they are heroes as these two members of the Fantastic Four rush to aid a woman who needs them to stop her brother from doing something really stupid. The Thing is as strong as ever and tries his best to use his strength to k.o the issues villain as The Human Torch uses his fire blasts, and while they both fail in their attacks when teaming together with Doc Savage they are able to save the day. I also like that The Thing is a fan of Doc Savage and wants his autograph and is even star struck when he sees him! Renny and Monk are apart of Savage’s crew and while they try and help they really are background players. Doc Savage is as always quiet, watching and figuring out how to defeat the bad guy that is in his way! He is the one who figures out the clouds can be used in order to land hits of Blacksun and as well seems to understand that he has time traveled and just rolls with getting help from a man that is one fire and another that is massive and made of orange rocks. Blacksun is a interesting bad guy that is made up of star energy, a living son and the dead spirit of his father and as well almost like the backside of the sun who can fly, shoot energy beams and even has a dark force field around him, but his ego helps bring him down as he tries to fly to space only to blackout and burnout. Again I can not stress that this is a crossover done right as Doc Savage meets The Thing and Human Torch and works alongside them for the greater good of mankind. The cover is amazing and eye catching and has The Thing and Doc Savage rushing to action and the interior art is top notch and done by Ron Wilson. Oh and this issue also has a cameo from Tony Stark (Iron Man) and they mention Donald Blake (Thor) and this is also a part one of a three issue story but this one is the only one to feature Doc Savage as the next two issues has Thor teaming with them. Over all this was a solid and fun read that brings a classic hero together with superheroes and is well worth checking out. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Ron Wilson used in this issue.

Marvel Two In One 21 Art 1Marvel Two In One 21 Art 2Marvel Two In One 21 Art 3

As you can see, Marvel Comics did a good job of bringing Doc Savage to the pages of comic books, and while the novels are better, these comics are still a great read for fans of the character. For me it was lots of fun to look back at this character and it was nice to go back to my youth and relive the fandom I had for a character that sadly I have neglected for many years now. Next year 2022 Rotten Ink turns 10 years old, and I am going to cover the whole year stuff I love from comics to movies to horror hosts and will really go back to my youth and the joys of growing up in Waynesville! So for my next update, I will be of course covering a Horror Host to celebrate 10 Years Of The Horror Host Hall Of Fame and our last host for the year will be Ohio’s biggest one, and I am of course talking about Ghoulardi! So until next time, read a Marvel Comic or three, watch a cheesy action film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update and remember turn blue!

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Marvel Horror Showcase – The Zombie Simon Garth

Marvel Horror was a gateway for me to the world of Horror Comics. As I have stated before the likes of Werewolf By Night, Man-Thing and Tomb Of Dracula all were comics I would read late nights in my nearly darkened room. One of my favorite past times was reading a Marvel Horror comic as it rained or a thunderstorm raged outside. I would grab an issue I had not read and listened to the storm as I read the eerie story that unfolded on the pages. But one classic Marvel Horror Monster that seems to not get as much respect as he should is Simon Garth, also known as The Zombie who was the main character in Marvel Horror Magazine “Tales Of The Zombie”! So I feel it’s my duty as a comic reader to bring you an update that is long overdue and one in my “Marvel Horror Showcase” themed updates based on Simon Garth The Zombie. So sit back and enjoy this spooky and yet heroic update.

Simon Garth was a mean businessman who treated everyone near him badly as he felt they were below him and his successful ways. One day he made the mistake of his life when his behavior and snooty ways lead to him firing his gardener, and this sparks his former employee to snap and kidnap Garth and stab him to death near the swamps of New Orleans! Once dead he takes the body and forces a Voodoo Queen (who happens to also work for Garth) to turn him into a mindless zombie that can be controlled with two necklaces that are worn by the zombie and the one who wants to control him. The gardener filled with a new sense of power uses the Zombie to do his will, but soon finds that even the undead can fight back when a line is crossed and he was commanded to kidnap his own daughter and instead fights the order and kills his master! For a while The Zombie wandered the Earth with many people controlling him when they got the amulet necklace, and at one point the necklace went missing and he roamed around until he could get it back and that was only after having a run in with Spider-Man. Sometime later the amulet landed in the hands of vampire Lilith Drake, and this time around Zombie had to team up with Spider-Man to get it back, and once they get it back Zombie returned to his slumber for years. His body would be found and taken to a morgue where he would once more rise and this time took a corpse bride before returning to his slumber. The Zombie would later be recruited to be a member of the supernatural team “ The Howling Commandos” alongside other Marvel Horror characters like Man-Thing, The Living Mummy, Golem and Frankenstein’s Monster. The Zombie would rise from time to time, and his most recent appearance came in 2018 that is the issue we will be reviewing shortly. As you can see, while Zombie is not a major character in the Marvel Universe he is one that is well loved by us readers who have always enjoyed the dark world of Marvel Horror.

Tales Of The Zombie started in 1973 and was a Horror Magazine that was created by Roy Thomas for Marvel Monster Group, and the character Zombie was taken from the 1953 Atlas Comic Menace # 5 with the character being created by Stan Lee. You see, in the 70’s Horror Comics became big money as the Comic Code Authority had become more relaxed and allowed werewolves, zombies, vampires and ghouls back in comics and violence and blood could also be added. The series lasted for 10 issues and had one Annual, and along with original stories, each magazine also had reprints of classic horror comics as well as showcased some other characters from their horror line like Brother Voodoo. Tales Of The Zombie came to an end in 1975 ending his spooky ride for a time, but like any good zombie, you can’t keep him down. Simon Garth The Zombie would return and make appearances in such Marvel Comics as Daredevil, Spider-Man, S.H.E.I.L.D., Deadpool and Marvel Zombies to name a few. Even in 2008 for the Marvel Max line, The Zombie once more had a mini series that lasted four issues and entertained readers who enjoy this character. His most recent comic appearance was in 2018 with Marvel Zombie a one shot issue that brought him into the world of an alternate Marvel Zombies universe. Who knows what Marvel has in store for the future of Zombie, and one wonders if he ever will get his own series or mini series ever again…and this even makes one wonder if he ever will make an appearance in a Marvel Movie Universe or TV show! One thing for sure, if you have never read a comic book featuring Zombie, I would say do yourself a favor and get an issue or two and give them a read.

Over the years Marvel Comics has dusted off the Zombie when someone working for them had a great idea for him, and this made his fans very happy! And one cool thing that happened in the world of Marvel in 2018 was when they released a One Shot issue of Zombie and set it in a world of gloom and doom, and this is the comic we are going to review for this Marvel Horror update as I stated earlier. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this copy in stock. I want to remind you readers that I am grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready to walk on the undead dark side of Marvel, let’s take a look at Zombie!

Marvel Zombie # 1  ***
Released in 2018     Cover Price $4.99     Marvel Comics     # 1 of 1

The Marvel Universe is in bad shape as a plague has infected the world and has caused most of the population to turn into bloodthirsty zombies. Simon Garth is wandering the decayed world enjoying his undead life, some humans still remain and are protected by The Defenders that are Daredevil, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Moon Girl, Devil Dinosaur 2.0, Hawkeye and Misty Knight who fight off the zombie horde. While the heroes battle the horde, young Donny finds a necklace and puts it on and during the fight he falls and is about to be eaten alive by zombies when all looks dark he is saved by Simon Garth and the pair start up a friendship. The heroes return to base and Moon Girl has figured out a way to use a bomb to dispose of a large section of the zombie horde. When Donny returns to base with Simon at first the heroes were going to kill the zombie until he proves he is different and a hero like them, but then things turn bad again when they want to use him to wear the bomb and become their suicide bomber! Falcon is another hero that is still alive and he returns to base with news that a massive horde is on the way and that they need to act soon, and this sets the suicide bomber plan into action. Donny is upset by the decision that Daredevil made to send his friend on a death mission. When the time comes Donny talks to Moon Girl about the original Devil Dinosaur and compares their friendship to his friendship with Simon and this causes Moon Girl to take the bomb off him and The Defenders die when they are swarmed waiting for the suicide bomber to appear. In the end with the heroes gone, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur 2.0 go their own way as do Donny and Simon Garth.

This was a great read, and I read this comic in the middle of a cemetery on a chilly day with my car windows down. The plot of this comic has the world being overrun by zombies with only a small amount of people and heroes left alive. And when a young boy finds the necklaces of Simon Garth, he controls the zombie and he chooses friendship over the fate of the world. Donny is the main character of this comic, and while he is a youngster he has lived his whole life in a world filled with flesh eating zombies, and when he befriends one he chooses to save the life of one undead creature to the masses as he allows all the rest of the worlds superheroes to be eaten alive. Think about that… Donny allows the world’s only hope to survive to be killed in order to have a “friend”…. Simon Garth is a zombie with a mind who is living in a world filled with zombies who only want to feed and kill. He is a good soul who protects those who has his necklace. Daredevil is the leader of The Defenders and with his crew of heroes, he thinks that there is a hope to save the world, and sadly his master plan backfires due to a young kid’s selfishness and leads to his own death as well as that of all his fellow heroes. What works the best for this issue is the fact is a self-contained issue and has a “Marvel Zombies” meets “What If?” feel to it. I like the aspect of Simon wandering the world filled with other zombies that he has nothing in common with and is almost super thankful when the young kid finds the necklace that controls and bonds with him. The comic does have some blood and violence and proves that Marvel still knows how to do Horror. The cover I have is amazing and very eye catching, and the interior art is top notch and done by Stefano Raffaele. If you like classic Marvel Horror characters, make sure to check this out as it’s a great read. Check out the art below to see the style of Raffaele and see how Simon Garth looks like in this issue.

This one shot Marvel Zombie issue to me proves that they as a company should do this more often! Why not make a one shot issue based on Tomb Of Dracula, Werewolf By Night, Living Mummy, The Golem and Man-Thing to introduce the classic Marvel Horror characters to new readers as well as deliver something new to their long time fans. I truly do think they should make these type of comics a Halloween season tradition. They should also use Simon Garth the Zombie more often in the regular Marvel Universe. For our next update, we will be walking away from Horror and will once more be stepping into the wrestling ring as we take a look at GLOW wrestler Sunny! So until next update, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Get ready for the original wrestling Sunny days next update so I will see you then.

Spider-Man Has The Power To Slay Dragon Man!

Who doesn’t like listening to music on vinyl? Growing up I have fond memories of listing to the likes of Weird Al Yankovic, Alice Cooper, Billy Idol, Motley Crue and the WWF Wrestling Album to name a very few. But I also have some good memories of listening to comic books on vinyl…I am sure you long time comic readers remember Power Records released by Peter Pan Records as kids of the 70’s and 80’s grew up with these. I for one checked them out all the time from the library in Waynesville and most of the time the vinyl was missing, but my brother and I did have some of our own that we got from garage sales. One of my favorites from this series is the one featuring Incredible Hulk called “At Bay” that had old jade jaw taking on Abomination and Rhino at the Hulk Buster Base, a very fun listen and a good adventure for one of my favorite superheroes. Plus thanks to Power Records, I first discovered Holo-Man, an original superhero that I have covered here on Rotten Ink before. For this update, we are going to have some fun and not only chat about Power Records but also just some fun stuff going on in my life as well as in comics! So grab your record player and crank it to 11 as it’s time to power out with Spider-Man!

Synthetic Plastics Company was a plastic manufacturer that was founded by Daniel Kasen that opened in the 1920’s in New Jersey. Their main products were buttons and game pieces like poker chips, and they made a good living at making this stuff. But they would get into making vinyl records after World War II when Daniel’s brother entered the picture and they opened Peter Pan Records, that would spawn many other side labels like Power Records, Diplomat Records and Parade Records to name a few and would push for cheaper made vinyl records so the could sell them at cheap prices. These labels would mostly focus on children releases based on popular properties like Bugs Bunny, Sesame Street and Batman as well as Gospel, Comedy and budget releases and would crank out releases as they owned the press that made them. But while many listeners had these cheap made releases, they also knew that the sound quality was very poor and this was something that stuck with this company all during their time in business. Over the years and with many name changes, many of you might be shocked to know that Synthetic Plastics Company is still around and switched their home base from New Jersey to Florida and are now called Inspired Studios and are just shell of what they used to be, but it’s still very cool knowing they are still out there.

So with us talking about record companies and music, let’s take a look at the newest CD release of Dee Snider of the 80’s band Twisted Sister that was released in July 2018 and a release that I have wanted to check out for some time. Growing up, I was fan of Twisted Sister as well as Dee Snider’s other band Widowmaker, not to mention a big fan of his Horror Movie Strangeland and loved watching him out class the PMRC at the infamous 1985 Senate hearings. The release is called “For The Love Of Metal” and was released by Napalm Records and has 12 tracks. So let’s sit back, relax and get talking about this release shall we? When popping in this CD, the first thing I noticed is that Dee Snider has not missed a step when it comes to delivering amazing rock n roll vocals to heavy songs. And I must also say it blew me away just how heavy and rocking this release was. I also noticed that Dee also sounded a little bit like Alice Cooper in some of these songs and to be honest some of the songs even sound like they could have been song by him and released on “Brutal Planet”. I would say that my favorite track on this release would be “I Am The Hurricane” followed by “For The Love Of Metal” as both tracks I think really do capture the attitude and singing talent of Dee. Over all if you enjoyed Twisted Sister and like the singing style of Dee Snider this is a release that you should check out as one thing is for sure Dee Snider is a true icon of Rock N Roll!

What’s really crazy is to think that here in the Dayton area we have very little music shops left as places like Armadillo Records, Renaissance Music, CD Connection, Trader Vics, Gem City Records, Dingleberry’s and NRM Music are all shops of the past and all we have left is Omega Music, Toxic Beauty and Skeleton Dust and a few other mix media stores like Second Time Around, Game Swap Kettering and Buybacks to name a few who have solid and good music selections. I have so many great memories and moments at many of those long gone record shops and pretty much grew up visiting Renaissance Music and even to this day Geoff Burkman, who was the owner of the shop remains one of my close friends. Renaissance was a very cool place and one that I always felt at home at. The store had an amazing selection of music on vinyl, cassettes and CDs and was my go to store to get my 80’s hairbands. It was also the place I would get Horror Movies on VHS and later DVD as well as get posters, buttons, fanzines and Horror Indie Comics. It was a place over the years I would sit and chat with Geoff for hours about music, movies and comics. Even in school for one of my classes, I job shadowed Geoff for a class report and we watched Dawn of the Dead together that day on Laserdisc. I can still see and hear the old Renaissance Music TV commercials in my mind from time to time as they would have Geoff wearing a Godzilla mask and talking like Mr. T and calling himself Mr. G…classic. In fact many years later, Geoff would play Mr. G again in episodes of Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre. Geoff Burkman and Renaissance Music also appear in the Independent B Movie film Wolf Hunter directed by Matt Hoffman as well. NRM is another place I used to love to go as it was in the Town And Country Shopping Center that was near the High School in Kettering I went to for a short time, and I can remember cutting class and going their to pick up music to listen to on my Sony Walkman. And that’s just the two stores as I have great memories of all the stores I mentioned above and miss the atmosphere of a good classic music store and searching for the next album of a band I liked or even discovering new music. No matter how the world changes, you just cannot sell me on digital media and that goes for music, movies, comics, video games and books. For this blogger, physical will always be the way to go. Below are some of the closed music shops that brought lots of tunes to this metal heads ears when growing up.

