Star Trek V: What Does God Need With A Starship?

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and one of the updates that I selected to be part of this 10 year celebration of course has to be another of the Star Trek films as they have always been some of my favorite sci-fi flicks ever made. Rotten Ink and Star Trek go hand in hand as the show and movies are truly parts of my past, and I am sure as Star Trek continues on it will as well be apart of my future. As you long time readers know, I have been reviewing all the comic adaptations of Star Trek films that feature the original cast (you know the ones with Captain Kirk and Spock) and this year we have landed on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, a film in the series that was met with mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, but one I am very much looking forward to covering as I have always enjoyed it! So with that, let’s take a look at Star Trek V as well as the DC Comics adaptation as its time to Boldly Go Where Many Comic Readers Have Gone Before and that’s on comic adventures with the crew of the Enterprise.

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Let’s start off by talking about the film itself. I will be taking the film’s plot write up from our pals at IMDB and after I will be writing about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you are ready, let’s take trip with the Enterprise Crew to a final frontier in space.

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Star Trek V: Final Frontier (1989)

“When the newly-christened starship Enterprise’s shakedown cruise goes poorly, Captain Kirk and crew put her into Spacedock for repairs. But an urgent mission interrupts their Earth-bound shore leave. A renegade Vulcan named Sybok has taken three ambassadors hostage on Nimbus III, the Planet of Galactic Peace. This event also attracts the attention of a Klingon captain who wants to make a name for himself and sets out to pursue the Enterprise. Sybok’s ragtag army captures the Enterprise and takes her on a journey to the center of the galaxy in search of the Supreme Being.”

William Shatner was finally given the opportunity to direct one of the films in the Star Trek series with this fifth film that he also helped with the story on, a story that he had been working on even before he was offered the director’s chair. Shatner’s original idea was about a false God that turns into Satan that tries to take the crew of the Enterprise to Hell…what a strange and interesting idea that also seems like it would have been an issue of the Marvel Comics series. Producer Harve Bennett was ready to walk away from the Star Trek film series after three films produced and the feuding he had with Leonard Nimoy, but after a meeting Shatner got him back on board. Then some elements of Shatner’s story needed to be changed due to the concern that the subject matter of God and Satan might not sit well with moviegoers. They changed the depiction of God into an alien being that was faking being God in order gain power and then brought on David Loughery to write the screenplay. This idea and script did not sit well with Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, and the screenplay was put on hold when Loughery was part of the Writers Guild Of America strike, holding up the film’s production. When he finally got back to work and finished it, Shatner was displeased with many of the writer’s changes to his idea and things once more had to be worked out when Nimoy and Kelley had concerns with the script. Once the script was green lit by Paramount, they started the design, production and casting processes and started to film in October 1988. The filming of the fifth film in the series was very stressful as delays, strikes and looming deadlines made it stressful for all involved, but with luck and a hard working crew, William Shatner was able to get the film wrapped and Paramount as well as fans were very pleased to hear that the film was wrapped and would be released in theaters very soon. When the film was edited, composer Jerry Goldsmith was brought in and he made an amazing score that for many is one of the highlights of the film series with tracks like “The Mountain” being a must listen in this blogger’s opinion. The film was released in theaters on June 9, 1989 and was meet with poor reviews from critics who thought it was the weakest in the series, but movie goers seemed to favor it more as with them it was meet with mixed reviews. The film brought in $52,210,049.00 for Paramount at the American box office and ranked # 25 for the year beating out such films as Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures, The Karate Kid Part III, License To Kill, All Dogs Go To Heaven, A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 5, No Holds Barred and Friday The 13th Part 8 to name a few. While Star Trek V might not be the biggest blockbuster in the series, I for one always enjoyed it and think it’s way underrated and offers some fun and adventures moments.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is a film that I first saw on VHS when my parents rented it from the video store and we had a family movie night watching it. I remember that we had microwave popcorn, and me and my brother were drinking Kool-Aid. I remember enjoying and loving the film as the bonding between Captain Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy around the campfire singing songs, drinking whiskey and eating beans was awesome and something that captured the three characters’ friendship so perfect. I liked the idea of them searching for God all because of a crazed Vulcan who is a cult leader by all accounts taking them hostage and brainwashing them to do so. Over the years I have seen the film many times and each time I have enjoyed it, and no joke this film has a line that I say all the time around the house to Juliet and I will get to that a little later. I also remember that my Uncle Thurman loved Star Trek V and can remember talking to him about the film while at my grandparents’ house. While Star Trek V is not my favorite film in the series, it’s not one I dislike and find it to be very charming, It’s one you should watch for the first time or watch again with a clear mind and enjoy it for the fun ride it is. I guess before we get off this part of the review I should also point out some things I didn’t like about the film with the biggest for me being the fact that the film’s semi villain is able to use his powers to scramble the minds of McCoy and the Enterprise Crew with only Kirk and Spock being strong enough to fight it off, and damn it, McCoy should have been able to as well as Sulu! To sum it up, Star Trek V is a great sequel and a fun film that I have enjoyed since I was a kid.

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier has one of the greatest lines in Trek history and one that, as I said, I use around the house and even at times while hanging out with friends. Now to set up this line I need to explain the scene as it has Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones McCoy and Vulcan cultist Sybok breaking through the barrier and beaming down to Sha Ka Ree, the planet that is supposed to house God, well to Sybok and his followers at least. Once there they meet The Creator who demands they bring the Enterprise closer so that he can leave the planet and spread his word among the galaxies. And upon hearing that The Creator wants them to bring down the Enterprise…Kirk asks the best question ever asked in a Star Trek film “What does God need with a starship?”! Hands down, this is an amazing line! Say that phrase out loud but do it in your best William Shatner impersonation and stress the word God…Shatner should have won an Oscar for that performance as it really is something I say so much in my life as I find it to be fitting for many of life’s questions.

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Like all Star Trek films that came before it as well as after, The Final Frontier had its fare share of merchandise for fans to collect and add to their Trek collections. The film had magazines, novels, home media releases, soundtrack, toys, posters, shirts, hats, buttons, comic book, jackets, computer games, trading cards and so much more! Over the years I have owned many items based on Star Trek V like the film on VHS and DVD, the soundtrack on CD, the novel and comic as well as at one time the trading cards. So if you are a Trekkie and love Part 5, the world has many of cool items for you to own.

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Did you old school gamers know that a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) based on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was being made by Bandai that was to release around the same time as the film? Did you know that it was cancelled due to the game not playing well and losing track of much of the film’s concept? Did you know that in 2006 a ROM of the game was released that featured four of the stages? Did you know that the game has also made it way to the grey market and is now on a cart that you can play on your NES? Well now you do, and I am happy to say that I have a cart version of this game and man is it a hard one with unforgiving controls and gameplay. The game is a side scrolling adventure game as well as a space shooter and it’s a shame that the game was never finished as who knows what the level that had you fight The Creator would have been, I am guessing the Enterprise firing at a floating head that spit fireballs. The game is a really fun play for fans of classic NES games, as well as Star Trek fans and if you have a ROM on your computer or have a trusty favorite cart maker, make sure to give this unfinished game a try.

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is a super fun film that spawned some great merchandise as well as a fun half finished game for the NES, and we are now at the time of reading and reviewing the comic. I would like to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having the comic in stock and would also like to remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s boldly go where no comic reader has gone before!

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Star Trek V: Final Frontier  ***
Released in 1989     Cover Price $2.00      DC Comics     #1 of 1

On the planet of Nimbus III the Vulcan Sybok is on a quest to get a starship in order to find the planet Sha Ka Ree and is gathering the lost souls of the planet to help him do so by coming up with a plan that will make sure one will come. Meanwhile at Yosemite National Park on shore leave Captain Kirk, Spock and McCoy are having a camping trip and Kirk has decided to climb a mountain. While climbing Spock with rocket boots comes to speak to Kirk and this causes him to lose his grip and fall, and if not for Spock and his boots, he would have crashed to the earth below. Back on Nimbus III the ambassadors (a Klingon, Terran and Romulan) of the planet are taken prisoner by Sybok and his makeshift army, and Starfleet calls the Enterprise to be the peacemakers to help them. Also hearing of the hostage situation is Klingon Captain Klaa and he and his crew are more hyped for the idea of fighting a starship than helping. Once at Nimbus III, they try and trick Sybok when Chekov acts as the Captain and speaks to him about terms of releasing them while Kirk leads Spock, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura and a few other crewmembers on a rescue mission on the ground. But Kirk and crew soon find that this was a set up to get their starship and Sybok has even gotten to the ambassadors who believe in his journey to find Sha Ka Ree. Now the Enterprise is in the hands of a religious madman who is Spock’s brother and also Captain Klaa is on the attack! Kirk, Spock and McCoy are thrown in a cell as Sybok uses his mind powers to get the rest of the Enterprise crew under his spell…all but Scotty who breaks them out of the cell. Kirk makes it to his room and sends a call for help! Sybok catches them and tells them of his want to find Sha Ka Ree and then uses his mind control powers on McCoy and Spock by showing them past pains and freeing them from it. Kirk refuses to get his pain taken away, and then they hit the zone that will lead them to the unknown planet of Sha Ka Ree. As Sybok rushes back to the bridge, Spock and McCoy break the hold and stay with Kirk who has been ordered to stay in his room, that is until Kirk is called back up the bridge as Sybok says the ship needs its captain. Then Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Sybok get into a shuttle and land on the planet to meet “God”, and when they land, they meet a powerful being that alerts them that he needs the starship to carry his wisdom away from the planet and the zone. When questioned why God needs the help of a ship, the being attacks Kirk and Spock! And the being shows its true self at being an evil being and Sybok attacks the being just as the Enterprise gets orders to blast it with phasers! As Kirk, Spock and McCoy run to the shuttle, the being now as a rock creature goes on the attack and Scotty is able to beam up McCoy and Spock, but before he can get Kirk, the Enterprise is attacked by Captain Klaa making Kirk stand alone against the rock creature. That is until Kirk is beamed aboard the Klingon ship thanks to the Klingon Ambassador who orders Klaa to save Kirk from that false god and that terrible planet. Once out of the zone and back on shore leave Kirk, Spock and McCoy finish their camping trip.

