From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Gamera Guardian Of The Universe

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, and welcome to our second update for 2020’s Kaiju Month as we take a look at a giant monster that is friend to all. Of course I am talking about Gamera. While most fans of Kaiju movies respect Gamera, I do feel that he plays third banana behind the likes of Godzilla & King Kong so I think it’s time he gets the Rotten Ink From Horror Movie To Horror Comic treatment! I think most kids my age growing up in the 80’s and 90’s have seen at least one Gamera film as they could easily be found on cheap VHS tapes and would air on TV from time to time. I even knew some kids in High School who would say they even liked Gamera better then Godzilla showing that this Kaiju turtle monster made an impact on those that who grew up watching him. Oddly enough now, even as an adult working at a media store, I have had people tell me that they are bigger fans of Gamera than Godzilla or King Kong…wrap your head around that…as many see him as the top Kaiju in the world. I am sure you are wondering what my thoughts on him are. All I can say is that we will get to that a little further in this update. The Gamera we will be covering on this Kaiju Month update is the one from 1995’s Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe and had a comic mini series made by Dark Horse Comics. So if you are ready, let’s take a look at that destructive turtle named Gamera.

So as always, let’s first take a look at Gamera and the powers of destruction he showcases in this film and what kind of methods he could use to not only fight off other massive Kaiju monsters but also humans that get in his way. Like all Kaiju, the massive size and appearance of Gamera can easily put the fear in the hearts of both fellow giant monsters and humans. His massive size also means he could stomp the life out of a person with one step and his size also offers massive claws as well as teeth in a big mouth that could eat hundreds of people with one gulp. I should also note that Gamera would stand over 262 feet tall making him massive and as stated very scary to human eyes. Gamera can attack on land, water and air as he is a super fast swimmer as well as can soar through the air at a fast speed making him a true triple threat. Gamera can also breath fire that that is one of his main weapons against his enemies as well as the fact his mind can bond with a human mind giving him more smarts then his average opponent. But his bond with a human is also his weakness as he can be controlled and can lose the link making him opened for attacks. He can also be hurt like all living things by violence from fellow Kaiju Monsters as well as some human weapons of war. But while he is not the most dangerous Kaiju in the world, he still is a force to be reckoned with and thank the heavens he is on mankind’s side!

Now that we know what Gamera is capable of and what he can do on a rampage, it’s time we take a look at the film this version is from. As always, I will be taking the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB and then I will write a little about the film’s production as well as my thoughts about the film and Gamera’s legacy. So if you are ready, let’s talk about the film Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe.

Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe (1995)

“A hibernating species of giant carnivorous birds is awakened on a Japanese island shortly after the military encounters an unidentified mass moving beneath the water off-shore.”

The cinemas in Japan in the early 90’s was being dominated by Godzilla when it came to giant movie monsters, aka Kaiju films, and Toho was the studio behind these films…and shockingly enough, they also released the 9th film in the Gamera series that was a reboot to the long running series and was the main rival to Godzilla for box office dollars as well as the attention of kids. The film was directed by Shusuke Kaneko and was written by Kazunori Ito, who wrote a part of the 1993 film Necronomicon, and the series would spark off and have 2 sequels and bring back the popularity of Gamera to not only Japan but also worldwide. The film was met with pretty great reviews, and critics and fans shared a common word on the film, that it was a fun watch and added a film to the Gamera series that was on par with Godzilla films of the time. The film did good at the box office in Japan and in its release year, was joined by such films as Halloween: Curse Of Michael Myers, Project Metalbeast, Sleepstalker, Jack-O, Leprechaun 3, Howling: New Moon Rising, Night Of The Scarecrow, Castle Freak and Vampire In Brooklyn to name a few. While Gamera might not be as impactful as Godzilla, he does have a very loyal fan base who enjoy his saving the universe from other Kaiju monsters.

Growing up I can remember seeing Gamera films, and while I enjoyed them, I was never a massive fan and in fact found many of the films to be way to cheesy and the kid characters who all loved Gamera always annoyed me. The reason that Gamera stayed on my radar was because I really did like his appearance. I was a Godzilla fan, and he reminded me of a character from that movie series. In 1995, I can remember seeing the new design for Gamera on the cover of Horror and Sci-Fi Magazines, and while I dug his new more monstrous updated look, I was in no major rush to check it out. I would see the film on VHS all the time at stores like Suncoast at the Dayton Mall and would pass on it to grab films like The Gates Of Hell Part 2 or another odd Horror Movie. To be honest I could not tell you when I finally did see Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe and who I watched it with or if I even liked it…I know, readers and friends, it’s shameful to say but this film just never left that big of an impression on me, and I didn’t even own the film on DVD until late 2019 when I bought it again to re-watch for this update. And while I am sure many of you are saying “Matt, it sounds to me like you just don’t like Gamera!” I want to assure you I do indeed like the flying turtle, I was just never a mega fan like I am of King Kong and Godzilla. And after watching Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe again in 2020, I find the film to be fun, slightly silly boring and one that took Gamera in the right step of making him an icon in the world of Kaiju films. And while Gamera is not one of my top favorite Kaiju monsters, I do respect the character and would say he is the third most popular giant monster in the Kaiju monster universe.

As you can see, Gamera is a monster who can hold his own in the world of giant monster fights and while he is not as powerful as Godzilla he could sure put up a fight at least. But now it’s time to take a look at the Dark Horse comic based on the film Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe that was released to help promote the movie in America. I want to thank Bell Book And Comic, Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. I want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what Gamera has in store for us in this four issue mini series.

Gamera # 1  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse     # 1 of 4 

Young lady Asagi is in Mexico with her friend Mayumi Nagamine who has been hired by he rich lady Patty Smith to search her island for a very rare and massive bird, and what she finds instead is a pile of droppings that belongs to the flying Kaiju Gyaos! Meanwhile Asagi is left behind as she was not welcomed on the island just yet and decides to take a plane ride from Lutz who is a small time business man looking to make a living, while flying around Asagi tells her new friend about how she has a link to Gamera via an amulet and as they are talking it starts to glow as Gamera knows that Gyaus is back! Meanwhile Gyaos has flown inland and is attacking while Mayumi learns that Patty is not who she claims to be as she is really Doctor Karbone and she is guilty of creating Gyaus who escaped his jar and is growing fast, and she wants her help to make giant monsters that are controllable! Meanwhile Gamera has arrived and is fighting Gyaus now in the city and when Gamera is hurt the wound is shared with Asagi who is kicked out of the plane by Lutz, and as Asagi rushes to be closer to Gamera she is knocked down by the scared townspeople who are running for their lives.

This first issue is a nice start for this series as it brings a little history lesson of the film this is a sequel to as well deliver the giant monsters fighting in the city! Plus they do a great job of bringing back characters from the film that help it feel right at home in the series of films. The plot is simple crazy mad doctor Karbone has brought back a Gyaus monster with the idea of being able to control it, but when it runs amok she fakes an identity to con a ornithologist to her island lab to help make her dream of weaponized giant monsters a reality, while Asagi friend of Gamera is also around and must help her giant turtle friend battle once more as Gyaus is destroying a city in Mexico. This far our main hero is Asagi a young woman who has a link with Gamera via a amulet and has a mental link with him while she wears it, while she herself is not strong her will to help mankind is. ornithologist Mayumi Nagamine and small plane driver Lutz are background players at this point but you know as this series gets further they will play an even bigger part of the story. Gamera is as massive as ever and is 200 feet tall and is looking to stomp the life out of Gyaus who is the issues true baddie as its destructive and clearly will kill what ever is in it’s way. Doctor Karbone and her assistant Gusano while crazy are not super evil as I think in a weird way they think what they are doing and have done is the right thing to do! The issue is filled with lots of destruction and a fight between the two big monsters and this helped add a great layer of entertainment to this issue. I must also say at this point I feel that all the characters are likable and interesting and made me look forward to reading the second issue! The cover for this issue is great but also a little cheap as it’s just the films VHS/DVD cover, and the interior art by Mozart Couto is great and has the 90’s Dark Horse look. Over all a very solid issue and one fans of Gamera should check out, now lets see if the rest of the series can hold up.

Gamera # 2  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse     # 2 of 4

Lutz decides that he can not leave young Asagi alone in the city when two Kaiju’s are frighting and comes to her aid, and together they make their way to the battle area and she sends Gamera a message via their minds and he is able to defeat Gyaus, before she is two weak to move. Lutz gets he medical help and also swipes the amulet and gets back into his plane to follow Gamera. Meanwhile Mayumi Nagamine is being kept prisoner as she refuses to help Doctor Karbone with her quest to control the giant monsters she is creating, and worse the mad Doctor has a bound with the squid looking Viras who is in control of her mind! Mayumi Nagamine ends up escaping when she sets a fire using a flare gun and while the monsters in tubes are destroyed by the blaze Viras is saved by Doctor Karbone and Gusano who escape with him on a hidden sub. Meanwhile Lutz is having a bad time as his plane runs out of gas and sinks, and he is picked up by French Military who think he is an eco terrorist and he is places under arrest. While on the ship in a jail cell the ship is attacked by a giant fish monster and Gamera once more appears to try and stop the massive threat, but is hurt really quick into the fight and as Gamera is knocked out sinking to the bottom of the ocean we see that a female alien on a ship in space is upset about something.

This second issue steps up the monster battles as Gamera not only defeats Gyaus but also kills him by setting him on fire and burning him alive! Gamera don’t mess around when it comes to protecting the Earth and seems to have his finger on the pulse of giant monster attacks! The story in this issue as well is very fast paced and has a great action, drama and sci-fi blend to it as they give you a some human story and then give you a taste of the main attraction of the comic series the monsters quickly after. Asagi saves the day in Mexico but sadly she is taken from the issue really fast as she is hurt and has to get medical attention, while Mayumi Nagamine is the issues main hero as she is able to get herself free from being a prisoner and while doing so is able to get some backstory from Gusano and as well sets a fire that kills off many soon to be giant Kaijus! Lutz is a goon who steals the amulet from a young girl that he has zero clue how to use, flies his plane over the ocean to run out of gas to be picked up and thought to be a terrorist…he really is a terrible “hero” and is more of a pain then a help. Doctor Karbone is crazy and clearly is in the grip of her greatest monster creation Viras whom she has put her own DNA into, in other words she really is nuts! Gusano is just a man in love who turned away from being a black market dealer in order to be with Karbone as he would do anything for her, and hates the fact she spends all her time with Viras in her lab. Gamera is a butt-kicking machine at the start, but does at the end of the issue leave you on a cliffhanger on if he will get back up and stop the fish monster from destroying the French Army sub. The cover for this issue is great and the art by Mozart Couto is still fantastic! Over all this is another great issue in this mini series that makes me look forward again to the next issue.

Gamera # 3  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse     # 3 of 4

Lutz has survived the attack on this ship and is now sitting in prison, when he gets a visit from Mayumi Nagamine and he tells her that Gamera was who saved the ship as when he was knocked out a weird sub shot a missile into his head waking him up and making him very angry and he snatched the fish monster and took to the air with the beast and dropped it into a volcano! While in this meeting Lutz tries to trade the amulet for his freedom when he is roughed up as the guard is really Gusano who gets away with it as Lutz and Mayumi Nagamine are teleported aboard the aliens ship, her name is Freena and she is from Broomark and the giant fish monster was from her planet and she was ordered to take it back, but with it dead she now needs another monster to take home to her client! But things get crazy when Viras attacks their cloaked ship and when the army appears to attack Viras this squid beast is saved by Gamera who is protecting it as The Guardian Of The Universe is now under the ultra crazy Doctor Karbone control now!

