Horror Host Icon: Iris and Retina

Not all of Dayton, Ohio’s Horror Host’s are Doctors, Ghouls, Creepers or Barons. Some of them are just very cool cats who enjoy life and all the joys movies, music and companionship bring us all. The hosts I am talking about are Iris & Retina of Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go, a show like no other in the Dayton area as they blend mondo and horror together for one entreating show. Iris & Retina in my opinion are often over looked when it comes to the impact they have made in Horror Hosting in Ohio as they have always meant something to their viewers and delivered a show that was like none other in the area before or even after it. So it’s with great pleasure that I bring to you Horror Host Icon: Iris & Retina, an update that has been long over due!

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go started in 2007 and took viewers of Public Access by storm as hosts Iris & Retina were unlike the hosts that preceded them and their show took a way different approach to Horror Hosting. Each episode was very different, as they would take us from locations like their home all the way to skits in cemeteries and everything in-between, and unlike most Horror Hosts of that time, they did not have a regular set and would show all types of films not just in the Horror Genre. The show would last around seven episodes as of this update and plans for more are being talked about as Iris & Retina have more films to share with viewers, and this blogger does know for a fact that one episode has been partly shot and at some point will be finished. Mondo Smash A’Go-Go aired on DATV, MVCC as well as The Monster Channel and got released on DVD by Iris & Retina and has built a following among Dayton viewers and beyond. To this day their episodes air of DATV as part of the Horror Host Underground that airs after Baron Von Porkchop on Friday Nights. Their episodes can be found on YouTube as well so do yourself a favor and give them a watch as they are highly entertaining and are truly different from the rest of the pack of Dayton Hosts.

Iris and Retina are two lovebirds that live in a world of psychedelic Americana and enjoy sharing their knowledge and love of movies with the viewers as well as their love for music and even snack recipes and really gets into hosting. Their tagline for viewers is “From Our Living Room To Yours,” and they mean it as many episodes do take place in the couple’s living room, but they also do travel outside it and each episode seems very surreal and almost hypnotic. Both Iris & Retina, besides being talented Horrors Hosts, are also talented musicians, and they will also play a little song for the viewers on some episodes! The thing that also sets these two apart from all the other Horror Hosts from Dayton, Ohio is that neither Iris nor Retina are the co-host and each share the same amount of the hosting duties! While Hosts like Dr. Creep, A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Baron Von Porkchop have very important sidekicks and co-hosts, they are the solo star of their shows while on Mondo Smash A’Go-Go both are the main host! Plus another thing that sets them apart is that they are just normal people doing cool things and bringing you movies in a world of colors and imagination. Iris & Retina are great Horror Hosts who have made their mark in Dayton and beyond with their cool lucha laidback explosion style of hosting, and I for one would put theme in my Top 5 favorite Horror Hosts from Dayton, Ohio!

When not Hosting Horror Movies on Public Access, Iris & Retina who are played by Louie and El Bean Lerma put on their luchador masks and becomes El Muerto and Infinity, part of one of the area’s top psychedelic surf bands Team Void who rock the Dayton area and beyond! One cool thing about Team Void is that they have played at The Baron’s Ball hosted by Baron Von Porkchop and “A Ghastlee Night At Gilly’s,” both events that took place at the iconic Gilly’s Jazz in Dayton and teamed them up with fellow Ohio Horror Hosts. Team Void is a pretty popular band in the Dayton music scene, and if you ever find yourself in town when they are playing, do yourself a favor and check them out.

So for this Horror Host Icon update, I am lucky enough to have been granted a 6 question interview with the one and only Retina of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go! So sit back and see what this cool cat has to say about his life as a Horror Host in Dayton.

Me: Welcome, Retina to Rotten Ink.  My first question has to be what or who got you into hosting?

Retina: Loved horror movies in general growing up into my adulthood. My father was in the Air Force and was able to travel USA and abroad. My first horror show host was a gentleman, husband of my 2nd grade teacher, his host name was Sea Creep. To begin each show, he would climb out of the ocean onto the beach and chase his fellow co-host Marilyn. I thought that was so cool! When we came back to the United States, stationed at Dayton, Ohio Wright Patt. 1972 I became addicted to Dr. Creep! I was able to be on his final show, playing Bass for a local band called THE DATES -XXX. What a THRILL!!! I also tuned in to horror show hosts like The Cool Ghoul/Cincinnati Ghoulardi/Cleveland, Bob Shreve from Pat Prime Playhouse, and in a weird way, Uncle Al kids’ show host from Cincinnati. Dug Capt Wendy’s Go-Go Boots the most! From Indianapolis was Sammy Terry!!! All big influences on Retina’s career.

Me: So out of your first classic episodes of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go, what is your favorite one?

Retina: My favorite MSAGG is -of course the final one we did. The beginning of Season 2, “Night Of The Living Dead” with you and the Baron Von Porkchop’s help… also we had a killer band, Akillis Green, their song, “Cannibal Love” really fit the theme. Personally, I love the 2nd episode, “Wild Guitar” – we had such a blast making it in our living room. It was the first time we danced and played music as a duo, Iris and me, and also played multiple characters. And then we did “Bloody Pit Of Horror” the first season finale, that was in Mondo Vision, our version of 3D processing. Iris and Retina also cracked up the audience with their studio being haunted by an entity, calling another show, WRAPS and TABS to investigate and exorcise the spirit making for a funny scene! Also of course Iris and Retina were playing all roles again.

Me: There is a rumor of a new episode that is in the works, can you share with my readers what film you’re hosting and what you and Iris get up to in the episode?

Retina: Hmmm crazy… we started to finish our 2nd season, we have much in the can with the movie, not to give anything away, it’s a classic Gamera movie. Iris and Retina will be hosting as marionette puppets traveling into space to reach Gamera for an interview but ran into Godzilla first so we interviewed him as well! Bonus! We have plans for other titles “Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster” one of my favorites, “Not Of This Earth” Roger Corman classic, as well as “Undertaker And His Pals”

Me: When this episode is released, are there plans for more Mondo Smash A’Go-Go’s to be unleashed on the viewers?

Retina: As I mentioned Q3 there are plans to finish our 2nd season. We ended 2nd season’s premiere, S2 “Ep1, “NOTLD.” Iris and Retina to share the movies and be seen to the public in different ways: marionettes sculpted by Luis Lerma. We have lined up musical guests. Also special guests, pop over to help us out throughout the season. We’ve had a nice break from our movie playback escapades pursuing our music career; TEAM VOID is at our tenth year! MSAGoGo will come out in our eleventh year, est 2008. Looking forward to bringing more MSAGoGo Movies from our living room to yours and our versions to you, Spoiler Alert… look for Mondo Vision to evolve.

Me: So if you guys could host any film what would you pick?

Retina: For me, I would like to do a Triple Feature, “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein,” “I Was A Teenage Werewolf,” actually make that a Quadruple Feature: “Blood For Dracula,” and finish it off with “How To Make A Monster!” They were all released in 1959 the year I was born. I have watched them all on television growing up. And then I will hand this question over to Iris, she loves “Dirty Dancing”…we would have a great time traveling out to the locations for a dancing cool life experience. Then travel to England for a fun run with “Witches” because she loves all the author Roald Dahl’s strange tales. And finally run through hosting and toasting “Hold That Ghost” rocking Abbott and Costello movies with “A and C Meet The Mummy” and loves all Billy Wilder, and all Trinity with Bud Spencer Movies!! Travel around the world for her favorites… We are also fans of the Beach movies, Peter Sellers movies, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, John Waters collection, William Castle mad fun, the Raimi’s Franchise,”Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein” and “High Anxiety” and “SIN CITY”… the list goes on.

Me: And lastly do you have any advice for future Horror Hosts that might be reading this?

Retina: My advice is to watch as many movies as you can! Enjoy them, experience them, and learn from them, watch them again! True fans of horror movies make a great horror show host. Find your identity and how you want to express yourself to your audience, and be informative, as well as go all in to entertain your audience! You watching you, do what you like! Be original. Stick to sharing your excitement with telling the story to host a great show! You can be creative using what you already own on the DIY editing systems, cameras, find local locations. Remember production value is important and embrace happy accidents like trains passing thru the background of your shoot, or a reflection in your car windows to add a deeper story, etc. etc. etc.

I want thank Retina for taking a few moments of his time for this interview and really do hope the world gets more Mondo Smash episodes, and while Iris & Retina and their show Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go might not be as talked about as Shock Theater, it still has made its mark on public access viewers and much like Moraine Playhouse Theater their show is safe for viewers of all ages and has top notch hosts attached to them. I for one also think that they should some day be put into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame as they are truly great Horror Hosts!

So let’s now talk about the episodes I own on DVD, as lucky for me and you readers, I own all the episodes they have released so far and really want to thank both Iris and Retina for them as I bought and was gifted these episodes from them! I will not be giving these episodes a star rating and will be taking the film’s write ups from our pals at IMDB and I will write about the Host segments to give you a little taste on what Iris & Retina are up to in them. So sit back, relax and groove with Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go! Oh and I am going to do these episodes in order of release!

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Santo vs. Vamp Woman
Starring – El Santo & Lorena Velazquez      Not Rated      1962

Host: Our Hosts Iris & Retina welcome the viewers to their living room to enjoy a classic Mexican action horror movie that is a renamed El Santo film and give us some history of the night’s film as well as its Lucha star. Next break they teach the viewers how to make some very tasty nachos and guacamole for a movie snack! We next join Iris & Retina as they have Team Void play a song for the viewers with a Lucha twist. In the end Iris & Retina tell us about next week’s film and play us out with a song by Team Void.

Movie: The vampire women in Mexico have awakened from their sleep, commanded by their master, The Evil One, to find him a bride. They choose as their target the beautiful daughter of a local professor. To rescue his daughter, the professor calls El Santo (Samson in some US versions), a silver-masked wrestler for justice.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Wild Guitar
Starring – Arch Hall Jr. & Nancy Czar      Not Rated      1962

Host: Once more from their living room Iris & Retina welcome us to another episode of Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go, and Retina with his guitar in hand tells us about the night’s movie as Iris dances and as well shares facts about the flick and its stars. We next join Iris & Retina who on this break decide to teach the viewers how to do the dance the twist, before taking us back to the movie. We next join Iris & Retina as they go up against two other couples in a twist contest that include a female vampire and a werewolf! But in the end Iris & Retina win the contest and show that Horror Hosts are the best at everything! After the movie our hosts tell us about the movie that is coming up on the next episode and then play us out with a song inspired by Wild Guitar.

Movie: A young Arch Hall, Jr. is given a shot at the big time by the unscrupulous owner of a small record company played by Arch Hall, Sr. (aka William Watters).

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Carnival Of Souls
Starring – Candance Hilligoss & Herk Harvey      Rated PG      1962

Host: Iris and Retina welcome us to the show, and they share some facts about the film as well as its cast and crew. Iris and Retina are drinking cups of coffee during the break, and Iris explains how much she enjoys being a Horror Host! Iris becomes scared when she sees a zombish version of Retina in a mirror and doesn’t want to watch the movie alone! In the end Iris is dancing with the ghostly Retina, and the pair tell the viewers what next weeks film is! As the credits roll, both Iris and Retina are ghostly and dance and wish us all a good night.

Movie: Mary Henry is enjoying the day by riding around in a car with two friends. When challenged to a drag, the women accept, but are forced off of a bridge. It appears that all are drowned, until Mary, quite some time later, amazingly emerges from the river. After recovering, Mary accepts a job in a new town as a church organist, only to be dogged by a mysterious phantom figure that seems to reside in an old run-down pavilion. It is here that Mary must confront the personal demons of her spiritual insouciance.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: White Zombie
Starring – Bela Lugosi & Madge Bellamy       Not Rated        1932

Host: Iris & Retina have been invited to Haiti to attend a friend’s wedding and talk about the night’s film as well as its crew and cast including Bela Lugosi. We next join Iris & Retina who are at a small table having a cocktail when Iris falls into a trance over a rose Retina was going to give to the bride! During one break, they show the short film “Betty Boop Meets Dracula” for the intermission of the episode. Iris & Retina bring you a 3-D Three Stooges Short film after the film to help add to the episodes fun time! In the end our hosts Iris & Retina share what the next film will be.

Movie: Young couple Madeleine and Neil are coaxed by acquaintance Monsieur Beaumont to get married on his Haitian plantation. Beaumont’s motives are purely selfish as he makes every attempt to convince the beautiful young girl to run away with him. For help Beaumont turns to the devious Legendre, a man who runs his mill by mind controlling people he has turned into zombies. After Beaumont uses Legendre’s zombie potion on Madeleine, he is dissatisfied with her emotionless being and wants her to be changed back. Legendre has no intention of doing this and he drugs Beaumont as well to add to his zombie collection. Meanwhile, grieving ‘widower’ Neil is convinced by a local priest that Madeleine may still be alive and he seeks her out.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: A Bucket Of Blood
Starring – Dick Miller & Barboura Morris       Not Rated       1959

Host: Iris & Retina are at a coffee shop and are doing an open mic, and Iris is hyping up their show via spoken words, and once done they talk about the film as well as its cast and crew all the while cleaning the tables of the coffee shop…the film is also being shown in Mondo-Vision! Through out the episode the people around Iris & Retina act like beatniks as our hosts serve drinks to them as a snitch named The Fink keeps calling into his “boss”. The snitch figures out that Iris & Retina are frauds and their show is really just a drawing on a TV Screen that is static! In the end they coffee shop still celebrates Iris & Retina and they show a trailer from the next film to be shown!

Movie: Walter Paisley, nerdy busboy at a Bohemian café, is jealous of the talent (and popularity) of its various artistic regulars. But after accidentally killing his landlady’s cat and covering the body in plaster to hide the evidence, he is acclaimed as a brilliant sculptor – but his newfound friends want to see more of his work. Lacking any artistic talent whatsoever, Walter has to resort to similar methods to produce new work, and soon people start mysteriously disappearing.

Note From Matt: This is the first episode that Iris & Retina brought in background actors to fill roles of people at the coffee shop. Plus is the first film shown in Mondovision that required special glasses to watch.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Bloody Pit Of Horror
Starring – Mickey Hargitay & Rita Klein       Unrated       1965

Host: Iris & Retina are in their living room once more and give us viewers a little history on the night’s film as well as its crew and cast. They also call friends of theirs from a ghost hunting show called “Wraps & Tabs” and try and get them to come over. The night’s film is also shown in Mondovision! Once back they welcome Wraps & Tabs to their home, and these guys are going to try and help them find a weird shadow and voice that seems to be coming from a spirit! Iris & Retina give the ghost hunters and viewers a tour of their house and show some of the spots they think are haunted. The next segments have Wraps and Tabs investigating the house as odd things happen around them. They soon make contact with the spirit that was really just the show’s executive producer who was yelling at them to get the episode done and turned in so that it could air! In the end Iris & Retina show back up and end the show with a trailer for their next film “Manster” that was never made.

Movie: Writer Rick and his publisher Daniel Parks finally find the ideal location in Italy to shoot some photographs for Rick’s Horror photo-novel when they come across an ideal spot. The seemingly deserted castle looks perfect from the outside, so Rick and Daniel, accompanied by his secretary Edith, their photographer Dermott, and his five young models decide to break in. They soon find the castle is actually occupied by former actor, Travis Anderson, who initially is annoyed with these visitors until he recognizes Edith, his ex-fiancée amongst them. He decides to give them permission to use his castle, but warns them that the dungeons are off limits. Will they heed his warning?