This DC Comic adaptation of Star Trek V is a great read and captures the adventure and humor of the film really well and even showcases the power of the Fake God even more by allowing him to become a massive rock creature who wants to smash Kirk into the ground! The plot is simple: Spock’s brother hijacks the Enterprise to find a planet that is said to hold the secrets of God only to find an evil being and throw in a young Klingon Captain who wants to make a name for himself by killing Kirk and you have this plot in a nutshell. Captain Kirk goes from a relaxing camping trip to a rescue mission to being a prisoner on his own ship to fighting a fake God to going back on vacation, so as you can see, he had a very busy couple of days! The thing about Captain Kirk is that he is fearless as well as loyal to his ship and crew and lives for his Starfleet command. Kirk really is my favorite Captain in any Star Trek series as he is a rebel, a ladies man, and a great strategist when it comes to battles with the likes of Klingons. Spock in this issue is trying to learn human camping stories and snacks and shows that while he cares about his brother, he is very much loyal to his friends. McCoy as well cares about his friends and we see that he holds lots of pain when he could not help his father with an illness that took his life and a cure was just around the corner. I have to say this again, nothing in the world of science fiction can beat the friendship and bond of Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy and Spock as they are the perfect trio of friends in any kind of fiction. The False God is pure evil and has been placed in the zone with a force field around it to keep it from infecting the rest of the galaxy with its evil ways, it’s violent and can take the appearance of anyone or thing and is best left on that planet. The Klingon Captain Klaa and his crew are young and crave war and want so badly to make a name for themselves in the history books and think that by killing Captain Kirk they can do so, and they come close until a high ranking Klingon forces them to help Kirk! Poor Sybok, who is the brother of Spock, is not a bad Vulcan at all and thinks that emotions are more important than logic and can even take peoples pain away and mind control them into happiness. All he really wants to do is find Sha Ka Ree, a planet he thinks God lives so all living things can find the answer to life and happiness, but instead he finds a fake and gives his life to try and help Spock, McCoy and Kirk to escape the cursed planet. The best part of Sybok is that he has a strange version of the Vulcan Mind Meld that allows him to fill a being with pure joy and take away their pain. I should also say that Sybok is Spock’s half brother as they share the same father. The comic does a great job of keeping the plot going and taking elements of the film that was cut from the film script like the Rock Creature. The cover for this comic is well done and super eye catching for fans of Star Trek and the interior art by James W. Fry and Arne Starr and is well done and captures the looks of the actors pretty well. If you are a fan of Star Trek V like I am I would say make sure to give this comic a read as I think you will enjoy it as much as I did. Check out the artwork below to see they style used in this comic adaptation.

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Star Trek had to have a place on Rotten Ink’s 10 Year Anniversary year as they really are some of my favorite sci-fi films and growing up Star Trek was a big part of my childhood in both TV shows, movies and toys. And while Star Trek V is not one of the most well loved films staring the original cast by Trekkies, it is one that I have always been a fan of. And after reading this update I hope you give this film a watch and sit back and enjoy the silly ride from the mind of William Shatner. For my next update, I am staying in the world of sci-fi but the next topic has a touch of Greek myth and fantasy to it and I am talking about the 1981 classic film Clash Of The Titans! So until next time, read a Star Trek comic or three, watch a Star Trek film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Join me next time as Rotten Ink unleashes the Kraken!

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The Marvel Adventures Of Doc Savage!

Welcome to Rotten Ink and the first post in our countdown to the Christmas Eve countdown.  It’s crazy to think that we are so close to Christmas 2021, and I for one am looking forward to being around my family to enjoying a good meal with them as well as sharing fun conversations about life and entertainment. And as you friends and readers know, I like to try and cover things in December that brings back memories of not only my youth, but also yours and that’s why I chose to cover classic pulp icon Doc Savage as our first update! Growing up, I can remember Doc Savage not only in the pages of comic books, but also novels that I would pick up at used book stores and garage sales. He was a classic style hero that I liked when I was a kid and unlike Lone Ranger, Flash Gordon and Tarzan for some reason I lost interest in him over the years, and that forgetfulness ends  during this update as I will dive back into my love for Doc Savage and his epic adventures! So sit back, grab a mug of hot coco and let’s chat about the Man Of Bronze.

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Clark Savage Jr. aka Doc Savage was the son of an adventurer and and scientist who was trained from birth to become the perfect man with the physic of a bodybuilder and the intelligence of a genius! He was trained in many skills to fit his training of being a perfect man as he learned engineering, chemistry, archeology, electricity and even to be a surgeon. He was trained in fighting, being stealth, disguises, driving and other skills needed to be a master spy and man of action. He can fly planes, drive any kind of land vehicles as well as sail any boat. He can play music, throw his voice, remember anything, has a keen sense of smell and can take high levels of pain. Think about your favorite athletes from every sport and times that by 10 and that is how good Doc Savage really is! He started his life as a crime stopper and true hero after his father was murdered and along with a skilled group he calls The Fabulous Five, they save the day and solve mysteries. For his hero life he also has tons of fleet of vehicles of all types at his finger tips, has a base set in a New York skyscraper and has a company called “The Hidalgo Trading Company” and has a hideaway in the Arctic he calls “The Fortress Of Solitude”! He was given the nickname The Man Of Bronze and in his early days of being a crime fighter, those he would captured would be forced to have a brain operation in order to remove the parts on their minds that caused them to be criminals. Doc Savage is considered a true golden age superhero, and while he is not as popular now, he still has made a massive impact in the world of pulp heroes and beyond.

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The first Doc Savage novel was released on 1933 and was called “The Man Of Bronze” and was written by Lester Dent who was one of the creators of the character alongside John L. Nanovic and Henry W. Ralston. And the last novel in the series was released in 2018 as of this writing and was called “The Valley Of Eternity” and get this a total of 203 novels were written about Doc Savages adventures! Doc Savage while he made his way to comic and even cinema was more well known for his novel adventures and this is were he built his loyal fan base and fans that kept coming back for more and more adventures. Growing up I can remember seeing many Doc Savage paperback books at garage sales as well as the antique stores in town, and I know that when I was a kid I bought a few of the books…but I don’t ever remember if I read them or just had them. And I know that I got them because I knew of the popularity of the character and had to have the books just in case I wanted to read them and be hip to what was popular why before my time. And to be honest growing up I always loved many of the classic heroes of movies, TV, novel, radio and comics as Dick Tracy, Lone Ranger, Tarzan, Zorro, The Shadow, Captain Kirk, The Phantom, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Flash Gordon where all classic characters I loved and could not get enough of…while Doc Savage was in that category of classic heroes he was always sadly on the bottom of the list. Also growing up I can remember that some relative of mine had a large collection of the Doc Savage books, I want to say on my Mom’s side like maybe my Uncle Thurman or even my Grandma or Grandpa. If I have read a Doc Savage novel in my youth I don’t remember, but I know as I get older and have a little more free time I have plans of picking one up and given it a read. Oh and I should note many of the classic Doc Savage novels have fantastic cover artwork!