So as you can see, in my opinion music and comic books go hand and hand as both have been a main source of entertainment for me growing up. And I am going to say this, I really wish an indie comic company would return and make classic style Rock N Roll Comics like Revolutionary Comics headed by Todd Loren did back in 1989-1994, and yeah, I know companies like Blue Water tried but failed and I am talking about comics done by fans of the bands doing unauthorized comic issues on bands like Cinderella, W.A.S.P., Danzig and Billy Idol to name a few. But let’s move past a dream I am sure will never be made true and let’s focus on Spider-Man and this adventure made just for Power Records. I want to remind you all that I grade this comic on a 1-4 star scale and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see what Spidey has in store for us as he takes on a massive Dragon Man!

Spider-Man Power Record # 0  **
Released in 1974       Cover Price $1.49       Marvel/Power Records     # 1 of 1

A group of college students and their teacher are out looking at the stars. Two students sneak away to make out while stars fall from the sky that turn out to be Dragon Men lead by the massive Draco King Of The Dragon-Men, who have came to earth with the plan to take it over. At the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson is mad as the story of the Dragon-Men has broke and none of his reporters have covered it yet. He sends Peter Parker to get some photos of the aliens or lose his job! Peter Parker turns into Spider-Man when his Spidey Sense goes crazy when he passes sewer manholes, and this leads him to travel around the sewer system where he finds Draco and his Dragon-Men who have a giant laser gun they plan on using in New York that will leave all machines and humans paralyzed! Spider-Man is able to trick Draco and the Dragon-Men and use his webbing on the guns controls and floods the sewer, washing away them and their fancy massive gun. Spider-Man later is back on the streets of New York and finds in the newspaper that the bodies of the Dragon-Men had been found and are robots and not aliens at all. To clear his mind and gaze at the stars above, Spider-Man sits on top of the Empire State Building and is lost in thoughts when Draco appears and shares that he is no alien but is really a missing scientist who fused his own blood with that of a giant iguana and has transformed into a massive fire breathing dragon humanoid. As Draco attacks, Spider-Man uses his fast speed to dodge him and Draco falls 20 feet onto a roof below. As Spider-Man rushes down to check on his foe, he only finds a small iguana there that crawls away into a crack in the wall.

This Spider-Man adventure was an original story made just for Power Records, and while entertaining, you can tell it was rushed and was not a priority to Marvel who did not bring their A-Game. This comic’s plot has Spider-Man on the hunt for Dragon-Men who are said to be from space and are now in New York and have a sinister plan to take over thanks to their massive fire-breathing leader Draco. Spidey, being the hero he is, not only tracks them down but also exposes that the Dragon-Men are robots and not aliens, destroys their massive destructive weapon and as well figures out that Draco is a mutated missing scientist! Spider-Man in this issue is the friendly neighborhood web head we all love and is filled with one liners as well as the fighting skills to back up his mouth. I also have always liked that Spidey uses his mind to also figure out how to stop the baddies and not just his fists. Peter Parker even in this issue has some pressure as his boss J. Jonah Jameson threatens to fire him if he doesn’t get pictures of the Dragon Men for the paper, and he also has to blow off the attention of Mary Jane Watson in order to get said pictures and this upsets his red headed love interest. Draco is a massive fire breathing dragon man who has a massive ego and wants to rule the world as he feels his superior mind puts him above normal humans…even if he started out as one. The Dragon Men are just robots who do what their creator asks, and while threats, they are by no means as threatening as such super villains as Green Goblin, Rhino or Shocker. While I am thinking about it, this story almost feels like it could have been an issue in the “Spidey Super Stories” comic series as it’s fast paced and the villain is over the top in appearance. The cover is pretty great and eye catching as it also reminds me of a cheesy b-movie poster. The interior art is also good and is done by an unknown artist as no credits are given. Over all this is a fun read and is a must for fans of classic 70’s Spider-Man adventures, but keep in mind the story is not mind blowing and is just a middle of the road adventure that feels like a back up story. Check out the artwork below to see what you get in this book and record set.

The Book and Record Sets should make a comeback in the world of comics as they were a fun way to bring in younger readers as well as add a new level of fun for older readers. In our modern world with digital, CD and Vinyl all still being around for us to listen to audio on, I am going to guess it’s only a matter of time before a company does it again…heck, maybe Sparkle Comics will bring this trend back! Now it’s time for us to leave New York and let Spider-Man do what he does best and that’s stop crimes. For our next update we will be heading to the world of snack food to take a look at Jell-O Man! So until next time, read a comic or three, listen to a CD or two and as always support your local Horror Host! So let’s get ready to meet next time and talk about a mascot for snack food.

 

The Baseball Hustle Of Pete Rose

Welcome back to the Rotten Ink Ballpark, a place we will be showcasing a comic book that is based on the legend of Cincinnati’s Mr. Charlie Hustle himself, Pete Rose of Reds’ fame! Baseball is considered America’s favorite past time, and while it’s still a popular sport, it has slipped quite a bit and has never bounced back after the strike that happened in 1994-1995 when players demanded higher pay and the player pay cap, making many fans upset over the greed and the lack of games because of this strike. My dad has been a baseball fan for a long time and enjoyed listening to the games on the radio, watching them on TV, playing the sport at school and with friends as well as collecting the trading cards (that his parents would later throw in the trash – including cards that became worth lots of money).  As he got older got married to my Mom and they had my brother and me, he ended up even taking us to Red games as well as minor league teams like The Columbus Clippers and watched games on TV and even collected Topps cards alongside us. But sadly while it was a fun time bonding with my Dad, I just could not get into baseball and found the game kind of boring and things like comics, horror films and video games more interesting. One thing I will say is that while my Dad is a jock, he never has judged me for not liking sports like he does and even bought me Captain America comics and VHS as well, even horror films like Hellraiser III, when I was a youth. As I’ve gotten older, my Dad and I watch MMA, boxing and NFL Super Bowl together and have a great time. But back to baseball – when I was a kid, my favorite players were Eric Davis and Barry Larkin, and I can remember trading baseball cards with my neighbor Kelly who was a very cool and sweet person, and going to Bills Baseball Den in Waynesville and Bookie Parlor in Kettering to get cards and packs. It’s odd to think that while I barely watched the game, I still spent time and effort collecting cards for sport stars that I knew very little about, but I think that was part of the MLB magic, that it was able to make a strange monster kid like myself want to buy trading cards.  Plus I think it came down to trying to fit in with friends and having a good time opening packs with my dad, mom and brother at the kitchen table. This update is for my Dad and friends like Josh Weinberg, Nick Wiget and all the others who love this classic sport and respect all that Pete Rose has done for it. This update will be about Pete Rose, baseball and my ties to this game.  So get your ball glove ready and your cap on because we are here till the bottom of the 9th and we are ready to hit a Rotten Ink home-run!

Pete Rose Card 1Pete Rose Card 2Pete Rose Card 3

To talk about Pete Rose we must first talk about The Cincinnati Reds, and I am going to do my best to get the facts right and give that ball team the respect it deserves in a quick yet fun manner, so here’s a crash course on the history of the Reds! In 1869 a baseball team called the Cincinnati Red Stockings was the team that would morph into the Reds and did so in 1881 and became a American Association team in 1882.  In 1890, they joined the National League and became a true pro baseball team. The team has won five World Series in the years 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976 and 1990 and have played in many home town ballparks like Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium and Great America Ball Park they currently call home. In 1970-1976 under the manager George “Sparky” Anderson, the team went under the nickname The Big Red Machine and had lots of big name ballplayers on the team the included Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Tom Seaver and Lee May to name a few.  The team won two World Series and it became one of the biggest most popular times for the team in it’s rich history. Another big time for the Reds was in 1990 when they went wire to wire and won the World Series with players like Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Paul O’Neill and the pitching team nicknamed “The Nasty Boys” who were Rob Dibble, Norman Charlton and Randy Myers.  This team was managed by Lou Piniella. The Reds are still going strong in 2015, and while they have made it to the play-offs many times over the past few years, they have not been able to make it to the World Series, but if you ask guys like Josh Weinberg they will tell you that this year is the year they will take it all and if not, the next year or maybe the next year…yeah, you get the point.  Fans of the Reds are very loyal and have tons of respect for their team even if they do lose. So while this team has such a rich and amazing history, this tiny write up is just some of the highlights.  If you want to learn more about The Reds, check out the team’s Wikipedia or read a book based on the ball club. I should also note that the team’s mascot is Mr. Redlegs who is a baseball headed ball player.  For most of his time on the team Mr. Redlegs rocked a mustache, but when I was younger he had none and was a pretty popular mascot at school in Waynesville. Over all while I might not be a big watcher of sports, I can still respect and cheer for our home state teams and hope that sometime very soon The Reds once more become champs!

Mr Redlegs 1Reds LogoMr Redlegs 2

I am by no means an athlete.  When I was younger, I was okay at playing football and basketball, but I could have been the worst of the worst when it came to neighborhood baseball and could have had the worst batting average among my friends! One summer my dad bought us a wiffleball bat and ball.  We would play in the backyard, and it would almost always be me and my brother against our parents in a battle of home-runs hit over the roof of the house; we lost almost all the games. In the neighborhood, we would play baseball at Brad Burns’ or Mike Cessna’s house, and I can remember that being a lot of fun as all the kids from around would come and play, and even Mike’s dog Barney would join in on the fun! At my grandparents’ house I would play ball with my brother Bryan and cousins Nathan, Stephen and Tony.  While some times this was pitching, most of the time it was T-Ball. In school, we played baseball in gym, and I can remember one time we where playing outside and I so wanted to impress the girl I had a crush on my whole tenure in Waynesville and was hit in the head with softball from a pitch thrown by Ryan “The Bull” Jones.  The impact made me blackout for a second and I fell to one knee, but I was lucky and was able to shake it off! I should have probably gone to the nurse after it, and for months after I had massive headaches that would come and go, but that didn’t bother me as much as the fact I looked foolish in front of her! So as you can see my baseball “career” was very lame and filled with defeat and heartbreak!

Wiffle Bat and Ball

So at this time I think I am going to ask one of my best friends and one of the biggest Reds fans I know, Josh Weinberg, 5 questions about his love and respect for the Reds. I have known Josh for so many years now and from the first day I met him, he has always worn Cincinnati Reds and Bengals shirts, hats and jerseys as well as Ohio State gear so when writing about Pete Rose I knew I had to have my pal involved. I mean he is the guy who bought VHS tapes from a Goodwill Outlet that had the Reds winning the 1990 World Series.  So here we go, 5 Questions with Josh Weinberg!

Josh Weinberg Reds Fan

Me:  Welcome back, Josh, to Rotten Ink.  You are a legend among my friends I write about here on my slice of the web.  So how long have you been a Cincinnati Reds fan?

Josh: I have been a Reds fan since 1990, the year that they swept the Oakland A’s in the World Series. Ever since then I was hooked. I remember being at my dad’s shop listening to the games.

Me: Always cool to hear how sports brought families together.  Who are your 4 top favorite players for the Reds of all time?

Josh: My top 4 Reds players of all time are simple number 1.) Barry Larkin 2.) Chris Sabo 3.) Jose Rio and (4 Sean Casey.

Me: Barry Larkin and Eric Davis would be two of my favorites too.  Did you every play baseball for school or Little League? If not, have you ever thought about it?

Josh: I played little league growing up as well as umpiring for kids’ leagues. I had to stop because I could not keep up my grades.  Such is life.

Me: Those pesky grades and school standing in your way of being a baseball legend! So how many Reds games have you been to in your lifetime thus far?

Josh: I have probably been to between 20 and 30 games in my lifetime. With many more to come.  My ultimate is going to opening day.

Me: That’s way more games then I have been to.  If I am lucky, I think I have been to 4 or 5.  Last question for you Josh, should Pete Rose be in the Baseball Hall Of Fame, and why or why not?

Josh: Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame for one single reason: the hall is about what you did on the field not what you did off the field. He is the hit king, Charley Hustle, and deserves to be in the hall. There are plenty of things other players have done back in the day and are in now. If he had not lied about it, he would be in.

Me: I agree Pete should be in for all he has done for the sport! Thanks Josh! Do you have any closing words for the Rotten Ink readers and fans of the Reds?

Josh: Last thing I have to say is Go Reds! One of these days they will win it all again…hopefully before I die!

While I don’t think they will do much this 2015 season, sometime soon I am sure the Reds will rise to be champs again!

Reds Bumper Sticker

Pete Rose has also been involved in another sport, Pro Wrestling, where he had a feud with the Big Red Machine Kane that spanned a few WWE WrestleMania’s as well as earned Rose a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame! Pete Rose at WrestleMania XIV was the guest ring announcer for a match between The Undertaker and Kane and for some reason became the target of Kane who gave the ball player a tombstone pile driver before the match even started. The following year at WrestleMania XV, Pete Rose wanted revenge on Kane and dressed as the San Diego Chicken to attack the wrestler from behind.  This did not work as once more Rose was knocked out with a tombstone pile driver, and Kane went on to wrestle his match against Triple H. At WrestleMania 2000, Pete Rose once more tried to get the upper hand on Kane and after his tag match against DX, Rose tried to hit Kane with a baseball bat but was choked slammed! After this, Rose did a commercial for WWE No Mercy PPV and was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame by Kane in 2004. Pete Rose in 2010 was a guest host of Monday Night Raw and set a match between Kane and Shawn Michaels, after Kane lost he once more attacked the aging ball player. After this appearance, Rose has been mentioned on air as well as did an interview for WWE.COM on Kane’s attacks on him. While Pete Rose never wrestled a match for WWE, during his appearance he made some great moments in wrestling and it was nice to see a baseball player of his caliber not take himself too seriously.

WWE Kane and Pete Rose

So from the ball field to the wrestling ring, Pete Rose has proven time and time again that the man is a legend and is a very interesting person who has worked for his fame the hard way by given 110% every time. He has also proven that he is a marketing machine as his image has graced the likes of RC Cola cans, collector drinking glasses even one from Gold Star Chili, action figures from the Starting Line-Up a series made by Kenner & Hasbro, comic books, trading cards, collector coins, video game for Atari 2600/7800, TV Commercials, t-shirts among many other products and goods! The ones I remember the most are the video game for Atari 2600 that was a solid cheesy baseball game and the Starting Line Up figures that looked nothing like him and had very little articulation. But if you were a Rose fan, the world is filled with enough collector items to keep you very happy!