Note From Matt: This is the second film in the series to have a film shown in Mondovision that required the special glasses.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Night Of The Living Dead
Starring – Duane Jones & Judith O’Dea       Not Rated        1968

Host: As always Iris & Retina welcome us to the show and introduce the night’s film and talk about it as well as the cast and crew as well as tell us about guests Team Void and Akillis Green! While in the cemetery, Iris & Retina are attacked by a pair of zombies who chase them into a near by house. Later in the cemetery a News Reporter and his Camera Man are reporting on the zombie outbreak as Team Void show up and are interviewed by him as this Lucha Rock Band are master zombie killers. They also update the viewers to locations in the area that are safe. As Team Void gun down zombies, we go back to the classic movie. Once back to the house Iris & Retina run into band Akillis Green, and they perform the song Cannibal Love, but the zombies get in and bite band member Dave who they lock in the basement as the rest go out and protect the house from the zombie horde, but in the end all of the band dies in a zombie attack. In the end Team Void is still killing zombies in the cemetery as the News reports on the safety! Iris & Retina also return and thank the special guests and so ends the final episode of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go…for now!

Movie: Barbra and Johnny visit their father’s grave in a remote cemetery when they are suddenly set upon by zombies. Barbra manages to get away and takes refuge in what seems to be an abandoned farm house. She is soon joined by Ben who stopped at the house in need of gas. Beset by the walking dead all around them Ben does his best to secure the doors and windows. The news reports are grim however with creatures returning to life everywhere. Barbra and Ben are surprised when they realize there are 5 people hiding out in the basement: Harry, Helen and Karen Cooper; and a young couple, Tom and Judy. Dissensions sets in almost immediately with Harry Cooper wanting to be in charge. As their situation deteriorates, their chances of surviving the night lessen minute by minute.

Note From Matt: In this episode Baron Von Porkchop plays the News Reporter as well as one of the zombies, Count Van Lambchop plays one of the zombies and I play the News Camera Man!

Iris & Retina take their place in the history books of Horror Hosts from Dayton, Ohio, and they truly are the most unique Hosts as they have a style that is unlike all the others. I for one am a fan and very much looking forward to new episodes, as Dayton needs more active Horror Hosts! I also want to thank Retina for the interview as well as alerting me to Sea Creep, a Host that I now must find footage and learn all about, and who knows maybe one day if I can uncover footage he may get a Horror Host Icon update! Also if you want to check out Mondo Smash A’Go Go, episodes can be found on their official YouTube page, so make sure to check them out if you enjoy Hosting and good classic Public Domain films. For our next update we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosting behind and will be taking a look at the world of Horror Fan Films, those amazing films made by fans that keep characters alive and bring new scares to viewers. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a new update that I hope will become yearly!

Avengers Assemble…We’re Needed

Welcome back, True Rotten Ink-lievers!  Juliet here, on this momentous occasion where we’ll be covering one of the greatest team-ups to grace both the page and the screen. I’m talking about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, John Steed and Emma Peel.  That’s right, I’m joining you to talk about The Avengers….but not those Avengers. We’ll be looking at the spies played by John Macnee and Diana Rigg in the 1960s British television show, The Avengers, and their 2012-13 comic book series from Boom Studios.  So grab a bowler hat and a stiff drink, readers, we’re needed.

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Although knowledge of the show is more widespread these days, there are many people that don’t realize that the Avengers existed both before and after the Emma Peel years.  The show premiered in 1961 from the English ABC (Associated British Corporation), focusing on the espionage adventures of Dr. David Keel with Patrick Macnee’s John Steed showing up in the first episode offering his assistance.  Steed would remain in the assistant’s role for all of series one, which was cut short due to an Actor’s Equity strike. When production resumed in 1962, Steed was now the focus of the show partnering briefly with Dr. Martin King and Venus Smith and more permanently with Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman.  It was during this time that the show as we know and love it really took shape: Steed’s look was established as the bowler-wearing English gentleman spy, while Cathy donned leather catsuits, which Emma Peel would also adopt along with the latest in mod fashion.

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In 1965, the show was sold to the American Broadcasting Company (also ABC) and became one of the first British shows on to air on American television. The show moved from shooting on videotape to 35mm film, and in October, Diana Rigg debuted as Steed’s new partner Emma Peel.  We’ll discuss more about Steed and Peel momentarily, but for now let’s focus on the show itself. Along with Emma Peel, this new era of the Avengers introduced science fiction, fantasy and the occasional fetishistic elements to the plot. With the fifth series (aka season since we’re talking about British TV) in 1966, the show began shooting in color.  This was also the year that several of the show’s signature elements were introduced.

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Two of the best known elements that in truth only lasted for 15 episodes, are “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed” and the “Steed does/Emma does” tags, both appearing at the start of an episode after of course the murder or inciting incident for the case had been established. We’d see Emma doing something ordinary. She’d then receive or encounter the message “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed” at which time Steed would appear from seemingly nowhere and their adventure would begin.  The tag would show up under the episode title and give a comedic description of each character’s actions during the episode. For example, in “The Winged Avenger,” the tag is, “Steed Goes Birdwatching. Emma Does a Comic Strip”

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Diana Rigg left the show in 1967, gone was Emma Peel and gone were the sci-fi/fantasy elements with her.  The producers opted to return to the more realistic spy adventures that viewers had seen in the Cathy Gale era, and this time Steed’s partner was Tara King, played by Linda Thorson.  This sixth series would also introduce the characters of Mother and Father who would be central characters in the 1998 movie remake of the Avengers (more on that further down). But series 6 was to be the last as, although the show was popular in the UK and Europe, in the U.S. it was airing opposite the then number 1 show in the country Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In and just couldn’t compete.  When the show cancelled in the U.S., the finances became unsustainable and Avengers ceased production in May 1969.

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Now that we’ve talked about the history of the show, let’s get into the characters and the people who portrayed them.  Born of a noble family and having served in the RAF in WWII (like his portrayer Patrick Macnee), John Steed is an agent in an unnamed British intelligence agency that some claim exists in the same universe/canon as James Bond.  In his initial appearances in Avengers, Steed was less refined than the character we’d come to know and love, but fairly quickly, he adopted the signature suave look of a three-piece suit, bowler hat, and umbrella, which would become his signature look. Steed is both sassy and sauve, and although he can be playful, when the time comes, he’s an ace spy and is well verse in hand to hand combat and swordsmanship. The role of Steed came around at the precise right time for actor Patrick Macnee.  After serving in WWII for England, he began his acting career in Canada with smaller roles but didn’t meet with much success. By the late 1950s, he was smoking and drinking to excess and had nearly given up on acting opting to produce documentaries when he was offered the role of John Steed, which he would play until 1969. Macnee helped establish the character’s look and personality, insisting, for example, that Steed never use a gun, in part because of the horrors that Macnee had witnessed in WWII.  He wrote two novels based on The Avengers and later hosted a documentary about the show. Macnee would go on to be in a James Bond film, Magnum P.I., The Howling and more, including a cameo in the 1998 Avengers remake (I promise, we’re getting there). Patrick Macnee died in June of 2015 at the age of 93.

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Dame Diana Rigg made her stage debut in 1957 and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1959.  When Elizabeth Shepherd, originally slated to play Emma Peel, left the production, Rigg auditioned for the role having never seen The Avengers.  She was an instant star, despite making very little money for her work on the show, which is what ultimately drove her to leave after two years. Rigg went on to star in both film and television roles, including a stint hosting Mystery on PBS (taking over for Vincent Price), and she continued her work on stage. More recently, she’s captivated a new generation of TV viewers as Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones.  As for Rigg’s most iconic role, Emma Peel is a great mix of brains, battle-readiness, and sex appeal. She’s an accomplished scientist and martial artist who dabbles in many other fields, especially when it aids her investigations with Steed. Born Emma Knight, Mrs. Peel’s husband Peter is a pilot whose plane went down in the Amazon rainforest prior to her work with Steed. Peter was presumed dead for many years, returning as a plot device to write Emma off the show and introduce Tara King when Diana Rigg decided to move on.  Though the leather catsuits were introduced in the Cathy Gale era of Avengers, they became Emma Peel’s signature look along with the mod styles of the day. A quick wit with a silver tongue, Emma was the perfect verbal match for Steed, and their back and forth was part of what made the show such a joy to watch.

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I first encountered The Avengers on VHS at my local library.  I was lucky enough to grow up with two awesome libraries close by, one of which had an amazing selection of science fiction paperbacks and the other sported any amazing VHS selection, featuring a lot of British television and foreign and classic films. In the same way I have an affection for both really good and really cheesy science fiction, I adore both really good and really cheesy spy movies and TV shows, and I feel like The Avengers fall right in the middle.  It’s as classic as James Bond, but has an entirely different feel that’s so completely of its era. In the last five or six years, I’ve managed to watch the entire Emma Peel run of the show on DVD thanks to Matt, who bought me the Emma Peel Megaset after we found it at Half Price Books. In the same spirit as ST:TNG and the X-Files, I have certain favorite episodes that I go back to again and again, but I can also watch the series as a whole all over again and enjoy it, securing The Avengers’ spot among my all-time favorite TV shows.

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In 1998, Warner Brothers and director Jeremiah Chechik (of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation fame) sought to revive Steed and Mrs. Peel for a new generation on the big screen.  The film, simply titled The Avengers starred Ralph Fiennes as John Steed, Uma Thurman as Emma Peel and Sean Connery as weather obsessed villain Sir August de Wynter. Rumor has it that Warner refused to pre-screen the film for reviewers to prevent negative reviews after test screenings prompted the studio to cut it from 115-minute to 89 minutes, removing key plot elements.  An original cut of the movie has never emerged, though Jeremiah Chechik has offered Warner Brothers a director’s cut for free. The movie as it stands is universally regarded as one of the worst movies ever, but I have to tell you something, dear readers: I love it. Okay, okay, it’s by no means a cinematic masterpiece, but I see the campy potential in the look and feel. Plus, it came out at a time in my life where I was actively seeking out very cheesy spy films and novels, the more bizarre, the better….and this one is certainly bizarre.  To parrot Stefon from SNL, this movie has everything: Uma Thurman with a bad English accent, giant teddy bears, a weather device, human sized hamster balls, Patrick Macnee as the Invisible Man, Eddie Izzard. If you have an open heart for utterly ridiculous trash, give it a try. It has little to nothing to do with the original TV series, but it’s silly fun if you’re up for that sort of thing.

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In terms of merchandise for the TV show, the modern fan can enjoy the series on DVD as well as a plethora of Steed and Mrs. Peel-themed goodies on sites like Etsy.  More classic gear includes trading cards, and most interesting, paperback books. The first novel, simply titled The Avengers and written by Douglas Enefer, was published by Consul Books in 1963.  It’s the only book of the original run to feature Cathy Gale. Many novels featuring Emma Peel and Tara King would follow in the UK and US, including several co-written by Patrick Macnee who was one of the first actors to write licensed spin-off fiction of their own shows.

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The Avengers first made it to comics in the U.K. as comic strips in TV listing magazines (similar to the US’ TV Guide).  Their first American outing was a 1968 collection of these strips released by Gold Key called John Steed Emma Peel because, of course, Marvel made it impossible for them to release a comic called The Avengers. In 1990 Eclipse released a three issue series called Steed and Mrs. Peel with script by Grant Morrison and art by Ian Gibson.  Boom Studios would re-release that series in early 2012. For our purposes, however, we’ll be covering the 2012-13 Steed and Mrs. Peel series from Boom Studios, written Mark Waid and Caleb Monroe. Before we begin our adventure, I must remind you that here at Rotten Ink, we grade comics on a 1-4 star scale and look for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s get started, dear reader, we’re needed.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #0  *** 1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #0 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel investigate the mysterious of Agent Colin Whitcomb. Although the cause of death is straight forward (he was shot pointe blank), the strange part is that the missing agent has aged significantly.  Their only clue is the scent of a particular cheap perfume on Whitcomb’s body, sending the daring duo to the Hellfire Club, or rather the “New Hellfire Club” to investigate. There they meet the future obsessed Cartney who leads Steed into a fight with Father Time.  Meanwhile Emma outwits Futura, the automotan, and dons her outfit as a disguise to locate the missing Steed. Steed awakens older and grayer discovering that it’s no longer 1966, but the year 2000, and that he’s now a part of the National Archives, having served as an agent of much acclaim.  But of course Steed is on to the true plot of the Hellfire Club, using an aging serum to fool intelligence British agents. With Emma’s expert martial arts skills, the baddies, which include their old Hellfire nemesis Cartney, are defeated. With the aging serum’s effects wearing off, Steed treats Mrs. Peel to a concert.

When I first heard that Boom Studios would be doing a comic based on The Avengers, I was nervous to say the least.  The charm of the show is so particular – there’s a formula to the stories, but moreover the way Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg portrayed the relationship between Steed and Peel is so very specific.  I was hopeful once I saw that Mark Waid was writing, and he did not disappoint. This introductory issue was everything I had hoped for – it felt right at home in the universe of the show, teasing a time jump but keeping things firmly in the 1960s.  Longtime fans of the show got recollections of the Hellfire Club (**find out the name of this episode) and Emma’s spiked collar, cybermen (who also appeared in Doctor Who), the familiar “We’re Needed” start to the action. Most importantly, the dialogue was perfect.  I could hear MacNee and Rigg’s voices in my head as I was reading. Steve Bryant’s art is a good balance of realistic and stylistic and captures both the feel of the 1960s and the action well. I was pleasantly surprised by this one when I first read it in 2012, and 7 years later, it’s still a great read.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #1  ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #1 of 11

Masked men infiltrate a secluded base and launch a missile attack on London.  Steed and Mrs. Peel watch the carnage, along with Lord Bailey, in an underground bunker, but just as everyone has a moment to absorb what’s just happened, an alert sounds and our heroes leap to action.  A fire in the bunker forces Emma and a fellow scientist to lead everyone in the bunker topside, but once there, Mrs. Peel discovers something unusual. Although London is leveled and their instruments are showing radiation, there’s no effect on the soil or water.  There’s no time to question it further, however, because their fellow survivors spot a figure in the distance rapidly coming towards the group. The figure is some sort of mutated creature, and it’s not alone. Steed and Mrs. Peel battle the horde of monsters, and the book ends with them getting a vital assist from none other than the Hellfire Club.

This proper first issue of Steed and Mrs. Peel begins with action that’s sustained through the book.  Our heroes seem to be in some kind of post-apocalyptic disaster scenario, which is such a perfect melding of Cold War-era spy show sensibility and our modern obsession with post-apocalyptic stories (I see you, The Walking Dead and your many and varied progeny).  The action is such that we don’t get a lot of information about what’s happened other than London has apparently been nuked, and I like that because we’ll get to discover what’s happening along with Emma and Steed. The dialogue between the two is once again spot on thanks to the team up of Mark Waid and Caleb Monroe, and the artwork, this time from Will Sliney, is really great, classic looking comic style that lends itself to both action and dialogue well.  I know you’re probably wondering, like me, what the Hellfire Club is doing there and what they do or don’t have to do with this disaster so let’s get to the next issue.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #2 ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99     Boom Studios    #2 of 11

Steed, Mrs. Peel, and the British MPs they were previously sheltering with are now all guests of the Hellfire Club in their lavish bunker.  Although most of the other guests seem pretty comfortable, Steed and Emma are worried that they’ve not seen Lord Bailey, General Crampton or Mr. Stanton, the other scientist, since arriving. Although our heroes don’t yet know it, we see the general being brainwashed by a member of the Hellfire Club.  She and her brother, both the offspring of Cartney, chat a bit about how Steed and Mrs. Peel will of course be the hardest to break but it’s worth it get revenge for father. Steed and Mrs. Peel work on a plan over a game of chess. Emma goes to talk to Miss Cartney about the missing general, and gets attacked.  Later Steed stumbles into another brainwashing session and is also taken out, but when he awakens, it’s revealed that his attacker was Mrs. Peel, decked out in a familiar outfit, her Hellfire Club leather and spiked collar.

