The Rotten Ink From The Mummy’s Tomb

The wind is blowing sand all around the great pyramids of Egypt and the air is hot and dry.  For this update to Rotten Ink we will be heading to the world of the unknown to take a look at the Universal Monster The Mummy in honor of the new film in theaters starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella.  The Mummy that is rebooting the series for Universal and will kick off the new Dark Universe! The Mummy is one of those monster characters that is overlooked by many classic monster lovers as he is always overshadowed by Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and The Wolf Man, and my girlfriend Juliet has always wondered when The Mummy will get its time to shine and be the next “it” monster like zombies have been for so long now…and she is right, it is time for The Mummy to be in the bloody spotlight and claim his throne at being a major draw at the cinema and home media market again! During this update I will cover not only the 1932 film and its sequels but also The Mummy in pop culture and merchandise and everything I can in between! I have decided that I will not cover the 1999 Mummy reboot by Universal as I feel those are not connected to the old films in any way and are just goofy and fun adventure films. So get your wrapping ready, walk like a Egyptian and let’s take a look at The Mummy…yeah, I just made a Bangles song reference.

In 1931 Universal had major hits with Dracula and Frankenstein, and they were itching to have another Horror mega hit the following year.  So they once more started to look at horror novels for inspiration, and producer Carl Laemmie Jr. was inspired by the legends of the Curse Of The Pharaohs and hired Richard Schayer to find this novel and make him a Egyptian Mummy film. After looking and reading many classic novels none was found so they decided to come up with their own original story, but many have noticed that the story by John L. Balderston for The Mummy has many resemblances to the story “The Ring Of Thoth” written by Arthur Conan Doyle and no credit was given. After taking elements from a nine-page treatment called “Cagliostro” screen writer John L. Balderston was hired to pen the movie now being called “The Mummy”. The script took elements from multiple sources planned for his movie and Balderston added his own touches and made changes. Once written, they brought in director Karl Freund, who was the cinematographer on Dracula and who was making is American directorial debut with this film. Casting was also set as Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Edward Van Sloan and others were brought in for their respected parts and make up master Jack Pierce was brought in to design and create the look of The Mummy. The filming was your typical Hollywood horror production with Karloff having the most trying time of having to sit for hours in the make-up chair to be done up as The Mummy. The Mummy was a box office hit when released and has become one of the respected and well loved Universal Monster films of its golden age, and to this day Universal itself has lots of love for The Mummy and its legacy. I also want to note that this film, much like Dracula, uses Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky as its main theme and when released in 1932 it was joined by such other horror classics as Freaks, White Zombie, Island Of Lost Souls, The Old Dark House, Doctor X and The Mask Of Fu Manchu to name a few.

After The Mummy became a box office hit for Universal, they decided that a sequel was needed, and with it they did away with The Mummy Imhotep and introduced a new Mummy named Kharis in the film “The Mummy’s Hand” that was released in 1940 and had actor Tom Tyler as Kharis.  This film would spawn three sequels based on his terrifying killing ways. The next film in the series was released in 1942 called “The Mummy’s Tomb” and had Lon Chaney Jr. as Kharis who would go on to play the character in the remaining two films in the series. 1944 saw the release of “The Mummy’s Ghost” and “The Mummy’s Curse” and with that came an end to the mainline classic movies based on this popular Universal Monster. That is, unless you count “Abbott And Costello Meet The Mummy” from 1955 as well as “The Mummy” reboot that started in 1999 that spawned two official sequels “The Mummy Returns” and “The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor” as well as a spin off series “The Scorpion King” as well as an animated series. Just this year, in 2017, Universal rebooted “The Mummy” again as part of their Dark Universe film series and had the stunning Sofia Boutella as The Mummy Princess Ahmanet. But I will not spend too much time on these sequels as we are here to chat about Imhotep and not the other Mummies of these films, but I did want to make you all aware of them. Check out the super cool VHS covers of the sequels released by Universal below.

When my brother Bryan and I were young, our Dad was really into watching old classic comedy teams like the Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy and of course Abbott & Costello, all of whom had some amazing bits of classic comedy. One of my all time favorite films of the latter has to be Abbott And Costello Meet The Mummy as for some reason I could never get enough of the film.  I would watch it every time it was on TV and would rent it from the library and of course would buy it on VHS and DVD. The film was released in 1955 and was the last of the comedy team meeting a monster and the final original feature film they would make for Universal. The film is about a pair of Americans who were stranded in Egypt and find their ticket home when they find a Doctor who is searching the tomb of Princess Ara who is said to be protected by the Mummy Klaris! Throw in some thieves who want to steal the treasures, as well as Klaris coming alive and you have this silly goofy horror comedy. The Mummy Klaris in this film was played by Eddie Parker who was a stand in for Lon Chaney Jr. in previous Universal Mummy films and was a stuntman and bit part actor for Hollywood.  He mostly starred in westerns and horror pictures. Parker sadly died in 1960 of a heart attack but while not a household name, he left his mark in cinema. This film is lots of fun and has some good laughs as Abbott and Costello just meshed so well with Monsters as they played really well off the their scary nature and added the right about of humor to lighten up the moments of spooky horror. If you have not seen this film and enjoy classic horror, classic comedy and good family friendly entertainment make sure to check this film out as you can watch it on VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray or even streaming it or even better yet catch it on TV when Horror Hosts like Svengoolie host it!

I think its time we took a quick look at the man who made Imhotep come alive on the silver screen, Boris Karloff.  William Henry Pratt was born on November 23, 1887 in Camberwell, London and was the youngest of nine children. When young, he had bowed legs, a lisp and stuttered and had to work hard to beat the stutter but always had the lisp. He made his way through school and even attended King’s College London as he wanted to get a career in British Government’s Consular Service, but later decided to leave England and take farm labor jobs in Canada. And while working these jobs, he also found a love for acting in stage plays and this is also when he took the name “Boris Karloff” as he found the name to be exotic. When coming to America he would go on to star in minor parts in many silent films like The Lightning Raider (1919), The Last Of The Mohicans (1920) and Parisian Nights (1925) among many, many others. His big break came in 1931 when he played Frankenstein’s Monster in the Universal film Frankenstein and this film started him as being one of the biggest horror actors of the time. From their he did a score of amazing Horror Films like The Dark House (1932), The Mask Of Fu Manchu (1932), The Mummy (1932), The Ghoul (1933), The Black Cat (1934), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Son Of Frankenstein (1939) and The Ape (1940) to name a select few and all the while he as well was acting in crime and thriller films as well. By the 1950s Karloff was still in demand but the budget of the films he was in were doing down as was the quality as he took roles is such films as Frankenstein 1970 (1958), The Terror (1963) and Monster Of Terror (1965) among a few gems like the Roger Corman films based on Edgar Allen Poe stories as well as the TV Specials How The Grinch Stole Christmas! and Mad Monster Party?. His last major budget film was Targets (1968) and to many this was one of his best roles in many years. Karloff’s last film was in 1971 and was called Alien Terror and was a micro budget film. While he was a major star in the cinema, he was also in demand on TV as he hosted the show Thriller and The Veil as well as made appearances on shows like Route 66 and The Wild Wild West! Karloff also lent his voice to radio and spoken word recordings, plus he even hosted spooky stories in comic books and he really was a jack of all trades when it came to the world of media. In his personal life Karloff was married five times and had one child a daughter named Sara.  He was a man with a big heart as he would dress as Santa and hand out presents at a local children’s hospital during Christmas.  He was plagued with back problems due to the labor jobs he worked and was very outspoken about hating to have the makeup applied during filming the Universal Frankenstein films. Karloff also has two stars of the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, one for his movie work and one for his TV work and is still one of the most respect Horror actors of all time. Sadly the world lost Boris Karloff in 1969 at the age of 81 from pneumonia, and due to the fact he worked in so many films many were released years after his death. This is just a quick crash course about Karloff and I really think that if you love this actor and or classic Hollywood do yourself a favor and read up on his life and career. Gone but never forgotten, this update is for you Boris!

Halloween is my favorite holiday as it’s filled with candy, spooky stories and being able to dress up as your favorite monster. Besides Ben Cooper, one of the most popular mask makers was Don Post Studios run by… who else but Don Post. The company started in 1938 making halloween masks for costume parties and Halloween and became the first company to make and sell latex masks. They also made masks based on actors like William Shatner and Tor Johnson, with Shatner being later customized and used in the 1978 film Halloween and Tor’s being a very popular and top selling mask. But Don Post also made masks based on the Universal Monsters, and you guessed it, he made one based around The Mummy! The company also made hands that would complete your costume.  Take a look at the picture below and tell me that this was not a great mask done by the legend of mask making!?

The Mummy Mystery Game was made by Hasbro in 1963 and has you as the player having to play as The Mummy and explore ancient Egypt. Sadly, I do not own this game and have only seen it once for sale at Cinema Wasteland many years back.  It’s a shame because I would love to own it and get the Dayton Board Game Society back together to give it a good play through or two. Sad thing is, it’s pretty high end to get the game complete and will cost you over $200.00, but for fans of this classic horror icon it’s worth getting for the collection.

One thing I always remember were the old ads in comic books for model kits for Universal Monsters made by a company called Aurora in the 1960’s. The model kits were said to be easy to put together and would allow you to have your favorite monster on your shelf to look at and have your friends be spooked by their nightmare appearance. I remember being a kid and thinking that these were like action figures that moved and such and both my Mom and Brother having to explain to me that models don’t move, they are to look at. I remember seeing these at a garage sale once, and I ended up buying one and it fell apart in no time as I used it to fight other toys.  What monster you ask, well when I get to them, I will tell you. These models are huge collectors items and can fetch high prices for ones that are complete and in box and are the originals.  These models were re-released and can be found still online for decent prices. The Mummy kit is pretty cool and has him walking around his crypt! The models box art is also amazing and makes you wish that who ever drew them would have made a comic book based on the Universal Monsters in that style!

In 1969 toy company Marx made solid plastic figurines of the Universal Monsters, and The Mummy was of course in the line to get that treatment. The molds were later re-issued in 1991 and put out by Uncle Milton. The original releases were mostly done in blue and orange plastics, and the reissued ones were tan or glow in the dark. The ones I remember growing up were the glow in the dark ones, and they were being sold at a local pet shop called “Jack Aquarium and Pets” as decorations for your fish tank and for the most part all, they would always have an over stock of was Hunchback and Phantom of the Opera and The Mummy always seemed to be sold out. One of my friends named David J Getz had a few of the originals over the years so I did get to see them in all their prime.  They are very simple yet cool toys. You can pick up an original for around $20.00-$25.00 on Ebay and reissued one for around $8.00-$13.00.

Toy company Remco also put out a few Mummy figures in 1980 with a 9″ action figure that had moving arms that responded to a button.  The figures also had glow in the dark heads and nylon clothes and each monster came with an iron on patch and a glow in the dark ring. That same year, they also released a 3 3/4″ figure of The Mummy that fit perfectly with your Star Wars figures! I am the proud owner of the figure thanks to it being traded into Game Swap Kettering. They also did a hand puppet of The Mummy in a line called Monsters At Home. The 9″ figure goes for about $26.00- $31.00 loose on Ebay and the 3 3/4″ one goes loose for about $30.00-$55.00. And the Puppet goes for about $50.00- $175.00 loose all of course depending on condition.

Imperial made a Mummy figure that came out in 1986 as a part of their Classic Movie Monster line. The figure was hard plastic and had moveable arms and head and faintly looked like Eddie Parker who played The Mummy in “Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy”. I remember KB Toys in the Dayton Mall stocking these, and for Christmas 86 my Mom & Dad got me both The Wolfman and Frankenstein’s Monster.  I was super happy to have them and in fact still have them both to this day. And I was able to get The Mummy many years later at a Monster Bash Convention. The figures were cheap back then and have not aged well in the collectors market as you can easily pick up a loose figure of The Mummy on Ebay anywhere from $3.00-$15.00. This figure is well worth picking up and will forever have a place in my collection.

Many other items have been made in the image of Universal’s The Mummy through the ages from banks, action figures, t-shirts, jigglers, masks, bendies, belt buckles, rings, games, bobble heads and so much more. The Mummy’s image with the wrinkled face and bandaged body is iconic thanks to Universal and Jack Pierce who created the most known look for the character. Below are a few pictures of other cool new and vintage Mummy items that might get the attention of the monster kid inside your soul.

In 1993, Playmates struck a deal with Universal to mix the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with the Universal Monsters making for a fun toy line and a good way for kids of that time to discover the joys and horrors of the classic monsters. The Mummy was mixed with the rude dude turtle Raphael making this a funny mix up as The Mummy does not strike me as a partying pizza eater, but the figure works and for the most part is pretty cool looking. This monster turtle loose is not too expensive and you can get Mummael for about $8.00-$22.00 loose and again depending on condition.

Image walking into a gas station in 1963 to pay for your gas and being given a cool Universal Monster glass that featured many of the company’s famous monsters that included The Mummy! This was in fact a true occurrence as these promotional glasses were given out as premiums at stations. These glasses are amazing and for the time are well designed with slick spooky artwork. The Mummy’s has him standing in his crypt and has a green tent to the paint. But if you want one, it will cost you as they go for $85.00-$150.00 but is worth it if you collect this kind of stuff.

Crestwood House Monster Books are books that I use to love sitting and reading about each monster they showcased and all the classic films that featured them.  The books would also fill you in on old legends about that monster and even talk a little about the source material they were based on whether it be a urban legend or a novel. They put out a second series as well that were more like kid novels based on the movies like Bride of Frankenstein or Dracula’s Daughter. The library used to also have a huge sale where they would sell you a bag of books for so many dollars, and I was lucky enough to snatch up many of these titles when they decided they didn’t need them anymore and still have them to this day. I find myself from time to time still dusting them off and enjoying these fun books of my youth. And from the first batch of books, I got all those years ago from the library sale is one based on The Mummy! If you have young kids who are into monsters, I suggest getting them these.

1963 was the year that The Mummy Soaky was released.  What is a soaky, you ask, well they were plastic bottles in the shape of a character that’s head acted as the cap and inside the 11 oz bottle was bubble bath. The Universal Monsters line had the saying that they would spook you clean.  Imagine some terrified kid being told it was bath time and he knew that once he got into that tub he would have to come face to face with the plastic cold stare of The Mummy who he just watched on Shock Theater the night before just to get clean…this by far is one of the silliest products to bare The Mummy likeness. These bottles are semi rare and will cost you to collect.

Back in the 90’s Doritos Chips gave away Universal Monster stickers in the bags you would find at your local grocery store. And I found myself begging my mom to buy this snack food so that I would be able to collect the whole set of these stickers. So every time we would go to Ellis, a small store in downtown Waynesville, I would get a bag of these chips.  Now I should tell you, I HATE Doritos, always have and always will, and this shows you my love for Universal Monsters as I suffered through eating those nasty chips. I can remember getting The Mummy sticker for the first time, and I proudly put it away for safekeeping. No matter how hard I tried and how many bags of powdered death, I ate I never did get a full set of these stickers making all my efforts even that more sad. I still have the stickers to this day, and they are stored away at Independent B Movie studio waiting for the day that I will proudly display them in my home. Check out The Mummy sticker below and see just how cool these chip giveaways were.

The Mummy has also made it to handheld video games like the one made by Tiger has graced the hands of gamers. He has also been in pinball games at your local arcade and has been in a few PC games, and hopefully soon there will be a new game based around him for modern console systems as the 2017 movie could spark it.

But this is called Rotten Ink and is a blog mostly about comic books so we should talk about comics that are based around The Mummy that are licensed by Universal. Off the top of my head, I can only think of three, one being released by Dell in 1963 as part of their Movie Classics line called “The Mummy.”  It would also get reprinted along side Dracula. Monster Comics in 1991 also released a mini series based on The Mummy and finally Dark Horse comics had “Universal Monsters The Mummy” that was released in 1993. The Dell and Monster comics both are new stories about the Mummy while the Dark Horses release is just based one the script and is a movie adaptation. Once we cover this Dark Horse one here, we will have covered two of the three comic releases as we took a look at the Dell one a few years back. Over all these comics are worth reading if you’re a fan of this classic movie character.

Fast food hamburger joint Jack In The Box gave away figures based on the Universal Monsters and unlike Burger King, they included The Mummy into their promotion. The first batch came in 1999 and had The Mummy, who comes with his tomb that he rises from. Then in 2002 they put out a windup and pop out Mummy who once more came with his tomb, these figures are really cheap looking and kind of cheesy but still worth owning for those who love all things Universal Monsters. I don’t know much about these because there is no Jack in The Box in my area.

The Universal Mummy Series has also been a big part of Horror Hosting as the films were a part of The Shock Theater and Son of Shock movie packages that allowed local TV stations to air the films with a host. Many of the old shows are lost like Vampira, Sammy Terry, Dr. Creep and Melvin hosting these classic films, but a few have survived and some hosts have hosted them as late as 2016. But here is a host I have that brought you some films from the Universal Mummy Series that is Jeepers Creeper who hosted The Mummy’s Curse from many, many decades back.

I grew up in the age of breakfast cereal and some of the best out there were the General Mills Monster Cereals with Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Frankenberry and the wonders of how the world works when they put the cereal mascots along side Universal Monsters! Let’s first break down Yummy Mummy as a character and his cereal. Fruity Yummy Mummy is monster who is wrapped with bright color bandages and is a friendly monster to kids. The cereal has a fruit flavor to it and is my third favorite out the monster cereals, and sadly it did not last in the world of breakfast cereal as it was introduced in 1987 and by 1992, it was put into the cereal crypt until 2013 for one Halloween season it was released with all the other monster cereals. Growing up I can remember eating Fruity Yummy Mummy and even still have the send away crayon of the character.

So now that we have talked about the Universal Monster The Mummy and its impact in the world of horror cinema as well as the merchandise it spawned and delighted monster kids through out the ages, I think that it’s time that we tempt fate and enter the cursed crypt of Princess Ankh-es-en-amon and try not to awaken the mummy Imhotep as we enjoy reading and reviewing the Dark Horse Comics adaptation of the 1932 classic film The Mummy! But I see some hieroglyphics written here that say “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 with the dust in the air and the Halloween season just months away, let’s chill our blood with some good old classic horror!

The Mummy # 1  ***
Released in 1993   Cover Price $4.95   Dark Horse   # 1 of 1

Sir Joseph Whemple has made the discovery of a lifetime when he finds the mummified body of an Egyptian priest named Imhotep who was wrapped and entombed alive as he was in love with the Princess Ankh-es-en-amon, making him die a horrible death. Dr. Muller comes to the site and tries to warn them that this mummy is bad news and not to read the scroll that of course gets read by a bumbling assistant.  This awakens Imhotep who steals the scroll and slinks off into the night but not before driving the assistant crazy with fear. Many years pass and Frank Whemple and his friend Professor Pearson are called by Ardath Bey (The Mummy Imhotep) who is living a new life and who needs them to dig and find the tomb of Princess Ankh-es-en-amon and the pair does and gives all their finds to the Cairo Museum. But Imhotep soon slips into madness as he has a plan to kill a woman named Helen Grosvenor whom he thinks is the reincarnation of his Princess lover and its up to Frank and the aged Dr. Muller to save her from a fate worse than death and that’s to be a undead bride! But when Helen really does turn out to be Princess Ankh-es-en-amon it is she who saves her own life when she prays to the goddess Isis who sets the scroll ablaze and turns Imhotep into dust.

