Body Count The Forgotten Horror Series From Aircel

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, a place for me to share my past, present and future! On this update, I want to chat a little about independent horror comics and my love for them! Growing up I was a avid comic reader, and super heroes like “Captain America”, “Batman”, “Spider-Man”, “Superman” and “The Incredible Hulk” were what I was reading at almost any given time as those were comics that we could find at the local grocery stores and comic racks at convenient stores. Besides the superhero comics, I also read lots based on toy lines, books and cartoons like “G.I. Joe”, “Masters Of The Universe”, “Transformers”, “Conan The Barbarian” and “Thundercats” that were also easy to find. The only horror comic titles I had were copies of “Werewolf By Night”, “Swamp Thing”, “Tomb of Dracula”, “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not”, “Godzilla” and “Man-Thing,” all mostly obtained at garage sales that acted as another source of a way for me and my brother to get comics. Growing up in a small town like Waynesville made it super hard to find out about other comics as it did not have a comic store (besides antique store Spencers that carried back issues of Power Man and Secret Wars 2). The closest ones around were Dark Star in Yellow Springs, Mavericks in both Kettering and Centerville and my all time favorite store Bookie Parlor that was also in Dayton/Kettering, and my parents would only take us to these stores from time to time when I was really young and more so when I was around 12 or 13. I can remember discovering that comic companies like NOW, Innovation, Eternity, Malibu and Epic were cranking out comics based not only on super heroes but also horror and science fiction comics and being blown away at the huge selection that comic shops had us readers able to choose from as I was used to the magazine section of Big Bear and Hearts in Lebanon where I got most of my comics from other than the subscriptions that my Mom and Dad would finally break down and get me and my brother. The good old Marvel Comics subscriptions through the mail was where I would get my issues of Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Amazing Spider-Man delivered to my waiting hands, but the worst part about it was our mailman would fold the issues in order to place them in our mailbox leaving the issues with a bend down the center! But while I loved my super hero adventures, I was a Monster Kid so I also loved to read about the night time terrors of Dracula from the pages of Tomb Of Dracula, the inner struggle of Jack Russell the Werewolf By Night, the stomping rampage of Godzilla as well as the burning touch of Man-Thing who I always enjoyed more than Swamp Thing in the comic world…I know it’s because I am a Marvel Guy. The only independent horror comics that I owned and had access to were from Gold Key and Whitman and were such things as Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and some very beat up and in some case coverless issues of Boris Karloff Tales Of Mystery that my brother Bryan shared with me. But my love for horror comics really exploded when visits to the local comic shops started to happen more often and my parents started to enjoy the fact I was reading a bunch and encouraged me to choose comics and even paperback novels I would enjoy.

The first time I walked into the Bookie Parlor, I was a fan as the owner Hal and his wife Sue were super nice to me and my brother, and after coming in for a few times and spending money Hal would start to let me know when he got new back issues of Hulk and Captain America in. At the Bookie Parlor, I discovered Atlas Comics and its characters like The Brute, Son Of Dracula and their series like “Tales Of Evil”. And at Bookie Parlor is where I found comics by Epic based on the Clive Barker films “Nightbreed” and “Hellraiser” and started my obsession with the Nightbreed and Rawhead Rex cross over. It was also where I discovered Eternity Comics and the fact they made comics based on Full Moon Entertainment films likes “Subspecies” and “Puppet Master” that I had to have and read. Claypool was another comic company Bookie Parlor introduced to me who made comics based on “Elvira Mistress Of The Dark”!

At Mavericks Cards and Comics in Kettering, a place I would later work for, I met owner Jack who always treated me and my brother like we were his friends and would also give us discounts as well as free comics.  During these early years is when I met Jason Young who years later would be one of my closest friends as well as Jeremy Hoyt! While shopping Mavericks I discovered NOW Comics who made comics based on the TV Show “Twilight Zone” and horror film “Fright Night” as well as Innovation who did comics based on the films “Psycho”, “Child’s Play” and “A Nightmare On Elm Street”! Another independent comic company Mavericks introduced me to was Apple who did weird adult horror comics like “Dracula In Hell” and another company, Blackthorne, who shocked me with comics based on the film “Waxwork” and TV Show “Werewolf”. Between these two stores my want and need for horror comics was in full effect as I would buy whatever ones I could get my hands onto, from comics based on killer “Jack The Ripper” to ones based on classic monsters like “Phantom Of The Opera” and even ones that I had no idea what they were even about before buying like “Body Count.”  All I knew was that I needed to read them all! During this time I also started buying Topps Comics as they had many amazing titles out like “Dracula Frankenstein War”, “Bram Stokers Dracula”, “Satan’s Six”, “Jason Goes To Hell” and “Jason vs. Leatherface” and with Dracula Frankenstein War started my first ever comic store pull list. During this time was also the birth of me having to have all the comics based on horror films as many of the films I loved had adaptations and new comic killing adventures for them as such titles as “Re-Animator”, “Halloween”, “Army Of Darkness”, “Night Of The Living Dead”, “Blair Witch Project”, “Pumpkinhead” and so many more from many different comic companies all had comics based around them. For me the comic killing sprees for these movie monsters was another way to add to the characters’ legacy and a way for fans to get a little more while waiting for the next film.

During this time as well I didn’t give up on Marvel Horror as I went out of my way to get more and more issues of Werewolf By Night and the others as they also filled the need to read horror comics. During this time was a true magical age for horror comics as besides the companies mentioned above you had Arrow, Fantaco, Aircel, Northstar, Chaos, Dead Dog, IDW, Avatar, ONI, Fangoria and many others publishing and making horror themed comics from the late 80’s thru the mid 2000’s with each delivering blood and gore filled issues. But during what I call the Golden Years of Horror Comics also came the crash of the 90’s when Marvel and DC once more went to war to dominate the shelf space at comic shops and by putting out so much product, they forced many amazing companies to go under as did cut throat politics in the industry among small press companies. The companies that have fallen to the comic rack in the sky that I miss the most and wonder what they would be making now if still around have to be Topps Comics, Fangoria Comics and Dead Dog Comics all of whom were some of my favorite companies going and all who delivered some amazing horror comics into readers hands. During these years horror comics were coming out less and less, and many of them were not based on horror films as they were just original titles mostly based on vampires or zombies with 2003’s Walking Dead from Image being the biggest horror comic title in years.

We are now in 2017, and over the past two years, independent horror comic companies are back on the rise and are making some amazing and entertaining stuff. While the bigger companies like Image, IDW, Boom and Devil’s Due are putting out horror comics with titles like Lord Of Gore, Godzilla, Kong Of Skull Island and Walking Dead, it’s also the smaller guys who are coming into your comic shops and online stores with some amazing stuff that is bringing back the boom of these comics that has been long dead for to long.

My favorite small press company is Eibon Press, run by Shawn Lewis who is also the owner of t-shirt company Rotten Cotton.  They are doing amazing comic books with releases based on Italian director Lucio Fulci movies like “Zombie” and “Gates Of Hell”! They also have titles based on such films as “Laserblast”, “Maniac” and many more including an original series called “Bottom Feeder” in the works. Another cool thing about Eibon is that they have what’s called the Eibon Sleeve that is like a record sleeve for your comic.  They also back it with all types of great stuff like stickers, trading cards, bookmarks and even vinyl records!

Action Lab has a sub company called Danger Zone that has put out some great spooky series and mini series like ones based on Full Moon films “Puppet Master”, “Gingerdead Man” and “Trancers” as well as original titles like “Final Plague”, “Southern Dog” and “Blood & Dust”. While it seems at this time the Full Moon comic deal has come to an end, I have faith that their editor-in-chief Shawn Gabborin will unleash more horror themed comics to the market.

Small publisher Lion Forge has released the series “Night Trap” alongside other horror themed books like “Mad Balls” based on the spooky toys. This company prices their comics at a great price at $2.99 each and sadly seem to be gone or on hold as I have not seen much from them in Diamond Previews as of late. But while their fate of physical comics is up in the air, they still tried to make a small mark for Horror Comic readers.

Rough House Publishing run by Derek Rook has brought back two classic horror comics from the graveyard as they have released “The Dead Omnibus” as well as new issues of “Gore Shriek” with a comic based on the remake of the film “Nightmare City” coming soon. This is a company I cannot wait to see what else is coming from as rumors of music and other cool media items have surfaced as has lots of gossip about what’s in store for the comics they are doing.

The Blood-Shed Publishing has a series called “We Kill The Dead” on the way that showcases over 20 movie slashers from independent horror films doing battle with a government elite team. This is a mini series and rumors of new horror comics from them have been floating around. This is one comic company that is attached to a horror news website that you might want to keep your eyes on.

Space Goat is a company that has been around since 2014 making comics as well as board games. They have also delivered some great horror comic titles like “Evil Dead 2”, “The Howling”, “Zombie Camp” and “Forty Coffins” to name a few. And I also want to give a shout out to Titan Comics who have been doing their best at delivering entertaining spooky comics like “Anno Dracula”, “It Came” and even have Hammer Horror comics with “The Mummy” and rumor of “Captain Cronos Vampire Hunter” coming soon! Plus American Mythology is doing some great comics and even one based on the Adam Green film “Hatchet” as is Alterna who has titled like “Croak” and “The Chair” to name a few so as you can see the world of horror comics has lots of great companies doing amazing things.

When opening Sparkle Comics alongside Jason Young in 2016 and after getting friends and amazing artists like Damien Brunk, Jason Gilmore and Scott Scarborough joining the comic making family, I knew we had to make horror comics so we even opened a branch we are calling Blood Scream Comics that is slated to showcase gore and more mature style horror comics with the all ages and teen horror comics coming out via the Sparkle label. Sp far for Sparkle Comics, we have the free online comic called “Don’t Play With Monsters” that features foolish kids coming across monsters who are not as cute as they appear. “Shocking Macabre Theater” is an anthology comic that has Dayton, Ohio horror hosts Dr. Creep, A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Baron Von Porkchop sharing twisted tales with a stranded motorist. We also have “The Wolf Hunter” based on the shot on video film of the same name that was directed by Matt Hoffman who also played the title role and has The Wolf Hunter killing werewolves in the state of Ohio. We have a series called “Unknown Creatures” that features tales of cryptozoology creatures with the first issue being about the Flatwoods Monster! We also have 12 page issue # 0’s in the works that are based on shot on video films from Independent B Movie and Bloodline Video that will feature stories based on “The Sadness”, “Farmer Joe” and “Scars” and will allow our readers the chance to vote on which horror baddie will get a full # 1 issue! With many more amazing horror comic titles in the works, we hope to entertain readers with spooky, gory and twisted tales. One thing I am the most proud of is that via Blood Scream Comics we will be doing issues based on the films of Paul Naschy as well as have comics based on films from such companies as Warlock Home Video, Massacre Home Video, Brain Damage Films, Scream Time Films and Nevermore Productions in the works as well as comics based on pro wrestlers who fit the horror theme! So there are lots of great spooky reads are coming your way via Sparkle and Blood Scream Comics.

Sorry for being so long winded; it’s just I really do think that it’s a great time to be not only a horror comic reader but also just a comic reader in general. And I really do feel that horror comics have a bright future with many of these companies turning out very high quality comics that are well written and well drawn driving the market back up for the independents. But let’s get focused on the comic I have chosen to review for this spooky epic update and that’s Body Count, a silly horror comedy comic that I discovered at Mavericks Cards And Comics when I was a teen and bought and read and enjoyed for the wacky killer and the large chested heroine…oh and the over the top kills. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic, Ebay and Lone Star Comics for making this update possible and having these issues in stock so that I could own them again and cover for this review. So if you’re ready, check your brain and taste at the door and let’s dive into a late 80’s and early 90’s horror comic that will have you screaming with fear and laughing after with joy. I also want to note that even as a youngster I never could find the 4th and final issue so this will be my first time reading how this story ends! Oh yeah 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 Body Count!

Body Count # 1  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Aircel Comics    # 1 of 4

Winter Falls College is a high priced school where the students are watched by the hotheaded Dean Burns and make fun of simple minded janitor Wanker. Professor Chill is a science teacher and has caught the eye of his student and assistant Becky who will does what she can to get him to notice her.  From short shorts to tights shirts, she brings her A-game, and together they are working on a formula that will in theory turn a nerd into a jock.  After they leave to get some dinner, a pair of students looking to steal knock over the formula and rush away telling Wanker about the mess in the lab. Wanker, being simple minded, takes a taste of the formula goo and it starts to melt him and flings his body into a deep sea divers suit.  He dons the helmet and becomes a crazed killer, and his first victims are the two thief kids that meet their ends with a mop through the head and a telescope through the eyes! When Prof. Chill and Becky return to the lab they find the dead bodies as well as the missing formula and call Dean Burns who heads to the lab to cover up the murder. Meanwhile Wanker is still on his killing spree and drops power cables into the pool killing three students by electrocution causing a power outage and as he is leaving the pool area, he catches Dean Burns and makes him drink Drano! As Chill and Becky leave the lab, they find the bodies and guess that Wanker must have drank the formula and is now a killer and is headed toward town!