More of the mystery is unraveled and new twists appear in the second issue of this story arc.  While it’s no shock that the Hellfire Club is up to no good, what their goals are and who the mysterious Dirigent is remain a mystery. Also a mystery is whether or not this story ties in some way to the Cartney time-travel story in issue #0.  I like that we don’t know (and I genuinely don’t remember if it does from my first reading of this series seven years ago). As with issue #0, I love that this story is taking elements directly from the series and expanding them on the page, especially since they’re using one of my favorite plot elements that the Avengers shares with X-men: the Hellfire Club.  Is Emma once again brainwashed or she pretending to gain the trust of the Club? Onward to Issue #3, we’re needed.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #3 ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #3 of 11

Steed is hopeful that the leather-clad Mrs. Peel is simply undercover, but alas, that’s not the case as she sends him through a wall behind which the younger Cartney is enjoying his lavish Hellfire existence. Steed snaps Mrs. Peel out of her brainwashed state using some trigger words they had developed “after the first few times someone tried this.” After Emma knocks her brother out, Miss Cartney arrives with her henchmen leading Steed and Mrs. Peel to flee.  They commandeer a motorcycle (and a new outfit for Emma) and lead the Hellfire Club on a chase into the nuked out wasteland. After fighting hand to hand with Miss Cartney, Emma shoots a flare, signaling the British Air Force, who she and Steed had secretly been in contact with after figuring out that the nuclear attack was a hoax and they the MPs had been kidnapped and taken to the South China Sea. Steed and Mrs. Peel sail off into the sunset, and back at the Hellfire Club the Cartney brother plots his next move.

Thus concludes the first story arc in Steed and Mrs. Peel…sort of.  Although they’ve solved the mystery of the fake nuclear blast and London’s destruction, something tells me that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Hellfire Club in the least.  This one is the last issue for which Mark Waid did the story and Will Sliney the art, but luckily scriptwriter Caleb Monroe sticks around for the rest of the series. There’s a temptation to say that the story wrapped up too quickly, but honestly it felt right in line with the TV show, and the pacing of these three issues felt like the pacing of the hour-long episodes.  So what’s next for Steed and Mrs. Peel? Let’s find out!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #4 ** 1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #4 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel have been invited to a ball. In full fancy dress, they, along with many British dignitaries attend the masked party of author Lloyd Cushing.  As part of the evening’s entertainment, they meet Mr. Blackwell, an eccentric conductor accompanied by his two Butoh dancers. But a party can never be just that for our two heroes as they’re soon called upon to investigate the murder of a man who turns out to the the real Mr. Blackwell.  Trading her ball gown for more action oriented clothes, Emma joins Steed in the ballroom where all of the guests are now missing. Steed tracks them outside where the Butoh dancers are to blame for the mass exodus. Meanwhile Emma confronts the imposter conductor, who turns out to be the Hellfire Club’s hypnotist Dirigent from their prior island adventure.  Dirigent explains that he can manipulate high frequency sound to bend people to his will, but he’s no match for Emma. As Steed and Mrs. Peel continue their previously interrupted dance, we zoom out, all the way to out space where a satellite baring the Hellfire Club logo looms over us all.

Upon first glance, the is your typical post-story arc issue, a one-shot where the characters get to have a minor adventure and perhaps some fun before the next big thing.  But actually, this issue, although basically a one-shot, continues our Hellfire Club storyline and presumably is going to bridge the prior arc with the one to come in Issue #5.  Although this one has significantly less action than the last few issues, there are some really nice things happening in the dialogue, both between Steed and Peel and among the other characters.  I feel like this was perhaps Caleb Monroe’s chance to provide some of his analysis on the original show and characters, and as I fan, I really enjoyed reading it. Yasmin Liang takes over on artist duties for this issue, and although she doesn’t capture Steed and Peel’s expressions as perfectly as Will Sliney did, she’s a great addition to this story, and I’m excited to see how she tackles the action scenes that are surely coming in the next book.  So let’s get to it!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #5  **
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99     Boom Studios    #5 of 11

The fallout from last issue’s ballroom party gone awry continues as Steed and Mrs. Peel find out that his friend Trevor Seabrook has been arrested for a theft related to his wife’s disappearance from the party. The curious part is that the kidnappers tasked Seabrook with stealing a seemingly empty jar, but the truth is the jar contains something that has regenerative properties, which is of course of interest to the Hellfire Club’s Dr. Peter Glass, previously presumed to be dead.  Seabrook’s wife is returned, Steed and Mrs. Peel begin to piece things together, and Glass unveils a special piece of tech as this issue ends.

The interesting thing about this issue is that both everything and nothing happens, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Like the prior issue, this one was low on the action but high on information that’s obviously leading to the next chapter in the Hellfire Club’s evil plans that Steed and Mrs. Peel are constantly working to unravel.  

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #6 **
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #6 of 11

Through a flashback and conversation, Steed and Mrs. Peel reflect on the aforementioned Dr. Glass and his death, for which Steed was an eyewitness.  Seabrook’s wife is awake but only repeating the words “bleeding heart” so Steed and Emma decide to regroup. On the way, however, Emma is tricked by Glass’ assistant Jamie and kidnapped.  Meanwhile, Steed is nearly ambushed when inquiring about Seabrook’s stolen empty jar, but soon our heroes are reunited in Glass’ lair where it’s revealed that the mad doctor survived his untimely death using special goggles sported by three versions of Jamie that allow him to time travel. As Glass is apprehended, one of the Jamie’s slips away to inform someone on the other end of a video camera that this phase of the plan has failed.  Steed and Mrs. Peel end our issue reflecting on the practicality of time travel over a drink as a rocket launches on the horizon.

One of the things that I really love about this series is the layered story.  Each arc leads to another and contributes to a larger story. This is especially interesting because the show generally did not do this, but I wish it had.  All of that said, this wasn’t the most exciting arc. Granted, this issue had more action than the prior two, but the payout felt a bit weak. Although thinking of it in the grand scheme of a larger story makes even a weak arc feel important.  So let’s get to the next one, and hopefully we’ll find out who Jamie was talking to and what dastardly plans they have in store for Steed and Mrs. Peel.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #7  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #7 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel are sent to a small Welsh mining town to investigate an unprecedented wave of suicides. Posing as scientists (though Steed is the only one posing, as he points out), they begin their investigation by consulting with Dr. Mortimor, a psychologist specializing in suicide.  After tea with Moritmor, our duo walks back to the inn where they’re staying, taking the scenic route to stop by some of the scenes of the some of the crimes. On a seaside cliff where several people fell to their deaths, both Steed and Emma seem to lose control of themselves and nearly jump off the cliff, the other stopping them just in time. They of course realize that Dr. Mortimor and his terrible tea is to blame.  The evil doctor explains that he’s not a murder, merely an experimenter in the weaponization of suicide. Steed, Mrs. Peel and the gathering crowd of villagers are less convinced of this excuse.

What a breath of fresh air after that slightly lackluster last arc!  Although the story was a bit predictable, it shone because of both the art (great panel structure in this one!) and the writing.  We got a lot of great little moments of Steed and Emma quipping back and forth while working to solve the mystery, and these moments are golden.  I didn’t realize how much of this was missing from the prior issue until I read this one. The chemistry between them, both in the dialogue and the artwork, was so spot on, and this definitely felt like an episode of the show that I would have loved. With that, let’s see what our next issue has in store!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #8  **1/2
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #8 of 11

The Cartney family is back!  Steed and Emma’s beachside holiday is interrupted with the news that Joan Cartney has been broken out of jail by a strange silver man.  While Steed and Emma investigate, knowing there’s more to this than meets the eye, the Cartney siblings are reunited with their father who is alive, but not well. Donning costumes to make them look like Steed and Emma, the younger Cartneys set out to fulfill their mission of killing our heroes by blowing up Steed’s flat, while their father undergoes a procedure to rejuvenate his body…as a Cybernaut.

With last issue’s palate-cleanser, I’m ready to dive into a new story arc, and this one sets up our story nicely.  It’s no surprise that the Cartney’s are back, and we learn that it was, indeed, them that Jamie was contacting in Issue #6.  As we set up our villain’s story, we once again get really cozy fun interactions between Steed and Peel, making me thinking that writer Caleb Monroe has gotten into the same comfort zone that Mark Waid began the series with.  I’m eager to see where the Cybernaut story is going so let’s get to the next issue!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #9  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #9 of 11

While Cybernaut Cartney shops for a suit, his children learn that even a bomb can’t take down Steed and Mrs. Peel.  The siblings’ bickering about what went wrong is interrupted when their intended victims confront them, and quickly things turn into a street fight (with swords!). The Cartneys get away, but of course that was the plan as Steed, harkening to the original Cybernauts TV episode, plans a transponder his umbrella which he allows them to escape with.  After a quick wardrobe change, Steed and Mrs. Peel head to the Hellfire Club’s base of operations where they spy General Seabrook smuggling army tech to the enemy. Although they’re able to sneak in undetected, Cybernaut Cartney uses his super strength to bust through a wall and grab our heroes.

With the last issue being mostly set up for the new story, I was worried this one would be more of the same.  But happily, this issue is heavily on wonderfully drawn action with some great dialogue to accompany it. The way the panels mimic the style in which the show was shot is a really nice touch and combined with the coloring gives the book such a great retro feel.  My only concern moving forward is that there are only two more issues, and I honestly can’t remember if the book ends at the conclusion of an arc or if we’re going to be left hanging. I guess there’s no way to find out until we get to the next issue….

AvengersComic10Steed and Mrs. Peel #10  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #10 of 11

Cybernaut Cartney is about to kill our heroes but Emma appeals to the villain’s hedonistic side, saying that if he kills them now, it’s all over. This is much to Joan’s chagrin as Steed and Mrs. Peel have been a thorn in her side for far too long, but father knows best…..only Cartney isn’t really her father. Joan and her brother discover documents in Cartney’s desk revealing that they’re a young married couple who went missing and were subsequently brainwashed by Cartney in what he calls, “my greatest practical joke of them all.” After her husband (formerly her brother) is killed by Cartney, Joan sneaks back to the prison to get help from a former ally.  Meanwhile Jamie is torturing Steed in the Hellfire Club dungeon forcing Emma to strike a bargain with Cartney – Steed’s life for her hand in marriage. The issue ends with Cartney presenting Emma to the rest of the Club as his fiance and the new Queen of Silver.

This issue has so much going on!  The reveal about the Cartney siblings (or rather the not Cartney, non-siblings) was really great.  I truly didn’t see that coming, and in addition to being a great twist, it packed an emotional punch.  Cartney’s line about this being “my greatest practical joke of them all” was an amazing touch. In this issue we get more about Cartney’s weird obsession with Emma, which is framed in both flashbacks and present moments, something I like because it really gives the reader the sense that Cartney is an absolutely twisted villain.  I also loved the touch of the Silver Court being introduced to the Hellfire Club. But my concern from last issues remains; there is a lot to resolve in one issue to wrap up both the arc and the series. I suppose the only way to know how that works out, however, it to read on.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #11 ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99   Boom Studios    #11 of 11

We open in a church where Cybernaut Cartney stands at the altar with a silver bedecked Mrs. Peel.  The officiant asks if there are any objections to the union, and right on cue, John Steed drives his car through the window of the church.  He shouts Emma’s trigger words, but she doesn’t need to be un-brainwashed this time, she was merely buying time for Steed. While a battle ensues in the church, Joan sneaks into the room containing John’s human body that’s feeding the Cybernaut and gives him the brainwashing serum, prompting the Cybernaut to seek out its human body to destroy it. Emma and Steed follow, and Emma uses the aging serum from all the way back in issue zero to prevent the Cybernaut from destroying human Cartney.  But alas, he dies shortly thereafter anyway. The issue ends with Joan escaping to make a better life, and Emma and Steed watching the sun set and reflecting on this latest chapter in their adventures together.

This issue does a pretty good job of wrapping things up.  Yes, the Steed crashing the wedding scene is ridiculous, but it fits the show quite well.  I really liked that the aging serum from issue 0 comes back into play, but the sequence of Cartney dying anyway was slightly confusing.  The ending with Steed and Emma watching the sunset was quite lovely, and I do like that the Hellfire Club story wasn’t so final that they can’t come back again in some future series.  Speaking of future series, Boom Studios would try for another arc in 2014 called Steed and Mrs. Peel: We’re Needed, but alas, what was to be a six issue series only made it three, and quite honestly those issues didn’t hold a candle to this series. Avengers22

Part of the reason I chose to cover this particular comic version of The Avengers is that, in my opinion, it’s the most faithful to the spirit of the show, and despite a few missteps, uses the structure of comics to create an ongoing story in a way that the show didn’t back in the 1960s (though I suspect a modern rendering would).  For our next update, we’ll be leaving the world of spies, but staying in the 1960s as Matt kicks of a month of Kaiju updates in anticipation of Godzilla: King of the Monsters with a look at Reptilicus. In the meantime, read a comic or three, and support your local horror host!

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The Bright Colored Fur Balls Known As The Popples!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my place on the World Wide Web that brings my past and present together and allows me to chat about things I enjoy from comic books, movies, video games, music and Horror Hosts. It’s crazy to think that it’s already 2019 and 2018 is in the history books. Before we start our look at Popples, I am going to answer a few questions that I get asked by readers and friends about what are some of the most popular posts on this blog! I will break them down and share the top two posts for some of the most popular update themes, “Horror Host Icon” and “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic,” the ones you readers seem to love the most and the ones I get the most requests to cover. The “Horror Host Icon” updates are hands down one of my most popular themes as they hit home for many of you readers who grew up watching Hosts on TV and even modern viewers who catch their favorite’s on the internet. The top three most read Horror Hosts I have covered as of this posting are: Morgus The Magnificent being the most read Icon update followed very closely by both Commander USA and USA Saturday Nightmares! As for the From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update that has been the most read, that honor goes to Phantasm and is followed by I, Frankenstein and The Willies! So there you have it and with more updates in both of those themes, who knows what updates will be the top in 2020! So with that out of the way, I think it’s time we once more visit that magical world of Star Comics and chat about their mini series based on the popular 80’s plush dolls The Popples. So get your cool 80’s gear on and let’s travel back to when plush dolls were cool and no one had a smart phone glued to their face.

