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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: King Kong (2005)

Welcome back to the third update in our Kaiju Month series. This time around we will once more be taking a look at my personal favorite Kaiju, Titan, Giant Movie Monster or whatever you want to call him, and of course I am talking about King Kong! Since I was a very young lad, I have been a fan of the giant monster movies that I would watch on TV, mostly station TBS, and would also later always rent and or buy on VHS, and at the top of my list was always King Kong! Don’t get me wrong, I am a massive fan of Godzilla as well and will always cheer him on as he stomps around fighting off other Kaiju or the pesky army…but Kong has always been my top guy. So if you are ready for some Kaiju destruction, let’s get running to this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: King Kong (2005) update!

Let’s first take a moment to take a look at 2005’s King Kong and his strength, weaknesses and ways he can deal with people and things that get in his mighty way. King Kong stands around 25 feet tall and is a powerhouse of muscle and pride and will stand his ground against any enemy that dares to get in his way. King Kong uses his bare hands to smash and crush man and monster alike and as well can use his massive size to stomp the life away from his target. King Kong is also very smart and can think of ways to win fights as well as plan attacks when not in a full rage. Kong can also use his sharp teeth to shred flesh! King Kong’s never back down attitude is both a strength and a weakness as it can lead to his downfall as he does not have any instinct to flee even when he should. Another weakness is his love for Ann Darrow, a stunning human with blonde hair that he would do anything to protect. King Kong can also be hurt with lots of bullets from military grade weapons as well as can suffer injuries from sharp objects like other Kaiju’s teeth and claws. He can also be dazed with blunt force as well as with gas leaving him open for attacks. Just like any living thing, King Kong can be hurt, but I feel sorry for anything foolish enough to try and do so. King Kong might not have the most fancy of powers, but one thing is for sure, he is one massive beast that is smart and powerful.

So as you can see, King Kong is a true force of nature, and while in 2005, he might not have been the biggest Kaiju on the block, he still was one that made an impact in all those who encountered him. So now that we know what King Kong can do when it comes to destruction, we now need to take a look at the film this version of Kong is from. As always, our friends at IMDB will supply the films plot and I will talk about the films production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you are ready, let’s talk about Kong and is 2005 film adventure.

King Kong (2005)

“Carl Denham needs to finish his movie and has the perfect location; Skull Island. But he still needs to find a leading lady. This ‘soon-to-be-unfortunate’ soul is Ann Darrow. No one knows what they will encounter on this island and why it is so mysterious, but once they reach it, they will soon find out. Living on this hidden island is a giant gorilla and this beast now has Ann is its grasps. Carl and Ann’s new love, Jack Driscoll must travel through the jungle looking for Kong and Ann, whilst avoiding all sorts of creatures and beasts. But Carl has another plan in mind.”

Director Peter Jackson grew up a mega fan of the 1933 film King Kong, and he has always credited it as one of his biggest influence in becoming a film director. After the major success of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy he was able to get Universal to work alongside him to make a modern remake, but a little known fact is that his King Kong contract with Universal started before Lord Of The Rings! That’s right, Universal who worked with Jackson on “The Frightners” was so impressed with what they saw, they offered him first to remake “Creature From The Black Lagoon” and after he said no, they offered him “King Kong” and at first he said no…but gave in. And did I mention these original talks took place in 1996 and after getting cold feet, Universal pulled out of the film at the last minute due to the 1998 Godzilla film being on the horizon. So Peter Jackson moved onto making Lord Of the Rings films The Fellowship Of The Ring and The Two Towers for New Line Cinema and with them both being box office hits, Universal once more came sniffing around and wanted him to make King Kong…and once again he agreed to do so and brought on writer Philippa Boyens to spice up his old script/rewrite it and got a budget of $175 million from Universal. Production of the film started in September 6, 2004 and filming was set in New Zealand and actors like Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Jack Black, Colin Hanks, Lobo Chan and Andy Serkis did the motion capture of King Kong himself. The production was a crazy one and was a long and crazy shoot of green screen effects as well other stunts and visual effects. They would bring composer James Newton Howard on to do the film’s score. The film would be released in New York on December 5, 2005 and would go wide on the 14th of December.

The film was meet with positive reviews from fans and critics and even Roger Ebert gave it a glowing review. The film did amazing for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in $218,080,025.00 with foreign did $332,437,332.00 on the final budget of $207 million. It was the 5th grossing film that year at the box office and beat out other Sci-Fi, Horror and Cult films like Batman Begins, Fantastic Four, Saw II, The Ring Two, Exorcism Of Emily Rose, Sin City, The Amityville Horror, Corpse Bride, Legend Of Zorro, House Of Wax, The Fog, Doom, Land Of The Dead and Kung Fu Hustle to name a few. So as you can see, King Kong was a big hit in 2005 and showed that this classic movie monster had lots to offer to moviegoers.

When I heard that King Kong was being remade I was very hyped to watch it as I have always been a mega fan…but when I saw that Peter Jackson was doing it off the heels of his overly long Lord Of The Ring films and this one as well was going to be super long…the hyped died a little as I had a bad feeling that Jackson would over bloat the story and production. And while he did do this, when I finally got off my high horse and gave the film a chance, I found that while over done, it was still an enjoyable film that helped keep the King Kong character and story alive for a new generation. Much of the film worked for me as I found all the human characters very likable and all of them had interesting backstories as well as interactions with each other. Naomi Watts plays Ann, and she is fantastic and is one of the most beautiful actresses in Hollywood. The stuff on Skull Island as well is very awesome with Kong fight off two massive T-Rexes as well as the crew searching around to save Ann as they encounter all the strange animals that inhabit the island. Not to mention King Kong in this movie is as massive and protective as ever. The downside is some of the overly cheesy moments like Kong and Ann on the ice in New York…so cheesy. Over all, while this 2005 is not my favorite King Kong film, it’s still an enjoyable film that brought the world’s favorite giant New York stomping gorilla back to the big screen.

Like all blockbuster movies, 2005’s King Kong had its fair share of merchandise that treated fans to some amazing stuff like novels, comic books, t-shirts, posters, trading cards, action figures, Halloween costumes, plush dolls, score soundtrack, video games among many other items. I myself enjoyed the video game for the PS2 as I found it lots of fun to play as both man and beast, and I also really enjoy the soundtrack CD as I find that James Newton Howard did a fantastic job of capturing the epic nature of the film and is one that I play on WYSO from time to time. I also have one of the massive action figures of Kong that I bought at a thrift store shortly after the film was released on home video. So if you like Peter Jackson’s King Kong, there are so many cool items for you to collect.

Did you know that Peter Jackson’s films King Kong and Dead-Alive are connected? Well they are! That’s right, the unrated gory cult film Dead Alive about reanimated zombies and the Hollywood massive budget film King Kong take place in the same world as in the belly of the ship Venture is a crate that holds the one and only Sumatran Rat-Monkey!! Imagine what would have happened if the Rat-Money would have been on board gotten free and bit King Kong turning him into a massive zombie primate that would have been almost impossible to stop. Just wanted to share this connection as I find it very cool and something I feel many people know, but not all. Oh and if you remember in Dead-Alive the zombie plagued even started on Skull Island, showing these two films are linked!

So as you can see, King Kong truly is a force of nature and is one of the strongest and smartest Kaiju Monsters to grace a movie screen in 2005 and every version to hit the big screen. Well we are at the point now that we will take a look at the comic based on the film and I will be grading it on a 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. I want to thank Game Swap Kettering for having this comic in stock and making this update possible. So if you are ready, let’s travel to Skull Island along with Dark Horse Comics and see what this comic adaptation has to offer.