Pete Rose Drinking GlassPete Rose Starting LineupRC Cola Pete Rose

As I have stated before, I am a Monster Guy who loves comic books and this year (2015) I have gone through a stage where I am reading lots of 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s Spider-Man comics.  I am talking Amazing, Spectacular and Web Of and have gotten issues all over from Mavericks all the way to Lone Star Comics and many of the issues are coming bag and boarded to protect and keep the issue safe. Well one of the WORST places that bag and board their issues has to be Half Price Books as they clearly use the cheapest bags and boards and some of the worst tape in comic collecting history! When trying to open your comic the tape sticks to the plastic bag and rips holes in the bag and can even bend your comic as you try to get it open.  This has caused many annoying late night readings of Spidey and lots of curses toward these cheap bags. Also when writing this update, I was listening to Billy Idol’s 2014 release “Kings & Queens Of The Underground.”  It’s a pretty solid album.  While it’s by no means a classic, I still am glad that Billy is making music as he has been one of my favorite music artists sense I was a kid alongside Alice Cooper, Motley Cure, W.A.S.P. and Cinderella. In fact one of the best birthday presents in my adult life that I ever got was from Juliet as she got us close seats to Billy Idol at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering in 2010! The best tracks off this CD are the title track Kings & Queens Of The Underground and Eyes Wide Shut. The odd part about this disc is that almost all of the songs are ballads and not the fist pumping tracks one would expect from Billy Idol. So a special thanks goes to Marvel Comics for Spider-Man and Billy Idol for helping me while writing this update. I should also thank The Angry Video Game Nerd as I had episodes playing on the TV while I wrote and Billy Idol’s CD was done.  So I think it would be safe to say that Idol and AVGN acted as the soundtrack to this update and Spider-Man entertained my mind before I went to bed almost every night.

Billy Idol cd and Spiderman Comics

It’s Masstar Comics turn at bat, and I can’t wait to see what this bio Comic is like. I am wondering what direction they will take with his suspension from the sport and what kind of stories off the field they will share. I have never heard of Masstar Comics, and this will be my first read for one of their comics so this should be interesting. I want to thank a vendor at Peddlers’ Mall for having this comic at their booth as well as thank Jason Young for taking me there to look around. Oddly during our time at the Peddlers’ Mall, Jason and I found lots of Pete Rose merchandise and after that Mavericks even ended up putting out boxes of Rose’s ball cards, making me think that it was my calling to do this update. I should also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s see if Masstar can slide into homebase as they team up with Pete Rose and Rotten Ink to bring you this fun read at the ballpark, oh and um can I get some peanuts and a hotdog…and maybe one of those foam oversized hats?

Pete Rose 1

Pete Rose  # 1   **1/2
Released in 1992     Cover Price $2.50     Masstar Comic     # 1 of 1

Pete Rose or Pee Wee as his father called him was a young man who grew up in Ohio and was a fan of sports with baseball being his passion with football coming in second. His mother and father encouraged him to try harder at everything he did and thanks to his Uncle who was a baseball talent scout he was able to get a tryout for the Cincinnati Reds in 1960 by being put into the minor leagues and he once more busted his butt in order to impress the scouts and to get better at the game he loved. As he became better and better he finally catches the eye of Reds couch Freddie Hutchinson who hires him as second base man and allows him to prove that he has heart, but this upsets the older players who act as if Pete is not even alive and his only friends on the team are Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson who as well were ignored by teammates cause the color of their skin. Rose was not a super star from the start but season after season he became better and better and even turned up the intensity in the way he played and would go on to win the MVP Award for the year 1973 and in 1975 and 1976 he helped lead them to World Series wins. In 1979 Pete Rose turned down a contract from The Reds and took one from the Philadelphia Phillies and had some solid good seasons with them. Rose returned to The Reds in 1984 after a short time with the Montreal Expos and back with the Reds he broke hitting records and even became the teams Manager. While things looked great for Rose in 1989 it all came crashing down as he was accused of illegally betting on baseball games and the MLB Commissioner banished him from the game he loved.

Pete Rose is a ball player that is beloved by fans and has a mixed reaction from players and higher ups within the MLB all for his gambling issue. But this comic does a great job of making Rose a likable underdog who proved that hard work and support from your loved ones can make you a superstar of whatever your profession is. This bio comic follows Pete Rose from a youngster playing ball with his friends all the way to playing for the Reds coaching them and being banned from the game that he loves. The plus side to this comic is that the story is very fast paced and highlights all the major events in his life without dragging along, but the downside is the fact most major events are done in a couple of panels and don’t show much of his friendships nor rivalries with his fellow Reds and that’s a letdown. It was interesting to see why Rose left the Reds to play for Philadelphia and even more so how when he first joined the team all the older players didn’t like him so they ignored him and treated him like he was a ghost. The comic ends with Rose being suspended from baseball and leaves it making it look like he never bet on baseball when in fact he did and lied about it for years. The cover is pretty eye catching and shows Rose through the years as the art inside is pretty well done and makes Rose look like he should and is done by John Tartaglione who you can tell had fun drawing this comic. Over all this was a fun Unauthorized Bio comic on an iconic baseball player and was well worth the read and purchase. Check out the art below done by Tartaglione.

Pete Rose Art 1

We made it to home base and scored the winning point thanks to Pete Rose and Masstar Comics, and along the way I found a new respect for baseball and now understand the appeal it has for all its fans, as it’s a sport that is filled with a rich history and gives people pride in their favorite team and something to talk about around the water cooler at work. While I may or may not ever go see a Reds game again at the stadium I still have the good memories of going to them with my Dad, brother Bryan and my dad’s best friend John in my youth. Well our next update is going to take us out of the ball field and into the world of self-defense as I am going to take a look at an Atlas Comic based around the secret world of the martial arts called The Hands Of The Dragon! So make sure to come back for that one but until then enjoy the summer and read a comic or three.

Hands Of The Dragon Logo

Spider-Man Cares About Your Teeth

Do you like candy? How about soda or bubble gum? What about cakes and pies? Well we all have a sweet tooth from time to time and besides your dentist, you know who else cares about your teeth and dental healthcare? Is it the president of the United States…nope. While he cares some, the man I am talking about really cares a lot. Could it be Timmy The Tooth…well, no. While he does care about our teeth, he is not who we are talking about at this time. The man I am thinking of is a hero of the super variety, and it’s not Colgate Junior or Sparkle Man.  I’m talking about the one and only Amazing Spider-Man! You see, when he’s not beating up the likes of Rhino and Venom, he is fighting the good fight against cavities and gum disease alongside AIM toothpaste, and this quick update to Rotten Ink is about Spidey’s fight for healthy teeth and will serve as a reminder to brush your teeth three times a day.

Colgate JuniorTimmy The ToothSparkle

When I was young, I believed in the Tooth Fairy just like most young kids did.  When I would loose a tooth, I would leave it on the kitchen counter and in the morning there would be a dollar left in its place. I was always confused about why I had to leave it on the counter and not under my pillow like the story goes, but when I would see that dollar that question would be thrown out the window as I would just think about what toy or comic I could buy for my cash prize. I always pictured the tooth fairy as a beautiful blonde woman with a smile that would light up a room.  She loved her job and collected all the teeth and kept them in jars. But my belief in the Tooth Fairy was very short lived as my Mom spilled the beans that there was no such thing and thats she and my dad were the ones leaving the money.  It’s a good thing too because I could remember at night counting how many more baby teeth I had left and adding the dollar amounts to each. My parents always made sure that my brother and I brushed our teeth and even got us kid friendly mouth wash, and at school in Waynesville, they use to make us swish fluoride like once every two weeks and man that stuff the school gave us was so gross.  The taste still haunts my taste buds to this day. One cartoon that sticks out in my mind that I saw when I was younger was Ren & Stimpy on Nickelodeon called “Ren’s Toothache” where Ren’s teeth all rot and fall out and he even gets a visit from the Tooth Fairy who is a creepy old man dressed in a tutu who leaves him lint instead of money. This episode is so gross and so oddly great, it has always stuck out in my mind. I also want to point out that the Tooth Fairy has been turned into a monster in a few horror films but the most popular was the 2003 film Darkness Falls about an evil spirit of a woman who was wrongfully accused of kidnapping some missing children and is burned alive.  Now in modern times her ghost is killing kids and families if they see her as she comes for the lost teeth under pillows. The film was a minor success but did spark a Dark Horse Comic prequel as well as an action figure made by McFarlane Toys. So that’s just a few of the things that I think of when teeth and dental care pops into my mind.

Blonde Tooth FairyR&S ToothfairyDFalls Toothfairy

In Waynesville I can remember also watching many great educational shows during class like Reading Rainbow, Mr. Wizard and Slim Goodbody, who will be the topic of this section of the update. Slim Goodbody was created and played by John Burstein and was the Superhero of Health who wore a tight body suit that showed muscle and organs and would teach kids good eating and grooming habits to try and stay healthy. Burstein created the character in 1975 and made appearances at hospitals as well as had small segments on TV shows like Captain Kangaroo, Good Morning America and The Today Show.  With these segments Slim Goodbody became a popular character in children education. By 1980, PBS gave Slim Goodbody his own series that for years would be the network’s second highest rated show, and with this also came making books about health. To this day Slim Goodbody is still teaching his message and even was featured in a 2013 Super Bowl ad for Radio Shack that showcased many 80’s icons including Hulk Hogan and Jason Voorhees. I always enjoyed watching Slim at school and learned a lot of things about the human body from Slim, oh yes I also learned things about teeth from him! So here is to you, Mr. Slim Goodbody, for being a good role model to kids. Oh yeah one other thing, with Slim’s popularity it’s shocking that no one made a comic series based on his healthy adventures…another missed series that Star Comics could have made.

Slim Goodbody 1Slim Goodbody 2Slim Goodbody 3

One thing before we get into the Marvel/Aim Toothpaste comics that I would like to talk about is the 80’s and 90’s weird toothpaste flavors for kids, the most notable being bubble gum that was green and was a tie-in to the cartoon series The Real Ghostbusters and used Slimer as its mascot! The Slimer toothpaste had a real sugary taste to it and looked a little strange sitting on your toothbrush. My parents never did get it for us as they almost always bought us just Crest, but my cousins Wayne and John did have the toothpaste and while at their house, we got to try it. One thing is for sure, back in the 80’s and early 90’s companies sure did try very hard to encourage kids to brush their teeth and floss and used all types of gimmicks to try and make it cool; from mascots to cartoon tie-ins, companies wanted to kill those pesky mouth germs. So did any of you readers out there ever brush your teeth with Slimer toothpaste?

Slimer Toothpaste 1Slimer Toothpaste 2Slimer Toothpaste 3

One other thing I loved as a kid were the character tooth brushes by companies like Oral-B.  Picking a tooth brush always was fun as you flipped past Star Wars characters, Bugs Bunny and even WWF Wrestlers. Ones I can remember having as a kid were The Ultimate Warrior, Bugs Bunny and Darth Vader and while they were very generic in style, these character brushes made brushing more fun.

Star Wars ToothbrushWWF Toothbrush

So are you ready to brush your teeth with Spider-Man and Aim Toothpaste? Cause Spidey really wants you to have a good check up next time your at the dentist! So I should thank Mavericks and Bell Book And Comic for having these issues in stock, and I should also remind my readers I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s take a hit off the “laughing gas” and give a great big smile cause Spider-Man is going to kick some bad teeth care in the butt.

Amazing Spider-Man Aim Toothpaste 1

The Amazing Spider-Man: Aim Toothpaste  # 1  ***
Released in 1980    Cover Price .40    Marvel Comics      #1 of 2

Peter Parker has to babysit and take J. Jonah Jameson’s nephew Randy to the dentist as part of his job at the Daily Bugle.  While there he meets dentist Raymond Sadetsky who had created a Dental Laser that will change the face of tooth care forever! But during Randy’s check up, The Green Goblin kidnaps the dentist and even beats Spider-Man who tries to rescue the dentist. The next day when Peter and Randy are at the zoo, they pass by a police car and hear that Green Goblin is now attacking the Robert Bite’s jewel shop, and after ditching Randy once more Peter becomes Spider-Man and rushes to the rescue, only to once more fail.  This time Green Goblin escapes with tons of rubies and before he leaves, lets out a clue about bridgework. The next day Peter Parker takes Randy to the dental exhibit to snap some pictures for the Bugle, and all the while the Goblin’s “clue” picks away at Peter who drops off Randy at Aunt May’s and heads to a steel mill underneath a bridge and finds Green Goblin stealing some piping.  Once more Spidey tries to stop him and fails; this time web head even finds himself at death’s door as he is buried under tons of steel! While Spider-Man tries to save himself, it’s very clear Green Goblin is using Sadetsky to build him something that will make him rich and even be used to kill superheroes…but what is it? Spider-Man gets free of his death trap and thanks to his Spidey tracker finds the Green Goblin’s secret hideout right as he receives a powerful laser ray and during the fight Sadetsky gets hurt and Spider-Man must get him to the hospital and Goblin gets away. In the end Green Goblin goes to the Dental Exhibit with his laser to steal all the gold and silver used for fillings but is stopped thanks to Spider-Man who knocks him into a giant pair of teeth that holds the Goblin down. Peter Parker sells some pictures of the Goblin and Spidey fight as Randy goes back to the dentist to fill the cavities he has, and Raymond Sadetsky is a-ok.

The adventure Spider-Man has just to try and make brushing your teeth hip and cool as well as going to the dentist is one heck of a fun ride that comes off not too preachy and holds a classic Silver Age Marvel charm. First things first, I have to say is J. Jonah Jameson is a terrible uncle as he passes of his young nephew on Peter Parker and makes him take him all over New York.  Now think about that how well does Jameson really trust Parker as a responsible adult…not at all! Randy is a very well behaved kid who wants to be a photographer so being around Parker is a good learning tool for the young man, even though his Uncle wants him to be a reporter. Peter Parker does a great job babysitting and does an even better job ditching the kid when he needs to change into his alter ego. Spider-Man for some reason feels out classed in this issue as Green Goblin makes a fool out of him many times during the several battles they have, but when push comes to shove Spidey saved the day and even managed to save a dentist. Green Goblin is filled with giving clues in the issue and really reminded me of the DC Batman super villain The Riddler, but man he sure does pack a punch and gives Spider-Man a run for his money. While the comic is sponsored by AIM Toothpaste, besides one tiny ad in the back and the logo on the cover, they do not push themselves into shameless plugs and ram that everyone should use their toothpaste down the readers throats. The over all feel of the comic is that of a classic Marvel Spider-Man issue, and I must say this reader enjoyed every cheesy panel of it. The comic would have cost .40 but if you bought AIM, if was free with the purchase. Alex Saviuk, who was an a-lister artist that worked on the normal Amazing Spider-Man series and is truly a master of the Silver Age, does the art. Check out below for a sample of the art from this issue.