Popples were stuffed dolls that were weird looking animal creatures who could roll up into a ball and were a craze for a short time in he 80’s. So let’s take a look at Popples: the doll, cartoon and comics! American Greetings company Those Characters From Cleveland (TCFC) was the company behind the creation of Popples as their employee Susan Trentel was the designer who invented the roll up action of the dolls as she drew inspiration from rolling up socks! Susan was also the designer who brought to life Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake showing that she was a pioneer of 80’s toys and characters. She along with Thomas Schneider created the first Popples prototype. They went to toy company Mattel, and in 1986, these stuffed dolls were unleashed in toy aisles as well in the world of cartoons thanks to DIC Entertainment and comic books thanks to Star Comics. The dolls would last until 1988 and would have many waves and styles released during this short run including Pocket Popples, a line that was almost like action figures. The cartoon would run for 44 episodes and would go off the air in 1987 with three episodes never airing. The comic series would last for 4 issues and would come to an end in 1987. This sadly is much like many of Star Comics releases based on toys and cartoons. But while the Popples did not make their way into the 90’s and the toy industry moved on, they had two short lived comebacks with the first being in 2007 when Playmates released new Popples figures that only lasted four releases and in 2015 Netflix did a new cartoon series for their streaming service and toy company Spin Master ended up doing a toy line based on this new show. What does the future have in store for the Popples? In 2018 they were sold to Hasbro leaving them open to be made into more toys, cartoons, comics and even video games!

Growing up a kid of the 80’s and 90’s was glorious. As you have heard me say before, we had so many amazing movies, video games, comics and toys and it really was a great time growing up! In these times before the internet was all the rage, many of the big deals that were the talk on the playgrounds was stuff like video games, wrestling, comic books and the newest toys that were on everyone’s must own list…and I can safely say that while I heard them mentioned from time to time and even saw some of the girls have them, the Popples were never a major deal at my school. I remember my neighbor Joanna had some and that’s how I got to first interact with one, and while it was cool that they could turn into a ball, I never did want one as by the time they were released so many other toys, games, comics, horror movies and one special girl were on my radar. Now I need to stress I had nothing against the Popples, they were just clearly more geared toward girls and they were just not something many boys were flocking to. In fact I can remember many toy ads for these plush dolls showing up in comic books I was reading at the time, showing that the toymakers were really trying to make youngsters pay attention to them and help create the demand for them to be on every child’s Christmas and Birthday list. So while Popples were around and a part of my youth, I never really had a major connection to them and by all accounts they just were viewed by my friends and I as girl toys.

So like all good 80’s toys at the time Popples were just not dolls and action figures as these little puffballs have graced all types of other merchandise! The Popples also had the cartoons released on VHS. They had their own vinyl records, books, coloring books, lunch box, board game, shirts, cake pan, bowls, TV tray, stickers, valentine cards and much more. In other words the Popples were everywhere, and they were being pushed to really be a powerhouse in the kids market. While they had a good run, they never did capture the market like Care Bears, Smurfs and Strawberry Shortcake did before them.

Stuffed Dolls in the 80’s and early 90’s were very popular among the youth as besides Popples ones like Pound Puppies, Care Bears, My Pet Monster, Rainbow Brite, My Buddy and Teddy Ruxpin were all on kids must have lists and many of my friends as well as myself had many of these plush. So let’s now dive into the world of Star Comics who made a very short lived comic series based on the cartoon version of the Popples and see how well they were as kid comic stars. I want to think both Lone Star Comics and Bell Book And Comic for having these issues in stock and making this review possible. I must also say that I am very shocked and yet really not that Star Comics decided to do a comic series based on Popples in 1986 as they ignored some vey popular toys from the time like Teddy Ruxpin, Jem And The Holograms, My Pet Monster, Nerfuls and so many others. Plus I still really wished that they would have done a comic series based on one of my childhood heroes and icons Commander USA, who was a Horror Host that would have made an amazing kids comic book hero. But let’s not talk about would could have been and instead, let’s focus on what was, as we take some fun adventures with the Popples. Oh and what would an update be without me reminding you all that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story.

Popples # 1   *1/2
Released in 1986      Cove Price .75       Star Comics      # 1 of 4

Youngsters Billy and Bonnie have gone into New York to go shopping, and after some time passes, the Popples decide to follow them and wind up wandering the city. While walking the streets they come across a dog who has stolen an orange from a stand and follow it back to a limo where they find Alice the young daughter of the ambassador, who has decided to run away from home and hide in her father’s car. Some of the Popples follow the dog into the mansion and find out the young girl’s babysitter is really Madam Spy who is looking for top-secret information! When Alice decides to go back home, the Popples warn her of Madam Spy and they all escape in the limo as a Popple uses magic to drive and Madam Spy puts on jogging shoes and gives chase! Madam Spy wants to get to the Ambassador first so she can take him hostage and find out the big secret, and Alice with the Popples want to get to him to warn of the spying! In the end the Popples and Alice warn her father of the danger and Madam Spy and her helper are arrested with Alice learning the big secret is she is going to be a big sister! In the end the Popples find Bonnie and Billy who hide them in their shopping bags and set out for home.

This Star Comic first issue based on an 80’s toyline is not very good and is so far the weakest I have read from Star to date as I found this kids comic very boring and the characters of the Popples really annoying! The plot of this issue has the Popples going to New York and helping a sad young girl to warn her father of the evil Madam Spy who wants to steal all the secrets he has. The Popples who are the heroes of this comic are riddle talking, bouncing around little fuzzy goofballs who just want to have fun and help capture a spy by accident by stumbling in on the crime. Plus I need to say the Popples also all have weird names like Potato Chip, Party and Puffball to name a few. Madam Spy is the main baddy in the issue and she is by no means dangerous, she just really wants to steal secrets and bring them to the league of spies. Alice, Billy and Bonnie are all just goofy kids who enjoy shopping, oranges and having fun. The thing about this kids comic is that it really is kind of dull and never once did I feel like Alice, her father or the Popples had any danger around them. The cover is pretty eye catching and has that true 80’s kid comic charm, and the interior art is good and done by John Costanza and has that Star Comics style. Over all I don’t have much to say about this issue besides it was a below average read, and it makes me hope the rest of this series is not this bland.

Popples # 2   **
Released in 1987      Cove Price .75       Star Comics      # 2 of 4

Bonnie and Billy come home from school super sad, and the Popples find out that they have both lost their positions on the sports teams and are down in the dumps over it. Some of the Popples stay home to try and cheer up the kids while the others go to the school to see who replaced their friends on the teams. And while there, they meet Tina Terrific a young lady who never jokes and laughs and is good at everything and have replaced Bonnie as head cheerleader and Billy as quarterback. All the other kids fear and dislike her as she shows them all that she is the best and likes to rub it in their faces. After practice a Popple tries to make Tina laugh and find himself being kidnapped by her, and as the others find out the all give chase to get their friend back and that includes Billy and Bonnie. Finally the Popples are able to get their friend back and try to make Tina laugh, and even inform her that people dislike her over her behavior and attitude. This upsets the young girl who runs away and into Billy and Bonnie who end up inviting her to a party at their house and find a new friend in her as she also changes her way of thinking and becomes a fun person.

Issue two brings this kids comic in the right direction as it offers a lesson as well as a fun and goofy adventure for our heroes the Popples. This time around the Popples meet a young girl who pushes herself to be the best at everything and has an ego about herself that drives her peers away, and our fuzzy little friends must show her the error of her ways. This comic has a message and that’s make sure to have a little fun in your life and don’t treat all other around you as if you’re better than them, it also has a message of don’t judge people before you really get to know them. The Popples in this issue are the same fun loving, cheesy joke spewing fuzz balls who just seem to be wandering through life spreading joy and laughter. Tina Terrific is a lonely young girl who has no friends and is so good at everything she walks around school like she’s pro wrestling icon Ric Flair! The thing is she is just a sad youngster who would love to have friends but doesn’t know how to make them. I want to also point out that Puzzle Popple is a jerk as he with no thought tells a young kid that nobody likes her, I mean my gosh I was surprised he didn’t just tell her to kill herself! Puzzle Popple, you’re a terrible little creature with no respect. The pacing of this issue is better than the first issue and while better is still about and average kids comic based on toys. The cover on this issue is just okay and nothing special and this time around again John Costanza does the interior artwork. Over all not a terrible issue and was entreating for the most part, so let’s see what issue three has in store for us.

Popples # 3   **1/2
Released in 1987     Cove Price .75      Star Comics      # 3 of 4

The Popples are on a camping trip with Billy and Bonnie and have decided that they wanted to explore the wilderness for awhile and have fun by building a campfire and telling stories. Meanwhile at one of the nearby cabins, a young man named Seth who only watches TV that features aliens is forced to go outside by his mother and freaks out when he sees the Popples in the woods as he thinks they are aliens! As the youngster runs for his life he runs into real aliens Yuckle, Buckle and Clive of the Kelvin Empire who look like normal people and decide to investigate these fuzzy aliens the youth is telling them about. And once the aliens find them the Popples welcome their new friends to spend time around the campfire and play and this scares the aliens out of their minds! The aliens think that the Popples are bloodthirsty war machines and run for their lives as the Popples chase them thinking they are playing chase, the aliens make it to Seth and them have themselves beamed back up to their mother ship. With the aliens gone the Popples end up talking and playing with Seth who learns they are not aliens and has made new friends.

Issue three of the Popples this far is the best in the series as it really captures the true fun and silly nature of a kid’s comic and brings more personality to them. The plot has the Popples on a camping trip were they meet a new friend who is a fan of Sci-Fi films and as well unknowingly save the Earth from an alien invasion as their fun ways chase them off. The Popples in this issue are in nature and enjoying life by playing and telling stories by a fire, and thanks to their good nature attitudes they are able to scare off aliens who wished to do us all harm. The Aliens who look like little kids start off as war focused and fearsome on wanting to take down Earth and soon turn into cowards when they come face to face with the Popples magic. What makes this issue work for me is the fact it’s a camping issue as I feel that kids comic based around doing this activity always makes for a good atmosphere and brings back so many memories of being a kid running around the woods. The cover is pretty good and is eye catching with the use of the color yellow that always makes a cover stand out. The interior art once more is done by John Costanza who really does great work in the world of kids comics done by Star as it has a really cartoonish look. Over all this is a solid and fun read and mixes Kids comics with Sci-Fi comics and this far is the best issue in the series, I wonder if the next and final issue will be as good or better…so let’s not wait and find out.

Popples # 4  **1/2
Released in 1987     Cove Price .75      Star Comics     # 4 of 4

Bonnie and Billy are down in the dumps as they do not have enough money to buy their mother a gift for her birthday, and this even has the Popples a little down. But when Billy comes home with a flyer for a pet show that pays $50.00 to the winner the Popples are go out into the world and is going to find a pet for their friends they think could win. While across town at the mansion of the Van Ritz their pet French Poodle Prince who is sick and tired of being treated like a puppy by his owners and escapes the house via the fireplace that turns his fur black and while on the streets he is being chased by a dog catcher and is saved by the Popples who take him to Billy and Bonnie as their new pet they name Champion! But things look rough as Champion due to being babied his whole life does not know any tricks or the ones he does he completes them all wrong. But the Popples and the kids don’t give up and end up training Champion so well that he becomes the winner of the contest! But during his award ceremony Champion has an itch and by scratching he knocks off the black color and the Van Ritz come alive when they see their lost dog Prince is in fact Champion! So the Van Ritz’s get their dog back and Billy and Bonnie win the money and end up buying a puppy for their mom for her birthday.

The fourth and final issue in the Popples comic series from Star Comics is a pretty good read for fans of these fluffy plush dolls and those who love 80’s kids comics. This issue’s plot has the Popples and their human friends finding a stray runaway dog and training him to win a dog show so they can get the prize money and buy the mom a great birthday gift. This one is fun as it really felt like a cartoon episode that you would have seen on Saturday Morning Cartoons back in the 80’s and as well had a little Harvey Comics feel. That’s the one thing that for me always set Star Comics apart from the other Kids comics being made in the 80’s and even early 90’s is they always delivered entertaining adventures for home grown characters as well as others that came from toys and cartoons. And while I do think that the Popples is one of the weakest series they released, it still holds lots of nostalgic fun for a reader like me who grew up in the 80’s and know what the Popples are. The Popples not only in this issue but in the whole series are silly, happy go lucky fuzz balls who enjoy pranking, partying and laughing and its clear P.C. Popple is the leader of this group as he has the true magic touch and can do what ever he wants just by snapping his fingers. Billy and Bonnie are just good kids who enjoy as well having a good time but also show they focus on being active and doing the right thing. This ones cover is ok and is eye catching for fans of these guys and once more John Costanza does the interior art and shows that he has true talent for drawing kids comics. Over all this comic series was just ok and this could be one of the cheesiest and lowest rated from me this far on Rotten Ink, but I still had lots of fun reading it and revisiting the 80’s and when Popples originated no matter how little they impacted my youth. Check out the art below to see the style of Costanza and see what I mean that his style really does fit for kid’s comics.

So now that we have had a fun time with the Popples and shared some flashback memories with many of you readers, I think my next update will be something cool from my past that did mean something to me and impacted my youth and that’s the original Star Trek and the film Wrath Of Khan! As I promised back on my update for the Marvel Comic Star Trek series, I think it’s time to start the adaptations of the films and our next update will do just that. So until next time, read a comic or three, buy a 80’s toy or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for another space adventure with Captain Kirk.

 

A Garfield NES Christmas Eve Challenge!

Merry Christmas Eve to all my family, friends and readers!  I am sure that you’re like me and are looking forward to spending your holiday with loved ones and remembering the past Christmases. When thinking about what topic to cover for this Holiday update, I racked my brain to pick one that would be not only fun but also nostalgic for all of you. I thought about covering an Amazing Spider-Man storyline that took place during Christmas, I thought about covering one of the following toys that had comics Dino Riders, Air Raiders or Battle Beasts that are all toys from my youth. I even thought about covering the Horror Movie Krampus and the comic based on the film. But in the end I decided that I was once more going to cover Garfield as looking back on his Halloween Special a few months ago made me want to re-read his Christmas Special! So make yourself a mug of hot coco and be ready to spend a part of your holiday with Garfield and me as we have a cheerful good time.

Jim Davis is the creator of the Garfield comic strip, and I think we should take a brief moment to talk about him and his life. Davis was born on July 28, 1945 in Marion, Indiana and lived the farm life with his family and their 25 pet cats! Davis was a member of Theta Xi Fraternity while at Bell State University where he studied business and art, and in 2016, he himself became an adjunct professor at Bell State. In 1969 Davis worked for an advertising agency and helped on the comic strip Tumbleweeds as well created his own strip called Gnorm Gnat that ran in Indiana newspapers. He would create Garfield in 1978 and it would become a major hit in the world of comic strips with over 300 million readers on a daily bases! With the popularity of Garfield, Davis opened up Paws Inc. in 1981 in order to manage the high demand of the character as well as created the Professor Garfield Foundation that helps promote children’s literacy. Along the way he also created the comic strip “U.S. Acres” and “Mr. Potato Head” based on the classic toy. Over the years, Jim Davis has been married twice and has three kids. He has won a number of awards for his art and comic strip work. At the time of this update, Jim is 73 years old and shows no signs of slowing down and continues to deliver a high quality entertaining comic strip based around a character that is well loved worldwide.

On December 21, 1987, the cartoon animated special “A Garfield Christmas” was first shown and entertained the young and young at heart. Being a youngster who was really into Garfield, I can remember waiting and counting down the days to when this was coming on, and as always, my parents were super cool and let my brother and I watch it as they always did for Holiday Cartoon specials. And I must say most of Garfield’s holiday specials have always had a special place in my heart just like the Peanuts ones as they were always must watches for the holidays for me and my brother. A Garfield Christmas special was loosely based on Jim Davis’ holidays with his family, and he added some dramatic plots to spice it up and give it that make sure to always cherish your loved ones vibe. The special was nominated for awards and was well liked by viewers and critics and would run on TV all the way till 2000 before finally being taken out of broadcast rotation. In 2004, the special was released on DVD and was a big hit with buyers who wanted to watch this holiday special again. Say what you will but if you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, I am pretty sure you watched and enjoyed this special at least once in your life. I want to also note that before the DVD this special was also released on VHS for fans to own and watch when ever the mood struck them.