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Did you know that in 1975 a movie was released based on Doc Savage and was released by Warner Brothers? Did you know that actor Ron Ely played Doc Savage in the film? Did you know that originally back in the 60’s Chuck Connors was casted to play Doc Savage in a film that never was? Well now you do! Lester Dent, who was one of the creators of Doc Savage, owned the radio, film and television rights to the character and wanted to get the character on the big screen so bad, and tried to get Hollywood’s attention for decades…but they just would not bite and Dent went to his grave without being able to get a Doc Savage film off the ground. After his death in 1959, the rights went to his widow Norma Dent who as well tried her hardest to get the film to be made, and she got a bite in, well sort of you see a 1966 film was in the works with Chuck Connors on board to play Savage and producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman were super hyped to develop the film, so hyped that they forgot to secure the rights from Norma and by the time all was worked out, the filmmakers had moved on and made the western film “Ride Beyond Vengeance”. One funny thing about this never made film is that Gold Key Comics in 1966 released what would have been the comic book adaptation! I should also note that Lester did get a very short-lived Doc Savage Radio show off the ground, but sadly it did not have an impact and was canceled.

Years would pass and producer George Pal secured the rights from Norma with the idea of making a massive film series that would rival James Bond in classic spy type action. George wanted Steve Reeves who was known for playing Hercules to play Doc Savage, and while he said yes to the part, a writers strike put the film on hold and with that Reeves left the production. When the dust settled it was George Pal and Joe Morhaim who ended up writing the film and casting started with Ron Ely playing Doc Savage, Paul Wexler as Captain Seas, Pamela Hensley as Mona Flores and even Hills Have Eyes actor Michael Berryman played a small part. Michael Anderson was then selected to direct with Warner Brothers agreeing to disrepute and the film rushed into filming. The film when done went up against Jaws and was buried and bombed and worse critics and fans alike seemed to not like the films forced humor and bland story. But the film did have one major fan and that was Norma Dent who praised Ron Ely’s performance as Savage!

The film was a bomb, and this ended the idea of a film series as the sequel that was to be called “Doc Savage: The Arch Enemy Of Evil” was set with even some press shots even being taken, but that was as far as the film got. The film would end up getting released on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray later on. And this one 1975 film was the only film version of Doc Savage ever released. It’s a shame that this film had to be released alongside Jaws as that locked the film for failure and this also killed the push for this to become a major film series! It also makes me wonder if Chuck Connors or Steve Reeves would have played Doc Savage in the film would it have done better? Or would it have been doomed to the same fate? I saw the film only once and it was on a bad VHS bootleg some many years back. I do own the Warner Archive DVD and should dust it off and give it a watch sometime soon.

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Doc Savage was a mega hit in the world of pulp novels, but failed when it came to radio and film, but he was a semi big hit in the world of comic books as some of the biggest publishers have released issues of Savages adventures! I mean look at these publishers that released comics based on Savage: Marvel, DC, Gold Key, Dynamite, Dark Horse and Millennium all gave fans something to read. Growing up I had the Marvel Comic issues as well as the DC and Millennium ones. It’s crazy that Doc Savage comics are not going still and I would love to see the character return to Marvel Comics as imagine Doc having his own series as well as mixed in with other Marvel series like The Avengers and even Predator!

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Doc Savage really is one of those classic characters that to me belongs in the same standing with Tarzan, Zorro, Dick Tracy and James Bond to name a few and I for one am glad that he is finally getting the Rotten Ink treatment. I want to think Ebay and Etsy sellers for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. I want to remind you that I as well grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready, let’s travel to the Marvel Universe and see what Doc Savage is up to, and I also need to say that I am looking forward to reading many of these issues again, and some for the very first time so also let’s see if they hold up!

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Doc Savage # 1  **1/2
Released in 1972     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 1 of 8

A man dressed in green and yellow climbs a skyscraper that is being built with a sniper rifle in hand, he finds his target window that is the office of one Doc Savage…who happens not to be in at the moment but his five friends are who are all on edge. As Doc Savage arrives at the office he gets some very bad news that while he was away his father has passed away from an unknown sickness. This triggers Doc Savage to go to his fathers hidden safe and finds very important papers and a land grant…but before he can read them all the way through the assassin takes his shot and Doc and his friends hit not only the ground but the lights and start their work of figuring out who has shot at them and from where. The group acts fast and figures out the place the shot came from and as Doc and most of his friends rush off to get the would be killer the groups lawyer Ham Brooks rushes off to get legal papers ready so they can fly out in the morning to the land from the grant. As Doc Savage and his remaining four friends arrive the rush up the to be built skyscraper as their killer is annoyed that Doc Savage still lives and he thought his shot killed him. When the service elevator jams Doc Savage climbs out and makes his way to the gunman all the while dodging laser blasts from his gun, and when Doc Savage reaches him the fight ends fast and Doc alerts his friends that the man is speaking ancient Mayan. The only thing they get from the assassin is that he is a follower of The Son Of The Feathered Serpent and jumps to his death as he would rather die than to speak. Doc Savage and his friend return to the office to find a warning written on the wall from another of the cult members of The Son Of The Feathered Serpent and they swear as a group to get revenge for Doc Savage’s father who they all think now was killed.

The first issue in Marvel Comics Doc Savage is a very fun classic hero read for an aging comic reader like myself who enjoys a slow burn adventures…but I am sure most modern younger comic readers would not enjoy this comic as it really is very “old” in feeling. This issue’s plot has Doc Savage returning home to his office only to find out that hid dad has passed away, he now has a grant for lots of land out of the country and also has someone trying to take his life all this in a matter of minutes! Doc Savage is a hero who shows zero emotion to everything that is going on around him, and uses his skills and training well in order to achieve his goals. We also see that he not only is super strong but is also very skilled in using his brain to win. His friends are called The Fabulous Five and are Ham, Johnny, Monk, Renny and Long Tom all who have skills that help Doc Savage and each other on their world adventures. It’s clear that right now our bad guys are all from The Son Of The Feathered Serpent cult who might even been the ones who infected Savage’s father with the illness and seem to really want the land grant that was left for Doc Savage in his fathers safe. They are dangerous for sure as they do not seem to care about taking another persons life and also seem pretty set on ending their own if it comes down to it. While the plot moves pretty fast and feels like the old novels as well as even a hint of James Bond films the downside is that the comic is very wordy and much of the time the things characters are saying really don’t mean much to the over all story, and while some will find that to be a reason not to read this comic…I found it charming in a old school kind of way. The cover for this first issue is pretty cool and I think captures the elements of Doc Savage while also adding a Marvel Comics touch. The interior art is well done and is done by Ross Andru who is an artist that I feel does not get the recognition he should in these modern times. While not a perfect start for a comic series I do think it’s a good one and I am looking forward to reading the second issue.

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Doc Savage # 2  **1/2
Released in 1972     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 2 of 8

Doc Savage and his five friends are flying above an airfield in South America and are being fired at by enemies of the government that causes them to crash land…and to the government of Hidalgo they are happy to find Doc Savage and crew to be ok and they also give them another plane to use as our heroes fly deep into the jungle to find the location that was left on the land grant. The area they land in is called “The Valley Of The Vanished” and once out of the plane they are attacked by The Son Of The Feathered Serpent cult and as the fight starts to truly break out they are all commanded to stop by King Chaac and Princess Monja who welcome Doc Savage as they knew and respected his father, but this welcoming is not liked by all when the tribe warrior chief Morning Breeze alerts the King that he and his warriors do not like outsiders in their land! The King informs Doc that he was sent to his kingdom in order to be judged as their land has so much gold that they would like to share with him as well as the Hidalgo people…but only if he is deemed worthy in the next 30 days. That night Morning Breeze and his warriors sneak into the sleeping area of The Fabulous Five and kidnap and drop three of them into a deep well, but unknown to the warriors Doc Savage had over heard the plan and hide in the well and saves his friends before they fall to their deaths fully, and he uses parlor magic the next morning to expose Morning Breeze as a would be killer as well Doc makes himself look even more powerful. Looking like a fool Morning Breeze sulks away and meets with a man who is calling himself The Son Of The Feathered Serpent who informs his defeated warrior that he is now going to unleash The Red Death the same illness that took the life of Doc Savage’s dad. The Son Of The Feathered Serpent places the red death into the water supply of the kingdom and so many are fallen ill, and Morning Breeze and Son Of The Feathered Serpent are spreading rumors that its Doc Savage and his men that have brought this deadly illness, while in reality Doc has studied some of the people fallen ill and has made a cure that he is rushing around given to the ill as the warriors following the word of Son Of The Feathered Serpent try and gun him down! In the end Doc Savage saves the lived of all that are infected, is able to kill Son Of The Feathered Serpent by knocking him off a temple, watch as Morning Breeze is gunned down, proves he is worthy of the gold, breaks the heart of the Princess who has fallen in love with him and loads up gold and flies away with his friends.