The Dark Horse creative team did a fantastic job with this adaptation of the 1932 film as they captured the mood and setting of the Universal film perfect and yet added their own touch in the presentation. The story is about Imhotep, a priest who was mummified and buried alive for his undying love for the princess and who is resurrected many years later and spends his time in modern times living as one of us.  When he meets a woman he finds is the reborn love of his life, he tries to make her is wife eternal and it’s up to a group of scientist not to allow this to happen. This is a classic horror tale that pits good vs. evil and has love to the main goal for either side to try to win the struggle. Imhotep is a wise and sinister Mummy who has adapted to modern times in order to blend in and find his goal of being reunited with his love, the thing is he does not care who he has to hurt in order to achieve his goal. Not to mention, he is an undead being who can pass for an older man and can walk among us and turn on us at any time. While he is bad, he also has a side that makes you pity him as he truly does love the Princess. Helen Grosvenor is a woman who is a damsel as she really is the reborn Princess Ankh-es-en-amon! Frank Whemple is our hero, and he is a classic hero who is noble and is trying to stop The Mummy for all the right reasons and along with his friends does just that. This horror comic is bloodless and its scares comes from the mood and subject matter as this is what Universal Monster movies where all about. The cover for this comic is amazing and captures the look of Boris Karloff as The Mummy and the interior art is great stuff and is done by Tony Harris who also did the cover! The things that work well in this comic are the art and they did a great job of adaptation the 1932 film into a comic book! The downside is that while it’s a classic film, it is very slow moving and this as well makes this horror comic very slow moving! But even though it moves at a slow pace, I would say that if you enjoy the movie make sure to get a copy of this Dark Horse Comic. Check out the artwork below to see they style of art that Harris brings to this adaptation.

Again sorry for the delay of this update as I have moved from the trusty apartment and now have a new home base and during the move my issue of The Mummy were misplaced. It’s also crazy to think that in 2017 we had a new Mummy movie from Universal that was supposed to kick off the new shared monster universe called The Dark Universe, but only time will tell if this will really happen as the box office and critics were not kind to this re-boot. Also weird is that this was the final Dark Horse adaptation of a Universal Monster that was made as we have taken a look at Dracula, Frankenstein and Creature From The Black Lagoon.  I wonder why Dark Horse never did make issues of The Wolf Man, Invisible Man or Bride Of Frankenstein? But that is a mystery that I am sure I will never know the true answer to unless I can chat with someone from Dark Horse who knows the answers. For our next update, we are walking away from Monsters and into the world of Robots as we will chat about Robotech: Defenders, a model kit line that ended up being the name sake of a popular Japanese import cartoon series. So until next time, read a horror comic or three, watch a Universal Monster movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! I think I am going to go watch a few horror films now!

Marvel At The Movies Part 3: Bring On The Superheroes!

The doors are once again wide open at the Marvel Theater, and they have welcomed Rotten Ink in once more to take a look at more comic adaptations of movies.  This time around we will be taking a look at comics based on movies that are based on Marvel Comics! Nowadays, Marvel is ruling the box office with their films based on The Avengers, X-Men, Captain America, Iron Man and Guardians of The Galaxy, proving that these comic characters are truly box office gold. It’s crazy to think that back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s Marvel was struggling to get their movies even made and the ones that were did not live up to what they wanted as Superman and Batman were clearly the powerhouses and led DC to being the go to company if you needed a comic character to make a movie around. For this update I have chosen three comic adaptations for Marvel films I grew up watching, not the more modern ones.  My picks are Howard The Duck, The Punisher and Captain America, all considered turkeys of films and all films I enjoyed watching over and over as a kid. So let’s find the perfect seat and settle in as we have some movies to talk about!

marvel-at-the-movies-3 update logo 00

Before we get too comfortable in our seats, I should thank Mavericks Cards And Comics and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock, and most importantly, I should also sound like a broken record and remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with our popcorn and favorite drink in hand lets take a look and talk about some fun comics based on Marvel characters!

Howard The Duck Movie Still 1Howard The Duck Movie PosterHoward The Duck Movie Still 2

In 1986, George Lucas produced Marvel Comics first hero to make it to the big screen.  It was not Spider-Man nor was it the Fantastic Four as those would have proven to have been wiser choices.  Instead, we got Howard The Duck! The film followed Howard The Duck as he is sucked to Earth, befriends a female rock band, and saves the world from a inter-dimensional being who wants to rule the world. Universal Pictures as well as Marvel Comics put a lot of time and money into promoting this film and even cast some pretty great names to star in it like Lea Thompson, Tim Robbins and Jeffrey Jones with Chip Zien providing the voice of Howard.  But none of these elements could help the film with critics and moviegoers who snubbed it. The film did very poorly for Universal, only bringing in a worldwide total of $37,962,774.00 on a $37 million dollar budget! I for one always enjoyed this film growing up.  I first saw it on HBO, and by that point my brother and I already had Marvel Comic issues of Howard and I even had the paperback novel adaptation on the film,  The film was super fun and any film that had Lea Thompson in her panties was a-ok in my book! I am not so sure why this film has as much hate as it does.  None of my schoolmates on the playground in Waynesville ever trashed this film nor did I really hear all that much hate for it until the social media boom of the 2000’s happened. So let’s see how this comic adaptation series holds up and if it can capture the cheesy magic of the film.

Howard The Duck Movie Special 1

Howard The Duck # 1  **1/2
Released in 1986    Cover Price .75    Marvel Comics    # 1 of 3

Howard The Duck has just gotten off work and is sitting in his apartment, drinking a beer and enjoying the new issue of Play-Duck, when he is suddenly pulled by an unknown force out into space and left stranded on Earth in Cleveland, Ohio right outside of a rock venue were the all female group Cherry Bomb is playing. After being lost in the city and seeing just how cold and uncaring it can be, he ends back up at the rock venue just as Bev, the lead singer of Cherry Bomb is having some words with their manager who has not paid the band for their past gigs! As Beverly is walking home, she is attacked by some hoods who have bad intentions and is saved by Howard who uses Quack-Fu, and a friendship is sparked as Howard stays the night at Beverly’s flat where he opens up about his life in his world that included him wanting to be a song writer. The next day Beverly brings Howard to the Cleveland museum to meet Phil, a friend of her who works there.  After that gives them no answers, Howard losses his cool and runs off Beverly, and now he is alone and mad in Cleveland!

This is a fun first issue that holds the charm and good nature of the film and its characters. The plot for issue one has Howard being zapped from his planet and trapped on Earth and becoming friends with Beverly who is a lead singer for a rock band who wants to try and help him return to his planet, but one little argument leaves the two at odds by the end of the issue. Howard The Duck is a blue collar kind of character who is stuck between living his dreams of being a creative person and “growing up” and working a adult job. He comes off short tempered but also noble as he risks his own life when a stranger is in danger. Howard is scared and yet trying to stay strong as he really just wants to go home and get away from Cleveland. Beverly Switzler is a sweet young woman who fronts a popular all female band called Cherry Bomb.  She is an independent person who lives on her own and is following her dreams. She also has a great heart as she takes in Howard who saved her from being attacked and wants to try her best to find a way to get him home. Phil Blumburtt is a total goof who so far wants to help Howard but also wants to help himself as he feels this could get him into the Science Hall Of Fame.  While a smart person, he is also very much a goof. Ginger is a jerk and is the manager of Cherry Bomb. Howard is mistreated by Metalheads and Bikers in this issue and all the while you find yourself cheering for this duck to make it out alright. The cover for this adaptation is just okay and is lacking the major eye catching appeal, while the art inside is done by Kyle Baker and is pretty good stuff.  Some of the characters loosely look like the actors who played them in the film. Over all a very good first issue and is a fun enjoyable ride with likable characters and some kid comic like charm. Well let’s see how issue two holds up!

Howard The Duck Movie Special 2

Howard The Duck # 2  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   # 2 of 3

Howard is now on his own and finds a job at a spa, but quits that quickly when he finds out he hates to swim and his boss is a fat jerk. While walking the streets, he ends up at a club were Cherry Bomb is playing and overhears Ginger bragging about stealing the band’s money and is talking sleazy about Beverly.  This angers Howard who beats him up, takes the bands money to give to them and gets it so now he is the band’s manager! Howard goes back to stay with Beverly, and they are soon visited by Phil and a Dr. Walter Jenning who is in charge of the Spectroscopic Laser that was the tool that pulled Howard to Earth! They decide that if they reverse the experiment that they might be able to send Howard home.  This turns bad when the laser explodes and brings something more dark and sinister to Earth and leaves Howard on the run from the cops for being a illegal alien. Beverly breaks him loose from jail, and Dr. Jenning is sick and needs help as he took the blunt of the blast and is also wanted for questioning as this last experiment was not on the record. The trio ends up at a small roadside diner where Jenning goes through a transformation and is now calling himself The Dark Overlord.  He wants to use the laser to bring more of his kind to Earth and take it over! As Howard and Beverly try to escape the diner and leave Jennings behind, they soon find the locals want to cook and eat Howard, but he is saved by Jennings who roughs up the diner and takes back the gold key that starts up the laser that Howard stole. In the end it’s clear The Dark Overlord is now in control and wants to bring the end of the world with the coming of his friends.

The story is starting to bubble now as we get some action and science fiction elements that bring the plot to life. This far the plot has Howard almost finding his way back home but something goes wrong and he is instead being held by the cops who came to the lab after an accident that leaves Dr. Jenning injured and possessed by a evil being called The Dark Overlord who wants to bring down the world and a new age of evil. Throw is a greasey spoon diner straight out of Superman II and you have this issue. Howard kicks some butt as he takes Ginger and his con man ways to an end and even starts to build a crush on Beverly who he feels drawn to, Howard sadly also is so close to going home yet so far away as the accident as well as The Dark Overlord is keeping his homecoming away. Beverly thanks to Howard now has her musical career going in the right direction, but also finds herself getting a crush on the three feet tall walking and talking duck Howard. Phil is as goofy as ever, but does come up with how and who brought Howard to Earth and comes up with the possible way to send him home. Dr. Jenning as a man is a bright and helpful man who wants to help get Howard home, but once transformed into The Dark Overlord he is a mad man with plans to bring the fall of man and has no time for people or ducks who get into his way. One odd thing that you must think about is how many characters seem not to be puzzled or freaked out about a walking and talking three foot tall duck, not to mention like in the movie the comic plays up on the sexual tension between Howard and Beverly! But cant say I blame Howard as getting a crush on a woman that looks like Lea Thompson seems easy to do. The diner is filled with some blood thirsty jerks as they really want to kill Howard and eat him, I mean really they take him to the kitchen and the cook is about to chop him up before The Dark Overlord saves his tail feathers. The issue is another fun one and this time around the cover is pretty fun as it has Howard about to be chopped up, the art is done by Kyle Baker again and is good stuff. So far this has been a solid adaptation mini series and one that makes me look forward to reading the finial issue to see just how it all ends! Ok I know as I have seen the movie many times but thats besides the point.

Howard The Duck Movie Special 3

Howard The Duck # 3  **1/2
Released in 1986    Cover Price .75    Marvel Comics    # 3 of 3

The Dark Overlord kidnaps Beverly and heads toward the lab to use the laser to bring his friends to Earth, as Howard rushes to her aid and along the way frees Phil from the back of a police car and the pair barrow a small plan and fly it to the lab. During this time Howard comes to terms that he has been sent to Earth for a reason and thats to save it from the upcoming doom that awaits it. Phil at the lab rigs another big laser to a cart and Howard must aim it at The Dark Overlord to stop him who is going to use Beverly as a host body for one of his friends coming from the other dimension. Howard drives the cart and heads for The Dark Overlord and as both his each other with a massive hit the spirit of the Overlord leaves the body of Jenning who tells Howard the only way to defeat these evil beings is to destroy the laser which would leave Howard stranded on Earth! Howard does what needs to be done and the laser is no more and the portal for the Overlords is closed for good. At the end Howard is now the manager of Cherry Bomb and he is content on being on Earth with his friends.

The final issue is as solid as the two before it and I must say that this adaptation over all truly does capture the feel of the film and keeps the humor and adveture nature. This issues plot is Howard going after The Dark Overlord who has kidnapped Beverly, and must man up (or is that duck up?) and choose between going home and saving Earth.Howard in this issue becomes a hero and puts his own needs in the corner so that the needs of many are meet and the human race is safe. Howard also learns a little about friendship as he and Phil must work together to accomplish their goal and also learns about love as he truly finds himself caring for Beverly. The Dark Overlord is a sinister being who does not care about anyone else besides his wants and needs and that is just for the world to end and his race’s time to begen. The downside to this powerful being is that while he can crush and shock his way into power he is easly defeated by a blast from a laser gun and goes down with out a fight really. Beverly in this issue goes from rock n roll chick to helpess damsel in distress back to rocker, she is very likebale as a character and I found myself routing for Howard to save her. Phil and Jennings are helpful in their roles and each offer the ideas that bring down the Overlord and this is fitting as neither character is over played. What I like best about this adaptation is that it holds true to the film as it captures the family fun comedy adventure and showcases the fact that Howard The Duck is a character kids could like. The art is done by Baker once again and it looks great and the cover is pretty good and is a nice way to showcase all the heroes and our issues main baddie! So far this is a great start to this Marvel At The Movies and I look forward to see what The Punisher and Captatin America adaptations have in store! Check out some Baker artwork below. 

Howard The Duck Movie Art 1Howard The Duck Movie Art 2Howard The Duck Movie Art 3

From the silly adventure of Howard The Duck now to the savage brutal action of The Punisher!

Dolph Punisher 1The Punisher (Dolph) Movie PosterDolph Punisher 2

In 1989 New World Pictures was the parent company of Marvel Comics and wanted to turn their popular anti-hero vigilante character The Punisher into a film that would blend action and comic adventure into one entertaining film starring Dolph Lundgren that could compete with DC Comics and Warner Brothers Superman and Batman films. But sadly, this film was not to be the major blockbuster hit they were hoping for as New World’s financial issues caused the film to never have a theatrical run in the United States (while it did overseas).  Its fate was Direct To Video and airing on cable. The film has The Punisher having to team with the mob bosses whose kids have been kidnapped by the Yakuza as well as dealing with his own war on crime. The film is straight action with lots of gunplay, hand to hand combat as well as some ninja action! The main reason people hated this film was the fact The Punisher didn’t wear the skull logo on his chest.  I can remember friends ranting about this all the time and saying the movie sucked.  I have always taken up for this film because if you removed the name The Punisher, people would have liked this it as a solid 80’s action film. I first saw the film via a video rental when our Dad rented it for us all to watch.  I can remember that my brother and I both liked it, and this sparked out want and need to get issues of Spider-Man that had him fighting The Punisher. The film was pretty brutal, and I am wondering how well this adaptation issue will capture the violence and grim nature of the story. So let’s not keep The Punisher waiting any longer and see just what this adaptation has to offer.

PUNISHER MOVIE SPECIAL 1

The Punisher # 1  **1/2
Released in 1990    Cover Price $ 5.95    Marvel Comics    # 1 of 1

Frank Castle and Jake are cops on a bust to bring down the Franco crime family, and while they capture some of the mob’s goons, they fail to capture their main target. Frank and Jake get the call they have been waiting for as they get to deliver a surprise to Franco before he flees the country. This makes the mob boss very angry and a hit is placed on Frank Castle and his family who all become victims of a car bomb. Five years pass as a vigilante named The Punisher has killed over 100 mobsters, and Castle’s old partner Jake thinks that Frank Castle is alive and is this punishing angel. Franco has now returned to America and wants to unite all the crime families into one corporation and sets up a big drug deal to bring them all together, but during the pick up they are attacked not just by The Punisher but also ninjas who steal the drugs and kill many in the process. The Punisher is getting his information from an alcoholic washed up stage actor as Jake gets a new partner in Sam, a young female rookie cop. Hideko Tanaka is the leader of the Yukuza, and along with her mute American adopted daughter, is responsible for the ninja attack.  They warn Franco and the crime lords that they are taking over the town and to insure this they kidnap all their children! The Punisher stays out of the war for a short time but with kids’ lives at risk, he takes the war to the Yukuza and warns them to free the children or else. The Yukuza set up The Punisher and his actor friend and torture them to try and get information as they think the crime bosses hired him to attack, The Punisher escapes and saves all the children except Tommy Franco who was taken by Yukuza members. The Punisher is captured by the cops and besides rescuing the kids, Jake finds that his friend Frank Castle is alive yet is a shell of the man he was. Franco has The Punisher rescued from going to jail and begs him to help him get his son back from Tanaka.  The pair enter her headquarters and wage war with her bloodthirsty men and her skilled mute daughter. The Punisher kills Tanaka with a knife to the head as she holds Tommy hostage and is forced to kill his father when the crime lord is about to try and kill him! In the end, The Punisher runs into the night as Jake and the police show up knowing that his war in crime is not over.

The first thing I want to say is that this is a really fun comic adaptation and adds in moments that were cut from the film.  It has a nice quick pace that captures the action feel of the film. The downside is that the art is pretty crappy and not my style at all, as well as the copy I have was misprinted which made it hard to read pages that were mis-cut during binding. The plot has The Punisher going to war with the Mob and being forced to join forces with them once a rival foreign mob comes to town and puts the lives of kids in danger. Frank Castle/The Punisher is a good man who becomes confused about justice when his family is brutally murdered and he is left for dead.  His one man war on crime has left hundreds dead and has crime lords shaking in their boots. It’s odd that he never went to his friend and partner Jake for help, but I think it goes to show you the man he was died alongside his family that day. I love how he steps up and helps the crime lords when their kids are put in danger showing that while he is a cold blooded killer he still has humanity left when it comes to the innocence of children. Jake and Sam are good cops who know that Frank is The Punisher and want to help him before the rest of the law catches up to him and puts him in jail! Franco is a slimeball who deals drugs and kills to achieve his goals in the world of crime. Even after The Punisher helps him, he still wants to try and kill the man who saved his child’s life as well as his own as Tanaka wants him to kill himself in order to save his son! Hideko Tanaka is the worst of the worst in the world of crime, and to prove how evil she is, she killed her own brother to please the Yukuza bosses! She has an army of well trained ninjas at her side as well as her daughter who is also cold blooded. Tanaka is the kind of bad girl who kills and gets enjoyment in not only the act but all the sadness that effects those who loved her victim. The rest of the characters all are well done from Tommy Franco to the drunk actor, they all survive a part and all are important to the story. Oe thing I want to point out is that in the comic for the end battle The Punisher does have to skull on his chest, and this is something that fans of the movie wanted…read this comic, and you’ll get him in the costume. The cover is amazing and eye catching.  The art inside is done by Brent Anderson and is kind of sloppy and characters look nothing like the actors who played them in the film. To sum it up, this is a solid adaptation and is well worth checking out for fans of the film as all the classic lines are present.  Check out some art below to see the style of Anderson.

Punisher Movie Special Art 1

He only punished the guilty, and now it’s time to take a look at a hero who fights for America!

Cap Movie 1Captain America 1990 Movie PosterCap Movie 2

This is the film Marvel Comics really thought would put one of their characters at the top of the box office, but like Howard The Duck and The Punisher, this one just could not get footing and was shelved for a couple of years and then quietly put out direct to video. 21st Century really wanted Captain America to be a huge success like Tim Burton’s Batman and spark a merchandise frenzy as well as sequels that would be box office gold.  Instead all they had was a cheesy film starring Matt Salinger as Captain America is a great yet laughable costume and Ohio born Scott Paulin as The Red Skull who most of the film does not have a Red Skull as he has plastic surgery to cover his face! The film had a hard time even getting made as it was passed around by production companies, and many dates were set for it to hit theaters throughout 1990 and 1991 before, as I said, it was released straight to home video. The film had the right heart with the costume being as close to the comic character’s as possible, and the casting of actors like Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox and the lovely Francesca Neri were wise choices – all the right things to do to make this a hit, but for all the good there was the mediocre script, the lack of Salinger in the suit and the terrible acting of Kim Gillingham that held it back. Everyone I knew who had seen this film when released on VHS said it was terrible, and for some reason I enjoyed it.  I think it all came down to the fact Captain America along with the Incredible Hulk have always been one of my favorite super heroes, and besides the made for TV films from the 70’s, this was as close to seeing Cap come alive I was going to get.  Plus my Dad bought me the movie on VHS for my birthday and that also made it special. The film is about Cap fighting the Red Skull during World War II and saving the world leaves him frozen and now in present day he is found and returns to stop The Red Skull who is now a terrorist. This is a total guilty pleasure film and is one I still watch from time to time when looking for a ham packed with cheese super hero film. So let’s see how the comic adaptation holds up to the film.