Growing up, between my brother Bryan and I, we had lots of cool Garfield toys and one of the oldest things we had was a very old plush doll of the fat cat. It was my brother’s, and I am not sure were he got it from, I just remember it was around in our youth. We also had several PVC style figures that I can remember playing with in my Toy Wars as Garfield was always on the side of the Jedi and was always back at the Rebel base alongside other “good guy” figures. I can also remember growing up having some Garfield items that came from McDonalds like glass mugs that was released in 1987 and can remember drinking Kool-Aid, Milk and Pop from them while watching cartoons or Horror Host shows on USA Network. I also remember owning a few of the Happy Meal Toys from 1988 that had a mini Garfield figure and a vehicle. Not to mention, we also had many of his comic strip books that I would get from School book fairs and from Half Price Books. So as I have said, Garfield was always around in my youth.

The Nintendo Entertainment System was a major force in the 80’s and 90’s as home console video games were at a fever pitch, and any kid who wanted to be cool had to have a system and tons of games to impress the neighborhood kids and school yard pals. In fact, we Brassfield Brothers got our first video game system that was a Nintendo for Christmas one year, and we could not get enough games fast enough. One game that was made but never released here in America was one called “A Week Of Garfield,” a side-scrolling game released in Japan on home computers that was met with very mixed reviews that has you as Garfield having to save Odie in a week in game time. But thanks to the fine folks at Fan Brew Games I am able to get my hands on a copy of the game that plays in the RES System and one I can have a NES Challenge with! So take a drink from your Hot Coco as we are about to go gaming, and see if we can save Odie for this Holiday season of 2018.

After waiting forever for Fan Brew Games to send me the game as it was a special order, I chose October 16 2018 to play the game as the weather outside was perfect to stay indoors and get my retro game playing on. So I hooked up the good old RES (Retro Entertainment System) and put the game into the system and hit power and was ready to save Odie! And sadly my original RES died, and I had to select another day as I had to buy a new one. So the next day I selected was December 19 and I poured myself a tall glass of water as well as some cola and set my sights to focused on my mission at hand and that’s to beat A Week Of Garfield for the NES well or at least give it a good play. My first impression of the game when firing it up was that this game had a cool soundtrack as well as some good classic 8-Bit graphics…but then I started to play this game, and all I can say is, wow is it boring! As Garfield, all you can do is walk, crawl, look up and kick and for the most part all you do is dodge bugs, frogs, mice and other animals and when hit, your blood goes down pretty fast. You start with only one life and this leads to you playing the same levels over and over…and sad to say readers and friends, all I can say is this is one I walked away from after playing for a little under an hour as it’s just so bland and I felt I could do something better with my day before work like watch some Horror Movies and read some comics. So in other words, avoid this game unless you’re a massive Garfield fan and like games about walking.

I also want to let you all know that the Cinemassacre did a video play through this game that had James Rolfe and Mike Matei trying to play and review “A Week Of Garfield” back in 2017. And hearing these two play this game was lots of fun as they pointed out the flaws and over all cheesy nature of this kids game. And for those who enjoy video game and movie reviews and discussions, check out their Youtube station as it’s always packed with fun uploads. So did they like it, well you will have to watch the video and find out!

So now that you have all seen me fail at beating a kid’s game of Garfield for the NES, we should gather around the warm fireplace and take a look at the comic strip book adaptation of the Garfield Christmas Special! I want to thank an Etsy seller for having this book in stock. Plus as I sit here near the fire, my cat Leslie wants me to remind you all that I am grading this book on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the book stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So take a drink of your eggnog or hot coco as it’s time to spend a part of Christmas Eve with the Arbuckle Family as well as Odie and Garfield!

A Garfield Christmas # 1  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $5.95     Ballantine Books   # 1 of 1

Garfield is having a dream about a mechanical Santa Claus that will give him any gift he can think of, and just as he is getting all the jewels and riches he can think of, he is awoken by Jon who needs him to get ready for their trip to spend Christmas with his family. Jon along with presents and his pets Garfield & Odie hit the road and arrive at the family’s farm in no time. They are all greeted by Ma and Pa Arbuckle as well as Grandma and Doc Boy who is Jon’s brother. Jon goes out and helps his dad and brother do some chores around the farm as Odie and Garfield as well must go outside and “help” before they all can have a good home cooked meal. After dinner as a family they set up the Christmas Tree, sing a carol together and even Pa reads them all a Christmas tale! Garfield all the while bonds with the Grandma who feeds him food during dinner and sits in a rocking chair and pets him while remembering back to her husband who is no longer with us. That night they all go to sleep with joy and love in their hearts as the next day is Christmas and it’s a perfect snowy night. The next morning Jon and Doc Boy open their presents, Garfield gets one from Odie and the final gift given is when Garfield finds old love letters in the barn written by the deceased Grandpa to the Grandma when they first started dating! In the end the Arbuckle family are happy to have each other for the holiday, and Garfield lets everyone know that the best thing about Christmas is love.

This comic strip book captures the good feelings of Christmas and showcases the small country feel for this holiday as family is very important and chores still have to be done. The plot of this one is simple and has Jon, Odie and Garfield visiting Jon’s family at their farm for Christmas and all spend time together and just enjoy being around each other and partaking in family traditions. Jon Arbuckle is a man who loves his family and his pets and while he has been away from the family farm, he still lends a hand when needed and tries his best to do it the best he can when clearly he is rusty at farm life. Garfield while still being himself in this books shows lots of love to his family and is not only super kind to Odie but also has a real bond with Jon’s Grandma who is clearly having a rough time missing her husband who has passed away, and while Grandma is a very strong woman with a big personality she still has a soft side that enjoys sitting by the window watching the snow come down and petting a cat. Odie is as fun loving as ever and even makes Garfield a present that’s a back scratcher. Once more Odie shows that he is just an all around good dog. Ma and Pa Arbuckle are good folks who enjoy their farming life and celebrate the holidays with big meals and lots of love. Doc Boy who is Jon’s brother is a farm boy who enjoys having his brother around as they always seem to be picking on each other. What really works for me the most about this comic strip book is the atmosphere as who doesn’t want to spend the holidays with loved ones with good food, great talks with snow fall coming down and no place to go! There is just something very special about this book and Garfield in general for me as I really does bring me back to my childhood and when times were simple and everything seemed larger than life. The cover for this book is fantastic and has the Arbuckle Family with Garfield and Odie sitting around a piano and the tree enjoying carols. Jim Davis’s art is as always on point and is classic 70’s and 80’s Comic Strip stuff. This was a prefect read for me and was one great flashback as well, so if you like Garfield and want to read a simple Christmas comic strip this one is for you. Check out the art below to see the holiday cheer that are packed into each panel of this book.

Thanks for spending a part of your Christmas Eve with me here at Rotten Ink as this update. I hope made you think back to your connection to Garfield as well as the NES and just brought a little cheer to your day. Well for me I am going to sit back with a mug full or eggnog while sitting in my backyard and look back at how great this year has been for me when it came to creative stuff! But I will not take up any more of your Holiday time and with that I will see you next update as I break down my best in cinema for 2018! I think I hear Santa and his reindeer, so I need to say I hope you all have a great Christmas and I will see you here again in 2019!

Horror Host Icon: Sivad

GOOD EEEEVENING! The people of Nashville, Tennessee were treated to a show in the 60’s that lasted into the 70’s featuring a vampire undertaker that would treat them to horror, thriller and science fiction films.  This show was called Fantastic Features, and its host was named Sivad. He was must watch television for young and old alike. Sivad has been a big part of the culture of Tennessee, and his show has influenced many creative people and helped create many monster kids from the era. Much like Ohio, Tennessee has a very large amount of Horror Hosts that have entertained over the decades like Dr. Lucifur, Sir Cecil Creape, Dr. Gangrene and Dungeon Doug to name a few, and at the top of that list is Sivad, who is a true icon of that state. So it’s with very high honor and respect that I give to you my readers Horror Host Icon: Sivad! So sit back, relax and let’s take a look at a truly amazing Horror Host.

Sivad was a vampire who dressed as an undertaker.  He loved the world of cinema and enjoyed presenting the movies to the viewers, many of whom were seeing these classic monster movies for the first time via their televisions! While a bloodsucker, Sivad was a goofy vampire who loved to share jokes and spew cheesy puns! He wore a black top hat, a black suit, cape, white gloves, a bowtie, a red belt and a sash that featured his family crest. Sivad had long fangs, bushy evil looking eyebrows, and spoke with a thick Tennessee ascent that was muffled due to his fangs. While Sivad looked evil and mean, he was very much a lovable vampire who enjoyed hosting his show and sharing these shocking films with his viewers. Besides hosting his show Creature Features on Channel 13, he also loved to make appearances at state fairs and local movie theaters and each time was a main attraction as hundreds, if not thousands, would flock to meet him! It’s also said that he sold over 800 tickets at a movie theater in Jackson, Tennessee while hosting a double feature, and during his introduction and before his song, he was drenched in coke that the kids in the audience threw at him, and he would not return to that town for years to this incident! Sivad was not only an amazing Horror Host but he also was a very good musician and would treat fans to songs. Sivad hosted Creature Features from 1962 to 1972 and walked away from it when he felt they ran out of classic horror films to show. Besides a handful of public appearances in the 70’s, Sivad retired from the Horror Hosting game but still remains as popular as ever even still to this day. I want to also make note that Sivad hosted Creatures Features live and like most live-aired shows there is little to no footage that survived, but that’s how talented this vampire was, he hosted live multiple times a week at times!

Watson Davis was the man who behind Sivad, and he was a man who was made to entertain! Davis was the advertising director for Malco Theaters in Memphis area and would do all types of great things to promote the films like dressing up as Frankenstein’s Monster and even building a giant King Kong to thrill movie goers. He would make these films entertaining for movie goers and would come up with great gimmicks to get them into the theater and would even do prize giveaways that the winners would win spooky trips complete with actors putting on a show for them like he did when winners of a coloring contest got a trip to Goat Island. The thing that set Davis apart from many theater advertisers is that he truly loved the Horror, Thriller and Science Fiction films they showed and would put lots of efforts into making their showings special. He even won an award for his work doing these promotions and got to meet his favorite actor Vincent Price! He developed Sivad while still working for Malco Theaters, and the name Sivad is just is last name Davis backwards as he wanted his Horror Host character to be just one name that stuck out like magician Houdini’s did.  While still working for the theater he started work on Fantastic Features as well. After retiring from both Malco Theaters and Creature Features, Watson Davis spent the rest of his days enjoying life and fishing while living in a small mobile home and stayed there until is death in 2005. While retired Davis would still for a short time play Sivad at fairs, paradise and public appearances and even at one time there was talk of having him as Sivad along with fellow Tennessee Horror Hosts Sir Cecil Creape and Count Basil to host some films at a theater, but sadly that never came about. Watson Davis enjoyed playing Sivad and doing these promotions for Malco Theaters as he enjoyed to entertain kids, and he was a truly great person who is missed by all those who knew him in real life and as Sivad.

Like all good Horror Hosts, Sivad had some great merchandise behind him that gave his viewers and fans something a little more special to enjoy and showed just how popular this Horror Host was! His fans were able to get their hands on such cool items as a Sivad Halloween Mask that kids in the 60’s could wear and scare their friends and neighbors. They could also get their hands on an official “Horror Club” fan club card that was endorsed by Channel 13 and Sivad and was a sure way to impress all your friends on the playground! For kids who liked to make art, a very cool Sivad coloring book was made and allowed them to make masterpieces for the family refrigerator. Also in 2010, a cool book called “Sivad Scrapbook” was released and showed old ads from the 60’s and 70’s that featured our classic Vampire host. Not to mention his image has graced many magazines, posters, ads and fan art. And the most amazing collectable for Sivad fans to sink their fangs into is the 45 rpm record of two songs he sang called “Sivad Buries Rock And Roll” and “Dickey Drakeller.” These songs played on Memphis, Tennessee radio and this record is now highly collectable. So as you can see, Sivad was and still is a true icon of Tennessee who is one of the states most beloved TV Personalities.

In 2013, Sivad took his place as an official member of the Horror Host Hall of Fame and secured that he is in fact one of the most beloved and influential host to grace viewers TV Screens. He was among such hosts as Svengoolie, Commander USA and Shock Armstrong who were part of the third class to get this high honor. The Horror Host Hall Of Fame is an honor for hosts who were and are at the top of their game to the respect they deserve, and Sivad, in my opinion, should have been inducted in the first class as he was truly an amazing host who set the bar for many who followed.

So we are at the point of this Horror Host Icon when we will be taking a look at the episodes I own, and the one I do have is clearly a fan reproduction episode because as of this writing, no full episode has been uncovered. So this is what us fans have to watch. I will not be giving this episode a star rating. The movie write up will be taken from our friends at IMDB and the host write up I myself will be writing. So let’s sit back and pretend its 1962 and we are watching Creature Feature, and Sivad is about to take us on a thrill ride!

Fantastic Features:  Fortress Of The Dead
Starring – John Hackett & Conrad Parham     Not Rated     1965

Host: Sivad rides in on his horse-drawn hearse carriage and removes the coffin from the back and we are set for Creature Freatures! Sivad then in studio welcomes us to the show and interrupted by a voice of a producer who tells him to talk about the TV Shows and other programs from WHBQ-TV Channel 13. We go into the movie as Sivad makes a joke about how pushy the producer is. When we join Sivad next he is wishing us a good evening and ending the show.

Movie: Guilt-ridden sole survivor of a unit wiped out on Corregidor in WW2 returns to the island 20 years later.

Note From Matt: This is a fan made reproduction of a classic episode of Fantastic Features and used footage from when Sivad hosted a promo for his home base station

Sivad was a host that made his viewers feel as if they were close friends, and while a scary looking vampire, he had a warm and inviting feel to him that captured the hearts of his viewers. While the world of Horror Hosts has its fair share of vampires and while many of them are legends and top notch hosts, they all still fall a little short of the magic Sivad had. As we leave the world of Horror Hosting, our next update brings us back to Greece as it’s Thanksgiving and that means we will be joining Hercules once more. This time around, we will be seeing what Radical Comics has to offer when it comes to our favorite demigod! So until next time, watch a Horror Host Show or two, and as always, support your local Horror Host! See you next update for the The Thracian Wars and for another great Turkey Day Holiday.

Garfield vs. The Ghost Pirates On Halloween Night!

October is almost here. The air is turning cold, and the ghouls and ghosts are gearing up to run the streets in preparation of Halloween, which is only slightly over a month away! For this third countdown to Halloween update I wanted to take a look at something that I owned as a kid. The TV special it was based on was something I watched every year, and of course I am talking about “Garfield Halloween Adventure” that was shown on local TV and was something I truly had to watch when on. Garfield is a comic strip character I grew up reading in the Sunday Funny Papers; next to Peanuts it was a must. I also grew up watching all of his TV specials as well as his regular cartoon series. While I love the toon “Garfield and Friends,” the specials all hold a special place in my heart. Not to mention I also would buy his books, and between my brother and I, we had many of his toys and stuff animals. Garfield really is an iconic character who for the most part has withstood the test of time, and it’s with great pleasure that on this update we not only get one step closer to Halloween but also take a look back at things from my childhood. So get a costume on and let’s go trick or treating with Garfield and Odie.

