The Original Thunderbolt Of The DC Universe!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  For this update I decided to once more take a look at a DC Comic series of a hero that seems to not get the respect of the likes of Superman and Batman so I decided to choose Peter Cannon Thunderbolt, a character that in 1983 was sold to DC by Charlton Comics and would last a small amount of issues for them and deliver a classic style hero in a 90’s comic style and fashion. While DC Comics right now are on my bad list for their push for digital comics, I still must say I respect their classic heroes and their push to try and bring back and create new ones that started in the 70’s and ran throughout the 90’s. So sit back relax and let’s take a heroic journey with Thunderbolt!

As a young boy, Peter Cannon lost both of his parents, as they battled as medical workers the black plague, and was raised in a monastery in the Himalayan Mountains and trained his body and mind to become a super athletic and perfect person…and while studding the monks scrolls he figured out that we as humans don’t use all our brains and he figured out how to tap into those parts and became a superhero named Thunderbolt once he moved to America. As the masked Thunderbolt he would fight crime as well as still try to learn and discover more of what the mind and body can do! His first comic book appearance was in 1966 as Thunderbolt # 1 was released by Charlton Comics and was created by Pete Morisi. Thunderbolts run at Charlton Comics would last for 11 issues and his run came to an end in 1967 as many of the companies superhero titles were cancelled. Thunderbolt would next end up at DC Comics in 1985 as part of the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” even series, as DC had bought all of Charlton Comics superheroes in 1983. Thunderbolt would not get his own series again until 1992 and would last for 12 issues before being cancelled again. During his time at DC he also had a brief run with the Justice League and was used to try and draw interest in classic heroes. And lastly he was in a 10 issue run at Dynamite Comics that started in 2012. For many long years now, Thunderbolt has not been seen in the pages of comics and while it looks like he has been sent to the long box in the sky, I don’t think you can count him out and I am sure DC or another comic company in time will dust him off for more adventures.

Growing up I knew nothing of the classic era of Thunderbolt as I never read any of the Charlton Comics (nor the Crisis On Infinite Earths story) and to be honest I never even seen one of his classic issues I didn’t even know he was around until 1992 thanks to DC Comics bringing him back to comic book shelves. And as odd as this sounds I rented out issues from the local library to read. And while he was not a must read comic for me I did find myself enjoying his adventures. It’s crazy that in 2021 I will be reading some of these comics again that I have not read sense the 90’s! And to be honest I am looking forward to doing so as it will be interesting to see if me in my 40’s will find a new respect for the character and if he will become one of my classic golden age heroes. Oh and while looking up history of Thunderbolt I learned that the character creator Pete Morisi only created the character after he tried to buy the rights of the original Daredevil, but the creator wanted a share of all profits and this made Morisi just create his own hero!

Really quick I would like to talk about the CD release of “OMG I Love Jazz” by Robyn Adele who is one of my favorite female vocalist going today along side Jewel, Iggy Azalea, Poppy, Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga! I want to also say that while I have nothing against Jazz music it is not a genre I normally listen to so this should be very interesting, but Robyn’s voice is what brought me to buy and try this CD off her official website store. I choose a snowy, grey-skied day in January 2021 to listen to this album and was working on a few projects that included updates for here at Rotten Ink as well as a few comic projects for Sparkle. OMG I Love Jazz is 15 tracks and really does have a big band jazz sound and is mixed with Robyn’s golden voice, and I know this sounds weird but for some reason this CD reminds me of the 1990 Dick Tracy movie and the songs done by Madonna for the soundtrack. My top three favorite tracks on this release are Ain’t Misbehavin’, Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) and Bye Bye Blackbird as I feel all three have a great sound and Robyn’s voice on all three tracks is on point! If I had to pick my favorite track it would be Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) as it’s a upbeat song and has that classic Jazz and Swing sound that can put a smile on your face. To wrap up this quick look at OMG I Love Jazz I would say that its not for everyone as it has a very old time sound, but for those who love fun natured Jazz music song by a majorly talented female vocalist I would say go and get a copy now! And for those who are not familiar with Robyn Adele look her up on YouTube and give some of her cover songs a listen to as she really is super talented and has a wonderful voice.

So as you longtime readers and friends know I grew up in the village of Waynesville, Ohio and I have heard the news that my old elementary and middle school are being torn down and a new school is being built. And while I am super happy that the next generations of Spartans are getting new classrooms and long overdue updates, I am still a little bummed out that the school buildings that meant so much to me as a kid will be gone forever lost in memories. I mean at that school I can remember talking to friends like Fred Marion, Jeremy Patton, Todd Osborne, Joanna Fields, Wes Coffman and many others about Movies, Comics, Cartoons, TV Shows, Wrestling, Horror Hosts, Video Games and normal school topics. I can remember the cool movie days in the gym were we got to watch Home Alone or Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. In that same gym I remember listening to the Gettysburg Address being given by an actor dressed as Abe Lincoln, as well as doing the Arnold Schwarzenegger fitness challenge and watching episodes of Slim Goodbody in gym class. I remember the cafeteria pizza, the milk cartons that had Safety Pup on them and trading food with fellow classmates. I remember crushing on Tina Manning and never getting the nerve to ask her out. I remember the numerous book fairs that came through and the Garfield, U.S Acres, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark and WWF books I would buy. I can remember being in a Christmas play as a Newsboy talking about a talking Snowman. I can remember playing basketball in the gym during intermission and being pretty good. I can remember watching Star Trek IV, Olympics and O.J Trail in Mr. York’s science class. The orange steps, the pencil machines that had NFL, WWF and Halloween pencils in them as well as the erasers that would sometimes be the heads of Looney Tunes characters. And just the over all bond and fun times that my classmates and I had and shared together at those school buildings.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 1Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 2Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 3

On May 23, 2021, Juliet and I headed to Waynesville so that I could at least walk around the old building before they are gone as I have heard the 1915 part is soon to be torn down and those hallways will never have young minds walking around them to get to class again. It was really cool walking around that old school building taking pictures as well as telling Juliet old stories about my school days as well as trying to remember where so many of my classes uses to be, sadly we could not get inside as I missed the reunion day that allowed past school students to do so one last time. But still just walking around the old school building and back to the old football field was lots of fun and flooded me with memories as well as oddly enough kind of made me feel young again in my old age. So really I guess I just wanted to share these pictures I took as well as share a few of those memories and I also want to say “Thank You” to all my fellow classmates that made my school time at Waynesville a very awesome time and  plus thank you all again for being apart of my life and help shaping me into the creative person I am today.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 4Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 5Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 6

Well on May 29, 2021 they opened up Waynesville Elementary and Middle School one more time for school alumni and Juliet and I showed up around an half an hour early and to our shock the doors were already open so we walked in and for a pretty good time we had the schools to ourselves to tour! The first place I headed was the gymnasium, as I had to see it one last time and the first thing once walking up the old concrete stairs I noticed was that many of the old basketball hoops was taken down and the ones still up where from my time going there! Sadly the old wooden bleachers were gone and all that remained of them was the bases, a little bummed, as I would have loved to sit on them one last time. The old scoreboard was still hanging and seeing it brought back lots of fun memories. The gym floor still looked good and while it was clearly not the same as when I was a kid it still was neat to see. The stage was a sight for sore eyes and seeing it was awesome and walking across it also felt so cool and flooded me with so much memories of gym class. This was so great to so walk that gym again and I almost wish that I would have jogged around and did one final lap.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 7Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 8Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 10

Once we left the gym we walked around the halls and past all the sadly now gutted class rooms, but seeing the old chalk boards, tube TV’s with VCR’s still hanging on the walls brought a big smile to my face. The hallway floors were torn up and it was sad seeing the destruction and dismantling all around as even some fixtures where missing or stacked in the halls. But seeing the old PA speakers that use to give us the morning announcements from still hanging as well as the old pencil sharpeners still bolted to the walls and chalkboards was great to see. While walking the hallways it was also cool seeing the changes that was made to the building after I was no longer a student like they added an elevator and the massive stairs that I remember where now way smaller and divided up. I got to walk into the old cafeteria, see the old music room, went to the school library, walk into Mr. York’s old science classroom again as well as see an old shelf that had one of my old teachers names still on it! Walking down those hallways I had a rush of memories and felt like a kid again even as my pride of being a Waynesville Spartan filled my being I knew that while this chapter in Spartan history was coming to an end the new School building would build the next legacy and memories for the future generation. Also when walking downstairs of the 1915 building I had to snap a picture of the old stairwell as I can remember some of my fellow classmates as well as myself hiding under there and jumping out to scare each other as well as we used that spot to hide things, but when I was in school they did also store stuff under there.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 10Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 11Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 12

Waynesville is known for its ghosts and even when I was walking the halls of Waynesville Middle School we all heard the tales of the school being haunted, and when walking around one last time before it was to be tore down one thing written on a blackboard made me smile and that was a message from the ghosts of the third floor saying they are not going anywhere! I like the idea that the old ghosts of the school found some old chalk and wrote the message to the living, letting them know that they will forever be roaming and haunting that land…building or no building. But I also like that a student wrote this humors and “spooky” message for people to see, also glad to see that the Horror Spirit of Waynesville youth is alive and well.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 13

It’s time now for us to dive into the 12 issues of Thunderbolt released by DC Comics and as I stated before I am looking forward re-reading this and I am going to do something a little different as after the review I am going to give my ideas of what DC Comics could have done with Thunderbolt if they would have kept him in their universe! I want to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. I want to remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready let’s see what Thunderbolt has in store for evildoers.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 1  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 1 of 12

Thunderbolt is fighting some thugs off in a New York ally as they just robbed some antiques from his alter-egos Peter Cannons exhibit when things go bad real fast and he is almost beaten to death by a metal suited bad guy named Trydan who leaves him for dead. But thankfully he is found and rescued by Green Lantern who rushes him to the hospital and saves his life. Once awaken Peter finds himself doubting his ability to be a superhero in this modern world filled with Superman, The Flash and Wonder Woman, even his best friend Tabu and Green Lantern come to visit and can not cheer him up after his defeat. Peter Cannon just sees himself as an orphan who was trained by Monks and scrolls in a monastery in the mountains of the Himalayas who is an outdated hero in a world filed with super powered ones. Peter and Tabu take their antiques and teachings to London and are flying around on a blimp filled with the rich and elite when Peter starts chatting with the beautiful Cairo DeFrey as news woman Anne-Marie Brogan talks with Tabu about setting up a interview with Peter when a group of masked men rush in calling themselves Crimson Dawn and claims they are going after Cairo due to her families crimes again the environment. As panic runs through the guests as the gun caring Crimson Dawn takes Cairo away to the cockpit and holds everyone one else hostage, when Tabu pushes Peter into becoming the hero again…and after fighting it Peter makes a mask and rushes to save Cairo and this ends issue one.

This is a great way to bring a classic hero back to the pages of comic books and sometimes I think DC Comics back in the 90’s had a gift to do so. This issues plot has much time jumps and takes us to Tibet to New York to London and shows Peter’s rise and fall as a hero, plus his rise once more as he fears that time has passed him by and that the villains of this modern times are getting bigger, badder and stronger! And when all seems lost for Peter to ever be Thunderbolt again he is forced to once more be the hero he was trained to be. Peter Cannon is a man who has had a hard life as he lost his parents while a infant and is raised in Tibet and trained to be a hero called Thunderbolt, and once set out into the world he still feels he needs to always be a hero. And when he gets his but kicked by a super villain and left for dead his ego and courage is bruised and this makes him question his ability to fright crime as well as life. Peter is a very interesting character because he has layers to him while he is a hero he also has some mental depression. Tabu is Peter’s best friend and also works as his agent in the world of arts and was raised with him in Tibet, he is very loyal to his friend and is also the voice of reason to try and let him know that he is a hero that’s needed in the world. Cairo DeFrey clearly is not only part owner of a massive business but is also more then she appears as she has got the attention of someone who wants her dear or at least to pay for expanding the business into places she shouldn’t! The Crimson Dawn is a bunch of red masked, gun caring terrorist thugs who while dangerous also seem very un-prepared for what they are doing. This really was a great way to bring a classic hero into the 90’s world of over powerful superheroes and does make you smile as you watch Thunderbolt meet Green Lantern who saves his life by getting him to the hospital in time. The cover is eye-catching and has a classic comic feel with a 90’s DC Comic look. The interior art is done by Mike Collins and its really great and I also have to give him credit for the story as he wrote it! Over all I think this is a really great first issue and has me hooked on wanting to re-read this series again after all these years.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 2  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 2 of 12

Thunderbolt knocks out the members of the Crimson Dawn and saves the life of Cairo DeFrey, but during the fight the blimps control is damaged and worse one of the Crimson Dawn members damages the gas line and Thunderbolt and the blimp Captain have to emergency manually crash land the blimp into London! During the landing Thunderbolt remembers back to his training in Tibet when a fellow young man in training got his face burnt trying to save the lives of his fellow kids when a plane crashes and catches fire and he rushes to remove the bombs so they don’t explode and kill everyone near. Once they land the blimp reporter Anne-Marie Brogan is on it and Thunderbolt turns back into Peter Cannon while Detective Inspector James Flint alerts Cairo that the Crimson Dawn seemed to be just hired local thugs hiding behind the masks of being environmental terrorists, she blows off the information and invites Peter to join her on her boat the next day as Tabu alerts his friend that he does not trust her. While in London a masked costumed robber uses powers to rob an ATM, Crime Boss Johnny Wheeler is out with his son to see a movie at the theater and when his son goes to get the car it explodes and kills him and lastly at the London Museum a Egyptian Coffin is opened and one guard is dead of shock as a being named Evila has returned.

This second issue is packed with lots of plots all going on and starting! As we get Peter Cannon finding the courage to become a hero again and help land an out of control blimp while chaos and crime is running randomly throughout London! Peter Cannon quickly remembers why he was chosen and loved being a hero and seems to be back in the game after kicking some terrorist butt, he also seems to be way to trusting of a pretty face and seems to always second guess his best friends words as Tabu seems to be the one who pays more attention to the actions and behaviors of those around. Tabu also is clearly the one who pushes for Peter to become Thunderbolt once more as he is doing so not only for the legacy of his temple but also for the mental health of his friend. Cairo DeFrey the rich business woman while coming off like a sweet woman who cares about her family business also comes off like she is hiding something and I think she clearly knows more then what she is saying when it comes to who sent the Crimson Dawn. The masked ATM robber and Mr. Wheeler I am sure will be coming into play in coming up issues and its clear that what ever Evila is she is dangerous and deadly! I also think the burnt face young man from Peters past will also come into play as when we see the flashback of the trials that Peter had to pass in order to become Thunderbolt…the scared face youth was not happy at all as it’s clear he thought his bravery would make him the chosen one. I really dig that this story this far is taking so many twists and truns and we are going from present day to the pass to show the whole story. Also they have a cameo from Justice League Europe member Elongated Man that is pretty funny as he is on the news denying that they had anything to do with the landing of the blimp. The story for me this far feels like a blend of Classic Comic Hero and Spy Stories and that’s a good thing as it is keeping me guessing on what is coming up and who is to be trusted. The cover of this issue is ok and while cool they should have not focused on one the trials from his past when he had to face a snow leopard in an arena. The story and art is great and done by Mike Collins again. A great first read and really does make me look forward to reading the rest of this series for the first time. So with that lest see who all the new plots and characters in this issue play out in issue three, shall we?

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 3  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 3 of 12

At the London museum two security guards are dead by the hands of the evil Egyption Queen called Evila who animates statues into her army as she wants revenge on Thunderbolt who defeated her many decades back when she first was brought back to life. Meanwhile at the posh flat of Peter Cannon he is being interviewed by Anne-Marie Brogan for a paper article as rain pours down outside and Tabu sits backs and listens. Detective Inspector James Flint heads to the hospital and talks to a friend who works for Mr. Wheeler to show respect for the hit on his son who is in the hospital and dying, the man alerts Flint that a gang war is brewing that will take place in London. Mean while at a mansion we meet Victor Cypher who is throwing a dinner party and introduces them to the half face masked Andreas Havoc who he claims will be their main muscle. While Peter Cannon rushes to the museum for his lunch date with Cairo DeFrey who informs him they will have to go another day as the mummy of Evila has came alive and is on the loose and killed two security guards, Peter Cannon is not happy to hear his old enemy is back from the grave…again! At a Disco the ATM Robber who’s name is Tekk is holding up the owners for “protection” money as he is working for Scorpio the mob that is at war now with Wheeler’s mob, when they don’t pay he uses his power and blows out all the light bulbs in the building and says he will be back for the cash after they clean up. Peter returns home only to find that the Museum is now surrounded by a force field, so he changes into his Thunderbolt costume and heads back to find that the police can not make it past the force field, and with Inspector James Flint blessing Thunderbolt gives it a try and makes it through! Once inside Thunderbolt is attacked and knocked out by Evila and her statue turned to like henchmen.

This third issue has so much going on and so many plots and characters are thrown at you as you try to keep up on who, what, when and were and I have to say that’s what makes this comic series so good! The many plots of this issue has Thunderbolt learning that his old villain Evila is back from the dead and has killed some innocent people, while mobster Mr. Wheeler is dealing with his son who is dying in a hospital from a hit his right hand man warns James Flint that a war is about to pop off! And we also have the costume goon Tekk bulling local business for protection money and we meet a rich man Cairo DeFrey who is clearly up to no good. Peter Cannon has found his want and love for being a costumed hero and as well as Thunderbolt really wants to smash and stop crime in London, England. I think Inspector James Flint wants to find who set the car bomb that has a local mobster’s son on his deathbed, while Flint is a good man of the law I think he is also loyal to his close friend who is working for the mob family. Evila shows that she is super powerful and has dark forces and powers on her side, plus she clearly lets Thunderbolt know she will not be tricked again! Our other series baddies Tekk, Victor Cypher and Andreas Havoc are around and while they have done some bad things this far have not become the full threats you know they will become. The over all fast pace and introduction of so many characters and stories is what keeps this Thunderbolt series interesting as they are talking a classic hero and showing that you don’t have to fly nor have mutant powers to be a complex hero. I will say that the cover is pretty great and has that 90’s DC Comics charm and the art by Mike Collins is top notch. At this point being three issues into DC Comics Thunderbolt I have to say I am a fan and very much looking forward to what issue four has in store for us, as well as how this over all story will play out!

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 4  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 4 of 12

In side the force field at the museum Thunderbolt is hurt by the beating he has taken as Evila informs him that she plans to kill him and then raise an army of the dead to take over earth, and oddly enough she seems to know more about him this time and his life in Tibet. Thunderbolt fights back hard and challenges her to fight him once more on another astral plane the place she lost their last fight on and she in a fight of anger and out of ego agrees. Meanwhile reporter Anne-Marie Brogan heads to interview Maude Grymes on old lady who is a fortuneteller and she during the interview tells Anne-Marie she has a message for Peter Cannon. Meanwhile in the astral plane realm Evila tries and uses Thunderbolt’s fears against of defeat, but he is able to conquer it when he greatest fear attacks her and that’s being buried alive. As she explains her backstory and her true power to Thunderbolt as she gets bound by mummy wrappings doing so, back in normal life hero The Crusader stops a robbery and is around as well. Back to the fight Evila informs Thunderbolt that she set him up and was never facing her fear what she was really doing was giving her statue soldiers orders to attack Thunderbolts body in the real world and this forces him to break the bound on the realm and causes stress on Evila’s power and they both are back at the museum. While across the world Victor Cypher and Andreas Havoc are talking about big plans and Havoc talks about his past destiny being taken away from him and its clear they want to take control of Tibet and that this half masked man is the kid who saved lives in Peter’s past from the helicopter crash. Thunderbolt ends up making Evila drain all her dark magic and she appears to kill herself and sends her spirit into the wind, and this confuses Thunderbolt as she would rather die again then face defeat. In the end Mr. Wheeler’s son has died and now he alerts his men it’s a gang war.

The plot of this issue has a showdown between Thunderbolt and Evila who have a bad history against each other and are very bitter enemies and fight in our world as well as a astral plane as they truly want to stop each other from winning. And during this epic fight so many questions of Thunderbolts goes unanswered as Evila seems to have returned knowing way to much about him and would rather die then to be defeated again! Thunderbolt clearly by this issue has gotten over his near death defeat in New York and is ready to be the hero London needs and will push himself to do so! Evila is powerful but her ego causes her to crack and she pushes herself way too much and looses her powers because of her push. While at the end of the issue it looks like Evila is dead I am saying she is not gone for good as I think she left the fight to regain her powers. And it’s clear as day to me that Andreas Havoc was one of the kids from the Tibet temple who was burnt and now wants revenge on the monks and Peter who he feels took away his true calling in life. Victor Cypher is clearly a man who is greedy and wants power and money and has set his sights on Tibet, his homeland. I am wondering who Maude Grymes is and what message did she give Anne-Marie to tell Peter Cannon. Plus Mr. Wheeler has lost it all and I think this war for the streets is going to be bloody and the bodies will pile up if Thunderbolt and/or James Flint don’t step in and stop it. And now we have another hero in town called The Crusader who I am sure will be a good hero friend to have during all this tension in London that is about to go down. Great story and the pace moves fast as the fight of Thunderbolt and Evila takes up much of the issues and all the side stories fit nicely in-between. The cover is ok and showcases Evila and the art is once more done by Mike Collins and is fantastic like before. Another good issue and DC is going a great job with this classic comic character, so lets see what’s next in this story!

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 5  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 5 of 12

Krater The Demolishing Man is a new super villain who is looking for a hero to beat up and even kill and he rules out Superman, Batman, The Flash and Elongated Man and after seeing the paper he sets his sights on Thunderbolt to build his name on. Meanwhile Peter Cannon and Cairo DeFrey are out on her yacht talking about their crazy lives as well as their blooming relationship, and then start to head in as they have a press conference coming up to showcase his Tibetan artifacts. We then join Mr. Wheeler and his mobsters in a meeting and they call for a kill or be killed warfare. The press conference goes well as the press only wanted to chat about Evila and not the exhibit and Peter and Cairo go their separate ways as she has work to do, Peter meets up with Tabu and they talk about the mystery of Evila and what she knows. Meanwhile Anne-Marie is out for lunch with a friend at a fast food burger joint when Krater attacks and is screaming for the head of Thunderbolt! Meanwhile The Crusader stops a hostage situation and take down the drug pushers who were responsible, while back at the Museum Peter and Tabu watches on TV as Krater calls out the hero while rampaging in the streets. Thunderbolt shows up and the pair fight with Krater showing his power comes from a force field he is able to put into place before he can be punched! But with the help of the mascot at the burger joint Thunderbolt is able to place the mascots costume head over Krater and beat him down, and with that he is arrested with the help of the Special Unit police and Thunderbolt is thanked and starting to be respected by the London police. We show that Andreas Havoc is mad when he finds out that Thunderbolt is back and fighting crime again as he truly thought that the defeat had broken him all those years back. In the end Peter Cannon meets back up with Cairo DeFrey and the two flirt as on the subway a man is killed by an unknown attacker.

This fifth issue shows that Peter Cannon is back and while having a slight issue still by almost being killed is pretty confortable with being hero Thunderbolt again and knows that while he does not have superpowers he does have skill and the heart to do the right thing and protect those who can not protect themselves. Thunderbolt also shows that if his highly skilled hand to hand combat force don’t work he has a cleaver mind to problem solve and to over come the threat at hand. Tabu is clearly both proud of his friend as well as disappointed in his friend as he feels that he still has fear of defeat and is hiding behind a false wall of heroism. Reporter Anne-Marie who has a message to give to Peter Cannon, but after an awkard run in with Cairo and being in the middle of a super villain attack she has not had the chance. I also want to say I think Thunderbolt made a big mistake in his fight with Krater as he shouts out Anne-Marie’s name and I think she will link that he is Peter Cannon! Cairo DeFrey is trying so hard to flirt and get Peter Cannon hooked, but I don’t trust her as she seems like she is playing games and has a very sinister side. Andreas Havoc is 100% the youngster who was burnt who thought he should be the chosen one, and it shows that he stole scrolls from the monks and now its clear that he himself is or at least sent Trydan. And our issues main villain is Krater a man who got his powers from a bomb that went off in the DC universe and allows him to use a force field as protection as well as a way to cause destruction, but once Thunderbolt figures out his powers he is no threat and is easily brought down. The one downside that this issue more then others have shown is that events that are spoken about take place in other comics from DC and that causes you to not get the full story of what they are talking about at times, a shame really…but all comics do it even at Sparkle Comics we have done it. The end of the issue also alerts us that another “super” villain type is in London and I am sure he as well will be looking for Thunderbolt’s blood! Its crazy to think that in only five issue we have been introduced to so many villains, lets count them down Evila, Tekk, Krater, Andreas Havoc, Mr. Wheeler, Victor Cypher and I am telling you Cairo DeFrey will be a baddy by the end of this series! The cover for this issue is pretty good and the art by Mike Collins is great like before. This issue of Thunderbolt has lots of action and as well moves the story along and is a solid 90’s DC Comic series. Lets see what issue 6 that is the half way mark for the series has in store for us.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 6  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 6 of 12

Peter Cannon is having a terrible nightmare that has many of his villains as well as his Lama, and he gets a clue of the armor Trydan is wearing looks very much like old armor from England. When he wakes up he talks with Tabu and they start their fight training, that is until Cairo shows up at their apartment flat and is looking for a lunch date. While Peter gets ready Cairo confronts Tabu about not liking her and tries to use her charm to tell him she cares for Peter. Meanwhile Tekk takes down two of Mr. Wheelers mobsters as they head to collect protection money who is now under the protection of Tekk employers the Scorpio family! Also on a London highway a crash frees a super villain called Shard a monster looking man who’s body is made from shards of glass! While on a walk Peter and Cairo are interrupted by Anne-Marie and her newspaper friends, as Cairo leaves after getting an emergency call Anne-Marie talks about her need to cover Thunderbolt when a radio message goes out saying the Special Unit Police need the help of Thunderbolt and all break away to get to the scene requested. Meanwhile we learn that Mr. Wheeler hired Mac The Knife to kill the man on the train, and that Mac is a gun for hire who will kill anyone if the price is right. Meanwhile after busting some more criminals The Crusader goes to a local pub and is having a drink when they get the news of Shard and the cops calling on Thunderbolt for help, the other people in the pub cheer and egg on The Crusader to head down their and show the world the Britain has the best superheroes…and in anger he agrees. Thunderbolt shows up to the highway and the place Shard was set free and he is holding hostages and proves he is super dangerous as just his touch shreds skin and Thunderbolt must use a metal door from a truck in order to hit this baddy, once knocking Shard down he saves some hostages but while doing so the villain us able to sneak attack the hero and hit him from behind leaving him on the ground hurt.