This second issue cracks the case of what and who killed Doc Savage’s father as well as who is the man who put a hit on Doc was and it was a crazed man who ran a cult that called himself The Son Of The Feathered Serpent who was really a member of the government of Hidalgo who would fly back and fourth from the civil world and the lost Mayan one. Doc Savage is one tough hero who can duke it out with the best of them and can also use his quickness to dodge gun and laser fire…plus he has a rule that he will not kill…well that is unless he can kill you with an accident! One thing that I think Doc does in this issue that is awesome is he uses smoke bombs and his friends with ropes to appear as if he can bring back the dead. I also like that he is willing to risk is own life in order to save the lives of those in need. The Fabulous Five are around and help during the case with even Monk able to fight with some Mayan warriors, but to be honest for the most part in these first two issues you could have cut them and they would not have effected the story all that much. Now I know that sounds like I don’t like The Fabulous Five as I am saying they at this point don’t add much to the comic story, but I do like them and hope they get more to do in the upcoming issues. Morning Breeze is a sneaky warrior who is pure evil that he goes along with a plot the spread a deadly disease into his tribes water supply…what a goon and then tries to run away from battle only to be shot in the back by the one he served. The Son Of The Feathered Serpent is a man with no morals who is ruled by greed and power and who has no issues with killing lots of people to get what he wants, and because of his greed and evil ways he finds himself going splat after falling off a temple. I also like that the cold blooded main killer and villain of this two issue story arch is of course also a member of the nations Government…classic spy stuff. While the pacing is once more semi fast it does also feel like a slow burn like the first issue making it drag a little in spots. The cover is great as is the interior art done Ross Andru again, and with that let’s see what issue three has in store for us.

Doc Savage Marvel 3

Doc Savage # 3  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 3 of 8

Ham and Long Tom and hanging out at Monks house when the office of a cruise ship company is blown up! The three friends rush up to see if they can help and watch as one of the workers is shot in the back with an arrow fired by one of the members of the Silver Death’s Head group…the three friends give chase but are out stepped and worse then they go to call Doc Savage a whole attack armored vehicle filled with members bust in and take them all hostage and then flee the scene. Doc Savage rushes to his friends place only to find them missing and the cops on the scene not having any real answers. Doc Savage decides to go to the docks and snoop around the dead man’s business and finds his secretary Lorna Zane knocked out and another worker Harry Pace hiding the shadows. After a few moments of speaking to them members of the Silver Death’s Head as well as their leader Ull come busting in and want to finish the job of killing Lorna, but Doc Savage just in time hides both workers and takes a beating at the hands of the Silver Death’s Head just so he can fake being knocked out and hear them mention the name of Bedford Burgess Gardner who runs another of the cruise ship companies as well as they are looking for blueprints to something. After the baddies leave, Doc Savage along with Harry and Lorna leave as Doc leaves Lorna at his cousin Pat Savage’s beauty saloon for her safety as he takes Harry with him to find the home of Gardner. Once there they find the butler dead and Gardner is not happen to see them and as Doc Savage searches the house for the killer he is attacked by members of the Silver Death’s Head and in less then a minute he takes them all out and even manages to find a man named Hugh McCoy tied up in the closet who claims Gardner shot his own butler! By the time Doc Savage makes it back to Gardner’s room he finds Harry knocked out and the member of the Silver Death’s Head group swallows a poison capsule. And after all this drama Doc Savage is now really mad and wants his friends back!

This third issue is has a strange story plot that follows two owners of cruise ship companies that has one dying in a terrorist attack and another being accused of killing his own butler we then even have three of The Fabulous Five kidnapped by a group that calls themselves the Silver Death’s Head. Doc Savage in this one starts off just minding his own business at his office when three of his friends drag him into a murder investigation as well as a kidnapping plot as three of his friends end up missing. Doc Savage uses all his skills in this issue as he not only uses his fists he also uses his detective and chemistry skills as well in order to follow the clues to solve the crime as well as save his friends. Poor Monk, Ham and Long Tom are in the wrong place when an explosion goes off a few floors above Monks house and this leads them on the bad side of the issues bad guys. The Silver Death’s Head group wear costumes made of silver dollars and while they are lead by Ull it’s clear that some one else is calling the shots and while this issue wants you too think that its Gardner one of the cruise ship company owners I think that that the shots are being called by Harry Pace a man I just don’t trust at all! I do like also that this issue introduces us to Pat Savage an owner of a beauty shop who is also an adventurer who is the cousin of Doc. The look of the Silver Death’s Head group is really cool and reminds me of bad guys you would see in an issue of Amazing Spider-Man or Captain America at the time of this comics release. This issue has a really fun detective feel to it as I felt as a reader I was along for the ride to solve the case with Doc Savage and I also feel that the stakes are high in this issue as three of his friends lives hang in the balance. Great interior artwork from Ross Andru and a eye catching cover for this issue and I feel like this is the best issue this far in the Doc Savage Marvel Comic series…let’s see if issue four keeps up the good work of making Doc Savage apart of the Marvel Universe.

Doc Savage Marvel 4

Doc Savage # 4  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 4 of 8

Doc Savage along with Harry Pace and Hugh McCoy find an old waterfront warehouse that is being used as a base for members of the Silver Death’s Head and after taking out many of the members and chasing off many others, Doc Savage finds his friends Monk, Long Tom and Ham tied up in a roof and sets them free. And after searching around they find a map that they will follow, and Doc Savage sends Ham to find all he can on Gardner as he has a hunch. Doc Savage and the rest head to the docks and all get aboard his own designed submarine as Doc informs them that he thinks that the Silver Death’s Head have their own and that’s how they get around to commit their crimes as well as avoid the police. And as always Doc was right as their sub is attacked by the Silver Death’s Head groups and when some of their members in scuba gear try and break into Doc’s sub he and his friends are forced to get into gear and fight them under water! Once Doc makes quick work of them he then follows a boat that Ull and the real head of the group are escaping on…he of course grabs a rope that is on the boat and follows them to a secret hideout. Doc busts in and knocks out Ull fast and then takes down the leader who ends up being Hugh McCoy who was also Gardner…you see Hugh created Gardner in order to have a fake face in order to mastermind these crimes.

Ok, Ok I was wrong as I was thinking Harry Pace was the main brains behind the Silver Death’s Head group and it was that slime Hugh McCoy the whole time, but hey Doc Savage didn’t figure it all out until the un-masking either! This issue’s plot has Doc save his friends and then find a map, go underwater to fight goons in scuba gear only to follow the two leaders of the crime group to a hidden hideout to kick them around and solve this case that involved murder and kidnapping! Doc Savage is a man of few words, but a man of action and you can always tell when his mind is working on solving a problem and coming up with a plan to end the issue. Doc Savage also we find out hates when people brag about the things he does as he does them not for the glory but because they are the right thing to do. Glad to see Ham, Long Tom and Monk alright even if as always they really don’t add much to the story and are just around for a reason to fully get Doc involved when they are kidnapped. Well I guess Ham does his job as he does dig up info on “Gardner” and his business that rose to power super fast in the world of shipping and cruise vacations. Hugh McCoy is a mastermind as he uses a fake persona to open a business, murder his computation, work alongside a murderous group and try to match his wits with Doc Savage all in the quest for power and money. Hugh also does a great job of acting friendly with the good guys, all the while playing them for fools. Ull and the Silver Death’s Head group are killers for hire who have the money and power to make people dead, but also wear heavy outfits that make them noisy as well as smell like silver…so stealth they are not. This case aka story arc of Doc Savage is very interesting and had me guessing all along on who the main man calling the shots was, and while I was wrong it made the ending a little more fun! The cover is great and pretty eye catching for the time of release and like before the interior art of Ross Andru is top notch. Another solid issue of Marvel’s Doc Savage, and I cannot wait to see what the next issue has in store for me.

Doc Savage Marvel 5

Doc Savage # 5  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 5 of 8

A hunter is attacked and killed in his cabin and is discovered by his friend, the man’s dying words is for him to track down Doc Savage and hire him to crack this case and avenge him! The other hunter who’s name is Carl MacBride makes his way to New York and while traveling meets Jean Morris a country girl who fills him in on how Doc Savage works and takes cases. But once Carl arrives at Doc Savages office and once there before he can say a word a mobster with a tommy gun comes up the other elevator and blasts the man with gun fore before running away. Doc Savage along with Monk and Ham give chase and find that the shooter runs to a mansion that was is highly protected and find that Jean is also inside as she has a job interview and been hired by a man named Griswold Rock who owns a small railroad in Michigan and before they all know it the floor beneath them gives way and a giant monster appears causing them all to fall to the floor below and as they Doc Savage and his men get to their feet the watch as a red truck speeds off with the monster in the back and the gunman behind the wheel…and oddly enough Jean is also missing. Before the leave they find Griswold Rock locked behind a door who tells them he has been held prisoner by one of his former employees named Pere Teston who forced the man to sell his stock and bonds. Doc Savage along with Ham and Monk call in Long Tom, Renny and Johnny as he is going to need all their help in order to track down this red truck and crack this case. Renny in his plane is the first to spot the red truck, but he is shot down by the tommy gun mad man and taken from the wreckage and kidnapped. Renny watches as the gun man is joined by other hoods and they set a bomb that will blow up the truck, the monster in the back and him! He also sees that they have Jean with them…and as they all leave before the big explosion Doc Savage just in time arrives and saves Renny…but the poor monster is killed. Doc Savage has a hunch now with all the clues he has gathered and wants to solve this case of murder and crime.