Spider-Man Aim Art 1

So with that let’s get onto issue 2 and see what other tooth filled adventure Spider-Man can have and what super villain will stand in the way of good dental care this time!

Amazing Spider-Man Aim Toothpaste 2

The Amazing Spider-Man: Aim Toothpaste # 2   **1/2
Released in 1982    Cover Price .60    Marvel Comics      #2 of 2

Peter Parker has been sent to Cape Canaveral to take pictures of a space shuttle/ weather satellite launch for the Daily Bugle, but while in the pressroom, he notices Doctor Octopus who seems to be in pain and rushes out of the room and drives away.  Peter as Spider-Man now follows him and finds that Doc Ock is going to the dentist Dr. Allen who gives the super villain a filling in a tooth giving him a problem and also notices a metal object wedged in one of his teeth and this sets Doc Ock into a rage! Once Dr. Allen helps Doc Ock, he then goes to help Peter Parker who followed his arch enemy and loses his trail when the dentist gives him a check up, but while there he learns that Doc Ock has a small transmitter in his mouth and he is planning on high jacking the launch! Peter rushes out and turns back into Spider-Man and makes short work of Octopus’s thugs and then Ock himself.  One power punch even knocks the transmitter from his tooth! In the end Doc Ock gets more dental care in prison, and Peter Parker sells his pictures of the launch and the fight.

This second AIM Toothpaste comic is pretty good but does not hold the charm of the first give away issue and is way more preachy about tooth care. Spider-Man, while fighting one of his biggest arch enemies, really doesn’t have much to do as his fight with Ock only lasts a few punches as does his fight with the henchmen. Peter Parker is more of the issue’s focus and that’s just so he can visit the dentist and give a run down on how he takes care of his teeth and that he learned good dental habits from his Aunt May. J. Jonah Jameson has a cameo that amounts to nothing more than giving Parker his assignment and in the end telling him that he should visit a dentist regular for healthy teeth. Doctor Octopus is up to his old tricks, but his tooth pain is causing him some major issues and even distracts him from his main prize of high jacking, but man does he go down like a chump in his fight with Spider-Man! The plot is very simple, and most of the issue takes place it seems in the Dentist Office where they push facts about brushing and not eating a lot of sugar snacks with Dr. Allen. Over all there is not much here in this issue, and while it was a fun read, it’s also very forgettable and is clearly sponsored by a toothpaste company. The art is done by ummmm..I don’t know as there are no credits besides of course Stan Lee presents.  We can’t forget that credit now, could we? But take a look below for an example of the art.

Spider-Man Aim Art 2

That’s one thing I loved about classic Marvel, they would do free give away comics for all types of products and charities, and they were always fun cheesy adventures. Spider-Man I think was always a perfect fit for these types of comics because he was well loved by kids, and you could put him in all types of adventures with mascots like Cap’n Crunch or the Quick Bunny.  He could even tackle things like fire safety all the way to back to school, and he would not lose any credit at being a superhero in the youth’s eyes. So when it comes to dental work and to make sure kids brushed their teeth with AIM Toothpaste, Spider-Man was the perfect spokesman!

Spidey Says Brush with Aim

So I am sure you’re wondering what our next update will be about. I mean what could top an update about Spidey hocking a toothpaste product? Well, we will be taking another look at an icon of Horror Hosting as we take a look at USA Saturday Nightmares! So make sure to come back for that one.  Until then make sure to brush your teeth, read a comic and support your local Horror Host, and oh yeah Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

USA Saturday Nightmares Logo copy

Marvel’s Razor Toed Assassin…The Death Of The Tarantula

Death in comic books is nothing new.  In fact, many heroes have gone to the big comic rack in the sky and when they do, it’s been covered on major news outlets. Who doesn’t remember when DC killed off Superman via a beat down by Doomsday in the 90’s or when Marvel killed Captain America in 2008 via an assassination?  Most recently even Archie Andrews, the fun loving iconic character and poster boy for Archie Comics, was killed when he was shot trying to protect one of his friends.  Even Wolverine of the X-Men could not escape Death’s grip. But when most comic villains die, no one makes a big deal about it.  Sure, when Norman Osborne’s Green Goblin bit the big one and when Kraven The Hunter killed himself, it sent shockwaves through the comic world, but there were no major stories in newspapers or on TV. And then you have guys like Baron Blood, Baron Zemo and Egghead who die and it seems that no one cares.  The comic world just moves on like nothing happened…well this update is about just one of those types of death that seems to be forgotten by modern comic readers.  The death we are looking at today is that of The Tarantula! So let’s dress in black and remember the life and crimes of Anton Miguel Rodriguez aka The Tarantula in his last story arc that took place in Amazing Spider-Man.

Tarantula_Tombstone

So we should start this remembrance of Tarantula by doing some bios for the major players in this 4-issue story that leads up to his demise, but first I would like to talk a little about my past. When I was a kid, my brother and I had a lot of comics, and many of them were Spider-Man issues that our Mom and Grandma would pick up for us at garage sales.  The rest would come from some antique stores in our hometown, Waynesville, or local comic shops like Mavericks and Bookie Parlor, and man we had a blast reading them! I can even remember sometimes my brother would even read the Spider-Man comics to me out loud as I played with toys listening to the adventure. There is four major story lines that I can remember from the Spider-Man comics of my youth, and one of them is the death of Tarantula.  I can remember for some reason liking Tarantula and always considered him a major bad guy in the Spidey universe, even though he was in reality a minor character. And when I first read these issues I was shocked that they just killed one of his bad guys off in such a horrific way. But I do feel it’s time right now for us to take a look at the characters that make up this tragic death in comic history. Some of these bios I took from Marvel.com while others I wrote myself or found elsewhere.

Spider-Man (bio)

Amazing Spider-Man

Bitten by a radioactive spider, high school student Peter Parker gained the speed, strength and powers of a spider. Adopting the name Spider-Man, Peter hoped to start a career using his new abilities. Taught that with great power comes great responsibility, Spidey has vowed to use his powers to help people.

The Tarantula

The Tarantula

As a revolutionary terrorist in the small fictional South American republic of Delvadia, Anton Miguel Rodriguez was expelled from his small organization after murdering a guard without reason during a robbery. Anton then went over to the side of the repressive fascistic-dictatorship government, where they created the Tarantula identity for him to serve as a government operative and his country’s counterpart to Captain America. After alienating his masters, Tarantula embarked on a criminal career in the United States. He is also the second bad guy to take on the persona of The Tarantula.

Will-O-The-Wisp

Will-O-The-Wisp

Jackson Arvad was the chief scientist for electromagnetic research at the Brand Corporation until a laboratory accident shattered the “magno-chamber” in whose vicinity Arvad was working. The disaster thrust Arvad’s body into the magno-chamber’s electromagnetic field. This caused the molecules of Arvad’s body to gradually disperse, and he was left there to die by his superior, James Melvin. However, Arvad did not die and he soon discovered that he possessed a certain degree of mental control over his body’s molecules. Each time he relaxed control over his molecular structure, it became more difficult for him to resume a solid state. Fearing that his body’s molecules would drift apart and he would be unable to reintegrate them, he contacted criminal scientist Dr. Jonah Harrow. Pretending to help him, Harrow implanted a tiny receptor in Arvad’s skull so that he could disrupt the Wisp’s mental control over his molecules. Harrow then forced the Will-O’-The-Wisp to carry out certain criminal activities to advance Harrow’s plans. During this crime spree, the Wisp encountered Spider-Man, who later tried to persuade him to resist the man controlling him. Will O’ The Wisp finally decided to turn against Harrow, but upon realizing the Wisp’s intent, Harrow activated the device in the Wisp’s skull and dissipated him.

James Melvin

James Melvin

James Melvin was the president of The Brand Corporation and is a sleazy and greedy man who will do what ever it takes to make himself rich.

So there we have a look at the power players in this game of life and death for The Tarantula. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having these issues in stock, and before we enter this look at his demise I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So with that let’s pay our respects to The Tarantula.

Amazing Spider-Man 233

The Amazing Spider-Man  # 233  ***
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Marvel Comics   #233 of 441

J. Jonah Jameson has called a meeting in his office over a missing two bit hood named Nose Norton who has some information that could lead to one of the biggest busts the city has ever seen of a corporation called BRAND.  Jameson has already paid for the info and is mad his informant is M.I.A., and worse those he can hurt have placed a hit on his head. Jameson has offered a $1,500.00 bonus to whoever works for him and finds Norton! This news piques the interest of Peter who needs to money for school and to help Aunt May as well as Ben Ulrich, newshound and friend to superhero Daredevil. Meanwhile a South American company has hired the terrorist The Tarantula to find and kill Norton, who is hiding out at a small gin joint, and when Ben gets a tip Peter follows him and together they track down and find Norton just as The Tarantula does and with a quick change Peter becomes Spider-Man and takes on The Tarantula just as Ben and Norton exchanges words which leads to Norton being shot by two private detectives hired by BRAND, as Spider-Man makes a fool out of Tarantula by beating him quickly.  He changes back to Peter Parker, and he and Ben notice that Norton being shot and a South American terrorist being called in to make a hit all seems way too odd.

This is what a good old classic Spider-Man comic is all about.  On one side you have the action of Spider-Man, and on the other the day to day drama of Peter Parker. In this issue Spider-Man is as wise cracking and smart assed as ever before and really does his best to try and find Norton in order to get the bonus money to help pay off his student loans as Peter Parker and to help Aunt May with her retirement center idea she wants to build. Spidey gets to make fools of some low life scum and gets to put a beatdown on The Tarantula. Peter Parker in this issue has two plots going on, one is just getting the bonus money and the second is he captures the eye of a cute blonde named Amy who is thinking of flirting with him to get back at her current boyfriend Lance Bannon.  The Peter parts are good, but let’s be honest we all read for the Spider-Man parts! The Tarantula, whose real name is Anton Miguel Rodriguez, in this issue is down and out and while once a major player in his home country, is now just a petty arms trader who had to change his name, and by getting this hit he could make himself a top player again! He tries so hard to beat Spider-Man in the fight and busts out not only his poison tipped boots but also claws that drip the same deadly poison, but this has no effect as Spidey still gets the upper hand leaving him defeated on a garbage ship floating in the water. The story is really good and has a noire feel with Nose Norton being a wanted man from all sides because of information he knows, and his only hope is to trust no one! The story really makes me want to see how it all plays out and what BRAND and this South American guy want from Norton that no doubt will end in his death! Not to mention how will Ben Ulrich come into play. Reading this comic again after all these years really just makes me want to read more and more classic Spider-Man issues cause I am having a blast reliving this storyline! I should also say the art is done by John Romita Jr. and Jim Mooney and is good solid work, and the issue had a great Rotten Ink smell! So let’s move onto the next issue in this story and see where it goes.

Amazing Spider-Man 234

The Amazing Spider-Man  # 234  ***
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Marvel Comics   #234 of 441

Nose Norton is in a coma as Ben and Peter come up empty handed on the photo proof that the BRAND Detectives shot first. But the big news is that one of the BRAND Corporations facilities has been blown up by Will-O-The-Wisp who blames the company for giving him his ungodly powers. Meanwhile across town Tarantula is feeling beat up with broken ribs and a bruised ego after losing to Spider-Man in their last fight.  He is visited by a BRAND Company doctor who informs him that they wants Spider-Man out of the way and will help him do so by making him just like Spider-Man! Meanwhile in Peter Parker’s world, he has a run in with Amy Powell who tries her best to flirt with him, but she is blown off by Peter who still is hung up on a past breakup. Peter Parker goes to BRAND to try and get an intern job and see what secrets he can dig up when he comes across James Melvin, a slimy government weapons maker who is nothing but bad news.  With the help of a spider tracker and the building’s air vents, Spider-Man follows him to a giant lab were they dip Tarantula into a vat of chemicals hoping to make him strong and Spider-Man like and use him as a agent for the company. Spider-Man has heard enough and busts from the vent and tries to stop it all just as Will-O-The-Wisp comes busting in to destroy the lab and building.  As Spider-Man fights with Wisp, who thinks Spidey has been paid by BRAND to stop him, Melvin uses a new ray gun that hurts Wisp and as Spider-Man pulls his confused “friend” from harm’s way, The Tarantula comes out of the vat deformed and looking like a human spider!

Spider-Man is knee deep in trouble in this issue as he not only has to deal with Tarantula but now also James Melvin and BRAND as well as Will-O-The-Wisp! And while he knows Will-O-The-Wisp is a confused being, he still lands a jaw breaking punch in their fight to try and snap some sense into him. Peter Parker in this issue dwells on his love for thief Black Cat who he thinks is dead, and even gives the cold shoulder to blonde cutie Amy. He also shows that years of science work pays off as he gets to enter the BRAND Companies facility under the fake story of an intern interview. Will-O-The-Wisp is a light ball of rage as the only thing on his mind is revenge and with that means blowing up buildings! Tarantula, poor guy, is beat up pretty bad and falls for a plan that leaves him looking like a spider version of the horror character The Fly. Plus the plot thickens as Norton is in a coma, BRAND is clearly an evil business empire, Tarantula is now a walking freak of nature and Will-O-The-Wisp is a nut who wants to teach his one time tormenters a lesson, making this a fun story line. The art in this issue is done by John Romita Jr. and Dan Green, and this is twice that Romita Jr. has had a second artist with him, wonder why that is…my guess is they had him working on so many books at the time that the second artist was there to help him get them done on time. So let’s move on and see just were the story takes us in this next issue!

Amazing Spider-Man 235

The Amazing Spider-Man  # 235  ***
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Marvel Comics   #235 of 441

Spider-Man toss the injured Will-O-The-Wisp to the side and starts to fight against the freak version of The Tarantula.  Spidey learns that while he is strong like him, Tarantula is lacking the spider sense that allows him to know when punches are coming. Will-O-The-Wisp wakes up as Dr. Melvin is trying to take him prisoner.  While he has been weakened, Wisp turns into his light ball and enters the fight against the mutated Tarantula.  As those two go at it, Spider-Man saves people from the destruction their fight is causing.  Wisp and Tarantula fall into the near by water and are believed to be dead via drowning. Spider-Man quickly turns back into Peter Parker and leaves the BRAND facility and returns home to find all his pictures he just took are trashed due to the radiation the machines in the lab were giving off. Mean while J. Jonah Jameson gets some bad news that his big news story on the corruption of BRAND has to be canceled as the government says that if they run the story it will ruin their case against the giant company that they as well are trying to bring down. Spider-Man breaks into James Melvin’s home and watches as Will-O-The-Wisp also appears and confronts Melvin who realizes that he was once Wisp’s boss and that his own actions lead to an accident that left his one time employee into his light energy being! Will-O-The-Wisp uses mind control and is about to have Melvin kill himself when Spider-Man comes to the rescue and this causes the two to exchange blows, but a scream stops them in dead tracks when they see Melvin in the arms of the even more mutated Tarantula!