On October 30th 1985 CBS premiered the 24-minute “Garfield Halloween Adventure,” which combined two of my favorite things Halloween and Garfield! My brother Bryan and I were glued to the TV and watched with pure delight as the cartoon special brought some scares and lots of entertainment. We also made sure to tape it on Beta and watched it all the time year round. The best part of this airing was that it was paired with the very classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and made for the perfect Halloween season viewing. I can also remember many of the kids on the playground chatting about it, and everyone flipped when the comic strip book adaptation of it was offered in the Scholastic Book Club order form, with almost every kid I knew ordering it. The cartoon also did well in the TV ratings and almost all critics loved and praised it making it a staple for the holiday up until 2015 when it was finally taken off the schedule for good. The special also won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program and was the third Garfield special to win it, showing that he was one of the 80’s most popular cartoon characters. After its airing, the special would go on to be released on VHS and DVD and still is a well loved classic Halloween TV special.

So at this point I am sure you’re ready to take a Halloween Adventure with that lasagna loving fat orange cat Garfield and his simple minded canine friend Odie. I know that I am as I have not read this comic strip book since I was a kid, and am looking forward to seeing if it holds up as I loved it when I was a kid and re-read it every Halloween up until I was a teen. This is in my opinion is a great way to gear up for October and is a perfect third update for our countdown to Halloween. Before we get our trick or treat bags ready, I need to remind you that I am grading this book on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I want to think Amazon for having this in stock and making this update possible. So lets costume up and go out with Garfield and see how much candy or even rocks we can get!

Garfield In Disguise # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price $5.95     Ballantine Books    # 1 of 1

Garfield is awoken by Binky The Clown on TV who screams and demands that all of the viewers exercise with him, and right as Garfield turns off the TV, he hears the words Free Candy and quickly turns it back on to find out that it’s Halloween! Garfield goes around the house under a bed sheet and scares Jon and Odie and even has a little breakfast before tricking Odie into going trick of treating with him so he can get double the candy. Garfield and Odie go to the attic and look through old clothes and items and decide to go as pirates when finding costumes in a chest. After stealing Jon’s lasagna dinner, Garfield and Odie head out and start trick of treating! As they wander the streets getting candy and being spooked by real life ghouls and ghost, they end up getting into a rowboat and by accident they lose the paddles and float until they land on shore.  The only house around is an abandoned one lit by a fire. Once inside, they warm themselves by the fire and are surprised by a very old man who warns them that the island is haunted and that the ghosts of pirates from a hundred years back will be back at midnight to claim their buried treasure! While Garfield and Odie are shaking with fear, the old man steals their boat and leaves them at the mercy of the coming ghost pirates! Garfield and Odie hide in a cabinet as the ghosts appear and bring up their hidden treasure, and when a sneeze alerts the ghosts who chase them out of the house, Garfield steals a ring from the treasure chests. He and Odie jump into the water and swim to shore. Once on shore they find their candy and the boat and head home only to be attacked by the ghost pirates who followed them home. Once Garfield returns the ring they disappear, and Garfield and Odie go home where Garfield shares the candy with Odie and Halloween comes to an end.

This comic strip book is a great mood setter for Halloween as it captures the playful nature of trick or treat and the spooky feeling of that night. Our story has Garfield and Odie going out for Halloween in order to get lots of free candy.  When Garfield gets greedy, he leads them to an old abandoned haunted house, and they are witnessed and stalked by ghost pirates who have returned after 100 years! As I said the feel and atmosphere of this comic strip book is fantastic and much like “Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” really captures the feel of Halloween. Garfield lives up to his normal behavior and is self-absorbed, self centered and always looking for food to gorge on, but while he is sarcastic, he also does have a caring and grateful side. Odie is your typical dog that is loyal, goofy and smart and several times in this adventure saves Garfield’s butt from danger. Jon is just around in this one, mostly carving pumpkins and tying to enjoy meals that his cat ends up stealing. The old man who once worked for the pirates some 100 years ago is creepy and seems to get joy scaring those who stumble into his old home, plus the Ghost Pirates are very much mean and scary but really just want their treasure. This comic strip book does justice to the made for TV cartoon special and does a great job of capturing the mood and only thing missing is the musical numbers. Jim Davis, who is the creator and mastermind behind the world of Garfield, does the art and story, and both are well done and show why Garfield has remained a popular comic strip character all these years. The cover as well is amazing and eye catching and has a real kid friendly Halloween look to it. If you enjoy Garfield and love Halloween, this is a great read and one that brought back lots of great memories of my youth, and this comic strip book held up well and is a great read. So check it out as well as the art from it.

I hope that this update has put you into the Halloween spirit like it did for me writing it! Made for TV Halloween specials are something that almost seems as if they are dying off as most broadcast stations only focus on their current shows and allow them to do a Halloween episode that most of the time are not very good with only a handful of series being able to pull it off. But for me just like “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” the Garfield Halloween Special is a one of my all time favorites and is one I suggest you watch every year. But now we have to leave the world of Garfield and the ghost pirates behind for our next update as we are now in full countdown to Halloween mode and our next one will have us looking at another in what I call “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” as we look at the killer Metalface and his film series Playing With Dolls! So until next time, read a comic or two, watch a cartoon or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a bloody good time.

Horror Host Icon: Benedictine the Mad Monk

Over the decades, Horror Hosts have aired on TV stations all over the USA, and just like Ohio, the state of Tennessee has had its fair share of iconic hosts that have entertained viewers with their funny or spooky antics all the while delivering a shocking horror picture to chill the blood of their viewers. And while many of the state’s Horror Hosts had long running shows and made major impacts on the culture of the area, the one we are looking at today was a short lived host who might not be a household name. He still had a small following and meant something to his viewers who rushed to their TV sets on Friday nights to catch his show and watch his movies. So it’s with great pleasure that I bring to you my readers Horror Host Icon: Benedictine the Mad Monk! So sit back and enjoy this update and remember your time watching Benedictine or even discover him for the first time…Roll the blog update, Red!

Benedictine the Mad Monk hosted horror films on WZTV Nashville Ch17 on Friday nights for a total of about 3 weeks. He is said to have gone mad and killed all his fellow monks and lived underground for centuries with his friend Red who is a skeleton with a red afro wig. For years he spent his time making wine in his cellar home and watched cheesy horror movies. But Benedictine’s perfect peaceful life comes to an end when the TV station WZTV was built on top of his wine cellar. So he does what he thinks is right and on Friday nights highjacks the airwaves and to show the films that he wanted to and generally be a thorn in the TV station’s side. Benedictine himself was kind of a crazed jokester who seems to enjoy sharing his movies with you and also likes to make and drink his wine. He has a bald head on top with long white hair on the sides. He also wears a brown monk’s robe with a rope belt. While he does not come off mean spirited, he clearly is not stable as he has killed off his fellow monks and also seems prone to fits of madness. So as you can see, Benedictine is a crazed wine making madman whose only friend is a wig wearing skeleton and one of his enjoyments in life is high jacking TV airwaves and sharing horror movies on the air.

Phil Valentine is the actor who played Benedictine the Mad Monk for WZTV for the three short weeks the show ran, and he himself was more than just an actor. Phil was born on September 9, 1959 to U.S. Democratic Representative Tim Valentine and his wife Betsy. In college Phil entered radio at East Carolina University and switched to Connecticut School Of Broadcasting in North Carolina where he majored in radio. This love for radio lead to him working for WWTN as a conservative talk show radio host who is on daily and is even in syndication airing on about 110 other stations! He also is an author as he has released three books this far all about conservative views and government greed. But he also has been in films and TV shows with 1989 being his start as Horror Host Benedictine the Mad Monk. He also starred in the film “A Letter From Death Row,”  written and directed by Bret Michaels lead singer of the band Poison. In 2003, he played a radio host on the TV Show “Threat Matrix” for one episode. He wrote, edited, produced and hosted the documentary film “An Inconsistent Truth” in 2012. Two years later he played a character named Eugene Lawson in the film “Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?”. And his last movie role as of this update was in 2015 in the film “The Secret Handshake” that also starred Kevin Sorbo and Amy Grant. So while Horror Hosting might not have been his calling in life, he found his career in being a talk radio host.

Benedictine the Mad Monk did have a sidekick that lived with him in the wine cellar and helped him make and drink his wine, the skeleton Red! Not much is really known about Red besides the fact he wears a giant red wig and is friends with Benedictine. Oh and his role on the show was that he was the one who ran the films. I am guessing that Red made very little appearances during the show’s short run, but I am sure he still had his fans. I just wanted to mention Red as I am sure he had been sadly forgotten by most for his time as a Horror Host sidekick.

We are at the point of this Horror Host Icon update where we will take a look at the episode I have of Benedictine the Mad Monk. This is the only episode of his known to have survived and was taped off TV, as his short run made it hard for his shows to have made it to the Horror Host trade lists. I want to thank my friend Larry for getting me this episode and making this update possible. So let’s take a look at this episode of Benedictine the Mad Monk! Oh and I want to also say that it looks like the show aired after reruns of Cheers.

Benedictine the Mad Monk: Taste The Blood Of Dracula
Starring – Christopher Lee & Ralph Bates       Rated R       1970

Host: Benedictine the Mad Monk starts the show by coming down the stairs and introducing himself and his friend Red Skeleton. He also is very happy to introduce the night’s film Taste The Blood Of Dracula that he says sucks! We next times we see Benedictine, he gives us pointers on Dracula as well as delivers cheesy jokes and puns! At one point he even goes over his checklist of wine that he has in his stock before he has Red roll the movie again.

Movie: Three middle-aged distinguished gentlemen are searching for some excitement in their boring bourgeois lives and get in contact with one of Count Dracula’s servants, Lord Courtley. In a nightly ceremony, they restore the count to life. However, the three men killed Courtley and, in revenge, the count ensures that the gentlemen are killed one by one by their own children.

Note from Matt: The end of the episode is missing so we get no closing segment of Benedictine the Mad Monk!

So while Benedictine the Mad Monk might not have been a long lasting host on TV and had a “if you blink you’ll miss him” career of sharing his love for Horror films with his viewers, he still had his fans and made his mark in the world of Horror Hosting. I for one really enjoyed what I saw on this episode and hope to some day track down the remaining two episodes and see what cheesy jokes he delivered on them. Once more I want to thank my friend Larry “Dr. Gangrene” Underwood for getting me this episode and making this Horror Host Icon update possible. One of my biggest goals for these updates is to showcase the Horror Hosts, and no matter how big or small their following and impact was to the art of Hosting, they have a home here at Rotten Ink as I want to share their stories and bring back memories for their fans and my readers. For my next update we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosts and entering the world of comic strips and paperback comic books based on cartoon TV Specials of the characters…so if you guessed Garfield Halloween, you would be right and should treat yourself to some candy and lasagna! So until next time, read a horror comic or three, watch a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a spooky good time with a orange furred cat.

Horror Host Icon: Chiller Theatre Six-Fingered Hand

The year is 1971, and it’s Saturday night at 8pm. You have your Mello Yellow drink in hand and a small bowl of potato chips as your favorite show is on air.  We are talking Chiller Theatre, and your blood turns cold as the Six-Fingered Claymation Hand comes out of the ground and spells out Chiller from growing twisted weeds! This Horror Host Icon update is a tribute to that Claymation Hand as well as the legacy that Chiller Theatre has spread around not only the Horror Host Community but also the world of Horror in general! Now I am sure many of you are saying, “Hey wait a minute – that hand is not a fully fledged Horror Host,” but to me just like the voice on USA Saturday Nightmares that Claymation hand brought terror to the hearts of viewers and also acted as their guide and source of nightmares so indeed that Six-Fingered Claymation Hand is a Horror Host! So it’s with great honor that I bring to you readers Horror Host Icon: Six-Fingered Claymation Hand of Chiller Theatre.

Six-Fingered Hand took over Chiller Theatre in 1971 and creeped out viewers with its awkward movements and billowing voice that would announce CHILLER as it made letters emerge from the swampy land that it lives in. The letters spell out CHILLER, and the Hand would then grab the letters, slowly sink back into the swamp and say chilllllleeerrrrrr as it disappeared back into the bloody looking water. The Six-Fingered Hand is a mystery, and not much is known about its origin or where it comes from. But the one thing that is known about this hand is that it creeped out viewers and left them with chills before the horror movie even started. The Six-Fingered Hand would be the “Host” of Chiller Theatre from 1971-2011, and even when other hosts would be on the show, the hand would always follow before or after commercial breaks. The Six-Fingered Hand was a creature of few words; besides saying Chiller it would also say “Hoo…” and sound as if it was in pain. Another thing that makes Six-Fingered Hand so scary for viewers was the weird music that was played during its appearance that sounded straight out of one of the horror movies shown on the program. While simple, the Six-Fingered Hand is a true titan of fright and remains very popular with fans who grew up watching it emerge from the bloody swamp to usher them into their favorite late night fright program.

Now here are some fun and cool facts about Chiller Theatre from over the years. Chiller Theatre started in 1961. 1963 was when Zacherley was the host of the show, and he is the Godfather of Horror Hosting and was and still is one of the most beloved Hosts of all time. Chiller was first canceled in 1982 but was brought back for one night in 2008 as well as in 2009 where they had Elvira Mistress Of The Dark as the host, and she proved to be a major hit for her one time appearance. Also 2009 marked the first time WPIX would make merchandise for the show allowing fans to collect things based on their beloved Horror Host program. For Halloween like the years before, they let Chiller Theatre once more hit the airwaves in 2010 and 2011 allowing The Six-Fingered Hand and their evening newscasters to host the final airing of Chiller. Another very cool thing about Chiller is that it sparked many creative minds in the New York area to become filmmakers, comic book makers, musicians, writers and artists and even helped spawn the Chiller Theater Convention that was founded in 1990 and is still running to this day. Say what you will, but Chiller Theater is one of the biggest Horror Host shows in the nation and is one that still has a major following to this day even though at this point it has not been seen in seven years.

I first heard about Chiller Theatre in the pages of old horror movie magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland and always seemed to know it was something special for the viewers of New York. I can even remember being at Horror Conventions here in Ohio and people wore shirts of Chiller Theatre showing that its influence runs deep in the world of Horror. We are now at the point of this update where I will take a look at the one episode of Chiller Theatre featuring The Six-Fingered Hand, and I want to think my brother Bryan for getting me this episode for this update! So if you’re ready to hit the swamps of Chiller lets travel back to one of NY’s top Horror Host shows!

CHILLER Theatre: Gorgo
Starring – Bill Travers & William Sylvester      Unrated       1961

Host: The six-fingered hand shows up in second clips and does his thing.

Movie: A salvage vessle is nearly sunk off the Irish coast by an undersea earthquake. A few nights later, a walking sea monster tangles with the fishing boats and enters the town. The salvage vessel captures Gorgo and takes it to London for display. Gorgo’s mother, who is upset and significantly larger follows his trail to London leaving a wake of destruction in her path.

Note From Matt: Sadly most the bumpers and commercials are cut out from this episode, but this was the only episode I could find with only The Six Fingered Hand as the host.