Like all good giant monsters you just cant keep a good Kaiju down as it shows that while he was dazed for a moment once he got his second wind that massive fish monster did not stand a chance! The plot thickens in this issue as Doctor Karbone really wants to destroy Gamera and to do so needs to take control of him…and she does with the help of the amulet that her lover and assistant Gusano is able to easily get from the derpy Lutz. That’s the thing about this series Lutz is the one telling the story and he is the one good guy character in the whole series who makes terrible decisions and makes bad actions that ends up causing way more issues for everyone…really Lutz is a Putz! Mayumi Nagamine once more is wise in her words and wants to help capture and stop Doctor Karbone who she knows is a true menace to all human life if she can gain control over Kaijus. Doctor Karbone really is a great villain for this series this far as she is crazy on her own and now mind melded with the sinister Kaiju Viras she is more dangerous. Speaking of Viras he is a very smug giant monster, as he knows he cannot be stopped if his creator is able to control Gamera and has no remorse when it comes to the deaths and destruction he causes. The moment you see Gamera under her control you feel dread as our favorite flying, fire-breathing turtle is taking so much damage from heavy weapons. The cover is great like the others and Couto’s art once more rocks, and like a broken record I have to say this issue made me look forward to reading the next to see just how this storyline will end.

Gamera # 4  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse    # 4 of 4

Doctor Karbone is on the Eiffel Tower controlling Gamera making him take all the punishment the French army is delivering and he cannot take too much more! Mayumi Nagamine has herself teleported to the tower and with the help of Gusano who she alerts to the fact Viras is controlling the women he loves and will kill her when he gets what he needs from her, he snatches to amulet and they both fall from the tower and Gamera returns to normal and takes the fight to Viras! Meanwhile Freena’s ship is damaged and she is out fixing it, Lutz is trying his best to fly it and of course crashes it! Gamera is weak from all the damage he has taken from the army and in one last heroic moment Gusano lifts a fuel take and the fire explosion gives Gamera the bust of energy he needs and he makes quick work of Viras impaling the giant squid on a building tower! In the end Gamera flies off, Gusano is dead, Doctor Karbone’s body is missing, Freena is stuck on earth and is trying to blend in while in Paris, Mayumi Nagamine quick thinking helped truly save the day and Lutz is set free from the French prison. But when Lutz find’s the amulet on the ground he is unsure if he will give it back to Asagi or if he will keep it and go on another bad idea adventure.

Wow this was a fun ride of a mini series and really did a great job of bringing Gamera alive in the pages of comics! The plot of this issue has Gamera returning to normal and going crazy on Viras who does not stand a chance! The baddies Doctor Karbone and Gusano come to a violent end with me thinking Karbone is not really dead as he body is not found and I think she is still out in the world looking for a way to control her lab made giant monsters. Mayumi Nagamine once more proves that she is the stories real hero as she is the one who talks reason into Gusano to get the amulet off of Karbone. And Lutz proves he is useless as ever as he crashes the space ship and steals the amulet again in the end…he is such a goofy character. So I guess I should talk about the elephant in the room for me about this series and that’s alien Freena, I find her character so unnecessary as her street talk and her part that means nothing really to the over all series is why I just feel no need to really speak about her as she really does add nothing. The monster fights in the series are all really cool and seeing Gamera kicking some butt is what Kaiju fans enjoy about the movies as well as the comics. I should also say that I feel this series was done right as they showed respect to the source material and fans alike and delivered a fast paced mini series that shows movie monsters like Gamera can make for good comic series. The cover for this issue as well is great as his Couto’s art and this was a treat to read as I found myself enjoying it more then the film that spawned it! If you are a Gamera fan and you have not read this series tack them down at your local comic shop and give them a read. Below is some art by Mozart Couto that I think shows just how awesome his art is in this comic series, enjoy.

While Legendary let me down by moving Godzilla vs. Kong from this month, the fact that here on Rotten Ink I can still make March fun for fans of Kaiju and Giant Movie Monsters I hope makes the wait a little better for you fans, like reading these and writing this month has helped me. And again I want to stress that while Gamera movies are not my favorite of the Kaiju films, I still do enjoy the movies and the character and would love to see him return with a new film and better yet be apart of the Monsterverse Legendary is creating. For out next update we will be traveling once more to Skull Island to spend some time with King Kong and Dark Horse Comics again as they did a comic based on the 2005 film by Peter Jackson! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Kaiju film or two and as always, support your local Horror Host. See you next time on Skull Island, Kong is waiting for another visit from us.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Valley Of Gwangi

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

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

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

The Valley Of Gwangi (1969)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horror Host Icon: Theodore Puertoriquez

Local Horror Hosts have crept their way onto TV screens in almost every small town via major broadcast or even public access. And for those who were unlucky and didn’t have a local host, they most of the time at least had the major market ones like Elvira Mistress Of The Dark, Commander USA, Grampa Munster and Joe Bob Briggs to name a few running on major networks. Now in the day and age of streaming and the internet, Horror Hosts can and have spread across the world via this outlet that allow fans and viewers to discover them. But while many Hosts became household names and subjects of playground talk at school, some just sadly never make it to the game or end their run way too soon. One such host who lasted only a short while was Theodore Puertoriquez who never made it past one episode! But my saying has always been no matter how big or small their impact has been, no matter what they air on from Public Access to YouTube, Horror Hosts mean something to their fans and viewers and that’s why it’s with great pleasure I bring to you Horror Host Icon: Theodore Puertoriquez. This update will be a fun quick look at a Horror Host who could have been bigger if only given the chance.

Theodore’s Creepy Kitchen was a show that never got past a pilot episode and has fallen into the world of obscure Horror Hosts with very little known about it. Heck, if not for my cousin Stephen looking on Ebay and finding a copy of the episode on VHS, I sadly would have not found out about this show! The Creepy Kitchen follows catman and host Theodore Puertoriquez and his co-host Bloody Betty as they teach us how to make quick meals based on Horror themes. The show is shot in a basement with the theme of creepy and tasty horror food from burgers to cookies being made in fast, weird and simple ways. The show also added in not only cooking but also the use of a puppet that acted as the show’s villain named Kitty Kruger. The basement setting and its darkness makes for some great atmosphere and helps add to the Creepy Kitchen namesake. The Creepy Kitchen originally started as planned segments that were going to be used in another show that was set to be a Horror Hosted educational experience. But when this fell through, Theodore’s Creepy Kitchen was unleashed on VHS as well as YouTube for fans to discover and enjoy. While it never got time to blossom, this show has slowly gotten a cult following and is a pretty fun a creative piece of Horror Host History! I should also note the show was created in 2010, making it ten years old as of this posting!

The show’s host Theodore Puertoriquez is a catman who wears red glasses, rocks a Cincinnati Reds jersey and loves to host cheesy movies as well as teach the viewers how to make all type of food dishes that tie into Horror Movies. He talks with words and meows and comes off as a fun loving guy who loved being a Horror Host as well as loved to make quick and haphazard meals for everyone to enjoy. We also know that he loves catnip and only a squirt from a water gun will cool him down. He also seems to really rely on his cohost Bloody Betty to not only prepare the meals but also to act as his protector when things go wrong. Theodore is one strange cat….man! He is played by the show creator Jeff aka Kitty Glitter aka Bunnula aka Pussy Tantrum, a man with many names who not only made this Horror Host show but is also a novel writer and podcaster! So while Theodore might not be a household name nor a Horror Host Hall Of Famer, he has made his mark on Hosting and was one weird and great character.

Like all Horror Host shows, Creepy Kitchen also had a co-host with cheerleader Bloody Betty who acted as not only the host at times but also the hero of the day as she adds a new layer of oddness and over all fun nature to Creepy Kitchen. She also comes off as the voice of reason as well as handles many of the true host duties like ushering the view back to the film. She is also the strong one as when things go bad she seems to be the one who steps up and saves the day. Bloody Betty was played by actress Bettina Mangiaracina ,who was known for her role of Kelly in the film Bullycam, has a handful of other acting parts in indie films and sometimes goes by the name Bettina Taylor. While we only got a small taste of what Bloody Betty had in store for viewers, it’s clear that she would have been a major part of this series if it had continued. So here is to you, Bloody Betty, for making Creepy Kitchen a better place.

So now that we know a little about Theodore’s Creepy Kitchen and the hosts of this very rare and mostly unseen Horror Host show, we should take a look at the one and only episode every made that has them hosting the cult classic slasher film Sleepaway Camp II. This episode was bought for me by my cousin Stephen on VHS from Ebay and when watching it I put it onto a DVD-R, so big thank you to Stephen and the Ebay seller for making this possible. I will not be giving this episode a star rating and the movie write up will be taken from our friends at IMDB and the host write up I myself will be writing. So if you’re ready, let’s enter the Creepy Kitchen and see what Theodore has cooking for us.

Creepy Kitchen: Sleepaway Camp II
Starring – Pamela Springsteen & Renee Estevez     Rated R     1988

Host: Theodore and Bloody Betty are hanging out in a creepy basement that is set up for making food, and they do just that with their first dish made being Jason Voorhees burgers! Bloody Betty and Theodore both enjoy their burgers sprinkled with catnip and ketchup. But to their horror, Kitty Kruger shows up and scares them away from the kitchen. Later during a catnap, Theodore has a nightmare about Kitty Kruger and once up he decides that the second dish will be Kitty Kruger Sugar Cookies! Bloody Betty tells the story of Kitty Kruger who attacks animals in their sleep, but once he shows back up Bloody Betty springs into action and hacks him to death with a sword. In the end Theodore and Blood Betty wrap up the show and go off to bury the bones of Kitty Kruger.

Movie: Angela Baker has undergone years of therapy, electro-shock and sexual reassignment surgeries, and finally landed herself a job in the last place she should be working – camp rolling hills. She has an old fashioned approach as to how camp should be, and an old familiar deadly way of making sure that those who don’t follow her rules don’t get to come back next summer.

So as you can see, Theodore’s Creepy Kitchen is one strange Horror Host show that leaves the viewer wanting more than just this one episode. Who knows if Theodore ever will come out of retirement for one more show, and who knows what Bloody Betty is doing right now, but one things for sure, if you enjoy the strange and silly side of Horror Hosting check on Ebay and buy yourself a copy of this show. For our next update we are leaving the Creepy Kitchen and the world of Horror Hosting, and we are starting Kaiju Month up again this time to celebrate the very highly anticipated “Godzilla vs. Kong” and we will be covering the dinosaur run amok film Valley Of The Gwangi to kick it off. So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for some cowboys rounding up some dinosaurs!

Horror Host Icon: J.R. Ghul

Well due to misplacing my issue of Star Trek III comic adaptation by DC Comics, I decided to treat readers to a quick Horror Host update until I can find it. The state of Texas has had its fair share of Horror Hosts over the decades with names like Dr. Zekow, Professor Cerberus, Gorgon The Gruesome, Professor Anton Griffin, Miss Jami Deadly and the short lived one we will be looking at today known as J.R. Ghul! This host is very interesting as while his show “Bloodshot Theatre” carried on for years, his time as host was very short as a host named E.Spanto took over, but he will be covered in a future update I am sure. So as I have said before, in my book there are no too big or too small Horror Hosts as they all mean something to their fans and viewers and I feel that J.R. Ghul’s time to shine here at Rotten Ink is now! So it’s with great honor that I bring to you this fast and spooky update called Horror Host Icon: J.R. Ghul. So sit back, relax, and let’s take a trip to the Bloodshot Theatre.