This sixth issue’s plot has Peter Cannon dealing with his bad dreams of defeat, his awkward relationship with Cairo, his mistake of talking to Anne-Marie as Thunderbolt during his fight with Krater in the last issue, and of course his want to be the hero that London needs. As Thunderbolt he is finding that he is way more stronger and skilled then he ever thought and also seems to be getting weird powers he don’t understand like moving things with only a thought. I like that we get that Tabu does not trust Cairo as he thinks that something is off with her and that she is using his friend for some kind of gain, and at this point in the series I don’t think he is wrong as something about her is off as she seems to always be rushing off after phone calls and other emergencies. This issue we also get a look at the backstory of Inspector James Flint who we learned use to work for Mr. Wheeler and that is why he is placed on the Special Unit as they don’t want him near the old crime family he once worked for as they think he could go back, very sad for him as he is a good cop and they know it, but his past is keeping him from reaching his dream jobs. Plus I am starting to think that reporter Anne-Marie is starting to get a crush on Thunderbolt and while she does want to interview him for the paper, she also wants to get to know him…oddly enough did I miss something as she also does not tell Peter the message from Maude Grymes when she had the chance! We see that Mac The Knife a killer for hire is in London and took his first job from Mr. Wheeler, but also lets him know that if someone hires him to kill him he will take the job if the money is right…in other words he is a scumbag who money talks to. And Shard is super dangerous as his whole body is made of sharp glass and just a light touch will cut deep, and to top it off he has a crazed mind and don’t mind hurting, killing and scaring. The cover is pretty awesome and the art by Mike Collins is great as always. Oh man I should also say I like the opening nightmare part as well as it adds more things for us readers to think about as well as for Peter to try and uncover. Lets see what issue seven has in store for us and see if DC and Mike Collins can keep up the great work on this series.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 7  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 7 of 12

Thunderbolt wakes up bleeding and hurt of the highway and just in time as Shard is about to go in for the kill and he is able to dodge the attack. With the help of people on the highway that were hostages Thunderbolt is able to clear his head for a bit and get Shard to chase him and allowing the people to get to safety. Meanwhile Andreas Havoc is fuming over the return of Thunderbolt and with his magic he learned from the stolen scrolls he brings Evila to his castle and alerts her if they work together they can stop Thunderbolt once and for all. Thunderbolt is having a hard time with Shard, as he cannot touch him without being cut, but with his newly discovered mind powers he is able to use metal from the cars that crashed on the highway and capture him. Meanwhile Mr. Wheeler buries his son and is ready for all out war, while a Tibetan Monk shows up at Peter Cannon’s home in America looking for his help and is sent to London by the old woman watching over the home. The Crusaders arrives at the Highway after Shards been defeated and this enrages the hero as he thinks he is being made a full by the American hero. In the end Peter Cannon arrives back at his apartment in London and gets a visit from a Government worker who informs him to keep his opinions on China to himself or something might happen and worse he gets a call from Cairo just as armored forces show up to take her hostage!

In this issue Thunderbolt has to face and enemy he cannot use his hand-to-hand combat skills to bring down and must use his newly discovered mental powers to bring the baddy down! The issues plot also shows that Andreas Havoc is only helping Victor Cypher because he thought Thunderbolt was gone from the hero business, and he also clearly does not really care about helping him. We also get that something bad is going down in Tibet as a Monk has travled very long and far to find him to get help, we also see that The Crusader is mad that an American hero is saving the day and taking away his glory of being a superhero and we see that Mr. Wheeler is now 100% ready to make those who killed his son pay! Peter Cannon aka Thunderbolt knows that that he is even more strong and skilled then he ever knew as not only can he knock out a villain with his kicks and punches now he can use his mind and move object! I am not sure how I feel about Thunderbolt having the powers of “Carrie” as I liked him as the classic style hero who did not have superpowers. Cairo DeFrey has found herself once more on the end of a plot that will have her kidnapped and this time the people coming for her seem way more with it and better armed! Not sure now if I am right about Cairo DeFrey as at first I thought she was up to something sinister, but now I am not sure and think that she might be a secret agent or working with some very powerful people. Shard was a pretty cool bad guy and was super dangerous, and he was only defeated when Thunderbolt used his “Carrie” powers on him. I am interested in what The Monk is needing help with, but if I had to guess I would say it has to do with Andreas Havoc and his evil ways, and let me not forget what terrible plan does Andreas Havoc have in mind now that he is teaming with Evila! As always this issue is keeping me entertained and showcasing that not all heroes have to have superpowers…oh wait DC now did give him powers…but the cover is pretty good and eye catching and the interior art by Mike Collins is great as always. Lets see what issue eight has in store and find out the answer on who is kidnapping Cairo.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 8  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 8 of 12

At the office of Cairo DeFrey the cops lead by Inspector James Flint are looking into her kidnapping and he speaks to Peter Cannon who is as well there as he was on the phone when the attacked happened. While people are being questioned Peter’s hidden mental powers flare up and let him see the act of the kidnapping happen and learns the Scorpio Mob is who has done it as he hears that name! Meanwhile Evila and Andreas Havoc discuss a plan that will get ride of Peter Cannon aka Thunderbolt once and for all as they both hate him and need him out of the way. Meanwhile after the cops have left Peter and Tabu get into an argument, as Peter wants to change into Thunderbolt and save Cairo and his friend Tabu says he can not use the ancient powers for his own personal interest, and this fight leaves Peter walking to the buildings roof were he sees the armed men placing Cairo into a helicopter and he just in times jumps and hides on the helicopter to find out where it goes. Meanwhile the Justice League Europe team is alerted to the kidnapping and Green Lantern takes notice when Thunderbolt is mentioned as he remembers helping him some years back from dying, while across town a shadowy figure under the disguise of working for the Government of England gives The Crusader an order to fight and beat Thunderbolt in a fare fight in order to prove England has the best home grown heroes and they don’t need the Americans help. Peter Cannon once they helicopter arrives at the hideout changes into Thunderbolt and takes out the kidnappers one by one until he and Cairo come face to face and she is happy to see the masked hero and alerts him that she knows he really is Peter Cannon and gives him a kiss. Also The Monk is now on his way to England to find Thunderbolt and alert him to what help the temple needs.

Well Peter Cannons secret of being Thunderbolt is out of the bag as the woman he loves has figured it out super quick! The issues plot is very simple Thunderbolt follows kidnappers to get his lady love back and then throw in some drama with the police, JLE and Crusader and you have this issue in a nutshell. Thunderbolt is a hero who is now also torn as his training says that he should only use his powers and skills to benefit and protect mankind and that he should never put personal issues on his hero to do list, but he feels different as he knows that he can save the life of a woman he cares about. Thunderbolt is also very confused over his new mental powers, as they only seem to appear when he has extreme stress or anger. Tabu is so stuck on the ways of the Temple that at times he seems to forget what it is to be human and only cares about rules. Inspector James Flint is trying to put pieces together like a puzzle as he wants to solve why Scorpio has moved into town and why Thunderbolt seems to be around when things turn bad. Cairo DeFrey proves that she is not some weak business woman and has skills of her own to get out of trouble, plus its interesting that she knows Peter is Thunderbolt and makes one wonder did she figure it out on her own or is she working for someone who alerted her to this? Evila and Andreas Havoc’s sinister plan to stop Thunderbolt I am sure will start next issue and by the mindset of those two, I am sure it will be very deadly. The Crusader while a hero is being played for a fool as he is being pushed to be annoyed by Thunderbolt and pressured into a fight for some unknown reason to cause tension between the heroes. I like the idea of a shadowy criminal organization using tricks to turn superheroes against each other as so many heroes have egos and could easily be pushed to turn on each other. Also great to see more cameos from Justice League Europe members as this time around we not only see Green Lantern but also The Flash and Crimson Fox and by the looks of it I think they might get a bigger role in a future issue! The cover is pretty great and has a direct to video action film look to it and the interior art by Mike Collins who is still doing the story as well. Another solid issue that has a few way to long talky parts, but is solid and keeps up the great work of the series and makes me look forward to the next issue.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 9  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 9 of 12

Thunderbolt is shocked that Cairo DeFrey knows that he is Peter Cannon and she tells him that she has known sense he saved her on the blimp! As the goons around them start to wake up they make a run for the exit only for them to be cut off by Tekk who wants Cairo. Meanwhile Anne-Marie is looking into the past of Cairo and finds something very interesting that she wants to investigate as well as says she might want to tell Peter Cannon what she has learned, what it is we will have to wait. Tekk and Thunderbolt start to fight and are going hand-to-hand, when Cairo watches she is likes that two super-beings are fighting over her and says to herself at some point she will tell them they are on the same side! While at the store of Maude Grymes she gets a visit by the wizard Arion The Immortal who warns her not to meddle in the world of Peter Cannon, but she tells him she knows what she is doing! As Thunderbolt and Tekk are fighting The Justice League Europe (Green Lantern, Power Girl, The Flash, Crimson Fox and Elongated Man) show up as they are looking for the kidnapped Cairo as well and join and help Thunderbolt in the fight, but finally Cairo alerts them that Tekk is her bodyguard and was their to rescue her as well. As The JLE and Thunderbolt are cleaning up the area after Cairo leaves for home questions start to pop up as Inspector James Flint also shows up and backs up the feeling that something is not right with this kidnapping. We then see Mr. Wheeler about to pull in and being mad as its clear he hired the goons to get her and at Cairo’s office she tells Tekk that its time for them to ruin Mr. Wheeler and to get ride of him and his men. While Evila and Andreas Havoc use a spell and bring Dinosaurs to London and our heroes have to rush off to try and stop the rampage. Meanwhile Anne-Marie is waiting for Peter at his apartment and in China a superhuman being is beating up protesters.

The plots of this issue are coming at the reader fast and hard as we learn so much and get new mysteries shoved our way…and were to start! I think the biggest news is Cairo DeFrey being the head of Scorpio and while acting like a sweet businesswoman she is really a calculated mobster who puts hits out, has her goons strong-arm small businesses for protection money as well has Tekk a super villain under her control. I knew it all along that Cairo was not to be trusted as she always seemed to act a little off and very sneaky, worse thing is that she knows Peter Cannons secret and could try and use it for her own gain. Tekk is shown to be Cairo’s chuffer, bodyguard and muscle and almost seems to enjoy the bad things he is sent to do as his suit gives him big powers. We also see that Anne-Marie is digging deep into who Cairo really is and it’s clear that she has found out just how corrupt she is and wants to warn Peter as she knows he is getting way to close to her, plus poor Maude Grymes is in trouble with other magical beings for trying to deliver a message to Peter…that still has not been delivered. Plus it appears that the JLE and James Flint have also started to catch on that Cairo is a wolf in sheep clothing and are starting to question her…now if only Peter Cannon would catch on. I love that Andreas Havoc and Evila’s idea to cause issues to try and defeat Thunderbolt was to let dinosaurs loose in the city, its like they read Jurassic Park and got ideas. And one new mystery we get is who the heck is the muscle in China that is beating up the protestors and when will he tackle Thunderbolt as we knows it has to happen. Oh and I should also say that Mr. Wheeler has made a big mistake as he has been marked as a dead man now and by trying to kidnap Cairo he has also doomed his whole crew. The cover for this issue is well done and eye catching and the interior art by Mike Collins is still A+ 90’s DC Comic work. Another great issue and I can not wait to read the next issue as we are getting to the end of this series and things are starting to wrap up.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 10  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 10 of 12

Thunderbolt and the JLE are rounding up the dinosaurs that are rampaging in London and are trying to keep the people safe as well as the creatures as they know they are just scared and not causing the chaos on purpose. While at Peter’s apartment Anne-Marie is telling Tabu about what she found and the message she was to deliver that all points to Cairo using and lying to him, and as they talk the monk who is Master Tsong arrives. As Thunderbolt and the JLE are tangling with the dinosaurs, he shares that he thinks that this mess was created by Andreas Havoc who is in turn being played by Evila who wants his power stone as she knows its true power and plans on using it against those who cross her. Meanwhile all around London Scorpio is attacking and shutting down all of Mr. Wheelers businesses and the war is on and gearing towards the end. The Crusader ends up joining the fight and helps round up the dinosaurs and they all watch as Thunderbolt uses his mind powers to bring down the massive T-Rex and his fellow heroes are impressed. As the JLE leaves Thunderbolt is attacked from behind by Crusader who in turn is attacked by someone from behind as Evila and Andreas Havoc are mad as they were behind making Crusader turn on Thunderbolt due to rage. We find out that a Checkmate Knight is the one behind the attack on Crusaders and has showed up with both heroes knocked out to Peter’s apartment and informs Thunderbolt about who is behind sending The Crusader and that’s Andreas Havoc and Master Tsong backs that up and says he must come back to Tibet in order to fight a man who killed the last Thunderbolt!

This issue is pretty fun even though most of the time is spent with the heroes rounding up dinosaurs like they are cattle. In this issue Peter Thunderbolt learns that he is a man that is neck deep in all types of trouble as he has a target on his head from Andreas Havoc, his lady love is a crime boss who has been a terror to so many, he has angered England’s hero The Crusader who has been pushed to attack him and he needs to now go to Tibet and fight a person who has killed the last Thunderbolt! In other words Thunderbolt has lots of hero work to do to make things safe for not only himself but everyone around him. Evila and Andreas Havoc while they are working together are clearly not friends as Evila has an idea of turning on him in order to steal the power stone to use in her own ways. Mr. Wheeler is loosing everything as he not only had his son murdered by his rivals but now all his crime empire is falling. The powerful fighter in China is Dorje and it sounds like he does not want to go to Tibet and I am guessing he is the one that killed the last Thunderbolt. Cairo DeFrey is truly an evil woman who is given orders to ruin and take lives and all the while is playing the victim and sweet person, she is a true mobster who has bad motives. The Justice League Europe are very helpful as they make the dinosaur capture way easier and even offer Thunderbolt a place on the team, plus seeing The Flash and the others in action is always a fun DC Comic reading experience. The Crusader has to feel like a tool now that he knows he has been played for a fool and pushed to attack a fellow hero by a criminal organization. Cover is great and fitting for the time and Mike Collins art his great as always. Like before a solid issue of Thunderbolt and really does prove that old heroes can find new life generations after their final issues. Oh and I still have to say I still am not a fan of Thunderbolts mental powers, as it makes him feel like an X-Men member.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 11  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 11 of 12

Thunderbolt is gearing up to fight with Andreas Havoc and is surprised when he finds that he will have his own help going into this battle as Tabu, Power Girl, Anne-Marie, The Crusader, Master Tsong and Checkmate Knights all come to his aid. At first Thunderbolt is a little lukewarm on letting Crusader come along that is until he sees that the hero is upset that he has been played a fool and wants revenge. As The Checkmate Knights fight against Havoc’s men Thunderbolt, Power Girl and Crusader storm his castle and things start to look good for our heroes as Evila has her handsful with Power Girl and Crusader and Thunderbolt is holding his own against Andreas Havoc…that is until he gets blasted with a powerful energy blast that knocks Thunderbolt from the castle and we see that his attacker is Trydan the man who almost killed him years back! Thunderbolt finds his inner strength and uses all his skills to take down Trydan once and for all, only to fin the man in the suit was a drooling mindless fool, and as Thunderbolt starts to fight again with Andreas Havoc he learns that Trydan was just a paid assassin in a stolen suit from Lexcorp and that his brain was fried and he was a mindless tool of destruction. The fighting is going back and fourth and the Checkmate Knights get the call to pull back and return back to base, as this happens Tabu and Master Tsong rush into the castle and cause a distraction that allows Power Girl to grab the power stone and for them also to get the stolen scrolls…Thunderbolt uses the stone and his powers to transport himself and his friends to Tibet as Evila and Andreas Havoc stay in the castle that is now crumbling. In Tibet Thunderbolt and friends are by the monastery and find that it is under attack by a Chinese soldiers as Power Girl and Crusader attack the soldiers the others watch over the power stone as Thunderbolt rushes to check on the Lama only to find that he is face to face with Dorje, and worse Thunderbolt learns that Dorje is the real Thunderbolt who never dies those years back. Also during this time Mr. Wheeler heads to the Scoprio base and finds that his own right hand man has turned on him and that Cairo has hired Mac The Knife to put a dagger in his back!

So this is a bombshell as we learn that Peter Cannon has been living a lie for all these years and he is not the true Thunderbolt and protector of the order as his predecessor never really died and is back this time helping China to find the mystic powerful items that are hidden in the temple. So Thunderbolt as we know him is not the Tibetan hero we have followed, but he is a hero and a chosen one for sure as look at all he has been able to do and learn and I feel that Dorje is a man who at one point who was chosen to be the protector who now has turned his back on the job and is using his powers and skills to help with greed. Its great to see Power Girl and The Crusader lending their powers to help take down the evil magic of Andreas Havoc as both of their lives were in danger. And for that matter good on the Checkmate Knights as well for all their work in the battle. As for Andreas Havoc and Evila they are powerful and strong and if not for being distracted for a short amount of time they could have easily won the battle with our heroes…but I also feel that the defeat of Andreas Havoc, Trydan and Evila is very rushed feeling as they are the main bad guys we have spent so much time with, and now its changed to Dorje with just one issue to go. Poor Mr. Wheeler is in a bad way as it’s clear that the odds are against him and his time is running out as Cairo and her goons have his number. And speaking of Cairo she has surrounded herself with not only heavy armed foot solders but also skilled killers like Tekk and Mac The Knife…she is dangerous and I will guess will get what’s coming to her in the next issue. News lady Anne-Marie is getting the news story of her life as she has been along for the ride as Thunderbolt clashed with Andreas and also has seen China attacking a temple in Tibet! This is a great issue but again I do feel as if things are being rushed to have an end as they had to know that the series was being canceled and that they only had two issue to wrap it all up. The cover is great and showcases our heroes and villains and as always Mike’s work in the interior art is good stuff. Well let’s see how the DC Comic series of Thunderbolt ends as we are going to look at the twelfth and final issue.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 12  **1/2
Released in 1993    Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 12 of 12

Peter Cannon faces off with Dorje who sees Tabu holding the power stone and informs them all that he wants the stone as he needs to give it to China, and Peter can not allow this and fights Dorje who is older but more skilled and is showing his fighting skills. Tabu and Master Tsong watch in shock as Tabu is confused as he has pledged his life to help the true Thunderbolt, but he is best friends with Peter! Anne-Marie takes action and grabs the power stone and runs off with it trying to keep it safe and out of the hands of Dorje only to by accident giving it to Evila who is disguised at Power Girl and Andreas Havoc is also there who is now mad that Dorje is still alive as this makes his war and feud with Peter Cannon void! The Crusader and Power Girl arrive in the temple and after hitting Evila from behind the power stone falls to the floor as a fight between Thunderbolt and his friends against Evila with Andreas Havoc as well as Dorje who is fighting them all in order to get the stone. During the fight Andreas Havoc is thrown against a wall leaving him brain damaged as Dorje gets the stone and uses its power to kill Evila as well as himself in order to keep the temple and all inside it safe from her want to become the ruler, all the heroes gather as he tells them of his past years of being missing. With the fight over Peter Cannon is Thunderbolt again and the Lama sends Power Girl and The Crusader home and then sends Anne-Marie and Tabu to Peter’s apartment…as for Thunderbolt is gets a change of outfit and is sent to the Scorpio base as he needs to have words with Cairo. Once at the base he finds Mr. Wheeler who dies in front of him from his stab wounds and has to fight Tekk who uses all his power to try and stop the hero, but thanks to water and electricity Tekk fails and is left knocked out. In the end Thunderbolt faces Cairo and she alerts him that she is related to Evila and that she just wants power and order and begs Thunderbolt to join her, he rejects her offer and walks out telling her goodbye and both are heart broken as good and evil can never find love.

The final issue of Thunderbolt does a pretty great job of wrapping up all our characters and stories and allows now Peter Cannon to be Thunderbolt and not have to 100% follow the teachings of the Lama and temple as he is not the reborn spirit of the passed warrior…he is just his own warrior. Thunderbolt learns so much about himself that all his powers and skills are unlocked by his own will and training and that he is a hero no matter what label is placed on him. It’s also clear that he will always do what is right and fight on the side of good and that his friend Tabu will always be his pal and help him in life and in heroism. You have to feel bad for Thunderbolt as well when he learned that the old Thunderbolt is still alive and making his whole past being a lie, plus he has to face heart break as he must break it off with Cairo a woman he loves. To be honest Dorje the old Thunderbolt does nothing for me and seems like a waste to the story as his turn from being apart of the raiding Chinese forces to becoming the Temple hero again before his death seemed super cheesy. Evila finally meets her end thanks to the power stone and poor Andreas Havoc is left in a coma just like Trydan and both will spend their lives at the Temple in Tibet. Mr. Wheeler meets his end at the end of a knife and its cause of his own pride and want to fight that leads him to his death, well and the fact his own friend set him up! I do feel that Inspector James Flint does not have any real payout and only shows up for a second in this final issue to tell Wheeler’s men to start looking for new work, again his story seems rushed and like a wasted character. Anne-Marie is clearly a reporter who is stronger then she thinks and is clearly in love with Peter Cannon so who knows what could have been with those two. The series did do a great job of using other heroes from the DC Universe as the Justice League Europe, Checkmate Knights and The Crusader all seem important and add to the story as it unfolds. Cairo DeFrey is a killer and a woman who craves power who is from the same bloodline as Evila and while bad, I don’t think she sees her actions as evil as she just wants to lead and make the world follow her order. Mike Collins who did the interior art and the story for this series did fantastic work and really did bring a classic comic hero into modern times and made Thunderbolt fit right into the DC Universe, he also added onto the characters legend and story and did a great job of also using his classic rouges gallery while adding new baddies into the mix. It’s a shame that this series only lasted 12 issues as it was some of the better stuff DC was doing at the time with their smaller time heroes. From what I gathered low sales is what got the book canceled and Thunderbolt from here would be apart of other comics like Justice League Europe. The cover for this issue is also really cool and for some reason reminds me of Batman or even The Phantom. I have to say that I truly enjoyed Peter Cannon Thunderbolt and think that if you enjoy classic comic heroes and have not check it out yet, you should as its well done and while flawed in spots (looking at you mind powers) it holds a great classic comic feel. Check out the artwork bellow to see the style of Mike Collins.

If I worked for DC Comics around 1993 as a writer and Peter Cannon Thunderbolt was thrown my way in order to breath new life into the character after his final issue was released. I would have kept him in London for awhile and have him join The Justice League Europe for a short awhile and would have had him and Power Girl hitting it off and even dating. During this time Thunderbolt would have mastered his mental powers and this would have elevated his superpower statues, and the JLE would also hire Tabu to work their headquarters to keep all their missions in order as well as to alert members to crises. But Thunderbolt and Tabu would leave London and the JLE after Power Girl and he split up as he is still in love with Cairo DeFrey who has been spotted in New York causing him to return home to find her, and here is were I would change him up and take a really chance with him as when in New York and with his new more powerful mind powers I would have Cairo make a deal with the returning Evila and together they place a classic curse of Thunderbolt and turn him into a raging madman who is running amok in the streets and is attacking innocent people and as well as doing battle with Superheroes like one time friend Green Lantern, Batman, Hawkman, Plastic Man, Green Arrow and even Superman. I would then have Dr. Fate along with Zatanna be the ones who break the curse of Evila as well as end his mental mind powers of Thunderbolt and from there I would write him out for awhile by having him be placed in a asylum. After a year or two away I would bring Peter Cannon Thunderbolt back as a skilled fighter normal hero who has to earn the trust of the people and his fellow heroes. And from there I would just have Thunderbolt appear in other comics as a guest hero and would still be doing that to this day.

Thunderbolt over the years has been dusted off by other comic companies with his latest bigger run being with Dynamite Comics 2012 and later 2019 and would bring the hero into modern times. But for me I think he should have stayed put in the DC Comics universe. But DC is such a mess in modern times and are cutting comics, creators and even making a push for digital comics so in other words they are a shell of a company and sadly have been ran wrong for many years now and with AT&T owning them and not caring about print comic books I am not sure what their fate holds in the future. But lets not harp on the fate of DC Comics and why they let Thunderbolt slip from their fingers as for my next update I will be taking a look at another Horror Host for the celebration of the Horror Host Hall Of Fame being around for 10 years as I will take a look at Indiana’s own Baron Von Wolfstein! So until next time read a DC Comic or three, watch a superhero film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a trip to Wolfstein Manor.

Who Remembers Gold Key Comics Forgotten Superhero Tiger Girl?

Welcome back to Rotten Ink. One thing I have noticed in the golden age of comic books is how so many characters were created and lasted only a small amount of appearances before going to the long box in the sky and for the most part forgotten, and to me that’s a shame as I think so many of them had so much more to deliver to readers. I have covered many of these heroes here on Rotten Ink from the likes of Rottweiler, Black Bow, Hammer Girl, Blood Bath, Drastik, Super Green Beret, Holo-Man, Red Demon and so many others! With this update we will be taking a look at another Forgotten Hero as we take a look at Gold Key Comics character Tiger Girl. So if you are ready, this update will be fast paced as sadly Tiger Girl made no impact and very little is released about her.

So let’s start by taking a look at Lily Taylor who was a woman that worked at the Dingaling And South Circus based in Ralston City as an aerialist, and oddly enough she also has a mental link with Kitten the circuses Bengal Tiger and the two have a friendship. Her fellow circus performer family knew of her superhero life outside the tent and they as well tried to watch out for her with the some even having crushes on her. She often teamed with an agent of W.A.A.V. (War Against Arch-Villainy) by the name of Ed Savage and they clashed with a baddy named Wolf Hound. Tiger Girl was a super skilled fighter and was a brave as the day is long. The character was made for Gold Key as the comic company wanted to cash in on the superhero craze of the 60’s and created a line of comics with newly created heroes as well as returning ones from the past like The Owl. For Tiger Girl they brought in Jerry Siegel to write it, as he is one of the creators of Superman and on art they had Jack Sparling who is known for working on many DC Comics! But even with these two names on this title it only lasted one issue and Gold Key’s whole superhero line was short lived and cancelled before readers could really bound with the characters, making this one of the quickest and half hearted attempts at creating a hero line of comic books. And like before the likes of Tiger Girl good old Gold Key just went on to make comics based on Cartoons, TV Shows and Movies. Could Tiger Girl have made an impact on readers if given time, no one can really tell…but I do think they should have allowed her to last more then one issue as that seems like they just didn’t truly give her a fair chance.