The more you find out about BRAND, the more you dislike this fake comic world company as they even have ties to the oil companies…yep they are icky. The issue has a really nice touch when they have a government agent come and speak to the Daily Bugle staff that was working on the write up about BRAND, and he shares all types of past comic book activities that were connected to them. Spider-Man once more uses his brain and follows leads and learns some things about his enemies just by hiding and listening.  He also seems to act as a voice of reason to Will-O-The-Wisp whose obsession with revenge has clouded his mind and leads him toward killing. Will-O-The-Wisp’s backstory of a scientist pushed too hard from his boss that leads to a horrible accident is straight out of a 50’s Sci-Fi B-Movie. Wisp also comes off as a good guy who is doing bad things because he thinks it’s the right thing to do to make the wrongs right. James Melvin is a fat slimy creep who is doing bad things to make himself and his employers rich, because with a slimeball like him money talks and the world’s safety comes last. Tarantula who is a mutated freak now seems to be becoming more and more spider like and losing the human side of himself as his appearance keeps changing for the worse. Artwork is this time around done by John Romita Jr. and Frank Giacoia and as always looks great. So with us coming up on the last issue, I want you to ask yourself if you don’t know how this is ending already how do you think Tarantula is going to die…pick now and see if you’re right as we head into the final issue in this story line.

Amazing Spider-Man 236

The Amazing Spider-Man  # 236  ***
Released in 1983   Cover Price .60   Marvel Comics   #236 of 441

Tarantula is holding a passed out Melvin in his arms as Will-O-The-Wisp informs Spider-Man that this mutated menace is under his control now.  Little do they know the head of the oil company is watching what’s going on via a TV chat box trying to figure out a way to cut ties with BRAND and leave them holding the bag for all the bad deeds they have done. Tarantula breaks the mind control when his brain drifts further away from being human and that more of an animal who wants to eat! Will-O-The-Wisp knocks the mutated freak out as Spider-Man saves Melvin from a doomed death and leads Wisp on a city wide chase after he hides Melvin in a safe spot. Meanwhile a news crew have spotted Tarantula and are following him, as Spider-Man tricks Wisp into flying through a machine that mixes up his body molecules he takes him to Melvin to try and talk sense into him that the best revenge he could get is by turning him in and not killing him. As the pair get to Melvin, they see that Tarantula is about to eat him for a midday snack! Spider-Man fights with the Tarantula who now has very little left of his human brain as well as his body now is more like a giant spider. Wisp comes to and takes Melvin to safety and hypnotizes him into telling the police all the bad things he has done. In the end Spider-Man watches as Tarantula looses control and leaps off the building towards the cops below who all open fire on him as he splats on the ground below. In the end Peter Parker at the Daily Bugle watches the news report with the staff on BRAND and James Melvin being under investigation by the government as well as the oil company who are in fact the puppet masters pulling all the evil strings.

So for those of you who guessed that Tarantula was going to die by leaping off a building and getting shot and splatting on the ground, consider yourself a true cheesy comic bad guy fan…and for those who got it wrong, maybe next time. This issue marks the death of Anton Miguel Rodriguez as The Tarantula, and it’s a sad end as when he as the giant spider leaps from the building he begs the cops below to kill him. Tarantula was a prideful character who could not stand losing a fight to Spider-Man, and his ego and pride are what lead him to accepting the offer of BRAND who wanted a fighting machine to protect them and do their own bad wishes. Spider-Man keeps going even when he is worn out and tries his best to not only save the a-hole Melvin from death but also talk sense into Will-O-The-Wisp not murdering the slime ball all the while fighting off the crazed Tarantula.  So needless to say I think he’s earned a rest day of eating chicken wings and watching pro wrestling. And it looks like Will-O-The-Wisp has learned that while revenge can be sweet, murder is not and he puts his faith in the law system to bring down BRAND now that Melvin has squealed like a pig on all the bad things going on at BRAND. So as you can see while things got better for Will-O-The-Wisp, they didn’t work out for Tarantula whose only release was in death. The art in this issue was done by John Romita Jr. and Frank Giacoia and once more is that classic Spider-Man look we all grew up loving. Check out below for The Tarantula’s transformation during this comic storyline. 

Tarantula 1Tarantula 2Tarantula 3

Back in the day when a character died in a comic and you were young, it meant something and no matter how small the character was it had an impact on the reader. And The Tarantula’s death had that effect on me as over all the years of reading comics his death and Kraven’s has always stuck out. The fact he turned into a giant spider and leapt to his own death was shocking for me at the time and also in a strange way always made me think of the old film The Fly. So with this let’s take a moment of silence for The Tarantula.

Tarantula dead

The next update will be a little silly and a little less filled with grown men dressed as spiders as we take a look at yet another photo comic based on a Jess Franco film that has an old woman dress as a spider…thats right it’s Mari Cookie And The Killer Tarantula.  So make sure to come back for that cheesy good time. So until then read a comic or two and make sure you appreciate all your favorite villains as they might not be around forever.

Mari Cookie Logo

MarvelProbe: When Pixels And Ink Meet

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  Today I would like to talk about video games; right now on the home console market PS4 is kicking the butt of its competitors, the Nintendo WII-U and the Xbox One and with the Steam Box and even rumored Amazon Game System in the works this generation of gaming is going to be an interesting one. Most modern Triple A titles are like playing a movie as they are heavy on plots and the graphics are top notch.  Games of this style would be like Assassins Creed, Halo, God of War and Legend Of Zelda.  When playing a game like this, you are treated to beautiful breathtaking cut scenes that help draw you deeper and deeper into the plot. Also popular nowadays are the tiny mobile games that kids and adults play on their smart phones and tablets and most of these style games have very little plot and are quick play games that can kill boredom when waiting.  Examples of these games are Planets Vs. Zombies, Minecraft and Angry Birds. But for me mobile games are just kind of bland and when I want to play a video game, I want to pop in a cart or disc and grab my controller and play. In this day and age a player does not have to use much of his or hers imagination like they did back when Atari 800 or 2600 ruled the home game market with wire thin plots and pixels that were kind of in the shape of whatever your character was suppose to be. While I am sure gamers now look at classic video games like Pac-Man, Frogger and Q*Bert as primitive, nothing could prepare them for text adventure games! Yes, in the 1980’s text based games were very popular, and while some of them had some graphics at the top of the screen, many of them did not and looked like just a bunch of words on a screen waiting for simple commands to further the “adventure” along. Think of text games like the book series called Choose Your Own Adventure where by reading and making a decision, you have your character’s fate in your hands, because let’s be honest kids want to read a bunch of text in order to play a video game….right? Text based games have been made about all types of things from Dracula to World War II but some of the most popular ones were based on Marvel Super Heroes and would you know they also made comics based on their text based adventures and that’s what our main subject will be all about! So get ready to have a text not texting good time as we jump into the world of pixels and ink.

questprobe hulk screenQuestprobe Spider screenQuestprobe Human Torch Screen

Adventure International was an early video game company run by husband and wife Scott and Alexis Adams who specialized in making games for the home computer market like the Commodore 64 and Apple II that started in 1978. Scott Adams was a big name in the world of video games throughout the early 80’s, and he was mostly known for making top of the line text based adventure games.  This helped his company lock a partnership with Marvel Comics in 1984 to make a text based game series that would focus many of their top heroes.  In fact, 12 games were planned in the line as were comics that would come out alongside the games via Marvel. The first three games to come out were adventures based on The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man and Human Torch & The Thing from the Fantastic Four. The main plot had the heroes being studded by a unknown figure called Chief Examiner who would place them in odd places and situations to see how they would react to them. But sadly Adventure International hit a financial snag and closed up shop in 1985 leaving the 4th game,which was based around the X-Men, unfinished and the remaining titles in the line canceled. While his company may have closed shop Scott Adams still continued to make computer games throughout the years and even as of 2013 made a comeback after 10 years of not creating his own game made a text game called “The Inheritance” and remains an icon of PC Gaming.

Questprobe SpiderMan C64Adventure International logoQuestprobe Fantastic Four Atari

Growing up the only text based games I could remember playing were ones that my Uncle Thurman would bring to our house in Waynesville when he and my Aunt Teresa would come visit us as kids. Most of the ones he had were more like dungeon and dragons and were the strict text ones with no graphics and were all for Commodore 64. I can remember one time looking through his massive collection of games all on floppy disks and finding Dracula and asking him if we could play it but after several tries the game never did load.  That’s one of the downsides to Commodore 64, it had lots of issues loading and when it was loading the time to get your game to start was very long. Imagine kids of today who already complain about the install times of modern games trying to play a full game on Commodore where you had to wait for it to not only load the game but also most of the times each level! But I will move on and over the years text games seemed like an oddity to me and captured my attention as I never could wrap my head around why gamers of the past found them to be hours of fun, and I got a reason to buy some when I started to review Video Games on my old website for my production company Bloodline Video a few years back under the name of Xmortis. So after getting a complete working Commodore 64 with the datasette reader and floppy drive from Game Swap, I looked for a text based game that I could review and it came down to one called Wolfman and the other being Questprobe: Incredible Hulk and when a cassette version of Questprobe popped up cheap on Ebay it became the lucky winner. The game is text based but does have graphics that for the time are really fun and try their hardest to look like comic book art.  I have to admit playing the first few times I hated it and was so frustrated by the lame commands that I would get bored and shut the game off or even gasp! Die in the game! How could I let The Hulk, one of my favorite comic characters, die in a lame text game is what I kept thinking, but finally I hate to admit it but I used an online walk through for what commands to give him and beat the game by cheating. The review never made it up on the site, and I hope to someday get back to Bloodline’s site and return it to the review and production glory it once was. As for now how I feel about Questprobe Hulk, I hate to admit it but I do like the idea of it, mostly cause it was the first video game based on Hulk. Below is the cover box for the game as well as some screen shots for you to feast your eyes on and enjoy all the pixel goodness.

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Marvel Comics had a great thing going, not only did they have characters in video games now being written by Scott Adams but they could also get a 12 issue mini series from it that would help boost the sales of the game as also the game could boost the sales of the comics. This team up was truly a time when ink meet pixels, and the team up would have been perfect if not for the game company’s sudden shut down. Marvel during this time I am sure had a tough decision to make as they could continue a comic series based on games that were no longer being made or they could do the unthinkable and just cancel the mini series and leave fans hanging on what and who Chief Examiner was and what he wanted…and Marvel did what they always do they pulled the plug and walked away from the idea and as time passed did kind of wrap up the story in Marvel Fanfare # 33 where they printed the X-Men story and later in Quasar they added in the story of Questprobe. So on this update we are only going to cover the three issues released in the original mini series and will be graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I want to thank the vendor at Fright Night Film Fest for having issue # in stock and Lone Star Comics for the remaining two issues. So let’s pop these comics into the datasette player and type in the load keys and enjoy pixels and ink together.

Questprobe 1

Questprobe # 1  ** 1/2
Released in 1984     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #1 of 3

A race of peaceful aliens are preparing for an invasion from other aliens who are war hawks and want to kill them all as well as their planet.  They all turn on Durgan, a member of there council who wants to fight back and not just roll over and die. When Durgan leaves the meeting he knows that something has to be done so he dons a giant helmet and calls himself the Chief Examiner and heads to Earth to steal the powers of some of our top super heroes to use in a fight with the invading aliens. On Earth The Incredible Hulk is facing off with the National Guard and after making short work of their tanks, he heads off to find a place to sleep and does so in a cave on the side of a cannon. When entering the cave, the Hulk sees the Natter Energy Egg and the Blood Red Bio-Gem right as the two explode.  This event makes The Hulk tired and he falls asleep turning back in Bruce Banner and finally getting some piece and quite. Banner’s rest is quickly cut short as Chief Examiner enters the cave and tells him that he needs to have him walk through a door portal so that he can drain his power! Banner fights back and runs from the cave but soon learns that the cave is high and he is fallen to his death! Before he hits the ground he turns into The Hulk as the Chief Examiner tries to force him to enter the door portal, The Hulk doesn’t like to be told what to do and goes on a rampage to smash the dome headed alien into the ground, during this fight a group of white water rafters are knocked over when Hulk goes under water and breaks off one of the sides of the canon and pins Chief Examiner down, but by doing so the huge rock is blocking the river and causes the rafters to fall into the raging water. The Hulk dives in and pulls out all the males and see’s that the female is stuck in a whirlpool! The only way to get to her is by jumping into the portal doorway and he does so losing some of his power yet saving a young woman’s life. The Chief Examiner leaves with his prize the stolen energy as The Hulk waits to make sure the woman is okay and to remain some energy and leaps off into the sky.

This is a fun Hulk adventure that is a cool tie in for a video game and explains the strange world that the Hulk is found in during the text based adventure Game. The plot is pretty simple and has an alien who’s planet is under attack who travels to Earth to steal powers off powerful humans so that he can use it against the attackers, the first one he targets is Hulk cause of his brute strength. He tries to force the Hulk to enter his black doorway that allows him to steal/mimic his power and only does so when he forces The Hulk to make a decision to save a woman’s life and jump through the door or let her die and avoid the door. The Hulk in this issue is the simple minded version who just wants to be left alone and knows that his brute power is the best way to keep everyone away, this is my favorite version of the Hulk as he is the one truly grew up reading and the one that made me a lifelong fan next to the TV Show. I love the fact that while The Hulk is a “monster” in the eyes of humans he risks his own safety in this comic to save the life of one of them and by the end the humans seem to have a new respect for the green skin goliath. The Chief Examiner while not a full bad guy still is going about getting help in his planets soon to be war all the wrong ways, not once does he even try to explain to the Hulk why he needs his power nor does he even tell the power house about his planets upcoming doom or asks if Hulk would come back and help. Plus it’s great when The Hulk pins Chief Examiner down with a giant stone and how easily in the alien’s mind he gave up and knew that the Hulk could kill him with one punch. The comic’s art is done by the amazing Mark Gruenwald and inked by John Romita Jr. making for one powerful team that turned in a great looking comic, and the cover is amazing and is also what’s used for the video game. So in this first issue Chief Examiner gets the power of the Hulk, and now who’s next on his hit list of stealing powers?

Questprobe 1-1 artQuestprobe 1-2 artQuestprobe 1-3 art

So in this first issue Chief Examiner gets the power of the Hulk, and now who’s next on his hit list of stealing powers? Let’s jump into issue two and see what he has planned for Spider-Man!