J.R. Ghul was the singer for an 80’s rock band called Tortured Skull and after playing a gig at a Taco Land restaurant, he was driving home when he crashed into a tombstone at a local cemetery. The impact left him hear death, and as he emerged from the wreck, he crawled toward the headstone he had hit only to fall into the grave that was freshly dug, and oddly enough the coffin inside the grave was filled with VHS copies of Horror Movies. The lid closed shut and J.R. died in the pine box that was reburied. His car was towed, and rocker J.R. Ghul was missing in the public eye. In the early 2000’s, on a Public Access Station in San Antonio somehow the undead spirit of J.R. Ghul has hacked in to the feed and hosted Horror Movies in short 30-minute segments. J.R. would bring his rock n roll style to hosting and would brood and yet take pleasuring in introducing the film to viewers. His cold and cool delivery always made for an eerie opening and his all black clothing played well off the red light that was always present. The undead ghoul J.R. Ghul hosts his show from an unknown tomb-like area and is still a rocker at heart. While it’s not really shown, I would say that J.R. Ghul is more sinister then fun loving and is one that might take a bite out of you. While not a full fledged Icon of Horror Hosting, he did mean something to his viewers who enjoyed his micro dose of horror every week. I want to also say that J.R. Ghoul became a character again when the show turned into an animated series and was joined by a werewolf sidekick.

Bloodshot Theatre started in 2004 and aired on Channel 20 in San Antonio and was a spooky and fun time for viewers. The show was unlike anything else in Texas public access at the time and was a pretty different idea for Horror Hosting as well because instead of showing the full film for the episode he would instead bring you the first 27 minutes or so! The show would air and switch hosts and even at one point became animated and ended its run as far as I can tell in 2015. The show was seen on San Antonio Public Access as well as via The Horror Host Underground (all over the US) and later via the Internet that seemed to be the show’s main source to watch. During the show’s 11-year run, it gained a cult status and fans still remember J.R. and hope someday for a comeback. It’s always so interesting when these lower key shows are rediscovered and the host finds a new fan base.

So as you can see, while not the show Bloodshot Theatre’s host for very long, J.R. Ghul still was the original who first drew viewers in. I am sure you readers are wondering how I heard of Bloodshot Theatre and host J.R. Ghul…well the answer is easy as it was thanks to A. Ghastlee Ghoul and his tape archive of Horror Host Underground episodes! And while helping him archive his show, I came across one single episode on a tape and knew I had to cover it! I want to remind all your readers that I will not be giving this episode a star rating and will take the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB, and I myself will write about the host segments. So let’s see what this one and only episode of Bloodshot Theatre I own has in store for us.

Bloodshot Theatre: The Pit (part 1)
Starring – Sammy Snyders & Jeannie Elias     Rated R       1981

Host: We start the show with a rubber bat on a wall with all the lighting in the room being bright red. We then show J.R. Ghul who is relaxing in a chair and welcomes the viewers to the show and then tells us about the night’s movie The Pit from 1981. He then ushers us into the first 27 minutes of the film before the rubber bat on the wall returns and the end credits roll.

Movie: Twelve year-old Jamie Benjamin is a misunderstood lad. His classmates pick on him, his neighbors think he’s weird and his parents ignore him. But now Jamie has a secret weapon: deep in the woods he has discovered a deep pit full of man-eating creatures he calls Trogs… and it isn’t long before he gets an idea for getting revenge and feeding the Trogs in the process!

So as you can see, J.R. Ghul was a host of few words, and I really wished I could have found more episodes in the Horror Host Underground Archives in order to deliver a longer update and bring you more a taste of his style of Hosting and his show’s format fully. And to be honest I even did some web searching to find J.R. himself, as it would have been fun to have had “5 Questions” with him and got into the undead rockers mindset and motivations of hosting Bloodshot Theatre, but it was not meant to be. I do hope that this Horror Host Icon update does help readers discover this host or even maybe let those who watched him remember him and all the ghoulish good times you had watching spooky movies with him. But for our next update we will be leaving Bloodshot Theatre behind and will hopefully be going to space to finally find Spock! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Let’s hope Spock is found to make this update finally happen!

Earthworm Jim Saves Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve! It’s crazy to think that another year is almost over and that we are about to celebrate another Christmas here at Rotten Ink. This time of the year is always very special for me and makes me think back to my youth and all the cool toys, games, music, comics and books I used to get for the holidays as well as always makes me think about how lucky I am to have so many amazing people in my life as I have a great family, amazing friends and am blessed to be able to have so many creative outlets like Game Swap Kettering, Sparkle Comics, Bloodline Video, Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre, Radio, Rockstar Pro Wrestling, Rotten Ink and so many other top notch projects that allow for me to have an outlet. As I have said here before, one of the coolest Christmas gifts I ever got was the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and that’s why I always think about classic video games around this holiday as if brings back great memories of playing them with family, friends and even trying to beat games myself! So for this update I have decided to take a look a video game character that made his major splash on the Sega Genesis that spawned a cartoon and even a comic series, and this cheesy character is the one and only Earthworm Jim! So if you’re ready to take a trip with Rotten Ink, Marvel Comics and Earthworm Jim this Christmas Eve, you should find a comfy chair, pour yourself some eggnog. and as we all wait for Santa, I think it’s time to have a classic game flashback.

Earthworm Jim was a normal worm on the planet earth that spent his days digging around in dirt and avoiding being eaten by birds. Meanwhile in space Psy-Crow, a feared bounty hunter, accidentally drops a cyber space suit from his ship that falls to Earth and Jim who is on the run from birds looking to make him a meal hides inside it and the suit evolves him into a more human-like life form with intelligence and a goofball charm. But with his new found power and mind, he becomes a marked worm as Psy-Crow on the orders of the evil Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is set for death and Jim himself now wants to meet the Queen’s lovely sister Princess What’s-Her-Name! And so began Earthworm Jim, space explorer and hero, who armed with his ray gun has saved worlds as well as those who are in need. Earthworm Jim in his cyber suit weighs around 154 pounds and stands about 5’8” and has super strength and a heroic heart, but he also is a little goofy as he still is a worm! Say what you will about Earthworm Jim, but he is the hero we didn’t know we needed.

Earthworm Jim is a side scrolling game that was created by Doug TenNapel and was a fun silly concept that captured the attention of not only gamers but also game publishers. The first Earthworm Jim game was released in 1994 for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo and has Earthworm Jim avoiding his enemies and trying to save Princess What’s-Her-Name! The game over the years would go on to be on many other systems like Sega CD, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo Game Boy, PC and Game Boy Advance. The game was super popular and by 1995 the sequel Earthworm Jim 2 was released and continued the story of the first game and was released for Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, PC and the Sega Saturn to name a few. This game was a hit but was not fully embraced by gamers and critics as the game did not change enough to warrant its quick release to cash in on the popularity of the original. The game series took a break for a while, and it was not till 1999 when the world got Earthworm Jim 3D that was only released for the Nintendo 64 and has Jim fighting to wake from a coma and must battle his rogues gallery who have all entered his mind. This game was not well received and marked the end of the series for home consoles.

In my youth, I can remember spending many of hours playing both Earthworm Jim and Earthworm Jim 2 for the Sega Genesis at my friends houses as well as at my cousins Dino and Norman’s. Shocking enough, I never did ever buy my own copy of the game and always just played it with them or borrowed it from them for a short time. Sadly I have never played Earthworm Jim 3D as it just never was on my radar as by the time it was released I was all about the Sony Playstation when it came to playing games. One other thing that is crazy to think is that games like Earthworm Jim helped spawn many other weird themed games like Conker, Crash Bandicoot, Banjo-Kazooie and Boogerman to name a few, and yes I know Boogerman was released the same year as Earthworm Jim. Say what you will about the Earthworm Jim series of games, but one thing is for sure, if you grew up in the 90’s and played video games they were on many of our must play games list.

Did you know in 1995 a cartoon series was released based around the adventures of Earthworm Jim? Released by Universal Cartoon Studios and airing on Kids WB starting on September 9, 1995, this series followed Earthworm Jim as he is being attacked by all types of baddies who want his power suit for their own evil plans! This cartoon was part action, part adventure and part silly as it played up on the over all goofy nature of the character and its universe. Voice actor Dan Castellaneta played Earthworm Jim, Jeff Bennett played Peter Puppy and Kath Soucie voiced Princess What’s-Her-Name showing they had some great voice talent on this show. The series only lasted for 23 episodes and ended its run on December 13, 1996 making it a very short run cartoon that built a very small cult fan base from those who grew up in the 90s. The cartoon has made its way to home media on both VHS and DVD with the latter being the complete series. This was a cartoon I can remember seeing from time to time, but was not something I watched often as I was a little older when it was released and was more into other shows at that time. But if you like this cartoon, make sure to do yourself a favor and get the DVD set put out by VEI and relive this classic toon.

In the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s toy company Playmates was one of the kings of the toy aisle as they delivered figures based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Trek, The Addams Family, Toxic Crusaders, The Simpsons, Dick Tracy, Skeleton Warriors, Flash Gordon, Coneheads and Zorro to name a few and along with these figures they also did Earthworm Jim ones based on the cartoon and video game! These figures were released in 1995 with a total of eight figures being made with three of them being different versions of Earthworm Jim. Also in the line was Princess What’s-Her-Name and Peter Puppy as well as baddies Psycrow, Henchrat and Bob! Each figure also came with weapons as well as a mini character like goldfish # 4 and Snott! The series of toys never made it to a wave two even though they made an appearance at Toy Fair with figures of Evil Jim, Queen Slug-For-A- Butt and The Hamstinator all planned. The figures were really cool and fit alongside Playmates other figures. Growing up I did not own any of them but do remember them in stores, to be honest it’s a little crazy that I did not at least buy Earthworm Jim as I was a fan of the game even in 1995!

Back in the 90’s Marvel Comics had already closed down their kids comic branch Star Comics and absorbed many of those titles under Marvel Comics proper like Muppet Babies and Thundercats to name a few. But they also had Epic Comics still going as it was a creator owned branch that was founded in 1982 and featured comics based on Horror Movies like Hellraiser and Nightbreed. In 1994 they tried to open a branch called Marvel Music that was comics based on musical acts like Alice Cooper, Rolling Stones and Billy Ray Cyrus and this was very short lived as by 1995 this branch was history and all titles canceled. But out of the ashes of the weirdness of Marvel Music and the cool kid friendly comics based on cartoons and toys of Star came Marvel Absurd a branch that would have issues of weird teen style comics based on popular toons and video games of the time. Some titles in this branch was just carry overs from Marvel Titles like the Nickelodeon cartoon “Ren And Stimpy” plus the hit MTV cartoon “Beavis & Butthead” that switched over to this branch way into their series. And the new title launched for this branch was “Earthworm Jim” based on the popular video game at the time not to mention the silly parody comic “Marvel Riot” that lasted only one issue. But like most things at Marvel Comics at the time as soon as it started in ended as its whole run was from around 1994-1996 as the brand was just not super popular for Marvel. But I want to take a moment to let you readers know that in 2020 I will do a Top 10 Countdown Of Things That Should Have Gotten An Absurd Comic!