King Kong # 1  ***
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99     Dark Horse     #1 of 3

Ann Darrow is an actress who very much wants to make it big on the stage in New York, but does not have the name value to get the parts she is perfect for. Filmmaker Carl Denham is working on his next epic jungle picture, and the movie execs are not happy with the footage or the fact he is asking for more money in order to shoot the film at an uncharted island, and when he over hears them talking about canceling the production he steals the reels and goes on the run. Denham on his way to the ship Venture finds Ann Darrow and convenes her to be his leading actress and along with his assistant Preston, scriptwriter Jack Driscoll, actor Bruce Baxter and the rest of the filmmaker crew set out to sea and toward an island they don’t know about. While filming on the ship, Ann and Jack start to fall in love with each other and soon the dock at Skull Island! Denham takes his film crew to the shore, and they start looking for places to film. They notice a massive wall built around the land and this sends shivers down many spines. As Denham and the film crew walk further, they are surrounded by spear caring natives who have taken an interest in Ann and as they are about to grab her Captain Englehorn and his crew fire gunshots into the air scaring them away. That evening while back on the ship a massive storm rages on as both film crew and ship crew prepare the ship for sea in the dangerous weather and Jack takes notice that Ann is gone and they find two dead shipmates with spears in them they head off to the native village with guns in hand and to their horror they find Ann tied to an alter and a massive gorilla that’s called Kong about to nab her.

This first issue’s plot builds up our film crew as well as builds the romance between actress Ann Darrow and writer Jack Driscoll and teases the wild land that is Skull Island with a peek at King Kong at the very end. Ann Darrow is our main character as she is a down on her luck stage actress who wants to get her one big break and thinks she has found it in this new jungle film from goofy conman director Carl Denham who is the main person who causes all the heartbreak and drama this tale has coming. Denham really is a scummy person who is even making this film with stolen equipment. Jack Driscoll is a good man who loves writing and seeing his work come alive on stage and screen, and he falls for Ann super fast and clearly would do anything to keep her safe. The rest of our characters are just around and had not been fully developed in this first issue. The Natives of Skull Island in this issue come off as savages in nature as they kill as well as kidnap in order to please their “God” known as Kong. Sadly we only get a small glimpse at King Kong in this issue, and it’s clear he is massive and pissed and wants to claim his prize of a beautiful blonde woman. I do wish we got a little more action of Kong but it was just not meant to be. This issue does have some horror adventure moments like the Natives attacking as well as the appearance of Kong, it packs some none gruesome deaths in with the spearing deaths of two ship workers. The one thing I am sure you noticed is that this comic series was suppose to be a three issue mini series with only one issue ever being released, and later they would just put the whole comic out as a graphic novel…this stinks as it would have been great to have all three issues in hand and made for this Kaiju Month update but Dark Horse dropped the ball. The cover for this issue is ok and showcases a production still from the movie and has King Kong looking very annoyed, it is eye catching for fans of the film and character. The interior art is done by Dustin Weaver and is solid and captures the mood and feel of the film very well. Over all this comic is a great read and does the film justice…it’s just a shame that Dark Horse only delivered the first issue to readers of a three issue mini series. If you love the movie, make sure to check out this comic as I feel you will love it as well. Take a look at the art below to see the style of art Weaver used in this issue.

King Kong truly is my favorite Kaiju, and I do feel like he not only makes for great movies but also comics and even this issue proves that. But Kaiju Month comes to an end with our next update and the next subject is the only other Kaiju who rivals Kong and is his top opponent ever and I am talking about the one and only Godzilla! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Kaiju film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for some quality time with the King Of The Monsters.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Valley Of Gwangi

Well it’s that time again when the giant Titans awaken and take over Rotten Ink and bring forth not only the second Kajiu Month but also add many more updates in my From Horror Movie To Horror showcases. And this time Kaiju Month is being done in honor of “Godzilla vs. Kong” that was going to be released in theaters on March 13, 2020 and now got moved to November 13, 2020 but remains for me is one of the year’s most anticipated films! To start off, I chose to cover “The Valley Of Gwangi,” an amazing film that pits cowboys against dinosaurs! For many fans of Kaiju films, this one walks the line as some do not consider it part of that subgenre. I am on the side that does belong as I feel that Dinosaurs are the O.G Kaiju monsters. So if you are ready to travel to the old west and fight for our lives against dinosaurs, let’s start this amazing update of From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Valley Of Gwangi. I hope this month of updates helps make the film’s move a little less hurtful.

So before we dive to deep into The Valley Of Gwangi, let’s take a look at the film’s most vicious dinosaur the Tyrannosaurus Rex or T-Rex for short that is simply called Gwangi in the film! The Gwangi is a Kaiju that stands around 20 feet tall and is very aggressive in nature to any man, animal and dinosaur that crosses his path. The Gwangi uses his massive size to stomp on prey that is smaller than him and uses his razor sharp teeth to shred their flesh! He is also very fast moving for his size and can quickly catch prey that is on foot. The Gwangi’s massive and wicked appearance that includes purplish black hide also can shock human, animal and fellow dinosaurs alike into a state of total fear leaving them open for attack and sadly the kill. But while the Gwangi is a creature of rage, he has weaknesses that include the fact he is not all that smart and thinks more with his stomach than his tiny brain. He can also be kind of clumsy and easily outstepped and escaped from. The Gwangi can also be hurt or killed by other Kaiju’s as well as can take damage by fires and guns. While the Gwangi might be one of the weakest Kaiju’s we have covered on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update, but while he might not be the strongest, he still is one deadly and mean beast that is a killing machine.

So as you can see, the T-Rex called the Gwangi is a man killing, meat eating, scary as hell dino who really does define the term Kaiju. So now let’s take a look at The Valley Of Gwangi, the film that this Gwangi is from and as always our friends from IMDB will supply the film’s write up and I will write a little about the film’s production, release and my thoughts. So if you are ready like I am, let’s get to our look at The Valley Of Gwangi.

The Valley Of Gwangi (1969)

“A cowboy named Tuck Kirby seeks fame and fortune by capturing an Allosaurus living in the Forbidden Valley and putting it in a Mexican circus. His victim, called the Gwangi, turns out to have an aversion to being shown in public.”

Willis O’Brien is the mastermind and godfather of stop motion creature films came up with the idea of The Valley Of Gwangi that he was calling Valley Of The Mists as he wanted to make something of his own that was much like the story “The Lost World” written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! This was a dream project for him that would have had a T-Rex captured and forced to be in a Wild West show that would end with it breaking free, fighting lions and dying when it was knocked off a cliff by a truck. Sadly before the film could go into production, Willis O’Brien passed away and the equally talented Ray Harryhausen stepped in to do the film’s special effects. The film’s script was written by Willis O’Brien but also William Bast and Julian More with Jim O’Connolly coming on board to direct, and lastly they brought on Jerome Moross to do the score. Cast as the leads for the film were James Franciscus as Tuck and Gila Golan as T.J. with supporting actors like Richard Carlson, Freda Jackson and Curtis Arden. The film was shot in Spain and was released by Warner Brothers. The film was a hit at the box office and the year it was released it was joined by other Horror Classics like Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, Nightmare In Wax, Night Of The Bloody Apes, The Castle Of Fu Manchu, Dracula The Dirty Old Man and The Oblong Box to name a few. Over the years the film has really built up a cult following and has been released on home media like VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray bringing this fun and cheesy film to a new generation of fans.