This is a very interesting issue as of course it’s an action detective story, but it has a dash of horror added into the mix with monsters and a creepy cabin in the woods. This case has Doc Savage watching a man who was coming to him for help to solve the murder of his friend get gunned down only to follow the killer to a mansion that houses a giant monster and even more questions and no answers…yet. This issue Doc Savage is the hero like always but also seems a little confused by what the giant monster is and why a man was murdered in his office before he could speak. And Renny of The Fabulous Five owes his life to Doc as he was about to be blown sky high, before being rushed out of the way of a car bomb, but to also be fair Renny did a great job of tracking down the truck that the gang was looking for. Who is Jean Morris , Griswold Rock and Pere Teston and can any of them be trusted…only the next issue I am sure will give us that answer. The Monster was massive and looked like something straight out of a 40’s Atomic Age Horror Movie…but for some reason I have a feeling it was not real, as it’s a robot or a prop. The pacing for this issue is a little faster than the others as the killing and then the case really kick in fast and this one also seems a little more confusing as in the case is not as easy to piece together. The cover is pretty cool and looks more like a Marvel Horror cover or even a Doctor Strange one and the interior art once more is done by the underrated and under talked about Ross Andru, another solid issue in the series, and I cannot wait to read the next issue!

Doc Savage Marvel 6

Doc Savage # 6  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 6 of 8

Doc Savage and his two friends Ham and Monk are flying above a lake in Michigan the area that the hunter was killed that started this whole case, but to their horror they are attacked by two massive giants that come out of the lake and if not for Doc Savage’s grenade that scared them off they could have surly all meet their deaths. Doc Savage on the time they bought away from the giants searches the cabins around and finds no clues, and when walking through the woods the tommy gun gunner tries to take them out, but slips and falls into a bog and drowns. Doc Savage uses rope to get the id and body of the man out of the bog and finds a note that says Death Mill! Doc Savage sends Ham and Monk to town and looks into the mill and finds Griswold Rock inside who claims he got a telegram from Savage to meet him there. With all of them back in town they get word that Renny in a helicopter has been shot down and as Doc Savage and Monk rush to his aid…its clear this is a trap as giants and gunmen are all around and Renny is not even there yet! As a gunfight breaks out and the Giants run off into the woods on a mission, the fight is a standstill and the gunmen flee and Monk follows them as Doc Savage hitches a ride with the now arriving Renny back to town as Doc has a bad feeling. Once back in town they find that the giants had attacked the hotel and took away Griswold Rock and left Ham injured! But now Doc Savage has it as he knows that the giants are old prisoners who have been given a chemical to grow that size, he thinks that Pere Teston is apart of these monster attacks in order to get money from towns that he has threatened with attacks and that the murdered hunter stumbled onto their plan and was killed for it. Doc and his crew go and try and solve this case and even along the way save Jean Morris who as well had been captured back at the mansion…but they are all captured by the giants that take them to the criminals base and Doc and his crew are thrown into a hole and left to die. That night Doc Savage has a plan and after making a human ladder he climbs to freedom and gathers papers that prove his chemical made giants theory as well as bugs the office of the main man in charge before sneaking back into the hole. Doc Savage then uses his brain and has the guards turn on each other by informing them that the chemical used will make the prisoners forever giants and that they are being used…this causes the hired guards to be attacked by the prisoner guards! Doc Savage then once more exits the hole during the battle and tosses down a rope for the rest to escape and run down to the water as he wants to bust the boss all his own. But things turn south real fast when a giant busts open a tank filled with very poisonous gas that kills everyone who breaths it in, as Doc Savage and his crew flee they find Pere Teston tied up and rescue him as it was Griswold Rock all along who was the mastermind of the giants.

This is a pretty solid issue that has Doc Savage and his friends heading to the woods of Michigan in order to solve some murders as well as battle giants…but the payout at the end seemed very rush and they could have cut down on the plane attacks and crashes and it would have allowed for more panels to be used for the big ending that seemed very underwhelming. Doc Savage who is a great hero and detective sure did make many mistakes in this one and his plans seemed to almost always lead to danger and even allow the bad guys to hear their plans as he took in the crime families leader on his word that he was kidnapped and held prisoner…you would have thought Doc would have been smarter then that. But I do give Doc credit when it comes to fighting the giants as he knows he is strong, but not match for them…but would die swinging if he had to fight them hand to hand. Being six issues into a only eight issue series its clear that the two main members of The Fabulous Five are Monk and Ham as they seem to be getting more adventures and are clearly the two most important in these comic series, but I will say Renny gets a tiny bit of time to shine in these last two issues. Jean Morris who was a lion tamer is around and really adds nothing to this story besides a female character. The Giants are dangerous as they are just prisoners and criminals who are turned into these monsters and who are being used as test rats by a man who just wanted more and more money and power and that man is the chubby, sweaty looking Griswold Rock who was a small time business man but a large con-artist. The Horror element of the first part of this story arch kind of fades in this second part as it becomes more of a crime adventure thriller. I do like also that this issue takes us out of the big city and takes us into the woods of Michigan and has Doc Savage having to fight in water, woods and even a hidden island. The cover is pretty great and is pure 70’s Marvel style and as always Ross Andru interior art is A+ stuff. The next two issues are the ones that I read in my youth so let’s see how well they hold up.

Doc Savage Marvel 7

Doc Savage # 7  ***
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel     # 7 of 8

In the Canadian woods on the estate of Alex Savage the uncle of Doc Savage a man transforms into a werewolf and has the want to kill and murder Alex…and he does just that. The next day Doc gets a phone call from his cousin Pat Savage about the attack and murder and this puts Doc into a thinking mood as the murder was said to be very beast like. Doc Savage decides that he is heading to Canada to be with his cousin Pat during her sad time as well as he wants to find out what killed his uncle and why their household seems to be under attack. Doc along with Ham, Monk and Renny take the train to get there and even while ridding gets a fake telegram warning him not to go to his uncles house. As Doc and Renny make their way to the railcar of Ham and Monk they get all types of stares from passengers many who think they are dangerous killers with many having plans to protect themselves. When Doc gets to his friends he finds that he has gotten there just in time as some one has gassed them and left an image of a werewolf on their window. And this same thing was done to El Rabanos and his friends the Ovejas whom all thing Doc Savage and his men are bad people, and worse after the gas clears they find another werewolf image on a window, watch a black painted plane fly away from the train and are forced to a stop as logs now block the train from moving forward! As Doc Savage removes the logs his friends give chase to El Rabanos who runs into the woods, after clearing the way Doc as well gives chase and his jumped by four men with guns…they are no match for Doc who defeats them and rushes to find his friends. Meanwhile Pat Savage is home with her two Native American friends Tiny and her husband Boatface when they hear the howl of the werewolf, Pat grabs her gun to look for the beast only to find nothing and to return home to Tiny and Boatface knocked out from gas and she checks on a ivy cube with a werewolf on it that is very priceless. Unknown to Pat her cubes hiding place was seen by Boatface who steals it and tries to sell it to the werewolf, but the mans greed delivers his death as the werewolf murders him over the price of the cube. Pat and Tiny awake from the sound of a howl from the werewolf and notice Boatface missing so they head into the woods with gun in hand to find him. Meanwhile Doc Savage finds his friends at a tiny airfield in the woods and watch as El Rabanos and his friends make an escape in a plan and even kill one of their own airmen in the leave, before he dies he tells Doc Savage a string of clues. In the end Doc Savage with Monk, Ham and Renny make it to his uncles house to find Pat missing and the body of Boatface now in the living room of the home, Doc orders his friends to stay at the home as he rushes off to find his cousin only to be shot while walking across a rope.

All I can say is 100% this issue held up for me after all these years and has a super classic werewolf horror movie feel to it and that’s why I enjoy it so much! In this issue Doc Savage gets the sad news from his cousin that his uncle has been killed in a savage way and this makes the Doc head to Canada to figure out the murder as well as all the strange things going on around his uncles estate. This issue takes Doc Savage from his city office, to a train traveling across countries, to the snowy woods for Canada all the way to his uncle’s home in the middle of now where, and all the while he had to fight and use his detective skills. Doc Savage and his cousin Pat Savage are going through a very hard time as their loved one has been brutally murdered and all signs point to it being the work of a werewolf, but they also have to deal with shady people as well and thieves who want to steal an ivory cube that the Savage family owns. El Rabanos and his group are very shady and are clearly involved in this killing as they are also trying very hard to spread rumors of Doc Savage himself being a cold blooded killer and a curse to those who see him. As always Monk, Ham and Renny are around, but do very little in the over all story besides their friendship. Pat Savage is a warrior her own self as she along with her trusty gun have zero issues running off into the woods to face the werewolf, as she wants revenge really bad for her fathers death. Tiny is a loyal housekeeper to the Savage family even if her husband was a thief who allowed his own greed lead to his death. And finally The Werewolf is a talking beast who wants the Ivory Cube and who is also savage in his attacks and plans for murder, a classic looking werewolf that reminds me of Jack Russell the Werewolf By Night another Marvel Comics series that was running around the same time. The Werewolf while very beast like in nature and look, also has a human side as well that allows him to talk and plan. One has to wonder who the man beast is and if he is truly a werewolf or just a man in a suit playing a legendary creature. The cover is awesome and eye catching and the interior artwork by Ross is amazing stuff. A great issue and my favorite in the series this far in both art and in story, so let’s see what issue 8 the final issue has in store for us!