So as you can see, Earthworm Jim was a perfect fit for the short lived Marvel Absurd comic line as he was wacky, weird and over the top! And not so surprisingly, this comic series is a little hard to get and the issues hold a decent price on them to get so I want to thank sellers on both Ebay and Amazon for having them in stock and making this holiday update possible. I want to remind all you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready to see what Marvel Comics and Earthworm Jim have in store for us, let’s get to the comic review section of this update.

Earthworm Jim # 1  ***
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.25      Marvel      # 1 of 3

Queen-Slug-For-A-Butt, Major Mucus and Doc Duodenum have entered Heck and asked the underground ruler Evil to let them hire an army of evil lawyers so they can sue Earthworm Jim for all the years of stopping their evil schemes! Meanwhile Jim himself is on a “date” with Princess What’s-Her-Name and they are attacked by Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head who take them prisoner, as Professor wants the cyber space suit and Psy-Crow wants to eat Jim once he is out of the suit!!! As Jim escapes the grip of Psy-Crow his suit runs amuck in the lab while talking goldfish Bob and his catmen have Princes What’s-Her-Name prisoner and force her to agree to marry him as they fake that they will kill Jim if show don’t! Meanwhile the escaped worm Jim finds himself in the prison area and meets many failed experiments that are being locked up and that includes a small puppy man named Peter Puppy, and once Jim finds these creatures need help he returns to the lab and gets his suit back by beating Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head, heads to the dungeon and frees the creatures and along with Peter jumps on a rocket to stop the wedding of Princes What’s-Her-Name and Bob!

This comic is super silly and really is Absurd and that’s a great thing as a comic based on Earthworm Jim needed to be this way. The plot has all of Jim’s bad guys wanting to defeat him with some trying to hire lawyers to sue him with others wanting to kill him and steal his suit to build an army of super soldiers! But while the lawyers do not find Jim in this issue, they are still on the lookout for him as his main nemesis are Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head who kidnap him and his Princess girlfriend and want him dead in the ground! Earthworm Jim in this issue is heroic and slightly goofy but shows that he will always stand up for the little guy and do whatever it takes to do the right thing! I love how Jim in this issue also finds his inner hero when he meets a group of freaks that have been created and kept prisoner and knows he must set them free! Princess What’s-Her-Name also shows that she is a great person that is able to take care of herself as she mops the floor with many catmen! I also feel bad for her as she thinks her man Jim has been tortured and even cut by his captures, and this makes her agree to marry a goldfish. Professor Monkey-For-A-Head and Psy-Crow are the issues main bad guys as they are teaming up with the idea to finally bring down Jim once and for all and they are cruel and seem to get joy in this sick game they are playing. Bob the goldfish as well is a sick man who is a terrible creature who is trying to force love in order to gain power. We shall see how the lawsuit goes if the Lawyers of Heck come into play in one of the further issues. Over all this is a very fun action, adventures, comedy and silly comic that brings the video games/cartoon character to life on the pages of a comic book. The cover is fantastic and very eye catching and captures that 90’s style, the interior art is done by Barry Crain and is top notch and does capture the fun nature of the Earthworm Jim universe. So with this first issue being great, let’s see what the next issue has in store for us.

Earthworm Jim # 2  **1/2
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.25     Marvel     # 2 of 3

Evil, the cat leader of Heck, is upset at his lawyers and orders them to get the job done this issue or they will all way the price! While Earthworm Jim and Peter are lost in space, as they cannot find the hideout of Bob and even after getting directors from a Gas Station planet it takes them sometime to find their way. Meanwhile Bob is gloating and bullying his soon to be wife Princess What’s-Her-Name, as a cat slips a bomb into the Princess bouquet! Meanwhile Earthworm Jim has found the directions to stop the wedding, as Bob now knows that Jim is on his way to stop the wedding! Even Queen-Slug-For-A-Butt the sister of Princess What’s-Her-Name shows up for the wedding as this will truly give Bob power. Once Jim and Peter arrive they take a mutated hamster and head to the ceremony to save the day. Jim just in time is able to save the Princess before they say the “I Do’s” and Bob climbs into a mega mech suit and puts a hurting on Jim, but lucky for Jim he is able to crack Bob’s fishbowl and wins the day! As Jim, The Princess and Peter celebrate the Heck Lawyers have arrived and worse the bomb in the bouquet is about to explode!

Earthworm Jim and his puppy friend Peter are on a mission to stop a forced wedding that will see Princess What’s-Her-Name being the wife of the cruel goldfish Bob…and along the way Jim must fight off catmen, not get lost and come face to face with Bob who also now has a massive suit that is more powerful! I like in this issue that Earthworm Jim once more has a good heart and so wants to be the hero, not to mention he is still shown to be a total goof who it seems by luck is able to save the day. Peter Puppy is shown in this issue that when pushed he can and will turn into a dog monster, making him a good ally for Jim to have. Princess What’s-Her-Name who is a great and loving character shows she is willing to ruin her life in order to protect the life of her wormfriend Jim! Bob is such a jerk and when he don’t get what he wants in this issue spends his time beating up Jim, oh and he also seems to love to boss around his catmen henchmen. The Lawyers From Heck at the end of this issue finally find Jim, but worse just as they have the bomb planted is about to blow. The issue is filled with dumb humor as well as some zany action and adventure moments making for a good read. I also really enjoy the fact that both Pinhead from Hellraiser and the Creature From The Black Lagoon have cameos in this issue and Pinhead is shown as one of the Lawyers of Heck and Gillman is the Preacher for the wedding. The cover for this issue is lots of fun and has a James Bond feel to it and the interior art for the start of the comic is done by Barry Crain and is great with the later part of the issue being done by Manny Galan & Carlos Garzon and is just so-so. Over all this was a good issue, and I cannot wait to see how this series ends.

Earthworm Jim # 3  **
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.25      Marvel     # 3 of 3

Earthworm Jim is being surrounded by all his rogues gallery as well as Lawyers from Heck as they were their for the wedding of their evil friend Bob, but things turn good when Peter by accident sneezes the flowers with the bomb in it into the crowd of baddies and the explosion leaves most of them down and out! As Earthworm Jim, Princess What’s-Her-Name and Peter escape the planet the Lawyers try and figure out where he went now so they can serve him papers. Peter would like to go back to his home world and Jim agrees to take him, but he soon learns that Peter when hurt, scared, mad or even slightly annoyed will turn into a wild dog beast that is looking for a fight! They go back and fourth with Peter raging and threatening to fight Jim that is until the Princess has had enough and puts them both in their places. Now at Peter’s home planet, they have been followed by Evil and the Heck Lawyers who know have decided to kill Jim and just sue his estate! But before Evil and them can commit the murder Jim and his people are attacked by a giant red dinosaur and Jim is stomped into the ground and is loosing the fight, but lucky for him Princess What’s-Her-Name gets into Jim’s suit and powers up her already massive power and she beats the Dinosaur with ease. With Peter home and Jim back in the suit, the puppy ends up asking if he could just go home and live with them as he now knows that his planet is a terrible place to live. Jim and The Princess agree to take Peter to their home planet and while there Peter ends up saving the day as he attacks and eats Evil and chases off all the Heck Lawyers after becoming the dog monster! In the end Earthworm Jim and Princess What’s-Her-Name continue their date and all ends well.

This third and final issue is fun, but is the weakest issue in the series as I feel they waste so much time with the joke everything sets Peter off in becoming the dog monster…and while funny maybe the first couple of times it wears thin pretty fast when its back to back to back, making me as a reader kind of be annoyed with the Peter character. It almost seemed liked they ran out of story ideas and just made this final issue filled with lots of filler moments. The plot has Earthworm Jim and Princess What’s-Her-Name taking their new friend Peter to his home planet, and they are being stalked by Evil cat ruler of Heck and his demonic army of lawyers as well as trying to survive the planet that is filled with all types of creatures all want blood and kills. In this issue, Earthworm Jim is still a hero but also shows that he can be defeated and also can have a short fuse when annoyed time and time again. As I said before, Peter is pretty annoying in this issue and spends almost all the issue being triggered by everything and going back and fourth into becoming a monster and a normal puppy man. Princess What’s-Her-Name is as always a hero and shows that she don’t even really need Jim to be her hero as she has the power and mind to take care of herself. Evil and his Heck Lawyers are pretty silly and like in the other issues just kind of fumble around and miss their chances to strike. The threat in this issue is around but the stakes don’t seem as high as really this whole issue’s purpose is to get Peter home, and to this reader I kind of feel that this is just a average read with not real thought put into the story and was made to fulfill the contract made with the people who made Earthworm Jim. The cover on this issue is great and eye catching, and the art in this issue is all done by Barry Crain and is good but also seems rushed. To sum it up, this is an entertaining comic mini series based on a very goofy video game character, and I am sure will please fans of Earthworm Jim. Check out the art below to see the style of Barry Crain and enjoy.

So before we end this update, I really wanted to share some of the Horror Movie characters that have cameos in this series. The first one I spotted was Pinhead from the movie series Hellraiser in issue # 2 who is on the planet Heck and is one of the Lawyers that has been hired to bring a lawsuit against Earthworm Jim. It was pretty cool seeing him as Marvel Comics under their Epic line use to make Hellraiser comics. Also in issue # 2 was Gillman from the Universal Monster movie Creature From The Black Lagoon as he is the preacher that is marrying Bob and Princess What’s-Her-Name! Sadly I think these two are the only two Movie Monsters in this series, but I must say this is very cool and I wish more comics would add little Easter Eggs like this more often.

So I hope you enjoyed this Christmas Eve update all about Earthworm Jim and it helped add to your holiday season with great memories of playing the video game, watching the cartoon, playing with the toys and even reading the comics. This time of the year really is filled with magic and makes me always think of my youth and all the great memories of Christmas pasts. So I don’t want to take up more of your holiday with my ramblings, but do want to let you know that our next update will be my Films Of 2019 update and will be the first update of 2020! So until next time enjoy your time with loved ones, have fun opening your gifts and always watch out for each other. Oh and make sure to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Jeepers Creepers

We are so close to Halloween now, and the nights are becoming colder and even a little more spooky I think its time for us to take a look at a monster that only appears every 23 years and is hungry for human flesh and wants to collect body parts and of course I am talking about The Creeper from the film series Jeepers Creepers! This is one of those modern Horror franchises that you either love or hate with very few people standing in the middle, most of this films hate comes from the fact its creator and director Victor Salva is a pretty disgusting dude who did something very sickening on the set of his film “Clown House” and served not enough time for his actions. But I do not want to bring this update down with his despicable act and will just say I for one 100% believe he should not be able to make films with children any more and think he should have been in jail way longer. But with that out of the way let’s do our best to avoid the sinister The Creeper and take a look at his comic debut in the pages of Dynamite Comics. I also think that the Creeper is one of the better modern franchise Horror Characters that was spawned in from the early 2000’s as his mysteries backstory and creepy look makes him very interesting.