As you can see, there is very little about Tiger Girl and while looking up her history I was shocked to see that Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel was involved in the creation of this comic and makes me even more excited to read this comic. I want to thank an Ebay seller for having this comic up for sale and making this update possible. I want to also remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready, let’s go on a superhero adventure with Tiger Girl and her partner Kitten!

Tiger Girl # 1  **1/2
Released in 1968     Cover Price .15       Gold Key     # 1 of 1

The Growler is a super villain who is robbing a jewelry store in Ralston City and makes quick work of government W.A.A.V. agent Ed Savage who tried to stop the crook, as The Growler is about to shoot Ed he is stopped cold in his tracks by the light tiger signal of Tiger Girl who springs into action and with the help of Kitten they are able to bring down The Growler and his henchmen! Tiger Girl returns to her normal life as Lily Taylor a performer at the Dingaling And South Circus were she is well loved and respected by her peers as well as the circus owner Mr. South, her two best friends are Titan The Great the strong man and Laughing Boy the clown who know of her double life as a superhero and from time to time will help in her crime fighting adventures. Meanwhile the bad guys of I.N.F.A.M.Y. are made over the arrest of The Growler and hire Wolf Hound and his pet wolf Wolfbane to bring down Tiger Girl! Later Wolf Hound takes over a TV stations and issues a challenge to Tiger Girl and she along with Kitten rush to the location that is in a park by a cat statue, this of course is a trap that leaves Tiger Girl falling into a pit and Wolfbane about to rip her apart that is until Kitten takes action against the giant wolf and gives Tiger Girl the chance to get out of the pit and have a quick fight with Wolf Hound who escapes once the police start to show up at the battle field. After his escape Tiger Girl, The Police and Ed Savage come up with an idea to trick Wolf Hound into their trap by acting as if Tiger Girl will be at this science lab, and this super villain takes the bait and after fighting with Tiger Girl he is taken down and arrested as his goons are taken care of by Laughing Boy, Titan and Ed Savage and Kitten fights off a pack of tigers to save his friends life when she is down. With Wolf Hound behind bars the evil doers of I.N.F.A.M.Y. are made and swear revenge.

I want to start off saying that Tiger Girl is not perfect and by all accounts is a very cheesy and standard fare for superhero comics of the 60’s, but with that said it was one heck of a fun read and showcases that even indie superhero’s have something to offer to readers. The story is simple and has superhero Tiger Girl getting on the bad side of a crime syndicate after she brings down one of their hired goons that was robbing a jewelry store and for this they hire a skilled villain to bring her down only for he himself to fail in the end. Lily Taylor aka Tiger Girl is a woman who is strong willed and a skilled fighter, and she uses her skills to entertain people on the trapeze at the circus and as a masked fighter against crime. Her best friend is a tiger she calls Kitten and some how she and the great cat have a link that is not explained…it’s as if she can talk to him and he understands. Her friends at the circus Mr. South, Laughing Boy and Titan The Great all respect her with the later two knowing that she is as well the crime fighter. Titan is clearly in love with Lily, but lacks the nerve to tell her, but does have the nerve to help fight crime when needed. Agent Ed Savage of W.A.A.V. is pretty much a cocky ass hat who at one point tells Tiger Girl she should be in the kitchen making eggs, even after he failed at stopping a criminal and was about to be killed, when she came to his rescue. In other words Ed Savage is a cocky government worker who is all bark and no real skill. I like the idea of I.N.F.A.M.Y. as comic book bad guys as they are a group of masked men who hire other masked villains to commit crimes…they remind me a little of a watered down version of Hydra from Marvel Comics and even the E.T.A. from the Sparkle Comics universe Read Adventure Man # 1-3 and Black Jack # 1 to see what I mean. The Growler and Wolf Hound are some great cheesy masked bad guys who fit right in superhero comics of the 60’s with each being overly self confident and both having sneaky plans that they hope will lead to the death of Tiger Girl. The writing of Jerry Siegel is fun and while simple really did capture that era of comics as good always win and the bad guys in the end are always cowards. The cover art is eye catching and showcases Tiger Girl and Kitten well, with Jack Sparling’s interior art being well done for the time. Over all this was an enjoyable read and one I am glad I found and covered here on this update. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Sparling.

So if Gold Key Comics was to continue with Tiger Girl, I would have liked to see her continue on with fighting against the baddies I.N.F.A.M.Y. who would bring in more animal inspired supervillains for her to beat down, I would like to have also seen Ed Savage get put in his place or even beaten up so bad he would have to retire from W.A.A.V. and allowing a better more interesting agent to take his place. I would like for Tiger Girl to date Titan who would as well become a superhero and take on a lion inspired costume and hero name. It would have also been cool to see her team with The Owl as well as other Gold Key heroes like Magnus Robot Fighter and Doctor Solar. They could have explored her past and explain her link to Kitten as well as her drive to become a hero. But sadly like so many comics before her she ended up in the long box in the sky before she could really grow as a character. For the next update I will be once more taking a look at a Horror Host to celebrate the 10 Year Anniversary of The Horror Host Hall Of Fame and will be talking about a true icon of hosting named M.T. Graves! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a superhero film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Oh and I am not sure who did the art below of M.T. Grave but I have to say great work!

Morlock 2001 Or Should I Say How I Would Save Comics!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! Have you readers ever sat and thought about how little we as humans know about the depths of our oceans as well as the vastness of outer space? I mean think about it, who knows what ocean life lives on this planet with us that we have never laid our eyes on, and who knows what alien life forms are on planets we have yet to discover! Have you readers heard of this weird yellow blob like creature that can heal itself that was on display at a Paringings Zoo? Yeah, this slime mold has no brain and yet can problem solve; it can self heal quickly and can eat plus digest even though it does not have a mouth! The yellow blob creature can also move, and this strange fellow makes me think of strange creatures from space in media like the symbiote in Marvel Comics Spider-Man issues or even the meteor goo from the Creepshow segment “The Lonesome Death Of Jordy Verrill”…in other words Space and the Unknown is scary! And before we get into our comic review for this update that is the Atlas Comic series Morlock 2001, I do have something to say about the state of the comic book industry, but first let’s talk about ‘Wicked Lips” by Iggy Azalea!

As you long time readers know, I am a fan of rapper Iggy Azalea and in 2020 she released another E.P. that was called Wicked Lips and featured four tracks and was sold via her website. So is it any good? Well let’s give it a listen! Track one is “Lola” and features Alice Chater and is a great and catchy song. Iggy is on point with Alice singing the song’s hook and it will get stuck in your head! Track two is “Not Important” and has a catchy beat and is full Iggy. She seems to be rapping with an attitude on this track and this makes the song very entertaining, a solid song but not her best work. The third song is called ”The Girls” and is a girl power song that also features Pabllo Vittar and once more Iggy is on it with her lyrics and rap, while Pabllo delivers the song’s hook! A good song with some great Iggy rhymes. The final track is called “Personal Problem” and is a good track and feels like a diss track toward someone who has crossed Iggy, and reminds me of the classic 90’s style tracks of rappers who had beef. Over all this E.P. is a great release from Iggy to hold over fans for the next full album release. I am sure you are asking what I think the best track of this release is, well for me it’s Lola as it really is a fun and catchy song! If you like Iggy like I do, track this release down on CD, vinyl or MP3 as it’s worth a listen.

All through my youth into adulthood I have been a comic book reader.  I started like most kids my age, reading kids comics and superhero comics that I would pick up at the grocery stores or convenience stores. And characters like Spider-Man, Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Superman, Batman and Hawkman were all on my must read list and all mentioned still hold a place in my heart and their classic issues are all still read in my household. I can remember going to a UDF with my mom and brother and getting a copy of Transformers from Marvel Comics off a spinner rack and being so hyped to read it once I got home. I have other UDF spinner rack memories as well like getting the issue Justice League Of America # 240 and thinking the issue’s villain Dr. Anomaly was a major threat to our heroes. Of course he was not, but that issue made me think he was! I also have so many great memories of getting comic books from the magazine aisle at Big Bear, the grocery store my family shopped at, and rushing home to read the newest adventures of Captain America or The Hulk. Grocery stores and convenience stores were a perfect place for me to get comic books and helped not only get me hooked but also kept me hooked. But sadly for some reason comics have vanished for young readers to discover these comic heroes off the shelves of grocery & convenience stores.

Also when I was a kid, comic books used to target what kids liked via toys, cartoons, movies, video games and TV shows. Being a kid of the 80’s, you could get comics based on toys like Masters Of The Universe, Thundercarts, Silver Hawks, Care Bears, G.I. Joe, Transformers and M.A.S.K. to name a few. And cartoons like Camp Candy, Little Dracula, Flintstone Kids, Real Ghostbusters, Ren & Stimpy, Beavis & Butthead all had comic books as did WWF Wrestling, WCW Wrestling, ALF and so many more TV shows! Video games got into the action with Super Mario Brothers, Sonic The Hedgehog, Legend Of Zelda and Bayou Billy in readers’ hands delivering enjoyable new adventures for things we loved. And let’s not even get into the fact Star Wars, Star Trek, Last Starfighter, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Robocop, Terminator, Bill & Ted and many more film franchises as well got the comic book treatment. And what was nice was that at garage sales and antic shops you could find old comics based on classic cartoons and shows like Bugs Bunny, Yogi Bear, Happy Days, Welcome Back Kotter, Scooby-Doo, Mickey Mouse, Diver Dan and even The Rifleman…they had something for every kid of all tastes in entertainment. I mean heck even fast food restaurants had comics that they would give away free to kids, like who could forget Adventures Of Big Boy or even The Adventures Of Captain D’s? Oh and let’s not forget that Spider-Man with the kids show The Electric Company had the “Spidey Super Stories” issues for kids in the 70’s that were ones that I loved as a kid! But oddly enough, it seems Marvel and DC hardly focus on making comics based on cartoons, toys, movies or games…and fast food places have cut out the free comics from their menus a long while ago.

Another amazing thing that was around and a big deal when I was a kid was the Sunday Funnies that came in the Sunday newspaper and would feature comic strips of Garfield, Far Side, Denise The Menace, Family Circus, Blondie, Andy Capp and all the others and this felt like another great way to get us youngsters into comic books as who didn’t love Garfield in the 80’s. Every kid I knew read the comic strip and bought the paperback books that collected the strips. I as well always bought the Andy Capp books as for some reason I always liked the drunk…and his snack food. Those paperback comic strip books were so amazing, and I loved getting them from garage sales and book stores and still get them to this day and read them! One other thing I feel helped myself as well people my age and older get into comic books was magazines like MAD and Cracked that had humorous comic strips that made fun of popular movies, shows and pop culture of the time of release. Plus they delivered original characters like Spy vs. Spy as well the two magazines mascots Alfred E. Newman (MAD Magazine) and Sylvester P. Smythe (Cracked Magazine) both who were well loved goofy funny men. But with time and over blown prices, the parody magazines are a shell of what they were with MAD being the last man standing and hardly published. Sunday Comics in the newspaper are hardly looked at by kids nowadays as most households only get their news online. It’s a shame as these events as well are two more ways younger readers are not discovering the joys of reading comics and building the bonds with characters.

Back in the late 90’s, Marvel and DC really did something stupid, and no, I am not talking about flooding the market with mass amounts of comic as they tried to play land grab with each other for retail space. What they did that was dumb was take their issues out of grocery stores and convenience stores and only focused on comic shops. They also sold their souls to Diamond Distribution, a direct market company that has sucked the profits and fun out of comics for so long that in 2020, DC Comics tried to run far away from these tyrants of comic sales. And with kids no longer finding comics at grocery stores or convenience stores, they had to hope that the youngsters would wonder into their local comics shop and pick up issues and discover heroes and villains they liked all the while not being distracted by all the other items at the shop like toys and card games. Marvel and DC also got away from doing kid friendly comics and started to focus on the terrible 90’s trends of poorly scripted comics that only focused on art that would be cool for posters (thanks, founders of Image Comics!) and weirdly proportioned characters. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great comics during this time as well, but there was a ton of bad ones. And when Image Comics came into the game, it really became all about releasing first issues with Marvel and DC mostly doing gimmicks that flooded the market and caused the masses to buy terrible issues with the term collectors edition, and many buyers thinking the had their kids’ college fund in them. That’s right, the 90’s created more buyers than readers, and when the bubble busted, they found out that their Youngblood # 1, Superman # 75 and X-Men # 1 were not worth the thousands they thought. And with that, these buyers moved onto the next big thing they thought would make them tons of money…and these bad stories and generically created characters chased off actual readers.

I now want to share my thoughts on how Marvel and DC can not only save the comic industry but also themselves…and keep in mind I am talking about the mainstream comic industry as the indie world is strong and is delivering amazing comics for all readers! The first thing they need to really do is cut the land grab mentality. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. Deliver comics that are well written and drawn! Marvel and DC need to stop looking at each other as the enemy and realize that most comic readers will check out comics from both as long as again they are releasing worthwhile issues. Face it guys, comics is now a niche and we need to all work together. They need to stop bringing in celebrities in to write comics, many of whom don’t help sales and or even finish the run they were brought in to do, and yet cost the company money to bring them in! Again I must also say if the celebrity is really into comics and has a track record of not flaking on projects bring them in for sure, but don’t over pay them as we all know that there is no major money in comics now.

Stop with the massive events that crossover into every book they have going to finish storylines. This disrupts the flow of comics you are reading and if you don’t care about the massive meaningless “epic” crisis, it takes the fun out of reading your titles. I mean if I am reading Superman and am invested into what’s going on with him and his story, I don’t want a crossover with whatever is going on that’s taking away from his story. Don’t get me wrong, epic events are great and can be fantastic, but don’t overuse them. Make them mean something and seem special when they do come around. The current reason they are doing events is to try and pull in extra sales and to help lower selling books by tying them in. I cannot stress enough that when they do a major event, make it mean something that is not forgotten less than six months after the final issue in order to set up the next event.

At this point both Marvel and DC need to listen to their readers and not people on social media who are not reading comics. Don’t get me wrong, fans can be negative about everything, but don’t cater to people who don’t understand comics or ever read them. Everyone has an opinion, I mean heck this essay about the comic industry is just my opinion about what I think is wrong with the world of comics right now…but the difference is that I have been a comic reader since I was a kid and still read comics to this day. And Marvel and DC are also trying way too hard to be topical with current events and topics, and while comics have always tackled real life issues, the modern effort just at times seems soulless, hollow and done for their own back patting cheers.

Stop bringing the movie/TV universe into the main comic lines. Keep them separate as the movies work for the big screen and sometimes don’t on the pages of an issue as they change the history of classic characters as well as storylines in order to fit into the moves at times…and to that myself and I know several other readers say no thank you. If you want to do comics based on the films, create a new branch like “Marvel Movie Comics” and keep the movie lore to those issues. The comics need to be separate from the other media lore.

Both Marvel and DC also have to stop forcing characters into already established characters names and costumes! I am all for updating characters and allowing them to grow, and I am even fine with established characters taking the reigns like Sam Wilson (The Falcon) becoming Captain America as it made sense…but I don’t like when they take characters with no rhyme or reason and place them in that persona just to once more please non-comic readers or just plan lazy writing. And lazy writing is my next way they could make a change for the good. Stop many of these terrible stories and lackluster series from tarnishing characters and chasing off readers!

Getting young readers back into comics is a must! Don’t get me wrong, they do a great job of promoting characters to kids via movies, toys, video games, cartoons and other merchandise…but they have done a poor job of getting them to want to read a comic book. And in order for Marvel and DC to survive as comic book companies, it is very important that they bring in young readers who will grow up and continue to read them. Right now the vast majority of readers are older and with time and bad writing and art even that readership is shrinking. In order to get young readers into comics, they need to first get comics back into grocery and convenience stores and have comic racks in them and allow kids to discover the wonders of comics and get parents to buy them as impulse buys just like candy and soda. They need to lower the cover price, make the comics affordable and by doing so parents are more likely to buy them for their kids while in line as well as allows kids to once more afford them on allowance money. Think about it if a kid has $10.00 with modern comic prices they could only buy 2 issues and not have much money left for snacks…but if they make comics geared towards kids only say $2.00 an issue, they could buy 3 issues and still have a ton of money left over for snacks. Another thing they should do is make comics for kids that are based on popular cartoons, toys, video games and even novels that kids crave and by putting them in stores and in the right areas, kids will see them and want them! I mean stock them in the toy aisles as well as near the registers and even maybe get them in places like Family Dollar and Dollar General. Marvel is owned by Disney who owns the rights to so many amazing properties and they have a playground of cool IPs they could make into comics for kids, why not make comics based on “Pirates Of The Caribbean”, “Star Wars”, “Spider-Man”, “Lion King”, “Maleficent”, “Indiana Jones” and even “Mickey Mouse”! While DC is owned by AT&T who owns Warner Brothers who owns amazing IPs that would make amazing comic books for kids like “Goonies”, “Gremlins”, “Harry Potter”, “Willy Wonkda”, “Lego Movie”, “Scooby-Doo”, “Wizard Of Oz” and even “Bugs Bunny”. And yes I can hear you readers saying but Marvel and DC do have comics based on Star Wars and Bugs Bunny…and while they do indeed they are over priced and issues on Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes characters are not even stocked at many comic shops. Plus comics based on the likes of “Fortnite”, “She-Ra”, “Pokemin”, “Baby Shark”, “WWE Wrestler John Cena” and even something like “King Kong” or “Sports Mascots” would and could bring kids in. Make comics for kids and allow them to find them super easy and build the next generation of readers.

Again bringing kids back into comics is important for the survival of the mainstream industry, as is getting comics back in grocery stores and convenience stores! Writing and drawing better issues is a must to bring in new and older readers back. Stop changing the history of characters by bringing in the movie and show lore, stop putting characters in the role of established characters, enough of just following hot topics to make yourself seem edgy when most of the time it has zero heart to said story or character. I don’t want to read my comics digitally and nor do I like graphic novels but 100% offer them for those who do.   All I am really saying is make comics fun again and make changes soon before comics as we all know it disappears.

Wow, okay I am sorry that I had to get on my soapbox. Normally I only do that for Sparkle/Blood Scream Comic releases, but I just felt I needed to get this off my chest as Marvel and DC I feel could be doing way more to help the comic industry and save not only themselves but also comic shops from going the way of the dinosaurs and sent the to long box in the sky. And I have to stress they need to bring in newer and younger readers by creating high quality comics with character we love, new characters we care about and amazing storylines that draw us in! But let’s not talk about them anymore, and let’s take a look at Atlas Comics. a great indie company that was gone to soon who got lost in the shuffle of DC and Marvel’s retail land grab of the 70’s! Morlock 2001 was a series set in the future and follows a hero who was grown in a lab and helps make the world a better place. I want to think my pal Jason Young for these issues and making this update possible. I want to also remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. Now lets see what Morlock 2001 has in store for us, and if it still holds the same feeling I had about it when I first read it way back many moons ago…see what I did there with the sci-fi themed reference?

Morlock 2001 # 1  **1/2
Released in 1975    Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 1 of 3

In 2001 Professor Kroschell is a man that is doing experiments in his greenhouse in a time when the government has outlawed books and free thinking, and while attending to his plants and genetically made massive pods, the cops appear and murder the Professor in cold blood and take his pods to a government facility. Time passes and one of the pods opens and inside is a man that they name Morlock who can speak and the government takes time studying and teaches him, and when they find out his touch infects people with a deadly mold they use him to eliminate creative enemies of the state who write poems and novels. Morlock hates killing for them and is about to quit when he meets Lynda at the park she tries to friend him as well as talk him into staying with his government job and that killing for them is the right thing to do. Morlock spends time thinking about his job, and decides that he is quitting and when entering the office he over hears Lynda talking to his boss as she is not his friend and was hired by the government to try and get him to accept his job of killing for them! Morlock in a rage transforms into a massive plant like creature and rampages through the government lab and eats Lynda before making his was to Professor Kroschell’s burnt down greenhouse where he finds his journal and learns he was the first in a line of Pod Super beings that was being made to overthrow the government and that the monster inside him can be controlled by a serum that sadly has very little left. As Morlock wonders away the government has issued a reward on his head and has labeled him a threat to society!

This first issue of Morlock 2001 is a great start to this short-lived series and showcases a world that has our government outlawing creative works like writing, books and independent thoughts and when they kill and steal a professor’s experiment they get a tool in their quest to kill those who cross them when a man is hatched from it. But they soon learn that the being can not be controlled and he has his own mind on what’s wrong and right, and well when mad turns into a killing monster! Morlock himself is a man born from a pod who is a blank slate, but learns fast and hates that he has a touch that turns people into mold statues. He knows that killing is wrong, but is torn as those who are teaching him are insuring him he is doing the right thing. You see Morlock is a conflicted and confused hero who has a dark side much like the Hulk from Marvel Comics as if he gets mad he turns into a planet like monster that kills to stop his hunger. The bad guys of this comic is clearly the government and the cops who kill and bully the world in order to fall in line, in other words they are terrible tyrants who crave power and control. Lynda is a young woman you think is truly going to be the friend of the strange planet man Morlock, but you soon find out she is a bad person who is only being nice to him to get him to kill for his job. This is a great start to the series and is way better then I remember it being when I read it as a kid, as when young I thought it was a little boring as it was not action packed like the comics I was reading at the time like Batman and Captain America…now as an adult I find the story well paced and the character of Morlock to be interesting. The cover art his well done for the time and for sure would be eye catching for readers of Sci-Fi comics. The interior art is done by Allen Milgrom and is really sold and reminds me of Marvel Comics are from the same time period. I would say check out the first issue of Morlock if you are looking into Atlas Comics as it’s a good place to start. Now let’s see what issue two has in store for us and if it will be better then I remember!

Morlock 2001 # 2  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 2 of 3

Morlock is stuck in the city and the police and even citizens are looking for him as the government has a massive bounty on his head. And once found his only escape is jumping on a passing train and hiding in a freight-car and after passing out from the stress of the chase he is woken up by a trio of mask wearing goons who try and rob him of his gloves and they pay with their lives as the mold of his touch grows all over their bodies and kills them. But his luck runs out as he is discovered by a train worker and taken to the station, as the worker calls for the cops Morlock transforms into the Planet Monster and kills and eats the worker before escaping into the countryside. Morlock turns back human and takes a nap under a tree, but is woke by a scream of a little girl and he rushes to see what the trouble is and finds that she is surrounded by two shaggy leaf type monsters, and with the help of the girls father who uses a flamethrower on the monsters the threat is over and Morlock finds a new safe place with the father and daughter. The man is Bertling and he as well is working on making planet people in order to fight for freedom against the government, and his daughter is Karen a young girl who is blind but could regain her sight if only her dad could get the money needed to pay for the surgery. While Morlock sleeps, his new friend Bertling watches the news and decides he will turn Morlock into the cops in order to get the money to help his daughter see again. He then locks Morlock into a shed and rushes to call the cops, but Karen hears what’s happening and lets Morlock out and unlucky her he has transformed into the planet monster who kills and eats her! By the time Bertling gets out to the shed he finds the goo that is left of his daughter and swears to get revenge on Morlock who himself is now back human and is upset his monster side killed a kid.

This second issue is fantastic and brings a true monster side of Morlock out as he proves that he does not care who is in his way when he goes full monster! So like imagine if the Incredible Hulk on a rampage killed the kid hero team Power Pack and once turning back to Bruce Banner having the memories of doing so, cause that is the horror Morlock faces by the end of this issue! The plot of this issue has Morlock on the run from the government who want him captured, and also he finds that a scientist is working on more planet people like him, and sadly he makes an enemy of him! Morlock clearly in this issue hates that he can not control the planet beast that lives inside him, and while he kills also by his touch he also clearly has a good side as he want to save the day and do the right thing. And it’s really sad when he kills a total of four people in this issue and not even meaning to! Bertling is a scientist that is creating planet base people as well and his are always in full monster mode and attack anything, and when Morlock as his planet monster kills his daughter he becomes a true nemesis for our hero as he wants revenge more then anything! The Government is trying so hard to find their missing plant man and are hot on his trail. This is a very good issue and has a great mix of action and drama and adds a new layer to Morlock as it shows emotion and sadness from him. The cover is well done and reminds me of a 60’s X-Men Cover and the interior art by Allen Milgrom again and is topnotch stuff. Issue two is better then the first issue and once more is way better then I remember it being, and this is shocking as back in my youth when I discovered Atlas Comics thanks to Hal at comic shop Bookie Parlor I enjoyed almost all of them, and Morlock was on my list of so-so issues…and I am here to say I was wrong as they are great! Let’s see what issue three has in store for us, shall we?

Morlock 2001 # 3  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 3 of 3

The police bust into the lab of a scientist and murder him for owning books, while outside is Morlock who was going to this scientist for help and he needs more serum in order to keep his Plant Monster side at bay, but knows that he needs to turn into the monster to enter the lab and kill off the police and see if he can save the scientist! The police have burned all the books and the scientist lies dead on the ground, but what they don’t know is that the Morlock Planet Monster is outside and kills and eats many of the police before passing out and turning back into his human look. But something happens when the dead scientist as he rises and feels no pain, he is now calling himself the Midnight Man and he finds Morlock and drags him to safety! Meanwhile the government hears from two of the cops who ran away from the planet monster attack and is still gathering information about Morlock to bring him down as he is now considered a threat to the nation of America! Morlock finds himself in the now shut down New York subway system with Midnight Man and a band of freedom fighters who want to over throw the government, the group is calling themselves Midnight Men! As they are gaining numbers their hidden subway base is found out by the police and is under attack and as the Midnight Men are clashing with the Cops, Morlock is starting to turn into the Planet Monster when he is shot and killed by Midnight Man who in turns tells his team to retreat and is about to push a button that will blow them all up…and so ends the issue and the series!