I can first remember seeing this film on broadcast TV when it aired on TNT Monstervision hosted by Joe Bob Briggs as well as on the TBS show Super Scary Saturday hosted by Grampa Munster…proving once more why Horror Hosts are so important when it comes to introducing monster kids to films. I can remember on both viewings loving just how cheesy and silly the film was, but loving the classic style effects. Over the years I kind of forgot about the film and it faded from memory, that was until about 10 years ago when I saw a clip of it of on a show and realized I needed to own it on DVD for my collection and quickly ordered it off Amazon, and after it arrived and I was able to watch it again I found myself turning back into that kid that watched Horror Hosts host it and loving every cheesy moment of it. I should also note when I was a kid, like most kids I was really into dinosaurs and watching a T-Rex chase around cowboys was amazing. When Rotten Ink started I knew I wanted to cover comics made by Star of course but also knew that I had to somehow cover the movie adaptation comics by DELL and besides the Universal Monster ones The Valley Of Gwangi was at the top of the list and with Kaiju Month and the From Horror Movie To Horror Comic theme this was the perfect time to unleash it on you readers. If you have not seen Valley Of Gwangi and enjoy films that have classic style stop animation and features a pissed off T-Rex wanting to make lunch out of cowboys, make sure to give this one a watch.

So as you can see, Valley Of Gwangi is one of those movies that walks the lines of many different genres as it not only is a Western and Horror but also has elements of Science Fiction as well as Fantasy. Again lets be honest the T-Rex really is the worlds original Kaiju and this species of Dinosaurs has been the main villain of many of films and fiction stories in novels and even comics. Now that we have talked about the man-eater T-Rex and the film he slaughters in lets get to the DELL Comic adaptation and see how the comic compares to the film. I want to remind you that I grade this comic on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready, let’s head to the valley and see if we can dodge that pesky meat eating Gwangi.

The Valley Of Gwangi # 1  ***
Released in 1969     Cover Price .15   Dell     # 912 of ??

Tuck Kirby is a cowboy who visits his old lover and rodeo show runner T.J. Breckenridge with an offer to buy her prize horse on the orders of Buffalo Bill! She is still very mad at Tuck for breaking off their marriage and sends him away. While in town Tuck meets a young boy named Lope who helps him get a horse and introduces him to Professor Bromley who is a master of dinosaur bones. Carlos who works for T.J. has an idea how to use creatures found from the forbidden valley as a way for the rodeo to make extra money, but also Carlos is feeling a little rivalry with Tuck as he clearly has a crush on his boss T.J. But when Carlos shows off his discovery of a tiny horse, local gypsies show up and end up stealing the horse back to return it to the valley…but also the Professor now follows the gypsies in order to find the valley. And worse Carlos thinks he seen Tuck with the gypsy thieves stealing the tiny horse, and this breaks T.J.’s heart. The Gypsies set the tiny horse free and they think that by doing so they gave stopped a curse, but in reality they lead Tuck, Lope, Professor Bromley, T.J. and Carlos to the valley and after clearing up the mix up they all enter the valley after the tiny horse. While in the valley they are attacked by dinosaurs and almost all killed by a T-Rex they call Gwangi that has set his sights on them, as they try and escape the valley Carlos is killed and ate with Tuck and the crew using boulders to knock out Gwangi and they take the beast captive and put it on display at the rodeo. As Tuck and T.J get into a lovers fight over their future the gypsies strike again and set the creature free that goes on a rampage as hundreds of people try and run for their lives. And in the end Gwangi knocks over some candles and catches the area on fire and burns to death as Tuck and T.J find that they truly love each other.

This Dell Comics is a fantastic read and really makes me wish that they made more comics based on Horror and Sci-Fi films during this time. While this adaptation is really good I also need to stress that like all Dell movie inspired comics this one cuts out large parts of the film and characters to make it fit in a single issue. The plot of this is very simple and follows a down on their luck rodeo that hopes that a tiny horse that a worker found will bring money to them, but when the horse is stolen and a hidden valley is found they get more then they wish for when they unleash a T-Rex. Also throw in a love story between the female rodeo owner and a one time trick rider and you have the story of this comic. T.J Breckenridge is a young woman who loves her rodeo, but money has been tight and worse for her she has fallen in love with a trick rider who has showed back up in her life. By the end of the comic she must make a very hard decision of her career or true love. Tuck Kirby is a man’s man who has made his living entertaining the masses as well as being a risk taker. He also is a very honest and prideful man who does what he can to try and protect his friends, well besides the one time he left the Professor behind. I also want to say Lope, Professor Bromley and Carlos all are great characters who add to the over all story arch. The Gwangi is a killing machine who kills both dinosaurs and humans and seems that he greats joy of taking lives. To be honest the Gypsies are the comic’s main villains as they many times put human lives in danger and even in the end set the Gwangi free that leads to terror and even the death of the creature. The comic does not have any blood but does have death and does have terror filled moments. The cover is great and is taken from the movies release poster. The interior artwork is done by Jack Sparling and has that classic Dell Comics look, and that means its topnotch stuff for this company. Over all this is a great read and if you like the movie make sure to check this comic out. Also check out below for a look at the artwork of Jack Sparling.

Valley Of The Gwangi to me was a great way to start of this year’s Kaiju Month, and I really do hope that this month long updates help make the fact Warner Brothers moved “Godzilla vs. Kong” to November. And while Gwangi might not be the biggest of the Kaiju, he still is one of the icons of Giant Monster Cinema. The next Kaiju we will be covering is the one and only Gamera! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Kaiju Film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a giant turtle good time.

The Undead Files: Bones

Growing up a comic reader in the 80’s and 90’s, the market was flooded with lots of options with many coming from the big companies like Marvel, DC and Archie, and during this time a powerhouse in the world of comics was Malibu! And like all good independent comic companies, they did a line of Horror Comics and even had some they mixed with humor.  For this Undead File, we will be taking a look at one of their more humorous offerings in a series called Bones! This weird comic series is one that has been in my life since 1987 when one of my Dad’s close friends bought my brother a stack of comic books for his birthday.  The first issue was in that pile, and it quickly became a comic that we both read and I became a fan of. And now in 2018 I am going to revisit that first issue and read the rest of the issues for the first time! So grab your anti zombie repellant as we head into the old bone yard and see what flesh eating ghouls we can find along the way.

First I want to give a crash course history lesson about Malibu comics before we get to all the spooky dead stuff, so sit back and enjoy. Malibu Comics was created in 1986 by Dave Olbrich, Tom Mason and Chris Ulm and was an independent comic company that was trying to get a foothold in the comic industry. They started very small with their releases being creator owned titles that were in black and white.  Their first release was Ex-Mutants with other titles like The Fist Of God, G.I. Mutants to follow, among many others. And very quickly they also gobbled up Eternity Comics, Aircel Comics and Adventure Publications and in 1989 those imprints did the Horror, Action, Drama and Adult Comics while Malibu was just for Superhero titles now. In 1992, Malibu was the company who published the first books from Image Comics and helped lead the fight against Marvel and DC that were dominating comic shops. Before 1993 Malibu had been releasing some great titles under all its imprints, but it was The Ultraverse line of comics that made them truly stand out by delivering cool new high quality hero characters like Prime, Night Man, Mantra and Sludge to readers.  They also upped their paper quality and used a great digital coloring process in order to make them stand out from their competition that now included Image Comics who became self published. Their Ultraverse comics did well for them, and many of the characters became popular with comic readers even getting the characters toys and in the case of Night Man, his own Live-Action TV Show! In 1994, they even opened up a branch called Rock-It Comics and did comic books based on popular bands like Black Sabbath, Pantara and Lita Ford.

But sadly the comic industry was in a decline due to the main two, DC and Marvel, pumping out gimmick filled releases of death of heroes, hologram & foil covers and all other types of cash grabs. Sadly comic buyers were limiting what comics they bought at the time and companies like Malibu suffered as readers dropped them from pull lists and still stayed with the comics of Marvel and DC. Malibu tried to stay afloat by cancelling lower selling titles. By mid 1994 DC Comics had shown interest in buying Malibu to own their characters as well as their coloring style, but by November of that year Marvel Comics stepped up and bought Malibu Comics and barely used the characters and had them mostly in crossover books before they disappeared shortly after 1996. Many rumors have went around comic shops on why Marvel does not use the characters anymore with much of the talk coming down to money as it’s said that for every Malibu title created now in comics, the creators of the characters get 5% of profits.  Other rumors that have been spoken are that the characters just do not fit in the currant Marvel plans all the way to the small hum that something is in the works with Malibu characters coming back to the Marvel Universe. With the character Topez showing up in Thor: Ragnarok, maybe there is hope. I would love to see Night Man in Daredevil comics, Prime join The Avengers and Prototype join sides with Iron Man.  Will this happen in the future? Well, that’s up to Disney and Marvel.