Doc Savage Marvel 8

Doc Savage # 8  **1/2
Released in 1974     Cover Price .20     Marvel     # 8 of 8

Doc Savage is holding onto the rope when the man fires one more bullet knocking him off and sending him to his death, or so the man thinks as he returns to camp he is meet by the Werewolf who is in charge and is told of the news that Doc Savage is dead and with this the Werewolf is happy as he knows now nothing will stand in his way of entering the Cave Of The Werewolf. Meanwhile in a tent in that very party we find Pat and Tiny tied up and being held captive and when they try to escape the ones holding them captive inform them that they are no longer needed as her cousin is dead so their worth is low, but before Pat and Tiny can be killed Doc Savage rushes to their rescue and after beating down the bad guys the Cousins and Tiny start to head back to the Savage home as Doc Savages is sure that El Rabanos and the Ovejas are involved in this murder and werewolf attacks, as they make their way home Doc Savage is challenged by the Werewolf and after a quick fight the beast is knocked out and his mask taken off to show just a thug in a costume. Once back at the Savage home Pat finds that the cube is missing and just then Senorita Cere Oveja comes busting in screaming that the werewolf is going to kill her father and El Rabanos if Pat does not give him the cube, Cere tells them that the original werewolf was just a nickname for one of her relatives that was a pirate and that the cube holds the location to all his stolen treasure and that she and her father along with El Rabanos was just trying to find it as they think the gold is theirs due to heritage. Doc sends Ham, Monk and Renny to search the pine trees in the area that has a birds nest in it as feathers and needles was found on the body of Boatface. After some time Ham finds the cube in a nest Doc solves the puzzle of it and unlocks the hidden map inside. The werewolf shows up and uses his gas on Pat, Tiny, Monk, Ham and Renny and takes Doc Savage hostage as he informs the hero its been a trick all along and El Rabanos and the Oveja’s are his partners in crime! Doc Savage awakens in a cave with his friends as El Rabanos is bragging to him that he was the mastermind behind this plot all along and killed his Uncle to draw Doc their to figure out the map puzzle, he also says he will turn on the Werewolf and the Oveja’s in order to keep all the treasure for himself! But surprise Doc Savage is free and his friends are not knocked out as Monk made an antidote for the gas and they are ready for a fight. After knocking out El Rabanos with a punch Doc Savage does after the Werewolf as his cousin and his friends go fight with the rest of the gang. Doc Savage out fights the Werewolf and after El Rabanos wakes up and fires his gun the cave collapses with only Doc Savage, Pat Savage, Tiny, Monk, Renny, Ham, The Oveja’s and the treasure escaping…all others are dead. In the end they inform The Oveja’s that they will not get a penny of the treasure and it all will go to build hospitals in Canada and also that Pat Savage is now apart of the group.

This issue holds up as well and while some of the horror elements are gone, by middle of the issue it becomes a crime thriller that has some twists and turns that many of true crime lovers will see coming, but are still super fun to watch unfold. Doc Savage through out this issue as well as the whole series is a man who keeps care of his mind and body and will risk it for good, as he believes that doing the right thing and helping others is very important. He will not kill unless he has no choice and has nerves of steel and is not shaken by anything and that includes near death experiences as well as facing monsters. And one thing about Doc Savage as well is that he is always one step ahead most of the time and has back up plans in order if things go wrong for he and his crew. The Fabulous Five are the best friends of Doc Savage and while around they don’t do much in this series, but with that said I would very much miss them of they were not around as the friendship between Ham and Monk is fun as they poke fun at each other all the time and while Renny, Long Tom and Johnny do very little they are still cool background hero characters. Pat Savage is the touch as nails, sweet and strong cousin of Doc who is an hero in her own right and who rushes into danger to avenge and save the innocent, and after loosing her Father to murder she is ready to join her cousin in the hero business. Tiny who’s husband Boatface was a loser shows that she is close to the Savage family and when all hell breaks loose in the cave she even fights with the hired thugs and bear hugs some of them into submission! The Oveja’s and El Rabanos are slimy and play all sides in order to get what they want and that’s the hidden pirate treasure, and would even turn on each other in order to get it. The werewolf is not a real creature but is a mad man in a costume who seems like he really does think he is one, he as well is motivated by greed but also has pride as he wants to be the man who kills Doc Savage! While he fails and is made quick work of and is later killed in the cave in, I find him to be a cool bad guy who a great classic werewolf look and has a Marvel Horror look. The story of this case is really cool and is set in the woods of Canada with a werewolf on the loose and oddly reminded me of the silent film Wolf Blood from 1925 that is a semi werewolf film set in the snowy woods of Canada. The Doc Savage series from Marvel Comics reminds me why I loved the 70’s era of Marvel as they had some many amazing comics going beyond their Superhero and original Horror lines with titles like Godzilla, Planet Of The Apes, Tarzan Lord Of The Apes, Star Trek, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica showcasing they knew how to make good comic based on film, novel and TV properties. The cover for this one is eye catching and really cool and again like clock work Ross’s interior art is amazing and he really was one of Marvel’s talented artists of the time that should be way more respect in these modern times. Over all I have to say I enjoyed the Doc Savage comic run at Marvel Comics quite a bit and while Doc Savage is a dated character and even by 1970’s he was a little out of date, they did a great job of bringing the 1930’s into the 70’s and making it seem right at home in the disco era. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Ross and see how this series looked.

Doc Savage Marvel Comic Art 1Doc Savage Marvel Comic Art 2Doc Savage Marvel Comic Art 3

But wait there is more as the Doc Savage fun continues, as we will be also taking a look at his two other Marvel appearances that had him teaming with the likes of Spider-Man and The Thing! I also want to say that a Giant Size Doc Savage # 1 was released by Marvel but was just a reprint of the first two issues in the series. It also makes me wonder why Doc Savage only lasted for eight issues, I would guess poor sales…but I could not say for sure. So if you are still up for some classic detective adventure, let’s go on two more adventures with Doc.

Giant Size Spider-Man 3 Comic

Giant Size Spider-Man # 3  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .50     Marvel    # 3 of 6

Desinna is a strange woman from another world and time who has sent a message to Spider-Man to meet her at an old building in New York that is set to be torn down, and while inside she shows Spidey a look into the past as Doc Savage in the 1930’s also has gotten a message to investigate that very building as something is just not right with it. Back in the 70’s before Desinna can inform Spider-Man on what is going on the ground shakes knocking her out and Spider-Man is faced with a giant goat legged monster that wants him dead! The giant is named Tarros and he is also from the past and his body is made up of an electric field, and Spider-Man out smarts the giant and over loads the field and sends him away. After the fight Desinna wakes back up and once more has Spidey take a look at Doc Savage in the 30’s at this same sight. While Doc and The Fabulous Five are looking around they meet Desinna who informs them that she is from another dimension and that her world they have created a time machine, but something has went wrong and scientist Tarros had his life spirit taken away and now its twisted and evil and is about to run wild in New York, just then the Giant Tarros appears and Doc Savage and his friends spring into action fighting the creature and Doc Savage being the man he is figures out a way to trap Tarros into a dated stone that’s in the building trapping him inside it as long as the building stands. Back to Spider-Man’s time he figures out that Desinna is worried that when the building is demolished the next day the evil will be unleashed again, but Spider-Man has figured it out and Tarros is not the bad guy it’s Desinna who tricked the old man and had him stuck in time! Spider-Man frees the spirit of Tarros and Desinna is sent back to her world to face punishment.