I am going to say this I was wrong when I was a kid about Morlock, as reading it now as an adult I found it to be a really solid and fun read and showcases why Atlas Comics could have been a great alternative to DC and Marvel in the 70’s if they only would have lasted! The third and final issue in some ways is a major letdown as the focus goes off of Morlock and starts to focus on the scientist turned masked rebellion fighter Midnight Man and his band of fighters! Morlock in this issue goes on a rampage as the Planet Monster then passes out, wakes up asks a million questions and then when he is turning back into the monster he is shot and killed by a man he thought was his friend and could be savior…he is way to down played as he needs to be the hero not the generic Midnight Man! Speaking of Midnight Man he starts the issue off as a scientist who owns books who is then set on fire, who survives bad burns with no pain and then decides he is going to put on a mask and costume and become a leader of an army to fight the government, in other words he is very generic and lame feeling and way to much time is spent on him. The group the Midnight Men as well don’t do much besides mindlessly following Midnight Man and agree to is plans that are clearly thought up on the spot…in other words they are sheep that flow a clueless lamb who’s idea is to shoot and kill Morlock when he is the worlds best hope! The government is as cold blooded as ever as they not only want book readers, our heroes dead but also will kill their own to keep things secret. I think it’s a shame that this issue ends on such a bad cliffhanger as it looks like Morkock is dead and that the series would have continued to fallow Midnight Man as even the cover downplays the series original hero, I think a dumb movie was going to be made by this change for sure and I would guess this change was coming due to writer Gary Friedrich taking over and Steve Ditko who was on art as the idea of Midnight Man was very dated even by 70’s comic standards. The cover on this one was ok and pretty eye catching even if the books title Morlock was hidden by the Midnight Men logo. The Ditko art is great and has a real classic comic book look to it. Over all Morlock is a good comic book series from Atlas with the first two issue being sold and kind of jumping the shark with the third. Check out the artwork below to see the styles used in these three issues.

Morlock 2001 has a very interesting storyline that seems right at home with the Sci-Fi films of the 50’s-70’s like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Omega Man, Soylent Green, etc. and tells a cool story about a world that education and having your own thoughts makes you an enemy of the state. Just imagine if all your favorite books in the world where taken away from you and burned in the streets just so you could never read them and have your own ideas that where not given to you by your government…frightening isn’t it? I also really wish that Atlas Comics didn’t close up before they could truly finish their storylines, as how this stands now Midnight Man has not only killed Morlock but also himself and his men with one click of a button, and that’s truly a shame. But we can not cry over split milk and cant wish what never was meant to be, so with our next update we will be leaving the year 2001 behind and will be going out for Pizza and also talking about a Fast Food Mascot turned Horror Host and of course I am talking about the host of Master Pizza Theatre, the one and only Rocky Rococo! So until next time read an Atlas Comic of three, watch a Sci-Fi film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Oh and do you like to buy a full pizza or by the slice?

Matt Goes To The Movies 2020

Hey readers and friends, welcome back to Rotten Ink and the first update of 2021. I am sure so many of you are, like me, and glad to have 2020 in the rearview mirror as the coronavirus crisis that has effected the whole world has people very scared and also shut down movie theaters to protect the public and slowdown the spread. And that while that was the right thing to do, it also made me very sad as going to the cinema has always been my time to unwind from stress of work and the world. Plus sadly many of the films that were set for release got pulled from the lineup with some getting new dates and others still waiting. But even with that major set back, 2020 still had its fair share of some amazing films released to the masses to enjoy when we could. And I was able to enjoy these movies at some great theaters like Cinemark and Englewood Cinema. So while many films slated for 2020 got pushed back a year or sadly went to the soulless streaming sites, the good old theater still brought me some amazing joys, and nothing, and I mean nothing, will take the place of watching a movie in the theater! So let’s find our seats, social distance from each other and talk movies here at the Rotten Ink Theater and please make sure in 2021 to support all the theaters in your town as well as drive-in’s as they are the true way of watching films. I want to also stress that this year the movie industry not only had to depend on the Box Office numbers of America but as well those of the Foreign Markets and the sales of physical and digital media to turn profits and bring money in.

Well I think we all needed a good laugh in 2020, so what better way to get a belly laugh than seeing a good old Comedy film in the theater…and well I saw one and it was really good but also very depressing much like 2020!

# 1

Cassie Thomas is a 30-year-old woman who dropped out of medical school and now works at a coffee shop and still lives with her parents. She has a life that no one knows about as at night she goes to bars and acts extremely drunk and has sleazy men try to take advantage of her in order to put them in their places. You see, she dropped out of medical school because her best friend Nina was raped and no one believed her…now when the boys of medical school are back enjoying their lives it’s time for Cassie to get her revenge. This is a fantastic dark comedy-drama-thriller with a dash of horror movie that will leave you laughing, happy, angry and sad all at the same time as it plays with your emotions. Actress Carey Mulligan, who plays Cassie Thomas, is fantastic as the revenge-seeking woman who is righting so many wrongs that were done to her friend, and I found myself cheering for her all the way. The film has an amazing cast with such names as Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Molly Shannon and Alison Brie, all being perfect in their roles. The film was released on Christmas during the pandemic and brought in (as of the date of this posting) $1,094,640.00 for Focus Features at the American Box Office. And it’s a shame more people didn’t go and see this film as it really good and one I cannot wait to own on home media when released.

Seeing action films in the theater was a bust this year thanks to this cursed virus crisis, but I can at least say that I was able to see at least one action film in the cinema and best of all it starred an icon of action films, Jackie Chan! So let’s talk about this film.

# 1

A man and his wife are being kidnapped by a paid mercenary group lead by a man who wants answers about his father’s lost fortune, but unlucky for them security group Vanguard is on the case and save their lives! But when they go after the couple’s daughter, Vanguard must travel to other nations and stop them from finding the lost money as they want to buy a weapon of mass destruction to get revenge on the Americans that killed the man’s father. This is a fun fast Chinese action film that stars Jackie Chan, who is as fantastic as ever and shows that he still is an action superstar at his age. The film is filled with lots of over the top action and some great martial arts fighting. The only downside is some of the CGI looks a little bad and awkward in spots. The film came out during the pandemic and did okay for Gravitas Ventures at the American Box Office bringing in $793,525.00 on an unknown budget. If you like Jackie Chan films that feel like they could have been a direct to DVD release in the early 2000’s, give this one a watch. I really enjoyed this film, and it was a great film to see on the big screen on Thanksgiving week.

Let’s next go with the Sci-Fi and Fantasy films I saw this year at the theater, and again I must stress that sadly due to the pandemic, I did not get to see many films from these genres as most films have been yanked off the release schedule, but with that in mind, let’s take a look at the ones I did get to enjoy on the big screen.

# 3

Captain Natalie Artemis is an Army Ranger and is leading her team to investigate a missing convoy, but after a freak lighting storm they find themselves in another world that is filled with giant monsters who all want them dead! And dead they all become until only Natalie is left and alongside a warrior from that world who does not speak her language, they together must find a way to survive and return Natalie to her own world as well as save this one from the destruction of giant monsters. This film is based on the popular Capcom video game series and was even has ties to Toho the studio behind the Godzilla and other classic Kaiju films. Milla Jovovich plays Natalie and Tony Jaa plays Hunter, her newly made friend, and both do a great job and help bring this scifi-action-fantasy film alive. I really enjoyed this film on the big screen with my only major issue being the fast cut jerky fight scenes as the monsters and acting is well done for this type of film. The film has done pretty well at the USA Box Office during the virus time bringing in $4,216,000.00 on a budget of $60 million at this time of posting as the film is still in theaters. If you like movies about giant monsters and or enjoy the game series, check this one out. I will probably buy this one once out on home media.

# 2

The Protagonist is a member of the CIA who finds himself involved in a strange world altering plot that has events not only happening forward but also in rewind. One mad man plans on ending the world with this tech and he must find away to stop it, along the way making allies and trying to wrap his mind around what the hell is really going on! That is the quickest and easiest way to sum up the plot to this mega budget Christopher Nolen scifi-action-spy thriller film that was used to kick off the big movies are back in cinema campaign. And sadly, the film did not set the numbers the studio was looking for and this made it so many films planned for later in the year got moved from 2020 to 2021 and beyond…and that’s a shame as I also feel that this was the wrong choice to bank all that decisions on as the film was a fun popcorn movie, but was hardly the amazing mind mess flick that Nolan in known for and in fact at times the dialogue was just plan bad! Now I need to stress that I enjoyed this film and the acting was great as John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Dimple Kapadia and Elizabeth Debicki are all fantastic in their roles, it’s just the over all presentation was a little lacking to make it a major blockbuster, and keep in mind I did enjoy the film. The film did good considering the virus crisis at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers bringing in $57,909,000.00 on an over blown budget of $200 million. Please note, however, that Warner Brothers has been a bit deliberately vague about the numbers. Tenet is a fun watch but not the mega hit that I think he or Warner Brothers thought it would be.

# 1

Bill S. Preston and Theodore Logan are now middle aged men whose band Wyld Stallyns was supposed to change the world with their music, but thus far it has not happened and their music career has tumbled and they are playing at small dive bars and family weddings and their CDs are in discount bins! Then things get worse when they find out their marriages to the Princesses are on the rocks and they get a visit to the future and find out they have to write the perfect song that will save time and space as a massive rift in time has opened and is causing chaos and people to be placed out of time! And their biggest fans, their daughters, are trying to figure out a way to help their dads create the song that will bring the world together. This third film in the Bill & Ted series is a fantastic follow up that delivers the laughs and classic delivery that we all love about the characters. Also it brings classic characters like Death, Missy and Ted’s Father back as well as delivers new ones like Kelly who is Rufus’s Daughter, killer robot Dennis Caleb McCoy and Billie & Thea, the duo’s daughters! Hands down this was one of the films I had the most fun watching in a theater and delivered pure entertainment all the way through. The film was released to limited screens during the soft re-openings of theaters and did pretty well for Orion Pictures bringing in at the US Box Office $3,439,660.00 on a budget of $25 million. I for one hope that we get a fourth film in the series as Bill & Ted are two silly 80’s cinema icons we need more of in our lives. And of course I got this on DVD when released.

So we are going to take a look at super hero films now. It’s crazy as 2020 was supposed to have Black Widow, The Eternals, Morbius and Venom 2 all bringing action to the cinemas…now they are all slated for this year (2021) and 2022. But with that let’s talk the super hero films I saw this year at the cinema.

# 3

Max Lord is a man who wants it, all not just for himself but for all of you, as he is a TV salesman who is selling you oil and big dreams, but in reality he is a failure who, after conning his way into getting a wish stone, is now a evil wish granting power hungry business man who has made a big mistake as making himself and the stone become one. But before Max gets his hands on the stone, Diana Prince along with her co-worker Barbara Minerva at the museum make wishes on the stone as a joke that ends up turning Barbara into the Cheetah and Diana gets her love Steve Trevor back…but they all learn that making wishes comes with a price as to get what you want you lose something super important to you as well. With the world in chaos thanks to Max and his wishes, Diana must become Wonder Woman and try to set the world right again. If you readers remember back in 2017, the first Wonder Woman took my # 1 spot for superhero films, well sadly the sequel finds its self in last place. The film was a fun watch at the theater and was a total popcorn flick, but the downside to the film is Diana is barely Wonder Woman in the film as much of the film is spent on her and Steve and their love…and it has a long runtime and could have been cut by a good 20 minutes or so. The film has done well for the pandemic Box Office in the US as of the time of this posting it has brought in $16,700,000.00 on a budget of $200 million for Warner Brothers. Again, Warner Brothers has been a little vague about their numbers. While not a perfect superhero film, it was a fun theater watch and Gal Gadot is the perfect Wonder Woman and it as well has an amazing cast with names like Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright and Lynda Carter.

# 2

Danni Moonstar finds herself in a hospital for mutants after her tribe was killed by a “tornado”, and Dr. Cecilia Reyes is there to try and help her learn what her powers are and how to control them. While in care, she meets the fellow patients Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane), Illyana Rasputin (Magik), Bobby da Costa (Sunspot) and Sam Guthrie (Cannonball) and even she finds love with Rahne….but things get bad when all the young mutants fears are used against them and what was supposed to be a place to help them is really a prison that keeps them inside! Can Danni and her new friends over come the darkness? Watch this final film in the Fox X-Men movies and find out! This was a fun superhero film that had lots of elements of horror in it and has a fantastic cast of young stars like Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Blu Hunt and Charlie Heaton to name a few. The film was released at the start of main theater chains limited capacity re-openings and did what it could for Disney at the US Box Office brining in $23,851,511.00 on a budget of $67 million, making it a good start for Disney and movies in general to return to the cinema. While not a perfect film, it really was an entertaining one that was a blast to see on the big screen.

# 1

Harley Quinn has split from The Joker and her life is going out of control, and worse her actions of the past are catching up with her and many people she has wronged want revenge including crime lord Black Mask. At one of Black Mask’s clubs, Black Canary sings and she ends ups working secretly with Gotham cop Renee Montoya who wants to bring a case against Black Mask….but also on the loose is Huntress, a woman who is going around killing a crime family with arrows! Not to even mention that crazed serial killer Victor Zsasz is on Black Mask’s payroll! And when a young pickpocket girl steals a diamond from Black Mask that is the key to a massive amount of money, the ladies have to stand their ground and fight for their lives as the crime lord is not happy and has an army ready to bring him their heads! This superhero comedy film was super well done and the humor throughout worked really well, not to even mention the acting being well done with Margot Robbie being amazing as Harley Quinn as always, and to me, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress steals the show as her awkwardness is charming. I grew up reading Batman comic and seeing Black Mask and Zsasz as the main bad guys in a movie was really cool. The film did oddly bad at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers only bringing in $84,158,461.00 on a budget of $84.5 million. And overseas it did another $117,700,000.00 showing that it did well for itself. This was a great superhero movie and once more in my opinion shows that DC is doing all the right things to get their movies back on track. Worth owning on home media, and one I did buy when released.

So as you long time readers know, horror is my favorite genre of films and in the short time the cinemas was open in 2020, I did get to see my fair share of them sitting in my reclining chair with some popcorn to munch on listening to the fear of those around me grow every second as the suspense on the big screen kept going along. So sit back in your chair and grab some more popcorn as it’s time to talk….

# 15

Kate Mandell takes the job of being the live-in nanny for the Fairchild children (Flora and Miles) who were orphaned at a young age but come from a family with money. At first she thinks she is going to love this job as she and 7-Year old Flora hit it off and the mansion is very lovely. But something is very odd as the maid of the family Mrs. Grose is very cold and Miles comes off as a psychopath…not to mention Kate begins to hear and see things! Now it’s up to Kate to figure out what’s real, what’s in her mind and if she herself is the true psychopath…or is it the ghosts of the mansion. This atmospheric horror movie is based on the novel “Turn Of The Screw” by Henry James and delivers a none explained and lackluster ending that will surely leave a bad taste in most viewers’ mouths, and the blah ending is why the film is ranking so low on my list. The acting in the film is fantastic with Mackenzie Davis as Kate being the true standout. The film dis so-so for Universal at the American Box Office bringing in $15,472,775.00 on a budget of $14 million. While this film is not for everyone, the slow burn horror, the creepy atmosphere and good acting are reason why you should check it out, but be prepared to be letdown by the film’s ending.

# 14

Lily is a young lady who along with her mother move in with Adam Harrison and his three sons and she has a hard time at school after an accident happens in class that leaves her the butt of many jokes. While feeling down and out, she meets three new friends Frankie, Lourdes and Tabby who invite her to join their witches’ coven, and the four become super close and even use their spells to try and better their town and school. But things turn bad when a jerky guy from school they used a spell on ends up dead, and her friends blame Lily who used her magic on him as she had a crush and the friends disband the coven and distance themselves from Lily…and worse Lily finds out that she is not who she thinks she is and some evil power wants her witchcraft abilities…what is a young witch to do…well call upon her friends of course! This sequel to the 1996 film The Craft was produced by Blumhouse and was scheduled for a full theatrical release before the virus shut down theaters, causing it to be VOD and shown at small theaters via private events (the latter is how I saw it). The film is well cast with Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone and Zoey Luna all doing great as the new witches, and the only main complaint I have is that they drained the film of all horror and it feels more like a CW teen show. While not a great sequel to the cult classic, it was a fun watch in the theater the way it was meant to be seen…I am looking at you Sony and Blumhouse.

# 13

A small snowy mountain town is being rocked by terrible murders of females and it’s started talks among town people of a serial killer or a werewolf being on the loose! And worse officer John Marshall is on the case and is dealing with a ton of other issues that includes being a recovering alcoholic, a bad divorce, a strained relationship with his daughter, anger management issues and his father who is the Sheriff will not retire even though he is having bad heart issues! The bodies keep piling up as the victims keep getting more and more mutilated and the cops are clueless! And when John’s daughter is targeted as a victim for the killer, he sees that it’s a massive werewolf or is it? This horror comedy was a fun watch in the theater and the werewolf looks great as do the gore effects when used. Jim Cummings plays John Marshall as well as wrote and directed the film and does a pretty good job in all three roles and actors like Chloe East, Riki Lindhome and the late Robert Forster are all great in their roles. The downside of the film for me is the big reveal at the end of who the werewolf is as I felt it was a little flat, but did not fully drag the film down. I also was happy that this film was released in limited theaters in October as it was great to see a new horror flick in the theater just in time for Halloween. The film brought in $185,026.00 at the US Box Office for Orion Pictures on a small budget making it a win for them during this terrible time. This is one that I will pick up on DVD when released as I would like to see it again and see if I can pick up on clues that lead to whom the werewolf is.

# 12

Marquis Woods and his family take their plane to the funeral of his father that is in the Appalachia area, when a storm causes them to crash in the woods. When Marquis awakens, he finds himself with a terrible foot injury and in a bed in an attic being cared for by Ms. Eloise and her husband Earl and hulking farmhand Lewis all who seem to be keeping him not only as a patient but also as a prisoner! And when trying to escape Marquis soon finds these people are into dark magic and he must find a way to escape, find his family and escape the farm all before the red moon as these wicked people have major plans for him. This horror thriller was a fun watch at the cinema and had some good thrilling moments as well as some good effects with one of a massive nail in a character’s foot being really well done. Actor Omari Hardwick is great as Marquis, with actress Loretta Devine doing an amazing job at playing Ms. Eloise and Lorraine Burroughs who plays Veora Woods is beautiful. The film was released on VOD and shown at select theaters and did okay given when released for Paramount Pictures bring in $500,104.00 on an unknown budget. It’s worth a watch for horror fans who enjoy black magic and voodoo style films, and is one I bought when released on home media.

# 11

A house on Reyburn has been the site of many murders since a mother returning from Japan came home and killed her whole family and then herself! The real estate agent who tried to sell the house after the killings as well follows the same path, and lastly an older couple who moved in as well find themselves the victims of death. After her husband passed away from cancer, single mom and cop Detective Muldoon gets wrapped up in a town’s past case that had driven her new partner, Detective Goodman’s last partner, crazy…and she herself starts to lose her mind as the deeper she digs the more madness she uncovers and then she starts to see things including the evil spirit of Kayako Saeki who has marked her with the curse as she made the mistake of entering the home of murder. Now she must do what she can in order save her life and end this curse once and for all. This new reboot to The Grudge series takes place at the same time as the 2004 film and follows how the curse spreads, and is the first in the series to get a R rating. The film is filled with lots of mean spirited deaths and brings some good and solid special effects. This fright flick also brings some great actors like Lin Shaye, John Cho and William Sadler in roles of the damned. The film did pretty well for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in $21,221,803.00 on a budget of $10 million, showing that the series might have some legs left on it. Trashed by critics this super natural horror movie is one you should make your own mind up on. Worth owning on home media if you have the rest of the series already.

# 10

Five strangers have been selected to win a contest to stay on Fantasy Island, a place that is said to grant all your fantasies! Gwen Olsen is granted to have the family she always wanted, Melanie Cole wants revenge on her high school bully, Patrick Sullivan who wants to be a war hero like his father and stepbrothers JD and Brax who just want to live large and have it all! And they meet Mr. Roarke and his assistant Julia who welcome them and let them know their fantasies will start very soon. But when the fantasies start, they are pleasant and magical and then quickly take a sinister turn as murder and torment is on the minds of those in the fantasy. Now the five winners must come together and survive this twisted island and all its secrets…but whose fantasy are they really in as this horror thriller takes a few twists. This film, while flawed, was a fun watch at the theater and reminded me of the early 2000’s released horror movies. The acting is pretty well done with Maggie Q, Michael Pena and Lucy Hale being the standouts. The film did pretty well for Sony at the American Box Office bringing in $26,441,782.00 on a budget of $7 million. While not a perfect film and at times not a full horror movie, this is one silly Blumhouse release that’s good for a late night watch.

# 9

Liza is attacked and suffers a massive head injury during a random home invasion while her husband Sean is at work, all in front of her son Jude who stops speaking after witnessing it. So to try and help both of them heal, Sean rents a house in the woods on the old Heelshire’s estate and things start to look up when Jude finds the doll Brahms buried in the woods and takes him home as his new friend. But things get worse when Jude starts even acting more odd and strange thing happen at the home as the young man blames them on doll Brahms who he is becoming super attached to and even helps him to start talking again. But soon Liza and Sean find out that something is very wrong with Brahms and they must try and save their son’s soul as this evil doll wants a new vessel for evil. This follow up to the 2016 film does a pretty good job adding a new chapter to the story of the evil doll Brahms, but this time around there is no killer in the walls, it really is the doll calling all the shots…and it appears it has all along. The film is not that overly bloody or gory but does pack in a few scares making it a good PG-13 horror film experience. The film did not do well at all for STX Entertainment at the US box office only bringing in $12,611,536.00 on a budget of $10 million, and I am sure this sadly will mark the end of The Boy movies series.

# 8

Rachel Hunter’s life is falling apart as she is getting a divorce, her hair salon has closed and her son is doing his best to deal with all the drama that is going on around him, but while driving him to school, they have a road incident with Tom Cooper who is on the run after killing his ex-wife and her new boyfriend and now wants to show Rachel the meaning of having a bad day as well as teach her respect! So starts a game of life and death on the road as Rachel and all those she cares about are now in the sights of a manic who has a real bad case of road rage. This horror thriller is a great example of how a simple bad interaction or mistake on the road can lead to something bigger and deadlier as you never know who it is that is raging out. Russell Crowe is creepy and great as Tom Cooper a psychopath who has lost it all and now wants to ruin the lives of anyone who crosses him. Caren Pistorius is also great as Rachel, a mom who his pushed to the limits and finds away to fight back. The film was released at theaters right at the slow start of theater re-openings during the virus crisis and did okay for Solstice Studios bringing in $20,831,465.00 on a budget of $33 million. If you like movies set with murder on the roads that has lots of thriller moments, this one is a heck of a fun ride.

# 7

Amanda and her friends are on a bridge and try an urban legend she heard of to summon an entity called the Empty Man, and to their horror, it works! The “rules” of the legend are that you hear him on day one, on day two you see him and day three he gets you! Amanda goes missing and family friend and ex-cop James Lasombra goes looking for her and uncovers a trail of suicide, unknown people, a cult, a Himalayan creature and events of the past. The Empty Man is real and has followers and with Amanda missing and in danger, James must enter the darkness of our world to unravel the Empty Man and his meaning. This supernatural horror movie is based on the comic by Boom Studios and adds in elements of film noir and the X-Files. Actor James Badge Dale is great as James Lasombra. Sasha Frolova who plays Amanda is also great and has a Louise Brooks look to her. The film did well at the US box office for 20th Century during the virus times bring in $2,992,403.00 on an unknown budget. Worth watching if you like supernatural horror done a little different and has a cool looking monster, bought on media when released.

# 6

Oliver is a young autistic boy who uses his cell phone to communicate and spends most of his time watching episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants as he does not have any friends and the one he did have now picks on him at school. One night a storybook keeps appearing on his cellphone called “Misunderstood Monsters” about a monster named Larry who is looking for a friend and has been watching the boy from his phone screen, and after reading part of the book, the lights in the house go out and Larry comes looking for his new friend! Now Oliver’s mom and dad are up against a monster from another dimension that wants their son to come back to his world and become his friend for life. But what can they do to stop a creature that can travel via screens of electrical devices? This was a super fun PG-13 horror film that has a good storyline, interesting characters and a cool monster that, while bad, does what he does cause he is lonely. Plus it really holds an urban legend, storybook feel and you cant go wrong with a monster named Larry. The film did pretty well for Focus Features during the virus crisis at the American box office bringing in $9,505,540.00 on a budget of $9 million. This is one I hope gets a sequel or at least a comic book mini series and will buy when released on home media.

# 5

Charlie and Mina are business partners who decided to rent a massive house in the middle of nowhere that has a great view of the ocean. Josh is Mina’s boyfriend and Charlie’s brother while Michelle is Charlie’s wife and the house is perfect besides the creepy, racist caretaker of the place. But after a night of drinking and drugs, Mina and Charlie end up sleeping together and to make things worse they find a camera that taped the whole event and they think that the caretaker watched and has it on tape! After Mina confronts him about it, as she don’t want her boyfriend to find out, an accident happens and the group of friends must figure out what to do as someone else was responsible for the cameras that has way more sinister attentions then just being a pervert! This is a really good indie thriller film that is mixed with a slasher and is well cast as Sheila Vand is fantastic as Mina and Alison Brie is perfect as the wife Michelle who you find yourself cheering for to survive. The masked nameless killer is interesting and seems to pick who to murder by random as by the end it appears that he has his cameras set up in many different rental properties. The film did well for IFC at the US Box Office given it was an indie film being shown on limited screens and drive-ins as it brought in $1,635,175.00 on a small budget. The Rental was a fun summer release and was the first movie I saw in the theater after the shutdown and lockdowns due to the virus and is a film I own on DVD and is one you should check out if you enjoy a good slow burn Horror Movie.

# 4

Norah Price works for Titan Industries many miles underwater when her station blows up and causes major damage with very few survivors. And when all those who are left meet up, they soon have to make a very dangerous decision as the station is about to collapse on itself and they must suit up and walk the ocean floor to get to a nearby rig that has escape pods. But as they make their escape, they soon find they are not alone as humanoid man-eating creatures are hunting them down one by one, and in the end, the humanoid creatures are they least of her worries as something bigger and badder waits them! This underwater horror film delivers a creepy and hopeless feeling watching experience and all the characters are likable with Norah being the most likable. I have to say Kristen Stewart does a great job in the role. If you like giant underwater monsters, killer fish humanoids and grim moments of horror dread this one is for you! Sadly this film did not do great for 20th Century Fox bringing in the low number of $17,291,078.00 on a budget of around $80 million. If you like horror movies like DeepStar Six or Leviathan, then do yourself a favor and give it a watch, worth owning on home media.