This comic is just as silly and over the top as I remember it being when I first read it in my mid teen years. The plot is very much like an 80’s B-movie horror film as a geek puts on a mask and murders those who tormented him, the setting is a college, and the victims are all mean spirited and selfish people who are killed in horrific ways. Professor Chill is our hero, and while smart, he is also pretty goofy and has a hint that he does not really know what they heck he is doing in the lab.  While a goof, he still remains calm with all the bodies pilling up around him and it’s clear he is thinking of ways to stop the killer. Becky is a typical hot chick who showcases her amazing body and uses it to get her way, but when the killing starts she also becomes hysterical and screams her head off in fright! While she is just a scared woman now, it’s clear that she is in for the long haul with her man Prof. Chill. Wanker is just a simple minded janitor who is mistreated by both staff and students and after tasting the foul smelling formula goo, he transforms into a brutal killer who is on a rampage of revenge.  He also turns ugly and disfigured from the goo and wears a diver’s helmet as his killing mask. Wanker is cold and brutal with his best kill being the telescope through the eye as it’s so brutal and gross, it made my own eyeballs hurt! The gore is slightly over the top.  Not on the level of Arrow Comics’ The Dead but it’s more brutal than IDW’s The Fly: Outbreak so Gorehounds have a little splatter to make them happy. The true nature of the comic is also horror comedy as many silly lines are delivered by characters as is cheap sexual jokes that are fitting and add to the cheesy fun of the comic. The cover is okay and does not truly do justice to what the comic is about and the art inside is cartoonish and done by Dave Cooper, fitting for this style of horror comic. Over all, this is an above average horror comedy comic that acts as a build up for this four issue mini series.

Body Count # 2  **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Price $2.25     Aircel Comics     # 2 of 4

Professor Chill and Becky, along with a device they created that picks up the chemical that created the killer Wanker, head out into town to see if they can find him before he kills again. Meanwhile two fisherman in a boat are not so lucky as the now farting and stinky Wanker sets his sights on them and kills one by crushing his head and leaves the other in a state of shock wandering the roads when he runs into Chill and Becky who take him into town and try to warn the law of the killer on his way. Meanwhile Wanker has found a new pair of college victims who are on a motorcycle joyride as he decapitates the man with a fish and causes the woman to be flung from the bike and smash into a tree! Chill arrives at the police department, and the Sheriff and Deputy rush off to the College before they even could hear why they are running! As Prof. Chill and Becky wonder what they can do to stop Wanker, the police run into the killer that leaves the Deputy dead from a ricochet bullet and the sheriff is bull rushed into some bushes, After the screaming stops Wanker appears, this time around bigger in size!

The rampage of Wanker continues as he makes his way closer to town with murder and destruction on his sick and twisted mind. Professor Chill and Becky come up with a tracking devise that goes off when the killer is around and can also be used to save others, as it’s a warning to the approaching death dealer. They also try the best they can to get help and rush an injured scared to death man to the local law office only to be greeted by the world’s worst police officers! So as you can see the pair of scientists have done all they can up to this point to try and save lives of the townspeople. The Sheriff and Deputy are as backwoods as they come and think everyone is an alien or a communist and are easily slaughtered and out smarted. Wanker is now turning worse and is smelling terrible, becoming more ooze-based with even more of a thirst for blood. He is slowly making his way to the town and killing almost anyone that gets in his way, but oddly enough he allowed one of the fisherman to live! It’s shown that bullets can’t kill and stop Wanker as he is shot a number of times by the Sheriff and simply shrugs them off like Michael Myers from Halloween. Plus at the end of the issue, he grows in size and makes you wonder: did he eat the sheriff or can he body jump like in the films The Hidden and Jason Goes To Hell. The best kill in this issue has to be the decapitation of a collage age brat on a motorcycle with a fish! It’s an over the top and dumb kill but is hands down my favorite in the issue. The blood and gore is once more present and not terribly over done. The cover this time around is better and shows Wanker in all his slimy glory, and the art once more is done by Dave Cooper and is well done for this style of horror comedy comic. And just like the first issue, this one is holding up to what I remember and was a fun read and makes me look forward to reading the next issue again after all these years.

Body Count # 3  **1/2
Released in 1990    Cover Price $2.25    Aircel Comics    # 3 of 4

Becky and Professor Chill are at the bar in Winter Fell and trying to get the locals to believe them about the Wanker Killer that is heading their way, but no one does no matter how hard they try. Meanwhile Wanker stalks and kills a young man on a date by ripping his head off and than turns his attention to the young man’s girlfriend who is running toward town to warn others. Chill and Becky next try to warn the town barber shop of the killer’s rampage but she as well meets her fate by the hands of Wanker who snaps her neck. Chill and Becky run around town trying to warn people of the killer after the barber shop also gives them the high hat as does the post office and the mayor who allows his bodyguard to beat up Chill on his front lawn. In the end Chill and Becky spot Wanker now in town and run to the town’s switchboard operator, and they phone the National Guard and talk to General Howitzer who tells them they are on their way.

The plot thickens as now Wanker is in town and no one believes the warnings being given by Chill and Becky who try every major place in town to spread the coming of a killer. Chill, who feels responsible for the Killer as his formula is what turned a nerdy janitor into a head crushing killer, must push as hard as he can to inform the townspeople as their deaths would be on his hands…kind of. After being beat up and called a communist by all the towns people he almost just walks away to let them deal with the approaching death, but he is reminded that he loves this little town that has acted as away for him to score with collage chicks and get away from his nasty wife. Becky tries to help spread the warning the best she can, but sadly she is just eye candy and no one really listens to her. Wanker is shown to be using the Sheriff’s body as a suit as he has half way crawled up the bodies back and controls it. Wanker is stronger now and after killing a couple on a date has entered town to cause some major damage. This issue only has two deaths and while violent, they are not super gory and a little toned down, with the best being the head rip off from the shoulders of the boyfriend. The story in this issue reminds me of “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” and “The Blob” as no one is listening to our heroes as everyone thinks their story is to over the top, and this brings more of the B-Horror Movie aspect out of this comic series. The cover is pretty good and once more captures what this series really is all about and the interior art is still done by Dave Cooper and is fantastic for this goofy, gory comic. This issue is filled with lots of humor and once more is a mix of redneck humor, slap stick and adult humor all done at the expense of Becky. Another fun issue just like I remember it and is the lead up to the last issue in the Winter Fell rampage of Wanker and his over sized divers helmet. So let’s move onto the fourth and final issue and discover how Wankers is stopped…or is he, as this will be the first time I have read issue four as I never could find it, so it will be a first time read for me!

Body Count # 4  **
Released in 1990    Cover Price $2.25     Aircel Comics     # 4 of 4

Professor Chill and Becky wait in town, and the pressure hits Chill who feels bad about the rampage of Wanker as his formula goo is what created him! But before they can wonder if the Army can stop the rampage, they show up lead by the crazed and kill hungry General By-God Dry-Heaves McArthur who’s first plan of action is to blow up the bar with his tank as Wanker is inside killing off drinkers, but his attack fails to stop Wanker! The next target is the barbershop as Wanker enters it and kills off the barber and a man looking to get a shave, this time The General hits the business with a missile from a helicopter…it as well fails as Wanker is spotted again alive and unwell! Chill informs them that if they can capture it alive he might be able to cure Wanker and the Army turns on the Professor calling him a monster lover and boot him and Becky off the tank and head back into the hunt for the killer. As Becky and Chill hide the Army finds Wanker who is not scared of the tank and guns and charges causing The General to panic and order for the big bomb to be dropped, as the plan does so and the atomic bomb goes off our story ends with Chill hugging Becky and wondering what effect the radiation will have on Wanker!

The final issue is by far the weakest issue and I am pretty sure even in my middle teens I would have not been a super fan of this overly plotted army based issue that seemed to be rushed and with a very weak ending for the killers rampage. Prof. Chill and Becky are once more thrown to the side when the army gets mad that they want to cure the killer and not kill him like they want to do, but by the army turning on them and chasing them off is what saved their lives as they were able to hide as the bomb was dropped. These lovers are more just waiting to be saved as they have done all they could to save the townspeople and watch in horror as not only Wanker kills those who were rude to them but so does the army! The Army and their leader General By-God Dry-Heaves McArthur are fools who like to blow things up and really have no plan of action of how to really stop Wanker besides just that blow things up…reminds me of the army in Return Of The Living Dead. The townspeople are all crazy and rude and none of them want to believe that a killer is heading their way ready for mayhem and murder, and they get what’s coming to them for being such scummy people. Wanker who is still using the body of the Sheriff as almost a suit of armor is finally in town and wants to make his body count rise hire and hire by knocking off the towns people, and he proves that he is not even scared of a whole army as when they finally have him cornered he don’t back down he lunges forward to take them all one and their tank! His brutal and quite nature makes him like Jason Voorhees (Friday The 13th) and Michael Myers (Halloween) but not taken as serious by the writer and creators of this comic mini-series. The issue has some blood, guys and kills but they seemed very toned down this issue as does the art done by Dave Cooper that seems very much rushed and lacks the appeal and moody nature of the issues that came before it. The cover as well is not all that great as it just showcases the army…yep, not the killer or even something that shows it’s a horror comic at all! While this might not be the best Independent Horror Comic series of the late 80’s and Early 90’s and by most accounts I am sure this is forgotten and issues can be found in .25 or $1.00 boxes around the world at comic shops, to me it is one that stands out and one I can remember picking up from Mavericks all those years back and reading them while sitting in my room in Waynesville and wondering just how the story was to unfold as I never could find this final issue….and after all these years finding a copy and reading it, while I am little disappointed in the way Wanker’s rampage came to an end I do enjoy the fact it was left wide open for another mini series that sadly never was made. If you love horror comics from the 90’s that have a hint of humor in them, I suggest you check out Body Count, as it is sure to please or at the very least entertain you slightly. Below is some artwork samples from the Body Count series and I should also note that artist Dave Cooper is known for his work on such comics as Suckle and Bent as well as he worked on Nickelodeon Magazine and co-created the cartoon “Pig Goat Banana Cricket” for the station.

I see lots of great horror comics on the horizon for us readers, and it really is a great time to be alive and a comic book fan. Body Count was one of the early independent horror comics I read and after all these years, it kind of holds up as I still find it entertaining, silly, bloody and gory with a lackluster ending. I would love to hear from you friends and readers about what horror comic you first remember reading when younger and even what horror comics are you reading now.  Leave me a comment as I would love to hear from you about this. So for our next update we are leaving Winter Fell behind and joining a underrated Superhero from DC Comics, the super android The Red Tornado! So until next time, make sure to read a comic or three, watch a horror film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you soon for some DC Comics talk…

Halloween With The Magnetic Tape Undead

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! And welcome back to Rotten Ink’s annual All Hallows Eve update  I am sure you are as hyped as I am to find out what custom comic Eric made for me to read and review just for this update.  Will it be Night Of The Demon? How about Curse Of The Cannibal Confederates? Or even Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell? Well, it was none of the above as my artist friend delivered something more fun that would for sure make a great comic for this special update that only comes but once a year! So what film did he choose to make into a comic for me? I had to wait for about a year and did not know until October 26 2015 so you can wait a little longer, but while you wait, we will cover lots more great and spooky stuff including a visit to a haunted location in Ohio, 5 Questions with a Horror Host, a Creepypasta, a real life horror and other random spooky goodness! So light your Jack O’ Lantern and dim the lights, it’s time to have a spooky and creepy time with Rotten Ink…BOO! I got you this time right?….Right?

Creepy Halloween Night

A Creepypasta that has recently caught my eye is one called “Abandoned By Disney,” a great story that could send shivers down the spines of those who live around abandoned amusement parks. A young man remembers a Disney amusement park in North Carolina called Mowgli’s Palace, based around The Jungle Book that was made sometime in the late 1990’s and was met with hostile reactions from the locals. Disney is said to have put lots of money into the park and spread flyers and advertisements in the local paper to try and get locals to come. The main attraction was the palace itself as people could stay at the park and enjoy its jungle nature and theme. The story goes that a young man decided to do some research on Mowgli’s Palace as he remembers all the drama it caused, and armed with a promotional map he got sent when he was a kid, he heads to the park and is greeted by a overgrown area with tall wooden gates that had a hand painted sign that read “Abandoned By Disney.”  Upon entering he noticed that inside was also over grown, and it was clear time and the weather had not been good to the place.  Vandals had taken down many of the small buildings and spray paint was present on walls with the phrase “Abandoned By Disney” on the Palace walls. He also noticed a large statue of the character Baloo outside it what used to be the courtyard that was now just overgrown with weeds and mushrooms. Entering the palace, he noticed that it was a shell of its former glory as people had stolen much of the inside and also noticed that it smelled of pee and heard faint voices in the hallways coming from the guest rooms.  But he got a good scare when he found a 8 foot python that he thought was fake move and slither away into the near by woods.  He is in shock and thinks that Disney had set all the animals free in that very park! While sitting on some metal stairs to catch his breath he notices a metal sign that once more has the phrase “Abandoned By Disney” on it.  He also notices a door for mascot staff only that is locked with a pad lock and decides to break the lock and enter the area. Once inside he notices that the hallways still had dim lights and finds a break room area with a time clock and cards filled out by employees.  He thought he hit a jackpot for pictures when he got to a door that read Character Prep, but the door would not open with force and then seemed to slowly open on its own! Once inside he saw the twisted remains of mascot costumes like a Mickey Mouse that was rotten on the floor, its colors off as it seemed like a photo negative in color, a sight that made him feel very uneasy. As he picked up the head of the Donald Duck costume he claims he got the shock of his life as a human skull fell out of it to his feet.  He starts to leave the room when he says the Mickey Mouse Costume sat up on it’s own and began to look at him and stand up and said in a hushed creepy Mickey voice “Hey…wanna see my head come off” and Mickey began to rip his head off, the sounds he said was that of flesh and cloth ripping and yellow thick blood began coming from the wound it was making around its own neck and pop…his head came off! The young man says he seen a message scratched into the metal in the room that read “Abandoned By God” he got so scared he ran from Mowgli’s Palace and claims that he never developed the photos and knows now that Disney didn’t want that twisted Mickey to ever get out! This is a cool story and while it’s 99% fake for sure, I would say the idea of a theme park in the USA that Disney just let rot away that houses a demon-like twisted version of a Mickey Mouse that’s a walk around costume is a cool and creepy thing to imagine. If you want to hear the whole story in grand detail make sure to look it up on Youtube as the story is read by user CreepsMcPasta is a good way to really learn the story. It’s cool to think that Creepypasta stories are this generation’s campfire tales. So next time you go to Disney World, if you see a strange colored Mickey Mouse coming your way you better run, run for your life!

abandoned by disney

Imagine sitting in your backyard here in America with a cup of coffee in your hand enjoying the break from a rain storm that came down heavy when off in a distance you spot something big moving around.  You strain your eyes to see what it is, and to your horror and shock, what you see in a young male African lion! A situation like this happened in Milwaukee on July 20th 2015 when Bill & Annie Nolen spotted a lion in their neighbor’s backyard wandering around.  Lucky for them, they were able to get proof thanks to their daughter who captured it on cellphone video! The local cops as well as rangers went on a hunt for the beast but came up empty handed.  More reports came in claiming to see a lion roaming around the streets, but the animal has not been captured as of yet! Many theories have been suggested on what and where the lion came from that include an escaped pet, a ghost cat and even that it escaped the zoo or circus but none have been proven yet to be the cause of the lion’s laid back rampage yet. But one thing’s for sure, if you live in Milwaukee, please be safe as a predator large cat could be around any corner.