So lets start by taken a look at the films monster the sinister Creeper! The Creeper is a demonic human eating creature that goes on a killing spree every 23 years in order to stockpile bodies that will not only feed him, but he can also use the body parts to replace his own injured ones. No one knows really what, why and how The Creeper has come to be and his origin is truly wrapped in theories and rumors making him a true riddle. The Creeper has many tools to dispatch his victims that include knives, throwing stars and even a battle axe that he uses to chop, slash and remove flesh. He also shows that he is very strong with a super natural style physical power and could with ease kill a human with his bare hands. He also has his rusty old truck that has the license plate “BEATNGU” that means “Be Eating You” and this truck not only can strike fear in peoples hearts with is creepy appearance and cow catcher front end also is rigged with traps that can bet set off to keep people in as well as out, and even worse its bullet proof and seems to not be able to be stopped. The Creeper himself while can be hurt seems to truly be unstoppable as he has been shot and stabbed and keeps on coming and this aspect as well as his demonic appearance also can frighten a person to death. No known elements have been found that can truly kill The Creeper making him one of the most dangerous killers we have ever covered on one of these updates next to the likes of Godzilla, Michel Myers, Jason Voorhees and The Tall Man. While he can be slowed down he cannot be stopped and this is why The Creeper is one sinister demonic killer.

So as you can see the Creeper is a very violent killer who has no morals when it comes to killing those he has a taste for. But now we should breakdown the first film in the series as well as quickly talk about the two sequels. For the write up on the film I will be taking it from our friends at IMDB and the write up about the production and my thoughts of course will be written by me. So if you are ready and are not to scared lets take a look at Jeepers Creepers!

Jeepers Creepers (2001)

“On their way back home during the spring break, Darry and Patricia Jenner witness a mysterious person dumping something down a tunnel. Deciding to discover what was dumped down there, Darry discovers a huge disturbing hideout full of modified bodies. Darry and Patricia set off to get help, unaware that the individual is now aware of who has been down the tunnel. Darry and Patricia soon realizes that their pursuer is not just a mysterious person, but something even more horrifying, who has more in store than they could possibly imagine.”

Jeepers Creepers is a creature feature that was written and directed by Victor Salva and was released by United Artist on August 31, 2001 and stars Gina Philips, Justin Long, Patricia Belcher and Jonathan Breck played the films killer The Creeper. The film was given the budget of $10 million and had a very tight shooting schedule as filming took place in Florida in the summer of 2000 and they had to remove parts of the script in order to meet their project deadline. The film was a surprise hit for United Artist bringing in a worldwide total of $59,217,789.00 showing that Horror was still valuable in the theaters and came in at # 65 grossing movie in 2001 here in the US and beat out other cult films as From Hell, Joy Ride, Valentine, John Carpenter’s Ghosts Of Mars, Bones, Soul Survivors, The Devil’s Backbone and Session 9. The film when released was meet with some protest from groups and fans over the crime the director committed in the past, but this only slowed down the film slightly as 2001 was a very slow year in general for Horror. The film would later become a bigger hit when it hit home media and truly built up a cult following. The film has been released on VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital so if you have not seen it…you can easily find it.

I can remember when this film was coming out as I had seen the trailer and even some of the Horror News websites put some heavy coverage on it. Now in 2001 I was going to the theaters but not as often and decided to skip it as while I thought the Creeper was cool looking and Gina Philips was a good looking lady…it was Justin Long that kept me away as he just had a face that made me want to punch him! Oddly enough none of my close friends who enjoyed Horror Films went and seen this film in the theaters and it would be way later before I would watch it, as in when it came to home video. At the time this hit video I was working for Blockbuster Video and I used one of my free rents for the week to take it home and give it a watch, and I can remember that I enjoyed many moments of the film as I found the atmosphere very spooky, the killer very sinister and the kills pretty cool…downside to the film for me was some of the dialogue was super bad as was the acting of Justin Long. If memory serves me as well my brother Bryan was not a fan at all and he as well disliked the terrible dialogue. As weird as this sounds while I am by no means a super fan of Jeepers Creepers I do find myself wanting to see sequels as well was pretty happy when the comic mini series was announced. One thing that’s crazy is when I hear friends of mine who love Horror Movies talk about how this is one of their favorite movies in the genre.

The first film spawned two sequels with “Jeepers Creepers 2” coming out in 2003. It follows a group of high school football players whose bus breaks down, and they become the target of The Creeper. The second film was # 80 grossing film in America and brought in $63,103,666.00 worldwide. A third film was made and is a prequel to the second film and follows a cop who sets his sights on taking down The Creeper once and for all. This film was a limited release in theaters in 2017 and brought in $2,335,162.00 in the US and was #185 for the year. Both of these films helped add new layers to The Creeper as well as let you a little further into what and why he is. A rumor of a fourth film has been going around since 2017 and as of now nothing has seen the light of day. As far as my opinion on the films, I enjoyed the second film. While it was flawed and filled with lots of eye rolling moments, it still was a fun watch. The third film on the other hand is pretty cheesy and has a real low budget look to it. I saw it in the theater for the Fathom Event and was not overly impressed. In fact for my “Matt Goes To The Movies 2017” update, the third film came in at # 19 out of 20. So while Jeepers Creepers is not the best trilogy, it at least is an entertaining one that has delivered The Creeper who has become a very iconic movie monster of modern times.

So as you can see, The Creeper is an efficient killer and has many tools of the trade to issue death to those he has selected! And Jeepers Creepers is a modern film series that has made a mark on the genre and has gathered a very loyal fan base, and that’s why I find it crazy that it took until 2018 for a comic book series to be made based on it. And now we are at the point of this update that we will be taking a look at the issues. I need to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having these in stock and pulling them for my file making this update possible. I want to also remind you that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, their entertainment value and art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what horrors The Creeper has in store for us on the inked pages of these horror comics.

Jeepers Creepers # 1 **
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     Dynamite Comics     # 1 of 5

Devin James is in Mexico City looking into myths for his college project, and he feels like a fish out of water while in America The Creeper is back and along with his death truck hits the streets looking for body parts. While Devin is in Mexico, he sneaks into an old Aztec site and while studying the carving on the walls, he meets a young kid who he shares his theory that the Aztec Serpent God is really The Creeper! This story scares the kid who runs from the temple alerting adults, and Devin is taken to the police station and told never to return to that town and site again! As Devin is leaving, an old lady give him a box that has an old knife used by the Aztecs to do sacrifices in it and she quickly disappears! As Devin holds the knife, The Creeper takes alert and knows that someone is getting close to his origin and story.

This first issue in the Jeepers Creepers mini series is a little underwhelming and our main “hero” Devin James does not have any character development. All we really get from him is that he is a college student, has a sensitive stomach and is really into the Aztec Serpent God. The plot is also very simple and has Devin driving to Mexico to look at a temple that he is not supposed to enter and is kicked out only to have what he seeks delivered to him by a strange person who vanishes….pretty standard stuff…oh yeah and The Creeper really doesn’t do anything in this issue. The Creeper so far is built up by reputation as his horrific deeds over the centuries are what sparks fear, but he himself does very little. The comic as well is pretty much bloodless and besides a heart being shown in a flashback story, the violence is pretty tame as are the scares. To be honest when this issue ended I was entertained but I was also thinking very much so that this was a middle of the road build up for a five issue story arc. The cover is pretty great and eye catching and the interior art by Kewber Baal is solid and good. Over all I don’t have much to say about this issue as they did not give me much to really talk about, I guess I should also say I do like that they are really trying to explain The Creeper’s past or at least give a theory about it. Over all, as I have said, this is very middle of the road and makes me hope that in issue two they add a little sizzle.

Jeepers Creepers # 2  **
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     Dynamite Comics     # 2 of 5

Devin is on his way out of Mexico chatting with his friend Nina on the phone, giving her some info on what he has discovered but not what he has been given. Once off the phone he stops at a bar on a Indian Reservation and tries to strike up conversation with the bartender who has a tattoo of the Serpent God, but is quickly chased out of the bar where he is greeted by an old Native American man who tells Devin to meet him back at the bar in the morning as he can help with the answers he seeks. Devon stays the night in his car at the bar and is woken up by a cop who is giving him a hard time until the old man shows up and cools the situation down and he has Devon drive him to his home that is a tiny cabin in the woods. When inside, the old man has Devon drink a drugged wine that allows him to go on a vision quest and during it he has visions of The Creeper! When Devon wakes up he and his car are no longer in the woods but a shopping center.

Much like the first issue, there just is not much here when it comes to plot as most of the comic is splash pages that feature his vision quest….and the quest is the main plot of the issue. Devin in this issue keeps getting deeper and deeper into trying to find out what The Creeper is about and it’s becoming an obsession for him. The Creeper once more takes a back seat and kills nobody and mostly is just shown in the vision quest….so again no blood and no scares make this yet another middle of the road Horror Comic read. The worst thing is even the vision quest that is supposed to give some answers really doesn’t and is clearly filler. The cover is good and eye catching, and Baal’s artwork for the interiors is still very solid and good. Over there’s again not much to talk about as this was an okay read that was nothing special. I am starting to fear that this series is going to go on this way until the end. Let’s see what issue three has in store for me as I hope we at least get more The Creeper and less splash page filler.

Jeepers Creepers # 3  ** 1/2
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     Dynamite Comics     # 3 of 5

Devin is back at his hotel room, and he is feeling very rough after drinking the drugged wine. Worse, as he tries to feel better he finds that his mind is linked to The Creeper and he cannot trust what he sees as they both are interfering with each other’s lives. As Devin drives to his next site, The Creeper decides that he must find and kill Devon to end this. Devin heads to a reenactment village were cosplayers are all around him acting like they are from colonial times. Devin uses the Aztec knife on himself and finds that it gives him the ability to go back in time and he does so and watches as The Creeper torments people. stealing one’s eyes. In the vision The Creeper even carves a town name in the arm of Devin who wakes back up in modern times and knows that he is now on a path to a showdown with the cannibal monster known as The Creeper.

Devin is closing in on The Creeper and has figured out that the knife he was given also has powers that will allow him to seek out more information on this creature. The plot is thickening when The Creeper himself seems to be looking forward to a showdown with Devin as it’s clear he is bothered that someone is digging deep into his past as well as maybe even a way to stop him for good! Devon in this issue seems to be taking leaps of faith in order to get the answers he needs for his college paper, and this also now makes me wonder if he has more of passion to stop this monster from killing and collecting/eating humans. This issue also adds a little more blood as a gruesome panel is a man from the past whose eyeballs have been removed. Plus they added a little more scares as The Creeper attacking the village in the vision quest comes off spooky as people run for their lives and think that he is a demon straight from hell. I also am interested in seeing if this magical knife comes into play and if it really is means to stop him. The cover is pretty great and has a dark spooky look, and like before, the interior art by Kewber Baal is really solid. This third issue is bringing the story and the characters out more and finally is showcasing The Creeper better than the last two issues and makes me look forward to see what issue four has in store for me.

Jeepers Creepers # 4  **1/2
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     Dynamite Comics     # 4 of 5

Devin is in an old coal mine in Centralia, Pennsylvania, the location that was left for him by The Creeper, and now the two are at battle! Before being knocked down a shaft he is able to use an iron bar to impale The Creeper who is now really mad and heads deeper into the mine to find his prey. As Devin walks deeper in hopes of find a way out, he has a vision of 1962 when The Creeper killed a miner in those very mines and caused the fires that burn under that town still to this day, leaving the town dead and Devin knows that if he can not escape he will die as well. Devin has a stroke of luck when he finds a way out and its right by his car. As he is about to drive away the rooftop is ripped off, and The Creeper grabs him and carries him away into the night sky.