Captain America Movie Special 1

Captain America The Movie # 1  **1/2
Released in 1992    Cover Price $3.50    Marvel Comics    # 1 of 1

In 1936 the Nazi’s kidnap a young Italian boy who is super smart and a master piano player and murder his family in front of him.  He is taken to Dr. Vasari to be experimented on turning him into a killing machine. Dr. Vasari does not agree with testing on humans and runs for her life as the boy becomes the first human subject for the Super Soldier Formula. Flash to 1943, and the skinny Steve Rogers who walks with a limp has been picked by the government to be a test subject that might just be the tool to win the war.  Rogers is happy as he wants to help in the war but his girlfriend Bernie is not too happy and is filled with worry. Steve Rogers is picked up and taken to a secret lab where Dr. Vasari injects him with a new and improved Super Soldier Formula, but she is killed by a Nazi spy and he is forced into action fast as The Red Skull is about to set off a missile that would be heading straight for America and our nation’s capital! Captain America and Red Skull fight.  This leads to Captain America being attached to the missile and The Red Skull loosing a hand, but the White House is saved when Captain America at the last minute gets free and takes the missile off course and to the the frozen land up north. Youngster Nick Kimball was in Washington and was able to snap a picture of Captain America on the missile and this sticks with him over the years all the way till adulthood when he even becomes the President of the United States as he has always wanted to know who Cap was. Sam, who has been Nick’s friend since childhood, is now a reporter and has as well tried to find out who his friends mystery hero was. Captain America trusts no one and rushes to Bernie who is now old and meets her daughter Sharon who he stays with and gets a job at the gym she works for. Meanwhile The Red Skull along with an American turncoat named Millhouse come up with a plan to kidnap the president to experiment on him with mind control, but he also sends his daugther Antonella to kill Captain America and instead she and her goons just kill Bernie and Sam! This sets Captain America off and he travels to Italy to save the President and to stop The Red Skull! In the end with the help of The President, Sharon and a cassette tape of The Red Skull as a child playing piano they are able to stop him from blowing up Italy with a bomb more powerful than the atom bomb when The Red Skull flings himself off the side of his castle and into the cold waters below. Saving the day Steve Rogers now finds happiness with Sharon.

Besides some little changes this comic adaptation is just as cheesy and silly as the movie, but I must say that one of the pluses is that Steve Rogers stays in the Captain America suit a little more than he does in the movie! The plot of this adaptation is this Steve Rogers is injected with a super formula that turns him into the ultimate solider, he battles The Red Skull in his first mission and while a hero he is frozen in a block of ice and many years later thawed out and must stop The Red Skull who is now a terrible terrorist who know has a plot to kill our president. The major changes is that The Red Skull commits suicide by jumping off the side of his castle in this comic while in the movie he is knocked off it by Cap’s shield. The other change is that Sharon and Steve Rogers end up hooking up by the end and that Steve has a day job of being a janitor at a gym. Captain America in this comic is very heroic and does what ever he can to save not only the American people but also the people of Italy along the way of saving the President. But to break this down more its funny to think in this universe Captain America failed on his first mission to stop Red Skull and while saving the White House from a missle his legend is unknown as he never became the true hero of World War II like the comics show him to be. Steve Rogers is a man with a limp who takes some super soilder formula injections and becomes a hero, he also back in his youth had a girlfriend and when returning to modern times is able to win the heart of her daughter…what a pimp. The Red Skull in this comic adaptation as well as the movie is Italian and is forced into his life of being a Nazi super soilder and is driven nuts by the formula, but not while he starts with the Red Skull face he ends up getting plastic sugery as he does in the movie and looks normal. Sam, Millhouse, Bernie, Dr. Vasari and Antonella are just side characters that keep the comic moving along as President Kimball is also just around to be kidnapped and in the end come to the aid to save America by fighting his captors. Sharon is a fighter and also must like older men and get turned on my people who dated her own mother. The art is well done and while it looks nothing like the actors who play the parts in the movie its based on, it does look like an issue of Captain America from the 90’s. The cover is way more action packed than the story inside and is pretty eye catching with the art inside being done by Bob Hall and are well done. Over all this adaptation is just as hammy as the film and was a good read once and something I will not re-read anytime soon. Check out the art below for what this comic looks like inside that cool cover.

Captain America Movie Special Art 1

So while I stew on which one of these films should have had a comic series based around the movie universe it created, I think it’s time for a Fantasy Warfare! I have been slacking on presenting the Fantasy Warfare and feel it’s time to unleash a battle of the movie versions of Dark Overlord of the Universe, The Red Skull and Hideko Tanaka! The battleground will be the Waffle House on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road around 1a.m on a cool windy night in May right after a nasty storm. So if you’re ready to watch an epic B-movie villain battle for the ages, let’s head into the Waffle House and see who comes out the winner.

Dark Lord (Movie)VS redLady TanakaVS redRed Skull Movie 90s

Peg is working the late shift as the waitress as Ryan is working the grill the two workers are barely talking as the two mid 30 year olds once dated and the relationship ended bad, and worse it’s been a very slow night. As the minutes tic by a stranger comes walking in he is covered up with a long grey trench coat, a scarf over his face and wearing a hat he takes a seat away from the door and orders a Texas Cheesesteak Melt, a Triple Order of Hash browns Smothered, Covered & Diced with a Chocolate Milk to drink and Peg goes to read off the order but as she does another guests comes in she is alone and has a bandage over her forehead and introduces herself as Hideko Tanaka and demainds that she becomes the leader of this Waffle House and that she will take 70% off the stores profits! Peg looks at her as if she is speaking japaness and is at a loss of words for this strange statement she ordered as another stranger comes stumbling in pushing Tanaka out of the way and demanding eggs! The Dark Lord has now entered the Waffle House and is angry and really craving eggs.  He is yelling at Ryan about sunny side up eggs, Tanaka springs into action and she plunges a steak knife off a dirty table into Dark Lord’s back, but to her shock, he just shrugs it off, turns to her and uses powers to fling her against the wall.  With his other hand he makes all the sharp knives in the place fly toward her and just before they all plunge into her body, she mumbles the words “not again” and with that she is staked to the wall never to demand 70% of profits again. As Dark Lord laughs and celebrates his victory, he turns to find a luger pistol to his face as the stranger in the long coat has taken off his hat and scarf.  We see that it’s The Red Skull as he fires a bullet into the Overlord’s brain.  The crimson faced villain makes it known that he wants his meal and all this fighting has kept him away from it! As the body of the Overlord hits the ground, The Red Skull turns back to his table just as Peg places his plate down and informs him they gave him extra pickles for his trouble. As Peg goes to get the mop to clean up the blood, Ryan is gearing up to pick up the bodies and dump them in the dumpster as The Red Skull takes a drink from his chocolate milk looking out the window and is enjoying the silence of the restaurant.

Winner – Red Skull

The Red Skull would out smart the competition, get his greasy spoon meal and leave the winner of this Fantasy Warfare, but he could not help pull off the win for the film that should have continued as a comic series as Captain America sadly came in last place because it was not as impactful and fun as the other two comic adaptations. Between Howard and The Punisher, I had a tuff decision as both had some great pros and some slight cons, but when it comes down to it I would give this win to The Punisher! Marvel could have continued the police hunt for The Punisher, and they could have fleshed out that his one time partner Jake while wanting to help him also must do the right thing and stop him from killing criminals. I think The Punisher would have made for a good series based on the film, but then again The Punisher, Captain America and Howard The Duck all have comics so whether or not Marvel wanted to make a comic series based on any of these films, fans of the characters already had issues of these heroes to make them happy!

punisher-the-1989-DI

The clean up crew is here to shut down the Marvel Theater so I think it’s time to take our leave until the next update, which will be our second Undead File as I take a look at Arrow Comics’ The Dead! So as we walk out this exit door, I would like to say that I did enjoy reading these adaptations, and that I truly think out of the three The Punisher would make the best comic series. Until next time, go see a movie at your local theater, read a comic or three and support your local Horror Host. I will see you next update for a undead good time!

The Dead Arrow Comics Logo

Hercules: The Legendary Turkey Day Journeys In Mashed Potato Land

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s another great holiday filled with turkey and all the fixings so I figured we ought to once more take a look at that Greek hero Hercules! As you long time readers remember last Thanksgiving we took a look at the Steve Reeves inspired Hercules comic made by Dell.  Well this year we are covering the Topps’ Kevin Sorbo TV version of the muscled hero. This Thanksgiving I am at my parents’ house spending time with family, eating way to much food and loving life so let’s not wait any longer to dive into this review because I am pretty sure I am close to being in a food coma! Oh yeah enjoy the Indian and Pilgrim below because thats what Thanksgiving’s all about right? Or is it football…I forget.

thanksgiving sexy indianTurkey Artpilgrim princess

In 1994 MCA/ Universal Television created a two hour block of programing called “Action Pack” that would consist of TV Shows or a Made for TV Movie all done by Renaissance Pictures, which was founded by Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert who brought us The Evil Dead films. This block of TV lasted until 2001 and gave us such shows as “Xena: Warrior Princess”, “Cleopatra 2525”, “Jack Of All Trades”, “Vanishing Son” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” not to mention the Hercules films that came before it was turned into an ongoing series and even one’s based on TekWar and Midnight Run. I can remember when the Hercules films first started to air; I was hooked and would watch them all the time, I even taped a few on the old VCR that was near its last legs of life. The big issue around here was that lots of times the Action Pack did not have a set time when it started and many times sports games and other programs would be on or push its airing to later in the day. This was changed after a while, and I can remember always waking up like clockwork to watch Xena: Warrior Princess, and my Dad turning to it and poking fun at it, as my Mom would make us breakfast. In this modern day and age of TV where crappy reality shows and infomercials rule the airwaves things like Action Pack and horror hosts are truly missed… and oh yeah MTV needs to just end already when they choose to air things like Jersey Shore, Teen Wolf and Teen Mom over playing music videos what they were founded on.  They are dead to me.

Universal Action Pack logo

On January 16th 1995, after a year of just being made for TV movies (5 in total) Hercules: The Legendary Journeys became a full fledged TV show that would last a total of 6 seasons with 111 episodes. The series would follow Hercules played by Kevin Sorbo as he traveled around wronging rights and challenging the Gods who were doing cruel things to humans. Many times he would be joined on his adventures by his best friend Iolaus (Michael Hurst) or even goofy con man Salmoneus played by Robert Trebor and together they would face warlords, thieves, monsters and Gods and all done in a cheesy over the top way. The show, while having some serious moments, was mostly a tongue in cheek show filled with silly humor and outrageous fighting. I loved this show when I was younger and tried to never miss an episode when I could find it on.  I loved old sword and sandal films and always enjoyed the stories and quests of Hercules so watching a TV show done by the people who made The Evil Dead films was a super win for me. One great thing about the show was when they had monsters on and the great cheesy special effects they used, while some times they would just CGI the monsters other times it was guys in rubber suits or makeup. During the show they also introduced a character named Xena who was a female warrior who was cold blooded and a killer.  Well she became so popular that they turned her good and gave her a show called “Xena: Warrior Princess!” Hercules was the top rated syndicated show for many years until Xena took the top spot, but Hercules was the original and spawned lots of merchandise from books to t-shirts and everything inbetween. It also spawned many clone shows like Conan The Adventurer, The Adventures of Sinbad, The New Adventures of Robin Hood, Tarzan: Epic Adventures and Beastmaster showing just how impactful this series was for the time. By the end of the series, Hercules lost steam and Xena was clearly the rising TV star so the show ended marking the end of Hercules being a TV superstar, and also marked the end for many of these silly adventure shows. The show did go on to be released on VHS and DVD so for those looking to rewatch or discover the show the home media market has you covered.

The Legendary Journeys 1The Legendary Journeys 2The Legendary Journeys 3

Kevin David Sorbo was born in 1958 in Mound, Minnesota and grew up in a normal household.  While in college and afterward, he began modeling in print ads and TV to help pay his tuition, and this helped kick start his acting career that started in 1986. Kevin took small roles in TV Shows like Santa Barbara, Murder She Wrote and The Commish until landing the role of Hercules in the 1994 made for TV film Hercules and The Amazon Women.  He would go on to play Hercules in four other made for TV films, a full fledged TV series as well as voiced an animated version in “Hercules & Xena: The Battle For Mount Olympus”. In 1997 he also played the lead character in the comic book movie “Kull The Conqueror” that was slated to be the third Conan movie, but was changed to Sorbo as Kull when Arnold Schwarzenegger turned the role down. Hercules The Legendary Journeys ended in 1999, and his next big show was the 2000 sci-fi adventure series “Andromeda” were he played Captain Dylan Hunt.  The show ended in 2005. After this role Sorbo took small roles in many TV shows like “The O.C.”, “Psych” and “Two And A Half Men”and did a string of direct to video films like “Never Cry Werewolf” and two Walking Tall films. Sorbo also has done some voice work for video games like “God Of War III” where he voiced Hercules and Crusher in “Skylanders: Giants” as well as a few more. Sorbo is still active in acting and has taken many roles now in Christian based films as well as other independent productions.  He can also be seen at many comic and sci-fi conventions as a guest. I always liked Kevin Sorbo as an actor and really think he made a great Hercules, and at some point in time I would love to work with him on an episode of Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre where he and the Baron host the Steve Reeves Hercules movie. So here is hoping that Sam Raimi and company get an itch and make a new Hercules film for TV and have Sorbo back where he belongs.

Kevin Sorbo 1Kevin Sorbo 2Kevin Sorbo 3

Before we get too much into our look at Topps Comics 5 issue run based on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys we should also take a brief moment to take a look at a few of Hercules most popular sidekicks that not only joined him on this super popular show but as well as in this comic series. Iolaus is Herc’s best friend and his traveling buddy who goes on most of his adventures with him.  He is a skilled fighter and well trained with a sword. Iolaus is played by Michael Hurst and is the most popular and best liked of all his sidekicks and was in 79 episodes. Salmoneus is a older man who is balding with a beard who is a pure con man and will uses his friendship with Hercules to get money.  While he is a screw up, his heart is always in the right place and he values his friendship with Hercules. Salmoneus is played by Robert Trebor and appeared in 23 episodes and went on to be a regular on Xena Warrior Princess. Atalanta is a powerful female with strength and power who is a loyal friend to Hercules whom she also has a crush on.  She alongs side Hercules even created the first Olympics. She was played by female body builder Corinna Everson who made muscle bound women attractive to teenage boys.  She appeared in 3 episodes. So now you know a little more about his sidekicks, and if you watched the show then you I am sure all ready knew all this.

Iolaussalmoneus Atalanta

On of my favorite Greek Mythology monsters has always been The Minotaur, and in 1994 one of the made for TV Hercules films came out called “Hercules In The Maze Of The Minotaur.” The film followed Hercules who was retired but is drawn back into adventure when a small village is being terrorized by a evil Minotaur. I really enjoyed the film and can remember watching it many times when it aired and even taped it on VHS. The Minotaur in the movie had a great classic look and was fun to look at as the head was 4 times the size of the actor’s body. The Minotaur was played by Anthony Ray Parker who was known for roles like Dozer in The Matrix and Deputy in The Frightners and many other small roles in movies and TV. It’s a fun silly adventure movie that’s a fun watch on a boring night.  So if you’re bored this Thanksgiving night and are looking for something to watch with your family, give this one a thought.

Hercules In The Maze Of The Minotaur 1Hercules In The Maze Of The Minotaur 2Hercules In The Maze Of The Minotaur 3

Toy company Toy Biz, who was making toys based on Marvel Superheroes, decided to make figures based on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys starting in 1995 that consisted on 5” basic figures, taller monster figures and even 10” figures. The toy line lasted for a total of 3 waves that included six different versions of Hercules, 2 Xena’s and other characters like Iolaus, Ares, She-Demon, Centaur, Minotaur, Mesomorph, Mole-Man, Salmoneus and Atalanta. The larger monster figures in the series included the likes of Hydra, Ceberus, Graegus and many others. I was a little older when these figures came out, but I still collected many of them from the first wave as I got Hercules, Xena, Iolaus and Minotaur and put them on a shelf in my room.  In fact I still have them to this day. Some years later at a thrift store I found the Hydra for .49 and had to buy it because why the heck not? The figures, while cheesy looking, held the appeal of the show and I for one am glad they were made. At some point when I am able to get a bigger place to live I am sure the old Hercules toys will make an appearance in my film editing room.

Toy Biz HerculesToy Biz XenaToy Boz Ares

Titus Software made a video game based on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys in 2000 for the N64 that was about Hercules trying to save his father Zeus from his step brother Ares who has taken the King of the Gods hostage and by doing so had shaken the mortal world and Mount Olympus to the core.  It’s up to Hercules to save him and set everything right. The game was your typical beat em up on the N64 and was a fun solid action game. When the game first came out while I had an N64, Sony’s Playstation was more of my system so I never did play it on release as the rumor was that a port of it was coming to Playstation. I waited and waited and even a very cool Xena game came out and I bought it and beat it to hold me over, but Hercules never did make it to the Playstation and that truly did suck for fans like me. A few years ago when I was working on some video game reviews for Bloodline Video, I chose to play and review Hercules for the N64 and while the game was flawed it still was a very cool game that I gave 2 1/2 stars to.  Sadly though the gaming magazines were not as nice to the game, and it mostly got poor to middle of the road reviews. But if you have a N64 and liked the show, I would say check it out.

N64 Hercules 1Hercules N64 CoverN64 Hercules 2

So I hope you have your walking shoes on, and that your belly is not filled with too much turkey and mashed potatoes because its time for us to go on a journey with Hercules and see what adventures we can get in to! So before we start I should remind you that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. I also want to thank Mavericks, Bell Book and Lone Star for having these issues in stock for me to be able to review for this Thanksgiving update. So let’s begin because Hercules grows tired of waiting for us.

Hercules 1

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys  # 1  ***
Released in 1996   Cover Price $ 2.95   Topps Comics   #1 of 5

Salmoneus, friend of Hercules, is in a small village telling all who will listen and donate some coin about the famed 12 Labors of his friend.  After his story he meets Pronoea, a woman who pays him to help her find Hercules as she really needs his help. While traveling to find him, the pair comes across a band thief Centaurs who want to steal all their money but they are saved by Hercules who chases them off and finds that Pronoea’s husband has been kidnapped and he is more than happy to help her get him back. After Salmoneus heads back to the village Hercules and Pronoea begin their rescue quest that leads them to her husband who is the Titan Prometheus who has been shrunk down to normal size.  His voice taken and is tortured by a giant gold metal bird who rips at his guts everyday! Hercules is shocked to learn his own father Zeus is the one who is holding the Titan prisoner and after killing the golden bird Herc sets him free and finds out that Zeus, while the one who bound Prometheus, is not the one who made him mute and before they can escape they are attacked by Olympus fighters Bia and Cratos who knock out Hercules and re-chain Prometheus!

Topps Comics really captured the adventure and silly nature of the TV show perfectly with this first issue and proved that when they bought an IP, they treated it right. Hercules in the issue is very noble and clearly wants to do the right thing to help his fellow man. While Hercules is strong, it’s clear he is out matched when he must fight both Olympian fighters whose punches are as strong as a charging Rhino. Salmoneus is as sleazy as ever and, while a friend of Hercules, seems to always try to find a way to make a quick coin from the friendship. Pronoea and Prometheus are victims of the Gods who are using them as pawns in some sort of game to get at each other as well as Hercules. Bia and Cratos are mountains of “men” who have no mouths and are only around to destroy those they are sent after.  The Golden Metal Bird, while tough, is more of just a torture device. I find that the comic has some pretty gruesome moments as Prometheus has his stomach ripped open and you can clearly see his insides.  What makes this a nice touch is that this punishment is also told in real Greek mythology. The art done by Jeff Butler is fantastic, and all the characters look like the actors who play them on the show, and the story by Roy Thomas is also fantastic as this story arc is called “The Trial Of Hercules Part 1.” The cover as well is eye catching, and I can remember buying this issue new off the stands at Mavericks and thinking how cool the cover looked. Well this issue ends with Hercules being taken prisoner and taken away so let’s see just how much trouble our hero is really in shall we?