WPIX, in my opinion, have really dropped the ball as they should make CHILLER Theatre at least a Halloween night tradition year after year and do a double feature of frightful horror features to entertain and scare the viewers of late night New York television. And you know that Six-Fingered Claymation Hand is ready for his return to TV! I know that this was a really quick Horror Host Icon update and that the Six-Fingered Hand might not have a back story or skits like most classic Horror Hosts, but I really do feel that it needed to have a Icon update. As you have read this update I hope that you yourself thought back to watching Chiller Theatre or even to your own hometown host. For our next update, we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosting and be kicking off our countdown to Halloween with a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic that will showcase the Horror Comedy I Sell The Dead. So until next time, watch a horror movie or two and support your local Horror Host! See you next update for an undead good time!

Horror Host Icon: Superhost

Hello, dere! The state of Ohio has a very rich history when it comes to Horror Hosts with names like Dr. Creep, Ghoulardi and The Cool Ghoul leading the way.  Also at the top of that list is Cleveland’s very own superhero, Superhost! It’s amazing to think that the world of Horror Hosts is filled with lots of mad doctors, vampires and ghouls but only two Superhero ones that come to mind are Commander USA and Superhost, both of whom delivered lots of laughs alongside the movies they hosted. When selecting hosts to cover this year, I knew that I had to cover Superhost as he is a true legend in the world of Horror Hosting and is a true icon of funny fright here in Ohio. So join me on this Horror Host Icon update as we take a heroic look at the one and only Superhost!

Superhost began his hosting career on WUAB Channel 43 in Cleveland, Ohio in 1969 and hosted back to back shows for much of his career with “Supe’s On!” being the pre-show that lasted an hour and would show “Three Stooges” and “Laurel And Hardy” shorts and would later show TV Shows like “The Munsters.” And then he would host his main show called “Mad Theater” that would have Superhost hosting two back to back films and later one film for the viewers at home. His shows would air on Saturday Mornings and was a great way for Monster Kids of the late 60’s-80’s to enjoy classic horror and comedy. Superhost would greet his viewers with his classic catch phrase “Hello, Dere”and would entertain them with his silly humor and even more goofy skits that would be parodies of famous TV Shows and people. Superhost was a fun loving kind of hero who wore a baggy light blue outfit that had his classic SH emblem on it, red boxer shorts, a large red cape. He had a red nose and seemed to enjoy bringing the movies to the viewers even sometimes taking jabs at the films’ quality and budget. Superhost’s set was mostly in front of a movie theater (called Superhost Theatre) that had glowing lights and the movie(s) or shows’ title on the marquee. With TV growing and the popularity of syndicated shows like Pro Wrestling, Mad Theater went through lots of changes shortening its run time and even changing its format but Cleveland’s favorite Host lasted on air until 1989 giving him a very great 20 year run on the air. During this time, he made public appearances and even appeared on other Horror Host Shows like “Hoolihan & Big Chuck” who also were iconic Horror Hosts from Cleveland on the rival network. Say what you will but Superhost is truly an icon of Ohio TV and his popularity lives on thanks to fans who trade his shows and chat about his silly ways!

Marty Sullivan is the man behind Superhost and was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 1, 1932 of Irish decent. Before he was on Cleveland airwaves, he survived in the Navy, went to college and worked a little a little as a radio newscaster. But he really made a name for himself on WUAB Channel 43 and not just for being Superhost as he also was the floor director and staff announcer and fill in movie host for the show “Prize Movie” and did that up until 1993 as well as did the news breaks from time to time for the station. He also had a background in radio and was really a jack of all trades when it came to media. Marty was inducted into the Ohio Broadcasters Hall Of Fame in 1991 and is still very much respected for all his hard work at WUAB. Marty is 86 years old at the time of this update and has long been retired from the world of broadcasting and is enjoying his days living in Oregon, chatting with fans who grew up watching him as the one and only Superhost. And for those wondering, yes, he does dress as Superhost from time to time for interviews and skits that appear on TV, but these appearances are very far and few.

The year was 2015, and the place was Horrorhound Weekend.  The event was the Horror Host Hall Of Fame and in this class Superhost was long overdue to be inducted! The honor of inducting Superhost went to Dayton, Ohio Horror Host Baron Von Porkchop who told me he was extremely honored to have been asked to do so, and he did all his research and watched many of Superhosts skits and shows and did a fantastic job of honoring a Host legend that paved the way for him and many others who followed. It was amazing to be in the crowd watching a Host I created inducting a super iconic Host from our home state and hearing people cheer as Superhost was officially added in and many of his fellow peers and fans witnessing this special moment. The only let down is that I wished Marty Sullivan could have made it and accepted his award as it would have been an honor to have met him in person. So if your reading this, Superhost, I hope that you enjoyed Baron Von Porkchop’s speech as it was our pleasure to pay you the respect that you deserve.

The strangest thing about Superhost for me is I cannot remember how I first heard about him, but I feel like I have known about him for many years including when I was a teenager. I am going to guess I had to have read about him in a magazine, newspaper or saw him on the news or even heard about him from some of my Horror Host friends. One thing is for sure, once I was able to track down episodes of his show I was all over them as he is considered a Horror Host legend here in Ohio and I had to see him in action.  From day one I was not disappointed as it seemed to me that he was having a blast doing the show, and I could see how viewers at the time made it must see television. Superhost is a real master of the Horror Hosting craft as he talked to the viewers and made watchers feel like they were his friend.  He would poke fun at himself as well as the night’s movies doing what he had to do to get them to laugh. It’s a shame that Superhost never made it to the world of comic books as he would make for an amazing all ages comic character…someone should do this….maybe Sparkle Comics could do a comic one shot about his silly adventures one day. But one thing is for sure, Superhost is well respected among Ohio fans and fellow Horror Hosts coast to coast. Here is to you Marty Sullivan for being a true icon in the world of Horror Hosting.

So its that time when the Sups Is On and we need to take a look at episodes I own of Superhost with many of these episodes coming from Trade Lists and friends like James and Darren who made this update even better with episodes they have sent me. I do not give these episodes a star rating and the host segments are written by me with the films coming from our pals at IMDB. So lets watch some Horror Flicks with the one and only hero of TV Superhost! Oh and to keep it easy I am just going to call all episodes Mad Theater to keep it simple. I also want to say I did have a DVD called Superbits that featured moments from the show but decided to leave it off of the review.

Mad Theater: Attack Of The Crab Monsters
Starring – Richard Garland & Martha Hunter       Not Rated       1957

Host: Superhost reads fan mail about getting his show and they are all made up and silly and then he promises that later in the show he will have big name guests, and then ushers us into the movie! Superhost comes back and chats with Herman Pincher, an expert in crabs, and the interview goes bad as Herman is crazy and thinks he is on the Tonight Show. All the while we are treated to cheesy Superhost bumpers where he always welcomes us back to the night’s film. At one point Superhost eats some crabs and says that’s how they should have dealt with the crab monsters from the nights movie. After the movie Superhost changes out of his costume and ends the show.

Movie: A group of scientists travel to a remote island to study the effects of nuclear weapons tests, only to get stranded when their airplane explodes. The team soon discovers that the island has been taken over by crabs that have mutated into enormous, intelligent monsters. To add to their problems, the island is slowly sinking into the ocean. Will any of them manage to escape?

Note from Matt: This appears to be a fan reproduction of the episode and is missing all commercials.

Mad Theater: Frankenstein
Starring – Boris Karloff & Dwight Frye     Not Rated       1931

Host: Superhost opens the show giving us a few facts about Frankenstein and shows off some drawings of The Monster that were sent to him before going to the movie. Next up Superhost shares some local events that are happing around town like plays, festivals, haunted houses and fish fries! And his announcements for the community events lasts break after break and he does so with grace and charm. And sadly his final bumper is missing from this episode.

Movie: Henry Frankenstein is a doctor who is trying to discover a way to make the dead walk. He succeeds and creates a monster that has to deal with living again.

Mad Theater: Most Dangerous Game
Starring – Fay Wray & Joel McCrea       Not Rated     1932

Host: Superhost tells a few fun facts about the night’s movie and tells the viewers that it’s a really good movie! And sadly that’s all we get to see of Superhost from this episode as the person who recorded it removed his segments and the commercials.

Movie: After their luxury cabin cruiser crashes on a reef, Bob Rainsford finds himself washed ashore on a remote island. He finds a fortress-like house and the owner, Count Zaroff, seems to be quite welcoming. Apart from Zaroff’s servant Ivan, the only other people present are Eve Trowbridge and her brother Martin, also survivors of their own shipwreck. Other survivors are missing however and Rainsford soon learns why. Zaroff releases them into his jungle island and then hunts them down in his grisly “outdoor chess” game! Then after Martin disappears, Bob realizes that he and Eve are to be the next “pawns” in Zaroff’s deadly game.

Note from Matt: It’s always a shame when an episode of a Horror Host program is uncovered and who ever recorded it removes all or even some of the Host segments. Just really makes you wonder what Superhost did in this episode.

Mad Theater: Wizard Of Mars
Starring – John Carradine & Vic McGee       Not Rated       1965

Host: Superhost starts with reading a letter that had a triva question and gives the answers.  The film is the second feature of the day, and he gives us quick little facts about it and rushes us to the movie. Superhost welcomes us back to the show after a break but does say to us viewers that it’s a great day outside and that kids should be outside playing, but also make sure to say or stay in and watch the movie. We next join Superhost as he reads off some local events that are going on in the coming weeks, and so he does for a few more breaks. Superhost then closes the show and tells the viewers that next on is King Kong and wonders why his boss didn’t give him that to host.

Movie: In 1974, four astronauts, silver shoe-clad Dorothy, overweight Doc, goofy Charlie, and wooden Steve, crash land on Mars when taking readings, with only four days of supplies. They must try to survive on the surface, which is barren except for some canals with huge maggots with fins. After embarking through a golden igneous cavern, braving a storm and finding an unmanned Earth vessel, they discover a golden road which leads them to the unchanging ruins of what was once a beautiful Martian city. The Martians are modeled on the Flatheads of Oz, and their collective consciousness, the “Wizard,” forbids them to leave until they perform a very small task.

Mad Theater: Wolf Man
Starring – Lon Chaney Jr. & Bela Lugosi     Not Rated     1941

Host: Superhost starts the show off by reading a letter from a fan who sends his list of favorite Horror Movies and on that list is The Wolf Man that happens to be the day’s film! We next join Superhost as he says alerts us to some local events happening and shows us a drawing a fan did of Frankenstein’s Monster! And when we see him again Superhost must spend more time telling us about events going on around Halloween, and this goes on for a few more breaks. And sadly his final break is missing from the episode.

Movie: Upon the death of his brother, Larry Talbot returns from America to his ancestral home in Wales. He visits a gypsy camp with village girl Jenny Williams, who is attacked by Bela, a gypsy who has turned into a werewolf. Larry kills the werewolf but is bitten during the fight. Bela’s mother tells him that this will cause him to become a werewolf at each full moon. Larry confesses his plight to his unbelieving father, Sir John, who then joins the villagers in a hunt for the wolf. Transformed by the full moon, Larry heads for the forest and a fateful meeting with both Sir John and Gwen Conliffe.

Superhost really is a great Horror Host and really has inspired many creative people from the Cleveland, Ohio area and beyond. Superhost has a friendly and calming voice that made the viewers feel like one of his close friends. And what shows that Superhost was such a great Host with a great show is the fact he lasted on air for two decades and is ranked as one of Cleveland’s top Hosts and ranks up with the likes of Ghoulardi, The Ghoul, Son Of Ghoul, Big Chuck & Little John and Mad Daddy to name a few. So to sum it all up, Superhost is a true Icon in the world of Horror Hosting and deserved to be inducted into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame! But sadly for our next update we must leave the world of Horror Hosting behind and travel to the world of Bones! Yep we will be talking an epic journey with Malibu Comics and their series simple called Bones. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you soon for an adventure with a skeleton hero!

Look In The Sky! It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s Hawkman!

DC Comics has been in the comic book game since 1934, and for the longest time was the top comic company in the world until Marvel Comics came onto the scene in 1939. Over the years, they have traded places off and on being the top company in the game. DC Comics has brought the world some amazing superheroes like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Flash who over the years have all been on many fans’ top Superhero lists as well as have done their share of bringing in money and readers to DC, but while those heroes are household names, many of DC’s heroes slip under the cracks like Red Tornado, who I covered last year. For this update I am going to cover another hero that I feel does not get the respect and attention he deserves. I am talking about the Justice League Of America and All-Star Squadron member Hawkman, who has always been one of my favorite DC heroes and who I feel has been underrated by comic readers for many years. So let’s travel to the DC Universe and enter that Shadow War as we talk about Hawkman and breakdown his 4 Issue Mini-Series from 1985! I hope you have packed a snack as this one might get a little long as Hawkman has been around for many decades and has lots of cool stuff to talk about.

The DC Universe is filled with many Earths, each with a different history for characters and even in some cases names are changed and even characters have died with new people stepping into the shoes of the fallen hero. But while Katar Hol and Fel Andar have been Hawkman, for me, the only guy to wear the bird mask is Carter Hall! Back in the days of ancient Egypt, Prince Khufu was kidnapped and killed by his arch nemesis Hath-Set, and in the 1940’s Khufu is reincarnated as Carter Hall, an archaeologist from America who soon gains the memories of his past life and is able to figure out that his life means more to the world and that his enemy of the past is also wandering the Earth as a scientist who has kidnapped a woman. This causes Hall to become a costumed hero named Hawkman! As Hawkman he wears a mask, wings and created a gravity belt out of Nth Metal. After saving the woman Shiera and falling in love with her, she later becomes Hawkwoman! Hawkman would go on to be a member of the super hero team Justice Society Of America and even joins the Air Force and fights in World War II. Along with the JSA during the 1950’s, he took on Congress when they wanted all the heroes to tell them their real identities causing the bulk of the team to retire for some time. It wasn’t until the 1960’s when the JSA comes back and somehow meets with Earth-1’s Justice League Of America, who, for some reason over the years keeps the kids of the JSA members from joining the team and is thus responsible for the creation of the team Infinity Inc. Due to the massive age difference and after the events of Crisis On Infinite Earths, they explain that Hawkman’s aging has slowed down thanks to a super villain who put a spell on the heroes and their spouses…yep now that’s an evil deed, am I right? Now during modern times both Carter Hall Hawkman and the original Hawkman Katar Hol were active in the same Earth, and over the years Hawkman has died, been brought back, joined teams like the Justice League of America, become a terrorist and so much more! This is just a very brief look at Hawkman as sadly the world of DC Comics is one mixed with lots of silly different Earths and reboots that sadly, for the most part, becomes a tangled mess of nonsense. But one thing I must stress is that Hawkman is one kick butt character, and if you like the brief bio I supplied you readers with, make sure to visit your local comic shop and buy a few comic issues that star this mace-carrying winged hero. Check out the images below to see Hawkman in all his glory!

In 1984, Kenner released the first series of their DC Super Powers toy collection, and in that first wave was Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and others that included Hawkman! When I was a youngster, my brother and I tried our best to get any and every Super Powers we could find at local stores with many of ours coming from Hills or Children’s Palace.  The first figures from this series I owned were Superman and The Joker that I got on the same day! Later on I would get Hawkman, who was one of my favorite figures from that toy line. It’s funny to think that as a kid, even though I read comics with Hawkman in them, I always made him super strong in battlers, like he has Superman level power! In 1991, Kenner, the maker of the Super Powers figures, reused many of the figure molds when they started making figures based on the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves and the body of Hawkman was used for the Dark Warrior as well as Little John. In 1990, Toy Biz made a figure that looked like a cheap knock off of the Kenner Super Powers Hawkman, and it stunk up toy shelves. These two figures are only a small amount of toys made based on Hawkman, and for me are the two I remember the most from my youth. Check out the pics below to see what they look like.