One of the world’s scariest places is said to be in the underground of Paris, France and houses over six million skeleton human bodies that many have been their sense the 1800’s! This place is called the Catacombs Of Paris and is a maze of tunnels with no lights that is filled with the dead and long maze like tunnels that easily a person could get lost in. Being lost in the catacombs I am sure is a nightmare for many of you and in fact this has even been the topic for some horror movies like “As Above So Below” and “Catacombs” showing that this area really is a scary place. In the early 1990’s an explore went into the catacombs armed with his video camera and shot all that he seen down in the tunnels that are forbidden for people to go into, while walking around he finds lots of rooms filled with bones and skulls and even some drawings on the walls from explores of the past. But during his time down their something seems to spook him and clearly as the tape goes on he is slowly building up to a panic as he realizes he is lost and the tape ends with him dropping the camera into some water on the ground and he runs off into the dark! So was this man truly in a state of fear that allowed him to make a terrible decision by leaving behind his camera that had the only source of light for him or was he being chased and possessed by the spirits of the dead? No one know for sure if this man ever made it out of the catacombs as his body nor he has ever been found. This lost explores video can be found on YouTube and aired on the ABC Family show The World’s Scariest Places”.

Zombie Cop is a 1991 shot on video film directed by J.R. Bookwalter that is a cheesy horror film that I really do think would make a great comic book series that mixes the elements of action, horror and camp. So for you readers that don’t know what this movie is about here is the write up from our friends at IMDB “During a drug raid, a narcotics officer confronts a strange Voodoo priest named Dr. Death, who is chanting. The officer and the priest shoot it out and they both wind up dead. Later, the two rise from their graves and return to the land of the living as zombies. Dr. Death is resurrected with a new mission in mind, to take over the world. The “zombie” cop enlists the aid of his old police buddies to stop the mad priest.” yeah it’s as cheesy and over the top as it sounds. My idea for this comic series would be that it would be set in modern times and Zombie Cop is still working for the side for good, but something wicked this way comes when a relative of Dr. Death shows up in town and wants revenge and raises demons to run amuck and take down Zombie Cop. The comic would have the odds against Zombie Cop and the demons would be very mean spirited and brutal in their killing ways and would be more gory than the film. If we did the book at Sparkle Comics I would say that for writer besides myself I would like to see Natalie Claude tackle it and if I had to choose an artist I would say Marc Gras Cotes or Jason Gilmore would be my choice. If another company was to tackle this I would like to see Rough House Publishing or a returning Fangoria Comics do it. Will Zombie Cop ever be a comic book…only time will tell.

Speaking of Horror Movies on April 15 2018 I held another Horror Movie Marathon at my cousins Stephen’s house that was filled with good food, great friends and lots of movie watching! The attendance was small but once more filled with fans who love Horror and love to be around friends and were Stephen Alexander, Theresa Daniels, Juliet Fromholt, Josh Weinberg, Jason Young, Jeremy Hoyt, Todd The Fox, Queen V, Sarah Sharp and Garrison Kane. As always we started this event at 7am with the first film being the 1945 film “The Vampire’s Ghost” that was about a Vampire in Africa that is the target of voodoo and Americans who are wise to his blood sucking ways. The low budget Horror Comedy “Swamphead” was next and about a cursed killing severed head that targets a group of friends out camping. The third film of the day was released by Dead Alive and was called “Mr. Ice Cream Man” about a murderous merchant of ice cream who targets a young man on his birthday. The 2016 film “The Crooked Man” took the fourth film spot and was about a nursery rhyme legend that is real that goes on a killing spree years after a young woman is charged with one of his past crimes is freed from an asylum. The werewolf film “Night Shadow” was next and was about a werewolf on a killing spree that leaves on family and the cops into a world of horror. The sixth thriller of the day was “The Headhunter” as 1989 release about a evil sprit brought on by voodoo on a killing spree in Florida and the two cops that have to stop it from claiming more heads for it’s trophies. “Sweatshop” was next and followed a massive brute in a wielders mask killing some party planers and goers during a warehouse rave. Next we had another Horror Comedy that was called “Bonejangles” that has a supernatural killer along with the cops who captured him being stuck in a small town that is being over taken by an evil witch and her undead minions, oh and did I mention Elissa Dowling stars as the witch! We needed to add some Italian Horror to the mix so “New York Ripper” was next up and is a slasher film about a duck-talking killer who targets women in the streets of the Big Apple. What would a Horror Movie Marathon be without a Fullmoon Entertainment film so I unleashed “Unlucky Charms” a film about a leprechaun and his magical friends being used by an aging model to drain the youth off models on a reality TV Show. Next up was the locally shot creature feature “Don’t F*** In The Woods” about a giant turtle like humanoid that kills any one foolish enough to make love in his woods. And our final film of the night was the 1976 Horror, Martial Arts and Gang movie called “The Devil’s Express” that has a New York kung-fu master taking on a Chinese demon freed in the subway tunnels by the foolish actions of on of his students. Over all another great all day Horror Movie watching marathon spent with good films, great friends and tasty eats.

Like always this was a super fun event and one that I always enjoy doing with friends! Like before I have chosen Stephen to give you his choice for the Golden Turkey of the day as well as his top three films as he was along for the horror ride from start to finish. Me being the host of the event and this fun little blog will go first and for me the Golden Turkey of the day had to go to Night Shadow as I found it to be a very boring and uneventful werewolf movie that sadly barely showed the beast until the very end, this one I had high hopes for and it just didn’t deliver a scary werewolf horror film. I also want to say that Swamphead almost made my Golden Turkey pick as it was really silly, but at least I chuckled a few times and that made it safe from getting the worst pick. The # 1 film of the event for me was New York Ripper as it’s a sleazy Italian Horror flick done by the godfather of gore Lucio Fulci and has a weird duck talking killer and plenty of nudity and gore to please fans of splatter. # 2 for me was The Vampire’s Ghost as I loved the mixture of voodoo and vampire and the African setting helped add to the over all mystery and thrill. I also really liked the bug eyed evil performance of Jon Abbott who played the vampire. My # 3 was a little harder to pick as I enjoyed many of the other films but I think I would have to go with Sweatshop as it was an over the top splatter film that had lots of brutal killings done to goofy raver kids. But to be fair Headhunter and Devil’s Express almost took this spot as all three were close in enjoyment for me and all for different reasons. For Stephen the Golden Turkey of the marathon was Swamphead as he had this to say about it “It was just completely ridiculous and there was so much that just made no sense.”! His # 1 film was The Vampire’s Ghost as he said this about it “I have an affinity for those old black and white horror films”. His # 2 was The Crooked Man as he almost was going to make it his number one. And his # 3 was Devil’s Express! And for a runner up he wanted me to let you readers know that it was New York Ripper. So with another Horror Movie Marathon in the books, I look forward to the next one as they really are a wondering time to be had.

The Golden Massacre award that is presented to the one killer who has the biggest body count of the day went to The Beast from the film Sweatshop as he smashed and crushed a little over 20 people in the movie! One of the best kills in the movie for this Horror fan was when The Beast rams a woman’s head through a metal grate on an elevator leaving her face looking like hamburger meat…really brutal. So here is to you The Beast for being the killing machine of this Horror Movie Marathon!

So now that the dead are all around use we should maybe find some shelter in this old tomb and hope that all the old undead that use to live here are out trying to find some human flesh to eat. So as we close this rusted old door I would like to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. As the sounds of the dead echo off these stone walls I want to also remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So lets take a look at the Undead Files and take a look at Bones!