This fourth issue starts right with the action as our “hero” Devin is trying his best to battle a monster that wants to eat him and collect his body parts! Setting this issue in Centralia was a very cool move as that real life town has a very spooky look and feel to it. Plus it helped inspire the video game series Silent Hill…so as you can see, creepy is what that town is. The Creeper in this issue is very bloodthirsty as he wants to kill his foe and it shows and then on top of that in the flashback he goes off and knocks the head off of a miner. And I think at this point Devin realizes that he has bitten off more than he could chew and is in fear of his life, but yet still is very much into trying to figure out what makes this monster tick. The issue does have blood and gore and the head chop off is the most brutal, plus it wins brownie points as they use this murder as the means that started the coal mine fires that rage under the town till this day. I do also need to say while I like that the story starts off strong with the pair already at each others throats, it also feels a little rush and we get no build up to their first encounter in real life. The cover for this issue is pretty good, and the art inside is good and is Baal again. Over all this is a pretty good issue that does have some pacing flaws but was a good read. So with this fourth issue, we have only one left in the series and it makes me wonder how this will play out. I am going to take a guess that Devin becomes yet another victim of The Creeper and will lose his eyes in the end…let’s see if I am right!

Jeepers Creepers # 5  **
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     Dynamite Comics     # 5 of 5

Devin wakes up in the den of The Creeper and is surrounded by dead bodies and a small pond of seasoned human blood. The Creeper walks over to his victim and covers him with the blood and then kisses, licks and throws Devin around the den as he is prepping him to be eaten. As Devin lays on the ground, he grabs a broken bone from the ground and uses it to cut the ropes around his wrists and as The Creeper approaches him with a spoon in hand in order to remove Devin’s eyes! Before The Creeper can do so, Devin breaks free and stabs the bone into his attackers eye, but this does not stop The Creeper and only buys Devin a few more moments of life as The Creeper ends up just taking his eyes and leaves him as another victim in his lair.

Yep, this ended just as I predicted with our hero Devin having his eyes removed and dying…and sadly this issue was just kind of middle of the road leaving the series as a whole just an average Horror Comic read that could have been so much more. The plot of this final issue is very simple and is just Devin’s last moments of life as he is stuck in the den of The Creeper who wants to kill the young man and begin his 23 years of slumber. In this issue and series, Devin is a man who wants to write his paper and find the answers on a monster that has become entangled in his life, but like all that cross The Creeper, he does not stand a chance and only finds his own death when trying to uncover the secret of how to stop him once and for all. The Creeper is as brutal as ever and only has the motives to kill, eat, collect and steal body parts of humans, he also seems to take joy in toying with his victims as he really is cruel to Devin as he messes with him before killing him. The side cast mean nothing and more characters go nowhere like the Old Woman who gave him the knife, the old Indian man, the cop, Nina, Devin’s Mom and so on as they all are just filler who add little elements to the story and could all have been removed and it would have had no major impact to the story as it would have been just as easy to have Devin do the actions they add like finding the knife and such. The issue has some blood and gore and ends on a grim note that helps bring out the true Horror Comic feel and highlights just how iconic The Creeper is in the genre. My biggest issue with this mini series really is that it feels like lots of filler packed around an idea for a story that forgets its direction and has so many dead ends and unnecessary side plots that drag the story down. The cover for this final issue is very cool and as always the interior art by Baal is really good and the way he draws The Creeper really well. I think if you are a mega fan of Jeepers Creepers, you might enjoy this comic mini series. While I was a little disappointed in it over all it still was a fun read this Halloween season. Check out the art below to see what style you are in for.

While Dynamite Comic’s Jeepers Creepers comic series was not ground breaking and left lots to be desired when it came to story, I would like to see them return for a second series and better yet have him tangle with another MGM monster, Pumpkinhead, that they also did a mini series based on. I do think that the Halloween season should be filled with Horror Movies, Horror Comics, Horror Video Games and of course Horror Hosts and I for one am looking forward to the next update that will be our Halloween day update and I will be covering Werewolf At Large a old comic series I read as a kid and am looking forward to once more revisiting and see how well they hold up to my memories. So with a chill in the air and the moon in the night sky make sure to read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Get ready to bark at the moon next update!

 

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Horror Of Party Beach

Summer is coming to an end, and I think that before we head into fall we should take one last trip to the beach and take a look at the Horror Movie “The Horror Of Party Beach” that had a photo comic magazine made about it for this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update. Remember when Horror and Sci-Fi Beach Party flicks were all the rage? Yeah, it’s hard to believe that this was a subgenre that delivered many titles to watchers and even chilled the blood of moviegoers of that time. So if you’re ready to head back to the beach and try our best to dance to hip rock n roll music all the while dodging radioactive sea creatures who crave human blood, we should start this classic spooky update to help build the mood for the upcoming Halloween season. So let’s start our From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Horror Of Party Beach!

So let’s take a moment to take a look at our monsters of this film that are a mutated human skeletons that are mixed with toxic waste and small fish causing these mutation-killing machines. The creatures all stand like humans do and even have arms like a normal man, but have skin and face is that of a sea creature! They are both skilled killers on land as well as in water making them a double threat. The Creatures uses their sharp claws to shred victim’s skin and can also use their odd mouths to gnaw as well. The Creatures can also use their weird and monstrous appearance to strike terror into the hearts of victims that will spark panic and cause them to make mistakes in their escape. The Creatures also kill in pairs and are not afraid of humans and will attack even groups showing they are fearless. They also drink the blood of their victims almost like a vampire, and they try to leave no one alive when they attack. They also give off a foul odor that acts as another way for them to distract and disorientate their prey and they can let out a horrendous scream that chills blood. Their body parts still live even when cut from their bodies making them even more dangerous. They are also pack killers much like zombies and will overwhelm their targets with numbers. But like all living things, these Sea Creatures do have weaknesses like their foul smell can also alert people to their approach. They can be hurt with brute force as they do feel pain. The main way to kill one of these Sea Creatures is with sodium as it dries them out and kills them almost instantly. While these creatures do have a way to be stopped, they are still very dangerous and have a bloodlust that will not stop until they are all wiped out.

So now that we know how the Creatures kill, we need to take a look at the film they are from and it’s The Horror Of Party Beach! For this look at the movie I will be taking the write up from our friends at IMDB and after I will write about the film’s production as well as my connection to it. So if you are ready let’s head to the beach and hope it doesn’t turn horrific!

The Horror Of Party Beach (1964)

“While the hot-rodders and motorcyclists are having a rock-and-roll beach party, a barrel of radioactive material is unloaded from a passing ship, plunges to the bottom, and splits against a jagged rock. A black liquid oozes out and covers a shapeless mass on the ocean floor, which suddenly moves and becomes an encrusted vicious monster. Soon there are several monsters who must have human blood to survive. Tina is the first victim, and football hero Hank Green and airhead Elaine Gavin enlist the aid of her science-professor father, Dr. Gavin, to find and capture the killer. Not working fast enough to prevent the attack on 20 teenagers at a slumber party or the killing of three girl motorists, Dr. Gavin finds an arm lost by one of the monsters and discovers that only sodium will destroy the monsters, whose composition is mostly water. Can they gather enough salt in southern California to put an end to this horror?”

The Horror Of Party Beach was produced and directed by Del Tenney and was originally called “Invasion Of The Zombies” when being developed. The film had a budget of $50,000.00 and was filmed in Black and White in order to save money. The film stars the likes of Alice Lyon, John Scott, Allan Laurel, Marilyn Clarke and the Charter Oak Motorcycle Club of Riverside, Connecticut! The film only had two creature costumes made, and legend has it, one of them shrunk during filming and they ended up putting a 16 year old kid named Charles Freedman in the costume as he fit, giving this kid major bragging rights at school as he played a monster in a feature film. The film was released to cinemas on June 1, 1964 and was paired with “The Curse Of The Living Corpse” another film Tenney made, and it was met with very harsh reviews and is considered by many critics and viewers to be one of the worst Horror/Sci-Fi films of all time! When released in 1964, it came out with other films like The Last Man On Earth, Two Thousand Maniacs, The Evil Of Frankenstein, At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, Face Of The Screaming Werewolf, The Earth Dies Screaming and Ghidorah The Three-Headed Monster to name a very few. While this film might be considered a Golden Turkey, it did make its blood stained mark on the world of Horror.

Back in the late 50’s and early 60’s movies based on beach parties was a very popular genre of films and would bring young and hip viewers to their local cinemas, I mean even Elvis Presley made beach movies with his most popular being “Blue Hawaii”! But of course the Horror and Science Fiction genres had to jump on this trend, as they were easy and cheap to make and would bring youngsters to the Drive-Ins and Theaters. Growing up I can remember seeing this film on TV as well as on VHS, and to be honest it just blended in with all the other Beach Horror Films like “The Beach Girls And The Monster,” and while I enjoy them, they never stuck with me like other classic Horror Flicks of those decades. I have never really felt a major connection to this film and to be honest I didn’t even end up buying on DVD until Severin Films release it on August 28, 2018 and when I knew that I was going to cover this Photo Comic Magazine for this update. While I am sure you are thinking that I am not a fan of this film as what I have just written sound grim for it, but to be honest I do like this movie as I find it very cheesy and filled with laughable monsters who at times look like they have a mouthful of hotdogs who are amazing. It also features some lovely ladies and some rocking tunes! Over all this film is a great watch for fans that enjoy the beach and high dose of cheese inserted into their Horror Flicks that are made on a lower budget. I would say that this film is worth watching and worth having in your collection as fans of B-Movies will love this, and oh yeah Mystery Science Theater 3000 also hosted this film and that is another way I had seen this film.

So now that we have chatted about the mutated creatures of the sea and the cheesy golden turkey film they came from, I think we should now take a look and review the Warren Publishing Photo Comic Magazine adaptation of the film. This is one of the magazines I discovered the same time I did Mole People and Black Zoo, and I am very much looking forward to reading and reviewing this one. I want to thank Mile High Comics for having this issue on Ebay to make this update possible. I want to also remind you readers that I grade this 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 if you’re ready, make sure to cover yourself with some sunscreen and let’s avoid the monsters that attack on Party Beach.

Horror Of Party Beach # 1   **1/2
Released in 1964     Cover Price .35     Warren Publishing     # 1 of 1

Some boat workers are dumping toxic waste into the ocean, and one can springs a leak and the contents land on a skeleton on the ocean floor and when small fish gather around, a monster is created! While at the beach Tina and Hank are splitting up due to her drinking problem, but she needs not worry as she has caught the eye of a member of a biker gang who has also decided to have a day at the beach. When Tina makes a fool of herself, Hank and the biker get into a fight as Tina runs off to sun herself on a rock and feel good about her mission to make Hank pay, but she becomes the first victim of one of the Sea Creature that rips her to shreds! The news spreads fast in the papers, and Hank’s boss Dr. Gavin’s daughter Elaine gets a crush on him, and the two quickly start a relationship as the cops want answers to what killed Tina as scales are found under her nails! The next night while Hank and Elaine are on a date at a beach party, two more girls are killed by a Sea Creature filling the city with fear…and things get worse when the monsters attack again and kill a group of ladies having a slumber party! As Hank and Dr. Gavin try and figure out what the monsters are, they attack again, first a young woman swimming and later three women who have car issues, then a man in a truck all killed and making the these creatures body count rise as they have a true night of terror as the bodies pile up. As the creatures attack, one accidentally gets his arm cut off and Dr. Gavin and Hank are able to get it and find sodium is one thing that will kill the creatures. As Hank goes to the next town to get sodium, the cops along with Dr. Gavin and Elaine use geiger counters to find the main body of water hang out for the creatures. In the end Dr. Gavin and Elaine are surrounded by the Sea Creatures and Hank with the Police arrive with the sodium and fling it one tons of the creatures killing them off. After it’s over and all is safe Hank and Elaine share their love for each other.