Back in 1967, Filmation created a cartoon called “The Superman/Aquaman Hour Of Adventure” that featured 6 minute cartoons featuring the likes of Hawkman sandwiched between longer Superman and Aquaman toons. Hawkman would also go on to star in many other cartoons through the ages like Challenge Of The Super Friends, Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, Justice League Unlimited, The Batman, Batman: The Brave And The Bold and Young Justice, to name a few. It’s crazy to think that Hawkman has been a star in so many cartoons that spanned over many decades, and he is not nearly as remembered or loved by comic readers and those who grew up watching these toons. But again,, while he is not as popular as Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman the winged hero Hawkman still has made his mark on the world of cartoons.

Besides cartoons, Hawkman has also appeared in many live action shows and showed that while DC might not treat him with that much respect, young fans did indeed like Hawkman. In 1979, two episodes of a show called Legends Of The Superheroes were made that had Adam West and Burt Ward once more playing Batman and Robin. They were joined by many other heroes like Captain Marvel, Green Lantern, and yes, Hawkman who was played by Bill Nuckols and wore the classic outfit and hammed it up for both silly comedy kid friendly episodes that were called “The Challenge” and “The Roast”. Years later Hawkman would appear in several episodes of the hit show Smallville and was well liked by viewers, but sadly just like in the comics, they decided to kill the character off in Smallville. He was played by actor Michael Shanks. Hawkman, played by Falk Hentschel, would then go onto be in many other modern CW Shows based on DC Comic heroes like The Flash, Arrow and Legends Of Tomorrow and while he has yet to be in any live action films, here is to hoping that sometime in the future he will appear in a Justice League film. My favorite live action version of Hawkman is hands down from Legends Of The Superheroes as it’s super cheesy and his over dubbed loud hawk yell is the stuff of legend when it comes to bad TV from the 70’s, complete with laugh track. Plus while the other actors did a great job in their roles, they did not have the muscles and build to pull off the character right. Below are images from all the actors who have played Hawkman on these TV Shows and each have made their mark on the legacy of the character.

I first discovered Hawkman thanks to old comics that came from garage sales, and I was drawn in as I found the comics weird and entertaining. Besides the comics, the Kenner Super Powers figure was also a very big introduction to the character for me. Much like many of the Superheroes from DC, the main issue is that they have silly costumes and names and always seem dated as they fear making major changes to them and this causes lots of modern comic readers to dismiss some of the characters as out of time. But for me, the outdated look and Boy Scout attitude is what makes DC characters so different from those of Marvel. Over the years of buying comics from all the local shops, I always find myself picking up copies of All Star Squadron or Justice Society from .25 and $1.00 bins if Hawkman is on the cover as I enjoy reading about him trying to save the day. So this update is for Hawkman and Hawkwoman and all the creators behind them from the past and present.  While he might not be an A-List hero, he is a great hero who this comic reader has always enjoyed and it’s because of their hard work that made him so awesome.

So we are at the point of this update where we will be reviewing some Hawkman in the world of DC Comics.  The series I chose was The Shadow War Of Hawkman because I remember reading it when I was a youngster and want to see how well it holds up now that I am in my 30’s. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having all the issues in stock and allowing me to be able to re-read them as it’s been too long. One thing I want to stress to all you comic collectors reading my blog is don’t be like me and sell off your collection at an early age to get money to help a girl you were dating at the time.  While I enjoyed my time with that girlfriend, I also have always regretted getting rid of 90% of my collection. With that, let me also once more remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get your flight wings on, as we are going to war with Hawkman and Hawkwoman!

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 1  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 1 of 4

Mousy Mason is a down on his luck cat burglar who one stormy night is visited by a race of mean aliens who bully him into taking a heist for them to steal the anti gravity units from Hawkman and Hawkwoman and threaten him with harm if he refuses. Meanwhile in the city Hawkman and Hawkwoman stop a gang of crooks who have been targeting the elderly, and after making short work of them, they fly off and chat about their old home planet and whether it’s right to read the minds of humans if it is to help them. The pair change into their human identities of Carter Hall and Shiera and start to go to work as they need to set up an exhibit for Mavis Trent and her press agent Joe Tracy, but before they can start, an alarm goes off that someone has broken into their home.  Hawkman heads home to bust the intruder, and Shiera stays behind to work. As Hawkman gets home, he finds Mousy, and the pair are attacked by the aliens who murder Mousy with their vaporize gun and as quickly as they attack, they retreat. Hawkman figures out that this was just a distraction and rushes back to Hawkwoman’s side at the museum but finds that the aliens have been there and that they have used their terrible vaporize gun on Hawkwoman who is now nothing more than a shadow on a wall!

This first issue is as good as I remember it being and showcases why Hawkman is an amazing character that is underrated! The plot of this issue has Hawkman, who has just patched things up with Hawkwoman, at war with himself over the use of his alien powers to look into the minds of man. As he is dealing with that, a race of aliens with a powerful burning vaporizing gun have targeted our heroes as they want the technology that allows them to fly. Hawkman is a man deep in thought who knows that helping people is the right cause, but hates the fact that he can enter the mind of man and see what they are thinking. He is also very much homesick as he misses his home planet and it’s clear that all of this has been a strain on his relationship with Hawkwoman even though they are both very happy being with each other. While battling his own inner thoughts, when it comes to fighting Hawkman in this issue pulls no punches beating up thugs and aliens alike. Hawkwoman is such a cool character who clearly loves her mate as well as fighting crime.  She also has a sense of humor and sadly while fighting against aliens who attack her while at her day job, she is “killed” by their zap gun or so it seems. The aliens in this issue are true scumbags who use their weapons and powers to try and intimidate and kill those who they think are in their way.  They even kill two people just so they can steal a belt! Mousey Mason is just a crook who makes a living breaking into peoples homes, and he becomes the target of the aliens as they use him to distract Hawkman so they can attack Hawkwoman. This poor guy loses his life trying to help battle the aliens that have forced him to enter the home of Hawkman. Mavis Trent and Joe are great side characters with Mavis being a snob who has a crush on Hawkman and Joe Tracy is her smart mouth press agent who likes to tease her as it almost appears he has a crush on her. The cliffhanger of this issue, the “death” of Hawkwoman, is really well done and leaves the reader wanting to find out if she really is dead, and if so, how is Hawkman going to avenge her! The part that works really well for this comic is the fact that writer Tony Isabella mixes this superhero comic well with elements of drama, action, science fiction and even some comedy making for a solid read for fans of Hawkman. The cover for this first issue is fantastic and very eye catching and would surely draw in fans of the character as well as first time readers. The interior art is done by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and is great stuff and showcases the great 80’s DC art style. Over all this is a great comic and held up very well for this comic reader and now makes me very much look forward to reading issue 2 again after all these years.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 2  ***
Released in 1985    Cover Price .75     DC Comics    # 2 of 4

Eddie Hamilton is a young man who dares to dream of one day being a superhero.  He has the power to grow wings and fly if he thinks hard enough about it and even has a name he wants to be known as, The Icarus Kid! While training to control his power of flight in the farmlands of Kansas, those pesky aliens show up and use a new gun to shoot Eddie from the sky, and the blast burns him alive…the aliens have killed yet again! Meanwhile Hawkman is alone in the Museum room looking at the brunt shadow on the wall that was once his wife.  As he leaves the room he asks police Captain Frazier if he could chat with him for a moment, and Hawkman even snaps at artist Mavis Trent as he does not want to speak to the woman who has a crush on his alter ego. Hawkman opens up to Frazier and tells him who he really is and allows him to witness as he disposes of alien tech that he fears is the cause of this alien attack. Hawkman asks the Frazier to keep his men at the museum as he goes off the fight the aliens alone. Hawkman talks to the birds around his house and finds a hint of radiation and is able to pick up the aliens trails that leads him to the side of a mountain that is the hideout for the aliens. As Hawkman enters and make short work of some of the aliens, he soon finds that these aliens are from his own home planet of Thanagar and are working on orders from their government that wants them to conquer the Earth first and then the rest of the universe!

This second issue has the plot thicken as we learn why the aliens are attacking and that they are attacking superheroes in order to get them out of the way before the invasion that’s planned happens! This issue has Hawkman gearing up to avenge his wife’s murder as the aliens are killing and gearing up to attack the planet Earth in order to take it over. The shocking part of this issue is that the aliens are from Thanagar, the same home planet of Hawkman and Hawkwoman, and that their home world is now on a path to try and take over the universe! It also is shown that the alien who killed Hawkwoman was not supposed to, he was only told to capture her! Hawkman in this issue is heartbroken over the loss of his wife and wastes no time getting rid of the high powered tech he has hidden and sets out to bring the aliens to justice. Captain Frazier is a good cop who Hawkman respects, and our hero tells him his true identity as well as gets his help to keep the museum safe just in case the aliens come back. Mavis Trent is upset that the superheroes have caused her some delays and bad press for her art showing, but does seem to have something important that she would like to tell Hawkman, but he just blows her off. Joe Tracy in the issue really is a terrible human as he is more worried about bad press than he is that a brave hero just died before his very eyes. The aliens are super cold blooded and are cruel to mankind and even toward each other, and they clearly have lots of high tech weapons that could kill anyone who gets in their way. And poor Eddie Hamilton aka The Icarus Kid is killed before he can truly be a hero of the world. This issue is really great and had enough drama mixed into the action to build the mini series’ story up. The cover is great as is the interior art once more done by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala, making this second issue just as good as the first. This issue holds up to my childhood memories, and I can’t wait to see if issue 3 does as well.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 3  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics    # 3 of 4

The alien who killed Hawkwoman gets a punishment from his fellow kind as they make his mind and soul bound to a computer, making him a living instrument of information and mind reading. Meanwhile Hawkman is trying to get answer from the aliens he has just beat up and finds that his home world has lost all technology and that they are no longer advanced in the ways of weapons and that’s why they targeted him and his wife. As Hawkman gets his answers, he is attacked by a group of the aliens who beat him down and bind him and just as they are going to steal his anti gravity belt, the aliens are blasted by a stun blast fired by Hawkwoman!! The heroes escape the base and after they are safely away, they take a moment to catch up with each other and Hawkwoman explains that she was not killed in the museum, and it was Mavis Trent who was killed as the artist was the one in the costume, and after she was murdered, Hawkwoman quickly dressed as her in order not to be attacked and killed herself. The pair decided that they can not get any help from anyone as they cannot allow the enemy to find out about their hidden ship and tech and travel to JLA Headquarters in order to erase their history and to do so ,they must stun Aquaman and Elongated Man, but just as they are to erase their history from the computers the screen shows a message from the aliens who have found their old war ship and are on their way to attack and kill them!

Wow, this issue is a roller coaster of emotions as we go from thinking Hawkwoman is dead to finding out she is alive and well! This issue’s plot has Hawkman and Hawkwoman attacking and retreating the aliens and having to sneak around and attack fellow Justice League Of America in order to keep the war they are fighting in the shadows and protect the Earth and all the people on it including those with super powers. The aliens meanwhile have figured out a way to read minds and all the world’s computer information and have highjacked the hidden spaceship of the Hawks and are on a path to use the ship to kill them! Hawkman in this issue is filled with rage and wants to not only get information from the aliens but also wants to beat them to death! His mood changes when he finds that his wife is alive, and he is filled with joy but also has the will to save the world from an unknown terror that they do not know is coming. Hawkwoman is alive and is sad that Mavis Trent died in her place, but also knows that she must pull it together and with her husband stop this Shadow War. One cool thing also in this issue is having Aquaman and Elongated Man in cameos, and it’s sad as both Hawkman and Hawkwoman feel bad that they had to stun their friends with guns in order to achieve their goal. This third issue also does a great job of building the story of the Shadow War and makes the readers wonder how Hawkman is going to stand up to a space ship that is hellbent on killing him! The cover for this issue is as well great and has Hawkman fighting with both Elongated Man and Aquaman, and the interior art once more rocks and is done by the team of Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and is such great 80’s DC style. With the alien ship heading toward our heroes and this issue as well holding up to this long time comic reader, I think it’s time to read the final issue in this mini series.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 4  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 4 of 4

The aliens of Thanagar have started their war with earth in secret as they have used their mind reading computer to get the dirty little secrets of people in power and will use it against them unless they go along with what they say. Meanwhile Hawkman and Hawkwoman leave the JLA Headquarters with Aquaman and Elongated Man still knocked out and beam themselves aboard their old ship and are met with aliens who want them dead! Our heroes fight off the waves of gun firing aliens and make their way to the ships second control room in order to override its controls as they find out the ship is going to crash land in Detroit on purpose starting the war and making a statement for all mankind. While Hawkwoman works to overwrite the controls, Hawkman battles an alien and gets stabbed as they also cut off the air supply to the ship. Hawkman wounded takes over the controls and does what he thinks is best to save lives and that is he blows up his own ship just as he and Hawkwoman beam down to Earth and the explosion kills all but one of the aliens as the leader of this task force also beams down, but he meets his fate at the hands of the mega mind reading computer who uses all its last energy to blast it’s one time captain. The bleeding and wounded Hawkman and his wife Hawkwoman have saved the world from a war they did not even know was happing. In the end the new artist hired at the museum is shown to be a spy from Thanagar and the Shadow War has really just began!

The Shadow War comes to an end thanks to the heroic efforts of Hawkman and Hawkwoman who had to put their own lives, friendships and even ever returning to their home planet on the line, and the sad part is no one besides the aliens they beat and themselves will ever really know what they did to save the Earth. This final issue in the mini series plot has Hawkman and Hawkwoman beaming aboard their highjacked war ship and beating up some aliens and then blowing up their own ship that has been set to blow up Detroit by the aliens! Hawkman in this issue once more shows that he is a skilled fighter, but also is super smart and can use his brain to also defeat his enemies. Hawkwoman as well shows that she is smart and super skilled in combat and proves why she is not a sidekick but a full fledge equal in the superhero partnership. The Aliens from Thanagar so wanted to kill our heroes as well as start the war full force showing that they were cold blooded and murder and mayhem was what they enjoyed. While they might now have been super powered super villains they still were a major threat to the world as we all know and love it. The thing that works so well about this comic mini series is that at all times the odds seem against Hawkman and Hawkwoman and they seem to be trying so hard not to alert Earth to the battle and war that is gearing up to crash down on them, and all this dread and heroic moments makes this feel really more epic than it should feel. And this is why as a kid I really liked this comic series and even now as an adult I find myself still very much enjoying it. The cover of the fourth and final issue is well done and has our heroes beating up the aliens and the interior art once more is crafted by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and show that they are a pair of artist that work so well together. Over all this is a great read for fans of the character Hawkman as well as those who enjoy 80’s era of DC Comics as this is a cool mini series that showcases why Hawkman is still around to this day in comics, no matter how neglected I feel he is by DC. Below is some cool artwork from this cool comic series, so check it out!

So now that we have witnessed Hawkman win the Shadow War, I think it’s time we walk away from the world of DC Comics and their underrated heroes and into a world with giant monsters that come from the deep where our only hope is giant two person controlled robots….that’s right, we will be entering the world of Pacific Rim! Thanks for spending some time with me here at Rotten Ink, and I really do hope you friends and readers enjoy my updates as much as I do writing them. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update as we talk about war ready robots!