Questprobe 2

Questprobe # 2   **1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #2 of 12

Spider-Man is feeling a little down in the dumps as the city is hot and he has a lot on his mind as his personal life is a mess. Meanwhile in prison, Quentin Beck comes up with a plan to escape so he can don his Mysterio outfit once more and challenge Spider-Man to a final fight! While on a distant planet the peaceful aliens watch as The Black Fleet conquers another planet and is heading their way, as Durgan also known as The Chief Examiner sets his sights now on steal/borrowing the power of Spider-Man to mix with that of the Hulk he already has taken. Tuskar is a student of Durgan and wants to find his old teacher and see if he can help as it’s shown the Black Fleet really just wants the Red Bio-Gem’s cause when put together they hold massive power, and the kicker are the Gems are alive and are kind of evil! Mysterio shows up to the Daily Bugle and holds everyone hostage as Spider-Man shows up to save them and the two fight it out, all the while Mysterio is using cheap and dirty FX inspired tricks on his foe. The Chief Examiner shows up and tries to get Spidey to go through his portal but web-head thinks that Examiner is just a costume change for Mysterio as they both wear domes over their faces, in the end Spider-Man figures out they are not the same person and is forced to dive into Examiner’s portal to escape an attack by Mysterio that leaves our hero weak, and just as Mysterio is to finish off Spider-Man the Red Bio-Gem uses its power to make The Chief Examiner try and steal the power of Mysterio given Spider-Man some breath time and getting his energy back to beat Mysterio and watch as The Chief Examiner disappears.

This issue is a good one and is a fun story to break up the normal story line that was going on in the main Spider-Man comic series at the time, but I will also say that it almost feels as if the writers of this issue in this mini series didn’t talk to the ones who made issue # 1. Because now I am not 100% sure if Durgan is The Chief Examiner or if the Red Bio-Gem on his planet is, as both seem to be in control of the dome headed power stealing loony. The Chief Examiner seems to be a little more polite in this issue and less forceful in making Spider-Man get into his portal than he was with The Hulk, but in this one he seems to be almost a ghost as nothing is under the robe making me scratch my head to as how then in issue # 1 Hulk was able to pin him to the ground and make him fear for his life. I kind of am so-so with the idea of the Red Power-Gems being alive and having the Energy Eggs around them as a way to keep them in line.  Yep, if the egg feels they are in danger it blows up killing the gem and it’s power. Spider-Man is as he was in the 80’s, filled with one liners and drama with girlfriends, but I wouldn’t want the web slinger any other way. Mysterio was the perfect  bad guy to use in this issue as he does look a lot like The Chief Examiner making for Spider-Man to have an almost “Who’s On First” kind of moments as he jumps from room to room. We will have to see what Tuskar is all about and if he will play out as a major player in the next issue. The art is by Al Milgrom and has that 70’s style Spider-Man appeal, the cover as well is just taken from the video games cover box. One smart move they did in this issue is they ask the question want to see what happened to Spider-Man’s power once he entered the portal, cause if you do go buy the game! Over all a good issue two that sadly leads us to the final issue in what was to be a 12 issue mini series.

Questprobe 2-1 art

So The Chief Examiner has collected the powers of The Hulk and Spider-Man but can he now get the powers of members of the Fantastic Four? Lets read issue # 3 and find out!

Questprobe 3

Questprobe # 3   **1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #3 of 12

Johnny Storm and his blind girlfriend Alicia Masters return to the Baxter Building the base of The Fantastic Four to retrieve some books but while their they get a visit from The Chief Examiner who wants Storm’s powers! Johnny Storm flames on and turns into The Human Torch just in time to fight some robots that are being controlled by The Examiner who has taken over all of the electronics in the Baxter Building. After destroying many of the robots Human Torch is sprayed with water and tuned back into Johnny Storm and he and Alicia try and escape as The Chief Examiner still is forceful that Torch goes through is portal so he can have his power! Johnny and Alicia get onto a secret elevator to try and escape and give Johnny time to dry off to become Human Torch again, meanwhile She-Hulk has returned home from grocery shopping and rushes to Johnny’s aid as The Chief Examiner forces them out of the Elevator he uses a fantasticar to try and kill She-Hulk who knocks it away and it bounces off the wall and heads towards Alicia Masters and Human Torch rushes to save her from being crushed just as The Chief Examiner places his portal in front of them tricking him into going through and stealing the power of the Human Torch and poof he’s gone and they are all safe.  The Power-Gem during this time also overhears that Durgan wants the help of Tuskar to gain more superpowers and to stop the Black Fleet. The Chief Examiner then pops up onto the alien planet that The Thing is on after the events of the Secret Wars and uses a twisted version of The Baxter Building to trick him into going through the portal and stealing his power.

This third issue is good but not nearly as good as the first two issues in the series and almost seems like a filler issue that has a touch of rush feeling. The first target is The Human Torch who The Chief Examiner tricks into getting into the portal by placing it between him and Alicia who was in danger, his intent to kill She-Hulk shows that the character is really at odds with being controlled by The Power Gem who is starting to really be the main villain of the series. It’s clear that The Human Torch is the main focus hero of this issue as the second target The Thing’s brief moments at the end of the issue is kind of a waste and not nearly as interesting as all the others who have been tricked before him. Weird enough as well is the fact the main story of Durgan also seems to be a second thought in the issue, making this one that’s kind of bland to talk about so lets just go ahead and wrap it up shall we. I will also say its odd that The Chief Examiner didn’t want to try and steal the powers of She-Hulk instead his first thought is to try and kill her, I am sure her power on top of Hulks and The Things would make him even more powerful and a force to be reckoned with.  This issues art is done by Ron Wilson and is clearly a Fantastic Four style art. Cover is like the game same as the others and I must say while again a fun read it was also very lackluster and lost the “epic adventure” feel that the other two issues had.

Questprobe 3-1 artQuestprobe 3-2 artQuestprobe 3-3 art

It’s truly a shame that this mini series and video game series was cut so short as they had so many more Marvel heroes that could have been made into both.  Just imagine this series continuing not only with the already planned X-Men but also Captain America, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Iron Man and Thor to name a few. I truly feel that Marvel let all the fans down of the comic mini series and the video game series by just stopping the story arch before anything was really settled. But I guess that truly was the Marvel way just stop production on series without a second thought about their fans. So next month is September, and it will be the kick off to Rotten Ink’s second Halloween update that will go up on October 31st. For those who remember last year we took a look at comics based on Hammer Horror films well this year will be a little different and something I am super happy to bring all you friends and readers. But our next update will be a secret but I will drop you a giant hint when I say he hates New York! So until then think about it, plus play a video game and read a comic or two.

Stays Crunchy Even In Ink!

1985 was a good year for many things.  In movies, such classics as Back To The Future, Rambo First Blood Part 2, The Breakfast Club, Commando, Rocky IV, Clue, Return of the Living Dead, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, View to a Kill, Fright Night, Re-Animator and Day of the Dead all filled the cinemas with entertainment. Vinyl and cassettes of such albums as David Lee Roth’s “Crazy From The Heat”, Megadeth’s “Killing is My Business…And Business Is Good”, Motley Crue “Theatre of Pain” and W.A.S.P. Put out “The Last Command”. TV shows like Cheers, Cosby Show, Golden Girls, Night Court, Amazing Stories, Saturday Night Live and Growing Pains were great home entertainment for couch potatoes. Not to mention horror hosts like Commander USA just started his Groovie Movies and Dr. Creep of Shock Theater had ended his long run on Dayton television. But while stuff like this was going on, the kids of that time also knew one thing that troubled them and that was Cap’n Crunch was missing!!

Peanut Butter Crunch CerealChoco Crunch CerealCapn Crunch CerealCrunch Berries Cereal

Cap’n Crunch, whose full name is Horatio Magellan Crunch, is the mascot for the surgery cereal of the same name (that stays crunchy even in milk) put out by Quaker Oats since 1963. The good Captain of the S.S. Guppy, along with Seadog and a young crew, sailed the seas and delivered breakfast to all the hungry girls and boys around the world and became beloved by all who ate his fun and good tasting cereal. As the years went by Cap’n Crunch would bring in more great tasting cereals like Crunch Berries, Peanut Butter Crunch, Choco Crunch and Vanilly Crunch and became friends with CrunchBerry Beast, a wild creature with red hair, yellow skin and red spots, Mr. Choco a creature made out of cookie dough who could shape shift, a crunch berry bush and Smedley, a peanut butter loving elephant. But while his friends, fans and crew all loved him, Cap’n Crunch did make some enemies along the way that wanted nothing more than to bring him down and ruin breakfast for everyone.

SeadogCrunchberry BeastMr. ChocoSmedley

Being a Cap’n of cereal is hard work, and you don’t get to the top of the table choice with out making some folks mad.  The poor Cap’n has his share of jealous haters. Jean Lafoote is a barefooted pirate who wants to steal the secrets of the cereal. He has kidnapped and stolen and would stop at nothing to get what he wants! Lafoote was the prime suspect for people like me to when Cap’n Crunch was missing even though by 1985 he was a second thought and not a mascot in use! While he was the prime suspect for me, many other ideas and such were given, and many people tried to figure it out to win money that was being offered to lucky winners who could figure out where the Cap’n was..but the shock of where he had been was about to hit us all.

Jean Lafoote

Kids around the US were worried and spent time trying to figure out where the Cap’n was and hoping he was okay.  They had their parents buy boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereals to try and get the clues that were inside the boxes to figure it out, to help their breakfast friend and to win some money to buy toys and video games for helping find him. But then they found him…and the place he was lost in was The Milky Way…you get it? So after all the worry and stress, Cap’n Crunch was found safe and sound and was once more on our TV commercials and cereal boxes.  But this peace of mind would only last for a year when more trauma would be placed on all the youth as once more something would happen to Cap’n and we would all have to team up again this time to Free The Cap’n from his worst enemy, and no it’s not Jean Lafoote!

Capn Crunch 1Free Capn BoxCapn Crunch 2

The Sogmaster, along side his henchmen The Soggies, are Cap’n Crunch’s worst nightmare.  They want to not only steal his famed cereal, but they also want to ruin it and make it get gross and soggy in milk taking away the crunch! The Sogmaster is a robot who is all grey, has a hoses for fingers that shoot out soggy gross stuff and is very mean spirited.  Amazingly enough he left me with the impression of being one of the meanest mascots in my history of watching TV. The Soggies themselves are white gloppy masses who are not very smart and are easily out smarted.  The way to tell them apart is one wears a red hat and the other does not. In 1986 Sogmaster and The Soggies did something that would shock the nation; they kidnapped Cap’n Crunch, and once more the hunt was on to find him and save him from his captors.  Once more money was given out to those who found the clues and called a 1-800 that held the answers. This is the one case that my brother Bryan and I got into and tried to find Cap’n without calling the phone number and with just small clues and our own ideas.

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One thing I would like to very briefly talk about are the cool PVC figures that use to come free in cereal boxes based on popular mascots or even Disney Cartoons. Some of my favorite ones were the Cap’n Crunch ones that had not only Cap’n but also both Soggies and The Sogmaster! My brother and I collected these and during the whole time of them coming out, we only got one Sogmaster, a few Soggies and an army of Cap’n Crunch’s who seemed to be the one they over produced. To this day I have a Cap’n Crunch that sits on a shelf near the TV. So for those who remember these, this blog update is for you!

Soggie FigureCapn FigureSogmaster Figure

The kidnapping of Cap’n Crunch not only caught the attention of all the kids but it also got the attention of super hero Spider-Man who had all ready also joined the hunt last year to find where he was lost and was now going after The Sogmaster to get his friend back! Now when Spider-Man is worried and wants to save Cap’n, you know he was in deep trouble. Marvel Comics placed a one page ad in many of their comics that had Spider-Man finding the track of the Soggies and coming face to face with them and leaving us on a cliffhanger as to what happened. This was a fun way to add to the gimmick of the missing mascot and again made you worry about your breakfast and its champion.

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But like before, Cap’n Crunch was saved.  The Sogmaster was sent packing, and the cereal Icon was free to spread his sugar coated cereal to all! But that’s the thing, while Cap’n Crunch was able to beat The Sogmaster, outstep Jean Lafoote and even find his way home after being lost, it seems that one thing he can’t shake are those pesky people who think they should tell parents what their kids should be eating. That’s one thing that annoys me about society today, everyone wants to say that these cereals are giving kids diabetes, McDonald’s is making their kids fat, etc.  While these things don’t help, it’s the job of the parents to watch how much of this type of food their kids eat, and it’s a shame companies are becoming so wimpy that they are backing down and using mascots less and allowing nut jobs to make rules for the world on what’s good for whom. But enough, let me get down from my soap box, and let’s take a look at a comic based on Cap’n Crunch that was given away to people who bought the cereal. I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So let’s set sail over the Milk Sea, and see if we can have an adventure with the one and only Cap’n Crunch.

Capn Crunch in the Center of the earth 1

Cap’n Crunch: In The Center of The Earth  **
Released in 1986   Cover Price FREE   Quaker Oats   Comics #1 of 1

The Sogmaster is about to sog the Earth when Cap’n Crunch along with his giant robot and kid sidekicks Peter & Judy stop him and cause him to be so angry that he wants revenge. Sogmaster along with his Soggie Army go to the center of the Earth and use a giant cannon to turn the Earth’s crust in mush as well as almost everything on the planet! The government knows something’s wrong and send Cap’n along with Peter & Judy to the center of the world to stop the worlds soggy situation. While down below, Cap’n meets a race of underworld monsters who join his fight and together they all bring down The Sogmaster and his canon with one simple box of Cap’n Crunch Cereal.

This is a quick comic filled with a silly story that pits Cap’n Crunch and The Sogmaster against each other, and the end battle is pretty un-epic and not exciting but yet so fitting for a cheesy give away comic of this nature. The story is simple; Sogmaster is mad and wants to take revenge not just on Cap’n but the whole world and uses a Sog cannon on the Earth’s core making everything up above soggy and gross.  He’s stopped by Cap’n Crunch and a box of his cereal. The art in the comic is good for this free comic but would not hold up for a comic that one had to pay for and would be considered very poor in Star Comics standards. In fact, I could not find a credit in the issue of who did the art, making one wonder: was he ashamed of it or was he told not to give himself credit? Cap’n Crunch is a silly hero but is very noble to the world and wants everyone to enjoy his crunchy cereal at any cost, even traveling to the center of the Earth to protect it and its eaters. Sogmaster in the issue just comes off as a bad guy who was born to loose and surrounds himself with brain dead henchmen who only slow him down.  While he loses a lot, he never rethinks his attacks making him easy to predict and easy to defeat. Not much more can be said about this comic besides the cover is well done and makes it seem way more epic than it actually.  Also, the issue should have been longer..yeah, so to sum it up, I would say it’s okay.