The cheesy 1964 cult classic film comes alive in this photo comic magazine that does its best to bring Horror to a film that is filled with lots of dancing and music. The plot of the comic has Sea Creatures coming out of the water and killing people that cross their paths as two doctors try their best to figure out what they are and how to destroy them. In the end, the doctors figure out a way to save the day and kill the monsters once and for all, and thanks to basic science and elements a way is found and the creatures are killed. Hank Green is our hero who is a man who once wasted his life just partying on the beach who has now took a job in science and has outgrown is wild girlfriend and falls in love with his boss’ daughter. Hank is a man who wants to do his best to save lives as well as treat whomever lady he is dating right. Dr. Gavin is a scientist who the cops go to when this outbreak of creature killings start up as they are all unaware of what they are up against, and all faith is put into him and Hank. Elaine Green is a sweet girl who cares about her town, family and friends and is willing to risk her life to try and help end the rash of killings. The cops are pretty useless in this magazine as they do very little to keep people safe and mostly just wait until they are told what do by scientist. The Sea Creatures are blood drinking killing machines that mostly hunt for humans at night and are very dangerous, and yet the cops don’t even patrol at night nor put a curfew in effect. This photo comic magazine for the most part follows the events of the film pretty well, but does do a few out of place or even have a slightly different outcome. One main change in this magazine is that the Sea Creatures are given razor sharp teeth and not the cheesy looking hotdogs like in the movie. The comic keeps some of the blood and kills in place and plays up the spooky horror and cuts down the let’s dance on the beach while a band places surf tunes moments way down. The dialogue is written really well and while cheesy in spots its super fitting. I would say to be honest this is a really good photo comic magazine that does the film its based on justice and even in spots improves on the movie! To sum it up, if you like the movie, love photo comics and collect Horror Comics this is one you might want to get for your collection. Check out some panels below to see how this magazine looks.

So as you can see, the Sea Creatures who want to crash the Party on Horror Beach are pretty mean and want nothing more than to drink the blood of every living human they come across and this Photo Comic Magazine complements this cult classic film very well. So not only is this update coming to an end but so is Summer 2019 and that means fall and Halloween are just around the corner! And sticking with our Countdown To Halloween and From Horror Movie To Horror Comic Theme, I think the next comic we will take a look at is one based on the 2008 film Zombie Apocalypse! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your Local Horror Host! See you next time as we chat about a the undead.

American Hero: Rambo

Happy Independence Day 2019 to all you readers, family and friends. This is a very important holiday for Americans as this the day that we truly celebrate our Independence! On this holiday we all prepare for the fireworks and are gathered with friends and family grilling out burgers, steaks and hotdogs. Here at Rotten Ink I have been working hard to once more bring you an update about an America Hero in the world of comic book, and this year I have chosen to take a look at John J. Rambo, the iconic character of novels as well as a film series that later this year sees a fifth installment! And I feel 100% that Rambo goes alongside other American themed heroes we have covered in the past like Captain America, Fighting American and The Original Shield who all fight for freedom and deliver amazing comic adventures. So while the burgers are grilling and the gathering is going strong, let’s sit back, relax and celebrate the one and only Rambo!

Let’s talk about the book that started it all for Rambo. First Blood was a novel written by David Morrell in 1972 and was about a Vietnam Vet named John Rambo who is being harassed while hitchhiking through a small town in Kentucky and fights back when the police department treat him like scum and cause him to flashback to when he was a POW. He escapes and this causes a manhunt for him that leads to a terrible shoot out where in the end both Rambo and the sheriff meet their maker, as Rambo dies by a shotgun blast to the head at the hands of his one time commander Trautman. The novel is a dark sad twisted ride as one man who served his country is treated like a common scumbag by the hands of those he defended just because of his look and the length of his hair. The book is a great read and is worth checking out if you like war books and or like the films.

The novel was turned into a film in 1982 and starred Sylvester Stallone as Rambo and made some major changes to the story having Rambo and the Sheriff both living and Rambo going to jail in the end. The film still followed the manhunt through the woods and the stand off in the town making this open for a sequel that came in 1985 with “Rambo: First Blood Part II.” This time Rambo is asked to go back to Vietnam and take pictures of POWs but instead rescues them! “Rambo III” was released in 1988 and had him helping Afghanistan fight off Russia as they tried to invade them. This film also had Rambo fighting a tank with a bow and arrow while on horseback! 2008 saw the release of “Rambo,” the final film in the series thus far that had Rambo saving some missionaries in Burma, and proving that he is a man of honor as he also helps take down an evil general who is committing genocide on his own people. The Rambo films are all badass and rank as some of the best action/drama films ever made! I could go on and on about the films and will in a future review. I just wanted to touch up on the films for this write up. If you have not seen these films, do yourself a favor and go watch them. You can find them on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray.

2019 is filled with many great films like “Avengers: Endgame”, “Godzilla: King Of The Monsters” and “Star Wars IX,” but for me my most hyped film of the year is “Rambo V: Last Blood”! I have been a fan of not only actor Sylvester Stallone but also the Rambo films for as long as I can remember and to see what is reported as the final film in the series this year is something very special for me as the character has been a big part of my childhood and even adulthood. In fact many people are shocked when I tell them my favorite actor, writer and director is Sylvester Stallone as many people always think that I would say John Carpenter, Wes Craven, George Romero, Tod Browning or some other icon of Horror Cinema. But do me a favor, if you’re reading this and enjoy the Rambo films or even just action films in general, make sure to go to your local cinema on September 20th and see this film as I am sure its going to be one amazing ride as Rambo takes on a drug cartel!

Now let’s talk about the man John James Rambo, who is the son of R. Rambo and Marie Drago. He was born in Bowie, Arizona and in 1964 at the age of 17 he was drafted to fight in Vietnam straight out of high school, and after his tour at war, he returned to the U.S and joined Army Special Forces at Fort Bragg and was trained by Colonel Trautman. Rambo returns to the Vietnam War as part of the SOG brigade in 1969 and during this time he is traumatized by events he sees with one being the death of his close friend Joseph Danforth. He would later also become a POW. and he was repeatedly tortured and only he and one other member of his team were able to escape the camp. A short time later, Rambo asked to return to the war and even learned new skills like how to fly a helicopter. By 1974 he finally was discharged from the military holding a pretty high rank, mostly likely a Captain. Once back home in America he returns to find that people are very hateful towards the soldiers returning home and he himself is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. Rambo, now a drifter and homeless, goes to Hope, Washington to visit an old war friend only to find he is dead and that the local law enforcement don’t want him around as they are cruel and try and bully him to leave their small town. Rambo is pushed and he fights back and takes the war to the Sheriff’s office, and it’s only Colonel Trautman that is able to talk him down. After these events Rambo is sent to prison, but Colonel Trautman is able to get him out to do a secret mission for the government to find out if Vietnam still has prisoners of war…Rambo takes this mission and disobeys orders as instead of just taking pictures and reporting back, he saves them and brings them home. In 1988 Rambo is next sent to Afghanistan in order to help the people fight the Russians who have tried to invade their country. In 2008 Rambo is now living in Thailand and makes his living capturing snakes and selling them to locals for fighting as well as giving rides on his boat. Rambo is asked by a bunch of missionaries to take them to Burma that is a warzone in order to help its people with medical and spiritual aid. And after saying no at first, it’s because of a woman named Sarah he agrees to…and once he does his job and the Burmese army captures and kills some of the missionaries, it’s up to Rambo to go in and save them, and of course he does. At the end of this rescue Rambo decides to let it all go and returns home to America. And this is where we are at in the life of Rambo as the events of the fifth film will tell us more about his life and who knows maybe death. Rambo is very layered and deep character, and the film and novel versions have different paths for his life, but one thing is for sure, Rambo is an iconic character of American pop culture.

Rambo has also made it to the world of video games and has had games on systems like Commodore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Arcade Machines and as of late a rail first person shooter for PS3 and X-Box 360. The one that most know about is the NES version that has you playing Rambo who is wearing red spandex pants and mostly uses a knife to fight Vietcong, spiders and other animals. This game was also on the receiving end of a review done by The Angry Video Game Nerd for his popular YouTube show. So for those who like Rambo, there are video games out there for you to play. I thought about doing a NES Challenge for the Rambo game but decided that maybe we will tackle that on a later update.

In 1986 Rudy- Spears Productions was at it again when they decided to turn the R rated Rambo films into a cartoon series called “Rambo: The Force of Freedom” in which Rambo was no longer a loner but instead helped lead a group called The Force of Freedom alongside his friend Colonel Trautman into doing battle with a terrorist group code named S.A.V.A.G.E. lead by the General Warhawk who was a trader in his home country in Europe. The series ran for one season and a total of 65 episodes before being canceled, and the episodes would have Rambo and gang stopping such plots as stopping takeovers of small countries, fighting cults, stopping missiles and everything else in between. While Rambo and Trautman were the main attractions, characters like White Dragon and Touchdown Jones were the support that helped make the cartoon series more fun. While it only lasted one season, it had a lot of episodes and helped fans of Rambo with the wait in between movies. Growing up I remember watching this show from time to time and found that all I wanted in the series was to watch Rambo kick some S.A.V.A.G.E. butt! Not a lot of kids I knew watched the series, and by this time a lot of them were watching more Nickelodeon shows or the more popular shows on ABC, NBC and USA. The series did get some VHS releases as well as later some episodes released on DVD.

So besides the movies and cartoon on VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray and other home media and the novels and video games, many other very cool merchandise items have been made based on Rambo! Many action figures have been put out and have been done by companies like Coleco, NECA and Toy Island to name a few…my favorite is the Coleco Rambo figure that was based on the cartoon that I had as a kid. Also made were the films’ score soundtracks that have been released on Vinyl, Cassette and CD! These scores are amazing and the song “Home Coming” by Jerry Goldsmith from the First Blood album is powerful and iconic. There were also T-Shirts, Posters, Comics, Buttons, Chewing Gum, Trading Cards, Stickers, Magazines, Lunch Boxes, Halloween Costumes, Erasers, Toy Guns, Arcade Machines and so much more amazing products! So if you are a fan of Rambo, there are many amazing things in the world for you to collect…and I suggest not only the Coleco toy but also do yourself a favor and get the score soundtracks for the film as they are top notch.

So as you can see, Rambo and America go hand in hand and in fact all through the 80’s he was used as an icon to show the American Spirit and even the likes of President Ronald Reagan used him as an inspiration to hype up his run. And now that the burgers are probably almost done and the fireworks are about to fill the sky, we should get to the review of the Blackthrone Comic simply called Rambo! I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having this issue in stock and want to also remind you all that I grade this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get your red headband ready as we are going to war alongside the one and only John J. Rambo.