Bones # 1  ***
Released in 1987      Cover Price $1.95      Malibu Comics      # 1 of 4

Seymour was an advisor to the King of Myrill and was well respected and loved his pampered life. The Kingdom was set as they had technology, food and peace, all was perfect…that is until the King died and with this his loyal soldiers and Seymour were murdered and placed in the tomb with him. Years pass and Seymour wakes up in the tomb rotting and yet alive and surrounded by The King and his Men who as well are rotting and they all have a hunger for human flesh! But things soon get bad for Seymour as he is picked on and bullied by his fellow undead in the tomb and finally decides that he has had enough and walks out of the tomb for good and into the Kingdom that is now in ruin and ran by Trolls! After being caught and beheaded by the Troll King, our skeleton hero as only a head pieces a new bottom together from bones in a body pit and is able to escape the Trolls but during his escape falls into a water well and washes up on shore and found by two young alive children.

This first issue starts off with a bang as we have Seymour’s skull flying through the air and landing in a massive body pit. From their we are treated to his back story of being a man who had the respect of his King and the Kingdom’s people, to becoming an Undead Ghoul who is teased and bullied to becoming a Skeleton on a mission to live and make his own way in the world of chaos around him. And reading this comic again after all these years, I found it still as enjoyable and still as brutal in spots as I did back then with the most gruesome scene being when the guards spear and kill Seymour in order to bury him with the King. Seymour as a man and undead is a peaceful man who enjoys to write plays, poems and stories and is wise and smart when coming to dealing with other people. But because he is such a good guy also makes him an easy target to be bullied by those who are stronger than him, but during this first issue we see him not only use his mind to survive but also his killer instinct as he takes out his anger on two sarcastic skulls stuck in the pit with him using a large rock. Plus at the end of this issue it makes you wonder what adventure awaits Seymour and will he eat the kids that find him to stop his hunger. The King and his Men are just undead ghouls now who just want to eat flesh and stay hidden in the tomb and play cruel pranks on Seymour. The Trolls are large, fat foul creatures who are lazy and as well like to kill the living and anything else including their own kind! Plus they are simple minded and that’s why Seymour is able to trick them and escape their Kingdom. The cover for this comic is very eye catching and I love the fact our hero is pounding on a tomb door for his life as a shadow of a Troll is sneaking up behind him. The interior art is also fantastic and is the style I love for independent Horror Comics of that time and is done by Bryon Carson who I would have love seen do a few comics based on Horror Movies. So to sum it up issue one of Bones is fantastic and really makes me look forward to reading the next issue, and whats cool is this will be the first time I have read the rest of this series!

Bones # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987      Cover Price $1.95      Malibu Comics      # 2 of 4

Seymour awakens and is hungry and wants to scare and eat the kids, but he soon finds out these kids are brats and they rip him apart and fling his skull into a hot water gauzier firing him our like a cannon ball and through the window of Ursula who works for the Boy King Drake in the Kingdom of Spontoon and after Seymour and her chat she takes the skull to the King and his Knight Maddog who want to know the location of Myrill as they want to steal all the gold that has been left behind. Maddog bullies both Seymour and Ursula until he gets the location and after doing so he and his men set out to bring back the riches and Seymour tells Ursula that he has sent them on a death mission as the suns heat and the goblins that await them will for sure end Maddog and his men’s lives. Ursula tells Seymour about the murder of the prior King and that he was beheaded and she thinks Maddog was the murder! Seymour then tries to get Ursula to be on his side to take over the Kingdom and his plan includes killing the Boy King and she does not want to have anything to do with it and plans to smash Seymour with a hammer when Maddog enters the room with an arrow in his forehead and looking for answers to why he was backstabbed.

This second issue has Seymour once more being the victim of bulling as two youngsters rip him apart and torment him for their own amusement. And after this torment he at least finds himself in a Kingdom with what he thinks is a new friend. In this issue Seymour is really loosing his human side as he really wants to eat humans and is going through a weird power hungry rage as he thinks that he should have taken the thrown at least once in his lifetime. I also like that in this issue he uses his mind in order to try and get ride of the King’s right hand man who has also has a very dark side. Ursula is a woman who practices necromancy for the Kingdom who is very bored in her job and hates most of the people in power as she thinks they are the ones who beheaded and murdered the former King. Sadly for her the scheme of Seymour has put a target on her back as the Knights think she was apart of their slaughter. The Child King Drake as well seems bored with being in charge and just wants toys and ponies! The real evil s.o.b in this issue is the head night named Maddog who is calling the shots more than the King and who uses intimidation and death to get what he wants, and he is so strong that even an arrow to the head does not stop him! This issue leaves us on a major cliffhanger as well as Ursula is about to smash Seymour and Maddog has returned and is in a clear rage….wonder who will survive and what will be left of them! The cover of this issue is ok and is nothing special and looks like a number of other independent comic covers that are filling quarter and dollar bins the would wide. Bryon Carson once more does the interior art and it’s as good as the first issue and I must say I enjoy his work. Well this second issue is a solid follow up and proves this series has gas in its tank and makes me look forward to reading issue three.

Bones # 3  **
Released in 1987      Cover Price $1.95      Malibu Comics      # 3 of 4

Maddog is not pleased and wants to kill both Seymour and Ursula and his blind rage is making him charge like a bull, and Ursula uses a spell and makes a T-Rex appear to distract the mad knight. But the T-Rex does not slowdown Maddog who attacks the beats and rips it apart with his bare hands and Ursula pulls a trap door switch that causes her and Seymour to fall into a bottomless pit. The Pair fall for days and finally find that the pit is not so bottomless as they land in a village filled with simpleminded people who believe that they are Gods that have fallen from the sky. Old Coot is their King and he has Seymour and Ursula locked into a hut, were Seymour comes up with a plan to rule the village and build his own empire! In the morning as Seymour speaks one on one with the villagers telling them that they are all now soldiers and not farmers, Ursula goes to Old Coot to try and warn him of the uprising, but the old King admits he don’t care as he himself only uses the villagers for his own gain and as they talk Old Coot is crushed by a fallen horse that is ridden by Maddog who has lead his army into the bottomless pit to get revenge on Seymour and Ursula! The Knights kill most of the villagers and take Ursula prisoner and football kick Seymour into the ocean.

This third issue is a weird one…wait this whole series is weird this one is just a little more odd as the plot is Seymour and Ursula falling throw a pit and landing in a weird village that thinks they are Gods that ends up being under attack from Maddog and his knights who want to take over the village and get cold revenge. Seymour in this issue is more and more power driven as he lies in order to gain power and wants to cause a war and eat human flesh! Seymour has slowly turned more and more evil over the past issues and it’s clear that while he likes Ursula he would turn on her if she got in his way. While Ursula is a good person who is a bad Necromancer and has been stuck in bad situations cause of all the ego driven power of Seymour. King Old Coot is a weird and yet wise man who has himself used his people to make his own life better, very cool and odd character. Maddog is one mean knight who is willing to fling himself and his men into a believed to be bottomless pit in order to get revenge on people who set him up to die, oh yeah and he uses his bare hands to kill a T-Rex! This issue slips a little and is not as horror and comedy filled as it seems more like a comic that had a little more of a message about peoples will to follow something. I do like that this issue leaves you on a cliffhanger as Seymour has been kicked out to sea, Ursula is a prisoner and could be killed by Maddog who has now taken over the village and claims it for his own! The cover of this issue is a little weak and once more screams cheap bin, the interior art by Bryon Carson is solid and good and to sum this one up its middle of the road a good issue but nothing special. So lets move onto the fourth and final issue of this cool Malibu Comic series.