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Breakfast mascots were a lot of fun for kids of the 60’s through the early 90’s before parent groups stepped in and took the fun out of everything.  I have many fun memories of Cap’n Crunch, the Trix Rabbit and Lucky and wish kids of today could also find a bond with their cereal and its spokesperson. This was a fun quick look back at a simple time when one fake junk food Cap’n worried the youth of the time by going missing and being kidnaped. Our next update however goes back to a series subject as we look at Frankenstein, and not just any Frankenstein but that of the 1910 version done by Thomas Edison’s film company and the amazing comic book done based on this one time “lost” film. So until next time, sit back, relax, eat a bowl of cereal and read a comic or two! And oh yeah Happy Super Bowl Day!

1910 Frankenstein Logo

Marvel vs. DC….. Round 1…..FIGHT!

Growing up, horror films were always important to me and nothing could get my attention more than a classic Universal Monster movie.  There was just something about those black and white spooky motion pictures that drew my young mind in, and another thing that always got my attention was horror host shows! Horror hosting is an art that has been around since 1954 when Vampira took to the airwaves in California and hosted bad b-films on late night television.  Many great names have followed that include Zacherley, Marvin, Sammy Terry, Sir Graves Ghastly, Ghoulardi, The Cool Ghoul, Bob Wilkins, Sivad and so many more ghouls took to local airwaves and chilled the blood and tickled the funny bone of their local towns from the 1950’s throughout the 1960’s. Sadly younger fans like myself who weren’t born yet were unable to watch these hosts in their prime, and due to the fact most were shot live or the ones that were taped were erased and reused to film other programs, many of these classic shows are gone forever. Two hosts from this period really have peaked my interest.  The Great Zucchini of Supernatural Theatre started in 1968 on WDCA-TV channel 20 in Washington D.C.and was a one time actor who was horribly burned and now lived in the stations basement and was a mean spirited chap who hated glass and would smash bottles and such with his cane.  He also was very mean to his off screen sidekick Waldo and the viewers.  Zucchini was played by Bill Miller who worked at the station and was fired from the show when he asked for a raise. Next up is The Madman of Des Moines, a host that not much is known about, who hosted flicks in Iowa.  His look was that of a beast type man who looked like he could have been from The Island of Dr. Monroe! If anyone has any of these two’s shows please contact me; I would love to see them and will make it worth your while!

great zucchinithe madman of des moins

Horror hosting continued into the 70’s and many classic iconic hosts were born out of this era that include Dr. Creep, Baron Von Wolfenstein, Fritz The Nite Owl, Svengoolie, The Ghoul, Sir Cecil Creape, Count Scary and many more.  1972 was when Dr. Creep (Barry Hobart) hit the airwaves in Dayton, Ohio with his show Shock Theatre and things would never be the same for those he entertained. Dr. Creep was a loveable ghoul who would host films along co-hosts like Duffy The Dog, Dow Thomas, Obieyoyo, Firma and more.  They would parody TV shows, commercials and music giving the viewers some great laughs before they witnessed the late night horror picture. At a young age I was living in Kettering, Ohio and my brother was going to Beavertown Elementary.  At Christmas time he went on a field trip to Chakeres also known as The Kettering Theater to watch “Sindad and the Eye of the Tiger” and while there he got to meet Mugruff the Crime Dog and more importantly Dr. Creep! My brother won a gift that turned out to be a Transformer and got his picture taken with the pair.  When returning home from school I got an earful about this ghoul named Dr. Creep, and when the picture came I was amazed by this man! After always talking about Dr. Creep my Mom gave in and let us stay up and watch an episode with our dad who was already a fan, and this was the start of my love for horror hosting. My mom also tells me when I was young like 4 or 5 she and my dad took me and my brother to Beavertown for a meet and great with Dr. Creep where I got his autograph! In 1985 Shock Theatre had come to an end, and Channel 22, who ran the show, retired the character and would not allow Barry to don the make-up and cape, leaving the area without a horror host. During his first run, Dr. Creep was a man on a mission as he helped numerous charities and made public appearances whenever he could, making him a true star to all those who got the chance to meet him. But you can’t keep a good ghoul down when in 1999 local filmmaker Andy Copp and RMM Agency owner Rick Martin brought the Creeper back to TV sets with The New Shock Theater that had Creep hosting public domain films on public access.  This ran until 2005. It was during his second run that I got to become friends with Dr. Creep and learned not only about the host but also the man who played the host, Barry Hobart. Getting to spend time with him at conventions like Cinema Wasteland, Scary Camp and Horrorhound Weekend and hanging with him at Foy’s Halloween Shop in Fairborn are memories that are truly special. Sadly Barry Hobart passed away in 2011, and the world lost a true icon in hosting and more important I lost a friend. Halloween in this town won’t be the same with out him.

Creep PartyDr. Creep HorrorhoundDr. Creep and Me

Another host that I have been looking for copies of his show is The Shroud of Nightmare Theatre that ran on Fort Wayne, Indiana WFFT-TV channel 55 from 1979 – 1983. The Shroud wore all black and would wear an almost executioners mask as well as a long cape. The Shroud was a host that took the grim approach and would host the film without jokes and gags and give you the straight terror as he spoke with his deep voice. The Shroud was played by Don Paris, and I would love to see this man come back to host one more show for the fans! Again if you have copies of this show, please let me know.

The Shroud

The 1980’s brought horror hosting to an all new level as major cable networks and companies got into the host business and such horror hosts as Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Joe Bob Briggs, Commander USA and Grandpa Munster all had shows that aired all over the USA. Growing up I tried to never miss an episode of Commander USA’s Groovie Movies that aired on the USA Network and always tried to tape Super Scary Saturday with Grandpa Munster that aired on TBS.  I know a beta tape is floating around somewhere at my brother’s house that has the episode where Grandpa hosts King Kong vs. Godzilla! Joe Bob Briggs was on the Movie Channel so I didn’t get to watch at first but once he jumped to TNT and started hosting Monstervision, I was hooked on his style of hosting. I caught Elvira a few times.  While a fan of her looks and gothic style, I mostly remember her from her film and years later became more of a fan of her show Movie Macabre. These hosts paved the way for many more that include the cast of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and Rhonda Shear & Gilbert Gottfried of USA’s Up All Night. But also local hosts were still going strong with such names as Stella Desire, A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Son of Ghoul and many more, all leading viewers to tune into home grown shows. I loved catching horror host shows in the 80’s and thanks to the magic of trade sites I have been able to get my hands on many great episodes of Commander USA and Grandpa making me feel like a kid again as I watch.

CommanderUSA the manGrandpajoe bob briggs0

The 90’s in hosting still had many of the main stay cable hosts, and lots of the 80’s local hosts stuck around, but this was also the birth of hosts being on public access television.  As local markets changed many stations did away with local made shows, driving the horror host off airwaves and many of them turned to the local accesses stations in order to continue entertaining. This change also led to local access hosts no longer being able to show films owned by major studios like Universal, Paramount or WB and left them with films in the public domain, free of copyright. Great hosts like Dr. Gangrene, Dr. Sarcofiguy, Spooky Spectre, The Gravemaster and more all filled the airwaves entertaining late night viewers.This was truly the birth of a new breed of host, the kind who worked under no strict station rules and were able to make their vision of their own shows.

dr gangrenespooky spectreThe Gravemaster

Now on to the present day hosts, and man there are a lot of them! In this day and age horror host fans are treated to many amazing hosts and best part is they are also treated to legends who after all these years still do a shows from time to time. Horror hosting has become available in many different formats, from syndication TV, public access, direct to DVD, internet, trade lists and downloads, giving fans new ways to watch their favorite host or discover a new one! Plus many horror, sci-fi, car and paranormal conventions book hosts as guests giving the viewer many ways to connect with a host. Some of the modern hosts include Ms. Monster, Roxsy Tyler, Riggor Mortiss, Victor Von Scary, Horror Dungeon, Count Gregula, Uncle Wolf Man, Atomic Age Cinema, Professor Gillman, Mod Ghoul, Wolfman Mac, Marlena Midnite and so many more colorful ghouls. Marlena Midnite hosted a show called “Midnite Mausoleum” alongside Robyn Graves and directed by Blake Powell, and they are some of the nicest people you will ever meet! Marlena is the true definition of what a horror hostess should be and she has so much charm and appeal that I could easily see her being the next big hostess next to Elvira.  Sadly in the Spring of 2013 Midnite Mausoleum stopped production on new episodes, I hope that one day they return to the hosting world.

MidniteRiggorroxsy

Growing up watching the likes of Dr. Creep, Commander USA, A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Grandpa Munster, Joe Bob Briggs and a handful of others made me think to myself “Hey why don’t I dig up a ghoul and make a show of my own,” and that’s what I did in late 2010 when I dug up Baron and Baroness Von Porkchop, and together along with their butler Bean, we made Terrifying Tales of the Macabre. The Baron is a 1800’s Slaughterhouse baron who was the times largest manufacture of pork meats, his lovely wife Baroness was a beauty queen who would always win the annual Slaughterhouse Queen pageant and let’s just say they had an accident that left them both dead that involved a terrible wagon wreck! Now The Baron and friends entertain Dayton area viewers via public accesses stations DATV and MVCC and online station The Monster Channel. Working alongside The Baron has also let me meet some amazing hosts and befriend them like Sammy Terry, Stella Desire, Count Gore De Vol, The Atomic Age Cinema gang, Count Gregula and many more! Terrifying Tales of the Macabre is still going strong with no signs of slowing town and for me this is a blessing for I have found a media that to me feels just like home.

Baron Von PorkchopBaron Episode 15Baroness Von Porkchop

But enough of my small little history lesson about horror hosting, the main reason we are here is to talk about big time battles between two iconic characters that leave you breathless and wondering who is going to win in the epic show down. One of the first movies to do this for me was the 1943 Universal Monster Classic “Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man” in which they paired two of their icons against each other. The film’s plot has Larry Talbot (The Wolf Man) being awaken from his death by two grave robbers and wanting to find a way to find peace whether by death or a cure. Along the way he meets a granddaughter of Dr. Frankenstein and along with another small town doctor they decide to help end the curse, but they also find The Frankenstein Monster who is weak yet alive! In the end the small town Doctor makes the mistake of wanting to see The Monster at full strength and by doing so it’s too late Larry turns into The Wolf Man as The Monster gets his energy back and the two battle before the village damn is blown drowning both monsters.  This film has always been epic to me, and the strangest part about it is that the two monsters don’t really clash at all until say the last 2 or 3 minutes of the film. When the two titans of fright do fight it’s just smacks, jump attacks and sluggish blows.  Imagine two 400 pound wrestlers going at each other and that’s what you get with this fight. While not a slugfest like one would imagine, this film did help pave the way for many other great monster fight films like Freddy vs. Jason, Dracula vs. Frankenstein and even Alien vs. Predator. If you have not seen this film and you love classic horror, check out this Universal Monster mash up.  It’s worth your time.

Frank wolfFrankenstein Meets The Wolf Man PosterMonster chokes Wolfman

In my youth another amazing monster fight film was the 1963 battle between the giant gorilla King Kong and the fire breathing lizard Godzilla. As a kid I was obsessed with Godzilla, and thanks to TV station TBS and shows like Super Scary Saturday, I was able to catch his films on Saturday mornings. I can remember watching it on Super Scary Saturday hosted by Grandpa Munster and being amazed as they had wrestlers from the NWA on acting as the monsters’ managers! King Kong had Michael “P.S.” Hayes in his corner as Godzilla had Jim Cornette in his and Grandpa Munster acted super hyped to witness this battle of the giant rubber suited monsters. The film has Godzilla once more tormenting boats around Japan, and a group goes to an island and drugs and brings back King Kong to make money off off him and to fight and stop Godzilla. The fight is epic as both monsters go for the kill, and both are fired up to win the bragging rights. For some reason in the film King Kong gets stronger if he is struck by lighting, and I heard that this is the case because originally it was supposed to be The Frankenstein Monster fighting Godzilla. In the end there is no clear cut winner as it looks as if maybe King Kong got the upper hand as he crosses the ocean to go back home. If you like pure cheese giant monsters movies and want to watch two of the worlds top big monsters slug it out, then check out this film, but be warned as always there is a lot of human talking that is boring in spots.

Zilla Kong DanceKing Kong vs Godzilla posterKong vs Zilla

Now at this point I could go on about other monster fight films and weed out the good from the bad, but instead I figured before we got into the main events of this entry I would give you all a warm up fight that many of you who love Nike Shoes will be hyped for; none other then basketball player Charles Barkley fighting King of The Monsters Godzilla!! Before we get into the comic, I should explain the commercial this was based on. In 1992 Nike the shoe company decided that it would be a great idea to mix basketball and giant monsters to sell sneakers and hired Charles Barkley who was playing for the Phoenix Suns at the time as the pro player who challenges Godzilla to a game of basketball in Toyko.  It’s never shown how Barkley became a giant, but by the end of the commercial and a slam dunk later Barkley is the winner and the two walk off as friends. This for the time was a cool commercial but looking back at it now, it was a very silly way to hype over priced gym shoes.

NBA Zillanothing but cheesecharles-barkley-takes-on-godzilla

Godzilla vs Barkley 1

Godzilla vs. Barkley # 1  **
Released in 1993   Cover Price $2.95   Dark Horse   1 of 1

Godzilla attacks a Japaneses ship on its way to California.  Meanwhile Matthew and his Grandfather rush to the beach to try and get the chance to talk to NBA Superstar Charles Barkley who is there to film a commercial, but Matthew is pushed away and leaving down in the dirt as his grandpa gives him a magic silver dollar. On that same beach one of the sailers from the ship washes ashore and warns of Godzilla.  No sooner does he speak of the King of Monsters when he is there to wreck the Sunshine State. Matthew rushes to Charles Barkley and with the help of the silver dollar and some push from Matthew, the NBA star becomes a giant and uses his basketball skills to distract Godzilla, and even beating him in a game. After the court beat down Barkley buys Godzilla a giant pair of Nike shoes and his own private court to practice on and keep him busy and becomes a friend to Matthew and his family.

Man, this is one cheese ball comic that is so dumb of an idea that it some how turns out to be super fun. Matthew, the young boy, is your typical “super” fan who believes no one else in the world loves the celebrity like he does and for the most part is also kind of a smart ass. Grandpa is your typical loving elder who is not given much to do in the story besides pass over the magical silver dollar. Charles Barkley is, well, Barkley but is given more of a nice guy attitude when on court and real life he was a hothead and a stiff player. Godzilla at first is a badass but quickly becomes the punching bag to Barkley and his basketball that even is used to bounce off the head of the fire breathing monster. The stupidest moment of this comic is when Godzilla is out in the middle of nowhere wearing a pair of Nike shoes and practicing basketball…WOW who thought this silly stuff up. Over all the art in the comic is well done, and the cover is cool.  This is worth a read to those who love trashy pop culture like myself. 