Milwaukee Lion

Another real life creepy thing from 2015 is happening in North Carolina around a local playground and apartment complex called Hudson Woods. A black-cloaked figure with pale white skin is walking around in the woods and near the playground, leaving bags of raw meat and disappearing back into the woods from which they came. At this point no one knows if the hooded figure is male or female, why they are dressed that way and more importantly why they leave raw meat at locations. What is known is that photos of the cloaked figure taken at the apartment complex were posted to social media on August 24, 2015 and news outlets and the police began looking into it but have not found the person as of yet.  The police are looking at this as being a possible hoax or prank being played by locals, and those who live in the apartment complex with kids are a little on edge as they are not sure what the motives are of this person with the raw meat and odd way of acting. Rumors of who this person is are all over the board from being a witch/warlock all the way to being a nerd playing a role playing game with friends, but one thing’s for sure, they are out there in the woods with raw meat and wanting to share with you!

North Carolina Cloaked Figure

I wanted to do something creepy for this update so I called on my cousin Stephen and my friend Josh to look into the legend of Candlewood Park in Kettering Ohio! The story of this park is that the ghost of a young boy who was depressed and hung himself in the restroom can be seen roaming around the park and you can hear the screams of three youngsters who were murdered.  The ghost of their killer is said to roam around as well. The first thing I should point out is that this park is kind of a pain to find as no location can be pinpointed on Google Maps, and it seems as if the park is so small that it does not even have its own website or Facebook. Also before we went to investigate this location, none of us had ever heard the legends and only stumbled upon it when looking up locations we could visit for this update making us all question the truth of this haunted location.  Upon doing more research on the location and supposed hauntings, we came to the conclusion that it was all fake and not worth out time to investigate. With the last update being about Mr. Hyde, we decided to look at a Crybaby Bridge in Yellow Springs that is on Hyde Road.  The legend goes that a mother killed her baby and herself on the bridge at midnight, and if you park your car footprints can be found on your hood from the ghost mother trying to get in! We picked Friday September 4th 2015 to be the night we looked into this legend, and we all met up at Game Swap in Kettering and got ourselves a good meal from Applebee’s before hitting the ghost-hunting trail. We arrived on Hyde Road at about 10:00pm, and we noticed that the area is surrounded by woods, fields and some houses.  The light rain, lightning and fog made for a great mood as we drove on the bridge.  The first impression from all of us was that the bridge was very cool, but none of us got a haunted vibe from it. We made a u-turn down the road and parked near some mail boxes and got out to take some pictures.  The digital camera we brought did a terrible job, but our iPhones took some half way decent pictures. The one cool thing I noticed and really liked about the bridge is that above it is a sign that read “Hyde Road” and had the date 2014, the year it was rebuilt after being torn down due to poor support beams. While standing there looking at the bridge as well as the woods that were at my back, the image of Mr. Hyde roaming this road out night crept into my head and made me smile. We hung around the bridge for a few minutes and then hit the road to drive around and see what awaited us at the other end of the road. Below are some pictures of the inside of the bridge as well as a really dark one I took on my phone of the front of the bridge.

Hyde Road Bridge At NightMore Inside Hyde Road BridgeHyde Road Bridge Inside

As we drove down the road, we hit the end of the street, and the air started to smell of rotten eggs.  It was strong and burned your nostrils, and we joked about it being Bigfoot watching us but we soon found out the smell was coming from the water treatment planet a little distance away down the side road. As we continued our quest of waiting for midnight, we drove around Yellow Springs and took in the small town at night.  We even drove past WYSO and great comic/book store Dark Star Comics. We drove down near John Bryan State Park, hoping to catch a peek at The Twilight Man, but we didn’t see a soul besides lots of people walking dogs really late at night. One funny “Twilight Zone” type moment is many times just driving around we would end back up at Hyde Road! Stephen made the joke that “All Roads Lead to Hyde” and we all chuckled about how right he was as we kept ending up at the haunted bridge. While on Hyde near a horse training farm, a giant owl dropped from the sky and caused Stephen to have to swerve to avoid hitting it.  Needless to say it, was very odd and a little creepy as the owl was very large and gave Josh, Stephen and I a good scare. As the midnight hour drew closer, we noticed on Hyde Road near the wood, an SUV was parked at the side of the road with no lights on and no one inside it.  We all thought this was odd because the car was parked where there was nothing around for a person to be doing besides being out in the woods. As we drove past it, we all really did get a weird vibe from it, but we continued to the end of Hyde Road and made a U-Turn and headed back down Hyde as it was very close to midnight and we wanted to be at the bridge to see if we could hear the ghost baby’s cries and if the mother’s hand prints would be on the car…but as we drove to the bridge, we had to pass that SUV again but this time they had their headlights on high beams and would not dim them even as we drove by them.  As we drove past them we all got a even more creepy vibe from it but shook it off as we had a date at midnight with a ghost mother…but this was not to be as the SUV made a quick u-turn and was speeding up to catch up with us! As Stephen drove he took a quick turn off a small road just before the bridge as the SUV flew past us and stopped and waited for us to drive through the bridge from the other side….and once more they turned off their lights and was trying to rope a dope us into being trapped by them…dealing with this creeper in the SUV, we missed the stroke of midnight as we did not fall for this set up. As we left we all kept an eye behind us to make sure this SUV didn’t follow us and so began the talks of what this person was up to! Many theories on the way home were thrown out by the three of us as the situation just didn’t feel right, things like Twilight Man being behind the wheel all the way to a killer like the Phantom Killer from The Town That Dreaded Sundown all were talked about and dissected. So while we didn’t get to sit on the bridge at midnight, we were stalked by a dark SUV driven by an unknown driver.  One day Josh, Stephen and I will venture back and see if we can spot this SUV again as who or what it was gave us a good creepy moment in early September gearing us up for Halloween. Below is a cool picture of the Bridge Stephen took that night, and I should also say beware if you get the nerve to drive that road at night as owls and an SUV with unknown intentions might just be waiting for you!

Hyde Road Bridge 0

On September 27th 2015 I held a Horror Movie Marathon over at my cousin Stephen Alexander’s house and invited the likes of Josh Weinberg, Garrison Kane, Todd The Fox, Queen Victoria, Jason Young, Maurice Smith, Jeremy Hoyt, Mike Ritchie, and Juliet Fromholt all over to enjoy some films to gear up for the coming Halloween season. As always, we had lots of good sodas, snacks and beer for everyone to enjoy and just like always Stephen, Josh, Garrison and I had a pre-show on the 26th where we watched such films as “Visions of Horror” that was some short films hosted by Tiffany Shepis, “Dead of Knight” about a evil spirit of a crusader knight returning for revenge and the Independent B Movie bad movie classic “The Vampire Peeper Of Greene County”. The next Morning Stephen, Jason and myself were ready for the day of horror at 7am, and as the day went on, more and more horror fan friends poured into the house and enjoyed the terrors on the TV Screen. The first film was “The Mole People,” a Universal Sci-Fi classic that follows a group who becomes trapped deep inside the world that’s ruled by a race of sun hating people. The 2nd film was “New Years Evil” about a new wave VJ who is being called while on the air by a killer who is audio recording his murders! The 3rd twisted feature was “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead” about some youths breaking into a wax museum that is owned by a relative of Dr. Frankenstein. “Frankenfish” swam its way into the 4th film time slot and was about giant mutated fish killing in the bayou. The fifth film was the Matt Hoffman’s classic shot on video werewolf film “The Wolf Hunter”! The sinister 6th film was a Paul Naschy crime/horror film called “Crimson” about a group of thieves whose leader is shot in the head and his only way of recovering is taking part of his rival’s brain! “Toolbox Murders 2” was the 7th film and followed a poor young woman who is captured by the TBK. The 8th film was “100 Tears” and was about a killer clown and his giant meat cleaver killing any and all that got in his way, all the while some tabloid reporters are trying to crack the case. Another killer clown followed in the 9th spot called “Stitches” about a clown returning from the dead and trying to get revenge on the kids who lead to his death. “Skull Heads” by Full Moon Entertainment shocked as it followed a strange family with a sinister secret and was the 10th horror flick. “Krampus: The Christmas Devil” was the 11th film and it was about a cop on the hunt for Krampus who is kidnapping evil kids on orders from Santa Claus. The 12th film was “Redwood Massacre” a slasher film about a hooded killer who kill anyone who stumbles on the ruins of his old home that he murdered his family at. Unlucky number 13 was a film called “Aunt Rose” about a sick old witch woman who protects her family from a bunch of home invasion thugs. The final film of the night and number 14 was the remake of “Evil Night” done by Chris Seaver about a nerd who gains powers and gets revenge on all those who tormented him. This all day fun time was packed with good friends, great food from Sub House and Pizza Factory, tons of snack foods, the new Baron’s Brew Beer made by horror host Baron Von Porkchop and a total of 4 films that feature slashers from the upcoming comic We Kill The Dead! Besides myself, the man who made it from start to finish was Stephen so on this one we both picked out top three films as well as our worst of the night aka The Golden Turkey! I’ll go first as I am the veteran of the event and my # 1 film of the night goes to Evil Night. This remake was a fun goofy slasher filled with some great humor and cheesy backyard kills! # 2 is Stitches, another fun horror comedy that mixed horror and humor really well.  The start of the film and what leads to the accidental death of Stiches is funny as hell! My # 3 spot was a tough one as I enjoyed many films that night but I would have to go with 100 Tears.  This film is a splatter film with a cool killer clown and effects that are over the top and in your face! Crimson and New Years Evil almost made my # 3 spot as I also enjoyed them quite a bit. My Golden Turkey of the night was Krampus as it was just boring and poorly scripted, but Tool Box Murders 2 almost made that spot for me as it was a huge disappointment and was a gore film with no story or direction. Stephen’s top three go as follows # 1 Stitches, # 2 The Mole People and # 3 Evil Night! His Golden Turkey as well went to Krampus. Another horror movie marathon in the history books and here is hoping that many more will be coming my way in 2016!

The Mole People DVDNew Years Evil DVDFrankenstein's Hungry Dead DVDFrankenfish DVDthe wolf-hunter-dvdCrimson DVDTool Box Murders 2 DVD100 Tears DVDStitches DVDSkull Heads DVDKrampus The Christmas Devil DVDRedwood Massacre DVDAunt Rose DVDEvil Night Remake DVD

Speaking of horror films, one movie that I really think should have been a comic and in fact is a comic in the movie is Cellar Dweller! Come on, you know you love that title Cellar Dweller; it just rolls off the tongue and is a great title for a cheesy film and comic. The film was directed by John Carl Buechler for Empire Pictures and stars Yvonne De Carlo, Jeffrey Combs and Debrah Mullowney.  It’s about a comic artist who dies when his own comic creations kill him in the 1950’s and then in the 80’s an artist tries to bring the comic series back and unleashes Cellar Dweller once more. When I was teen, I owned Cellar Dweller on VHS and can remember watching it many times and having fun cheering on the title monster, a big werewolf/troll/bigfoot pentagram carved in chest beast who enjoys a good kill. If this was to be a comic book series, I would like to see it set during modern times and feature a small comic company who wants to make an impact in the battle for retail space at comic shops so they decide to bring back the comic series Cellar Dweller amongst all the controversy of the past.  This is a terrible mistake as they unleash him in their office and he is killing the staff one by one as well as those around the building and even those connected to them. The only hope they have is a bounty hunter who’s son was killed back in the 80’s by Cellar Dweller, and now he wants revenge and thinks he has the key to send him back to Hell forever. The artist who gets the task of redoing the Cellar Dweller comic should also be a major focus as he should be a veteran in the comic industry who can’t get work from the major companies because they feel he is too old to keep up with what kids want now in the digital age.  He should be a good spirited man who loves to draw even when his peers say his style is outdated. The comic could be filled with extreme gore as Cellar Dweller rips humans apart and goes on a rampage! I would see it only being a mini series, and it could have fit in perfect with IDW’s MGM Midnight Movies line as MGM is the film’s rights owner.  So my pick would be IDW or Action Lab, who are now doing comics based on Full Moon Entertainment movies, and if one of my friends made it I would pick Justin Wasson or Bruce O’Hughes as their styles would fit this twisted comic tale! While not a super popular movie that doesn’t even really have cult status, I still stick by the idea that it would make one killer comic mini series. For those who want to see this film, you can find it on VHS as well as on DVD and now Blu-Ray thanks to Shout Factory.