Hercules 2

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys  # 2  ***
Released in 1996   Cover Price $ 2.95   Topps Comics   #2 of 5

Hercules finds that he is being taken by Bia and Cratos to Zeus who is putting Hercules on trail for freeing Prometheus from a punishment he placed on the Titan. The three Furies are acting as the jury, Zeus himself is the judge and Ares The God Of War is building the case against his half brother. Meanwhile Salmoneus and female powerhouse Atalanta figure out Hercules is in trouble and head to aid him. While Salmoneus shows up to the trail and acts as Hercules’s lawyer, Atalanta frees Prometheus who comes to Hercules’s defense and tells the truth that Ares is the one who made him mute to protect a secret that would have had all the Gods at war with each other! Zeus goes back to Mount Olympus as Ares and Hercules fight that ends with The Furies finding Hercules not guilty and Ares guilty and they take the God of War away to be punished. In the end Prometheus and Pronoea grow back to titanic size as Hercules with friends Salmoneus and Atalanta walk away possibly to have another adventure.

This second issue and the last part of the “Hercules on Trail” storyline is a well done issue and once more captures the magic of the show making for a good read. Hercules seems like he is in deep trouble as he has crossed the path of his father Zeus who is not happy about it at all! Ares wants nothing more than to kill or watch Hercules get murdered making him one evil villain! Prometheus and Pronoea come in at the last moment for the save as they are able to tell he secret that the Titan knows; they truly are the lifesavers of Hercules. Salmoneus is as greedy and spineless as ever and it takes some pushing for him to even attempt to come to his friend’s aid. Zeus is stern and fair and flexes his muscles to show everyone why he is the King of the Gods. Bia and Cratos are pushed to the background of this issue and just become the whipping boys of Hercules’s rage. Atalanta, while cool to see in this comic, doesn’t offer much to the plot, and it’s a shame cause she is a real butt kicker in the show.  In fact one odd thing this comic does is showcase the fact other characters like to look at her boobs and butt! The Furies are ugly females who live for nothing more than to dish out justice, and they seem to enjoy the fact they get to attack Ares who made the mistake of trashing their odd appearances. This issue for being about a trail is pretty action packed and has many good fighting with the best being the Hercules and Ares brawl, and like the first issue this does have some blood as Atalanta is stabbed in the arm protecting Salmoneus from robbers. The art is top notch again done by Jeff Butler, and the story is still done by Roy Thomas showing that they make a great comic making pair. The next issue teases that Xena The Warrior Princess will be appearing and while the fan boy in me is pretty hyped for it, another side kind of just sighs and wishes they would just keep Xena in her own Topps Comic that was gearing up to being made. To sum it up these first two issue are fantastic and are perfect fun cheesy reads for fans of the show like myself.

Hercules 3

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys  # 3  ***
Released in 1996   Cover Price $ 2.95   Topps Comics   #3 of 5

Xena, along with her friend Gabrielle, travel to her home village to find it burnt to the ground and her mother is being held captive by a scar faced general named Aesor who claims that he works for Hercules and that her mother will die if she does not join their army! Xena doesn’t believe these claims until she sees Hercules on the hill watching the carnage below.  This makes her mad, and she and Gabrielle beat up all the soldiers with only Aesor escaping. Xena’s mother takes her to see the body of an old man from the village that was killed during the raid, and Xena swears revenge and heads to Hercules’ village. Iolaus is throwing a birthday party for Alcmene as Xena shows up in a rage and starts attacking, right before things get to bad Hercules along with Salmoneus and Atalanta show up and Xena takes her rage out on her true target Hercules! The two do battle all the while Hercules tries to calm the situation down and proclaim his innocence, and only after Salmoneus talks sense into Xena (whom he is also friend with) does the pair decide to leave their friends behind and team up to find the answers. As the pair travel the run into an old woman who claims she saw Aesor going one way and turns out she in fact is a he and is the shape shifter who claimed to be Hercules known as Periclymenus.

This third issue is more about Xena then Hercules, and while it makes sense to build up this adventure, it’s still a little of a letdown as the title hero seems to be taking a back seat to a hero they clearly were getting ready to push in her own comic series. The story in this issue is pretty classic stuff as Xena thinks Hercules has wronged her village, but in reality the pair of heroes is being set up by a shape shifting bad guy who has his own plans of domination. Hercules once more is a hero and doesn’t want to fight Xena who is going crazy but more wants to talk it out.  Once more Herc is a class act. Xena is a tough woman who, while is a loose cannon, wants so badly to wrong rights and is doing so cause of her rocky past. Iolaus and the rest of the sidekicks, while great seeing them, all seem to just be glorified cameos. The fact Xena thinks that Hercules has sent men to murder and burn down her home village shows just how much she really doesn’t know her friend and proves that she is easily tricked into a rage filled rampages. Periclymenus in his true look is a creepy looking demon type and will indeed be a tough foe for our heroes to beat.  Plus he is able to change his looks and also has an army of back stabbing bad guys. This issue as well is a team up of artist Jeff Butler and writer Roy Thomas and once more proves they are a great team who seem to know the IP and really care about making a quality story. The cover I have is a little silly; it’s a huge live action still of Xena making it clear that Topps was already moving past Hercules and gearing up to focus on their new prized IP. Well let’s move onto the fourth issue and see how our heroes will be able to stop Periclymenus.

Hercules 4

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys  # 4  ***
Released in 1996   Cover Price $ 2.95   Topps Comics   #4 of 5

Periclymenus’s army is attacking another village and have orders to kill everyone.  As the attack happens Hercules and Xena come to the rescue and find out that Periclymenus used them as a diversion so that he could attack Hercules’s home village and kidnap his mother! As Hercules and Xena rush to help, Atalanta, Iolaus, Salmoneus and Gabrielle hold off the attacking army but Periclymenus disguised as the fake Hercules is able to kidnap Alcmene and tells her he needs her help to find a man that will be able to give him the strength of Hercules to go along with the look! When Hercules and Xena arrive, the group informs them of the kidnapping and they all break into groups to find her.  Hercules and Iolaus are a team and end up finding Periclymenus who has found who he was looking for that was his brother who made an elixir that turns things super strong and changing into a Chimaera (a giant flying monster with the head of a goat, upper body of a lion and lower body of a dragon) and sets his site on killing Hercules!

This fourth issue is action packed, and every main character from the show has a good role to play! The whole plot of this issue is a kidnaping and rescue that leads to the baddie getting more power just in time for a final showdown that will be coming up in the final issue. Hercules saves people’s lives and for doing so he puts his own mother at risk.  This major risk helps bring out the human side of him and helps us as the reader feel as if things really could go badly for him. Xena in this issue takes a backseat and plays the role of sidekick as well as Atalanta, Salmoneus and Gabrielle; while they all fight they are not the main focus. Iolaus is a true friend of Hercules and fights along his friends side even when the odds are against them. As for Periclymenus, we learn a little something about him.  So besides being a shape shifter he also has a brother who makes powerful elixirs that can give him more power and up his shifting abilities. Plus the fact that he is now a giant Chimaera looking to rip Hercules apart adds so much to the danger Herc is truly in. Butler and Thomas make a great pair again and deliver another solid and fun issue, and I am really hyped to read the 5th and final issue so let’s not wait any longer.

Hercules 5

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys  # 5  ***
Released in 1996   Cover Price $ 2.95   Topps Comics   #5 of 5

Xena and Gabrielle find Aesor who is being chased by a club wielding giant, and they make a deal with him that they will save him if he takes them to where Periclymenus is holding Hercules’s mother. Meanwhile Hercules and Iolaus find a way to hurt the Chimaera version of the shape shifter who disappears. Hercules finds his mother who must bandage her head due to fallen rocks as Periclymenus’ brother tells them all about their troubled past as well as that when he changes now that his striped black birthmarks will appear on what or whom ever he looks like. Xena and crew coming running up with a giant following and to everyone’s horror they watch has he smashes Aesor into paste! But together Hercules and Xena stop and reluctantly have to kill the giant, just as Periclymenus shows himself again as he was the bandage around Alcmene’s head.  He battles both Xena and Hercules and even knocks his own brother off a cliff.  In the end Xena tricks him into falling to his death or so they all think as he really just took the place of his brother and plans to fight another day as our heroes think the battle is over.

Periclymenus is cold blooded as he knocks his brother off a cliff to his death and then uses his own brothers appearance to have Hercules and Xena save his evil life! He was a great bad guy and when gaining his new powers really was a tough foe for our heroes to fight. Hercules uses all his power, will and wits to try and out muscle the shape shifter and does so to save not only himself from death’s grip but also his mother and friends who are also all in grave danger. Xena uses her skill and mind and is the one who gets the battle to end when she tricks the shape shifter into reaching for a small bottle of the elixir causing him to fall off the same cliff he shoved his brother off. Alcmene as well as both Gabrielle and Iolaus all play small but important parts to this issue’s wrap up story and each show a warrior’s spirit. The issue as well has some blood as the Giant splats Aesor with his club that becomes blood soaked, and then the Giant gets stabbed in the face by Xena’s sword and then falls on top of a stone spike and all done with the red stuff showing. Butler and Thomas once more make a great team and it’s really cool that they were the team for all 5 issues, and each one was well done and solid showing the talent each had and the love of the source material they shared. In fact I would say that this could be one of the best comic series based on a 90’s TV show made at this time and once more brings out my respect for Topps Comics, a company that truly is missed by this comic reader. If you’re a fan of Hercules The Legendary Journeys or just fun cheesy adventure comics based on Greek myths, then I would say that this comic series is worth your time for a read, and I will say they held up after all these years and I liked them back then and find myself liking them now.

Sorbo Herc Art 1Sorbo Herc Art 2Sorbo Herc Art 3

So I hope you had a legendary journey with Hercules and me on this Thanksgiving in 2014, and I must say that this Topps series was really well done and makes me miss them as a comic company even more! Plus it makes me miss the good old days of TV way before reality shows ruled the airwaves when shows like Hercules and Xena were highly watched and loved by viewers. Oh well, like everything in life stuff changes and we ca’nt stop the future. Our next update will be a comic based on a episode of the 1982 Incredible Hulk Cartoon where Hulk fights an ancestor of The Hunchback of Notre Dame! Well I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends and that your bellies are not too filled so that you saved room for dessert.  So until next time, enjoy life and make sure to have your own legendary journey!

Hulk When Monsters Meet Logo 0

Spend Halloween With Universal’s Frankenstein’s Monster!

Happy Halloween! I hope you’re having a spooky and chilling good time today. I can hear all the little ghouls and goblins running around outside looking for some free candy. I can also hear all the loud parties and mayhem going on in and around 5th Street. This year for Rotten Ink’s Halloween update we are going to be taking a look at comics based on Frankenstein by Universal that include a very cool Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man one that was translated and put together to be a comic via stickers just for this update! Plus I will be reading these comics alone in an abandoned science lab that’s still filled with lots of odd machines and glass bottles. Not to mention we will also be talking about other fun scary and Halloween related things.  So with the chill in the air and the Jack-O-Lantern lit, let’s open the door to Dr. Frankenstein’s lab and see what’s on the slab!

Halloween Time!!

I’m going to start this update by taking a brief look at Manuel Oritz Partida, a luchador who goes by the ring name Halloween.  So I figured we should at least mention him on an update that goes up on the holiday he is named after! Halloween started his wrestling career in 1990 working for independents in and around Mexico, but he got his big break in 1996 when he signed with WCW and changed his name to Ciclope.  He was a mid-card wrestler for them and had some great matches against the likes of Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Dean Malenko. Once he left WCW, he returned to Mexico and worked for AAA as well as a few independents. Halloween has had many Mask vs. Hair matches and has lost many of them including losing his mask to Super Parka in 1999. After losing the mask, he began painting his face like a Jack-O-Lantern! Throughout his career he has also had many allies that include Damien 666, Super Nova, Extreme Tiger and Mari Apache. At the age of 43 in 2014 he has slowed down some, but Halloween still haunts the rings of Mexico. When I was a teenager I was lucky enough to see Halloween wrestle during a taping of WCW Saturday Night that was at Hara Arena.  If memory serves I think he took on Dean Malenko and lost!

ciclopehalloween LuchaHALLOWEEN AAA

One creepy internet story aka Creepypasta that has been floating around for some years now is called “Squidward’s Suicide,” a truly disturbing story that should be talked about this Halloween season here at Rotten Ink. The story goes that an intern at Nickelodeon had the duty to watch an episode of Spongebob Squarepants with some fellow workers that would have kicked off the new season and when they started to watch, the title card read Squidward’s Suicide.  They thought it was a joke title card, and they all chuckled it off. As they continued to watch, it was nothing special at first and was about Squidward preparing for a clarinet concert when Spongebob’s annoying laughing echoes into his house and Squidward runs him off to keep practicing, but when things get really strange is when at the concert all the fish people in the crowd start booing Squidward with malice and even Spongebob joins in the booing! Squidward goes home and starts to cry sadly to himself as sounds of wind and white noise echoed from the speakers, and then laughing started up as Squidward’s crying became louder and louder and more heartbreaking. While all this was disturbing what the workers found in frames mixed in is what caused them some chills and distress as pictures of freashley murdered children (three in total) would flash for small frames across the screen! These pictures would come inbetween Squidward still crying at the edge of his bed with all the weird sounds going on in the back ground.  It got so bad that they called the creator of Spongebob to watch the remaining episode that ended with Squidward pulling out a shotgun and committing suicide as the image remained on his dead body and then ended. The creator was mad and demanded that they watch the episode again, and he was horrified at what he saw and called the FBI, according to the intern none of the children in the clips were ever identified and no one knew who made the cartoon as the time stamp said it was made just minutes before they watched it! I saved you many of the gory details of what the kids bodies looked like as I didn’t think that this fun blast from the past blog was the right place for it, but if you’re looking for the full well written story search the net and you’ll find it. Another Creepypasta by the name of “Red Mist” is based on Squidward killing himself and has a salesmen fish coming to his door and telling him the red mist is coming…the red mist of course being the blood from his wound…when he shoots himself…man this is some depressing stuff! The major differences between the two stories besides the salesmen and title is that in Red Mist many of the characters sport realistic eyes and also the cartoonist of the episode was said to be a serial killer who had worked for Nickelodeon and was on the run. Fan made animated versions of the episode can be found on youtube, and the story while most likely fake, it still makes me wonder did Squidward really kill himself?

Squidwards Suicide 1Squidward's Suicide TitleSquidwards Suicide 2

It’s 1976, and the film crew for the TV Show “The Six Million Dollar Man” had rented out the haunted house from the Nu-Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach California.  As they were moving and dressing the “set” they moved the hanging mummy man prop and by accident they broke off the mummy’s arm and to their horror a human bone was poking out! The crew, along with the police, took the mummy to a coroner who verified that the mummy was in fact a human body…the haunted house for years had a real dead body on display. It took some time but they were able to figure out who the body was and when and how he died, and the identity of the mummy was that of criminal Elmer McCurdy who was killed in 1911 in a shootout while trying to rob a train. The undertaker in 1911 decided that since no one claimed his body, he would go ahead and embalmed him and place it on display as “The Bandit Who Wouldn’t Give Up” and would have people place nickels in the corpse’s mouth that at the end of the day he would collect.  At some point a carnival owner tricked the undertaker into thinking he was Elmer’s brother and he took the body and placed it on display for years. After his worth was used up at the carnival, the corpse was sold many times to several haunted houses, wax museums and carnivals making it the traveling mummy! Elmer’s corpse even was shown in the 1933 film Narcotic directed by Dwain Esper and at one point the owner of a haunted house in South Dakota refused to buy the corpses as he felt it was a fake and nothing more then a mannequin. Elmer finally was sold to Nu-Pike Amusement Park and sometime later was discovered again to be a real corpse by a shocked crew member who broke his arm off! In 1977 Elmer McCurdy was finally laid to rest in Summit View Cemetery in the Boot Hill section in Oklahoma ending the traveling mummy’s long and strange trip around the USA. Many joke that Elmer made way more money in death then in life, and for years this story was thought to be an urban legend but was proven to be true. So the next time you go to a haunted house, take a closer look at that corpse hanging or in the coffin cause who knows you might just be looking at the real thing!

Elmer McCurdyElmer McCurdy RIPElmer McCurdy Mummy

In 1999, my friends and I use to run the roads at all times of the night.  We would drive around with the windows down while blaring music and being just rowdy late teens who were out to have a good time. Most of these nights would just lead to us going to a friend’s house where we would spend the rest of the night playing Goldeneye 007 on N64 and listening to music and all crashing at the same home very late in the night. Brandon Womeldorff drove most nights as he had a red convertible, and on this particular night it was just Brandon, David Wean, Rion Neeley and myself driving through Patterson Park or as it’s also called Hills And Dales.  It was around 11:00pm, and we had no real reason to be in the area besides driving fast on the dark roads near Frankenstein’s Tower and enjoying the cool night air. Rion was telling us that one night when he was driving alone near these two stone pillars on the opposite sides of the road and that he could have sworn that he saw what appeared to be a shadow man that was watching him on top of a wooded hill near the pillar.  Of course this made the rest of us to want to go to the spot and see if we could spot this strange man/shadow for ourselves.  As we pulled off the road near said spot Brandon killed the engine, and we all just sat and listened and waited, the sounds of the night filled our ears and then we heard something that sounded like a person running down the hill crunching fallen leaves as it moved fast towards us, Brandon turned the car back on and sped away as we could hear this thing keeping up with us…odd thing being all we could make out was a shadow. We all went back to Rion’s house where Brandon was also living, and we all sat around and talked about what we thought it was, and myself and Brandon went back that night and didn’t see anything. Whatever it was stuck with us as Brandon even wrote a song called “The Man In Black” for a short lived band we were in called X-Mortis. For many years after I would go back to that spot with many of my friends like Andrea Seay, Kevin Kinsley, Matt Hoffman, Jason Gilmore, Misty Altick and Josh Weinberg and almost everytime we would hear or see something…sometimes we would drive away only to return in minutes to find a dead animal propped in the middle of the road, most the time the necks were twisted so the head was facing backwards. This Shadow Man became a spooky icon to us, and we would even play pranks on each other out in the woods near the pillars and hill.  The best one is where Dave Wean, Linda Webb’s boyfriend and I all hid in the woods and made noises as Josh Weinberg dressed in a WWE Kane Mask and a hooded robe stood by a tree near the small road and scared the crap out of Matt Hoffman who was being driven around by Brandon who was in on the prank, but one thing I must say is as we waited in those woods, we all did hear many odd things. Josh and I many nights would go back to that place and like clockwork we would hear and slightly see the Shadow Man.  One night we really pissed it off as we got out of the car and challenged it to a fight, while from the car stereo we played the battle music from the Star Trek episode “Amock Time” and carried ball bats ready to knock it’s block off. For a short time it did not respond but once we heard it come running down the hill full blast we left before the “battle” could happen. Over the years I went less and less to hear and see The Shadow Man, and the park got lots of remodeling and the last handful of times me and Josh went there had been no sign or noise of the Shadow making us wonder what and where did it go. We never could figure out just what and why it was and what would have happened to us if it would have caught us, but one things for sure Shadow Man will forever live on as one of my favorite unknown things I have witnessed. Bellow is a drawing by me of what it looked like.