Brakley smackcharles-barkley-vs-godzillazilla slam

In 1976 both Marvel and DC comics got together and decided to put two of their most popular super heros in a comic against each other.  This was after a pitch was made to cross both Superman and Spider-Man together in a film that would not have worked out for both companies who already had projects in the works for both heros. What fans got was a crossover that was in an oversized comic that sparked the imagination and debut of who would really win The Man of Steel or Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. This team up of Marvel and DC was not the first as both titans of funny books put out an oversized comic together in 1975 called MGM’s Marvelous Wizard Of Oz. So before we dive into this battle of the comic, icons let’s take a short look at both super heros.

superman

Tale of the Tape for Superman – Baby Kal-El was shipped to Earth by his parents as his home planet of Krypton exploded, ending life on it forever. Landing in Kansas, he is found by Martha and Johnathon Kent who adopt the space child and name him Clark. Growing up on the farm, Clark finds out as do his adoptive parents that he is special as he is super human strong, has x-ray vision, can fly, has heat vision and so much more. When grown up, he decides that he is going to move to the big city of Metropolis and becomes a reporter and become the cities protector as a hero called Superman. Clark/Superman’s friends consist of Lois Lane the cities top reporter, Jimmy Olson a photographer and Perry White the boss of the newspaper they all work for. Superman also has a hidden base in the Arctic called The Fortress of Solitude that also acts as a learning center for him. His weakness is a green rock from his home planet called Kryptonite that leaves him as weak as a baby and can also lead to his death  Red sun light and magic are the other only things that can hurt him as Superman is almost godlike. His top foes include Lex Luther a super evil smart tycoon, Braniac a robot from space, Doomsday a hulking monster and General Zod an outcast from his home planet. Superman is DC Comics’ strongest Character.

Spider-Man

Tale of the Tape for Spider-Man -Peter Parker was a nerdy high school kid who was raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben.  One day Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider during a science expo that leaves him with super powers that include super strength, the ability to climb walls, and have a sensor in his brain that warns him of coming danger that he calls his Spider-Sense. After the murder of his Uncle Ben, Peter makes a costume and becomes Spider-Man, and even makes a strong binding wire that acts as his web that shots out from gadgets on his wrist. Peter later works as a freelance photographer for The Daily Bugle owned by J. Jonah Jameson who goes out of his way to smeer Spider-Man in the papers. Peter’s/Spidey’s friends consist of Mary Jane Watson a super model and later Peter’s wife, Black Cat a one time master thief and girlfriend of Peter’s, Harry Osborne old school pal and his Aunt May. Spider-Man’s weaknesses include his heart because he cares way too much about his loved ones, normal ways to hurt a normal man.  While he can take more, he still is just a man with super powers and a mouth that sometimes distracts him from fights. His foes include Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Venom, The Lizard, Scorpion and Vulture to name a few. Spider-Man is the golden boy of Marvel and is also the biggest wise ass next to Deadpool.

Remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. This review is thanks to a team up of Mavericks Cards and Comics, Ebay and Amazon. And I am reviewing the normal comic size reprints.

Superman vs Spiderman 1

Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man   ***1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price $5.95   Marvel & DC Comics   #1 of 1

A giant robot is attacking Metropolis and Superman comes to save the day, but he figures out that the robot was just a distraction as the main brain behind the attack is Lex Luther who used to robot to steal a gadget to control satellites but quickly is taken down by Superman and taken to jail. Doctor Octopus has created a ship that he plans on using to steal money and has it hidden in a zeppelin balloon.  But he soon meets up with Spider-Man who makes short work of his arch nemesis and takes him away to jail. Back in Metropolis, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are asked to go to a giant expo that showcases a very powerful satellite; it is held in New York so Peter Parker and Mary Jane are there as audience members. In prison Luther and Octopus team up and escape and have big plans to get even with their nemeses, that will involve pitting them against one another. While the event is being set up, Peter is taking pics and saves Lois Lane who is about to fall off a scaffold and introduces her to Mary Jane.  The two hit it off as a fake Superman appears and zaps both women with a beam leaving them missing as they all disappear. Peter changes into Spider-Man, and Clark changes into Superman.  Both men meet up and blame each other for the attack, leaving the heros at odds.  When Luther zaps Spider-Man with the power of Red Sun rays, the fight is on as they both land hits back and fourth.  Finally the two figure out they have been set up and travel around looking for the answer that finally leads them to space where Lex Luther and Doctor Octopus have Lois and Mary captive and our heros come to save the day and out smart the baddies by making them turn on each other this leading to once more the bad guys going to jail. The heros return to the expo along with the rescued ladies and have pics and footage in hand to give both their alter egos a boost in the corporate ladder of media.

This comic is awesome and shows you that if two major comic companies could put their egos in check, great adventures like this could happen more often. The way that both universes mix comes off really well, and Spider-Man’s wise cracks and Superman’s boyscout image go so well together that you could swear that they both were made by the same companies. Spider-Man comes off as a hero who can handle himself after he is zapped with the red sun ray that leaves him packing more power to his punch and is the only way that he could ever stand toe to toe with Superman.  Plus he does well against both Doc Ock and Luther when it comes to fighting. Superman, even in this team up, comes off as the goody to shoes who is nobel and has to be pushed to let loose on Spider-Man and even doesn’t really let go even when he is taking major hits.  The one thing I did notice is that they play up Superman’s weakness to red sun rays and after thinking about it, I can see why because without it he would smash Spider-Man, Lex Luther and Doc Ock into pink McDonalds Chicken Nugget paste. Lex Luther has always been my least favorite of Superman’s list of AAA villains and once more seems like a throw away as all he does is laugh and set traps.  Doctor Octopus, I feel the same way about.  While a classic bad guy, he just doesn’t do nothing for me when it comes to his character. The fight between Superman and Spider-Man is well done and goes back and fourth giving fans of both moments to cheer for the one they like the most. I found myself cheering for Spider-Man because he was the clear underdog. The art work in this is pure grade A stuff and is the style I like when it comes to comics, that straight cartoon look that lets you know you are reading a funny book. The cover is iconic, and I can remember being a kid and seeing ads in issues that offered this issue in the giant comic size and being amazed and drawn in with thoughts of who would win. This is a cross over done right and is worth checking out for any fans of either heros.

sPIDEY RUNSuperman spidermanSpidey Super Punch

Now with the issue done, let’s take a look at the fantasy warfare aspect of this epic fight and act as if both heros were real people.  We will take them from the closest live action film or show that was around at the time.  So we will be taking the Christopher Reeves’ Superman from the 1978 film and putting him up against the Nicholas Hammond’s Spider-Man from the 1977 CBS TV Show, The Amazing Spider-Man.  We will pit them in an area that is fair to both so let’s say they meet up in Cincinnati, Ohio on Super Bowl Weekend. Let’s see how it would play out in my mind!

superman christopher reeveVSSpiderMan Nicholas Hammond

Peter Parker is in town to cover a NFL Super Bowl event in Cincinnati and has his Spider Sense go off as he spots a con man passing off cheap bootleg copies of New Shock Theater in the arena’s parking lot’s.  As he changes into Spider-Man, he approaches the bootlegger to tell him that pirating movies, music and shows is a crime but as he gets closer the man runs off leaving Spidey with these fake DVD’s and to his shock Superman The Man of Steel is behind him looking on in shame thinking that Spidey is the dirty pirate! When a shout comes from a parked car that Spidey has a ray gun, this statemnet is false and is being shouted by Lex Luther who has set this whole thing up!  As drunk football fans gather around and start cheering Superman rushes to see if there is a gun, and Spidey is able to act fast to dodge the attack due to his amped up senses.  This goes on for a while as Superman punches as Spider-Man dodges and makes his wise ass remarks and tries to pepper him with blows but learns that hitting Superman is not smart as it break every bone in his hand.  As Spider-Man grabs his hand in pain, this leaves enough time for Superman to place a light uppercut to Spidey’s Jaw leaving him knocked out and the loser of this bootleg battle.

Winner – Superman

I know that was a silly one, but I tried to put some humor and cheese to it much like the 77 TV show, but now let’s get onto the co-main event of the entry and that’s yet another Marvel and DC crossover as The Worlds Greatest Detective Batman faces the Rampaging Hulk! This is going to be epic! And now let’s take a quick look at these heros’ backgrounds.

BATMAN

Tale of the Tape for Batman – Bruce Wayne was just a boy when both his mother and father were gunned down in a robbery that he witnessed. Wanting to do something about all the crime in his town of Gotham as he got older, he became a well trained fighter and thinker and donned a costume and became Batman. This super hero is super smart and has many wonderful gadgets and vehicles at his disposal.  He also has a hideout called The Bat Cave where he is able to use a super computer that can give him info on any opponent or object giving him the upper hand of knowing his opponents and their weakness. He is also highly trained in combat and is super smart. Batman’s friends include Robin his sidekick, Alfred his Butler, Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon. Batman’s weakness are the fact he is human, just smart and well trained, and his brooding can leave him open for attacks. Some of his foes include The Joker, Killer Croc, Bane, The Riddler and Mr. Freeze. Batman is DC’s cash cow and is also their most popular character to mention he one kick ass character.

HULK

Tale of the Tape for Hulk – Bruce Banner is accidentally transformed into a raging green monster known as The Hulk whenever he is upset or angry. As The Hulk, he is unstoppable, and the madder he gets, the stronger he gets making him dangerous to tangle with. The Hulk mostly wants to be left alone and hates his other side, Bruce Banner, who he views as weak. The Hulk’s major weapon is his pure power that is beyond measure.  Most known weapons cannot hurt him, and in one single leap he can move several miles. His friends include Betty Ross, the woman Bruce and The Hulk love and Rick Jones, a young man who Bruce saved from the explosion. His major weakness is the fact his brain is child-like and he can be out smarted into losing or even doing the wrong thing. His foes include The Abomination, The Leader, Madman and Zzzax. The Hulk is the strongest character in the Marvel Universe that is still somewhat human and is a force to be reckoned with.

So now that you’ve gotten a brief look at the two heros, let’s dive into this cool team up!

Batman vs Hulk 1

Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price $3.95   Marvel & DC Comics   #1 of 1

Bruce Banner is working at a lab that is in control of a gamma gun machine that he thinks could be the key to curing the curse of becoming The Hulk and to his horror the Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker and his goons show up to steal the machine.  As they are doing so, they set off Banner who becomes The Hulk as Batman also shows up to stop the crime. Joker tricks Hulk into thinking Batman is the bad guy, and he goes full force after the Dark Knight who must outsmart the brute with gas in order to escape his mighty fury. After the fight, the Joker gets away with the gun as Batman has The Hulk taken away and once he becomes Banner again as Bruce Wayne he is given a job to help himself find a cure. The Joker is working for The Shaper of Worlds who lives off the dreams of humans who needs the gun in order to get his mind on straight for he is slipping into madness. After the gun fails to give him what he needs he sets his sights on The Hulk and wants to drain him of his gamma power in order to cure himself.  This eventually leads to Batman and The Hulk teaming up against The Joker who has been granted a wish to become a bender of reality and uses his power to torment the heros in an Alice in Wonderland environment that leads to Batman outsmarting the Joker and making him fry his own brain out. In the end The Shaper leaves Earth, Banner moves onto the next town, Batman is still Batman and The Joker is nuts in a asylum.

This works really well, and while Batman holds his own against The Hulk when they fight it makes sense as he just outsmarts the brute at any chance he gets. While I am a huge fan of The Hulk and only like Batman, I can see why some fans get upset that The Hulk just doesn’t crush Batman where he stands, but to that I would say if he just smashed him the comic would only be like two pages long. Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne come off smart and caring as he seems to really feel for Banner and even The Hulk.  The way he is able to team up with The Hulk and get his help when needed is pretty good stuff. The Hulk and his alter ego Bruce Banner come off as they always do, a man sad with a curse and a monster who just loves to smash things when he is pushed. Who would have thought that one of the comic world’s smartest character could team with one of the child like minded characters and they would make such a great team. The Joker plays the henchman to The Shaper and comes of scared of this giant alien who wants all the dreams, and when he goes mad with power its a true sign of just how crazy he is. The Shaper Of Worlds is more of a Mind Freak like Criss Angel as in he just messes with characters minds and don’t really fight in the war that breaks out in his new Earth Warehouse base. My favorite moment of the Batman and Hulk fight is when Hulk has Bats in a bear hug and is crushing his spine, and Batman does this karate chop to his ears making him go deaf for a moment and dropping him, good classic comic stuff. The story in this one is well written.  The art is fantastic, and the cover is super eye catching this one is great and only slightly less awesome then the Superman vs. Spider-Man comic, well worth checking out for fans of Hulk or Batman.

Batman kick hulkHulk Batman super fighthulkbatman2

Now let’s get onto the fantasy warfare of The Incredible Hulk fighting Batman if they were real people. For this one we have to go with the Adam West Batman from the 1966 ABC show called, you guessed it, Batman and for The Hulk we would go with Lou Ferrigno version from the 1977 CBS show The Incredible Hulk. Let’s set the fight up at a Horror Convention in Salem, Massachusetts and see who would win this fight!

Batman Adam WestVSHulk and David

A horror convention is near closing down for the night as guests like Vincent Price, Horror Host Sammy Terry and Christopher Lee are packing up when a drifter comes walking by.  It’s David Banner and he has his backpack close and his eyes to the ground when a masked man dressed as Phantom of The Opera runs by and grabs the backpack knocking David down, and as one final insult the thief kicks David in the ribs causing pain and anger.  As the transformation starts to happen, the Batmobile pulls up and Batman jumps into action giving the thief and pow and a bang to the jaw.  As Batman is about to use the batcuffs on the snatcher, The Hulk appears and is not happy as Batman sprays his batmace into the brute’s eyes causing the green skinned monster to swing wild and smashing the Batmobile into scarp iron.  Batman then pulls out some of his anti-bully batgas pellets and throws them in the direction of The Hulk who by now is seeing red through his burning eyes and as the gas comes out he lets out a thunderclap that blows the smoke back at Batman who is now blinded.  As Batman waits for the smoke to clear, the Hulk is on him and with one powerful blow to the top of the head of Batman he is able to crush the caped crusader into a pile of hamburger meat. As Batman lies dying, The Hulk runs way into the woods next to the convention center to later change into David Banner and not remember the fact he killed the world’s silliest detective.

Winner – The Incredible Hulk

Was it any surprise that The Hulk would win? So in this update we took a look at Horror Hosts, Godzilla in Nike Shoes, Spider-Man fighting Superman and Batman and The Hulk Teaming up.  I hoped you all enjoyed. But the VS. don’t end here with this blog as next time we will take a look at a great mini series from Topps Comics that pits Frankenstein’s Monster against Count Dracula! We will also take a look at the old Independent B Movie film I directed called Werewolf of Ohio 2: 10 Years Before, so until then stay nerdy and read a good comic series for me.

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