Cellar Dweller 1Cellar Dweller VHSCellar Dweller 2

Halloween is a time that is filled with tricks and treats, and also is the time for kids to be scared by the ghouls and ghosts of the night as parents worry about stranger danger and the safety of the treats their kids are eating. An urban legend that every kid I knew at the school playground heard was that evil people were trying to kill kids with objects placed in the candy like razors and needles. Even the film Halloween II had a scene of a kid who ate an apple that was given to him that had a razor blade in it as did Night Of The Demons that had a old man character who was placing razors in apples to hand out. Scenes like these in films fueled the fire for this to scare parents into thinking that people in the world were out to get their kids. When I was growing up, my Mom would always tell me and my brother Bryan to check the candy for staples, razor blades and needles because the local news would sell the fear of this happening to kids. I always wondered as an adult about how this legend started and thanks to a cool documentary called “Killer Legends” by Joshua Zeman, I found out about the case that this legend was born from. In Deer Park, Texas in 1974 on Halloween night, 8 year old Timothy O’Bryan died from eating a pixy stix that was laced with poison.  His father Ronald tried his best to save his son, but it was too late as the young man passed away that night. They pinpointed that the child was poisoned by the pixy stix, and scary enough, Ronald’s daughter as well as two other kids had the poison candy but were lucky and did not eat them! Ronald pointed the finger at a neighbor claiming he thinks he got them from his house.  The police investigated and found that to be untrue as he was at work that night and was not home handing out candy. The police ended up finding who did poison the candy, and it turned out to be Ronald.  That sick son of a gun killed his own child for insurance money and tried to murder three others to cover his tracks and build his story of some crazed person handing out poisoned treats. Ronald was dubbed The Candyman by the press and was credited for killing the spirit of Halloween with his selfish terrible deed, that he claimed he did not do even though the evidence was stacked against him. Ronald was convicted for murder as well as attempted murder and was sentenced to death by a jury that only took 46 minutes to reach his fate. On March 31st 1984 just after midnight Ronald “Candyman” O’Bryan was executed by lethal injection, ending his life and grip on Halloween. So if you have any young kids who are trick or treating do as my Mom did and check the treats, as being safe is better than being sorry. But I also want to say, whatever you do don’t take the fun out of Halloween for the kids as it should be a very magical and fun time of the year for them!

Ronald Clark O'Bryanpixie stixsThe Candyman had haters

So that is depressing, so let’s move onto something fun and horror host related! Growing up I watched a lot of public access and was into horror hosts.  At a young age I discovered A. Ghastlee Ghoul, who hosted A. Ghastlee Movie Show on MVCC and became hooked, catching it every time it aired.  I even found myself setting my VCR to record it! Many years later I am proud to call A. Ghastlee Ghoul a friend as well as my second Dad as he has been a great influence on me as a media maker, and I even played his fake son on a episode of the show when I was 18! Ghastlee is a icon of Dayton horror hosting and while his show has been inactive for many years, he still can been seen touring around with his band Spattertude as well as heard on his radio show, Wackadoo Wax Radio on Oldies 97.3 FM. So it’s my honor to bring to you readers this Halloween update 5 Questions with the one and only A. Ghastlee Ghoul.

A Ghastlee Ghoul (Bob Hinton)

Me: Welcome, Ghastlee, to Rotten Ink! Tell my readers about your show The Ghastlee Movie Show as well as your band Splattertude.

Ghastlee: Well, the TV show has really been out of production for a few years, other than the occasional special. Twenty-two years was a good run, I think. Of course I still do live stage shows and hostings, as well as cohosting the weekly Wackadoo Wax Radio, which can be heard on Dayton’s Oldies 97.3FM and online at daytonoldies.org, with Comrade X Munson. The shows are also archived, albeit slowly, at mixcloud.com/wackadoowax. The band is still cranking right along! We’ve been playing some fun shows and are gearing up to make some new recordings. We have tons of new material that needs to get out there.

Me: From TV all the way to radio, Ghastlee, you never fail to amaze and entertain! So what horror hosts of the past have influenced you as a host?

Ghastlee: Oh wow. That’s a big question because I have so many friends who are also hosts and have touched my life in different ways. The hosts I grew up with though were Dr. Creep, Baron Von Wolfstein and The Cool Ghoul (from Cinci). There are aspects of all three in Ghastlee, as well as a little Count Floyd. Though not exactly a horror host, I always loved Cincinnati all-night-movie host Bob Shreve too.

Me: All classic horror hosts, and I owe it all to you for getting to meet and become friends with Baron Von Wolfstein! So being an undead Ghastlee Ghoul, do you ever get urges to eat human flesh or brains?

Ghastlee: That’s actually a common mistake. Zombies are undead and dig on brains. Ghouls eat the flesh of the dead. So, yeah, I have gotten the munchies on occasion while watching Romero films.

Me: Glad to hear human flesh is not on your list for lunch! Baron Von Porkchop as well said he does not crave eating humans so that will make Horrorhound Weekends much safer! So you have been to quite a few conventions, during these travels, what celebrity were you most happy to meet? As well as what other horror host?

Ghastlee: I’d have to say the ones who I can call friends. Tom Sullivan, Kyra Schon, Sid Haig. Bill Forsythe is a really cool cat. Always fun seeing him. As far as hosts, again, so many are great friends of mine. Outside that group though, John Zacherley, Elvira and Joe Bob Briggs were all fun to meet and talk with.

Me: Haig and Forsythe have always been fantastic people to chat with and that’s awesome you can call all those people friends. Joe Bob Briggs was for sure on my list of horror hosts I was most happy to meet. What horror themed comics do you enjoy reading?

Ghastlee: It’s honestly been years since I’ve sat down and read comics of any kind, but if I did it would be old EC books, The Witching Hour, Vault of Evil, stuff like that. I still have all mine from when I was a wee Ghoul!

Me: Classic EC Comics are always great, and I have great memories of reading my brother Bryan’s Gladstone Reprints of Tales From The Crypt when I was a youngster. Thanks Ghastlee for taking your time to talk to me and my readers and letting us take a peek at what makes Ghastlee ghastly.

Ghastlee: Thank you! I always enjoy reading your work! Happy Halloween everyone!

As always, it’s a great time chatting with A. Ghastlee Ghoul as he is unpredictable and is always guaranteed to entertain! Make sure to check out his radio show and catch some of his classic episodes of Ghastlee Movie show on DATV and on the online horror host station The Kreepy Kastle. Thanks again Ghastlee, your friendship means a lot to me and thanks for always believing in me.

The Amazing A Ghastlee Ghoul

Speaking of horror hosts, Baron Von Porkchop is gearing up for his 5th Halloween Special! It’s crazy to think that Baron has been on a total of 5 Halloween adventures after this year’s, and more are planned for the years to come! This year Baron has found the Halloween spirit again after losing it as the result of many past mishaps from Headless Horsemen to The Sadness Killer. This year he has created a club called The Midnight Halloween Society that includes Melvin, Susie The DJ, Stephen Frankenstein and Duke The Wolf Hunter, and they sit around a campfire and exchange spooky stories! The stories will be short films from such directors as Andy Copp, Chris Seaver, John D. Leonard and Henrique Couto! So if you live in the Dayton, Ohio area tune into DATV or MVCC or watch via online stream at www.datv.org! I really do love filming the Baron Halloween specials as they are super fun to not only write but also plan out.  This year’s will be a lead in to next year’s so make sure to tune in. Below is the soon to be released DVD cover art by Damien Brunk.

Halloween5

Now I should talk a little about my friend and artist for the mystery Halloween update comic, Eric Shonborn.  I met Eric many years back while working for Mavericks Cards And Comics when he used to come into the shop with Bruce O’Hughes.  After chatting with them and getting their pull files, I soon found out that they were comic book creators and had a company called NoBody Comics.  This added to the already cool factor of both of these guys as I found them both to be friendly and interesting people. Also around this time, I moved out of an apartment I was sharing with Patrick Neeley and moved in with Jason Young, Doogie and Zippy.  This is when I became even closer friends with Eric as he would come over to hang out with Jason for what they called “Drawing Night” that had them staying up late listening to music or a podcast and drawing comics and pictures.  During this time Eric and I found out we had a lot in common, and a great friendship was born. Plus getting to see his art firsthand made me a fan of his work and to this day I highly respect that man’s talents. Over the years, Eric has worked on DVD covers for not only Independent B Movie films like Werewolf of Ohio and Vampire Peeper Of Greene County but also has done several for Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre! And over the years I have been asked to be a guest on his podcast Gutter Trash that he does alongside Jason Young that covers topics like movies, comics and life. Eric is also a weekly guest at my work as he comes in and chats it up with not only me but also my co-workers about all types of fun stuff.  Recently we had a big store talk about Superman films and comics, and it was so much fun! Eric is a friend for life, and I am glad that I know him.  If you have not checked out his website, you should at this link www.shonborn.net and see his wonderful work and maybe even hire him to do a commission or two! So once more thanks, Eric, for making this Halloween update special.  Below is some artwork by Eric including a self portrait.

Eric Shonborn Art 1Eric ShonbornEric Shonborn Art 2

So are you ready to find out what Eric Shonborn has chosen to make into a custom comic just for this Halloween Day blog update? I gave him a long list with over 20 horror movies to choose from, each of the films on the list didn’t have a comic series about it all ready making this a first! After looking the list over for many months, he made his choice and began to work on it.  It wasn’t until late October did I find out what he picked, and I must say I was very pleased upon seeing the finished printed comic in my hand! That’s one thing I will say about my friends, they are all cool talented people and Eric took the reigns and became the first to make a comic just for me and you, the readers, to enjoy on one of the best holidays! So let me present what we will be taking a look at on this special update……..

The Video Dead Logo

I first saw The Video Dead when I was a youngster on USA Network as part of USA Saturday Nightmares late at night with my brother Bryan.  The film was one that I remembered over the years, and for some reason I can remember that this horror film mixed with dark comedy scared me a little as the woods from the film reminded me of the woods that were right by our house in Waynesville and visions of the Video Dead stalking them looking for fresh victims filled my imagination. The Zombie Bride was always the most creepy to me, and her image gave me nightmares and also fueled ideas for short horror stories I was writing. As I grew up and began collecting horror films on VHS, I can remember being so hyped when I found of copy of The Video Dead on the shelf at a local secondhand store called Second Time Around and it was proudly displayed alongside so many other B-movie classics. The funny thing is that like a goof when DVD first came out, I traded in most of my VHS thinking that I would upgrade them all to this new disc based format, and to my shock Video Dead was not released on DVD till 2013 when Shout Factory released it on a double feature with Terrorvision.  However, at Game Swap this very month that I am bringing you this review, we had Video Dead traded in on VHS and I of course had to buy it…it had to be fate as this was also the film Eric chose to turn into a comic! The Video Dead was directed/produced/written by Robert Clark in 1987 and was a direct-to-video film that was released by Embassy Home Entertainment. Robert Clark only ever directed one other film called Ratdog in 1990 that has very little information about it out in the world. The film’s plot is about a cursed TV Set that is sent to a writer by a unknown person that unleashes an army of zombies who all come out of the TV from a movie called “Zombie Blood Nightmare.”  They brutally murder him and go into the woods near the home. Months later Zoe and her younger brother Jeff are at the house that’s been bought by their parents sight unseen as they are overseas, and the kids are trying to make the home ready for their comeback. But when Jeff finds the TV and makes friends with the girl next door, April, all hell breaks loose as the zombies are on a rampage and only Jeff, Zoe and a Texan named Joshua Daniels can put a stop to the madness. In order to kill the zombies, you first must use mirrors and even cover the TV set with a mirror, trap them in a small space and pray they kill each other when they become bored! The film ends with a twist and left itself open for a Video Dead 2 that sadly never came. This film is crazy, goofy, scary and just plain fun! The acting is over the top, and the oneliners and cheesy dialogue flow like spray canned cheese.  It stars Roxanna Augesen as Zoe Blair, Rocky Duvall as Jeff Blair, Sam David McClelland as Joshua Daniels and Vickie Bastel as April Ellison. The looks of the zombies in the film are well done, and there are a total of four styles of them that each look different and each have their own twisted personalities, and oddly enough some even have a sense of humor! The film is by no means a bloodbath, but the effects are well done and watching a zombie pop out of a TV Screen is pretty cool stuff. If you have not seen The Video Dead and like B-movies and are a fan of zombie films, give it a watch as it will surely entertain you with some good gore and zombie special effects as well as the zombie who looks like singer David Bowie!