Bones # 4  **1/2
Released in 1987      Cover Price $1.95      Malibu Comics      # 4 of 4

Seymour’s head is eaten by a giant whale and while inside the belly of the beast he meets the skeleton heads of a pirate ship crew as well as see’s their ship and their Captain Long John Ugly who is mean but is quickly smashed by Seymour who finds a new body in the whale and now Seymour is the Captain and he comes up with a plan that frees him and his new ship and crew from the Whale. Seymour is filled with power and rage and wants his new undead pirate crew to help him get revenge on all those who he thinks have wronged him like Maddog, The King, Ursula and the Trolls and while heading their way they come across a small boat that is filled with wise and spiritual men who are all slaughtered by the word of Seymour who in turn feels bad for what he has done and this makes his crew kill him…and this time Seymour is dead and wakes up in Hell! He soon finds that he is on trail for all of the crimes he has done while undead and his being trashed by all those he has killed with the now dead Ursula being the only one to defend him. In the end Seymour defends himself and as this is only his first offense is sent to ghoul training and will allowed to go back to his Undead world, were he will be a better scary creature of the grave.

This final issue in the journey in the life and undead life of Seymour takes us from him building an army of dead skeleton pirates to being killed again and being put in the hot seat while being judged in Hell and while it was a cool idea with some cool moments sadly the send of Bones is a little of a letdown. Now let me explain why I feel this way during this four issue mini series we watch as Seymour was the most trusted right hand man of the King, then in death becomes a victim of bullies who then turns into a power hungry skeleton who wants to be a ruler who later feels bad for all the mayhem he has caused only by the end to be right back to being a power hungry goofy ball flesh eater…so while the character grew in the end it all was really the same for him. I really did like how in this issue all of the people/creatures he killed or lead to be killed all come back to share their story of how terrible he is so the likes of King Old Coot, Captain Long John Ugly and Ursula to name a few are all in Hell at his trail and it made for a great way to cameo all the characters from the past issues. Seymour while kind of a jerk in much of this series still is in his own way a likable main character who does do bad things that ends up hurting himself and others, but seems to really feel bad when he is faced with the horrors he has done…well that is until he is told he will get another chance. Seymour really is a character you find yourself loving and hating at the same time and that perfect for an undead skeleton who’s the star of a horror comedy comic. Ursula the poor Necromancer who meets her fate at the hands of the Knight Maddog is swept up into this twisted web of goofy horror thanks to Seymour and its kind of a letdown as your not really sure how she died. The Skeleton Pirates are a cool touch and were in this comic long before they became cool again in Independent Comics with Captain Long John Ugly and his dead parrot being the standouts. So while this series ends it clear that maybe another mini series might have been in the works as the ending is very lackluster and ends on a “Here We Go Again” kind of joke…pretty disappointing really. The cover for this issue is fun and pretty eye catching with the use of the color orange, and the interior art done by Bryon Carson is good stuff. So while the final two issues in Bones are just ok the first two issues are lots of fun making this a Horror Comedy Comic that I would recommend to fans of this style of humor and indie comics. Check out the art below to see the style of Bryon Carson as well as the glory of Seymour and his friends.

So it seems like the dead are starting to return to their graves and I really had fun looking back at Bones and reading some of the issues for the first time on this update. While doing this update I really did find myself missing Malibu Comics as they did so many great comics from Horror all the way to Superheroes and offered something different from Marvel and DC, but with Marvel owning them and not doing anything with them for many, many years we can only hope that they decide to someday bring the characters back to comics. But for our next update we are leaving the world of the dead behind and will again try to travel to space with Juliet as she takes a look at Forbidden Planet! So until next time read a independent comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Hope your ready for a space time adventure my next update!

Let’s Go Ghostbusters…Let’s Go!!!

Who you gonna call…Rotten Ink! Okay maybe not, but if you’re a kid of the 80’s you shouted Ghostbusters or maybe even He-Man like the kids at the birthday party did in the film Ghostbusters II! One thing is for sure, Ghostbusters was super popular with kids and adults and became a cult classic that spawned a movie sequel as well as a number of video games, toys, comics and cartoons. But did you know that the Ghostbusters that we all knew and loved might have been the “Real” ones, but they were not the original ones as Filmation made a live action TV Show called Ghost Busters in 1975 that would spin off into a cartoon series in 1986, the same time that the 1984 comedy hit Ghostbusters debuted its spin off cartoon The Real Ghostbusters.  This was a confusing mess for young kids who were fans of Ghostbusters as the cartoon and toys would come out at the same time, and I am sure the mix up of the figures ruined many Christmases. Do you kids of the 80’s remember just how big of a cartoon company Filmation was? I mean they made the likes of “He-Man Masters Of The Universe”, “Bravestarr”, “New Adventures of The Lone Ranger” and “Aquaman” to name a very few! I wonder if friends like Josh Weinberg, Todd The Fox, Garrison Kane and Stephen Alexander would ever be interested in having a Saturday Morning get together where we watch classic cartoons we all grew up with and eat bowls of cereal..hmmmm…if this ever happens I will for sure blog about it. So while we all are winding down from July 4th and all those wonderful fireworks as well as trying to stay cool from the summer time heat, I think it’s time to chill out and take a look at The Ghostbusters!

Masters of the Universe Season 1filmation logoTrix Cereal

In 1975, Filmation made a live action kids show called “The Ghost Busters” that reunited F-Troop actors Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker as Kong and Spencer, two goofy detectives who research paranormal occurrence along with their pal, a trained gorilla named Tracy. They ran business from a rundown office that had a payphone, and they would get their missions via tape recorder left in the general store by a mysterious man named Zero. They would use a Ghost De-Materializer on the monster or ghost they were busting and Kong would scream ZAP as he sent the ghoul away. The ghosts included Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Red Baron, Billy The Kid and The Canterville Ghost, and our heroes would end up defeating them in a very slapstick manner. The series only lasted one season and ran for a total of 15 episodes. The show would later come out on VHS and DVD, but those are now out of print and the DVD complete season set sells for over $200.00!! Growing up as far as I can remember I never saw an episode as I was born in 1979 long after The Ghost Busters had been sent out to pasture. I can remember seeing the VHS tapes at Hearts but never had an interest in asking my Mom to get them for me, and thats odd as I loved monsters and ghosts and this would have been right up my alley! Truth be told, even to this day I have not seen an episode of The Ghost Busters, and I hope to change that sometime soon as I would love to get the DVD set. I should also note that Bob Burns, legendary cult film collector, was the man in the monkey suit as he played Tracy. After the series ended and in the 80’s when Colombia Pictures began working on a comedy film called Ghostbusters, they paid Filmation royalties to use the name showing that this off beat kids show is truly the original Ghost Busters!

Filmation Ghostbusters VHS vol 3filmation ghostbusters live cast 1filmation ghostbusters live cast 2

In 1986 Filmation made a cartoon sequel to their 1975 failed live action kids show and it was clear that this show only was made to cash in on the huge popularity of the 1984 Ivan Reitman film and the cartoon series it spawned as well in 1986. Filmation also made this series out of revenge as they pitched the idea of turning the 84 film into a weekly toon series and Columbia wanted nothing to do with them and went to their rival DIC to make The Real Ghostbusters! Filmation’s cartoon followed the sons of Spencer and Kong who were named Jake Kong Jr. and Eddie Spencer Jr. who along with Tracy the Gorilla go up against Prime Evil, an evil wizard who had unleashed and united evil sprits from around the world and has kidnapped their fathers! The sons have inherited the ghostbusting business and must learn how to capture ghosts and find a way to free their fathers. The series was not a hit, and while a total of 65 episodes were made, it failed to capture the kids and proved not to be a rating winner for stations that aired it. I only slightly remember it being on and like 99% off the kids of the time, I was too busy watching The Real Ghostbusters and many other cartoons and just thought that this series was cheap spin off. In fact I think the first time I ever saw an episode of this cartoon was at my Dad’s friend Paul’s house when I watched it with his son Will.  I can remember him having a few of the figures, and I was shocked to see that someone owned one. I will get into the toys and my first impressions of them a little later. The cartoon has come out in two volume DVD sets thanks to BCI that make up the whole series and select episodes made it to VHS back in the day. I must say that as a kid I might not have watched it but I did find myself as an adult really enjoying it, and me and my girlfriend Juliet go around singing the show’s theme song.  If you have not heard it, look it up on Youtube and be prepared for it to be stuck in your head. While this cartoon might not be as iconic as The Real Ghostbusters, it still holds an amazing charm and made its mark on the world of toons.