Rambo # 1 *1/2
Released in 1989     Cover Price $2.00     Blackthrone      #1 of 1

Major Valane was a bad apple and was dealing in the black market during his time in Nam and after being investigated by higher ups in the US Military, things turn bad and he is believed to be dead…until he is spotted on a nature documentary. The government sends for Rambo to make sure that he can spot Valane and make sure he is alive as Rambo was one of his solider who witnessed the Major set up his own people and even killed Rambo’s friend Wild Bill and forced a wounded Rambo to be in a prisoner of war camp! So ready for a rematch and revenge against Valane, he heads to Canada and battles the harsh weather until he can track Valane and his band of militant hoods. During his search Rambo is attacked by a mountain lion and is saved by one armed vet Brewster who befriends the war hero and helps him stand his ground when Valane’s men track them down and Rambo comes face to face with the man who helped murder his friends.

Sad to say this is really bad and does not capture the feel, mood or character of John J. Rambo at all and really just feels like a cheesy C-Grade army comic! The plot has Rambo traveling to Canada to find a beloved to be dead army Major who was a trader and a black market dealer that set up his own men leaving many of the dead and Rambo a prisoner. Rambo then fights for his life and finds that his old foe is indeed alive and surrounded by a new group of mercenaries. John Rambo in this comic is a man who loves America and loved his fellow solider who survived beside him in Vietnam, he also is a survivor and is willing to run into danger to get the Intel his country needs. But this does not feel like the Rambo from the films, as he is way to positive talkative, makes lots of mistakes and seems to be really aligned with the army in this comic….so in other words the comic Rambo seems very much off. Brewster is a pretty cool side character who is missing an arm that happened during the war being a hero and lives alone in a cabin in the woods of Canada, and the best part is he is still great with a gun! Major Valane is a scumbag who sold out his own team in order to gain money and now has faked his death and is still doing crime! He is cocky and surrounded by tons of militant soldiers who are willing to kill and be killed for him. He is a great bad guy for this style of army comic and sadly didn’t get to live up to his full potential…and the reason being is that the series was canceled after this issue and we never even get to know how Rambo escaped Major Valane and his goons grip! Yep Blackthrone pulled a Star Comics and canceled this series before it got a proper ending for readers. The cover for this comic is pretty eye catching if you’re a Rambo fan even if the art is only so-so. The interior art is very hit or miss as at times it looks like your standard late 80’s indie comic and other pages almost seem unfinished or rushed, and I am sure artist Aaron Lopresti knows that this is not his best work. Over all this Rambo comic is a big letdown as it does not tell all that great of a story, does not do justice to the character and is over all below average. Check out the art below to see the style used in this comic…and yeah Rambo looks nothing like Sylvester Stallone.

While the comic might have been a letdown, we still have all the movies we can watch to scrub this from our memories. I hope you are having (or had) a good fourth of July as this day is one we should truly take pride in our nation and celebrate our freedoms. For the next update we will be leaving Rambo behind and will be going on vacation to once more visit Monster Bash and talk about Night Of The Living Dead as we spend some time in Evan City Cemetery! So until next time, watch a Rambo film or four, see Rambo V in the theater and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time as we spend more time with the undead.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Reptilicus

For the month of May, in honor of “Godzilla: King Of The Monsters” hitting theaters and it bringing us one step closer to King Kong and Godzilla battling it out in 2020, we are going to have Kaiju month here on the blof that will be filled with “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” updates all featuring giant monsters! And our first Titan will be Reptilicus, a sinister dragon-like beast who was the first Danish monster in cinema! Many people seem to forget about the likes of Reptilicus when they think of Kaiju and just giant monsters in general so that is why he was selected as my first choice to start off this event month. So if you’re ready, let’s see the terrors Reptilicus has in store for us and what destruction he leaves behind.

Reptilicus is a massive snake-like reptile that was frozen underground for centuries and is very combative in nature once awoken. The massive Reptilicus has many means to snuff out the life of humans as he can use his size and weight to crush and smash any and everything that gets in his way. He also sports very sharp snake-like teeth that could easily eat, impale and rip apart a man in no time. He doesn’t only attack on land but also water and even air with a strike upward. He also has the ability to grow back missing limbs and can heal from attacks pretty quick as he is a massive monster who can regenerate. Bullets, missiles and even fire from tanks do not hurt him, as he is able to shrug it off and keep on his path of destruction. And we are not even sure what his green acid spit could do when in contact with human flesh! Not to mention just the sight of him will cause panic and leave his human targets more easy to pick off as they make mistakes with minds full of fear. While he is massive and very hard to truly hurt, he can be killed as he hates fire and if burnt too long, he would die. He is also pretty slow moving on land and this also leaves him open for attacks and other means to stop him. He can also be drugged, and it’s even possible make him die of an overdose. While he might not be the most massive or destructive Kaiju in the world, Reptilicus is one of the most cold blooded who goes out of his way to kill and destroy, making him one deadly foe.

So now that we have taken a look at the destructive and killing nature of Reptilicus, we should now take a look at the film he is from. The film’s write up is taken from our friends at IMDB, and after, I will talk a little about the film’s production as well as my connection with and feelings about the film. So if you’re ready, let’s take a look at the film.

Reptilicus (1961)

A portion of the tail of a prehistoric reptile is discovered in Denmark. It regenerates into the entire reptile, which proceeds to destroy buildings and property and generally make a nuisance of itself. It can fly, swim, and walk, and has impenetrable scales, which makes it difficult to kill.”

In the 1960’s, giant monster movies were all the rage, and in 1961 American International Pictures and Denmark company Saga Studio teamed up to make Reptilicus! The film was directed by Poul Bang for the Danish version and Sidney W. Pink for the English one…as you see, the film was made in two different language in order to maximize the film’s audience with the only major change being the actress who played the character of Connie Miller. Another story goes that the English version was so bad that American International Pictures called in screenwriter Ib Melchior to help shape it up for release. This also caused Pink to be upset and threaten to sue the company, but rumor has it, after watching his version he dropped the lawsuit as he saw how bad it was! The film built a cult following in Denmark as well as the US, but critics were not kind to this film as they all mocked its cheap looking production values. So while Reptilicus might not be as loved and respected as King Kong, Godzilla or even Gamera, it still made its mark on the world of giant monster cinema. A fun fact is that in 2001 director Sidney Pink wanted to remake the film to try and cash in on the 1998 American Godzilla movie…but sadly this did not happen as Pink passed away in 2002 from a long illness.

Reptilicus was one of those movies I know I saw when I was a youngster and cannot remember if it was just shown on broadcast TV or if it was on a Horror Host program but I can remember enjoying the heck out of it. It would be years and years later that I would see the film again when my friend Jason Gilmore bought it on DVD and we watched it on one of our many late nights of video game playing and Horror Movie watching hangouts. Gilmore and I had a blast laughing at the Reptilicus puppet as it went on its rampage and for a while it was a film we loved to laugh at and reference. One surprising thing isthat growing up I never did have one of the comics by Charlton nor did I have the paperback novel adaptation even though I was into all those things at a young age. I would go on to own the film on VHS and DVD and from time to time still dust it off to give a watch. Many modern Horror Fans have also seen it on the rebirth of Mystery Science Theater 3000 that is on Netflix. I feel that, much like Konga we have talked about in a past update, Reptilicus is often over looked when it comes to Kaiju in movies as the monsters of Toho dominate it, and I feel that’s not fair as many of these less known Giant Monsters are as cool as those we all know and love. While Reptilicus might not be a household name, he is a movie monster that has built a cult following and has left his green acid spit all over the world of Horror Cinema.

So now that we know the killing power of Reptilicus as well as took a look at his only film appearance, I think we should gather our nerve and take a look at Charlton Comics adaptation of the film that ended up spinning off into a comic series. While we run for our lives from the rampage of Reptilicus, I want to remind you all that I am grading this comic on a 1-4 star scale and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank an Ebay seller for having this comic in stock and making this update possible! So let’s seek shelter and enjoy this horrifying adventure of Reptilicus.

Reptilicus # 1 **1/2
Released in 1961     Cover Price .10     Charlton Comics   # 1 of 8

Svend Alstrup is a foreman and is drilling for copper when he uncovers a bad smell and a chunk of skin that is covered in scales from deep in the Earth. After closing down the drilling, Svend calls for Professor Martens who takes the flesh to his lab. Later on as Svend finds more hunks of flesh of the beast, he delivers them to the Professor whose two daughters have formed a crush on him. One night by accident the freezer door where the flesh is held is left open, and this causes the flesh to grow and heal causing them to inform the United Nations of the discovery who in turn send two military men to supervise the experiment. The army once at the lab dismiss the chunk of flesh as a joke and seem not to be bothered that it has grown 100 times its size in eight days. But things change when a freak thunderstorm roles in and a blot of lightning strikes the tank releasing the flesh that has now grown massive and is called Reptilicus! Professor Martin and the Army come together fast to try and figure out a way to bring down this massive monster and each attempt fails as Reptilicus keeps growing and even learns to fly causing chaos and destruction every where he goes. In the end General Grayson and Professor Miller create a drug that they load into a shell and fire at the creature knocking it out and leaving it open to be disposed of, but little do they know a piece of Reptilicus skin is in the ocean waiting to grow and bring the monster back.

The plot of this comic adaptation is based on both the American Version of the film as well as the Danish Version and delivers a fun read for fans of this monster flick. The major downside is that it’s an hour and twenty minute movie crammed into twenty pages and keeps lots of the boring science and military talk from the film in. The plot is pretty cut and dry and has a blob of flesh being discovered that regenerates into a massive monster that breaks free from a lab and goes onto a massive rampage in Demark as the scientist and army try to figure out a way to stop it. Professor Martens is one of the heroes of this tale as his knowledge of these types of creatures as well as his research on the skin allows him to stop the army from making big mistakes like blowing it up and causing all the small pieces to become full fledged Reptilici (Repitilicuses?)! General Grayson is also a hero as he does not back down from the creatures and does not allow his failed attempts to shake his nerves as he wants to save the people and stop the monsters rampage once and for all. Reptilicus is one mad giant monster who wants to take out all his rage and hatred on humankind and seems to not be phased when attacked by some of mankind’s most used weapons of murder. He also is so powerful that he does not stop when attacked and in fact it only seems to make him rampage more! The comic is bloodless and the body count is very low and all shown off pane, but it fits for this style of Horror Comic. The scares come more in the vein of nature running amuck and the idea of a massive beast crushing your city than blood, guts and gore. The cover for this issue is pretty great and is very eye catching for fans of 60’s monster movies, and the interior art is done by the team of Bill Moino and Vince Alascia and is fantastic classic style. If you like the film Reptilicus and enjoy Kaiju in your Horror Comics, this is one you should read, while not a perfect adaptation it is an enjoyable one. Check out the artwork below to see the style of this issue.

Reptilicus’s rampage might have came to an end, but not to worry friends and readers, Kaiju Month continues next update as we leave Denmark and travel to England and see what destruction Gorgo and his Mother will do! It’s weird that some Kaiju have never gotten a comic book adaptation or series as ones like Kraa!, Q The Winged Serpent and Deadly Mantis all would have made for great comics, and only time will tell if they ever will get their time to shine in the pages of a comic. So until next time, watch out for giant monsters, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update as we witness the destructive power of Gorgo!

 

Avengers Assemble…We’re Needed

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

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

Avengers03

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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