# 3

Gretel and her young brother Hansel has been chased away by their mother as time in their small village is very rough, as it appears the land has been cursed. Gretel takes her brother and runs into the woods and tired, cold and hungry, they run into a Huntsman who feeds them and draws them a map to a family that could house them. Along the journey, they find a house with a table filled with tons of food and they are invited in by the owner a creepy old woman to eat and find shelter, but things are to good to be true and the kids start feeling odd as the old woman truly enters their lives. And when Gretel is taken under the old woman’s wing to become a witch of darkness, things go really bad when Gretel is told she must eat Hansel to become a true powerful witch and the young woman finds out the old lady is a witch who kills and eats children. Now its up to Gretel to save herself and her brother from evil and change the course of their lives forever! This creepy fairy tale movie is filled with creepy moments, great atmosphere and is a sold PG-13 Horror Movie watch that is filled with blood and even guts. The film is well acted and reminded me of a good 70’s style British horror movie. The film did okay at the American Box Office bringing in $15,347,654.00 on a budget of $5 million. This is one film I feel that is worth owning on home media and I hope this spawns a whole dark fairy tale horror universe. It’s one I bought on home media when released as I will watch again.

# 2

Teenager Millie Kessler is having a very rough time as her father passed away a year ago, her mother has been drinking, her older sister has wrapped herself up in her job as a cop and worse kids at school bully her! Well one day after a school football game as she waits for her passed out mother to pick her up she is killed by the town’s serial killer The Blissfield Butcher who is using a special knife that causes them to switch bodies the next morning! So now Millie is in the body of the Butcher who is being tracked down by the police and The Butcher is inside Millie and is killing kids and teachers at the school, and worse Millie has only until midnight to stab The Butcher to switch back into her body, and he doesn’t want to switch back. This horror comedy was done by the team behind the “Happy Death Day” series and is a funny and bloody good watch, not to mention the characters are fantastic and casting is well done with Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn being top notch. The film was way bloodier then I expected and I for one hope for a sequel or even a crossover with Happy Death Day. The film did well during the virus crisis at the US Box Office bringing in $8,702,060.00 on a budget of $6 million. I plan on buying this when released on home media and really enjoyed this one lots.

# 1

Cecilia Kass is in a very abusive relationship with scientist Adrian Griffin and with help of her sister Emily she is able to escape his mansion that is more like a compound! Free from his abuse, she lives with her cop friend James and his teenage daughter Sydney, but is paranoid that Adrian will find her…that is until she gets the news that he is dead by committing suicide and has left her tons of money as a way to say sorry for the bad years they spent together. But this money comes with a price as strange things start happening all around her, and while her friends think she is losing her mind, she knows that an invisible person is tormenting her and trying to drive her crazy and she thinks its Adrian who has faked his suicide and found a way to become an Invisible Man…now with crimes being committed and Cecilia being set up she must fight for her life and prove she is not crazy and that Adrian is not dead and is the true monster she knows he is. This modern take on the classic Universal Monster is a great start for the Blumhouse team up and does a fantastic job of bring The Invisible Man to a new generation of Monster Kids and moviegoers. The film is Rated R and has lots of scares and some shocking murders and delivers a great watch featuring a classic movie monster. Elisabeth Moss is great as our hero Cecilia, and Oliver Jackson is the right amount of crazy sleazy as Adrian Griffin and I for one cannot wait to see what’s next for the Universal Monsters at the cinema. The film did great for Universal at the American box office bringing in $70,410.00 on a budget of only $7 million. Well done shocker and one that I bought on home media when it was released, and proves that the classic Monsters can still bring people in if done right.

I think we all can agree 2020 was a very terrible year, but I do want to say a big Thank You to every Movie Theater, Filmmaker, Home Media Release Companies, Horror Host, Streaming Service and YouTube for bringing entertainment and joy to not just me but so many others during that time. And I want to also say that AT&T and their crappy day of release for Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema films to HBO Max can suck a big one as films like Wonder Woman 1984, Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong and Conjuring 3 are meant to be seen on the big screen and not used as a tool to save a terrible streaming service. And I for one will not be streaming these films and will be seeing them all in theater as I support cinema and theaters and not a soulless communication company’s terrible decision to cheapen their films by dumping them on a servers that is failing. I am very much looking forward to heading to all my local theaters this year and watching films on the silver screen and ranking them up for Matt Goes To The Movies 2021! So until next time be safe, watch a film of three at your local cinema and as always get yourself a popcorn. See you next update as I talk about Star Trek IV!

Black Bow And His Indie Superhero Forgotten Friends

Being the owner of an indie comic company has just really cemented my love for true independent comics. You know the ones I am talking about, the comics that are made by creators who sell their books directly to readers at conventions, public appearances and at local comic shops. These creators are the true backbone of the comic industry as their passion and love for their creations shows. While the Marvel and DC both just see marketing tools for blockbuster movies and streaming TV shows nowadays, it’s the indie guys that are delivering amazing reads and fresh new characters. So with this update I have decided to once again dig through the cheap boxes at comic shops and search the web for some superheroes from indie comics that didn’t get a fair shake when it came to getting the popularity of Spider-Man or Superman as well as even the courtesy of getting more than a small handful of issues released. I really did have a blast back on February 3, 2019 when I covered the likes of Rottweiler, T-Bird and Blood Bath and with that I am going to add a fourth hero to the update as like all good “sequels” you need to up the action! So if you are ready, let’s take a look at some truly amazing forgotten and over looked Superheroes of the comic shop cheap bins. Below is the comic book case at Game Swap Kettering when they first started carrying higher end comics.

First up is a character named Black Bow from a company called Artline Studios. I heard about this comic on an episode of Cartoonist Kayfabe!, a YouTube show hosted by comic creators Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor who also seem to enjoy these type of indie comics. Artline Studios looks like it opened its doors in 1990 and boarded them up in 1992 with a total of four titles released, all only lasting one issue each. The comics they released besides Black Bow were the following: DeathWind, Tekknights and Sting/Killer Synthetic Toads…and yes all of them at some point will get the Rotten Ink treatment. From what I gather Artline Studios was based out of Illinois and was a collective of artist coming together to create the company and bring new and fresh superheroes into the hands of readers. And like so many Indie companies before them and even after them, Artline Studios made a small mark on the world of comics and created many heroes that make you wonder what if they would have lasted or caught on with readers.

So to start this review off right, we are going to start with the character Black Bow that made me want to do another of these updates about indie heroes that never got the chance to becomes icons. I got Black Bow off Ebay from Mile High Comics and am pretty hyped to read it for the first time. This comic and all the ones that follow I want to remind you all that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star system 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, let’s enter the world of Black Bow as well as the heroes that have been selected for this update.

Black-Bow # 1  **1/2
Released in 1991    Cover Price $2.50     ArtLine Studios    # 1 of 1

Black Bow lives in the sewers of Chicago, and on this night he stalks a drug dealer. Before shooting him with arrows, he gets the name of his supplier. The main drug dealer is John Atkins, who not only is a drug seller but also a man who deals in illegal porn and runs his own Satanic Cult. Once Black Bow breaks into his mansion, he soon finds out that it’s a trap and he is caught in a pentagram on the floor that has hands trying to pull him down to Hell. Black Bow fires arrows at his demonic enemies and escapes the pentagram trap and is then confronted by a demon named Slaze who goes on the attack, but Black Bow knows he is on bad footing and escapes the mansion and heads into the dark with the idea of returning and ending the Demon and his master. We then cut back to the drug dealer who awakens from being shot with arrows and questions his life of crime. And worse, a woman appears at Black Bow’s mother’s house and alerts her that her baby is indeed Black Bow’s!

This series ends on a major cliffhanger and it stinks, as I really would have loved to read other issues featuring Black Bow and see how he would bring down a satanic drug lord and his demonic forces. The plot of issue one has Black Bow getting the location of a very evil man who is doing lots of very bad things who has been waiting for our hero and sets a trap for him that leaves Black Bow almost dragged to hell and forced to flee the fight in order to stay alive. Add in the side plots of Black Bow’s girlfriend alerting his family he has a child and the drug dealer who ratted out his boss rising from what appears the dead after being shot with arrows, and you have this fun indie issue. Black Bow is a pretty cool hero who has a very late 80’s indie hero look complete with a metal facemask and hood. I really like the idea of a hero with a mystical bow living in the city’s sewer who wants to clean up the streets of all the crime that is running rampant. I also like the fact he is a full fledged vigilante and has zero tolerance for criminals. The issue’s villain is John Atkins and sadly we never do get a look at him, but we do know that he is a massive drug lord, deals in porn, owns a massive mansion and has his own cult that worships Satan. We also know he has opened a portal to Hell and has many demons under his control including one named Slaze who seems to almost be John’s bodyguard. The comic is a very quick read as it also has two back up stories with one being the origin of Black Bow and how he got his power, and the other features another costume hero named Alley Cat. Both of those backup stories are worth reading. The cover for this issue is eye catching for fans of Indie Comics and would have been a comic I would have picked up if I had seen it as a kid. The comics interior art was done by Ed Decker, and I must say it pretty dang good, oh and Ed also created the character! Over all I must say Black Bow is a very solid comic with a pretty cool character who never got his time to shine. Check out the art below to see the style of Ed Decker and see just how cool Black Bow looks.

While looking around the cheap boxes of comics at Bell, Book And Comic, I found an interesting issue in the box of $1.00 # 1’s called My Name Is Mud, and I knew this hero was perfect for this update as he was a hero that only lasted one issue from a company no one has heard of. Incognito Comics looks like it started and died in 1994 and only had this one comic under its belt. I am guessing that the company was owned by artist and creator Brian Denham who went on to work for companies like Marvel, IDW, Image, DC among many others. So as you can see, this company’s rise and fall came with the same issue. So here is to you, Incognito Comics, for making a tiny speck in the world of comics.

My Name Is Mud is a comic when that I saw it, I knew that this had to be one of the forgotten heroes I covered on this update as he fit perfectly as he only lasted one issue, was released by a very short lived comic company and had an interesting look! So let’s see what Mud is all about.

My Name Is Mud # 1  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $2.50     Incognito Comics   # 1 of 1

Kid Chaos is a young teen who has the powers of a God and when bored he decides to go on a rampage in the city streets as people watched on in fear. As he tires of the destruction, he floats away and from the shadows Mud appears, a hero who was enjoying his day off and knew he was no match for the evil doer. Later on Mud returns to the police station, his home away from home, and finds out that a fellow officer has been murdered and his boss wants him on the case even if it’s his day off. Mud must break off his date with girlfriend Liz ,and she is angry telling him not to come back, and in his gut Mud has a bad feeling about his new case. After heading to a pub to drink a beer and get a ham & cheese sandwich, he meets an old man who tells him he can see his future and he will be going on a major journey…and before they can talk some more, Kid Chaos is back and sets up a fight with Mud. A few hours pass and Mud arrives at the meeting spot and Kid Chaos hits him with a massive energy blast that leaves our hero hurt. Filled with rage Mud goes on the attack and looses control and beats Kid Chaos to death! After he murders the teen, Mud decides to quit the force and move away from the city and finds that he is just wondering around a canyon when he happens upon a young woman who ends up being his new love interest.

This one was a little surprising and was a really solid read that created a world that I would have liked to have seen more of. This comic follows the massive superhero Mud who works for the police department, and while he loves his job, he does also enjoy his time away from it, and when he must battle an overly powerful teen that leads to the youngster’s death, the hero must face what he is doing with his life. This is a pretty great superhero comic and takes a turn in the end that I did not see coming as I was shocked that our main hero beat a teenager to death with his bare hands, even if the teen was a super powered villain. Mud himself is a costumed hero who is hulking in size and loves his job as a law enforcement officer, but also battles in his own mind as he knows he is over worked and his free time he wants to spend away from crime and with his lovely lady Liz who sadly he has to break so many dates with as duty always calls. While a good guy superhero, Mud also has a temper and seems to loose his cool when he is scared and has been injured. Kid Chaos is an ego driven teenager who has the power of a God and doesn’t mind using them against innocent people as he seems to get joy in striking fear in the hearts of the townies. But with his ego also comes his downfall as he uses his might against a hero who got the better of him in battle and paid with his life. The world that creator Brian Denham made for Mud was very interesting, and I would have liked to have seen where this comic series would have gone if it lasted more than this one issue. I also have to give Brian credit as he was a one man show of this comic as he was not only the artist but also write, colorist, letterer and even editor! I also find the cover very eye catching on this issue. My Name Is Mud might share a name with a popular Primus song, but this comic stands on its own and was a really solid read. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Brian that I found very good…even if I could see pencil lines left behind.

Dimension Graphics seems to have started around 1986 and closed up shop in 1986 with only four titles under their belt and only one series lasting more than one issue. Series include Hero Man, Secret Doors, Happy Birthday Gnatrat and ElfTrek, the only comic to get a second issue. It appears that Dimension Graphics was run by editor Marcus C. Lusk who truly believed in and loved his company. Like all the indie companies we are covering on this update, there is very little information on Dimension Graphics as it lasted so shortly that it was a blip on the screen of the comic shelves.

So when picking which four heroes to cover on this update that celebrates indie superheroes that never got a fair shake, I landed on Hero Man because all the rest of the heroes we are covering are very serious and I felt the goofy ones also needed to get a little respect. I want to also thank Bell, Book and Comic for having this comic in stock and making this update a little better.

Hero Man # 1  **
Released in 1986     Cover Price $1.75     Dimension Graphics     # 1 of 1

Louis Oak Riley is a Scout Leader who while out in the woods gets crushed by a bowling ball spaceship driven by alien bowling balls who feel bad for crushing him and design a suit for him and give him superpowers and with these powers he becomes Hero Man! Louis works a day job at a factory, and his boss is the man his wife left him for. His life is very bad and his co-worker wants to cheer him up and makes plans for the two of them to travel to amusement park Drexelland to pick up single moms and have a good time. But Louis feels weird going there to pick up women as his daughter Rocks-Ann works there as a clown. So Louis runs to the bathroom and changes into Hero Man as he feels this would go over better with the crowds, and once entering the park fully he runs into his daughter and knocks the balloons from her hand causing her to have to talk to her boss. Once she heads to the office, she finds herself as well as her boss being taken hostage by terrorist who make them stand atop a ice cream mountain and shout demands, and when he notices his daughter has been taking hostage, Hero Man rushes to the rescue and grabs a massive spoon and eats his way to the top of the mountain and beats up the bad guys and saves his Daughter and her boss. In the end the ice cream hurts Hero Man’s stomach and when his co-worker brings two twins with ice cream to him for a date…he pukes and so ends the adventure of Hero Man.

This silly superhero comic is a fun read and Hero Man is lot of fun, but sadly some of the politically incorrect humor took me out of the comic in spots as it was just bad. The story is very simple as a down on his luck guy is granted amazing powers by aliens and even though he is a superhero he still gets no respect and must rise to save his daughter from terrorist. Hero Man is a hero who lacks respect and knowledge and clearly saves the day by coming up with silly ideas. His costume is goofy looking as well but was made of bowling items that his creators the bowling balls from outer space made for him. I also like that he is just a normal guy with normal problems, and even while he has superpowers, he doubts his own ability when it comes to stepping up. Plus I love that Hero Man’s origin is tied into Superman’s as the reason the bowling ball ship crashes to Earth is because baby Superman’s ship crashes into it! The bad guys of this issue are called the P.P.L.O. and are dressed as mascots from the park and threaten to kill hostages and use bombs to blow people up, but while they seem dangerous they are taken out very fast by Hero Man who shows them no mercy. And while I enjoyed this Indie Comic, I need to state I do not find it funny when you as a creator poke fun at a person’s religion or race and do so with nasty names and stereotypes. I also need to say I do not think the creators of this comic had mean intentions at all, but the bad jokes/name calling just doesn’t hold up to modern readers. The cover for this comic is very eye catching for fans of goofy superheroes, and the interior art done by John Cummins is really good as it has a fun almost kids comic look to it. If you like bumbling heroes with cheesy jokes and sight gags, make sure to give Hero Man a read. Check out the artwork below to show the style of Cummins.

Our last hero comes from the company Brainstorm Comics that was started around 1989 and was an indie comic company that delivered all types of styles from Horror to Super Hero and would last as a company until around 2000. Many of the company’s comics were based on Vampires and had a very adult nature to them packed with violence and nudity. Brainstorm lasted a little longer then the other companies on this update and to be honest I have seen more of their books in comic shops then all the others above combined! While Brainstorm Comics was not a major player in the world of Indie Comics, they at least left behind a body of work that is still being collected to this day.

So from Brainstorm Comics I decided to choose Hammer Girl to talk about as she only lasted two issues and feels like she belongs in the world of Forgotten Heroes. I want to thank Lonestar Comics for having both issues in stock, and I have to say this is the first time I will be reading this comic series. So let’s see what Hammer Girl has to offer.

Hammer Girl # 1  **1/2
Released in 1996   Cover Price $2.95   Brainstorm Comics   # 1 of 2

A group of scientist who are playing with time and space have had an experiment go wrong, and John, one of their team members, is now missing in time, and they must figure out a way to rescue him. And while the scientist have a meeting about rebuilding a machine to bring John back, a repair woman known as a Hammer Girl speaks up and tells them they could just send her back in time to fix his transporter and this is the plan they decide to go with. So along with Sonia and a male guard, Hammer Girl travels back in time of the dinosaurs to find the missing man and fix his gadget, but what they find is that they miscalculated time, and John is now a crazed caveman who thinks he is a God and they are there to attack him! Hammer Girl uses a rubber mallet and knocks out John and they find his hidden cave and his transporter that Hammer Girl fixes in no time and once they use it something goes wrong and they are dropped off in an unknown time and once more John is missing.

This first issue of Hammer Girl is just ok and reminds me slightly of a weird mix of “Tank Girl”, “Cadillac and Dinosaurs” and “Super Mario Bros.” with a dash of Anime and while that mash up sounds weird, it kind of works here as it’s a very simple comic with a simple plot and a likable, underdeveloped hero. The story is this a repair woman is sent back in time to fix a stranded scientists gear, and finds herself now stuck in time travel with two others on a quest to get home. Hammer Girl is a hero who is bright, strong willed and will do what ever she can to get the job done she is hired to do. He also get the feeling that she loves her job of being a fix it woman who uses hammers to get most of her work done. The two scientists that are with her while smart and by no means survivors and they are good side characters for Hammer Girl to play off of. The dinosaurs of the world they travel back to are well dinosaurs with the T-Rex being the most dangerous! John who was once a wise man of science is now a caveman who has a delusion of being godlike and while mad they crew sent back still want to help him. Over all this issue is a fun read but also is nothing that special as the story is very normal indie comic. The cover is eye catching for the most part and has a very American Anime style to it. The art is done by Lloyd Meek and is pretty good and his style really makes this story pop. So the first issue is pretty good and makes me want to see what issue two has in store for me.

Hammer Girl # 2  *1/2
Released in 1996   Cover Price $5.00   Brainstorm Comics   # 2 of 2

Hammer Girl and her friends find that they are no longer even on Earth and are on another planet! Meanwhile a race of Eagle humanoids are holding gladiator games in a arena and their champion is Byrdax who after make show work of an alien is challenged by John, and after a quick fight and before he can kill the looney scientist Hammer Girl with a massive hammer enters the arena and challenges Byrdax. The battle starts off very brutal and as the crowd and King watch Hammer Girl wins the fight, and to save face and to find out how they arrived on their planet the King invites them to stay in the Kingdom and even gives them a tour and tells them of the history of their race. Once in their rooms they find their time travel devices and Hammer Girl and the Scientist decide to use them and return home with the still knocked out John. When they arrive back at home they whole city is destroyed and they find that the Bird Race had used the info they learned from them and their time travel equipment and have taken over!

This second and last issue in this series leaves the reader on a major cliffhanger as the Earth they return to is destroyed and over taken by an alien race of bird people and they are super aggressive and only crave worlds to take over and make their own. In this second and final issue in the series Hammer Girl shows that she is not only skilled at fixing stuff, but can also swing that hammer and defend herself like a true warrior. That’s the thing about Hammer Girl as these issue went on you seen more layers to who she really is. The Scientists and John are around and while John tries to fight he is easily beat by the Bird Warrior and the Scientists stand around in fear…in other words they are not helpful. The Bird People are sneaky and creatures of war as they attack and once defeated they lie in order to get information they need in order to find out about Earth as they want to conquer it! When you think about it the end of this comic takes very much from the end of the movie “Planet Of The Apes” with the world being taken over and destroyed by human/animal hybrid people. I think the weird thing about this comic as well is the fact that Brainstorm Comics upped the cover price from $2.95 to $5.00 and I think that hurt sales as this was the final issue in the series that was slated to last lots longer. The cover for this issue is good but does have an adult comic look to it. The interior art is done by B. Dallas Patton and while good it is very much off from the style of Lloyd Meek from the first issue. Over all this canceled series was entertaining but was nothing groundbreaking or new. Check out the art below to see the art style used in these issues.

So like before when I covered Rottweiler, T-Bird and Blood Bath each of these characters have sadly been forgotten by the masses as maybe to less of issues and impact have left them in cheap bins at local comic shops. I mean how many of you readers out there talk about Black Bow, Mud, Hero Man or Hammer Girl with your friends? How many of you even own issues of these characters…while I am sure some of you do the large majority don’t and it’s a sad thing as these characters really are forgotten heroes. And like before I am sure you are all wondering who of the four characters we covered here is the one I would have liked to have seen continue on in the world of comics…I know you are all wondering who I will choose, and like before I am going to show the winner via a Fantasy Warfare battle! So sit back an enjoy this battle between forgotten heroes.

It’s a hot summer day in Chicago and the temperatures are in the high 90’s and it’s around lunchtime as a line at a local pizza joint is out the door as this place is said to have the best deep dish pizza in town. In this line is Louis Oak Riley who is on a lunch break as he has been sent to Chicago by his factory job to supervise the manufacturing of a weird product he don’t even know what it does! Also on a lunch break is Hammer Girl who has spent all morning swinging her hammer to fix some high-end equipment for some high tech company paying her a fortune to maintenance their mechanical junk. The restaurant is hot as the ceiling fans and air conditioner just can’t keep up with the blistering heat from the bright sun and the pizza ovens, and worse tensions inside the restaurant are starting to boil over as the person in the front of the line is taken forever to order his food, and finally after have been waiting for over 17 minutes in the same spot Louis Oak Riley snaps and screams at the front of the line that “other people want to eat lunch too lard ass!” after he says it he feels bad almost instantly as that’s not him he is normally a very nice person, but he really regrets it when the person holding up the line is a massive man that is known as Mud and he is mad at the comments as he is on a date with his lady and cant not be made a fool of and turns to see who was so rude, and when everyone in line see’s how massive he is they all point at poor Louis who is now turning red and knows that this is going to turn south really fast. Mud makes his way over to Louis and grabs him by his shirt so they can be face to face and asks him what he just said with his fist ready to punch his block off, when another voice echoes out that says “Leave Him Alone” and as Mud away from Louis he sees Hammer Girl standing there with a hammer in hand, as she says “I Am Not Going To Say It Again”, Mud laughs her off and goes back to screaming in the face of Louis about manners when Louis tries to apologize he by accident spits a tiny drop on Mud who them backhands Louis across the restaurant and he falls into the Pepsi machine! As this happens Hammer Girl enters the fight now and smashes Mud across his face and this makes him stumble through the front window and Hammer Girl rushes out after Mud who she has now deemed a threat to the people of Chi-Town. Louis gets up covered in Mountain Dew and stumbles into the bathroom and a few moments later comes out in his Hero Man costume and joins the side of Hammer Girl as the massive Mud shakes off the hammer hit and is now really pissed off.

Across the street from the pizza place on the rooftop a masked hero has just sat down to have himself a loaded Chicago Hot Dog that he had just bought off a street vender and he has been looking forward to lunch all day and the heat has been terrible and he had just gotten done bashing a demon that had returned to Earth thanks to a silly cult running out of an abandon building. As he takes his first bite he looks down at the street as a commotion has caught his attention and their stopping traffic in front of the pizza place is Mud who is in a full rage and is charging Hero Man and Hammer Girl who are standing their ground as well ready to take down this rampaging hulking hero man down who only wanted to order 16 pizzas for lunch so he and his date can enjoy a meal together. As Black Bow keeps eating his Hot Dog he watches as Mud and Hero Man lock up in a test of strength the ground beneath each start to crack and crumble as each gain a little ground then loose it, and finally Mud gets the upper hand and knocks Hero Man against a near by van and then follows up with several punches to Hero Man’s face, and now the costume hero is out for the count…as Mud turns around he is meet with a shot from Hammer Girls hammer knocking him to his knees. As Mud looks up he see’s Hammer Girl about to swing down to smash him on the head and he lets her know he will not hit a woman.

Black Bow takes the last bite of his Hot Dog and wipes his fingers off as he then removes a special arrow out and pulls back his bow string and fires just before Hammer Girl is about the smash Muds head like a melon, the arrow lands and sticks into the road next to the fighting heroes and a green gas pours out and fills the lungs of Hammer Girl and Mud and causes them to pass out in the street next to the already knocked out Hero Man. Black Bow makes his way down to street as people have gathered around to watch and among the crowd stories of what Black Bow is going to do to the fallen and short tempered heroes starts to spread as things like execute them and blow them up with an exploding arrow is the top gossip among them, but they are all shocked as he walks passed them all and into the Pizza place and buys a bottle of Pepsi to drink plus a several two liters of Mountain Dew plus orders around four pizzas and once done he walks back out takes a drink from his Pepsi and calmly walks over to the heroes and uses smelling salts to wake them all up and says something to them all that the crowd can not hear and they all follow him. And a few minutes later in an abandon store front Black Bow has brought Hammer Girl, Hero Man and Mud together for a pizza party and all ends well as the one time feuding heroes are now chomping down on some deep dish sausage and extra cheese pizza.

Winner: Black Bow

So as you can see, I really do think that Black Bow would win in a battle against the others and also had the best comic out of the lot and the one that I think had the biggest potential to be a full series with interesting stories to tell about his battle against drugs and Satan worshipers. Plus while the look of Black Bow screams 90’s Indie Comic hero he could be updated and made into a very cool Green Arrow meets The Punisher Character. And if we had him at Sparkle Comics I would place him in the world of Black Jack, Spring Heeled Jack and Adventure Man and would also give him his own mini series that would have him taking on a Satanic Cult that is killing women in the Purple Church in Oklahoma and they make the mistake of selecting Black Bow’s baby’s mother to kill and he goes on a rampage to get her back. But sadly Black Bow will never join the Sparkle Comics world and it’s a shame as he is a great character that would be entertaining readers again.