This is a fun idea of a crossover between Spider-Man and Doc Savage that could have been a heck of a lot better as the major downfall for me is that Spidey and Doc never really meet nor do they even really team up! The plot has a lady from another dimension playing victim to heroes from two different decades in order to try and cover up her evil actions in her own world. Desinna is a pretty woman who has a sinister side that is hidden deep in her charm, she is a mastermind that tricked a wise old scientist from her world and is still using her charm to trick heroes into covering up her mistake and doing her dirty work. When she is figured out and sent to face punishment she still tries to use her charm and beauty to save her own hide. The man she tricked is Tarros who’s spirit was stuck in a field of energy and can not speak English and because of his monster look is easily judged by those tricked by Desinna’s charm and words. Doc Savage comes to the aid of a woman in need and battle a massive electric monster to save our world and hers, and uses his brains and strength to bring the creature down, but sadly he was played a fool all that time ago and was tricked into just beating down a victim even more by the one who started the crime. In other words the hero Doc Savage that has always been shown to be a very smart man as well as a great detective was tricked by a pretty face and the old time belief that women cannot be bad. Spider-Man meanwhile has to sit and watch the events of the past and then solve the case that he is about to be made a fool of just like Savage was by a lady who is evil. I like that Spidey quickly figured it all out, and even after fighting with the spirit puts the pieces together to help save him and allow justice to happen in another dimension. Also I get the feeling that Spider-Man knows that Doc Savage really dropped the ball bad, and is in his own way making excuses for him by saying he was a product of his time. While this was a fun way to bring two heroes together from two different periods of time, I felt that it could have been done better like why not have Desinna take Spider-Man back in time to team with Doc Savage in order to bring down her enemy, and have them both figure out she is the real bad one, or even vice versa. The lack of real interaction between Spidey and Doc was a major letdown and much of the issues pages are spent on Desinna’s lies and tricks. But with that said I did enjoy the elements of each hero doing their thing, that’s why I have given it a slightly above average star rating as while flawed it was still a fund read. The cover is pretty cool and reminds me of an old Marvel Team Up cover and the interior art is great as once more Ross Andru shows his talents. Over all a fun issue and a good read for fans of Spider-Man and Doc Savage, just don’t go in thinking you will see them fight the monster together. Check out some artwork below from this Giant Size issue.

Giant Size Spider-Man 3 Comic Art 1Giant Size Spider-Man 3 Comic Art 2Giant Size Spider-Man 3 Comic Art 3

Up next let’s see how Doc Savages team up with Fantastic Four member The Thing goes! And again what a strange crossover for our hero of the 1930’s!

Marvel Two In One 21

Marvel Two-In-One # 21  **1/2
Released in 1976      Cover Price .30     Marvel     # 21 of 100

At the Baxter Building The Thing is working out and The Human Torch goes to the elevator and is greeted by Janice Lightner who faints once she enters, meanwhile in 1936 Mrs. Lightner travels up the elevator and as well faints once hitting the office of Doc Savage! And in both times the Lightner ladies tell the story of abuse, crazy ideas, madness and wasted fortunes and Janice is the daughter of Mrs. Lightner and it seems like the past and present are playing out the same. The ladies asking for help both speak of The Sky Cannon a powerful weapon that pulls down star energy and places it into a human host and in both cases the weapon is about to be used by the males of the family to show that they are not mad and true power is out there and can be placed into one man! All the heroes from both decades rush to the lab and have their flying vehicles struck by The Star Cannon merging both words together so Doc Savage, Renny, Monk, The Thing, Human Torch and Janice Lightner fall from the sky as inside the lab father and son merge into a new super villain named Blacksun. As the heroes shake off the fall and introductions happen Blacksun appears and is ready for a fight using his beams of energy to try and bring down the heroes, Monk and Renny uses their none kill bullet to no effect and an attack by the Human Torch is shrugged off. The Thing is next up and tries to clobber Blacksun only for it also to fail, but Doc Savage is up next and notices that when the clouds black the stars he has a chance to land punches and does just that causing Blacksun to try and run away into space as he wants to enter a black hole. The Thing and Doc Savage hold onto the villain for as long as they can before falling back to solid ground, but Blacksun as well learns that he can not breath in high altitude and falls to Earth hard causing an end to his rampage and also sends Doc Savage and his crew back to the 1930’s. In the end The Thing and Human Torch promise to Janice to get Blacksun (her brother and father as one) the help that he needs.

See this issue of Marvel Two-In-One was done right as Doc Savage comes to the then modern time and fights alongside a Marvel superhero in order to stop a villain from destroying the universe. The plot for this issue has the Lightner family in the 1930’s and the 1970’s following the same path at using a weapon called The Star Cannon in order to draw pure power from the stars and when they fire it up it merges Doc Savage and his crew into the 70’s in order to help The Thing stop the end of the world and light as we know it. The Thing and Human Torch show why they are heroes as these two members of the Fantastic Four rush to aid a woman who needs them to stop her brother from doing something really stupid. The Thing is as strong as ever and tries his best to use his strength to k.o the issues villain as The Human Torch uses his fire blasts, and while they both fail in their attacks when teaming together with Doc Savage they are able to save the day. I also like that The Thing is a fan of Doc Savage and wants his autograph and is even star struck when he sees him! Renny and Monk are apart of Savage’s crew and while they try and help they really are background players. Doc Savage is as always quiet, watching and figuring out how to defeat the bad guy that is in his way! He is the one who figures out the clouds can be used in order to land hits of Blacksun and as well seems to understand that he has time traveled and just rolls with getting help from a man that is one fire and another that is massive and made of orange rocks. Blacksun is a interesting bad guy that is made up of star energy, a living son and the dead spirit of his father and as well almost like the backside of the sun who can fly, shoot energy beams and even has a dark force field around him, but his ego helps bring him down as he tries to fly to space only to blackout and burnout. Again I can not stress that this is a crossover done right as Doc Savage meets The Thing and Human Torch and works alongside them for the greater good of mankind. The cover is amazing and eye catching and has The Thing and Doc Savage rushing to action and the interior art is top notch and done by Ron Wilson. Oh and this issue also has a cameo from Tony Stark (Iron Man) and they mention Donald Blake (Thor) and this is also a part one of a three issue story but this one is the only one to feature Doc Savage as the next two issues has Thor teaming with them. Over all this was a solid and fun read that brings a classic hero together with superheroes and is well worth checking out. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Ron Wilson used in this issue.

Marvel Two In One 21 Art 1Marvel Two In One 21 Art 2Marvel Two In One 21 Art 3

As you can see, Marvel Comics did a good job of bringing Doc Savage to the pages of comic books, and while the novels are better, these comics are still a great read for fans of the character. For me it was lots of fun to look back at this character and it was nice to go back to my youth and relive the fandom I had for a character that sadly I have neglected for many years now. Next year 2022 Rotten Ink turns 10 years old, and I am going to cover the whole year stuff I love from comics to movies to horror hosts and will really go back to my youth and the joys of growing up in Waynesville! So for my next update, I will be of course covering a Horror Host to celebrate 10 Years Of The Horror Host Hall Of Fame and our last host for the year will be Ohio’s biggest one, and I am of course talking about Ghoulardi! So until next time, read a Marvel Comic or three, watch a cheesy action film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update and remember turn blue!

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SOV Flashbacks Classics – “Hatchet”

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another entry in my “SOV Flashback Classics.” This one will be short and sweet and something very fun! The film we will be talking about is one that I know very little about as it was a found gem that I was able to get on DVD thanks to the guy who discovered it on a VHS tape and made it available to fans of Shot On Video Horror. The film is called “Hatchet” or so its said by the tape finder and this could be the original Hatchet film and could even maybe be the start of Victor Crowley as this film was made sometime in the 1990’s. So I know you are really excited to learn about “Hatchet” as I am to share the little information I have on it! So sit back and relax as we take a SOV Flashback look at a film that was once lost and now has been found, the spooky slasher flick dubbed “Hatchet”. And with that also Happy Halloween as what a better way to spend this spooky Holiday than with a SOV Horror flick!!

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The story for this little shot on video gem is that it was found on a VHS tape by a guy and he saved it by transferring the short film to a DVD and then shared it with the fans of SOV Horror. The short seems to have been shot in the 1990’s and was filmed in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and had a cast of maybe four people tops with only two of the kids being the stars and sharing duty of also being the camera guy. The odd thing about the film is that it feels like it was very influenced by films like “Blood Hook” and “Savage Weekend,” but I doubt if these kids making this film had seen those films before making it. The film could have been made by the friends for the fun or it or even could have been made as a school project. And if these kids made this film for the fun of it I wonder if they made any more Horror Movies and if either of them grew up to continue to make films, I mean who knows, maybe one of them is a famous Horror director now or could even be on the crew of the newest Blumhouse Horror Film. It’s a shame that “Hatchet” does not have any credits as the identity of the makers of this flick are truly unknown at this time and makes it hard to know the history of this short Horror film as well as that of the makers.

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So it’s now time for us to take a look at “Hatchet” the film that could have started it all for these young unknown filmmakers and who knows maybe one of these kids in this film was Adam Green, the creator of The Hatchet film series…yeah I doubt it too, but it’s fun to pretend that this might in fact be Hatchet 0! This will in fact of course be a first time watch for me, and I would like to thank the guy who discovered this tape and sold me a copy on Etsy for having it in stock and making this SOV Horror Flashback Classics update possible. I also want to say that for these SOV films, I will write about its plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for SOV Horror films as I feel it would be unfair to grade it on a scale that Hollywood or even bigger budget Indie films are graded on. So with that let’s head into the world of “Hatchet”!