Shadow Man Drawing

On October 6th and 7th Juliet and I decided to have our own Horror Movie Marathon, an event that I used to hold all the time that would have all my friends over to watch horror flicks all day and eat junk food. On Monday the 6th we had what I would call the pre-show where we watch a few Horror films to gear up for the next day, and the films selected were the made for TV cheese-fest “Werewolf of Woodstock”, smart and artistic 80’s slasher “Curtains” and low budget succubus flick “Dreamaniac.”  We both agreed that Curtains was the best film of the pre-show.  It was about actresses meeting at a film director’s mansion in the woods on a snow filled weekend, and someone is killing them off one by one. And we both agreed that the worst turkey of the night was Dreamaniac that was about some goofball song writer who allows his girlfriend and her sister to party at a house he is watching as a succubus is killing off the guests. On the 7th we started our marathon at 8 am and kicked it off with the Universal Horror film “Black Friday” that stars Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi and is about a mobster’s brain being transplanted into that of a professor and the doctor who did so wants to get his hands of some of the mobsters’ hidden money. The 1957 low budget film “From Hell It Came” was next and is about a tree monster and the battle between USA doctors and the natives of an island. The original 1980 “Prom Night” was next about a killer on the loose at a High School prom. 1989’s own low budget camping slasher film “Moonstalker” was next followed by “Legend of The Werewolf” a 1975 film starring Peter Cushing that follows a young man who is cursed to become a werewolf. Evil Dead inspired film “Demon Wind” was next and follows a group of friends stuck in an old house as demons want to take their souls. 1971 Hammer Film “Hands of The Ripper” was the next shocker to be shown and was about the daughter of Jack The Ripper and that was followed by Universal Sci-Fi giant spider film “Tarantula!” that shows man should not mess with mother nature. Next was Fullmoon Entertainment’s 11th film in the series “Puppet Master X: Axis Rising” where the puppets must stop Nazi’s and evil puppets from harming America. The next film shown is a pure cheesy guilty pleasure for me, 1995’s “Project: Metalbeast” starring Kane Hodder as Metalbeast and is about a metal skinned werewolf running wild in a military lab. As we headed into the late night we ended it with two vampire films, the first being “Dawn Of Dracula,” a low budget film made by the cool cats who make the horror host show Midnite Mausoleum and follows Victoria Van Helsing played by the lovely Marlena Midnite as she looks for missing people.  Then we watched “ Dinner With A Vampire” where a group of actors are stuck in a mansion with a real life vampire! The evening was super fun, and we snacked on Peanut M&M’s, Mike-Sells Beer Can Chicken Potato Chips as well as homemade Hot Wings and had a great spooky time just hanging out and enjoying all the horrors of the movies. My top three films of the day would have to be as follows: # 1 Hands of The Ripper, a film I think was well done and added a spin of the Jack The Ripper tale, # 2 Project: Metalbeast for some reason I have been a fan of this film for a long time and use to watch it on VHS when I was younger and feel it stills holds that charm till this day! And # 3 would have to be Legend of The Werewolf a great classic style horror film that has a simple plot and holds such a Hammer Horror feel that I have always found it to be entertaining. I would also like to note that this top three was really hard to pick as I also really enjoyed Dinner With A Vampire, Prom Night and Demon Wind allot! My Golden Turkey of the night would have to go to Moonstalker, while not a bad movie it was just really slow paced with moments that really seemed to drag. Juliet’s top three were # 1 Hands of The Ripper, # 2 Dinner With A Vampire and # 3 Legend of The Werewolf, she had a hard time as well as she truly enjoyed Tarantula! that almost made her list. Her Golden Turkey was Moonstalker for the same reasons I stated. This was a fun event that I look forward to doing again soon as well as maybe one update I will give a history of the event and how the Horror Movie Marathon tradition started with me and my friends.

Werewolf of Woodstock DVDCurtains DVDDreamaniac DVDBlack Friday DVDFrom Hell It Came DVD

Prom Night DVD Moonstalker DVDLegend of the Werewolf DVDDemon Wind DVDHands of the Ripper DVD

Tarantulia! DVDPuppet Master Axis Rising DVDProject Metalbeast DVDDawn of Dracula DVDDinner With A Vampire dvd

So what would Halloween be without having another 5 Questions with a Horror Host, and this time I think we are going to talk to Dayton, Ohio’s own Baron Von Porkchop! If you remember last year we chatted with Chicago Horror Host Count Gregula of Count Gregula’s Crypt.  So I figured that this year I wanted to do a Dayton Original Host who I also consider a very dear friend and that’s the good old Baron. Baron Von Porkchop started his show Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre in late 2010 and would air on DATV with his first episode where he hosted the Vincent Price classic House On Haunted Hill.  After this he has shown no signs of slowing down as he is working on his 3rd season as well as a number of Holiday and other type of specials. I traveled to Porkchop Manor and met with Baron Von Porkchop on a chilly night, and here are my 5 Questions with Baron Von Porkchop.

BVP 1

Me: So Baron tell me about your show Terrifying Tales of The Macabre, as well as about Porkchop manor?

Baron: Well my show is about… me. I’m just trying to live my life as an undead ghoul the best I know how, but it seems like everyone and everything wants to try and ruin it! My manor is a little run down, but I love the place. It has all the comforts of home with a little added creepy.

Me: I always have a good creepy time here at the Manor! So what Horror Hosts of the past have influenced you as a host yourself?

Baron: I would have to say since the day I was dug up, I have seen many different horror host icons and most of them have influenced me a little bit, but I would say The Crypt Keeper and Mike and Joel from Mystery Science Theater 3000 would be the most influential.

Me: Great choices, and Crypt Keeper is even in the Horror Host Hall of Fame. So being an undead ghoul and all, do you ever get urges to eat human flesh or brains?

Baron: NO, NO SILLY! That’s zombies, we ghouls just try to get by from day to day we don’t need anything as far as sustenance goes… well except a terrible movie from time to time.

Me: That’s a relief that no flesh eating is in your future! So you have been to quite a bit of conventions and during these travels, what celebrity were you most happy to meet? As well as what other Horror Host?

Baron: Well I did get to meet the Hellraiser himself Doug Bradly and that was kind of a dream come true. As far as horror hosts goes, I did get to meet The Crypt Keeper and that was pretty exciting. But all and all I have to say that all of the horror hosts I have met I have liked in different ways.

Me: Bradley is such an icon of Horror. Well sadly we are at the final question so with my topic for this years Halloween update being about Universal Frankenstein, what other actor besides Boris Karloff would you say is your favorite actor to play the Monster?

Baron: Wow there are so many to chose from…. let me think….. Aaron Eckhart I think from “I, Frankenstein”, I believe would be the best for sure! HAHAHAHAHA! No, no I kid, I kid. This is kind of a hard one though because so many great actors have played the creature. Like Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Peter Boyle and so many more. Honestly I have to say that David Prowse is probably my favorite portrayal, because Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell is a great movie and a pure scare fest.

Me: Agreed, choosing who is the best actor who has played The Monster is a very tough question, but I would agree that Prowse would be high on my list as well as Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell is one of my favorite Hammer Horror films. Well thanks for spending some time with us here on Rotten Ink and thanks for doing what you do and keeping Horror Hosting alive in Dayton, Ohio. Anything you wanna say to the readers before we go?

Baron: I will see you soon on the Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, until then have a spooky time piggies, HAHAHAHAHA!!

Baron with Shane Douglas and So Cal Val

Airing the day this goes up, October 31st 2014 Baron Von Porkchop will be hosting the Bela Lugosi classic White Zombie for his fourth Halloween Special! I don’t wanna spoil to much but Baron alongside his pal Melvin (Butler to Stephen Von Frankenstein) come face to face with a zombie who has an ax to grind. The special will air on DATV in Dayton on Channel 5 via Time Warner Cable and should be a very fun and spooky episode. I must also say that I am VERY proud of Baron Von Porkchop and Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre, and I am very thankful that I am able to do the show along side a very talented host, cast and crew. If you’re looking for a little more on Baron check out his website at www.terrifyingtalesofthemacabre.com or look him up on Facebook. Man, Horror Hosts are so much fun, and I will continue to have 5 Questions with one every Halloween update so that’s something you readers can always look forward to.

Baron Von Porkchop Dayton HostFulci ZombieBaron Halloween 2014 DVD

October 24th 2014 marked the 18th year of Horrorama, and I was happy to once more be a part of the event that showed four great films “Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell”, “Rawhead Rex”, “Hell of The Living Dead” and “Bride Of Re-Animator” and once more was held at the great local theater the Englewood Cinema. Juliet and I, on our way to the theater early to check the prints of the films as well as eat at the chinese restaurant across the street that has become a tradition, also came across a truck with a propped up coffin with a life size mummy in it on Highway 70…this was a great way to kick off a very long night of film watching and mayhem. The event was hosted by A. Ghastlee Ghoul, the legendary horror host of Dayton, and he helped keep the night moving and filled with laughs.  Rick Martin this year co-hosted and with him being the remaining original event creator, it’s always nice to hear him keep the spirit of the event alive and honor what he started with Andy Copp and Dr. Creep. This year thanks to theater owner Mike, I was able to be the projectionist and wow, that was a lot of fun.  I think one of the coolest things for me that night was being able to peer out the projection window standing next the very old 35mm projector and watch my favorite Hammer Horror film, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell, a very cool moment for me. Plus at the event were many of my family and friends as besides Juliet, my brother Bryan along with his wife Bel and daughter Abby were there as well as my cousin Stephen. Lots of my friends as well like Josh Weinberg, Mike Ritchie, Garrison Kane, Todd The Fox, Victoria Harper, Nick Williams and Mandie Brown were watching the flicks and having fun. Another great event done and I must say a big thank you for everyone who came and supported this event as well as everyone who helped. Below is a pic of the mummy truck, the event’s poster, and a picture taken from the projection room of the Monster From Hell.

Mummy TruckHorrorama 2014 PosterMonster From Hell on the Big Screen

So let’s see so far we have covered wrestler Halloween, Creepypasta about a cartoon suicide, the traveling corpse of outlaw Elmer McCurdy, The Shadow Man of Hills and Dales Park that used to chase me and friends, a Horror Movie Marathon that Juliet and I had as well as Dayton Ohio Horror Host Baron Von Porkchop.  So now I think it’s time we talk a little about Universal’s longest classic monster series Frankenstein. In 1931, after the success of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi Universal was quickly looking for another classic horror novel to turn into a film.  That novel was Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, and the first choice to play the Monster was Bela Lugosi! The story goes that Lugosi didn’t want the role because he thought it was no real acting as the Monster only grunted and was not too keen in the fact his face would be covered in makeup so the part ended up going to Boris Korloff, a character actor that the director James Whale liked. The film had a budget of $262,007.00 and made the studio $12,000,000.00 opening many studios eyes that horror films can make money. Universal made a sequel, Bride of Frankenstein, in 1935 and it was followed by Son of Frankenstein in 1939, and for these three films Karloff played The Monster but for the remaining films in the series many other actors stepped into the role including Lon Chaney Jr., Glenn Strange and even Bela Lugosi in such films as Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1943), House Of Frankenstein (1944), House Of Dracula (1945) and Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) making The Frankenstein Monster the first franchise horror character to have so many sequels. Growing up I loved watching the old Frankenstein films from Universal and in fact the first ever VHS I ever owned was Frankenstein! So with this I am really ready to tell you about the Lab I will be reading these comics at so that I can head that way and read some comic adaptations of the classic Universal films!

Karloff Frankenstein Monster1931 Frankenstein PosterLugosi Frankenstein Monster

The place I will be reading these comics is an old science labs that was used for plant experiments and is located in Yellow Springs.  I promised I would not tell the exact location but let’s just say it’s near downtown. The Labs are still filled with all types of odd machines as well as old racks and trays that use to hold the planets. The sight was also used for animal testing and has cages frozen in time as well! I chose this location due to the nature of the Frankenstein story being so heavily science based and what better way to read these comics then an old lab with poor lighting and not a soul around as well as glass pipes that running over head that use to hold acid used in experiments. Below are some pics of the location just so you can get a feel of what the atmosphere for me will be like.

Science Lab 1Science Lab 2Science Lab 3

The night I choose to read these comics was a very dark one with clouds in the sky, it had a nice chill in the air and the labs upstairs were a little cold. So let’s find a nice spot among the dust and old equipment and read these adaptations under the flickering lights, Remember that I rate the issues on the 1-4 scale and base it on art, story, how close it stays to the source material and over all entertainment value. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having Dark Horses Frankenstein in stock and Juliet and Eric for helping with the other two. So the thunderstorm is coming in, so let’s prepare for the Monster to come alive!

Universal Frankenstein # 1

Frankenstein # 1 ****
Released in 1993   Cover Price $3.95   Dark Horse   #1 of 1

Henry Frankenstein and his assistant Fritz are stealing dead bodies and stitching them together.  Fritz even breaks into a lab and steals an abnormal brain after dropping that of a normal man, and this is all for Henry who wants to create a new life with his own hands in a dusty old tower. During a terrible thunderstorm Henry wants to use the lightning to jolt his creation to life but is interrupted by his fiance Elizabeth, his best friend Victor and his old medical teacher Dr. Waldman who all witness the experiment that works! Victor and Elizabeth return home and try to keep Baron Frankenstein from visiting his son as Waldman begs his former student to kill his Monster before it’s too late. The Monster at first seems to listen and understand commands but when Fritz comes in with a torch the Monster goes crazy, and they must knock it out and put it in the cellar, where Fritz continues to bully it with a whip and a torch.  Finally the Monster snaps and kills Fritz by hanging him. Henry and Waldman knock out the Monster and with the help of Victor, they hide it from his father and Elizabeth. Henry goes home with his father as Waldman is going to dissect and kill the Monster who wakes up and instead kills Waldman! On Henry and Elizabeth’s wedding day, the Monster breaks free of the tower and kills a little girl on accident and even attacks Elizabeth! The townspeople and Henry form a posse and hunt the Monster down.  Henry comes face to face with his Monster who knocks his creator out and takes him to a windmill and throws him off it hurting him badly, as the towns people rush Henry home for medical care they also set the windmill on fire and the Monster is believed to be burnt alive. In the end Henry is getting better at Frankenstein Manor and Elizabeth is at his side while the Monster’s region of terror has came to an end….for now!

This is a great adaptation that captures the mood and story of the classic Universal film and was a great way to start the reviews off! The plot follows a scientist who wants to play God and creates a monster who has a bad brain that does bad things but don’t really understand that it’s doing so.  In the end creator and creation must come face to face with only one making it out alive! Henry Frankenstein is not a bad man, and while he does get wrapped up in his experiment and does create a monster, he had good intentions. It’s clear that Henry loves his girlfriend Elizabeth as well as hid friends and father but that he really wants to be known in the world of science. Dr. Waldman is a wise scientist who sees the dangers in playing God and wants to try and help his student by talking sense into him. Fritz is just a troublemaker and a screw up who seems to take joy in tormenting the Monster.  His worse blunder is stealing the wrong brain and not even telling his boss of the mishap. Victor is a loyal friend who don’t understand why his best friend is acting this way but stands by him when the chips are down and it’s clear Henry needs help. Elizabeth is a loving fiance who understands her man and tries her best to allow him to balance his work and social life with her.  She is the kind of woman who is always by the side of her loved one. Baron Frankenstein is a ass who is more stuck on himself then anything else.  The way he speaks down to others makes him not a very nice person and a character that this reader kind of hated. The Monster is pretty one dimensional in this comic and it’s clear to see that Boris Karloff in the movie is who gave the Monster a personality and made him sympathetic.  In the comic you just don’t pick up on any of its emotions, and The Monster really just comes off as a lumbering brute But that’s the only minor flaw to this amazing comic that I really enjoyed. The art by Den Beauvais (who also adapted the story) is fantastic and it really makes the comic pop as The Monster looks just like Karloff in the movie and in fact most the characters look like the actors who played them in the Universal film. If you’re a fan of the movie or a Universal Monster collector this comic is made for you.  Pick it up you won’t regret it. Check out some of Den’s amazing artwork below.

FRANKENSTEIN DH 1FRANKENSTEIN ART 2FRANKENSTEIN ART 3

So the second film in the series is “Bride Of Frankenstein” and sadly no official film adaptation has been made…yet. I am proud to say that talented artist and friend of mine Jeff Potter will be doing a exclusive Bride of Frankenstein just for me to review here on Rotten Ink! So look for that sometime in 2015. But our next comic in the Universal Frankenstein series is a photo comic made by National Periodical that was part of a comic that had several adaptations of movies.  This comic I will be reading in this cold science lab is a custom one that takes just the Son of Frankenstein part and made it into a issue of its own! So let’s get into it shall we?

Son Of Frankenstein # 1

Son Of Frankenstein  # 1  **1/2
Released in 1939   Cover Price .10   National Periodical   #1 of 1

Wolf Frankenstein, the son of Henry returns to his family’s castle after being away from it for over 20 years and finds that his wife and young son Peter are only warmly greeted by the hired help as the villagers look at them with hate over his father’s Monster. Inspector Crogh visits the castle and tells Wolf that he and his family are not welcome and that he thinks the Monster is alive and killing.  This sparks Wolf’s interest in his father’s old lab where Wolf meets a twisted shepherd named Ygor who shows him that the Monster is indeed alive but very weak. Wolf becomes obsessed with trying to make the Monster better as he believes that this will clear his family’s name, but when more deaths happen, Crogh goes to arrest Wolf as he himself finds that Ygor is using the Monster to kill a jury that convicted him some years back.  This leads to Wolf shooting and killing Ygor. The Monster ends up finding the body of his friend Ygor and this sets him into a rage and he kidnaps Peter.  Crogh tries to help save Peter but is tossed to the side by The Monster! The Monster becomes scared by the villagers who now have become an angry mob, and Wolf kicks him into a lava pit saving his son and causing him to leave the castle for good.

First I have to say I love the movie and that’s why it breaks my heart to read this half butted attempted at a photo comic that tries to cram a 99 minute movie into 8 pages, but then again at least in 1939, they tried to give readers the chills with this comic. The comic changes the plot of the movie in many ways and even how it ends is different.  While some changes, like the fact Inspector Crogh is a very angry and unfriendly man, are interesting other changes like The Monster being frozen with fear by just the sounds of a mob is silly. Wolf Frankenstein is a likeable hero who in this comic really just wanted to return home and clear his family’s name. Young Peter Frankenstein is less annoying in the comic but is just used as bait for the end of the story. Ygor is just kind of around, and while he orders The Monster around he really isn’t given much to do. The Monster also spends most the issue with nothing to do and spends much time just standing to on the slab. I wish the Monster would have had a little more to do and would not be defeated like he was a coward. Plus how brutal is it that Wolf kicks The Monster into lava and watches him burn to death! The art in the comic is mostly photo comic style but does have slight art work added to the photos, and the dialogue is hard to read as the person who did lettering has pretty sloppy hand writing at times. To be honest, this is a nice throwback comic but doesn’t really offer much besides slight old school horror chills. So I think it’s time to move on and will just sum it up as okay but pretty disappointing.

Son Of Frankenstein art 1Son Of Frankenstein art 2Son Of Frankenstein art 3

So next in the film world would be “Ghost of Frankenstein” and once more a comic adaptation was never made so I went to my friend Eric Shonborn, and he will be making Rotten Ink one to review along side Jeff Potters Bride of Frankenstein! So let’s move onto the next comic in the series “Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man,” one of my favorite in the Universal Frankenstein series.  The movie is gracing my t-shirt as I sit and write this in the lab. This comic is a custom comic that was put together and translated by Juliet from an old Spanish sticker book based on the movie! So let’s jump into this one as the lab area is given off some odd nosies that sound like keys jiggling!

Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman # 1

Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man  # 1  ***
Released in 1946   Cover Price .10   Bloodline Comics   #1 of 1

Two grave robbers go into the crypt of Larry Talbot on a full moon night allowing him to turn into The Wolf Man and escape his tomb and once more set out for blood! Larry wakes up in a hospital in the care of Dr. Mannering and is being watched by cops who don’t believe that he is Larry Talbot as all records say he is dead. That night Larry transforms into The Wolf Man again and kills a cop.  In the morning when the medical staff look at him as if he is crazy, Larry escapes and finds his friend the old gypsy woman Maleva, and they set out to find the diary of Doctor Frankenstein as they think it will hold the answers of finding a cure for Larry’s curse. As they travel, they stop at an inn and are run off by the locals all who hate the name Frankenstein.  After leaving night falls on them and Larry becomes The Wolf Man once more and kills a woman and is hunted down by locals and falls into a hole knocking itself out. Larry awakens in the frozen cave and finds the body of The Monster in ice and frees it, and the pair become unlikely friends. Larry even tries to convince Elsa Frankenstein to help him find her grandfather’s diary, and she wants nothing to do with it. But when The Monster and Larry make a big scary scene at the town’s festival after being confronted by Dr. Mannering, the pair escape to the ruins of the old castle. Elsa, Maleva and Mannering come to the castle and all together they work along side Larry and The Monster and find the diary and set up to cure him of his curse and even drain all the energy from The Monster. This does not go as planned as Mannering makes a mistake that leaves The Monster in a rage and Larry turning into The Wolf Man.  The monsters fight in the old castle ruins as the villagers blow up the near by dame, drowning the two monsters and ending the terror.

When two monsters collide, I the reader won in this fun cheesy comic adaptation that’s packed with so much cheese that it was busting at the seams. The story follows the film for the most part and follows Larry who wants to find a cure for his werewolf curse and gets the help of the remaining Frankenstein as well as befriends The Monster, but when he changes into a beast his urge to kill comes through and he fights his monster friend until they both go swim with the fishes. Larry Talbot is a man who you as the reader feel bad for, but you also find yourself very happy when he turns into The Wolf Man and stalks around and kills whatever he can find. The Monster for the most part just lumbers around and shows he has zero tolerance for people. Dr. Mannering, Maleva the Gypsy and Elsa Frankenstein are good supporting characters who add to the story in their own way but none are really flushed out. The comic has zero blood and gore and is truly a classic horror thriller comic that relies on the fact that monsters are scary, and I love that about this comic. The artwork is done by an unknown artist but I really dig the almost cartoon style, with the Wolf Man looking pretty good and The Monster looking like a skinny kid dressed up for Halloween. While the comic follows the film pretty well, it as well suffers from the fact they tried to rush the plot and rushed way too much character development. With all that said I must say I really enjoyed this comic and wish that some day Dark Horse will get into gear and make Official Universal Monster Movie adaptation comics! Check out the artwork below.

Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman art 1Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman art 2 Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman art 3

So with the lab being the perfect place to read these comics and with all the spooky sounds and the chill in the air, I think it’s time for me to leave this area…never to return again…well that’s until maybe next time I read Universal Frankenstein comics for Rotten Ink. I really enjoy horror comics and love the Halloween season, and this update has just really made me look forward to doing next year’s countdown to the spookiest holiday. So once more I want to thank Eric and Juliet for their help on this update, and I want to also remind all you Horror Host fans that Baron Von Porkchop’s Halloween Special airs tonight on DATV (Time Warner Channel 5) or can be watched via stream at www.datv.org! So I am sure your all wondering what’s the next update, and I must confess that it’s a Debbie Downer as we take a look at the death of the Spider-Man villain The Tarantula! So until next time, read a horror comic or three, support your local Horror Host and watch the skies for its Halloween and the ghosts and goblins are on the loose…you have been warned….Happy Halloween!

2852b

Get The Giggles with Dr. Giggles

It’s almost October, and that means only one thing: HALLOWEEN! So coming off Dark Horse Comics’ two issues based on horror film baddie Pumpkinhead and before we get into the super fun horror filled month of October, I decided we will take a mini look at a horror film doctor…no, it’s not Dr. Butcher M.D. (no comic company has been that cool to make a series based on him) and it’s not Dr. Frankenstein who has many comic based around him and or his monster or even horror host Dr. Creep.  You give up? Well it’s Dr. Giggles who Dark Horse Comics had a two issue mini series based around his 1992 film from Universal Pictures.  The good Doctor also made a few appearances in the comic series “Dark Horse Presents”, but let’s not waste any time and jump into the very small legacy that Dr. Giggles made in the world of horror. Beware of spoilers in this write up.

Giggles art 1

Dr. Evan Rendell Jr. was a young man who helped his father, a small town doctor, kill some of his patients to steal their hearts to transplant into his mother who had passed away.  Rendell Jr. was given the nickname Dr. Giggles because of his sinister laugh. When the townspeople find out about the crimes Rendell Sr. is killed and Jr. is locked away in an asylum. 35 years later, Jr. escapes and returns to the small town to finish his work of “helping” the sick and testing his bizarre twisted methods of health care. Dr. Giggles was a town legend used to scare children at night, but a real person became town folklore with many stories of his killing ways. Every town has a boogeyman: Haddinfield has Michael Myers, Springwood has Freddy Kruger, Crystal Lake has Jason Voorhess, Skull Island has King Kong and the town of Moorehigh has Dr. Giggles.

drgiggles02Dr Giggles00DrGiggles04

The film follows Dr. Giggles who escapes from the asylum, returns home to the sleepy small town of Moorehigh and starts killing towns people when he finds their old files in his father’s now run down clinic. Dr. Giggles sets his sight on Jennifer Campbell, a young woman in need of heart surgery and spends his time stalking her and killing poor innocent people along the way. The local cops go after the good doctor where he is shot and then left for dead after an explosion. The burnt Dr. Giggles shows up at the hospital where Jennifer is getting her emergency heart surgery and is finally killed off when he is electrocuted then stabbed with his own nasty interments of death by Jennifer who in turn gets her surgery and is cured. The film starred Larry Drake as Dr. Giggles and Holly Marie Combs of TV’s Charmed fame as Jennifer Campbell, along with others and was directed by Manny Coto who also directed Star Kid. The film was met with poor reviews and was only a small box office earner for Universal who at this time was making more money on the Childs Play films. I first saw this film by renting it on VHS with my brother from K&L Video and remember being entertained but disappointed at the same time.  While the film has some fun moments, it really just felt like a cheap direct to video horror film with a small budget and lots of tongue in cheek humor that had a terrible pay out when it comes to the main villain’s death. Over all the film is a dumb good time and is a fun one to waste a night watching with your favorite snack food and late night beverage.

drgiggles 01dr giggles posterDrGiggles03

The film had a score done by Brian May, who also did the scores to such films as Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and Missing in Action 2 to name a few. The score can be found on CD as can the soundtrack to the film that has such bands as House of Lords, Ten Inch Men, Copperhead, Paul Rodgers and Girls Bones Found. The soundtrack is pretty much the only merchandise that was released around this film besides the comics from Dark Horse. Giggles didn’t get an action figure, t-shirt, Sega Genesis game or anything, he just came and went at the theaters and at some point showed up on home video. I mean come on, you know you would have played a side scrolling horror game based on Dr. Giggles on your Genesis!

dr giggles scoredr giggles soundtrack

So there you have it, a brief look at Dr. Giggles the character, the film and soundtrack.  So let’s gear up and get ready to dive into the two issue mini series based on the film from Dark Horse Comics.  Remember I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So the Doctor is in and ready to be reviewed! I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having these in stock. 

Dr. Giggles 1

Dr. Giggles # 1  **1/2
Released in 1992   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse Comics   #1 of 2

Dr. Evan Rendell Jr. aka Dr. Giggles has escaped the insane asylum and on his way out kills a few of the staff for good measure. High School couple Jennifer Campbell and Max are having issues as Jennifer is having some major health issues with her heart that she is keeping hidden and her sudden limits on after school activities is making this an awkward situation between them. Dr. Giggles has returned home and has taken up in his fathers old home clinic.  He makes quick work of a few kids who have decided to snoop around his dad’s old killing field and recovers his dad’s old client records to restart the health care his father was dishing out, roaming around town killing off all those he can. Meanwhile Jennifer is mad at her boyfriend Max and even more disappointed in her father and his new younger hippie girlfriend who are going out for dinner that night leaving Jennifer alone and mad at her illness as she looks out her window and sees her boyfriend with another woman. As Dr. Giggles sneaks into the dinner party Mr. Campbell is at, the cops are just starting to piece things together that they have a killer on the loose.

This first issue of the film adaptation starts off with a bang and has Dr. Giggles using the scalp of a victim to try and escape the looney bin.  Gruesome stuff as the man-made wig is still oozing blood as he closes in for a kill on a young nurse. Dr. Giggles is clearly shown in this issue to be insane and a pun spewing smart ass much like Freddy Kruger and kills a number of people from beheading, torture and poisoning. So in short, this first issue is a nice way to show the evil murdering side of Dr. Giggles and makes him one hell of a bad guy for the hero Jennifer to get away from. Speaking of Jennifer, she is your normal teen besides the fact she has a weak heart and hates the fact her father is dating a new woman a few months after her mother’s death. Her boyfriend Max is pretty much useless and the cops are as well besides Magruder who seems more aware that something bad is going on. The story is fast paced and all that you really need to know about the history of Dr. Giggles is told via quick talk panels by teens or the cops. The art is well done and has that pure 90’s Dark Horse look, using lots of blood to express the horrors, but while the inner art is great the cover is just meh and not really that eye catching and for the most part is pretty lame. So far this is a good start to the film adaptation and delivers enough over the top kills to please most slasher horror comic fans, so let’s see how issue two holds up, shall we?

Dr. Giggles 2

Dr. Giggles # 2   **1/2
Released in 1992   Cover Price $2.50    Dark Horse Comics   #2 of 2

Jennifer is now home alone, drinking and upset over her boyfriend’s cheating ways as Dr. Giggles, who has just killed two teens, is now creeping into Jennifer’s house as she leaves to confront Max. Mr. Campbell and his girlfriend return home to find Jennifer missing and the house disheveled.  As he goes to look for his daughter, his girlfriend gets her flesh eaten off the bone by a chemical Dr. Giggles placed in her make-up remover. Jennifer goes to the town fair and sees Max.  The two fight as she runs into the fun house.  Dr. Giggles follows, makes short work of Max and follows Jennifer to help her with her weak heart. While Dr. Giggles is doing so, he kills a cop but not before he takes a shot to the gut that he himself removes.  Jennifer goes to her doctor’s office, leading Giggles along with her who kills her doctor and kidnaps Jennifer to perform surgery on her.  She is saved by Officer Magruder who fights with the crazed man and blows them both up as well as the Giggles homestead. Jennifer is rushed to the hospital where she is once more attacked by Dr. Giggles who has survived the explosion and is burnt badly but sill wanting to help fix Jennifer’s heart.  In the end, she electrocutes Giggles and wakes up with her heart fixed and her father at her side who she thought dead after Giggles attacked him at the Campbell home.

This is a nice wrap up to a silly, over the top horror story about a killer doctor. In this one, Dr. Giggles acts like he did in issue one, delivering more cheesy lines and acting even more like a nut as he kills victims with knives and scalpels and sets his sites on truly helping Jennifer with her broken heart. Jennifer is part victim and part hero as she becomes the captive and then fights back against the crazed Doctor. Max and her father are useless once more as Officer Magruder is the one who helps set up the end of Giggles’ night of terror and dies like a true hero of the horror screen. The issue is even faster paced than issue one making for a quick read with lots of fun over the top deaths. The only real issue is the fact you can tell they rushed a little too much and lots of questions are never answered like is Max dead? In the comic they never really say, while in the film he is alive at the end. Plus it’s 100% silly in the movie and in the comic that Dr. Giggles survives a massive explosion, let alone is well enough to travel, kill and fight. The art is well done and once more the cover is just boring and not eye catching  To wrap it up, this is a fun movie adaptation that uses the film and script as a guideline but makes its own choices to cram it into two issues of a comic. I chuckled at Dr. Giggles and his silly comic book murdering adventure. 

giggles art 2

So there you have it, Dr. Giggles made a fun silly read and was a nice follow up to reading Dark Horse Comics’ two issues of Pumpkinhead.  I actually had an idea about doing a fantasy warfare between the two titans of two issues just to add a little more fun to this quick pre-halloween update.  So let’s set the mood and get ready for a fight between a crazed doctor and a demon of revenge. This will take place in the backwoods of Eaton, Ohio, a location where the White Eyed Bigfoot has been spotted as well a werewolf.  Dr. Giggles is hiding out from the cops, but he has something more dangerous then the cops to worry about as a loved one of his last victim has called upon Pumpkinhead to avenge their death.  So the mood is set and the battle ground chosen, let’s see who would win in a fight between Dr. Giggles and Pumpkinhead. 

Dr GigglesVSPumpkinhead

Dr. Giggles is running through a soybean field towards a covered bridge that is surrounded by woods.  His medical bag filled with his metal instruments of death is tucked under his arm.  As the police sirens fade, he makes his way across the bridge and into the woods where he finds a place to rest and eat his lunch, nothing special just a ham sandwich, potato chips and a can of Mt. Dew he has packed along side his items of death. As he enjoys his lunch, a man with a shotgun creeps up behind him and aims the barrel at the back of his skull and tells the Dr. to get up.  This triggers the Dr. to start giggling like a school girl. The man explains to him that his name is JC Jazz, a one time low budget film editor who had his girlfriend murdered by Dr. Giggles in Xenia, and that it’s time for Dr. Giggles to meet his end.  This makes Dr. Giggles’ day as he drops whats left of his sandwich, stands and turns toward JC.  He flips a sharp scalpel at him that strikes him in the throat, knocking his attacker to the ground grasping his neck that is now oozing blood.  Dr. Giggles chuckles as JC manages to get words out and warns him it’s too late.  As the wind picks up and the sounds of locus fill the air, a lumbering monster makes his way towards the Dr. fast.  That monster is Pumpkinhead! Giggles is able to grab a large knife from his bag and and plunges it into the stomach of Pumpkinhead who shrugs it off as if he didn’t feel a thing and quickly grabs Giggles by his skull as JC takes his final breath.  Pumpkinhead smashes the skull of Giggles and collapses as well as the one who called upon him is also dead. The woods are quiet as JC lies motionless, the body of Pumpkinhead starts to shrivel and the brains of Dr. Giggles are mush on the ground as ants have already started to collect around the massive wound that was once the mad doctor’s head. The ham sandwich also sIts on the ground but not for long as the White Eyed Bigfoot shows up and picks it up and eats whats left of Giggles’ Lunch and watches as the clouds go by.

Winner: Pumpkinhead

So yeah, Pumpkinhead would win hands down and would have made really short work of Giggles.  That’s why I had to add in JC Jazz, who in fact was an editor for some of Independent B Movies’ early work and was a fake name that I used when I didn’t want my name all over credits. So with that I hope you had fun with this update and hope you are looking forward to next month as much as me as Rotten Ink kicks off the Halloween season with Dell Comics’ look at classic Universal Monsters like Dracula, The Mummy and Wolfman! So until then, read a comic and be ready to be scared to the bone next update,and stay nerdy.

Dell Universal Monsters Logo

Marvel vs. DC….. Round 1…..FIGHT!

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

great zucchinithe madman of des moins

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

Creep PartyDr. Creep HorrorhoundDr. Creep and Me

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

The Shroud

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

CommanderUSA the manGrandpajoe bob briggs0

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

dr gangrenespooky spectreThe Gravemaster

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

MidniteRiggorroxsy

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

Baron Von PorkchopBaron Episode 15Baroness Von Porkchop

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

Frank wolfFrankenstein Meets The Wolf Man PosterMonster chokes Wolfman

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

Zilla Kong DanceKing Kong vs Godzilla posterKong vs Zilla

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

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

Godzilla vs Barkley 1

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

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

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

Brakley smackcharles-barkley-vs-godzillazilla slam

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

superman

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

Spider-Man

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

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

Superman vs Spiderman 1

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

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

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

sPIDEY RUNSuperman spidermanSpidey Super Punch

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

superman christopher reeveVSSpiderMan Nicholas Hammond

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

Winner – Superman

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

BATMAN

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

HULK

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

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

Batman vs Hulk 1

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

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

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

Batman kick hulkHulk Batman super fighthulkbatman2

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

Batman Adam WestVSHulk and David

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

Winner – The Incredible Hulk

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

Frankenstein Dracula Logo 

Top 10 Should Have Beens In The Star Comics World

Welcome back to my blog, and thank you for reading my trip down memory lane mixed with pulp culture and things that still fascinate me to this day. Last blog I mentioned that Marvel pulled the plug on Star Comics after only a four year run, and I then mentioned that during that time they missed lots of great stuff that could have made some some great comic adventures.  What if they were still around to this day; what great stuff might have come from this?  After thinking about this, I decided that this blog entry will be my top 10 properties that should have been turned into a Star Comic.  Then Part 2 will show some friends and family’s top 5 picks, so sit back and enjoy!

#10 

Adams Family Logo

They are spooky, kooky and an all around fun time for the young and young at heart.  This off the wall family have been around for many years and have been in every kind of media from comic strip, TV, movies, games and books.  In 1938, Charles Addams created The Addams Family (Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Puggsly, Fester, Gramama, Lurch & Thing), and the comic strip was published in the New York Times and was a popular read for the masses. In 1964 ABC aired The Addams Family in which live actors like John Astin, Coralyn Jones, Ted Cassidy and other actors played the parts of the family. The series ran until 1966 and had good solid ratings. Then in 1973, Hanna Barbara made an animated series that ran for a year and featured silly adventures of the family done in the style of Scooby-Doo.

the_addams_family_1964-showAddamsFamilyAnimatedDVDAddams-Family-cartoon

In 1977, a new live action special was made called “Halloween with the New Addams Family,” and while John Astin and most of the original cast returned to play the characters they did many years before, the magic seemed to be gone and the special was only so-so. In 1992 they tried an animated series again that only lasted one year, “The Addams Family: Animated Series.”  This series also inspired some action figures from Playmates. The kooky family’s next major break was the 1998 film starring Raul Julia, Angelica Houston, Christina Ricci and Christopher Lloyd.  The film was a hit and made The Addams Family a household name once again. The film sparked two sequels, video games, novels, pinball game and lots more merchandise. While many other small Addams Family specials and such were made, the two most impactful were the 1964 ABC show and the 1998 Paramount film, but the 1992 cartoon series also holds a special place in my heart.

halloween-with-the-new-addams-family2The_Addams_family_cartoon 90sMovie Poster

Now let’s talk the merchandise for a moment to show the popularity of the Addams Family.  Many amazing products were made including a fun kiddie board game from Milton Bradley based on the 1973 Cartoon.  In 1965, Ted Cassidy made a song and dance craze called The Lurch.  The amazing NES Video Game System had several games including the very hard “Festers Quest”, and even a breakfast cereal was made to go along with the 1998 movie. All this was in addition to toys from Playmates, and many more fun and silly products. I used to eat the cereal and was always happy to get a box because they used to give away free mini flashlights as a prize! I still have my Lurch and Fester flashlights to this day. I also spent many hours along side my brother Bryan and friend Mike Cessna playing Festers Quest and never beating it. As for the Play Mates toys based on the 1992 Cartoon, the only one I ever owned was Lurch and he came with a old pair of sheers.  It was a cool toy for the time.

TedCassidy-TheLurch45AddamsFamily boardgameAddams-Family-cereal

But before I go into why Star Comics should have created a comic based on The Addams Family, I do need to touch up on the fact that a mini series was made by Gold Key Comics based on the 1973 cartoons. The 3 issue run came out in 1974, the year the toon was canceled, and featured silly very kid friendly stories. As always the people at Whitman comics always republished what Gold Key had released the same year. I’m not sure why the comics only lasted three issues, but it might have had to do with the fact the cartoon was canceled within a year, leading me into my pitch of what Star could have done.