Video Dead Movie 1The Video Dead VHSVideo Dead Movie 2

The Video Dead left itself open for a sequel, and while a movie version has never seen the light of the moon, a comic one has on this day as Eric decided not to do a comic adaptation of the film but to make his own version of a sequel.  I am sure I will be in store for not only horror but also a few laughs. I can’t wait to see if he used the zombies from the movie or if he created his own new ones or even if there will be a mix of old and new! I also can’t wait to see who the lead character is and how he or she stumbled onto the cursed TV set! And I can’t wait to see the blood and gore if any presents itself in his story! But I also must remind all of you that I will not be grading this comic on my 1 to 4 scale as the comic was made for me to share with you here at Rotten Ink and to make all our Halloween a little better off. I want to thank once more Eric Shonborn for making this all possible and even coming through with this after having a rough year.  He is truly a good friend who is super talented and super cool. So if you’re ready grab a mirror and let’s turn on the TV and see what undead ghouls pop out as we take a look at Bloodline Comics Presents The Video Dead!

Revenge Of The Video Dead 1

Revenge Of The Video Dead # 1
Created in 2015    Cover Price $0.00    Bloodline Comics    # 1 of 1

Darla is a young girl who is watching as her family is being killed by zombies that have popped out of an old TV that her brother bought to use in a project.  Just as the undead turn to get her, a mirror and a machete come down, and they are taken down. Darla’s savior is Zoe Blair, who is decked out with all things needed to fight The Video Dead! Zoe tapes a mirror to the TV and escorts Darla from the house and gives her a ride to the site where she is disposing of the TV.  In the van they chat, and Darla spots a severed Video Dead head that Zoe keeps as an alarm to warn her when others are around! Zoe opens up to Darla who has no place to go and speaks of her brother Jeff who made the mistake of turning on the TV and unleashing these zombies into their neighborhood, and how she learned ways to fight them from Joshua.  She also speaks of how Jeff and Joshua died and she alone had to trick The Video Dead back into the TV. The pair pull into the woods and bury the TV, and Zoe tells Darla that after her brother died and she had to face The Video Dead, she was locked up in an asylum.  Her parents brought her a TV and zombies dragged her into their world where she was saved by a man named The Garbageman who trained her in self defense and ways to kill the dead. She also tells of how Garbageman was finally caught and eaten by The Video Dead and that she escaped their world one day via a TV Portal is spending her life hunting down all 113 cursed TV sets to rid the world of this plague. Darla decides to join Zoe on her mission to Televonstar, the company making these cursed TV’s and finds that the owner of the company has found a way to not only tap into the world of “Zombie Blood Nightmare” but many more sinister worlds and he can hide them under the guise of cheesy horror films allowing all types of monsters into our world! Zoe and Darla fight off a horde of monsters; the Owner shoots and kills Darla with a single bullet to her head and explains that their next move it to make streaming services that will allow these portals to not only open on TVs but also cellphones, tablets and computers.  This enrages Zoe who kills the Owner and makes a promise to shoot every portal…and our story ends!

Eric did a fantastic job of making a comic sequel to The Video Dead and mixed new folklore with the classic stuff of the movie! The plot is very simple and very well thought out as Zoe is now a one woman zombie killing machine as she wants to stop every Video Dead as well as bust all the TVs that are being used to bring them to our world! Throw in a young female sidekick, some zombies and a big business suit type, and you have one great comic based around the universe of this B-movie classic. The use of characters like Zoe Blair and The Garbageman from the film gave this comic a “cult classic” feel and made me want to see how the story would unfold. It was very cool to see that Zoe is now the Garbageman as the story needed a strong hero who the reader could get behind, and she is 100% it. Zoe Blair in this comic has changed a lot from her movie counterpart as she is no longer a scared young woman and is now a short haired badass who has no fear of the unknown. I was really glad to see her as the main character as she deserves to stomp some undead ass. Darla is a poor young teenage girl who gets caught up in the video dead thanks to her brother who bought a cursed TV from a flea market.  With no place to go and no loved ones left, it’s only natural that Zoe takes her under her wing as a sidekick. Her death is shocking and well played as I figured that in the end Zoe and Darla would have been the last two standing. The Televonstar Owner is slimy and is the perfect example of a sleazy guy who would want to bring down the world, not to mention the way he wants to no longer use old TVs as the gateways and pushes for the new hip streaming is perfect to further the plot and bring new life to this story. The Garbageman is a character who appears in the film for one scene when he kills a blonde woman (who’s a Video Dead) who comes from the TV to seduce Jeff.  He tries his best to warn Jeff and tells him to place a mirror over the TV so that no more zombies can escape. In the comic Garbageman comes to the rescue of Zoe who’s been pulled into their world and trains her into becoming a female Rambo! He has very cool cameo and serves a great purpose in the overall story. The Video Dead are not over used and pop up when needed to add that horror element to the comic.  Like in the film, they shuffle around and look for people to murder in cold blood. Their looks are all unique and while none from the film 100% appear, you still get the feeling that they are the same ones that appear in the background of the film “Zombie Blood Nightmare” that plays in the film. This comic is pretty gory as Zoe uses her trusty machete to chop up zombies, monsters and that scumbag Televonstar Owner, adding in the blood factor and help feeding the horror action element. Eric, who wrote the story as well as did the art, did a fantastic job of bringing this into modern times and tying in modern technology as well as adding more dimensions with more monsters and even threw in a werewolf as he knows that’s my favorite classic monster! The art is fun and has a 90’s independent horror comic look and feel to it.  When needed, the zombies and characters have detail; when more details is not needed, the use of shadows is well done. The comic also has some pinups done by Bruce O’Hughes, Pat Kain and Jason Young, the latter of which drew a picture of that creepy Bride Zombie from the film! Over all, this was an amazing fun custom comic that added so much creepy, and action to my Halloween and I hoped it added to yours as well! Below is some art from this comic to show you the style of the issue.

Revenge Of The Video Dead Art 1Revenge Of The Video Dead Art 2Revenge Of The Video Dead Art 3

The Video Dead might not be a household name when it comes to cult horror films like The Evil Dead, Phantasm or Silent Night Deadly Night, but for me it was always one of the coolest, most memorable ones. While those woods in Waynesville are no longer there as they made room for houses and kids that live on Royston Drive will never have to wonder if The Video Dead stalk them after seeing this film, one things for sure, those memories will live with me forever. I must say that I do really wish those woods were still around as I would have loved to have read this comic in them! I hope you enjoyed this spooky update.  I was really happy to share another one with you all. If you’re going out to Trick Or Treat or to a Halloween party, I want you all to stay safe as who knows what ghouls or ghosts are roaming this night. Our next update will take a look at a Marvel character known as 3-D Man, so make sure to come back for that one. Once more a big thanks to Eric Shonborn for making this one of a kind comic sequel – really cool work, my friend. So Happy Halloween, and as always, watch a horror film or two, support your local horror host and read a horror comic or three….BOO!

3D man logo

The Wonderful Wizard of Wally

Hey, all and welcome back! This time around we are going to take a look at one of Star Comics’ most popular home grown characters, Wally The Wizard. I first heard about Wally The Wizard via a free give away/very cheap subscription on the back of a box of cereal and sent away and got issue # 1 of Wally, Top Dog and Planet Terry for free/dirt cheap. While I didn’t know the character, I found myself liking his over all good nature. While Wally did pretty well for Star, it was lost in the sea of licensed based comics like Ewoks, Strawberry Shortcake, He-Man and many others making him not one most kids would talk about nor trade on the playground. While his impact not very huge, his books lasted for 12 issues longer than many of the licensed based titles, showing his sales had to be good enough to keep him afloat.

Speaking of afloat, here in and around Dayton we had many small movie theaters that aren’t owned by Showcase, The Rave or Regal, and sadly many of them over the past 15 years have slowly gone away.  I guess the small theaters can’t compete with the IMax and stadium seating. While we still have The Englewood Theater in Englewood, Little Art Theater in Yellow Springs and Neon Movies in Dayton, we have lost the likes of Chakeres The Kettering Theater, Flicker Palace in Huber Heights and most sad of all Page Manor in Fairborn. Let’s first talk about The Flicker Palace in Huber Heights, a small theater in the middle of strip mall that hosted many late night horror films and even was the first home of Horrorama (a charity event I’ve been helping with for the last 14 years or so).  Sadly I never got to step foot in Flicker but only heard the stories from friends like Andy Copp, Dr. Creep and Rick Martin about how cool the place was. I have gone and visited the run down shell that was Flicker over the years and when looking inside the windows you see that it has been gutted and I mean gutted.  From the floor up, it’s just one big empty room with gravel floor, It’s a shame that the owners of the strip mall decided doing this to the theater was a good idea and even more of a shame that no one bought this theater after closing and kept it going. Below is a picture of the theater and a picture of Andy Copp and Dr. Creep in the theater.
FlickerAndy and Dr Creep

Next up is the Kettering Theater, an amazing place to see movies when I was younger.  Sure, the seats were rock hard and you would leave with a backache, and sure, the popcorn tasted like it had been under a heat lamp for 3 months but it was still Kettering’s own little theater house before the jumbo movie house in the outside mall, the Greene, moved in. I remember going and seeing movies like Broken Arrow and Austen Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me at the theater and this is even where my brother meet Dr. Creep and sparked our love for the Dayton horror host before I even was in school. The theater’s exterior was an amazing classic style theater, and the inside was very old and should have been updated but the dirt inside also added to the charm of the theater. After the theater went under, the building sat empty for many years until in early 2013 a church bought it to transform into a new meeting place for their congregation.  So sadly, the epic Kettering Theater and its amazing building will now no longer be used for a movie going experience. Below is a pic of the theater, and the pic of my brother Bryan with Dr. Creep.

Kettering TheaterBryan and Dr Creep

Page Manor was the coolest small theater in the area and had not only two screens but also a very small video arcade and hosted lots of fun stuff from Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight to independent horror films that included one of my old shorts called Hellraiser Warehouse. One of my best memories was seeing Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation when it was finally released for its very small theatrical run and Page Manor was the only theater to pick it up. I was working at Kroger at the time and was a teen who loved horror films.  I became friends with Jason Shivadecker, a guy who was a few years older and who as well loved horror films and also made his own shot on video films. When we heard that Page was showing the new Texas Chainsaw, we were hyped and made sure to get tickets early and plan for this epic night of horror! We got to the theater early as did many fans who were waiting to see Leatherface do what he does best, and that’s when some odd early 20’s something kid was pacing around looking for someone to talk to him.  He targeted us and started to ramble on and on about how he had seen the movie every screening thus far at the Page and how he loved it and how it was the best in the series.  After a few minutes we were able to get away from this super fan and get a seat. We got our seats that were great, and the film started and what we saw was something that would stick with me, not because of the gore and scares but because the film was so silly and dumb that I had a blast watching it. After the film we drove around laughing at the film and then went to a party. Also at that theater I have been to Horrorama’s, late night horror shows put on by Andy Copp and so much more. This was my favorite theater in the area, and when it went under for the second time, a rumor was going around that it was coming back, but sadly this did not come to be and after a fire in the strip mall, it was the owners who decided to demolish the theater. Below is a pic of the great Page Manor as well as a screen grab of Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Next Generation.

Page ManorLeatherface Jacks

One last one just because it was a fun place to see movies was Beavercreek Cinema that later became The Bargain Box Office.  It had multiple screens, terrible popcorn and hard seats but it was a fun time. I went to this theater when I was younger and saw films like Ghostbusters 2 and The Goonies their during their first run and saw second run films when it reopened and became the Bargain Box Office. One fun story I have about this place was when it re-opened my girl at the time, Jennifer, liked Kevin Smith movies while I on the other hand don’t like his work.  But being a trooper, I took her to see Clerks 2 and while being tortured with his unfunny dialogue, a miracle happened as a bat began flying all around the screen and in front of the projector and to me this was a sign from Count Dracula or Batman that I should be at home watching them on DVD. The Beavercreek Cinema is closed now and sits rotting in Lofino’s Shopping Center hoping one day to come back and spread the love of films.

Bargain Box Office

Those are just a drop in the hat of cool theaters that closed.  I mean I know I am not the only one who misses the movie theater that was inside the Dayton Mall. But with that let’s get away from movies on the big screen and take a look at a movie on the small screen as we talk about another Independent B Movie flick, this time directed by Matt Hoffman – none other than The Wolf Hunter or The Werewolf Hunter as it reads in the credits. After Werewolf of Ohio 2, we were on cloud nine, and this was our peak.  Many inside the group including myself really liked the idea of The Wolf Hunter character having his own spinoff movie and none spoke louder than Matt Hoffman who played the character for me. With Hoffman really wanting to play the character again, I went down into the cool basement that was Independent B Movie studios and wrote out a draft that took place before the character’s death and showed that he had his own major foe with a werewolf king called Malice. The script I wrote was about a cat and mouse game played between the two that left many dead and a final showdown that was to take place in some deep dark woods.  The film was to have a higher budget than any of the past films and was set to be the bloodiest one ever made. This, however, was not the case as Hoffman liked the script and went in to rework it, and took out lots of the blood and even the cat and mouse game and added more screen time for just the Wolf Hunter character who now was in 97% of the film, unlike the 75% that the original script had. All of Malice’s kills were cut, and he was pushed more into the background as an almost afterthought until the very end. The end battle was also changed and taken out of the woods and onto an old bridge that in my opinion worked even better than the woods! While at first I was a little annoyed that my script had gone through such a wild and extreme re-write, seeing how proud Hoffman was of this project made that go away fast, and I was happy for my friend who found a character he could truly bond with. Hoffman and I, with his script in hand, set out to cast it and we first hired Brandon Womeldorff as lead camera man and I took up being the second unit camera man. My good friend Patrick Neeley played Malice.  Josh Weinberg played Oliver another werewolf. Jason Gilmore played both werewolf Red-Eye and The Holy Bullet Man, and Amy Hoffman played Amber, the love interest of the Wolf Hunter and lastly we cast Geoff Burkman as Amber’s Father. The film’s plot followed The Wolf Hunter, a loner who takes a job rescuing a young woman named Amber from a werewolf named Oliver who when human loved her.  After her rescue, The Wolf Hunter finds that he himself is in love but makes the mistake of leaving her behind and she is killed by Malice, king of all Ohio werewolves. The rest of the film The Wolf Hunter tracks down and battles Malice to the “death” at an old covered bridge. Filming went fast, and the production had very little set backs and even less in-house fighting. One funny moment on the set had Jason Gilmore, who as Red-Eye fell into the waters of Caesar’s Creek, running around naked behind Matt Hoffman as he gave an on set interview and was clueless to the fact a naked man was moving around behind him. After the film wrapped, Brandon Womeldorff, Hoffman and myself headed to Fairmont and we edited it in two days.