Filmation Ghostbusters DVD vol 1Filmation Ghostbusters castFilmation Ghostbusters DVD vol 2

Schaper Toys, the company who made such classic games as Ants In The Pants, Cootie and Don’t Break The Ice, was the company who also made the action figures for Filmation’s Ghostbusters, and I must say they did an outstanding job on the figures designs. A total of 13 figures were made and each came with different accessories and a mini comic book.  There were also some vehicles showing that Schaper believed in this cartoon series and was hoping that they as well would hit gold with the action figures. Growing up, I only have some small memories of fellow classmates having any of these figures and I didn’t have any until I was much older. While the toyline much like the cartoon was not a super smash hot success they still had an impact of those kids who collected them. I almost wish I would have bought them as I could have had some fun toy cross over adventures with the Real Ghostbusters that could have been one of the most epic spooky toy war adventures for all the ages.

Tracy the Gorilla toyPrime Evil toyFangster toy

I first saw Filmation’s Ghostbusters figures at Cub Foods, a grocery store that was located in Sugarcreek, Ohio that had not only a wicked breakfast cereal aisle but also a tiny cool toy section that had lots of Hot Wheels, Barbies and Masters Of The Universe and yes those Ghostbusters. At the time, my dad worked for the Cub Foods that was by the Dayton Mall, but we lived in Waynesville and we would travel to the Sugarcreek one from time to time to go shopping. Most of the time my brother and I would walk around the store and check out the cereal and chat about comics, movies, cartoons and TV shows and then head toward the tiny toy aisle and see what He-Man figures they had in stock. Well on this grocery adventure what greeted my eyes was figures that said Ghostbusters and the one I saw was not Peter Venkman nor even Dracula but that of a Gorilla named Tracy as well as other characters that I had never seen on the cartoon “The Real Ghostbusters” and I wondered who were these generic characters! Then my brother and I remembered that there was another cartoon that was made that at the time all kids believed was a rip off of the Real Ghostbusters, and then I started to kind of want them as I imagined them being a part of my Ghostbusters adventures and all the Filmation ghosts would have made great additions for Ray, Egon, Peter and Winston to bust. We also were interested because they came with a mini comic and we both loved the mini comics that came with He-Man, Super Powers and M.A.S.K. to name a few. So I went to my mom and dad and asked for one of the figures that if I remember right was Prime Evil, and they told me no.  In my youth I never did get a Filmation Ghostbusters figure; it was not until my late 20’s when I ended up picking one up from the flea market for $1.00 and that figure was Tracy The Gorilla. Sadly that Cub Foods as well as all the others in the area went out of business and while I was not as attached to them as I was Big Bear/Hearts, I still hated to see it close. So this update as well is not only for Filmations Ghostbusters but also all those who worked for Cub Foods over the years.

Cub Foods Logo

So are you ready to bust some ghosts with your specter snare and ghost gun? I know I am, but first I must thank Bell, Book and Comic and Lone Star Comics for having these in stock as well as remind you that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So let’s keep repeating to ourselves “I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghosts” and let’s get ready to go on a ghost hunting adventure with Tracy The Gorilla and see what First Comics had to offer to help push Filmations busters.

Filmation Ghostbusters 1

Filmation’s  Ghostbusters # 1  **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $1.25    First Comics   # 1 of 4

It’s Halloween time and Jake, Tracy and Eddie are having a party at the office and invite Belfry, Futura and Jessica Wray to celebrate this spooky holiday. Meanwhile in the past, Prime Evil and Mysteria decide to call upon all the ghosts and attack the castle of King Fred! The kingdom’s wizard Morton comes up with the idea of calling in The Ghostbusters from the future to help them chase off Prime Evil and allow the kingdom to have their Hallow’s Eve Feast by the fire! They show up and make short work of Mysteria as they bust her and make their way to the castle where they figure out that if they can crack a code from an old spell book, it will clear out all ghosts and ghouls within 20 miles of the castle and will send Prime Evil and his goons away. Prime Evil sends Sir Trance-A-Lot to stop the Ghostbusters, but with the help of the Princess they distract him and bust him as well.  Morton and Jessica crack the code and send Prime Evil packing! In the end, the feast happens and The Ghostbusters are the guests of honor.

This is a really fun kids comic based on a cartoon that adds puzzles and other activities to entertain the readers. The story is very simple and has Prime Evil showing up in the past to collect ghosts and spirits and the kingdom he has invaded calls in the help of The Ghostbusters from the future.  Together, they chase off the evil and have a good time on Halloween. Jake and Tracy seem pretty together and by all account rush in to help save the day.  They are the ones who bust Ghosts and come up with the plans to set them up to take them down. Eddie is a chubby coward who spent more time figuring out what costume to wear for the office party and wanting to turn back than figuring out a way to run off Prime Evil! Belfry is a tiny little pink bat who has a good heart but is a goof ball much like Snarf in Thundercats. Jessica Wray is a good looking reporter who goes on cases with the guys from time to time and is smart and clearly has a crush on Jake. Futura is a stunning blue skinned woman from the future who also helps and joins the guys on busting ghosts. Morton The Wizard along with King Fred and the Princesses are nice touches to the story and add the drama of people being scared of the unknown who must fight the fear in order to save what they love. Prime Evil, much like all bad guys of 80’s cartoons, has the power to stop his enemies but always puts it into the hands of his henchmen who screw it all up! Speaking of his henchmen I should also give you a run down of the ones who appear in this issue like Sir Trance-A-Lot who is a skeleton knight and Mysteria who is a raven-haired mist spirit that looks like Lilly Munster, Morticia Adams and Vampira got mixed in a blender. Fans of the cartoon I am sure would enjoy this simple first issue, but fans of The Real Ghostbusters would use its simple nature against it to show that it was too childish. I also found it a nice touch that Morton knew Jake and Eddie’s dads as they helped many moons ago to bring down a dragon that was tormenting the kingdom. The artwork done by Howard Bender is fantastic and looks as if you are reading the cartoon, and is some topnotch work for a comic based on a cartoon at the time. I can’t wait to see what issue # 2 holds as I found this one a very entertaining read and a nice way to start off the series. The cover is very eye catching and is just flashy enough to catch the attention of fans of the cartoon as well as those who were not.

Filmation Ghostbusters 2

Filmation’s  Ghostbusters  # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $1.25     First Comics    # 2 of 4

Jake, Eddie, Tracy and Belfry get a call to go to the museum by Dr. Brown who has seen Prime Evil along with Scared Stiff, a robot skeleton who falls to pieces easily and can build things, as well as green skin sorceress Apparitia who are using a machine to bring dinosaurs back to life! As The Ghostbusters travel to the museum, Prime Evil brings three dinosaurs back to life that are T-Rex, Brontosaurus and Pterodactyl, and they are all running amuck.  As The Ghostbusters arrive, Tracy and Belfry set up and capture Apparitia as the whole group brings down the Pterodactyl. They trap the Brontosaurus in the lunch room as he is friendly, and they trick the T-Rex with a giant balloon and a machine Tracy made that turns the giant beast into a pile of coal! In the end the museum is happy for the help but a little annoyed with the loss of the T-Rex bones!