Before I end this update I want to also share with you readers about a epic Horror Movie Marathon that Juliet and I had starting on March 27, 2020 as we decided that it was a good day to sit back and relax and get away from the drama of scariness of the real world and enjoy the horrors of the home screen. And for the Pre-Show we ordered Wing Zone with a split can of Coke and selected two films to enjoy for the night as a kind of a Pre-Show kick off with the first one being “Unknown Terror” a 1957 film that is about a cave of the dead and a group of Americans that go looking for it and find that the cave holds a dangerous living fungus and the people infected by it. The second film is slasher film “The Furies” that is about a group of young women who are kidnapped and dropped in the woods and are hunted and also protected by masked killers! And I must say this was a great way to start this three-day Marathon event.

For the main day we of course loaded up on good eats that included Breakfast Casserole and Burritos and a few snacks the classic chips and dip combo and started at 8pm with the 1957 drive-in cult classic “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein” that has Dr. Frankenstein creating life from dead teenager parts in order to show the scientific world his genius. Found Footage Cult Classic film “The Mcpherson Tape” was next and is about a family filming a kids birthday party that is attacked by aliens. The third film was “The Curse Of Buckout Road” about a haunted cursed road that has set its evil sites on a group of collage kids who shot a documentary debunking the legends. David Sterling produced “The Yeti Experiment” was next and followed a group that travels to the Himalayas to search for answers at a science base that has went dark, only to find a Yeti on the loose! The fifth film is the 1985 cult film “The Strangeness” about a group of people that go into an old gold mine only to find that something evil is down there with them. “Dark Light” was on tap next and is about a mother who must save her daughter from light head creatures that live under their house. We next watched the super cheesy “Thankskilling” about a killer Turkey who wants revenge on white people and can only do so once in every 505 years. Unlucky flick number eight was “The Snarling” about a low budget zombie film being shot in a small town that is being plagued by murders done by a werewolf! The Monster killing in the woods film “Clawed” was viewed next. The next terror film was “Cupid” about the arrow shooting Valentines Day icon going crazy and killing kids at a school to stomp out love. The next film was one I finally got to see and was the slasher film “Curse Of The Slasher Nurse” about an escape mental patient who targets a group of friends at a cabin in the woods. And the final film of the night was the indie film “Pumpkins” about a pumkinheaded slasher killer carving up people that get too close to his yard. Over all another fun day of watching Horror movies with more fright flicks to be watched the next day!

The After Party to this very epic Horror Movie Marathon that took place on March 29, 2020 starting at 10am and we kicked it off with the 1934 Horror Mystery Thriller film starring Lon Chaney Jr. called “A Scream In The Night” that is about the police trying to stop a murderous crime lord called Johnny Fly. The second film is the remake of the 1959 spooky film “Attack Of The Giant Leeches” that has a local cop trying to stop the killing ways of giant leeches in a swamp in Louisiana, the film was done by indie filmmaker Brett Kelly. The third film of the day is “Restricted Area” about some soon to be laid off steel workers who go camping and run into a very dangerous cult. The fourth and half way to the end of the Pre-Show film is from Full Moon Entertainment and is called “Birth Rite” and is about Rebecca an 18 year old girl who is a leader of a witch cult that she just finds out about and is torn to her personal life and those of the black arts. Then we watched the 80’s film “Fatal Games” that is champion athletes fighting for their place in the Olympics and their lives against a masked killer. What we watched next was “Polaroid” a supernatural film about a cursed camera that kills anyone that has their picture taken with it and a young woman who is trying to break the curse. The next film was the remake of the David Cronenberg film by the Soska Sisters called “Rabid” that is about a woman who after an accident has a stem cell treatment that leaves her blood craving and a virus carrier…or is she? The final film of the marathon was another modern remake of a cult classic film “Gila” is based on the 1959 film The Giant Gila Monster and is about Chase a hot rodder well liked young man who’s home town is being attacked by a giant man eating Gila Monster! A great time once more being spent with my lady Juliet and watching some great Horror Movies on the small screen while enjoying good food.

So by the end of this marathon we had watched a total of 22 films over the span of three days and ate some really good food all while safe and sound in our home. And of course we picked our Golden Turkey for the event with Juliet selecting “Thankskilling” as she found it to be a film that tried to hard to be like a Troma Movie as well as a Full Moon one like Gingerdead Man. I picked “Pumpkins” as the events Golden Turkey as I found it to get generic and disjointed and just not good. And because we had so many films we picked our Top 6 films of the Marathon and we will start with Juliet’s with her # 1.) Rabid, # 2.) I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, #3.) Birth Rite, # 4.) Cupid, #5.) The Strangeness and #6.) The Furies!

And for me my #1.) was “Rabid” as I found it to be a very interesting take on the Cronenberg story and was filled with some great effects, plus funny to see wrestlers CM Punk and AJ Lee in roles. My #2.) was “The Furies” as I liked how they pulled off a Beauty And The Beast in a twisted game of life and death with some great kills and cool looking masked killers. For my # 3.) spot I picked “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein” as it was a great black and white chiller that shows a then modern take on the story and man Dr. Frankenstein is a huge jerk in this one. #4.) was “Gila” as this 2012 remake was lots of fun and added some new elements to the story to make it feel like it’s own fright flick, plus you cant go wrong with that classic Horror feel. The #5.) spot went to “Cupid” as I found this monster movie a fun indie watch filled with some silly arrow kills and a evil killer winged monster. And my final spot that that wicked #6.) was a tough one but I chose “Fatal Games” as I found it to be a fun 80’s slasher film filled with over the top kills and lots of nudity. So as always The Horror Movie Marathon was a great way to take ours minds off the sadness of the real world and delivered hours and entertainment.

Many of the killers and monsters from this extra long Horror Movie Marathon racked up a massive body count but only one can be awarded The Golden Massacre Award…or can it be several as this Marathon has a three-way tie with them all having 12 confirmed kills! The first is the Bear Claw Monster who slashed and ripped apart is body count! Joining him was Uncle from Pumpkins as they pumpkin headed monster slashed and hacked his way to this tie. And finally The Killer Nurse from Curse Of The Slasher Nurse tortured and brutalized her way to hang with these two. So a big thanks goes out to all three for making this epic Marathon one bloody and gruesome good time.

So as you can see the world of comic books is filled with forgotten superhero’s as so many companies have came and went over the years from major players to micro companies with each creating their own hero’s and villains that are now blown away in the sands of time and lost to the masses never to see the light of day again with a new adventure. Like Rottweiler I 100% find that Black Bow had the potential to grow as a character and not to mention you could have built a good rogues gallery for him based on demons, monsters and even cults…but only lasted one issue and being placed in the Long Box in the Sky made Black Bow a true forgotten hero with lots of potential. But for our next update we will be walking away from Unknown and Forgotten Heroes and will talk a look at a Horror Host that has went under the radar by the name of Tim The Enchanter and his show Scary As Hell Theater that was seen only on VHS to a select few! So until time read a indie comic or three, watch a indie film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Get ready to be scared as Hell on my next update.

Malibu Comics Ultraverse Memories: Exiles

Remember back in the 1990’s when both Marvel and DC had some competition when it came to superhero comics with companies like Image and more important to me Malibu, who had some amazing heroes like Prime, Mantra, Prototype, Sludge and Night Man to name a few fighting for readers’ attention. Malibu also had many superhero teams like Freex, The Strangers and Exiles with the latter being the topic of this update. It’s sad that in modern times the comic industry is struggling to gain readers and most fans of superheroes don’t read the issues and only know the character from the movies or TV shows based on them. Now that I am thinking about it, I do believe that Sparkle Comics is trying to keep the world of Indie Superheroes alive with such comics as Black Jack, Silver Bullet, Black Lion and Spring Heeled Jack…so I feel good that the company I own with my friends is doing its part! Also this update really did make me miss the days of when comic companies took chances and comic shops had way more variety for readers to choose from. Around here in Dayton, I would say Bell, Book And Comic and Super-Fly Comics do the best job of offering more indies and even locally made comics to their customers and are inviting to readers. So if you are ready, let’s take a quick look at Exiles from Malibu Comics.

Malibu Comics was struggling in late 1993 as sales had dipped. The comic market was being flooded with comics and gimmicks that were hurting many of the independent companies as buyers just were not buying as many comics; the interest was fading as big events and foil covers started to annoy. And going into 1994, things got worse for Malibu as they did what they could to stay afloat and even started to cancel lower selling series as a way to cut costs and stay around in the industry. But like all mega money sharks, both DC and Marvel smelled blood in the water and opened up their checkbooks and both made bids on buying out Malibu to own their characters, logos, back issues and their coloring style and most importantly, so that the other company didn’t own it! And on November 3, 1994, Malibu was sold to Marvel Comics who became the owner of so many great superhero characters. Marvel wasted no time canceling all of the Ultraverse titles and re-launching some of the more popular ones and even crossing them over with such Marvel Characters like Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk and Wolverine all through 1995. But by 1996, Marvel Comics pretty much walked away from the Ultraverse and cancelled all their titles and just stopped using the characters sending them to the long box in the sky and leaving readers and fans of the characters wondering if they ever would return. Over the years rumors have always been talked about in comic shops, comic podcasts as well as websites about the return of the Ultraverse as well as what Marvel could do with the characters to add them into the Marvel Universe.

So before we get into the comic reviews, I am going to take a few moments and give my opinion on how they could add The Exiles into Marvel and where they would fit in. So let’s use the core original group of Exiles that includes the likes of Trax, Deadeye, Tinsel, Dr. Rachel Deming, Mustang, Catapult, Amber Hunt and Ghoul and say that events of the original comic series change when the worlds of Malibu and Marvel meet in modern times. We will also say that all of Marvel’s past Exiles teams were around, just in namesake only and had nothing to do with the original team made by Deming. I would love to see The Exiles be mixed in the world of X-Men with many of the members being mutants – they fit it really well, and to start I would love to see Dr. Rachel Deming use her team as the alternative to the X-Men and allow them to be more flashy in order to make citizens see them as stars and heroes. I would have it that Dr. Rachel Deming and Professor X have a respect for each other, they just have different ideas on how to get things done with their mutant teams. I would also have it that Dr. Rachel Deming and her Exiles open their own school of gifted students as a way to recruit for Exiles. This of course would cause friction between the two mutant groups, and while their respective leaders respect each other, the teams themselves do not and do what they can to outshine the others. I would play up on Wolverine and Mustang really disliking each other and clashing lots. While rivals, I would also make sure to have The Exiles come off as good guys who just are the Pepsi to X-Men’s Coke and are more flash as they have decided to not hide in the shadows in a world filled with super beings. The Exiles could not only be a team in Uncanny X-Men and other X-Men titles but could also spin off into their own series. One thing that would be great for The Exiles is that many of their team members are powerful and could hold their own against the likes of evil mutants like Magneto, Sabertooth and Black Tom to name a few. Just a thought of mine to bring them back, and sadly the way things look for Malibu is that Marvel and Disney have zero plans for them and if the rumors are real, the deal Marvel made when buying them was so bad that the fate of these characters are forever sealed in limbo. That’s right, the story goes that if Marvel does any new comics with characters created by Malibu they have to pay a percentage to the former owner of Malibu as well as the creators of said characters leaving the profits very low for comics being sold and not worth the time and resources Marvel would put into them…or so Comic Store Urban Legend goes.

As you can see, Malibu Comics is a company over the years I find myself thinking about what could have been if they could have survived the Comic Book Crash of the 1990’s and even what they could be if Marvel would do anything with the characters. But we are now at the point of the update for the reviews, and I want to remind all you readers that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic and Game Swap Kettering for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. So if you are ready, let’s gear up and hangout with The Exiles.

Exiles # 1  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics     # 1 of 4

Amber Hunt is a high school student who one day is bored in class when an explosion rocks the school, and she sees that bad guy Supreme Soviet along with his Cybernoids are fighting with members of the superhero team Exiles (Trax, Deadeye & Tinsel) all over her! The battle leaves many of the Cybernoids destroyed, Supreme Soviet tricked and defeated, and Trax injured and having to be rushed back to their base. They also take Amber Hunt who still is confused and angry on why she is being targeted. Once at the island base, Amber meets Dr. Rachel Deming who is the keeper of the team as well as the one who has cured them all of the Theta Virus and soon will also cure Amber Hunt who is infected and has special powers she just doesn’t know about yet. While there, Amber is acting like a brat and even meets team member Ghoul who she also treats terribly! Meanwhile in L.A. Supreme Soviet visits his boss Mr. Malcolm Kort who wanted Amber Hunt killed and for his failure Supreme Soviet is forced into a tube and injected with a virus that kills him and shows that Kort wants to really use this virus as a bio weapon! Meanwhile in a neighborhood in San Diego a young man named Timmy is taking out the trash when he is surrounded by Bloodbath and Bruut who have been sent by Mr. Kort and thankfully Exiles members Catapult and Mustang are near by and step in to help the kid from meeting his maker. The heroes get the upper hand but when Bruut attacks Timmy’s mom an accident happens and Mustang with his electric powers falls into the water from the broken sink and fries and kills Timmy’s Mom as well as Bruut! Bloodbath knocks out Catapult and escapes with Timmy.

This first issue of Exiles is a very good solid read that showcases the style and world of the Ultraverse. It also sets up that our heroes the Exiles are a team of powered beings who are brought together to do the right thing and are watched by after Dr. Rachel Deming going against entertainment tycoon and evildoer Mr. Malcolm Kort and his band of super powered hired guns. The story while it is your normal superhero fare the main plot of the issue is the Theta Virus and one side wanting to cure it and the other side wanting to use it to gain power as a weapon. The Exiles are a rag tag team that has many members who all have special powers and in this issue we meet Trax, Deadeye, Tinsel, Ghoul, Catapult and Mustang all who work well together and have one goal and that’s to save the youngsters who are virus carriers. This far I think my two favorite members are Tinsel as I dig her look and she can fly and fire energy from her hands, I also like Catapult who comes off as a surfer metal head guy who has the power to easily lift and throw things. I also like Ghoul as he is a green skinned zombie who we gather can talk to the dead…but he has not done much yet to make him a favorite. Dr. Rachel Deming who is the watcher of all the team is a very wise and smart woman as she has the cure for the Theta Virus and I am going to guess she as well has some sort of powers. Amber Hunt is a terrible young lady who is self centered, rude and mouthy who treats not only the Exiles like crap even after they saved her life but also fellow classmates as she calls one young lady a “cow” as they are trying to get away from the opening battle! Mr. Malcolm Kort is cold blooded and has no loyalties to even his own hired super powered beings as he will kill them if they fail him! Speaking of his hired guns Bruut, Bloodbath, Hot Rox and Supreme Soviet all are trained killers who don’t mind killing women and children as long as they get paid! This far I like the story that is being set up and it makes me wonder what the outcome will be once the Exiles and the Kort side clash all over a virus. The cover for this first issue is totally 90’s and for me not very eye catching as it looks super cheesy. The interior art is done by R.R. Phipps and is really good and embodies the art of the 90’s superhero titles. So with this lets see what happens next in issue two and see if Mustang can get his revenge for accidentally murdering a young man’s mom.

Exiles # 2  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics     # 2 of 4

Mustang and Catapult are standing in the home of Timmy with the bodies of his mom and super villain Bruut when they are surrounded by the cops who want to take them in for questions, but Bruut is not dead and awakens and goes on a rampage that leave many cops hurt and dead and both Mustang and Catapult can not stop him from escaping by stealing a helicopter. And before the remaining cops can regroup our heroes escape and head back to their island base with news of their failed mission. While back at the base news is spreading of the fight at the house and Dr. Rachel Deming tells Amber Hunt it’s her choice on if she wants to be cured of the virus as it will cause change and Amber learns she has the power of fire. While Malcolm Kort and his team of scientist are trying to force Timmy into letting them “cure” him so his pain will stop as his hand keeps growing and shrinking back to normal. Rachel Deming now calls on the Exiles team and the order is to do a full attack on Kort’s entertainment building and get Timmy back before he can be turned into a henchman tool for evil. Before the Exiles leave Amber informs Rachel that she will take the treatments once the team is back from the rescue mission. In the end young Timmy is being treated by Kort’s science team and things go wrong as Timmy turns into a massive beat man with tusks and breaks free and knocks even the Exiles out of his way as he escapes into the city.

In this second issue the Exiles are forced to face lots of difficult things from one of their members accidentally killing a woman, being caught on camera and now the world knows that they are in town as well as must face a failed mission that clearly looks like is going to cause them major problems in the very near future. The Exiles try so hard to keep their existence low-key, as the world is not keen on the super powered humans walking among them. And worse is the team itself is torn about if they should come out and be seen or hide in the shadows and save the world. Dr. Rachel Deming is clearly in charge of the group and she also knows that they must do all they can in order to save as many of those infected by the virus as they can and do so before Kort and his goons turn them into raging monsters. Mustang in this issue feels terrible and he blames himself for the death of Timmy’s Mom and his powers of electricity is what lead to her neck being crushed by the unstoppable Bruut, even though he played a part in the death he is over taken with guilt. Meanwhile the rest of the team are ready to go to war and try and get the kidnapped kid back and cure him before he is mutated by the bad guys or killed by the virus. Kort once more shows he is an evil man as he forces a young man to be experimented on and all he cares about is power and control. Meanwhile his goons Bloodbath and Bruut one time partners are at odds as it’s clear within their group its all about the money and every super powered man for themselves. Poor Timmy in one day looses his mom, learns he has a deadly virus, is kidnapped and then forced to be turned into a raging monster. And man I cannot see this hulking tusked monster tangle with the Exiles in a battle that I am sure is going to be epic. The one thing that does stink about this issue is that one of my favorite characters Tinsel is just a background team member, and it’s a shame as I would have loved to seen her kick some butt. The cover for this second issue is way better and eye catching as it showcases our team looking like they are ready for action. The interior art is done by R.R. Phipps again and is good stuff. Over all this second issue is very entertaining and has locked me in as a fan of this team this far, and I cannot wait to read the next issue.

Exiles # 3  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics     # 3 of 4

Timmy lands on the street below and is confused and just wants to be left alone, but also landing on the ground is Tinsel as well as Ghoul who try and talk to the enraged teenage monster who don’t want to hear it and just our heroes luck they are attacked by Hot Rox who takes them both prisoner as Timmy escapes deeper into the city. The remain Exiles team chase down Timmy who hides in a closed mall and they try to talk to him, but he attacks causing destruction and injuries before turning back into a young man and running off into the night. Meanwhile back at the lab Amber Hunt is trying to push Rachel Deming’s assistant into given her the treatment as she don’t wanna die from the virus and has no faith in the Exiles returning, the assistant refuses. While back at Kort’s building Ghoul has been thrown into a waste bin and barely escapes as they set it on fire with the hopes of killing him. Meanwhile Bloodbath has Tinsel in his room and is about to sexual assault her, but she is able to use her power and blind him (as she is blind as well) and he grabs his guns and fires wildly into the air and sadly kills her as Ghoul gets to her way to late and this sets him off for revenge!

Well Malibu Comics and Exiles gone and done it they killed off my favorite hero on the team and did so very brutally! You see Tinsel in this issue is taken prisoner and we learn she is also blind and needs her visor in order to see and when she wakes up she is in the room of Bloodbath who wants to rape her….and when she fights back and tries to get away he shoots her a dozen times ending her life! Why would they let a hero die like this? Don’t get me wrong it was very effective and wants me as the reader want to see Bloodbath get his, but it also makes you a little mad at the rest of the Exiles besides Ghoul as they left her in the hands of the baddies in order to save a teen who is now a monster who just wants to be left alone. That is pretty much the major plot of this issue is the Exiles trying to reach a scared Timmy who is now a massive wooly mammoth monster man who don’t trust anyone. Kort and his goons pretty much stay out of the hunt for Timmy as they figure they will just attack and get him back once the Exiles do all the hard work and get him to a safe place. Bloodbath is enemy # 1 for this comic reader as I am glad he is blind now and hopes it permit and that Ghoul once he catches up with him is able to eat his heart out! I must also say I do also really like the look of Timmy as the monster who is called Mastodon because he seems like he could be a villain for the Incredible Hulk and is well designed. The cover for this issue is also very eye catching and is a perfect cover for a 90’s superhero comic. The interior art once more is done by R.R. Phipps and is great stuff and has the 90’s look but yet also still holds a very 80’s style as well. This third issue is a great read and I cannot wait to read issue four that is the final in this very good series.

Exiles # 4  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics      # 4 of 4

The Exiles decide to give up tracking down Timmy and return to the base so they can regroup and figure out a better plan. While at the lab Amber Hunt decides that she is going to just sneak and give herself the treatment so that she can survive the virus. Meanwhile Ghoul makes contact with the soul of Tinsel and gets the name of her killer Bloodbath and sets his sights to really get revenge and massacre the super powered hitman. As Bloodbath gets painkillers and head back to his room he is attacked by Ghoul who is crazed with anger and after a brief fight he is able to kill Bloodbath and not only end his life but also his soul! And once he drained him Ghoul grabs some guns and starts his one-man war against Kort and his people. While at the lab Amber has done the treatment wrong and the machine is over loading and the Exiles and Rachel Deming are rushing back to try to stop the explosion as well as save Amber from dying. Ghoul blows up the generator at the Kort building and the explosion seems to have killed anyone in it. While back at the Exiles Lab the tank and machines explode and kills many of the Exiles in the process as Heather the Assistant, Trax and Mustang are all killed with Catapult, Deadeye and Rachel Deming are all severely injured. In the end, Amber Hunt is now a flying flaming super powered woman who’s selfish nature has killed many.

This comic series had guts as many of the team members meet their maker by the end with most being killed by the hands of a terrible narcissistic spoiled teenage girl that they were helping who ended up dooming anyone around her when she decided to treat herself. This issue’s plot brings everything together for the most part but also leaves lots of things unanswered as this was a lead in to a series called “Break-Thru” that they wanted readers to buy next…and that was always one thing that annoyed me about Malibu Comics and their Ultraverse as they tied in all their comics together so in order to finish stories you would have to buy another title in order to do so, and that was some of the silly stuff Marvel Comics also did very badly in the 80’s and still do it somewhat to this day. Amber Hunt is a terrible person who becomes even more terrible when she gets power beyond most other heroes in the Ultraverse. When you really think about it all the true evil villain of this comic series is Amber Hunt as she is narcissistic and does not seem to care about others or how her actions effect anyone around her. Rachel Deming is a woman who does want to help those with powers, but also slightly seems to be doing so to stroke her own ego as some of her decisions help lead to the teams downfall. Ghoul in this issue is a true badass as he goes for revenge of the death of his friend in the last issue and does so in a brutal way…Ghoul is very cool and a great character that walks the line of superhero mutant and horror character. This series really is a great read and shows why Malibu Comics was a great alternative to Marvel and DC as they delivered good solid stories about interesting characters who had a vast world. The cover on this fourth issue is not as eye catching nor as cool as the three issues that came before it, but while a little plan it still ok. The interior art is once more done by R.R. Phipps and is good and has a very 90’s comic look and to be honest has what I would say is the Malibu Comic house style. For me Exiles is a great series and one that fans of X-Men and all their clones should check out as these characters and stories could fit in very nicely with the Universe that Marvel Comics created for their readers. Check out the artwork below to see the style of R.R. Phipps and see what I mean when I say this looks like Malibu Comics house style.

Exiles is a great team from Malibu Comics who never got the respect from Marvel Comics when they bought the characters rights way back in 1994 and even when they did use the team they only did so in name only. It’s a shame as I do not think comic readers ever will see new adventures of the Exiles as I do feel they had many more in them, but truly only time will tell if Rachel Deming’s team will see a new series. For my next update, I will be stepping away from comic books and will be once more taking a look at a Horror Host from the Dayton area as I take a look at Rayne of Studio Cinema! So until next time read a Malibu Comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a spooky good time.

 

The Incredible Coloring Hulk!

When I was a kid I can remember sitting in my room, at the kitchen table or in front of the fire place with crayons in hand coloring in one of the many coloring books based on a cartoon, comic or movie character. Some of my favorites growing up was ones based on Batman, Inhumanoids, SilverHawks and Masters Of The Universe to name a few, but my all time favorite was an Incredible Hulk one that was released in 1979 that I would color in and give the crudely colored in pictures to my mom as gifts when I was a youngster. For this countdown to Thanksgiving update, I am feeling the need to get into a nostalgic frame of mind so I have chosen to take a look and review three old coloring books that featured original very kid friendly adventures of The Incredible Hulk! So get your Crayola Crayons ready as it’s time to color in a good time on this update.

Growing up the Incredible Hulk and Captain America were my favorite superheroes followed very closely by Spider-Man. And when growing up I had a subscription to all three of those comics at one point as well as Uncanny X-Men and looked forward to reading them as soon as they arrived in the mail…and I need to note that our Waynesville mailman did not listen to the “Do Not Bend” warning on the package and would fold it long wise to fit in our mail box! I can even remember renewing them to get more issues sent, and this is how I got to read such story lines like Cap Wolf and the first appearance of Carnage among many other great arcs. The Marvel Comics Subscription was a wonderful way for me to be able to read modern comics since I had to always wait until we could get to Big Bear to go grocery shopping in order to get the issues I needed to complete a story I had started sometimes even missing issues here and there. The good news is that for modern comic readers who don’t live around a comic shop and dislike digital comics like myself, Marvel Comics still offers the subscription service via their website! I just wanted to briefly talk about how much this helped my comic collection as a kid and how it helped me stay up to date on many of the storylines at that time. Below are some cool ads that used to be in the back of Marvel Comics that would tell you about your savings getting your comics this way. Oh yeah and also notice how two of them feature this update’s hero the Incredible Hulk!

The Hulk has been going strong for Marvel Comics for over 57 years and has had many ups and downs in his publication history and over the decades has turned from having a child like mind to having the mind of a genesis. He has turned from grey to green and back to grey to green again. He has tangled with the Army, The Hulkbusters, Abomination, The Leader and even Dr. Doom in many of his issues. But besides the Marvel Comics, The Hulk has also had many other fights and adventures as he has also graced movie screens with Hulk released in 2003, Incredible Hulk from 2016 as well as all four Avengers films! On CBS The Incredible Hulk became a TV Show that ran from 1977 to 1982 for a total of five seasons and had Bill Bixby playing David Bruce Banner and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno as The Hulk! The TV Show started after a made for TV Film and would also go on to have three more movie specials that were The Return Of The Incredible Hulk (1977), The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988), The Trail Of The Incredible Hulk (1989) and The Death Of The Incredible Hulk (1990). He has also had his fair share of adventures in pop-up books, paperback novels, coloring books, video games, recorded audio, comic strips, cartoons and even the weirdest, toilet paper! And let’s be honest, this does not even count Fan Films and even your own adventures you made with your action figures, board games and Colorforms. So as you can see, The Incredible Hulk and his legacy in entertainment goes far beyond the world of Comic Books and has made its way into all types of media given fans even more ways to enjoy their favorite hero.