Addams Family 1Adams Family 2Adams Family 3

If Star Comics were around in 1992, the issues would be based on the cartoon and would follow the family doing all types of silly stuff from going to the beach to having normal yet odd holidays such as Thanksgiving and the 4th of July. While the main stories would follow Wednesday and Puggsley to gain the kid crowd, it could also follow Lurch and make the silent and hulking butler a main focus.  As an example, he goes to camp with the Addams kids, and they get lost in the spooky woods,  While other kids are scared, The Addams kids and Lurch are having a blast. The rest of the family would be shown and highlighted as well. Say what you want about the Addams Family, but they are nice spooky kid-friendly characters that would been pleasing in a comic series from Star. I am guessing if this comic would have been made it would have run for at least 3-4 issues before the plug was pulled like so many before it, but I guarantee that those issues would have been a fun time for those who enjoyed the cartoon.

#9 

hey dude logo

Hey Dude was a popular live action show on Nickelodeon in 1989 that followed workers at a dude ranch called the Bar None owned by a city slicker named Mr. Ernst and his young son Buddy. Workers included Ted, a smooth talking ladies man and Danny, a local Native American.  They were joined by blonde cutie Melody and rich horse trainer Brad.  All the staff are in their teens and are joined by Lucy who is the overseer of the workers and is in her late 30’s/early 40’s. The show revolved around the Ranch, and the silly wars the boys and the girls would get into over petty things.  The show also built up sexual tension between Brad and Ted adding some teen drama to the mix. In my youth this was one of my favorite shows and was one of the best live action shows of the time on Nick. It also sparked my second major celebrity crush as I had the hots for Kelly Brown who played Brad.  I also found Christine Taylor really hot!   But my first major crush (that I still have to this day) is Danielle Harris, but that’s for another entry.

TedChristine Taylor MelMr. E

Hey Dude ran for five seasons and was canceled in 1991.  During that time, the Ted character came and went and Jake was introduced who was Mr. Ernst’s nephew from L.A. who was also kind of after Brad.  The show was a staple of my youth, and I can’t count the times I watched the same episodes over and over, having a blast doing so. I was so bummed when the show went off the air and was shocked by the little merchandise the series got. To this day besides the DVD season releases by Shout Factory, the only item I can think of was a novel called “Hey Dude: Show Down at the Bar None”.

Hey Dude BookBrad and TedHey Dude DVD

Besides the stunning Brad, one of my favorite characters from the show was Danny Lightfoot, a Hopi Indian who was not only wise but also a total goofball who loved to fuel the fire of Ted’s numbskull ideas and bets. But during many episodes Danny would always explain that his people were the ones who created a custom or food item, and this sparked my brother to always walk around and make fun of the character by asking if “Danny and his people created that.”  It was all in good fun, and just the other day on the phone he even referenced it again! I am sure that one of the reasons I really liked the character is because both my Grandfather and Grandmother are part Native American, as were my great-grandparents and so on before them.

Danny

If Star Comics was still active in 1989, they could have reached out to a teen audience and did some issues about the Bar None Ranch and its workers. The comics could have followed Ted and Danny (and maybe Jake depending on when the comic was made) as they got into trouble and adventures in and around the ranch. It could also have built up the flirting of Ted and Brad giving female readers some romance to keep them interested as well. Another fun aspect that they could have played up on in comics would be cowboy ghosts and Native American spirits and beliefs, giving it a little more action and adventure. But with this show airing a year after Star was shut down, we’ll never get to know if this show would have gotten the Star treatment. I will say in closing that it’s about damn time this show saw a DVD release, so a big thanks goes out to Shout Factory. And my guess it would have lasted at least 4-5 issues.

#8

Tales From Cryptkeeper

In 1950, EC Comics was making horror comics called “Tales from the Crypt,” “The Vault of Horror” and “The Haunt of Fear.”  Each issue was hosted by a grim yet tongue in cheek host such as The Crypt Keeper, The Vault Keeper or The Old Witch. The comics were filled with ghouls, blood and grim stories and were crowd pleasers to young readers. But much like many things over the years, parents hit the roof when they found that their children had been reading comics about murder, death and ghouls. So like any good crazed, tightly-wound parent would do, they protested the company and the comics and had a massive bonfire in which hundreds of copies of the classic comic were burned making original copies highly collectible.  EC also sparked the comic code, that tried to ban comics that found unsuitable for children and eventually causing the demise of EC in 1955 after dipping sales and the overly huge backlash of parents, teachers and the comic code.

Tales From The Crypt ComicVault Of Horror ComicHaunt of Fear Comic

But the Crypt Keeper came out of the ashes in 1972 when a live action movie starring horror legend Peter Cushing was made, taking many of the comics’ old stories and adapting them to film.  The film’s plot had a group of strangers who were on a tour and get lost and end up in a tomb like area where the Crypt Keeper tells them strange and brutal stories with each person as the lead.  Of course, this all has a twist ending. In 1973 a sequel was made called The Vault of Horror, and it followed the same formula as the first but this time the guests are trapped in an office building. In 1989, HBO made a hit TV series out of the comic that ran for 7 seasons and had the Crypt Keeper acting almost as a horror host, introducing each episode with a touch of comedy and skits. With the HBO series came films based on the show like Demon Knight, Bordello of Blood and Ritual, making this the most popular version of the comic to come alive. In 1993, a Saturday morning cartoon was made for ABC called Tales from The Crypt Keeper that featured kid-friendly horror stories hosted by an overly silly Crypt Keeper who still had a mean streak. In season two, the Keeper also found himself at war with old rivals the Old Witch and Vault Keeper, and this was the formula for that whole season. After season two ABC pulled the plug on the series, but it was only gone a short time as NBC picked up a third season in 1997 and changed the format and animation.  This only lated one season.

Tales From The Crypt PosterTales from the Crypt TVetales from the cryptkeeper DVD

Both the live action HBO show, and the cartoon sparked merchandise for kids and collectors.  There was a pinball machine, talking dolls, action figures, shirts, Halloween masks and decorations and of course reprints of the old comic. My brother had one of the talking dolls, dressed in a tux who said a few hammy lines from the HBO show, and he of course got the reprint comics. I didn’t get any merch until many years later and own a few of the toys based on the animated series and also own a Halloween mask of the Crypt Keeper. Like all merchandise, these things helped keep the Crypt Keeper in the minds of the masses.

Crypt Keeper ToyCrypt PinballCrypt Keeper Halloween

So again in order for Star Comics to make issues based on the 1993 cartoon, they would have had to hang on and been given a better chance by Marvel. But this would have been a no brainer and would have just followed the formula of the cartoon and the original comic series and could have had The Crypt Keeper telling cheesy kid friendly stories that all ended with a lesson learned, never really pushing the envelope to cross the line into making them too gruesome. I know as a kid I would have eaten this up.  I grew up watching horror films and horror hosts, and this would have been a series that I would have bought like clock work. The animated version of the Crypt Keeper was green in color, and his attitude seemed to be that he was your friend telling you a spooky story to have fun alongside you.  This would had transferred perfectly to comic. It’s a shame that Tales From The Crypt Keeper never did get a comic, and Star would have been the perfect company to do so.

Sherlock KeeperKeeper season 2 dvdtopten_cryptkeeper

On a side note, back in the days of Waynesville I owned one of those mini black and white portable TV’s, and FOX got the rights to rerun the HBO series.  So I would turn off all the lights in my room and shut the door and would watch Star Trek: The Next Generation and then Tales From The Crypt. It was a fun time at night that allowed me to see the show.  I am sure many of you readers remember this showing and have fun memories of watching. Oh yeah, and if Star were to have done comics for Tales from the CryptKeeper, I would have guessed a 5 issue run.

#7 

Conan Adventure Logo

In 1932 Robert E. Howard created Conan The Barbarian and wrote his adventures for Weird Tales Magazine, and the character became a hit with the fantasy world. In 1950 his stories started to be turned into paperback novels and were taken not only from Howard’s writings but also other authors who wrote of his journeys. In 1970 Marvel Comics began the comic series “Conan The Barbarian” that spawned spin offs like Red Sonja, Kull and King Conan. The main series ran for 275 issues and stopped being made in 1993. For many years no comics came out based on the raven haired brute, then in 2003 Dark Horse Comics picked up the licenses and Conan is still coming out as of 2013. This is only the literature part of Conan’s vast history, and this is only a quick sampling.  This part could have gone on and on!

Conan The Conqueror novelConan the Barbarian 44Conan DarkHorse

Conan was such a hit that for years many other merchandise came out including video games, t-shirts, board game, toys and statues, all these making fans of Conan very happy. Some of the most popular ones are the Remco 5 ½” action figures that were just generic Masters of the Universe cash-in’s that came out in 1984.  To this day, they fetch lots of money on Ebay and toy conventions.  Of course the video games that have been made for systems such as Commodore 64, PC, NES, PS2, PS3 and Xbox 360. While none of the games did well critically, I found the PS3 game to be very fun and the NES game, while crappy, is still a fun goofy play. It’s a shame that the PS3/Xbox 360 game did not sell well because this caused THQ not to give it a sequel.

conan NES video gameconan warrior remcoConan PS3

Now for Conan in film and TV, a fun journey for all! In 1982, a film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was released.  The film was a blood bath that had Conan going after Tulsa Doom, the leader of Set worshipers who was responsible for his parents’ death and him being sold into slavery. The film follows Conan as he grows up and gets revenge. The film is amazing and is in my top 10 films for sure.  In 1984, a sequel was made called Conan the Destroyer, and sadly this film took a PG-13 route and took out all the over the top blood shed of the original and tried to make it more kid-friendly and has Conan trying to protect a young princess from a wizard.  While not called by name, Schwarzenegger once again played a Conan-like character in the 1985 film Red Sonja. In 1992 Conan The Adventurer,the animated adventures aired, early mornings and followed Conan and his friends as they try and stop the evil Wrath-Amon who was the priest of Set who needs the star metal to be free once more.  It lasted 65 episodes and also spawned a second animated series that flopped called Conan and the Young Warriors that only lasted 13 episodes. Then with the success of Hercules and the Legendary Journeys TV producers thought why not try a show that’s hammy and base it around Conan, and thats what happened in 1997 with a show simply called Conan.  German bodybuilder Ralf Moller played the title role, and the show followed him and his friends’ adventures through 22 episodes. Finally in 2011, the Conan movie franchise got rebooted with Jason Momoa as the Barbarian. Although some were not as good as others, Conan has had a good run in film and TV.  The TV shows and the 2011 film were not well received, but still gave fans something new for the iconic character. In my younger days, I spent many hours watching the 1992 cartoon and watched the original 1982 more then any kid my age should have. 

Conan DVDConan TV ShowConan Bluray

The 1992 cartoon is our focus and would be the best bet for Star to base a comic series around.  But before we get into that, let’s talk the terrible toy line that went alongside the cartoon. These things were large clunky pieces of plastic with terrible sculpts and bad paint jobs! I felt that way now and I felt that way then. I was and will always be a Conan fan and when the cartoon and toys came out, I was super hyped to see both. The cartoon lived up to my expectations and was a fun adventure cartoon, while the toys just sucked.  I only bought one, the Skeleton warrior Skulkur, and man what a disappointment.  From the moment I took it out of the package, I knew I was in trouble as the figure was stiff and had this terrible spin around action. No one else I knew in school had one of these figures making this one a school yard dud. To this day I do not have any of these figures laying around Independent B Movie studios (the place all my old toys are) nor will I ever get one of these abominations again. Oh yeah and the main Conan figure looks like a generic toy you would find on the shelves of Odd Lots/Big Lots.  In fact, I remember when these toys did flood those shelves.

Conan ToyHorse ToySkulkur Toy

Much like Tales From The Crypt Keeper, this would be a no brainer run of comics.  The fact that Marvel was all ready putting out comics based on the Barbarian would have made this one an easy sale. The comic would have followed the same formula as the cartoon and would have Conan and his friends fighting bad guys like Skulkur and Wrath-Amon and trying to find hidden treasures, protect the star metal and such. Plus they could have used Needle, his Phoenixx sidekick more and made him just like Snarf in Thundercats or even Orko in Masters of the Universe.  Many more of the side characters like African Warrior Zula and Jezmine the female circus performer could also be showcased, and the characters could be fleshed out and given time to really shine . While the main Marvel book was geared towards teens and adults, this series could have captured the younger crowed. The issues could also have an underlying meaning like don’t steal or be nice to others and do it so slyly that the readers wouldn’t pick up on the fact they have just been taught a lesson in manners. I could see this series running 10 issues for Star before they pulled the plug on the series.  I think this one would have had a little life even after the cartoon was canceled.

Conan the adventureconan-the-adventurer-season-two-part-one-20111028004309301_640wWrath-Amon

#6 rockafire explosion logoIn 1980 a pizza chain was born that was the rival to McDonalds in getting kids hyped up to go out to eat.  That place was Showbiz Pizza Palace. The restaurant had many gimmicks that were used to bring kids in such as arcade machines, ticket prizes, toys, and most famous was the animatronic band The Rock-A-Fire Explosion who would bring young and old there to see them perform. Showbiz became so big that they started to buy other pizza chains that were going under including Chuck E. Cheese. But the fun times came to an end in 1990, as Showbiz had some major changes in its business including a rebranding campaign.  This led to The Rock-A-Fire Explosion getting the boot and Chuck E. Cheese becoming the star of the show. While Showbiz and The Rock-A-Fire are gone they are not forgotten. I have many fond memories of Showbiz and going to birthday parties there and watching The Rock-A-Fire show and only somewhat liking the pizza.  I have never been a pizza fan, and I remember thinking that the pizza was mediocre at best. My younger cousin Steve, who I now work on many movies and TV shows with, was scared to death of the band and I think Fatz Geronimo was the one that terrified him the most.

Coffee Mug - Billy Bob Showbiz Pizza1showbizzzzzVideo Game Hotties

The Rock-A-Fire Explosion had many members that included Billy-Bob, a hillbilly bear with a great heart and who played bass guitar for the group.  He is the most popular of the members and was the pizza chains mascot.  Fatz Geronimo was a gorilla who sang and played piano for the group; at one time he was to be the main man of the group.  Beach Bear plays guitar and sings and is a surfing polar bear.  Looney Bird lives in an oil can and offers vocals.  Mitzi Mozzarella is a teenage mouse wearing a cheerleader outfit and sings.  Dook LaRue is a dog who wants to go to space and plays drums.  Lastly while not part of the band but acting as a warm up act was Rolfe deWolfe & Earl, a stand up comic wolf and his puppet. The band was huge and drew many people to the restaurant. While the stage show was animatronic, at times a man in a costume would walk around as Billy Bob and greet the guests in the arcade area. To this day people who grew up in the 80’s and have been to Showbiz Pizza have a special place in their hearts for The Rock-A-Fire.

Billy BobFatz and MJrolfe

The company made lots of merchandise based on the band in order to make that extra dollar off the guests that included glasses, mugs, vinyl records, dolls, small toys, posters and so much more. In 2008 a documentary about the band was also made and showed just how in love people still are with the band and the idea of Showbiz Pizza. All the classic vintage items are huge collectors’ items and go for high prices on Ebay and conventions. In 2011, I was lucky enough to find a classic mini Fatz figure for only a $1.00!

Billy Bob DollGee Our 1st Albumthe-rock-afire-explosion-dvd

If Star Comics would have jumped on this popular kids attraction, they could have had a fun and silly comic on their hands and could have got major push by selling the comic at the pizza place.  Showbiz could have used the comic as a tool to try and draw more guests in. The concept of the comic could have followed that band as they toured the world and got into many off the wall adventures, I mean could you imagine Billy Bob in Japan or Russia?  Chuck E. Cheese also would be used and could have been written in as the bands manager giving that hat wearing rodent a push as well. Plus with all the band members all with different personalities, they could have had many funny moments just with the in-band fighting. But for some reason Star Comics just must not have seen how easy this comic would have been to make and how kids at the time would have eaten it up. Given Stars track record I would guess that this would have lasted 3 to 4 issues if it was made and would not have had a clear cut last issue. Here is to someone who I hope some day will make the comic based on these amazing characters that meant so much to so many kids of the time.

Billy Bob on The BeachChuck E CheeseMits

#5

challenge of gobots logo 

In 1983, Tonka Toys brought out a line of changing robot toys called The GoBots.  The toys were simple and would change from robot to some sort a vehicle and were geared towards younger kids. At first, the toys sold really well and seemed to be building up steam even without the backing of a cartoon or comic to push it. But this ride at the top of changing robots came to a quick end when in 1984 Hasbro released The Transformers toy line in the United States. Fans flipped for Transformers and loved characters like Optimus Prime, Jazz and Bumblebee as well as the superior designs and tranforming abilities of the new figures. Gobots tried to fight back and in 1984; an animated TV mini series made by Hanna Barbera was released to compete with the Transformer cartoon called Challenge of the GoBots. While the cartoon did not do as well as its competitor, it did get full seasons starting in 1985 and ran for 65 episodes. In 1986 a theatrical film was made called GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords and released 3 months before Transformers The Movie.  The GoBots film was a flop and performed poorly at the box office and with critics. The toy line came to an end in 1987, ending the legacy for a short amount of time, until Hasbro bought the rights from Tonka and turned them into toys for kids under 5.

GobotsChallengeOfTheGobots DVDEvil Gobots

Many people seemed to think that the GoBots toy line was the K-Mart version of the Transformers, and most think that they just followed the trend, but this is not the case.  While the toys were very cheaply done, they were still out a whole year before Transformers. The main bad downside to the toys was the fact that the joints would become super loose and your figure would lose an arm here and there.  I cannot count how many Cy-Kill toys I had that one of the arms would fall off. One of the other terrible aspects of the toys was the fact that most of their transforms were terrible and would be just a bend here or there, making them seem like bulky silly robots. Growing up I had many GoBots and used them when I played with Star Wars as other robots that would join in on battles or be at Jabba’s Palace. I think my two favorites in the toy line are the most popular characters, Cy-Kill and Leader One.  While they were nothing special, I found them to be pretty bad ass toys at a cheap price. I still find loose GoBots at Mavericks Cards and Comics and get a chuckle at seeing them.

Leader one ToyCy Kill ToyScooter Toy

Besides the toys, cartoons and movie, many other merchandise was made based on the series that included a game for the Commodore 64, lunch boxes, Halloween costumes, magazines, coloring books, stickers and many more items. It’s odd that this property never did get a comic run from either Marvel or DC. It’s also odd much like the back lash of the toys many of the other items made based on the characters have negative vibes around them.  The Commodore 64 game is always ripped apart and is considered a turkey of a game.

Gobots Coloring BookGobots C64Gobots Magazine

This is yet another easy one to make into a Star Comic and would have fit in with the rest of the properties that they all ready put out. Marvel Comics was already making Transformer comics for the older teen reader, and GoBots would have been a perfect way to get younger readers drawn into Marvel and to maybe push them towards books that were only a few years away. The plot of the comic would be the same as the cartoon and would have had Leader One and the good guys battling Cy-Kill and the evil robots. It could be a pretty cookie cutter format and could have relied on mindless robot battles with normal recycled plots. I know it’s sounding like I am saying that Star should have made a half ass comic series, but that’s not what I am really meaning at all. All I am saying is that this could have been a fun cheesy comic that was geared towards young readers.  I am sure I would have eaten it up even with tame and generic story lines, as would many other kids of that time. I think this would have lasted for about 12 issues if Star was to put it out and would have gotten a clear cut last issue. It’s a sad world we live in when Leader One never made it to a comic book in his prime.  What makes it worse is the ad below for the cartoon that is drawn in your typical Star art style, making me wonder if something was in the works and fell through when the film bombed and the toy line was on a decline making Star cancel the deal.  I guess we will never really know.