This second issue also holds the charm of the cartoon and has even a more simple plot as Prime Evil brings back dinosaurs and The Ghostbusters come to the rescue and save the day by running off Prime Evil and his goons and stopping the dino rampage. In this issue, Tracy the gorilla is the true smart one as he invents the machine to stop the T-Rex as well as comes up with most the plans that work to capture and stop the bad guys. Belfry makes himself useful and helps the gang capture both the Pterodactyl and Apparitia showing that the goofball characters can be heroes. Jake, while clearly the leader of the group, has some ideas and shows he’s brave as he shows no fear in tricking the man eating T-Rex. Eddie is as goofy as ever and even causes accidents by being a bumbling fool, and as always has the spine of a jello mold left out in the summer sun. Prime Evil once more has a good idea and leaves its success into the hands of his minions who amount to a shaking bucket of bolts known as Scared Stiff and a sexy evil sorceress named Apparitia, both of whom try but fail. Speaking of Apparitia I would love to see cosplayers like Ivy Doomkitty or Nicole Marie Jean dress as this character! Kids at the time who like dinosaurs and monsters I am sure got a kick out of this issue and I will say it was a great issue to build up readers. The art is once more done by Howard Bender and is fantastic and makes me ready to read issue # 3 so let’s waste no more time. And oh yeah the cover on this issue is ok and while not as cool as the first issue’s, it does capture the mood of the story.

Filmation Ghostbusters 3

Filmation’s  Ghostbusters  # 3   **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $1.25    First Comics    # 3 of 4

The Ghostbusters are gearing up for Christmas when they get a call from a family that is having a ghost run amuck in their home throwing around all the presents and smashing the Christmas tree.  As they are leaving, they get a call from a department store who is having a ghost issue in the bike department! Two Christmas ghosts running wild miles apart in places that are over 100 years old and really close to each other. At the family’s home, the sounds of crying can be heard, and at the store the ghost is really mad about bikes.  The Ghostbusters must figure out a way to help both as the holiday is being ruined for many. So Jake, Tracy and Eddie travel 100 years into the past and find out that the ghost in the house and store are connected as the house one is a grieving mother whose son went missing and never returned, and the store ghost is the missing kid who got lost and was locked in the store over night and died from not wanting to talk to strangers. The Ghostbusters save the kid and bring him home and travel back to the future and find that they have solved the issue and have a good home cooked dinner with the family.

The first issue was a Halloween Special, now this third issue is a Christmas one that has the storyline of a family’s past holding the secrets of haunts that are happing in present day and The Ghostbusters must go back in time to set things right and save a child’s life! This issue has no Prime Evil or any of his goons causing the issue and in fact no ghosts are seen at all making for a pretty tame yet entertaining issue. Tracy and Jake seem to be annoyed with each other at the start of the issue but soon work together in order to save Christmas. Eddie this time around is the more focused one and is really in the spirit of the holiday. James is the kid who haunts the store and it makes me wonder how he died in the store after only being locked in it for a night? Then it makes you wonder how dumb is he if death is a better option then asking a store clerk for help! This issue is very cheesy, and the only thing that could have set it over the top and made it a full fledged hunk of limburger is if Prime Evil at the end would have been having Christmas Dinner with them all! The art once more was done by Howard Bender and is fantastic as the others before have been. The cover for this issue is okay, and while it has Christmas themes to it, they should have gone a little more crazy with it. Over all another solid issue and shows that First Comics put time and care into this series, and I can’t wait to read the 4th and final issue to see if it keeps the charm all the way till the end.

Filmation Ghostbusters 4

Filmation’s  Ghostbusters  # 4  **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $1.25    First Comics    # 4 of 4

It’s dinnertime, and Eddie is making something special as Tracy is making banana soup and Jake and Belfry are ready to eat when they watch a TV Report done by Jessica Wray in the everglades swamp in Florida where local Melvin Loner has seen ghosts in the swamps as well as the alligators dancing to haunting music. The Ghostbusters drop what they are doing and head to Florida.  In the swamps Prime Evil along with Scared Stiff and Float-Zart, a ghost maestro, who all have a plan to take over the swamp and make it their new home base. The Ghostbusters arrive and Melvin acts as their guide.  They are able to bust Float-Zart as he tries to keep them away from Prime Evil, but all things don’t end well for Prime Evil as the experiment Scared Stiff was working on explodes and blows up their base! In the end the swamp is safe, and our heroes return home to a long over due dinner.

This final issue shows that First Comics really knew how to handle this cartoon property and made a good mini series that sadly ended only after 4 issues when 6 was planned. This issue’s story has The Ghostbusters heading to the everglades to stop Prime Evil and his goons and barely have to put anytime in busting as they go down easy, and they once more leave the scene of the haunt as champions of good. Jake, Eddie and Tracy work great as The Ghostbusters and all of them are likable with Tracy being my favorite because who in the world wouldn’t like a hat wearing gorilla who busts ghosts! I also really liked all the side characters as Belfry was not nearly as annoying as he could have been, Jessica Wray is a nice normal straight laced character who helps report the truth of hauntings and Futura is interesting and a time traveler who enjoys busting ghosts in her spare time. The best part of all these sidekick characters is that they are not over used, making each time they appear something special. Prime Evil, while powerful and even frightful, seems to be kind of lazy in his haunting as he always passes off the hard work to his goons who clearly cannot get the job done as they all are beat easily. The one letdown is that the future werewolf ghost Fangster does not appear as I would have liked to have seen him in action and fail. The Ghostbusters is a kid comic series that I could say gave most of Star Comics a run for their money and showed that all the people involved cared about making quality stories with good art and fun puzzles.  I am wondering if First Comics had to pull the plug on the series due to the cartoon and toyline failing or if sales on this issue were too poor to continue. The cover of this final issue also is well done but kind of looks like the 1st issue’s making for an eye catching and fun cover that has a touch of something familiar. The art for the whole series was done by Howard Bender, and he did fantastic work.  I would have loved to have seen him work for Star and on comics based on the likes of My Pet Monster, Go-Bots or Commander USA if he ever got his chance at kid comic greatness. This is a mini series that shocked me as I feel it was way better than I ever could have imagined and lived up to the toon it was based on making a nice addition to fans who watched, and I would say that this is a series worth reading for sure. Below is some artwork from these issues, and you can see how Bender’s art looks just like the cartoon!

Filmation Ghostbusters Art 1

So while these Ghostbusters might not be as popular or as beloved as The Real ones, they still made an impact in the world of cartoons, toys and comics for those who followed their busting adventures! I should also note that the amazing voice actor Peter Cullen did the voice of Eddie Spencer Jr. in the cartoon, and for those who live under a stack of old 90’s comic books, Cullen is best known for voicing Optimus Prime in Transformers.  Speaking of a robot, our next update will be all about The Terminator in honor of the 5th film in the series coming out this summer! So until then, read a comic or three, support your local horror host and don’t be afraid of no ghosts! See you all next time.

The Terminator logo

The 8th Wonder Of Giant Classic Comics King Kong

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

King Kong 1933 1King Kong 1933 PosterKing Kong 1933 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

King Kong JapanKing Kong Missing 1King Kong Missing 2

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

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

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

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

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

Movie Maniac King KongImperial King KongBen Copper King KongKing Kong Novel

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

King Kong RideSo I think our voyage through the sea of King Kong is over and we looked at the movies, video game, cartoon, missing films, merchandise as well as a theme park attraction but now it’s time for us to take a walk on Skull Island alongside Gold Key comics and see what this 1968 adaptation has to offer to the Kong legacy. I want to think Bell Book And Comic for having this comic in stock, and I would like to remind that I graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s man up and walk through the giant gates into King Kong’s lsland and hope he doesn’t stomp us into the mud!

King Kong 1

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

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

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

King Kong Art

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

Creature from the Black Lagoon Logo 2