Did you readers know that in 1983 a game was being made based on The Incredible Hulk for the Atari 2600 that was going to be released by Parker Brothers? Well if not, you know now! The game would have had you play as Bruce Banner with your goal being to get through levels and avoid getting too mad and turning into The Hulk, but the trick was each level would get harder and harder. The game was to be the second in the team up between Marvel Comics and Parker Brothers with the first one being Amazing Spider-Man that was released for Atari 2600 in 1982, but sadly with the video game crash of 1982 came lots of games that never got released to consumers…and sadly The Incredible Hulk was one of those games. It would have also been a two player game meaning you and your sibling or friend could have taken turns playing as Banner and seeing how many points you could rack up. The game did have some press before it was set to be released that included ads and even a cover box design building the hype for gamers and comic readers. Over the years gamers have searched, begged for and hoaxed a prototype for this game and as of this update none have been found leaving the world without at Atari 2600 game based on The Hulk. Will a prototype for this unreleased Incredible Hulk video game ever turn up? This blogger, gamer and comic reader sadly doesn’t think so but if it ever does I for one will buy it on a cart and have an Atari 2600 Challenge update all about it. Below are some of the graphics used in the pre-promotion ads for this game so check them out and try to imagine what could have been.

So way back in the day I was one of the founders of a club called the “Dayton Board Game Society” and on July 11, 2012 at our first meeting we played the board game The Incredible Hulk and The Fantastic Four that was released by Milton Bradley in 1978. At the time we only had a total of three members as it was a private club and besides myself, Stephen Alexander and Josh Weinberg made up the group. I would love to share my thoughts from 2012 with you readers here about this Hulk board game so here is my review from back then: “This one was a surprise for me and I found myself liking the simple yet fun game and this would get my rating of 2.5 out of 4! Growing up I was a huge fan of The Incredible Hulk and this game has you being a member of the Fantastic Four trying to cure the Hulk as he rampages the board! While the game is a basic spinner game, it’s more fun as you the player is also forced to move the Hulk to block and steal other players cards. Very fun game.” At some point I should get the lads back together and play this board game again and see how an older me feels about it. Check out below for some cool pictures from that day.

So as you can see, The Hulk truly is one of Marvel’s most iconic characters and is one that has always captured my imagination as I have always found the character to be interesting and appealed to this Monster Kid as he always had a dash of classic horror to him like a little Frankenstein’s Monster and even some Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. So let’s get into the main attraction of this update, three coloring books made by Whitman Publishing that feature original very kid friendly stories centered around The Hulk. I really cannot wait to revisit the one I had as a kid as I have not seen it for well over twenty years at this point! So I want to remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. I also want to stress I am going to grade these a little differently than normal comics as the stories in these are going to be really silly and goofy so I will cut them a little slack. So with that grab your green and purple crayons, and let’s get to these coloring books.

Incredible Hulk: At The Circus  *
Released in 1977     Cover Price .49     Whitman/Marvel   # 1 of 3

The Circus is in town and The Incredible Hulk is working for them doing all types of fun things like lifting heavy weights as well as setting up the tents. The owner of the circus is Mr. Barnes and as he is counting the money, a masked baddie named The Stuntman enters and steals it and sets the trailer on fire! The Hulk smells the smoke and sets into action and saves Mr. Barnes, puts out the trailer by throwing it into water and then starts to chase The Stuntman to get the money back! The chase goes all over the circus with The Stuntman always being a few steps ahead, and The Hulk gets a good idea along with fellow circus worker Rubber Man to roll him into a ball and crash into the villain, and it works leaving Hulk saving the day and getting the money back!

The first thing I want to say about this Hulk coloring book adventure is that it’s barely a story and for the most part makes zero sense as the plot is just laughably bad! No joke, the plot is The Hulk working for a circus and loving to entertain people, getting back stolen money from a cheesy masked bad guy. The Hulk in this book is always smiling and seems to be high on life, I mean why in the heck is he working….Hulk just wants to be alone not setting up tents and hanging out with clowns! This is like opposite day Hulk as he just does not seem himself at all. The Stuntman is super lame and is so terrible he even tries to use a child as a hostage in order to get away…this guy is better left out of the comics, and I am glad this is his only appearance as this coloring book adventure should never been spoken of. The cover for this one is also really bad and has The Hulk on a trapeze looking very misshapen, and the interior art is just ok and while looks nothing like the comic art it does have a very kid friendly look. Over all this first coloring book adventure is pretty bad so lets move onto the second and the one I had growing up! Oh yeah check out the art below to see the art style of this one.

Incredible Hulk: Dot To Dot  **
Released in 1979     Cover Price .59     Whitman/Marvel   # 2 of 3

Alien race The Greenies are attacking the planet Big Zero and blow it up and only one of its citizens escaped named 00-6 and he has chosen Earth to hide out. But he makes a mistake and lands at a speedway as a race is going on causing panic as he uses his number blast power to make a racecar disappear as well as a near by tree and the picnic basket of Bruce Banner who was about to enjoy his lunch. This angers Banner who turns into The Hulk who charges 00-6 who uses his number blast and figure eight spaceship to try and escape, but Hulk follows and the pair are soon both captures by the Greenie King who looks like the Hulk! He informs 00-6 and The Hulk that is plan is to steal the color green from Earth and replace it with other colors causing a green out all thanks to the robot that is called Green Machine! Hulk does not like what he hears and is ready to smash both Green Machine and Greenie King and knocks out the King with one punch but is late with Green Machine who is on his way to Earth! 00-6 uses all his life power to make a number three flying machine that Hulk rides and is able to cut off Green Machine in space and knock him out and return to Earth on it. In the end Hulk is happy to be back home taking a nap under a tree.

Dot-To-Dot was a coloring book I loved as a kid and now looking at it as a 40 year old man, I must say this is super cheesy and super simple and really just middle of the road when it comes to a kids comic style adventure. The plot has The Hulk teaming with a number alien against a race of aliens and their robot that want to steal the coloring green from Earth as they use it as energy. The Hulk in this coloring book goes from being ready to smash 00-6 to becoming his friend to being Earth’s protector in a short amount of pages and while he is not fully Hulk of the comics in attitude, he is close enough. 00-6 is a small goofy little alien who uses number to fight against is foes, he is a good guy but also a little goofy when it comes to who he thinks are his enemies as he sees a tree as a threat. I also like how he uses all his numbers in order to save the world and dies for doing so…he is the Earth’s unknown savior. The Greenie King looks like Hulk with a crown and is an ego driven ruler who cares nor for others and only his needs. The Green Machine is a robot man who is into stealing the color green on the word of his King. The story really is super simple and is hard to break down so I will say I enjoy how Hulk goes to space, I like how he rides a space board that looks like the number three, I dig when he drops the name of the Silver Surfer. The cons are that the plot is lame, the villains are no threat and 00-6 is super goofy. The cover is pretty cool and has the Hulk being surrounded by numbers as an Unknown Artist did the interior artwork that is pretty well done. Over all this coloring book I loved as a youngster did not hold up and is pretty cheesy and for Hulk fans only. Check out the art below to see what you get with this 1979 coloring book.

Incredible Hulk: Wisdom Of The Watcher  **1/2
Released in 1980     Cover Price .69     Whitman/Marvel   # 3 of 3

The Hulk is in the desert to get a break from mankind, and while lonely he at least is not being attacked, that is until a small craft appears and uses gas to knock him out! Hulk turns back into Bruce Banner and finds himself on a craft and confronted by his enemy The Leader who places a device on Banners neck that will allow him to take control of The Hulk and use him as a weapon to take over the world and beyond. The Leader after making Banner turn back into The Hulk runs him through some tests to see what his body can withstand and how strong he truly is and once his questions are answered he shares his plan with Hulk that will have him travel to the moon and steal an artifact from The Watcher who makes his home on the moon. The Leader sends Hulk to the moon, and he is greeted by The Watcher who tells him to look around as he will not interfere in his quest all the while The Leader is in Hulk’s head giving orders as old jade jaws is trying to fight off his mind control. The Leader pots a red orb and he knows that is what he needs and to take it Hulk must fight a massive alien who has also shown up to steal the orb! Hulk defeats the alien easily and takes the orb as The Watcher witnesses him vanish back to the lab of The Leader who puts the orb on his head thinking he can learn the knowledge of all the planets and instead it over loads his mind knocking him out and allowing Hulk to free himself from the mind control and wonder away all the while The Watcher knew this is how it all would end.

This final coloring book issue of Incredible Hulk I have from Whitman is a pretty fun read as it’s pure kids comic stuff! The plot is very simple and has The Hulk being tricked and mind controlled by his foe The Leader who wants to use his power and strength in order to travel to the blue side of the moon and steal a powerful orb from The Watcher. And things go bad for The Leader when he finds out some knowledge just can not be learned no matter how smart you are. The Hulk in this issue feels a little off as at some points he is the mad kid like hulking beast and others he is mentally trying to free his mind from the control and comes off super well spoken. It’s like the writer of this coloring book forgot from time to time on what comic character he was writing this story about. But while the writing is a little flawed on how The Hulk acts, it’s still great when he is the Hulk we all know and love and is complaining about mankind. The Leader is as sinister as ever and wants nothing more than to gain power and knowledge and to rule over the whole world…he is such a smart slimy character that is easy to hate as he just oozes ego. The Watcher is as natural as ever and while he could mess people and events up he decides to play by his races rules and just watch, even if people are stealing from him. The Alien thief is big and bad and is no match for the might of The Hulk and gets his butt kicked really quick! One thing I did like about this coloring book is the fact The Watcher stayed true to who he is and just sits back and watches as all the events unfold, when he could have easily sent The Hulk away and then went to Earth and smacked The Leader around. The cover for this book is great and has The Hulk punching an alien in the face as The Watcher watches while space is in the background as well as what I would guess is the moon. The art inside is once more done by the Unknown Artist and is pretty good with sometimes characters looking a little off. Over all this is a fun short and silly Hulk adventure that brought joy to the kids of the 80’s and beyond. Oh and this one only had one small part colored in and that was The Watchers eyes were colored in blue. Check out some pages below to see how this one looked.

While coloring book comic character adventures are not the best written nor drawn stories, they still are part of the character’s history and it was fun to travel back and give them a read for this update. Plus I always enjoy taking some time to chat about The Hulk who I should cover way more often here on my blog. I am not sure if I ever will do another coloring book update based on a classic superhero, but if I choose to do so, I will cover Captain America. For my next update I am thinking I am going to put up the crayons and gear up to once more spend Thanksgiving with the mythology hero Hercules as he does 12 labors of superhuman challenges! So until then, make sure to stay young at heart my readers, and make sure to read a Marvel Comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for another Turkey Day Herc adventure!

Marvel Horror Showcase – The Golem

In the 1970’s Marvel Comics unleashed a batch of Horror themed characters on readers as the comic code was loosening their grip on previously strict rules allowing horror and monsters to enter the inked pages of comics once more. They had such ghouls and creatures as Dracula, Man-Thing, Ghost Rider, Daimon Hellstrom, Frankenstein’s Monster, Living Mummy, Godzilla, Jack Russell the Werewolf by Night, Zombie and Golem to name a few, and while many of them had long lives in the pages of Marvel Comics, some of them only lasted a small handful and have faded away from the comic spotlight. Today for this update we are going to take a look at one of their Horror themed short lived characters, and I have chosen Golem as I think this hero monster needs his time in the sun and for a new generation of Marvel Horror Comic readers to discover or even think about once more. In fact I am thinking that this will be the start of a new themed update series I will call “Marvel Horror Showcase” and will allow me to breakdown a classic Marvel Horror character and share my connection to them as well as share some history about the character. So if you’re ready to be spooked by Marvel Comics, let’s take a macabre journey with the thing that walks like a man called The Golem.

The Golem’s origin in the Marvel Universe is as follows: in the city of Prague, the people were being oppressed by evil tyrants and wise man Judan Loew Ben Bezalel created a massive man shaped statue out of rock, clay and blood. The Golem was used to avenge the people and did just that. After his work was done for the people of Prague, The Golem wandered around helping the innocent against evil people. Once the massive creature did what he could for mankind, it walked its way into the desert and allowed the sand to cover him up hiding away from mankind. And once he is uncovered in modern times The Golem once more becomes a protector for innocent mankind and binds itself to the family who uncovered it and has awoken it from its long slumber. The Golem is mostly a protector, but in the wrong hands he can also be used for pure evil as it is a creature of emotions of those it’s bound to. While The Golem might not be a true icon of Marvel Horror, he has made his small mark in the Marvel Universe.

When I was a youngster some of the first Horror Comics, I ever read were the Marvel Horror books as well as a few of the Gold Key titles, and I would say Marvel was my introduction to Horror Comics over all and that is where I discovered the comic series Strange Tales and in those pages I discovered Golem. The Golem was one of those characters I can remember reading his adventures and wondering why he was not a fully fledged monster on a rampage, but learned to really enjoy his superhero adventures. One thing I always liked about Golem was that he always seemed one step away from going fully fledged rampaging monster as he can be controlled, and if the demons got ahold of him he would have become full evil and really scare mankind. I also have heard that The Golem has become a member of the monster team S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Howling Commandos alongside The Living Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster and Zombie to name a few. Plus over his comic book run he even took on The Thing from the Fantastic Four!

I really owe a lot of my love for Horror Comics to the Marvel Horror as they were the first ones I read and can even say that I collected as I was obsessed with getting my hands on issues of Werewolf By Night, Godzilla and Tomb Of Dracula. But enough gushing about Marvel Horror, let’s get into looking at the Strange Tales issues that The Golem appeared in as well as the issue of Marvel Two-In-One he appeared in. I want to also remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s take a look at the first Marvel Horror character I have chosen, the one and only The Golem!

Strange Tales # 174  ***
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics    #174 of 188

Professor Abraham Adamson along with his nephew Jason, niece Rebecca and his helper Wayne Logan are searching in the desert for a mythical creature called The Golem that is said to have been buried in the sand many decades back. And as Wayne and Rebecca are digging, they find the massive body of The Golem and with some chains and digging equipment they are able to bring it to the surface once again! But while they are happy to have found their discovery, a few miles away a war wages on and man is killing man all in the name of land. The next day Colonel Omar and his men ask to refresh at the camp of Professor Adamson who grants them shelter and a place to rest. But The Colonel and his men show their true colors as they are at the camp to loot it as they are deserters of the war and during the looting Professor Adamson is shot and killed. The rest are taken as prisoners, but the war criminals made a mistake as the soul of Professor Adamson finds its way into The Golem who once more comes alive. The Golem finds the soldiers and makes quick work of them ending their lives with ease and once done he finds Colonel Omar who has a gun to Rebecca’s head, and with speed The Golem crushes the gun and kills Colonel Omar as Rebecca, Jason and Wayne all notice a look in the creature’s eye that reminds them of Professor Adamson.

Strange Tales # 174 does a fantastic job of bring comic readers into the myth and horror world of the character The Golem! Our creepy tale has a Professor being murdered and his loved ones kidnapped and with his dying breath is able to call on the living statue The Golem who was created to fight evil to avenge him and save his family, and that’s what happens. Professor Abraham Adamson is a good man who loves the history of The Golem and has spent many years of his life to learn of the legend as well as find its location. But while he is super smart, he is a little too trusting as he allows soldiers to stay at his camp and they end up being the ones to end his life. Rebecca, Jason and Wayne are good people who are a part of Professor Adamson’s team to find The Golem and get a shock of a lifetime when they watch as the Professor is gun downed and The Golem walks and kills. Colonel Omar and his men are cutthroats who steal what they need and have no issues with killing as long as they are not caught. The Golem is a silent avenger who reacts and takes action when danger to the innocent is around, and it’s clear he only walks the Earth again due to the tear of the dying Professor. This comic has the Marvel Horror feel as it has deaths and a monster but does downplay the violence as the kills of The Golem are hidden in all panels. The story was written by Len Wein and edited by Roy Thomas, and to me that’s a great pairing for 70’s Horror Comics. The cover is great and eye catching for those who love the creature runs amok flare as it showcases The Golem smashing a jeep and reaching for a woman. The interior art is done by John Buscema, and all his work is fantastic. While the Horror for this character is downplayed, the macabre aspect is not, and this issue is a fantastic read for those of us who love classic monsters of myth and legend.

Strange Tales # 176  **1/2
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics   #176 of 188

Rebecca, Jason and Wayne look at The Golem in shock as the dead bodies of the soldiers are all around them, and decide that they need to get The Golem back to the University in Florida as that was their uncle’s wish. As they are loading The Golem onto a ship, they are visited by more soldiers who want to keep the statue in their country but they are attacked by The Golem who is about to kill them as well until Rebecca orders it to stop…and it does! As the soldiers run off, the Adamson family and The Golem hit the high seas set to return to America. Evil wizard Kaballa The Unclean and his winged demons has set their sights on The Golem as Kaballa thinks he can control the creature who can help him on his conquest to conquer the world and sends his wing demons to attack the ship and bring him The Golem. The wing demons attack, and The Golem once more comes to life and along with Wayne saves Jason who has heavy barrels fall on him, and Kaballa learns that The Golem needs to be on land to get his power, but when things get super bad The Golem powers up and tackles all the demons into the water and as they die one of them fires a bolt and blows up the ship and The Golem is forced to swim or sink and as he paddles by Rebecca, Jason and Wayne jumps on his back as they all end up on an island.

This second macabre tale has The Golem on his way to America on a ship, and we find out that a demonic wizard has his eye on controlling him and sends some demons to attack him and see what he is made off. In this issue we also learn a little more about The Golem as he understands English and can take orders from those it cares about. Plus we learn that it needs to be on land in order to have its full power and strength. We also learn that The Golem does not care and will kill if he feels that innocent people are in danger and in a rage almost kills more soldiers who really didn’t do much besides get upset that Americans are taking more of their culture away. Wayne Logan in this issue also shows he is a hero as he does what he can to try and bring down the flying demons and risks his own life trying his best to help The Golem. Jason is useless and causes The Golem to use up some of his strength in order to save him as when the demons attack he is in the way. Rebecca in this issue is kind of in the background but it is shown she can control The Golem as it listens to her. Our issue’s bad guy is Kaballa The Unclean who controls an army of demons and for some reason thinks that The Golem will make him more unstoppable, and all he really does is watch as his demon minions get their butts kicked. This issue brings in supernatural elements to the Horror and Superhero atmosphere this story has already delivered. I like the idea of The Golem being a killing machine that now must fight demons in order to protect its human friends, plus I feel that he is now facing baddies that are a challenge…but also I feel that adding the demons in also takes away the classic feel of The Golem myth and just turns it into a cheesy Doctor Strange style story. The cover for this issue has a classic 70’s Marvel look and is eye catching for readers like me. The interior art is done by Tony DeZuniga and has a more Horror Comic look. Over all this is a good issue that just took the story in a more cheesy supernatural mystic Marvel way. Let’s see what the third part of our story has in store for us and let’s see what island our heroes are on.

Strange Tales # 177  **1/2
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics   #177 of 188

Kaballa The Unclean is upset that his winged demons have failed him and decides that he will next send Fire Demons after The Golem as he really does think that with his power he will be able to conquer the world! Meanwhile at the University of Florida, a Dr. Yeates does not believe that The Golem is real even after his assistant Saudia Yamal shows her tests that prove The Golem is alive! Rebecca, Jason and Wayne all try to prove that The Golem is alive, and yet Yeates does not want to hear it and when he gets the chance he decides that he is going to use a blow torch and melt the monster just in case he is proven wrong and The Golem is alive and he is not able to fill the seat at the University left behind by Professor Adamson. But when he turns on the torch, he is greeted by the fire demons whose appearance makes The Golem come alive to protect Yeates as well as Rebecca and Wayne who mistakenly shown up at the lab. The fire demons are powerful and hurt The Golem with their extreme heat, but before The Golem goes down, he gets his second wind when he thinks about how much he loves his new human friends and with his bare hands he takes down the fire demons. And defeated again, Kaballa sits back on his throne and thinks of his next attack plan.

In his final appearance in the pages of Strange Tales our monster hero The Golem once more battles demons in order to protect humans from being killed and wronged and finds more about his own powers as it’s not only the land that fuels his power but also love. The Golem in this issue also shows that he is starting to share a mind link with Rebecca and Wayne as they can hear little of its thoughts. The Golem is also starting to learn who and what is a threat and when he should attack and when he should just remain solid like a statue. Dr. Yeates on the other hand is kind of a scumbag as he would rather destroy the creature instead of being wrong on his prediction that it’s all a hoax, as he does not care about The Golem nor the history of it; all he wants is to move up at the University. Jason, Rebecca and Wayne all kind of take a back seat in this issue as they are more just around at the university and are the ones who delivered The Golem there and are the ones it wants to protect. The Fire Demons are powerful and are good fighters as they almost bring down our living clay creature, and Kaballa once more just watches the battle and is evil and ate up with craving power. Once more this issue plays up on the mystic supernatural aspects and mixes in Horror slightly as it’s clear that comics like Doctor Strange was popular at the time for Marvel and they wanted to add it into this simple plotted Horror Comic. The cover for this issue is okay but does lose the Horror and is clearly more mystic looking. The interior art is done by Tony DeZuniga and is good and fitting for the direction of this series. In the letters section of this comic they talk about the fate of The Golem and the people of Marvel say that they could not figure out what to do with The Golem so they pulled the plug on him and his story in the pages of Strange Tales and decided to turn the comic over to featuring Adam Warlock instead. And we would have to wait a little time to get an end to The Golem’s tale and it would come in the pages of Marvel Two In One and that’s what we will take a look at next.

Marvel Two-In-One # 11  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics   # 11 of 100

The Thing and his girlfriend Alicia Masters are rushing to the train station so they can get to Disney World in Florida for their vacation, and everything seems to be working against them as the cab driver who took them to the station argued with The Thing for a short time and even the train almost left without them! And once on the train the other passengers treat The Thing like he is a monster and even all sit away from him and Alicia. Meanwhile at Sam Pedro University in Florida’s Ancient Cultures Department, a small group is meeting next to the Golem with Professor Yeates who is arguing with Jason Adamson about if the stone statue can indeed come to life and fight, and this spins the wheels of both who view the Golem differently as Jason knows it is a protector against evil and believes his uncle’s spirit is inside the stone statue. Meanwhile Kaballa The Unclean has figured out that he can take control of The Golem by separating him from Rebecca and Jason and allowing his own evil will to be what guides him. Kaballa also uses the weather to his advantage and uses water to separate the kids from The Golem and unlucky for The Thing, he must tangle with The Golem who is more powerful and more brutal than the Fantastic Four member and is able to knock the hero around. As The Thing tangles with Golem, it gets flashes in his mind that his foe is sending him and risks it all to build a bridge to the college so that Rebecca and Jason can be near Golem and try and get him back under their control. As The Thing builds the bridge our of cars, poles and what ever he can get his mighty hands on he must also fight off demons who are attacking trying to keep him from his goal as Kaballa only needs a few more minutes before he takes over totally! The Thing is able to build the bridge and Rebecca and Jason rush to their monster friend and as they try and get Golem under control Kaballa attacks them and this forces the Golem to use his powers and vanquish Kaballa! In the end The Golem is now frozen in place as Jason and Rebecca plan on watching over it and The Thing and Alicia can now start their vacation.

The Golem in his final appearance in a classic Marvel Comic has our monster going on a rampage as well as once more being brought in by the power of love form his human friends. In this issue Kaballa The Unclean almost gets full control of The Golem and uses weather and demons as his defense to try and keep his control for the time that’s needed to become it’s full master, but what he didn’t count on was that The Thing of super team the Fantastic Four being in town and helping the Adamson family regain control. In this issue Jason and Rebecca are helpless to help The Golem and spend most of the issue arguing with Professor Yeates and being stuck at the college and watching as their friend and protector is being possessed and going on a massive rampage! The Thing is a hero that is lucky or unlucky depending on how you look at it to be in the area as this is going on as his power is what saves the day for the world as if Kaballa would have gained total control everyone would be in some serious trouble. Kaballa The Unclean is as sinister as ever and in this issue before he is defeated is so close to getting what he wants and starting his take over of the world, but as always his ego and self titled nature lead to his defeat. The Golem in this issue starts out being the stone protector the world needs to being a rampaging monster that Horror Comic readers want, to ending up a frozen statue that is stuck in the middle of Florida. This final story in the classic arch of Golem seems a little rushed and to be honest The Thing and him really don’t fight as much as they should, showing Marvel really just wanted to end Golem and his comic run. In fact Golem really brings down Kaballa pretty easy and it would have been great if they decided to have Golem be a ramping monster by the end of the story and not just a good guy statue frozen until a later date. I mean as a bad guy it would have been great to see him tangle with Man-Thing who is also set in Florida or even do battle with The Hulk, Thor, Werewolf By Night and Luke Cage to name a few. While after this appearance Golem would go on to make cameos in a few other issues this really does mark the end of his comic star. The cover for this issue is fantastic and captured my attention when I seen it as a kid, and the interior art is top notch and done by Bob Brown and has that Marvel flare. Over all I would have loved to seen more of the Golem in comics and really wish they would have left him bad for awhile to allow the above mentioned battles before having Rebecca and Jason once more get him under control. If you like Marvel Supernatural Horror, then I would say give this a read, as it’s a fun one. Check out the art below to see some of the styles used for this series.

So as you can see, Golem was and is a pretty cool Marvel Horror monster that had a short run that delivered some scares but mostly supernatural action. While Marvel seemed to really give up on the character and never allowed him to fully live up to his potential of becoming a good Horror Comic character, he still was able to leave his bloodstain mark on it no matter how small it was. And while writing this I also thinking about the next character I would like to cover for next Marvel Horror Showcase and I am happy to say that I have chosen IT The Living Colossus to be the next Horror subject! But enough of talking about a future update, let’s talk about the next one as I will be taking a look at Horror Hosts Iris & Retina from Mondo Smash A’GO-GO! So until next time, read a Marvel Horror Comic or three, watch a classic Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Join me next update as it will be a blast talking about these Dayton, Ohio Hosts!