Leader Onechallenge-of-the-gobots adGobots VHS

#4

mad scientist logoWhen you were a kid in the 1980’s, lots of things came out that were related to horror and monsters.  In 1987 Mattel released a toy line that claimed to be Too Gross! Mad Scientist allowed you to be your own Dr. Frankenstein or even a Egor, if you owned a bendable Mad Scientist figure, and would allow you to create, dissect and melt your own creations. The line of toys also had dress up kits to become a crazy doctor yourself. In 1988 as well a very short lived animated cartoon was made that lasted two episodes called “Mad Scientist: Experiment of Error” and was only released on VHS. Weirdly as fast as it came, the Mad Scientist toy line disappeared in less than two years, making it one of those toy lines that made you wonder what just happened.  Many blame the NES for the death of this toy line that seemed to be gaining more attention than action figures.  Some also blamed the price of the playsets claiming that they were too expensive for parents to get for their kids.  All I can say is that it was a fun toy line that had some amazing animated/ live action commercials.

Monster Lab

My first introduction to this toy line was of course the commercials that aired during Saturday Morning Cartoons.  While they got my attention, I was not so hip to the whole chemistry set aspect of the toy line making me at first blow the whole line off as just another silly creepy toy. But then one day at school someone had a few of the figures on the playground.  They had Dissect an Alien where you removed the guts of a monster alien with slime in his belly and a bendable Mad Scientist figure.  I played with them both and really found the toys neat and offered to trade to get the Scientist figure.  To my shock, he did not want to trade but instead sold the figure to me for a dollar! This made my day and for weeks at home I would do odd little science experiments alongside my new figure. Next at KB Toys, a now dead toy store that was in the Dayton Mall, I found gummi bear style molds of creatures from the lab of the Mad Scientist and bought those and made plaster molds from them and spent time painting them to give to my Mom. Sadly I never owned any of the major play sets, but what little I did have from the toy line I enjoyed a lot.

mad figure

I know what you’re all thinking why, did he pick a toy line that for all accounts failed,  had a cartoon that never even made it to TV, as his # 4.  Let me tell you why. I think that one of the big reasons this toy line failed is the lack of real push from Mattel.  I think they lost interest in it fast and never fully saw the potential in its appeal. If Star Comics would have made this into a comic, I think that it would have kept the line a little fresh in kids’ eyes and might have made it last a little longer. The comic could have followed The Mad Scientist and let’s say a every day normal boy who helps him in all his wacky experiments that of course go wrong! You could have issues where monsters escape and they must round them up, a potion that makes The Mad Scientist normal and his young friend must find a way to return him to his crazy self and many more plots like that. Not to mention think of all the monsters you could add.  As far as bad guys, you could have the town mayor be the one who wants to lock up the Mad Scientist and throw away the key. But sadly Star Comics was all ready on the verge of closing up, and this series never did make it to the light or I should say was never even considered. If this was a Star Comic though, I could almost guarantee that much like its shelf life on toy shelves, its comic stand life would also be short.  I see it only lasting for about 4 issues. It’s a shame this never happened I would have loved to read the adventures of a lunatic Mad Scientist!

mad scientistmattel logoMad Alien

#3 

commander usas groovie movies LogoI have always been a fan of Horror Hosts, being young and watching scary films alongside them always seemed to make the film less scary and you felt protected by the hosts’ silly antics. Saturdays were always a fun day for me.  I would spend the mornings watching cartoons and eating cereal.  Every other week we would go shopping at Big Bear & Hearts, and then we would get home in time to watch Commander USA’s Groovie Movies on the USA Network! After the Groovie Movie was over, I would go to my room and play with toys or go out side and play ball tag (where we would play tag with a soccer ball that we would throw at others in the game) or even possibly record my own radio show via a tape deck and then at night it was time for USA’s Saturday Nightmares! Commander USA was a retired super hero that rented space under a shopping mall in New Jersey and would host a movie or two and would have some sort of crazy thing going on in his Video Vault. He was joined by his best friend and sidekick Lefty who was really just Commander’s right hand with a cigar ash smiley face drawn on. The show started in 1985 and ran until 1989, switching from Saturday to Sundays and was a staple of my youth. The thing about Commander USA, who was played by a great stage actor Jim Hendricks, was that during the movie you felt as if he really was watching the film along side you.  That’s something a really good host can do, is make you think he or she is watching whatever turkey they are showing this week. It’s odd looking back over my life and seeing just how many horror hosts motivated me to be the creative person I am today, hosts like the late great Dr. Creep, my “Dad” A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Joe Bob Briggs, Grandpa Munster, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Son of Ghoul, Sammy Terry and many more.  So to all of you hosts out there, thank you for doing what you do and inspiring people like me with your antics.

CommanderUSA03commander usaCommanderUSA08

Commander USA had very little merchandise, but what he did have was pretty cool as you could join his fan club that came complete with a membership card.  Also an official fanzine was made called ” Commander USA’s World of Horror”. Over the years his show has shown up on sites that offer his show on DVD-R’s and are worth getting if you want a nice flashback to a great era of the USA Network. Also Jim Hendricks is talked to in an amazing documentary about horror hosts called American Scary.  If you like horror hosts, this is a must-see.

commander usa dvdcommander usa fanzineAmerican Scary DVD

A comic book based on the adventures of Commander USA still needs to happen! Star Comics could have drawn in the horror kid crowd like myself by making issues about the Commander’s super hero ways in and out of the Video Vault! This comic series could have been played two ways, and both would have been good,  One could have followed him as he is retired and is forced back into action to save the day, like to find a purse snatcher that has been running wild in the mall above the Video Vault, or say stop an ice cream monster that has been made by a mad doctor who was mad when a store ran out of his wanted pair of gym shoes.  The second route they could have taken was to follow the Commander in his prime and to show him doing amazing feats like fighting super villains or going up against famous monsters like Dracula or Frankenstein’s Monster. This comic would have made me so happy and would be a series that I would have bought every issue back then and even to this day.  But if I know Star Comics like I think I do, I would say that if they did take a chance and make this comic, it would run 3-4 issues before they got cold feet and ended it. That’s one thing I will say, more horror hosts need comic books based around them.  At this time the only ones I can think of that have their own is Indiana’s icon Sammy Terry, Elvira and one about Wolfman Mac and his Chiller Theater . I think that a Baron Von Porkchop Comic will be coming your way soon, and I hope that these four books will trigger more comics about Hosts. With that to quote Commander, “Keep your nose in the wind… and your tail to yourself…”

USA1302-CommanderUSACommanderUSA05

#2 

MyPetMonster logo

In 1986 a plush doll that was aimed toward boys was released by American Greetings.  This doll was named My Pet Monster and was a blue furred, devil horned, sharp teeth, big nosed creature who was bound by bright orange handcuffs, and if those handcuffs came off he was said to come alive. The toy was one of very few plush dolls that was geared toward boys and to many people’s, surprise it was a huge success! The doll was so popular that many more were made in the line that included such beasts as Gwonk, Rark and Wogster. My Pet Monster warmed his way into hearts up into the early 90’s before the line went silent. In 2001 he came back for a second run but went through some changes.  While most of him looked the same, his nose and snarl looking teeth were way more tame, and this change was to please kids who found the original too scary. The rebirth was short lived but the doll now is a collectors item that kids of the 80’s will search for it to relive their youth. I never owned one of the original dolls but I do remember that a classmate had one, and he was a hit for the day on the playground when he came to school with his owner. I remember many of us going down the slide with him and spinning on the merry go round was a blast with our friend, My Pet Monster. The one I own is the 2001 rerelease that I found at a thrift store some years back.  It was in perfect shape and now even as I write this, he sits in an old vintage chair in my apartment looking at the TV. 

MyPetMonstermonster redueMyPetMonsterFootball

My Pet Monster was so popular that is spawned many other merchandise and came to life in films and cartoons. My Pet Monster was made into kids books, coloring books, puzzles and a lunch box. In 1986 My Pet Monster also was made into a live action direct to video film, and had a young boy who when he got hungry would turn into the monster and get into all kinds of silly messes. The film was only moderately successful and has never made it to DVD or Blu-Ray. In 1987 ABC picked up a cartoon based on the toy line that followed a young boy named Max who was the keeper and best friend to the My Pet Monster who was more silly than scary. The cartoon ran for one season and had 16 episodes that can be found on DVD.

my pet monster vhsmy pet bookMyPetMonsterdvd

If this were turned into a Star Comic, I would have skipped the film and cartoon and focused on the toy line itself.  The charm of the My Pet Monster was that when the orange shackles came off, he was free to act wild and crazy making the comic being able to go above and beyond with him going crazy in all types of areas. Like say he wanders to a school where a young man is picked on and watches as bullies keep making fun and shoving the kid around.  So My Pet Monster sees enough and talks the kid into un-shackling him and letting him show the bullies that it’s wrong to pick on others by pulling pranks and scaring them half to death.  Each issue could be a new kid with new issues and each time My Pet Monster is the problem solver, and while he is doing good things, he could still have a mean streak. This would have made many kids happy to see My Pet Monster in comic forum, and I am sure would have made Star a lot of money. I give this an 11 issue run with Star and I think it would have gotten a real final issue. It’s odd that this was never looked at to become a comic, and I believe that not only did Star/Marvel drop the ball on this, I think DC and Archie did as well.

vintage-my-pet-monstermy petgoth pet

#1

The_Incredible_Hulk logo

Now before you get all huffy and say that The Incredible Hulk is already a long running series with Marvel Comics, you should take another look as I am saying that one should have been made based on the 1978 live action TV show. So with that let’s look at the Hulk’s history

The Incredible Hulk/Bruce Banner were created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in 1962.  Issue # 1 that shows how scientist Bruce Banner was hit with gamma rays trying to save a young hot shot Rick Jones.  When the moon was full Banner would turn into a super strong brute called the Hulk and became wanted by General Thunderbolt Ross and the US army. Originally the Hulk was grey skinned, and as the series matured a few issues they changed him to green and instead of the moon triggering his transformation, it happened when he was angry . The comic series was and is Marvel’s top comic based on a monster type character out lasting the likes of Werewolf by Night, Tomb of Dracula, Man-Thing, Godzilla and Monster of Frankenstein.  The Hulk has many great enemies that include the Leader, the Abomination, the Glob, Wendigo, the U-Foes, Absorbing Man, Dr. Samson and many more. In fact as I am all sure you know, Wolverine’s first appearance was in a Hulk issue (#181). The character became so popular that he even got his own comic Magazine called The Rampaging Hulk in 1977. The comic is still going strong to this day and doen’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.  I could spend pages and pages talking about this because the Hulk is my all time favorite super hero and the series is just so rich with plots and characters.  But I am here to get to the point of why Star should have made comics based on the TV show so let’s move on shall we.

 The Incredible Hulk comic book issue oneIncredible-Hulk-1811rampage hulk
The Hulk was a fan favorite of kids who read comic books.  So they thought, hey why not make some cartoons based on the giant green monster and they did just that in 1966 as part of The Marvel Super Hero’s show that lasted 13 episodes. The 1966 series animation was based on the comic panels and was very crudely done, but still was a solid toon. Then in 1982, they gave it another go around this time the cartoon was just simple called The Incredible Hulk and was played along side Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.  The animation was better, and the plot’s were silly fun adventures but this one only lasted one season and 13 episodes as well. Many years would pass before they gave him another chance at the animation world, and 1996 marked his return to TV in animated form.  This one was called The Incredible Hulk as well and lasted two seasons and 21 episodes making it the longest running cartoon and had Lou Ferrigno come back to voice the Hulk. While this one was more up to date, I think it lacked the charm of the 1982 show which is my favorite. Sadly, none of the cartoons are out in the USA on legit DVD’s, and the only way you can see them is on Netflix, PAL Region 2 DVD’s or on Bootleg DVD-R’s. But I hope in 2012 they will be released for US fans.

hulk 60s animatedhulk animated 80shulk animated 90s

The Hulk has also had many action figures, and while some are based on his film appearances, other great old school ones have been made based on the comic and loosely on the live action show. My favorite one has to be the Mego Hulk.  While he is way off scale compared to the rest of the Mego collection, he still has a simple charm to him.  Plus fans of Wizard Magazine’s Toy Fair Issues will always remember him in their stop motion comics as a lunk head. Both small and large versions of the Mego dolls are worth tracking down and owning if you are a fan as well. I also really liked Mego’s Pocket Hero version of the Hulk because he was in scale with Star Wars and G.I. Joes. Lastly I have always had a soft spot for Toy Biz’s first Hulk toy that actions such as him bending a bar and smashing a soft rock. These four are just a drop in the hat of all the badass Hulk toys out there. One thing that always let me down is the fact Mattel never produced their Hulk figure for the Secret Wars line.  Many rumors say that he and The Abomination would have made it to series 3, and it’s a shame the line folded before then.

mego hulkhulk pocket herotoy biz hulk

The Incredible Hulk has also made his way into the video game world like in 1984 when “Questprode:Hulk” that was released for Commodore 64 and Atari Computers.  It was a text adveture game and marked the first video game to be based on the character. In 1994, a side scrolling action game was made for the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo called “The Incredible Hulk.”  While the game is by no means a masterpiece, it still is a fun button masher, and let’s you face some of your biggest foes like Abomination, Rhino and The Leader. In 1997 “The Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga” came out for the Sony Playstation and the Sega Saturn and was a terrible action game plagued by bad controls. Next up was “Hulk” a 2003 game based on the movie by Ang Lee and was made for Sony Playstation 2, Xbox, PC and Nintendo GameCube. Then in 2005, a pretty badass game came out called “The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction” and was an open world mission based game that allowed you to go as rampaging as you wanted.  It came out for Playstation 2, GameCube and Xbox. Last on this list for now is a 2008 game made by Sega and based on the film starring Edward Norton called “The Incredible Hulk.”  It takes the same idea as Ultimate Destruction and just ties it into the move. On a side note an Atari 2600 game based on the Hulk was in the works but was never finished by Parker Brothers due in part to the video game crash of 83. The story goes that the game was almost done and this gives hope a ROM of it will be found soon because the cover box has been discovered. While none of the games above are groundbreaking, I did find each and every one of them a fun play through even if some of them made me want to scream.

hulk atari 2600hulk psxhulk genesis

Many more great merchandise items have been made that include coloring books, lunch boxes, stickers, Halloween masks and costumes, banks, Halloween pales, board games, Colorforms, candy, toy boxes, shirts, shoes, hats and so much more. One of my favorite things as a kid was my brother’s and my Hulk toy box that was a purple base and the lid was a giant Incredible Hulk Head! We use to even take it outside and play with it putting it over our heads and stumbling around like little fools. Sometimes we would fill it with water and drop the figures inside it and act if it was a deep dark abyss. I miss that damn thing! Oh and my mom still has pages of an old Hulk coloring book I colored for her when I was like 4-5, showing that I have always loved The Hulk.

hulk lunchboxhulk toy chesthulk halloweenhulk color

We still have one more thing to cover about The Incredible Hulk and his impact on our culture and his popularity, and that’s Hulk at the box office. Hulk films have been made before the ones that made it to theaters but those will be separate from this due to the fact they tie into the TV show that I think should have been continued in Star Comics. The first film in theaters was Universal & Ang Lee’s 2003 film called HUL.  This film had Eric Bana playing Bruce Banner who as a child was given Gamma radiation by his father who worked for the government, who also happened to be The Absorbing Man.  The film’s Hulk was CGI and looked like a dated video game graphic.  This film was more drama then action and while it made money at the box office, it left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. In 2008 Universal tried to reboot the film and made THE INCREDIBLE HULK.  This time amazing actor Edward Norton played Bruce Banner, and while the Hulk was CGI, they got Lou Ferrigno to voice him. The film has Bruce on the run from the government and trying to learn to control The Hulk.  Oh yeah, throw in The Abomination for fun, and you have this fun smash’em up movie. Again this one did well in the theaters but not well enough for them to do a sequel.The Hulk was also in 2012’s Avengers the movie and steals the show as he smashes his way throughout the film.  While he only had two solo theater movies, many fan-made films have been made as well.

hulk dvdincredible hulk dvdhulk_thing_poster

In 1977, a movie pilot was aired on CBS based on the Marvel Comic called The Incredible Hulk and followed David Banner (they thought Bruce didn’t sound manly enough) who during a test overdosed his body on Gama Radiation.  When he becomes angry he grows into being a muscle bound green skinned monster know as The Hulk. David goes to his friend and fellow doctor Elaina, and together they try and find a cure, but when a snooping reporter named Jack McGee gets involved, an accident leaves Elaina dead.  David is thought to be dead as well, and The Hulk is blamed.  This was such a hit another made for TV movie was made, and in 1978 it became a full series that followed the same formula: David would go town to town changing his name to find work or to get one step closer to a cure, and Jack McGee would be on his heels looking for the big news story of The Hulk.  Bad things would happen, and The Hulk would come out and save the day.  Then David would be forced to leave in order to hide his secret. This show ran for 5 seasons and a total of 82 episodes. After the show was cancelled, made for TV movies were still being made. The show was one of my favorites, and I found myself glued to the TV whenever it was on.  I remember coming home from school and skipping the after school Disney Shows (Duck Tales, Gummi Bears, ect.) and trying to tune in a fuzz station on the kitchen TV that would show reruns of The Incredible Hulk.  To this day, the show remains my all time favorite! Lucky enough Universal, who owns the show, has released all seasons on DVD! I think the show was amazingly acted with Bill Bixby playing David Banner being one of the best portrayals ever in TV and film, and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno was perfect painted green and playing The Hulk. Growing up Ferrigno was one of my heroes because of this show.

The_Incredible_Hulk_DVD season 1hulk ferrignoIncredible-Hulk-Season-5

A total of 5 made for TV films were made.  The first was the pilot that kicked off the series, and the second film “Return of the Incredible Hulk” quickly followed and had David/The Hulk having to help a young woman who is crippled and getting bad medicine from the family doctor and her step-mother. The first film to follow the end of the series was the 1988 film, “The Incredible Hulk Returns” and has Hulk teaming up with Thor to stop organized crime. Then in 1989 came “The Trial of the Incredible Hulk” in which David Banner is framed for a crime and becoming The Hulk, he and Daredevil must clear his name and stop The Kingpin. Then in 1990 came the final film “The Death of The Incredible Hulk,” and it involves spies and the Hulk falling to his death in the end. Another film was planned, but sadly Bill Bixby lost his battle to cancer in 1993. When these movies were coming on, I know I drove my Mother and Father crazy.  That’s all I would talk about and when they would finally air the whole family would gather in the living room with a big bowl of popcorn and we would all watch the film. Times like that will always be an amazing memory of my youth and how great my family was. I remember also being so sad when in the final film The Hulk died.  While the way he died was pretty lame, it was sad because I knew that this was the end.

hulk tv p dvdHulk double dvddeath hulk dvd

Now let’s get down to it.  This live action show was made for comic books and should have continued in comic books.  Star Comics would have been the perfect home for it. The issues could have followed the style of the show and could have had David Banner going from town to town finding people in need and turning into The Hulk to save the day only to have to restart over again in the next issue. They could have picked kid-friendly issues and topics and tackled the “Just Say No To Drugs” attitude that was big at the time. The Hulk of the show was perfect for kid’s comics because he was never smacking animals or flying off the handle, he seemed to have a good childlike nature that showed him who was bad and who was good. Plus they could have had some of the better artists of Star work on the book and have the comic versions look just like the actors, making this truly fit in the same storyline of the TV Show. Plus they could have turned the planned yet never made film into a comic and gave us the fans young and old the real closer we needed for the series. While this doesn’t stand a chance I wish Marvel would even consider doing this now! This was a no brainer for Star Comics to do, but they really missed the boat on this one, due to the fact they owned the characters! I would say that if made this would have had a pretty long run for them something like 10-12 issues.

Lou Ferrignohulk_bunnyhulk-bixby-ferrigno

So there you have it from Commander USA to The Incredible Hulk, you see what comics I would have been lining up for if Star/Marvel would have made.  In the next blog I’ll let some family and friends give you their top 5 choices! See you all next update.

HULK smash