Wolf Hunter VHS

After the film was done, a meeting was called for a screening of Hoffman’s first ever directed film, and the house was packed with almost everyone who was a part of Independent B Movie. Hoffman gave a brief introduction to his film, and then play was hit on the VCR and the film known as The Wolf Hunter started playing on the TV. After the meeting, the film was meet with mix reviews as most just picked it apart because Hoffman made it.  I for one think the film is super fun and cheesy and hits the spot when it comes to a late night flick watching. The film was then made on VHS and sold at conventions and did pretty well  Years later it would also get a DVD release that also sold well. The film also got a t-shirt based on one of the hunting scenes! The film has been reviewed on a number of websites and has mostly been meet with poor reviews because of its production value, but many of them point out the fun and silly over all nature of the film and see the camp value of watching it. Poor reviews aside, the film has built up a very small cult status and is still to this day talked about amongst the old group of movie making friends that made up Independent B Movie.

The Wolf HunterShowdownWolf Hunter 1

Wolf Hunter was filled with lots of “scary” werewolves that were said to haunt Ohio and here real quick, I would like to give you a quick rundown of each werewolf and how they came about. First, let’s take a look at Malice, who was played by Patrick Neeley.  The mask was bought at K-Mart during Halloween time by Hoffman who liked the look of the grey furred open mouthed mask. The character Malice was based on a short film script that was given to me many years before when I worked at Kroger as a bagger by a fellow bagger called Bark At The Moon. In the Bark script, Malice was a sorcerer who lived in the woods and was cursed by magic to become a blood thirsty werewolf. In The Wolf Hunter, we changed it so that Malice is and always has been a werewolf and alongside The Wolf Man (Werewolf of Ohio) has spread the curse all over Ohio. Malice is super strong and also super smart and is protective of his area that contains a covered bridge that acts as his home base.

Malice

The second werewolf is Oliver who was played by Josh Weinberg.  The mask was bought at Wal-Mart around Halloween time and was picked because I thought it looked like Oliver Reed’s werewolf in Hammer horror film Curse of the Werewolf. Oliver was purely based on that Hammer film, and his look in the film was as well, wearing a ripped up button up shirt and black pants.  From day one, Josh was the choice to play the part. When human, Oliver was a rich young man who was dating Amber, the daughter of a media store owner, and he was was attacked on his way home after a date and became a werewolf. Even as a werewolf, he held a love for Amber and kidnapped her and rushed into the woods of Oakwood, where he was attacked by The Wolf Hunter and Amber taken away from him. Oliver has brown fur and is strong but not a pure top powered werewolf.  He also is smart and seems to learn from his past mistakes. His home base is the woods around Oakwood, and he is very protective of his area.

Oliver

The last werewolf of the film is Red-Eye, who was played by Jason Gilmore who was going by the name Max Price, and the mask was bought at Wal-Mart and was very cheap and at first almost didn’t make it into the movie. Red-Eye was written into the film to open it up and be a target for The Wolf Hunter to show his hunting power. Red-Eye wore an old green button up shirt and tan pants and was rocking slick backed black hair and his face has brown. Red-Eye is a weak werewolf who is considered a bottom feeder who only feeds on the leftovers of more powerful werewolves. Red-Eye is weak and is very nervous around humans, and he has no home base area and spends his time roaming.

Red EyeThe Wolf Hunter has a legacy that pleases diehard fans and tickles the funny bones of those who see it as a cheesy action horror film. And while the film is no master piece and by most accounts is no budget trash, I for one am proud I had something to do with it and am even more happy to see my friend Matt Hoffman be so proud of a film he has his heart and soul in.

WH vs MaliceWolf Hunter DVDWH vs Malice Bridge

The new WWE Game has been titled “WWE 2K14” and is now being made by 2K Games after THQ sadly went out of business early in the year. This year, the theme went away from the Attitude Era and is now focused on “30 Years of Wrestlemania” where players get to play through some of the biggest matches in the event’s history like Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant at Wrestlemania III and Hogan taking on Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI.  But as with last year some top names have been snubbed from being in the game and here is my top 5 list of wrestlers that 2K and WWE should be ashamed of themselves for not including them in the game.  I will also point out key matches that they were involved in.

WWE2K14 Hulk Hogan20909Hotspot-SingStar-80:Layout 1wwe2k14 ultimate warrior

I would also like to point out that while many wrestlers have been snubbed they did include a lot of great names: from the past like Andre The Giant, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior, Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy to name a few.  So good job on those inclusions…but with that let’s get into my snub list. Now for my list I looked at all the past Wrestlemania’s and even watched a few on DVD to get the full dose of matches these grapplers I picked had.  These are all legends of the sport that I truly think were snubbed! So let’s get onto my picks on who should be in WWE 2K14.

rowdy roddy piper

Rowdy Roddy Piper

Rowdy Roddy Piper is a legend in the wrestling world who began his pro career in 1973 when he became a member of the roster for the AWA as what is known as a jobber (a wrestler who is thrown to the top stars to lose).  Piper then went on to wrestle in some of the industry’s top promotions like NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) and GCW (Georgia Championship Wrestling), and in these two places Piper made a name for himself as a solid worker and a master of mic skills. But while in GCW, Piper was blackballed from the territory for showing up late to a match and would work for Puerto Rico and Jim Crocket Promotions. In 1984, Piper made his way to WWF and started out as a manager to wrestlers Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff and David “Dr. D” Shultz and later became a full fledged member of the roster.  Piper was a bad guy (heel), and his first two major feuds were with Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and Bruno Sammartino! But in 1985, his most important rivialy took place as Piper was picking on pop singer Cyndi Lauper and wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano sparking WWF Champions to come to their aid and sparking a fight that would take place on MTV at an event called “The War To Settle The Score.”  This match then lead to the first main event at the first Wrestlemania! The match had Hulk Hogan and actor Mr. T taking on Piper and Paul Orndorff, and history was made. Piper would come and go in the WWF/WWE for many years after this and would have many great matches with the likes of Bret “Hitman” Hart, Bad News Brown, Goldust and Adrian Adonis. From almost from the moment he stepped into the company, Piper was also given his own talk show called “Piper’s Pit” where many iconic moments took place from bashing Jimmy Snuka in the head with a coconut to beating up a jobber wrestler with one arm behind his back! Fans have loved and hated Piper over the years, and he is one of the most iconic wrestlers WWF has even had.  So to me, it makes no sense why he is not in the game and since he had many Wrestlemania moments that outshine Goldberg’s terrible match with Brock Lesner. Here is to hoping 2K and WWE wake up and make him DLC. Piper also is in the WWE HALL OF FAME as of 2005!

Key WM Matches: Piper & Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (Wrestlemania) and Piper vs. Bret Hart (Wrestlemania 8)

Paul Orndorff

Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff

Before Lex Luger, Ravishing Rick Rude and Dolf Ziggler, Orndorff was the original show off, the man who thought his body was better than everyone else’s but without the glam and with more of a kick ass attitude. Before his pro wrestling career Orndorff was a star on the college football fields and even was picked up to play for the NFL! Orndorff began wrestling in 1976 for many small promotions and even a few major ones like NWA, SCW (Southeast Championship Wrestling) and GCW before going to WWF in 1983 where he had Roddy Piper as his manager and fought guys like Tito Santana and Jimmy Snuka. Orndorff took the side of Piper in his feud with Hogan and had feuded with Hogan up until the main event at the first Wrestlemania. Orndorff would turn good and bad throughout the years and even had a match with Don Muraco at Wrestlemania II. He would have huge matches with Hogan after this event that even lead to steel cage matches and more. In 1988 Orndorff took time away to heal some injuries and would go on to wrestle for WCW (World Championship Wrestling), UWF (Universal Wrestling Federation) and Smokey Mountain. He would end his career with WCW after injuries and worked as a trainer and backstage for the company. In 2005 Mr. Wonderful was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame. Mr. Wonderful was a hard worker and a great competitor and should be in this game for helping launch Wrestlemania. Without him and Piper, the first event would not be the iconic event we fans view it as.

Key WM Matches: Roddy Piper & Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (Wrestlemania) and Orndorff vs. Don Muraco (Wrestlemania II)

Sid Vicious

Psycho Sid

Sid is a man of many names in the wrestling world from Lord Humongous to Sid Justice to Sid Vicious, but most fans know him as Psycho Sid from his time at the top of the WWF! Sid started his career out in 1987 in such promotions as Memphis, New Japan and World Class, but by 1989 WCW had gotten the powerhouse to join their federation.  The master of the power bomb was in full swing as he became a member of the tag team the Skyscrapers and would later become a member of the legendary Four Horseman with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Barry Windham. Sid left WCW after a true lack of world title push and left for WWF in 1991 where he became a top runner for the world title and had feuds with The Undertaker and Jake Roberts.  After thinking he had been overlooked for a title shot, he targeted Hulk Hogan who he thought was the man standing in his way. After a fight at Wrestlemania, Sid left the company. In 1993 he returned for a short time to WCW and then went to a few other smaller promotions before coming back to the WWF in 1995 to become Shawn Michael’s bodyguard and once more become a top runner for the world title fighting guys like Diesel, Bret Hart and The Undertaker, having many top profile matches and being one of the company’s top stars. Sid would leave again in 1997 and would finish his top company career out in WCW. Sid was a massive man, and I would love to have him feud in WWE 2K14 with the likes of The Big Show, Andre The Giant and Big John Studd! In 2012 Sid even showed back up on WWE TV with two appearances on Monday Night Raw! Here is to hoping that he is future Legends DLC in the game because I for one would love to powerbomb Daniel Bryan into a table!

Key WM Matches: Sid vs. Hulk Hogan (Wrestlemania 8) and Sid vs. The Undertaker (Wrestlemania 13)  

jake roberts the snake.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Once more Jake finds himself not in a WWE game that clearly he should be in! Roberts began his wrestling career in 1974 and was a roster member for such federations as Mid-South Wrestling, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, GCW and NWA, but it was in 1986 when Jake was called up to the WWF and became the Snake! Jake, like Piper, was given his own talk show called “The Snake Pit” and his first major feuds were with Ricky Steamboat and The Honkey Tonk Man. He would change from a heel to a face many times in his WWF run and would wrestle guys like Andre The Giant, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Ravishing Rick Rude, Earthquake, Rick “The Model” Martel and Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase.  Jake would leave in 1992 and would work for WCW, AAA and Independents before coming back to WWF in 1996 where he was a veteran and was used as a man who had battled demons in his past and was there to talk the word of God to those who would listen. Sadly, Jake was a real life junkie and had burned many bridges and failed many drug tests and this was his first full second chance of becoming a top superstar. During this late 90’s run, Jake also helped spark the “Austin 3:16” catch phrase after a match with Steve Austin at King of The Ring! Jake “The Snake” Roberts has never held a WWF/WWE title and has yet to make it to the Hall of Fame, but he remains one of the company’s top legends that still has fans to this day. Jake should be in this game and here is hoping he will be DLC.

Key WM Matches: Roberts vs. Honkey Tonk Man (Wrestlemania III), Roberts vs. Andre The Giant (Wrestlemania 5), Roberts vs. The Undertaker (Wrestlemania 8)

Note From Matt – Well, I got one right as Jake Roberts will be on the game’s final DLC Pack.

Lex Luger

Lex Luger

While The Total Packahe Lex Luger didn’t make the splash in WWF that Vince and the company were hoping for, he still was a main-eventer who should be in WWE 2K14! Lex Luger began wrestling in 1985 for NWA Florida, and a year later he was working for NWA that later became WCW where he became a main-eventer who would go on to be a member of the Four Horseman and would feud with the likes of Ric Flair, Ron Simmons, Sting and Barry Windham. While there, Luger capture the World Title and become one of the company’s top heels. Luger, however, left them in 1992 and went to work for WWF and its bodybuilding league the WBF.  His first gimmick in the WWF had him playing The Narcissist Lex Luger, a heel who was so egotistical that he would pose and look at himself in mirrors, his major matches being with Mr. Perfect Curt Henning. Luger turned face and became an all American hero type after he slammed Yokozuna on July 4th. Luger would become a top contender for the world title and would feud with such grapplers as Bret Hart, Tatanka, Crush and Ludvig Borga and would later form a tag team with The British Bulldog to be called Allied Powers. Then Luger would shock the world as he showed up on the first episode of WCW Nitro while also being on a taped WWF match the same night. Luger had switched companies and was the first major shot fired at WWF. Luger would wrestle for WCW until 2001 when the company shut down. Luger would then make a few appearances on TNA (Total Nonstop Action) before retiring from the sport due to a spinal stroke. Luger was a power house in whatever federation he was in and should be a member of the 2K14 roster! John Cena would so be put in the torture rack!