DC’s Micro Masked Hero The Atom!

Here at Rotten Ink I enjoy covering classic Superheroes from both Marvel and DC as well as Indies, and over the years I have spent a lot of time with Marvel Comics and their heroes and have also made an efferent to cover more DC characters as I feel over all they seem to always take a backseat when people chat about comic heroes besides Batman and Superman as Marvel Comics has taken over thanks to their cinema movie hits that have brought their heroes into the mainstream pop culture and made many of them household names. So for this update, I am thinking about covering a DC hero that is pint sized in nature, and of course I am talking about The Atom! I am sure most of you readers at least know who The Atom is or have heard the name in your local comic shop or even seen him is some sort of other media from TV to Video Games. So if you’re ready, let’s take a look at the one and only micro hero of DC Comics The Atom.

Ray Palmer was a professor at New England school Ivy University who is working hard on a solution to the world’s over population and uses parts of a white dwarf star that fell to Earth to do so. You see, he has figured out a way to use parts of the star in order to shrink objects, but sadly they become unstable. While on a field trip with his students and girlfriend Jean Loring exploring a cave, they become trapped during a cave-in and Ray must use his shrinking lens on himself in order to get free and get those he cares about help, and to his shock he is able to shrink as well as become normal size again without exploding! Ray decides that he will use his new discovery to help mankind and becomes a costumed hero called The Atom and even helps Jean in criminal cases as she is a lawyer. Over his career of being a superhero, he has lost faith in mankind and made a choice to stay small. He has fought aliens and super villains like The Bug-Eyed Bandit & Doctor Light and was even a member of the Justice League Of America and even the Teen Titans when his powers turned him back young! The Atom was created by Gil Kane in 1961 for DC comics and made his first appearance in Showcase # 34 and is still a character in use to this day. The Atom thus far has spawned about five solo titles and has appeared in a massive amount of other characters’ books showing that he is a staple for DC and will be for generations to come. While The Atom might not be as forgotten about like some of the other DC Characters I have covered like Red Tornado, Jonni Thunder, Hawkman and STEEL: The Indestructible Man, he still is not as big as he should be in the eyes of readers…get it? Because he is small!

The Atom has become a B-league hero for DC Comics, and this has lead to him appearing in animated series, live action shows like Arrow and even in video games like Injustice 2 as a DLC fighter! As you can see, DC has some faith in The Atom and that’s why they have broken him out of the pages of comics and allowed him to show his hero skills in other forms of media. I think one of his best appearances is one that most of the world has never seen as it was a failed unaired pilot for a Justice League Of America TV Show that had him as one of the members alongside the likes of Green Lantern, Flash and Martian Manhunter, and boy was this one really bad! It was made in 1997 and was supposed to be a new hit series as DC Comics had found some fame making shows for television, and the JLA was one they thought could have been a major hit…that was until it was shown on CBS and it was trashed by fans and critics as it was deemed terrible. The film was a mix of comedy and action and would have the heroes doing interviews like the TV show The Office in between events of the show. The show did so bad that the series idea was canceled and this was buried for the most part by DC who knew they had a stinker on their hands. The Atom in the show looked terrible and his suit was bulky and made him look overweight. Below are some pictures of The Atom from all types of media which show you the different looks and styles of the character in toons, games and shows.

Like all good superheroes, The Atom has had his fair share of action figures released and they have been pretty cool looking for fans of this character. He has graced such toy lines as “DC Universe: Crisis”, “JLA Classified” and “Justice League Unlimited” to name a very few. And while these figures are cool and I do own the one from DC Universe: Crisis, it’s crazy to think that The Atom never got a figure in the classic 1984 Kenner series Super Powers! In fact the rumor of the un-produced waves of figures for that series shows that The Atom was not even considered for the series and that’s shocking as they had some very weird picks selected like Creeper and Blue Devil. Just wanted to take a few moments to let fans of The Atom know that if they collect action figures, there are options out there for you.

So as you can see, The Atom is a very cool character for DC Comics and is one I think should get a little more attention than he does. I also like the fact that he has made appearances in video games, cartoons, toys and TV shows showing that he is a great character. But we are now at the point of this review that I should take a look at the comics, and as I said, I have chosen to take a look at the four issue mini series called Sword Of The Atom for this update as I remember seeing them around when I was younger. I would like to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. So let’s see what adventure The Atom has in store for us with this 80’s series.

Sword Of The Atom # 1  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 1 of 4

On a rainy night Ray Palmer is waiting on his lawyer wife, Jean Loring, to get home from a late night at the office, and when he sees a car pull into the driveway and shut off its lights, he goes out to investigate and finds that his wife is making out with her new assistant! As he storms off, she gets out of the car and follows, and they two argue and share their issues about what has been going on in their marriage with much of it being the lack of time they spend with each other. That night Ray decides that they should take time away from each other and goes on a trip to South America in order to find more of the white dwarf star. Ray wires a plane to fly him over the Amazon, and he soon finds out his hired hands are drug smugglers and a fight breaks out that causes him to turn into The Atom and leading to the plane crashing with The Atom thrown from the plane and his two attackers dead! Now stuck in the Amazon, he tries to make his way to the crashed plane and finds that he is stuck being 6” tall, and worse, a snake has chosen him for dinner, but a group of small warriors help him out only to capture him and bring to their king. While in chains, he notices that a warrior named Taren is also prisoner and his only crime is he has fallen in love with The Princess. The King orders his guards to beat down Taren, and The Atom has seen enough and helps the fallen warrior. But the numbers are against them, and the pair is taken to a dungeon and their fate is to be eaten alive by rats!

This first issue in this mini series starts off with a major downer as our hero is being cheated on by his wife who has found affection in her new hired helper, and he thinks by leaving for weeks could save their marriage. Very sad stuff as it’s clear the two are in a bad way and neither are really talking to each other about the issues that have caused this split. And worse, Ray finds himself stuck in his small size in the Amazon and as the slave to a race of tiny people! The Atom in this issue goes from being a heartbroken husband, to a man focused on his work to a hero forced to stay in his small size who becomes stuck in a world he does not understand. Poor Jean Loring in this issue goes from a cheating wife to a heartbroken one when she thinks her husband she has been fighting with is dead in the plane crash in the Amazon; this poor woman’s mind is broken by the end. We don’t get much info on the race of bright yellow skinned tiny people that live in the Amazon; all we do get is that the King is a cruel man and his daughter is the object of a damned man’s affection. I like the cliffhanger of Atom and Taren being fed to a bunch of rats as the odds look really grim for them, and it makes you wonder how two weaponless 6” tall guys are going to survive the attack. I also like when Ray Palmer has to get away from his cheating wife for a bit he is attacked while on a small plane by two drug smugglers that want to knock him out and then toss him from the plane…brutal. The cover for this issue is pretty cool and has a Conan The Barbarian vibe to it as a sword swinging Atom riding a frog is fighting off a massive mean looking snake…classic fantasy comic stuff. The art is done by comic legend Gil Kane and is topnotch stuff for fans who like the classic style comic art. Over all this first issue is a great read and does a nice job of building up the story of The Atom stuck in the Amazon, and with that let’s see what issue two has in store for us. On a side note, I really should have read this comic as a kid as I am pretty sure I would have loved it!

Sword Of The Atom # 2  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 2 of 4

As The Atom and Taren prepare to fight for their lives against the rats, a canister of gas is tossed in and their lives have been saved by the King’s advisor, who wants them to be healed up and trained so they can fight as gladiators in an arena for the people’s amusement and to show the true glory of the King. Weeks pass, and The Atom is rushed to the arena and given a sword and finds out his opponent is Taren, who has been blinded to secure the fact he will be killed in battle. The crowd goes crazy and turn on the King as anarchy rules out and The Atom and Taren run to escape and find Princess Laethwen waiting with frogs with saddles. The three flee into the jungle as The King can not understand why his people hate him and is furious as he thinks the fleeing heroes kidnapped his daughter. The Atom stays with Taren and The Princess as the rebels come to meet them lead by the ego driven Voss and are taken to camp. Meanwhile back in the Kingdom, we find that the advisor is the one who is setting up events to make the people turn on their King. In the end Taren asks The Atom to lead his men into war with the King, and as The Princess and Taren talk, our masked hero is attacked by Voss who thinks The Atom is a spy, but of course The Atom makes short work of the ego maniac Voss and the showdown is set between the rebels and the Kingdom.

In this second issue adventure, The Atom finds himself being saved from the rats and forced to become a gladiator fighter for the kingdom as is his new friend Taren who is blinded as well to ensure his death in the arena. But things are not so bleak as they get help to escape and soon find that the Princess is on their side, and someone on the rebel’s side is a true mole and is sharing information. The Atom shows that he is an honorable man who will do the right thing when faced with conflict and will stand by his friends and allies when they need him. Also its’ clear that he is drifting apart from his wife he is away from as he is barely thinking of her. And Jean, his wife, thinks he is gone and at the end of the issue calls the gentleman she was cheating with to come over as she does not want to be alone….sad to say, but I think their love has faded. Taren and The Princess are shown to be good people who want to do all the right things that are best for their people. Voss is a jerk, and I would guess he is the rat who told the King and his goons what Taren’s plan was that lead to him being captured and made blind. The King, I think, is clueless and is not fully evil as his people and the rebels are lead to believe as I think his scumbag advisor is the true fiend who is cruel and a liar. What really works for this story so far is the fact The Atom is a true fish out of water and is stuck in a jungle world where he is targeted for lunch by the animals around and most of the locals want him dead as they think he is an enemy of the kingdom, and when he makes his escape riding on a frog, you find yourself cheering him on. Once more, the cover is great and has a fantasy comic look to it and the interior art is great and done by Gil Kane. So as you can see, the second issue has set up that The Atom will be leading the rebels to fight against the kingdom as the King himself is facing an uprising from his own subjects. So with that, let’s see how this plays out and, if I am right that Voss is a traitor, and move onto issue three.

Sword Of The Atom # 3  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 3 of 4

After winning the fight against Voss, the Atom decides that he wants this brave warrior as his second in command as they get ready to battle with the Kingdom. Meanwhile, the King is upset at his Advisor, who he has found out is doing experiments on a fallen star without his permission, and still the evil Advisor works to make the King look terrible in the eyes of his subjects. While in the jungle, a horde of ants attack the rebels and while trying to escape their flesh eating ways Voss, The Princess, The Atom and Taren run for their lives and after reaching safety Taren flings himself into the ants killing himself and allowing the rage to build up in The Atom and moving the war with the kingdom closer. While in the Kingdom, the rebel spy sends a message to the Advisor of Taren’s death, and this pleases him as he knows that soon an attack will happen and he will get control of the Kingdom. Back in America, Jean Loring decides she is going to travel to South America and make sure her husband is really dead and not hiding from her. Meanwhile, the Atom and the Princess have fallen in love and get the rebels ready and are heading to the Kingdom for the big attack.

In the issue, The Atom starts to see that the jungle is a dangerous place and life can be taken away very quickly and that he must really step up and be the hero the rebels need when their leader dies. And while The Atom is in this wild world, he also learns to trust those who don’t trust him and to fall in love all over again. Our hero The Atom in this issue becomes a true leader to the people as he prepares them to war, he also decides to prove his dominance of the jungle that he must kill an alligator! He also wastes no time in falling in love with the Princess after the death of her boyfriend. The Princess herself is very tough and spends very little time on being sad about her man’s death before putting the moves on The Atom. I find this quick love affair very odd as it’s clear The Princess respected him throughout this series, but now she is madly in love. Taren is a warrior who has lost the will to live and once he knows his army is in good hands decides to commit suicide by letting ants eat him alive…the strange part is while people seem slightly sad about his death, they all move on very fast with life without him. Voss is a really loudmouth and untrusting warrior who likes to stand against yet with The Atom who he blames for being a spy for the other side, when I think it’s him! The King and his Advisor are playing a chess game against each other and don’t really know they are, and both are just being driven by power. Jean Loring, who has moved on as she is with her boyfriend, now seems hell bent on exposing if her husband is dead or not. What’s unclear is if she is trying to find the truth out of love or hate. This was a pretty good issue and is a great one that builds to this final fight between rebels and soldiers, builds the tension between the King and his people, shows that The Atom is the leader the rebels needs and all pieces of this jungle action puzzle of love and war are coming together thanks to this issue. The cover is great and once more captures a fantasy comic look and has The Atom fighting the alligator, and like before Gil Kane did the interior art and its great. Very solid issue and was a great way to build up the next and final issue in this mini series, so if you’re ready, I am ready to see how this clash in the jungle ends.

Sword Of The Atom # 4  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 4 of 4

The Atom stands on the outskirts of the castle lost in his own mind of what it will take to truly win this fight when he is joined by the Princess, and the pair talk about how much they love each other when they are interrupted by Voss as they have found out who the spy really is! The spy was one of the rebel archers and before he is put to death, he spills the beans that the King’s Advisor is the mastermind behind the downfall of the Kingdom and that they all can live in the Kingdom if they pledge their loyalty to the Advisor once he becomes ruler. After the spy is killed, The Atom leads the rebels into war that has three forces with their own battle plans as the rebels must face those loyal to the Advisor and those who stand by their King! The battle rages on as the people are screaming for the deaths of both the King and his Advisor who are having words as the King has finally found out his most trusted is who ushered in his downfall. The Advisor stabs the King in the back and runs to activate the white star that will blow up the kingdom! The Atom, Voss and The Princess makes it to the throne room where the dying King informs them of his Advisor’s plan, and our heroes rush to the energy plant where the star is stored and find they are too late! Voss puts an arrow through the brain of the Advisor as The Atom rushes inside to see if he can stop the meltdown, but the power of the star turns him normal size again and is driving him mad as he rampages through the Kingdom even chasing off The Princess and Voss. After everyone is safe, The Atom stumbles around and passes out on the banks of the river and is found by fishermen and awakens in the hospital, and Jean is waiting for him down in the lobby. In the end Ray must find out if he truly loves Jean or if he wants to find his Princess.

This final issue of this mini series plot has The Atom and the new love of his life The Princess lead an attack on her father’s Kingdom only to find that his trusted Advisor has struck and killed the King and has set a meltdown due to a white dwarf star being used as a source of energy. And with everyone in danger, The Atom rushes in and soaks up most of the star’s radiation causing himself to grow big and pass out leaving his new love behind as well as his sanity as he is unclear if any of it was real. The Atom proves he is a born leader as he leads rebels into a war that they win! He also shows that he no longer would like to live his normal life as Ray Palmer and would love to stay small and be The Atom from here on out and be with his Princess girlfriend and leave his wife Jean behind forever. The Atom also goes from being a confident hero to second guessing just what he is doing with his life showing that even a superhero has his doubts. The Princess is a fighter as well who wanted her father The King out of power but is very upset when his life is taken. Plus she gets even more heartbroken when her new boyfriend The Atom grows and is taken away when found. The one weird thing about her is she really dose not mourn that much over the death of her first boyfriend who dies by suicide. Voss is a hardened warrior who I was wrong about that could be the most composed person in this comic series as he does what’s right and uses his brain in situations and not his heart. The King was a man who ruled with a big ego, but he was not as bad as his subjects were lead to believe and almost seems angered and saddened by his advisor’s betrayal and the fact his own people want him dead. And when he is stabbed and dying, he does show remorse and love toward his Kingdom and his daughter. The Advisor is the true villain of this series as he really just wants to rule and will do whatever he can to gain power including murder and using unsafe measures to try and impress the people. So when he takes an arrow to his head, I found myself cheering as he was a pure narcissistic terrible person. And poor Jean Loring is a woman who cheated on her husband and has tried to move on when she thinks he is dead, but also must come to terms that even if he is alive, what is left of their marriage. This mini series was a great way to update the dated hero The Atom and even added the realm of a fantasy comic to it and was a great way to cash in on the popularity of the likes of Conan The Barbarian. I also like that in the end they leave it open that maybe this jungle society was all in the mind of The Atom who was injured in the plane crash…so was his war with a Kingdom real or just a delusion? The cover for this fourth issue is pretty cool and while eye catching, I would say is the weakest in the series. Gil Kane’s art is fantastic and really shows that he is the best one to draw this as he created the character and knows how to bring him to life on pages. To sum it up, Sword Of The Atom is a very good mini series released by DC and was a great way to get comic readers to check out classic characters that needed a boost and might have not sold well if given a continuing series. Check this series out if you enjoy The Atom, and check out the art below for a look at Gil Kane’s art style.

The Atom might not be as popular as Batman, Superman or even The Flash, but one thing this mini series does show comic readers is that he can deliver good classic superhero adventure that is mixed with classic science fiction fantasy flare. I’m not sure which DC hero will be next to get the Rotten Ink treatment, but I do have a few in mind that include Green Arrow, Aquaman, Martian The Manhunter or even Wonder Woman! Only time will tell who will be next, but one thing is for sure, I really am enjoying reading and talking about these DC heroes. But our next update will be up on July 4th and will be another entry in the American Hero updates. For this year I have chosen to talk and showcase action movie hero John Rambo! So until next time, read a DC Comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time as we see who draws first blood!

The Atlas Comics Hunter Of Demons

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, friends and readers. For this update we will be stepping away from the heroes of Marvel & DC and will be once more entering the short yet amazing world of Atlas Comics to take a look at one of their many heroes that never got a fair share in the world of comic books. I am talking about Demon Hunter who sadly only lasted one issue before the company went out of business. On this update we will also take a look at other demon themed things! So get ready to bash some demon scum as we take a journey with Atlas Comics and the warrior known as Demon Hunter.

Demon Hunter was created by David Anthony Kraft and Rich Buckler for Atlas Comics and made his first and only appearance in 1975. Now I’ll do a quick bio of the character and kind of give you a sneak peek at what he can do before we get into the comic review a little later in this update. Gideon Cross was a solider in the army who had to do some things that changed him to his very core. Once out he was lost and felt like a man out of place. One day he headed to a place that was said to be cursed by a cult called the Harvester of Night Cult who end up giving the lost solider power and turn him into a supernatural hitman for evil. Armed with his ability to cloak himself as well as his powerful axe, he is a murder for hire who is paid in blood for his services. While he starts off as a bad guy where human life is cheap, he ends up finding his way and learns that the cult he serves is not the right way. Demon Hunter would last only one issue for Atlas Comics and the character would have a rebirth of sorts at Marvel Comics when David Anthony Kraft and Rich Buckler created a very similar character named Eric Simon Payne aka Devil-Slayer for them in 1977 in an issue of Marvel Spotlight.

Demon Hunter is a character I first discovered as a teenager while shopping at local comic shop Bookie Parlor. At the time I was buying any and all Atlas Comics as they were ones that owner Hal had introduced me to. I found the first and only issue in one of his cheap bins and can remember reading it once I got home and enjoying it as I found it to be on par with Marvel Comics I had read from the same year it was published. And when planning what Atlas Comic character to cover this year, the first one that popped into my mind was Demon Hunter and I am glad to be able to chat about him a little on this update as I do feel he is a pretty great character.

Here in Ohio, we had a ride that was called Screamin’ Demon and later just The Demon at Kings Island, one of our areas longest running amusement parks. The ride was designed by Intamin AG and Anton Schwarzkopf and was known for its massive loop, and in 1977 Arrow Dynamics made a coaster with this design for Kings Island that was called The Screamin’ Demon that had riders enter a loading station and get into a cart and would be follow the track through a massive loop and then be forced to do the same loop again going backwards! Each ride would fit about twenty people and was a pretty popular coaster for its time at the park. The ride was an attraction and remained a must for park goers for many years…that was until 1987 when Kings Island decided to sell the ride to Camden Park located in West Virginia who would call the ride Thunderbolt Express. The ride run until 1999 until a massive board malfunction left it down and out, and it was scrapped in 2004 ending its reign of being a classic Amusement park ride. While it might have went to the big scrap yard in the sky, for those fans of early Kings Island the Screamin’ Demon remains a great ride memory. For those wondering if I ever got to ride the Screamin’ Demon, the sad answer is I did not.

When I was a teenager, I lived in a big house in Kettering, Ohio that had a big side yard that was complete with a weeping willow tree and a massive two-car garage that had a shed and a tool/work out room attached. One night my cousin Stephen came over, and it was getting late. We were hanging outside when we noticed a weird glowing red light coming from the yard of the neighbor who lived behind us. The glow was super bright and a weird hissing noise was filling the air. This weird light and sound caused use to creep to the fence and peer past bushes to see what this was and standing in their yard next to a blocked up boat was a weird looking man with a hood or mask on who had a very weird and eerie red glow around him. Stephen and I watched this strange figure standing in the glowing red light for a minute or so, and then his parents came outside and he left while I still stood outside for a while and my imagination was already going crazy as I was in movie mode in my brain saying it was a demon straight from Hell!! In reality it was just the homeowner welding his boat…or was it??!!! I can remember that the idea of a demon living behind my house was even an idea I toyed with when it came to films for Independent B Movie. Fun and weird times was my teenage years as the love of all things Horror always played into my everyday life.

One of my favorite current female rap/pop singers is Iggy Azalea as I find her to be the top of that game with a great voice, top-notch rhymes and seems like a person who loves what she does and is who she is! On August 3, 2018, she released an EP to the masses called “Survive The Summer” that features a total of six songs and sadly was only a digital release…but a few physical ones were made and thanks to an Ebay seller, I was able to get one and do this quick write up for this update. I want to also say that this EP was her final release for Island Records as she parted ways with them and is now signed to Empire with a new release in the works as well as a possible tour. While many of the songs on this EP are fantastic and showcase Iggy’s style, the opening track and the title of the release “Survive The Summer” is the weakest track on the release as the other five songs are really solid. My favorite track is “Kream” where Iggy raps about cash and ass and the track has a great club sound. My second favorite track on this release is “Tokyo Snow” that as well has a club sound and also seems like it should be used in a crime film. Over all this is another great release from Iggy Azalea and shows that she is for me the true queen of the rap game.

Well as you can see Demon Hunter is a character who was very short lived but was able to help spawn a Marvel Comics character so his legacy still lives on slightly. And again for you comic readers who have not ever read an Atlas Comics issue do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Demon Hunter, The Brute, Tiger-Man, Iron Jaw or any other of their short lived characters and be ready to read solid and fun classic 70’s style superhero, barbarian, war and horror adventures. It really is a shame Atlas could not survive the war for shelf space between Marvel and DC in the 70’s. Well let’s get to the review for the one and only issue of Demon Hunter that I will be grading on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see just how bad these demons are and how well Gideon Cross hunts them…oh and I want to also thank Bell, Book and Comic for having this issue in stock and also a thank you to the Bookie Parlor who introduced me to Atlas Comics.

Demon Hunter # 1  ***
Released in 1975    Cover Price .25    Atlas Comics     # 1 of 1

Gideon Cross with his shadow cloak becomes Demon Hunter a man who fights demons on Earth and in Hell in order to keep them from taking over and works as a gun for hire via a cult …but he also finds himself working for mafia crime boss Mr. Severs who has a price on his head and right before he is to be killed by a sniper Demon Hunter takes down the would be assassin. Once back and he collects his blood payment he gets another mission and that’s to kill the wheelchair bound mobster Harvey Aldous who wants Severs dead! After going with Severs on a dug sale as his bodyguard his employer makes big money and Demon Hunter heads to the airport to travel and finish his mission on ridding the world of Aldous. While at the airport he starts to question the motives of the cult he is a part of and also learns that Mr. Severs has been reported as to have committed suicide, and the cult has send demon Hamremmiz to kill him off as they have picked up on his thoughts of questioning their motives. After a very quick fight Demon Hunter dispatches the foul creature and returns to the cults hideout and watches as they kill a man and bring a demon up from hell to possesses and take over the corpse! Demon Hunter leaves the scene of the horrific crime and tries to figure out a plan to bring down the cult and even has the idea of having his own target Harvey Aldous join him in the fight, not knowing the man killed and possessed was indeed Harvey Aldous who has set his sites on killing the Demon Hunter.

This supernatural superhero comic was a fun read when I was a youngster and still is at the age of 39! The comic does a great job of mixing in elements from multiple comic genres like Superhero, Horror, Crime and even a dash of Thriller into one issue that showcases a supernatural superhero that was a former war vet who works for the mob as well as a cult and yet still thinks he is a good person…but only after they turn on him and want him dead. Demon Hunter, as a normal man, lost it all and found a new purposes in life after given powers of the occult from a cult what want him to do jobs for people and take samples of their blood before doing it. He has a magical cape as well as a sword that he can use on his enemies and that includes both humans and demons. Demon Hunter is kind of a stone cold cocky kind of slayer who thinks he is the end all be all, but also seems to have no real common sense. Like let’s be honest, only after watching them kill a man and throw his heart into fire does he finally realize the cult is evil….come one Demon Hunter you are not that dumb. He also weirdly takes a grandstand against evil after working for the Mob and even killed for them. It’s clear that Demon Hunter is a broken person with broken views. The main villains of this issue are the members of the cult Harvesters Of The Dark who not only have black magic and demons on their side they also have money and power it seems! They seem to have no loyalty to their members if they are to question the group’s motives and while they do like the dark world they also seem to be very motivated by money. These bad guys really are bad and mess with dark forces and have learned to use them to do very bad things. Plus now that a demon is inside a mob boss like Harvey Aldous who knows just how dark and evil they will get…as sadly the world never found out as this comic never got a second issue leaving us on a major cliffhanger. And like many of Atlas titles the true potential of the character as well as their story arch never was met. The cover for this comic is fantastic and is very eye catching and rivals anything DC was releasing at the time. The interior artwork is done by Rich Buckler and is great stuff and could easily fit in at Marvel Comics at the time. While this is an incomplete story due to the companies closure this comic is still an amazing read and is worth checking out if you enjoy classic indie superheroes that are mixed with a little bit of supernatural thrills. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Rich Buckler.

Demon Hunter is for the most part a forgotten superhero from the age of Atlas, but for those of us who have read his one and only comic adventure he added his flair to the world of comics. With so many more Atlas Comic character left for me to cover, you readers and Atlas fans do have many more updates to look forward to that will showcases these great heroes. But for our next update we will be walking away from the world of Supernatural Superheroes and will be taking a look at a Biblical/Sword & Sandal hero that is known as Samson! So until next time, read a indie comic or three, watch a indie movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for an epic adventure good time.