Key WM Matches: Luger vs. Yokozuna (Wrestlemania 10)

So there are my top 5 wrestlers that I truly think got snubbed for WWE 2K14 30 Years of Wrestlemania. All the grapplers above were hard working and guys that impacted the event. I am not sure why they were left out but I hope that somehow some way 2K sees this list and gives each of these guys a second look at maybe being DLC. With this let’s get into our main event with Wally The Wizard!

wwe 2k14. logo

Star Comics officially started in 1984 with a three issue movie adaptation of Muppets Take Manhattan, and in 1985 Marvel Comics fully opened up Star as branch that dealt with strictly kids comics.  When Star opened, it had a few cartoon/toy/TV based comics like Muppet Babies, Thundercats, Fraggle Rock, and Care Bears but they also had some original characters like Top Dog, Royal Roy, Planet Terry, Spider-Ham and Wally The Wizard. While most kids flocked to the more well known characters, Wally was one of the originals that I can remember being on the comic rack at United Dairy Farmers next to Spider-Man, Superman and Transformers, and as I said before, I remember getting issue one as a free giveaway and enjoying it. While I do remember reading a few other Wally issues in my youth, I don’t have as much of an attachment to the character like I have for Spider-Ham, another Star original. Wally The Wizard is a kid who has been picked by the great wizard Marlin, the brother of Merlin, to be his apprentice.  While he is good, Wally still has a lot to learn and is in love the the princess of the kingdom. He has two best friends Conrad and Jay who he gets into adventures with, but he also has a demon guardian who is a nice guy named Gorg who watches out for him. The character is pretty simple and would have made a fun film idea if done by Steven Speilberg! The idea of a kids comic character having a demon as a friend was pretty shocking at the time of the whole Satanic Panic that was gripping America so I give the writers props for having the balls to do that. Wally The Wizard is a good mix of kid friendly adventures, fluffy magic and an element of 80’s film fantasy.

Wally The Wizard AdWally StarGorg as Spiderman

With a look back at long gone but not forgotten Dayton Movie Theaters, the rundown of Wally, WWE 2K14 snubs and the epic making of Independent B Movie The Wolf Hunter, I think it’s time now for us to dive into the world of Star Comics and take a look at one of their top home grown characters: Wally The Wizard.  I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 Star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So let’s dive into the world of a kid wizard that was way before Harry Potter and take our journey with Wally. And thanks to Lone Star Comics and Bell, Book and Comic for having these issues in stock!

Wally 1

Wally The Wizard # 1  ***
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #1 of 12

“A Plague of Locust” Wally is an apprentice to Marlin, brother of the famous wizard Merlin, and they are in the business of magic.  His best friends are Conrad (squire to the lead knight) and Jay (a chubby fryer), and after an accident Wally frees a demon named Gorg who pledges friendship for life. Wally makes medicine for the King and rushes to deliver it and along the way meets a dragon and helps save its child from a well. Wally makes it to the king and sees his crush, Princess Penelope, but not so faraway, the King’s evil half sister and her minions have made a giant robot Locust and set it free to bring down her brother’s kingdom. The Locust does major damage but is stopped by Wally who calls upon the Dragon he helped earlier who takes the Locust to the sun, and Gorg helps bring Wally safely back to the ground.

This is a great first issue and is a sure way to get people hooked on Wally’s and his friends’ adventures. In this issue, Wally comes off as a normal youth who questions his role with his master wizard and has a crush on a princess who clearly likes someone else.  He also seems to make friends easily as Gorg the Demon and a Dragon both come to his aid in the end. Princess Penelope is a snooty rich girl who turns her nose up to Wally and in some panels treats him as a low life. I hope she gets more likable in later issues, because as of right now I am not a fan. Jay and Conrad don’t have much to do in this issue and are your normal throw away friends who are around to add humor and friendship to the main character. Gorg is pretty badass and is an evil looking demon who talks of the future, but is an all around good creature who values friendship. One thing cool Gorg does in the issue is turns into Spider-Man and tells the kids of the past that the kids of the future love this look.  The artwork in the issue is pretty good and simple and reminds me of the funny papers in the Sunday paper. For being an original, the story is cheesy kids’ stuff that works, and the cover is very appealing with the pink demon Gorg being a nice addition to draw readers in. I only read this issue when I was younger and liked it then and still like it now.  So I really can’t wait to see what the rest of the series is like.  So with no more wait, let’s jump into issue 2!

Wally 2

Wally The Wizard # 2   **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #2 of 12

“The Magic-A-Thon!” When Marlin was a young wizard apprentice, he won a tournament called the Magic-A-Thon.  Now Wally his young apprentice wants to fallow in his footsteps and trains super hard to do so. Sleepless Knight is a pig of a man who stuffs his face and thinks of a blind date he is to have, but when his fortune cookie tells him the date will be a bust thanks to a wizard’s apprentice, he goes to rid himself of this pest who just so happens to be Wally! At the town square, Sleepless waits for Wally and attacks chopping his spell notes in half and causing him to fall inside a huge hole. After escaping, Wally makes it to the event spelless and manages to win just by using his brain. Sleepless makes one last attempt to kill Wally at the event and fails making himself look silly and running his chances with his date. In the end Wally is cheered, and his teacher Marlin is very proud of his young student.

This second issue while not as good as the first was still a fun read that kept Wally’s charm up and built more on his friendship with Marlin. In issue two, Wally is more into his magic and even makes a few spells that he learned but then also uses his brain to win the Magic-A-Thon. His appearance also changes and so do his attitude, making Wally seem as if he had grown as a character. The bad guy, Sleepless Knight, is a full fledged knucklehead, and it’s amazing that he wants to kill a kid over a fortune in a cookie. A funny flub in this issue is the fact Jay and Conrad seem to have changed who’s who as the names are given to the wrong character! Characters from issue one also make cameo appearances in this issue like Princess Penelope and the King. The art in this one is way more cartoon like, and this makes the events a little more fun.  The story is goofy and very kid appealing, and while the cover is pretty good, it could have been better. This is a good average issue # 2 and would have had me back in my youth. Let’s see if issue # 3 is any good.

Wally 3

Wally The Wizard # 3  ***
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #3 of 12

“Folkquest” Wally is down due to the fact he has not gotten any letters from his parents for weeks.  They are servants and seem to have forgotten about him. Wally gets the day off helping Marlin and goes to Vikk, a young Viking boy who lives in the kingdom after falling overboard his father’s ship.  The two feel sad together that is until they hear the news that a Viking ship had anchored and raided a near by castle and kidnapped the servants! Wally and Vikk start of a quest to find the ship and see their parents, but the journey is long and dangerous as they must fight off the evil step sister and giant lake monsters. In the end, only one can make it to the ship, and it’s Vikk who finds that it’s not his dad’s ship and trades his necklace (a gift from his dad) of Thor’s hammer to the captain for Wally’s parents’ freedom. In the end Wally’s parents adopt Vikk into their family leaving everyone happy.

This 3rd issues is a good fun kids comic that is filled with goofy adventure and some cheesy lines that would make any reader smile. It’s shown that Wally is far away from his parents to be Marlin’s apprentice and that he and his family are very close, adding yet more layers to Wally and making him less of a generic kid comic hero. He also gets a new friend in this issue named Vikk who is a young lost Viking boy who lives in the kingdom and is waiting for his dad. Vikk is a nice addition to the Wally family and makes me wonder if he will make more appearances in the series. Adventure and a quest also makes up the issue’s plot and is a fun way to get Wally out of the kingdom and into harm’s way as he is captured, eaten and must use his wits to rescue his parents. The art in this one is well done and much like issue 2, adds more detail to the character.  The story is well done as is the cover making this a good issue worth reading for fans of the first. Let’s check out issue # 4 now!

Wally 4

Wally The Wizard # 4   **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #4 of 12

“The Wand in the Stone” Marlin tells Wally of a story of a wand that has all the power in the world that is stuck in a stone.  The story goes that a master wizard will come along and remove it and become the strongest in the world! Wally’s mind filled with wonder of the story as he and Marling go into the woods to look at the stars and moon, but Marlin has forgotten his glasses and sends Wally back who gets lost and meets a Troll to takes him to the wand in the stone.  As other wizards watch on, Wally removes the wand and becomes the target of all the wizards around who want the power. After doing battle with a few, he decides to put the wand back and is transported back to Marlin’s side with a tale of excitement. The second story in this issue, “The Barbarians Are Coming,” is about a small man named Bul-Bul who looks like a barbarian and gets all the knights in the kingdom worked up as they think an invasion is in the works, but it takes Wally to befriend him and help him get home safe.

Issue 4 is just average and for some reason has two stories instead of one.  This is a change I do not like! Story one: “The Wand in the Stone” is a take on the sword in the stone and fits perfectly in the story this far of Wally and his life/adventures and has he and Marlin charting stars and the moon together. Then Wally performs a feat that shows one day he will be the most powerful wizard. Throw in Conrad for a cameo, and add a small Troll who lives in a small house in the woods, and you have a good adventure. And it shows more adults wanting to kill the young Wally…man, this kid has equal bad luck to go with the good. Story two is “The Barbarians Are Coming,” and while short, it’s a clear throw away and seems very much off from the storyline we have going this far.  While Gorg is back for a brief moment, it mostly follows Wally as he helps a lost short strange old man.  While goofy and light hearted, I just found it to be weak and the pages it takes up should have been used to expand on the Wand in the Stone story. The art in this issue is done by Ben Brown, and while the first stories art is okay, the second seems like a rushed mess and is not appealing to the eye. The cover, however, is pretty cool and has a nice fantasy look to it. With being 4 issues in, I can say so far that Wally The Wizard is a good kid’s comic and makes me really hyped to read issue 5! So with this let’s move on to more magical adventures of Wally.

Wally 5

Wally The Wizard # 5  **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #5 of 12

Wally gets Marlin upset when he trips over a broom and ruins six months worth of work.  Marlin lectures Wally he tells him to always pay attention to things around him. As Wally leaves the lab, he misses as Princess Penelope is being kidnapped and taken to the dark castle of Vastar and his wizard Erasmo who has placed a forcefield around the castle and is keeping the knights from being able to save the Princess. Marlin and Wally figure out that they might be able enter the castle from a hole above it that lets out the smoke from the fires going in the fireplaces. Wally gets the help of his demon friend Gorg who flies him into the hole and into the castle where he is able to free the Princess and spoil the evil one’s attempt for ransom money. The second story is another short one called “Dragon Fire” where Wally outsmarts a dragon as the kingdom’s under its attack!

Once more this takes the approach of having two stories instead of one, and again the second story seems like a waste of pages. Wally and Marlin seem to be at odds at the start of the first story, and this is odd and comes off not as cheery as their friendship has in the past issues. Wally once more uses his skills and mind to figure out how to save the day and once more tries to impress Penelope who comes off as a full fledged brat and is not likable at all in this issue. I do like how Wally clogs the hole and how Gorg once more is his demon self and is a loyal friend to Wally, though I must say I HATE the way Ben Brown draws him.  I feel he rush draws him and makes the character have zero detail. Vastar is a fat evil man who is controlled with greed and power.  His wizard Erasmo looks like a very generic 80’s evil character complete with black goatee! The second story has a dragon who is talked down from attacking by Wally and has the knights once more powerless to stop the challenge that is in front of them and makes you wonder how they stay a free kingdom and not taken over. The art is okay, and while some of Brown’s pages look good, others seem rushed and a mess. I don’t understand why he takes his time on some of it and clearly rushes the next.  His deadlines must have been a nightmare. The cover on this one is also just okay and nothing special. So let’s move on to issue 6 shall we?

Wally 6

Wally The Wizard # 6   ***
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #6 of 12

“Terror Mountain” A volcano is about to explode as The King and his people look to Marlin and his science for help, but he has nothing and only tells them all to flee the area and let it explode! The king doesn’t like what he hears and nor do his subjects, and they start to question why the pay him.  But worse for Marlin, his brother, the great magician Merlin, is coming, and while the world thinks he’s the best, his brother knows he’s a con man and is nothing more than a showman. When Merlin shows up with his apprentice Alfred, they wow the kingdom and take two full bags of gold and say they will stop the volcano and head for the border with the money and no intention of stopping the doom of Terror Mountain. As Wally and Marlin watch, the mountain explodes and traps Merlin and Alfred in its smokey death grip.  This causes Marlin and Wally to come to their rescue, and after doing so, Wally pulls a trick of his own as he replaces the gold Merlin conned away from the king with rocks, and together he and Marlin return to the Kingdom to give the King his gold back.

This issue is 100% a blast and has Wally being a hero and showing that he was the right choice for Marlin’s apprentice. I also like that is fleshes out Marlin and shows a little of his back story in a flashback of he and his brother growing up. Also Star took a huge chance and took a character that every one loved like Merlin the Magician and has him be a complete fraud that’s nothing more than cheap tricks that fool everyone into thinking he is powerful when really he is just a thief. Doing this was a bold move because it changes the image of a character who fans of King Author really love. I also like how the true meaning of this story is science vs. magic, and they want to prove magic is fake and science is real.  Odd move for a comic that is based around a kid wizard. Alfred, who is Merlin’s apprentice, is a good hearted kid but it’s clear he is learning at a young age to fool people and to con them of their money.  I am hoping that both Merlin and Alfred show back up in this series. This issue is back to one solid story, and this is a good thing as I would say that this issue next to issue # 1 is the best issue in the series thus far! The art is good and is down by Brown again, and time was taken.  The cover is pretty good and eye catching with its use of purple. After this issue I can’t wait to see what the next issue has to offer. Also this marks the half way point and makes me wonder if this series will stay solid or start to fall apart.  Only the future issues will tell!

Wally 7

Wally The Wizard # 7  **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #7 of 12

Wally is trying to make a magic elixir and makes a mistake and makes a mess, causing Marlin once more to be mad at him and tells him to go do something helpful. So Wally along with Conrad takes on the task of hanging flyers of the kingdom’s jousting competition where the winner gets the honor of being the best.  The odds on favorite is Sir Flauntaroy who is the King’s top knight. While in a small village, Wally meets Lucretia The Witch who has a strong dislike for Flauntaroy and gives an amulet to Wally to give to him for good luck, but it’s really a cursed item that causes fear! Wally rushes back to the Kingdom to get the amulet to Flauntaroy as Lucretia sends her nephew Heinous to enter the competition and to kill Flauntaroy who shot her down for a date years before. Wally gets the help of Gorg and makes it to the event as Flauntaroy is about to take on Heinous, and the evil plan backfires as Heinous is the one scared and Flauntaroy wins the event. The second story in this issue is called “Wrong Number” and has Wally and Marlin using a crystal ball to call another wizard friend to help cure a headache.  Things get crazy when Wally uses an old pan to do the same and wires get crossed and this effects Flauntaroy, The King and Penelope who all get caught up in the crazy mayhem. All the while, two crooks try and steal gold and get caught thanks to the mayhem.

Issue seven is back to two stories, and once more both are just okay with each being about the same and neither of them being the true stand out.  If I had to pick one, I would say the first story was better and because it introduces two new bad guys with Lucretia The Witch and Heinous. This issue is not really special, and while entertaining, neither story really adds anything to the world of Wally. In both stories Wally is still the fun loving wizard in training and is as likable as ever. Conrad gets his time to shine again and shows up as a background character in both stories and is shown to have a slight ego, but yet is a good friend to Wally. Marlin walks the line again of being a grumpy old man who is short tempered with Wally and yet still very loyal to his young friend. Princess Penelope is shown once more to be a terrible brat who is unlikable in every way. Lucretia The Witch is an odd faced old crazy lady who thinks that she is hot when she is not! Heinous is a big goof with a mean streak and a small brain, nothing special just a dumb brute. The artwork by Brown is good in both stories, and the cover is pretty eye catching.  I must say though, that doing the two stories in one comic always seems to cheapen both stories overall.  I’m not a fan of the two. So let’s move onto issue eight and see if it can get this average issue out of my mind. 

Wally 8

Wally The Wizard # 8   **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #8 of 12

Wally meets a gnome and saves him on accident and as a thank you he is given a magic rope that when a magic word is spoken makes whatever it’s touching disappear. Wally accidentally says the word as Sir Flauntaroy is touching it, and this makes the kingdom’s top knight disappear! Wally and Conrad rush to the mountain where he met the gnome to see if he has a word to make things appear.  While on this quest, they run into a race of ogre type creatures called the Gooniks who are very mean and are the rivals of the gnomes who save the two from being Goonik food by lowering a bridge across a ravine that separates the two enemy races.  But this is bad as The Gooniks start to build a bridge of their own to get across and end the feud once and for all! Wally gets the magic word, and Sir Flauntaroy appears and joins in on the plan to stop them from making it over! At the end Wally figures it out and tricks The Gooniks who fall into the ravine and make homes in the caves below and away from the gnomes.

This issue is pure Wally, and while side characters like Marlin, Conrad, Sir Flauntaroy and even Princess Penelope have appearances, this is a pure Wally adventure, and it’s okay. The issue is one adventure and not two, and this is the style I like. I did find this issue and the story to be filled with some fun kid friendly adventures. I am going to guess that the magic rope will never come back in any future story and nor will the Gnomes or Gooniks, and this is a shame.  A follow up story at some point to tell what has happened with both sides after the feud is over would be nice to see or even hear about. The artwork done by Brown is once more his A game and not rushed, and the cover is eye catching and makes the issue look scary and adventurous. Over all this is an okay issue and doesn’t offer up much to talk about so let’s move on to issue # 9 in the Star Wally The Wizard series. 

Wally 9

Wally The Wizard # 9  ***
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #9 of 12

It’s a dark and rainy night, and Princess Penelope is deathly sick.  The King and Marlin are trying everything they can to make her better and even have banned commoners from entering the castle or going near her. Wally is upset and feels that he is going to lose the love of his life forever as by the hour, she gets more ill. Wally gets the help of Gorg and travels to the past to find out that the Princess ate a poisoned mushroom which gave her the Fungus Hermungus sickness.  Then they travel to the future and find how to cure the sickness and steal a pill to make her well. When they return, it looks grim for the Princess until Wally and Gorg sneak in and give her the pill.  When The King and subjects enter the room Princess Penelope is better, and they credit Marlin for her recovery! At the end Princess Penelope knows Wally and Gorg were her true saviors and rewards them with a blown kiss at a parade.

This is a classic fun and silly kid comic story and is done really well and super entertaining! The plot has Wally and Gorg travel time to find a cure to save the Princess and for some reason this reminded me of “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Mr. Peabody.”  The part that puts Wally in modern New York is just a really cool concept and brought the character closer to kids of 1985. In this issue Wally is not only a hero, but also shows a softer more emotional side as he cries thinking about loosing his love. Gorg is as cool as always and is the true reason the Princess gets cured as his time traveling skills and his Gargoyle friend are the keys to getting the pill. Princess Penelope is way more likable in this issue.  Through most of it she is sick, but it’s the end where she shows love and respect for Wally and Gorg that makes her come off more charming. Marlin is not in this issue that much, and when he is he comes off as a worried wizard who wants to help a dying girl. The art in this issue is just okay with Wally and the other humans looking a little off.  This art does have Gorg looking better than his past few issue appearances. The art this time is done by Bob Bolling.  With an eye catching cover and a solid one story, this issue is great and makes me look forward to the next.

Wally 10

Wally The Wizard # 10   **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #10 of 12

Wally is having nightmares about Princess Penelope being kidnapped by Vastar and his wizard Erasmo as well as the kingdom being under attack by a giant Goblin Grape! Wally tries to warn Marlin about his nightmares that could be visions of the future and is blown off. Wally is shown some gnats who when used can eat off the clothes of those who have a salt sprinkled on them. So Wally, Jay (remember his Chubby friend) and Alaina the Princess’ young maid all travel to Vastar’s castle and find that in fact they do have a giant grape that will eat everything in its path! Wally and Jay shake the salt on Vastar and Erasmo but are caught and taken to the castle’s cell before they can release the gnats. Alaina leaves to warn the kingdom of the gobbling grape doom that is headed their way, as Gorg and a magic spell rescue Wally and Jay who release the gnats in time.  They eat the clothes off the would be conquerers several times in fact, and even getting the salt on the grape that is eaten away. This make makes the baddies flee, and the kingdom safe once again.

This issue is pretty good, but I’m not so sure as I feel it was lacking something that would have made it better. I will say the story felt more like a back up story than a full issue one like it was. Wally once more saves the kingdom and gets no credit for doing so. Wally has turned into quite the hero over these past ten issues and is a great character for kids of the time to look up to. While in the comic, Jay is not used that much and is given very little to do besides play the role of bit player as goes for Marlin in this issue. Alaina gets to shine and shows that she is a loyal, loving friend to Wally.  She has the world’s largest crush on him that has built up in every appearance she has made so far in the series. I must say Alaina is a likable character and up to this point is barely used, and that’s a shame.  She is more perfect for Wally than the Princess is and here is to hoping he sees that by the next two issues. Vastar and Erasmo return as the issue’s baddies and once more are outsmarted by a kid, making them perfect bad guys for this style of kids fantasy comic. Howard Post did the art in this issue, and it really reminded me of Archie Comics and that’s a cool thing.  The cover on this issue is just so-so and could have been better.  Overall this issue is okay but nothing special.   

Wally 11

Wally The Wizard # 11   ***
Released in 1986   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #11 of 12

The King is having a feast at the castle that has all the royalty from all around gathering to partake in the eating of great food. Sir Evilus and his mother are not happy that they were not invited to the feast and have a plan to attack and take over the Kingdom.  But in the mother’s crystal ball she sees that it is Wally who stands in their way of winning this soon to be war, but her son pays it no attention and prepares for the attack. In the morning Evilus attacks and is getting the upper hand until his men kidnap Wally and by mistake a vanishing spell by Mother only makes half his body disappear.  The young wizard’s apprentice is nothing more than a floating head scares off the army when they think he is a ghost! In the end the spell wears off, and Wally once more saves the Kingdom, but the credit goes to Marlin who poured water on the army below.

This is another light hearted fun and wacky adventure for Wally to be in and marks yet another time he saves the Kingdom and gets zero credit for doing so. Wally is good natured though and never seems to be bothered that he gets no credit and just seems to enjoy the life he was given. Marlin once more is back to full grump mode and is so pushy that magic is fake and science is real, he even skips the feast in order to work on an experiment. Conrad, Jay, Alaina, Princess Penelope and Sir Flauntaroy all make cameos but are given nothing special, besides once more Penelope is a snobby brat. New baddy Sir Evilus is pretty cool as he looks like what you would think of for an evil knight complete with black goatee and evil witch of a mother.  While a cool bad guy, he does not come off as a threat to the Kingdom, but his army does. The plot is fun and gets to add a slight horror element to this kids’ comic as Wally acts as a ghost and superstition comes into play about bad omens and haunted castles. Ben Brown is back on art, and the issue looks nice and is some of his better work in the series thus far.  The cover on the other hand is kind of blah and not as eye catching as it should be. Well we are at the tail end of Star Comics’ Wally The Wizard and have only one issue to go.  So here is hoping that it goes out with a bang and not a whisper.

Wally 12

Wally The Wizard # 12   **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #12 of 12

Wally and Jay are messing around with magic, and a mistake leaves Jay turned into a human frog! Marlin witnesses this and is angered by Wally’s mistake and tells them only a kiss from a Princess can save him from a life of being all green.  They try Princess Penelope and her kiss fails.  They then travel along with Conrad to another kingdom and that princess’ kiss fails too. Jay is upset and flings himself into a swamp and is almost killed by a whirlpool! They rush him back to the kingdom, and a true heartfelt kiss from Princess Penelope brings him back into human form. The second story is called ” The Magic Bulls Eye.” Crazy Ethelred is a wizard who will do magic for cheaper then any other wizard in the land, and when the King falls for his tricks, it’s up to Wally and Conrad to show him it’s all fake and the trickster wannabe wizard instead gets a job in the kingdom as the Court Jester.

Story one is pretty good and is a take off the Frog and the Princess.  Wally once more makes a mistake, and this time his poor chubby friend Jay pays the price. Wally is very much upset over his mistake and travels all over to make it right. Jay as a frog is a crybaby who even at one point appears he is going to commit suicide as he runs into the swamp that’s filled with all types of hazardous creatures. Princess Penelope once more is a brat and only when it looks like Jay will die, is her kiss heartfelt.  She is not a likable character, and one does wish that Wally would wake up and see that Alaina is better for him. The second story is good and is a nice add on to the issue, but also it’s nothing special and is not worth really looking into. The art in this final issue is done by Howie Post with Ben Brown doing the second story, making it cool to see that Brown at least got to do artwork for the final issue in the series. Brown’s artwork is better than Post’s, and thats not a dig at Post as his art is well down and captures the feel of 70’s kid comics. The cover however is kind of bland, and I wish it would have had something a little better. Over all this issue is okay and not the best way to end the legacy of Wally on.

Star Comics made a good solid character in Wally The Wizard, who in his 12 issue run went on many adventures, saved the Kingdom many times, made friends with creatures like demons and gnomes, fell in love, became an apprentice to a wizard, went to the future and so much more. Kids in the 80’s didn’t have many kid comic characters that they could claim as their own and in the decade of sword and sorcery Wally fit in like a glove to become a likable character they could latch onto. While again I didn’t hear kids speak of Wally, his 12 issue run proves that kids were buying, and the fact that I at 34 still remembered him shows that he made an impact for those of us who read him. I must say that this series based on a Star original is really a fun read and a very good series and makes me looking forward to rereading and reviewing Planet Terry, Spider-Ham, Royal Roy, Meet Misty and Top Dog! This also made me really miss Star and wish they would have lasted longer.  Think of the possible IP’s and new characters that could have been! At some point in 2014, I will do one more “Should Have Been in the Star Comics World” and will get a few more friends as well to tell you what they would have loved to seen. But with this I am off to read more comics and maybe play some WWE 2K14 on PS3.  So see you all next update that will showcase a guest reviewer as my girlfriend, Juliet Fromholt will take you down here memory lane as she takes a look at Topps Comics’ Season 1 of The X-Files! So be there if you want to believe….. 

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