Hatchet SOV DVD

“Hatchet”
Starring – ????? & ????     Directed by ?????
199?     Not Rated     7min     Unknown     DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: A hillbilly in sunglasses with a flashlight to his face talks to the camera about a group of missing people that headed to a old haunted shed and never where seen again, and says that the only way to find out if the legend was true is to go to the shed yourself. We then cut to a warehouse and a delivery driver is asked to make a drop off to the old shed and as he packs up some VHS tapes and heads out his boss goes home and sharpens an ax with a file. Back to the shed, the driver makes the mistake of entering and finds a bloody ax hanging on the wall and learns that he can not leave now as he is trapped in this spooky place and he starts to freak out as he finds that there is no way out! As the deliveryman sits in the dark questioning his life choices, he hears music and follows it only to find a bloody faced dead man in the corner of the shed and then a man with a hatchet appears and starts to chase the deliveryman around and then kills him with the hatchet. We then cut back to the hillbilly from the start of the film and it shows that he is really the Hatchet Killer of the Haunted Shed.

Thoughts: “Hatchet” really seems like a short film that two friends made in one day over the weekend to have fun with a VHS camera that they got in contact with. They filmed in one location with the Haunted Shed clearly being a work shed that is connected to a garage and they did a really good job of using the environment around them to try and pull off a spooky film. The garage does have a great atmosphere as its dark and dingy looking and the only one thing I would say is they should have shot the trapped inside parts at night so that no sunlight would appear in the film. The killer is great as the kids did not go for the normal Halloween masked killer as they used the look of a creepy guy you would see hanging around a fishing pond on a Sunday morning who is trying to make small talk about the bluegill not biting all the while he is looking at you deciding if he could gut you like a fish in 40 seconds flat. The acting is not terrible for this level of SOV Horror with the Deliveryman and the Hatchet Killer only grinning a few times. The film has very little blood and when shown it’s clearly ketchup, the blood substance that all young filmmakers started with. And oddly enough the film also has a first person scene that reminded me of a part of my old film Werewolf Of Ohio as it was shaky as hell as well and was filmed by the films lead as he was fleeing the killer. Over all this little short has charm and was clearly made by friends who were bored one weekend and wanted to make a Horror Movie for them to share with friends and laugh at when they got older.

Grade: B

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I love that this film was found and saved and is now out in the world for fans of cheesy zero budget SOV Horror films can see! Nothing bothers me more then knowing that so many of these types of films as well as Horror Host shows are floating around on Beta and VHS tapes rotting in garages, basements and landfills when so many people out in the world would love to see them. Films like “Hatchet” also show that creative minds are everywhere and that fans of Horror will always find creative outlets to showcase their love for the genre as well as show the viewers their skills in chilling the blood of viewers, readers and listeners. I also want to say that this might sound silly but I would love to see “Hatchet” get a SOV sequel or even a remake and I could do one heck of a fun comic book based on this tale of terror for Blood Scream Comics. Well it looks like the tape is over and the film is starting to rewind, so before we end this update I would like to alert you all about the next one that will be taking us away from the world of SOV Horror and will be taking us back to comic books and better yet one that is based on a Western TV Show, and I am talking about Brave Eagle! I hope you are having a spooky Halloween this far and that this look at “Hatchet” made your holiday a little more dark and spooky! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Shot On Video Horror Film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for out time with Brave Eagle and his tribe.

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SOV Flashbacks Classics – A Night Of Total Terror

Welcome back to Rotten Ink. For this update, we will be taking a look at another Shot On Video Film of James Rolfe and his Cinemassacre Productions, and when looking at the DVDs I have of some of his movies I decided to choose his 1996 Silent Film “A Night Of Total Terror” as it’s one that seems to be a one he truly loved making and is a major influence of his creative life that followed. The film was made because of a mix of boredom and creativity and was inspired by “Night Of The Living Dead” and the silent film masterpiece “Nosferatu”! So what awaits you readers on this Night Of Total Terror? Well read on and find out as this SOV Flashback update is going to be a blast, and I hope will inspire some of you to pick up a camera and film your own backyard films.

James Rolfe was hooked on making movies at a very young age and armed with his family’s VHS camera he would write and direct his own fright flicks and would try his best to get his friends to act in them and allow his visions to come alive. In May 1996 James at the age of 15 was itching to make another movie and after two of the SNIX flicks and some shorts were in his past, he knew that getting his friends to be in another was not in the cards so he came up with a Silent Horror Film that he himself could play all the roles! You see James was a big fan of classic Horror with the Universal Monsters being some of his all time favorites and during this boring summer he knew he had to make this film and nothing was going to stand in his way and his dream to make this creepy classic style Silent Horror Film. And it was at that time while bored in his room hearing the lawnmowers of his neighbors going outside that he made the decision that this was the summer he was going to make another film and he was going to give it his all as he was going to be a one man cast and crew! And on that day the shot on video film “A Night Of Total Terror” was born and James’s creative life would forever be changed.

James spent a whole day filming and coming up with the film’s plot on the spot and putting the ideas that would come to his mind onto tape, and thanks to all the Halloween masks and props he had from the haunted house he held every year in the family basement he had all the tools he needed to create his monsters! James played all the parts in the film and would have to set his shots up change into another character then hit record and the camera had a three second delay and he would have to run and be in the spot in order to get his shot. When needed during this day of filming he would ask his younger sister to put on the outfit of one of the ghouls in order to get a certain shot, and once she filled in he would take the role back over. He of course shot the film during the day and knew that by turning the film black and white he could play it off that it was late night. And after a long day of filming and editing James had a very interesting short horror film that he could be proud of…but this first day was not the end of this film!

The second day of filming James ended up showing the first part of the film to some of the neighborhood kids and they loved it and wanted to help make the second part of the film, and this gave James the cast and crew he needed and was able to make the film a little easier for him to pull of shots and his ideas could get a little bigger! Plus he could add more monsters to his story, and that is always a good thing in the world of SOV Horror. And things started to move faster on set as he was able to shoot scenes faster and was able feel that rush of making a film at that age and being creative with his friends. He wanted to make a film that built a spooky atmosphere and for that level of filmmaking he pulled it off! James really was a one man production team as for the most part he not only was the story creator, actor, director, special effects guy he also was the film’s editor that he did all in camera…think about that he edited the film in camera and had to rewind the tape in order to take out bad and messed up takes. He also in order to get the silent and black and white look he wanted he had to play the tape on his VCR and turn the sound and color down on the TV and then use the camcorder to tape the TV Screen! And when this film was done James was proud of it, and this is the film that gave him the encouragement to prose a career in filmmaking.

A Night Of Total Terror is for James what “Werewolf Of Ohio 2: 10 Years Before” was for me that moment of picking up a camera and filing with your friends watching your story and characters come to live, the feeling of knowing you want to make films your life…it’s a feeling that is hard to describe but really does give you that bug to want to film more and get better at all aspects of creating a movie. James was so inspired by this film that he would go on to do a “Making Of Film” did a sequel he called “ An Evening Of Real Supernatural Horror”, at one point was working on a remake and even did a mini version for collage called “A New Night Of Total Terror” and even other films he made have taken elements from this film. So while SNIX and a few other films came before it truly his first film that brought him to the SOV dance was A Total Night Of Terror. The film was mostly seen only by his friends and family and would run around 30 minutes, and in 2006 he recut the film and released a shorten version on the internet…it’s a shame as I for one would have liked to see the original version of the film as to me that also shows the heart of the production as well as the skill of the director. But I must also say at least we get to see the film in some sort of way and for that thanks James for sharing your early creative film works with the world.

So I want to say that for this film I will write about its plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale. Now keep in mind it would not be fair to grade SOV films like you would a big budget Hollywood Movie or even a bigger budget Indie Feature, that’s why much like I do for “Fan Films” I will be grading them on its own scale on a scale of true to life backyard cinema the true shot on video warriors of the camcorder days. So grab a flashlight and lets take a spooky journey into a Night Of Total Terror!

A Night Of Total Terror
Starring – James Rolfe & Gina Rolfe       Directed by James Rolfe
1996     Not Rated     10min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: A thief breaks into a tomb in order to steal a magic lamp, but unknown to him this has caused ghouls and creatures to track him down as they want back what is theirs! The enter his home and try to scare him with eye balls and hands that they leave around even a rat attacks him and bites his neck causing the thief pain…his defense is to throw it all out the window! But when a hockey mask wearing Creep with a top hat and cane enters his home all hope is lost as the Creep attacks him with his cane causing the thief to fight back and bash the Creep with his fists as well as taking the cane and beating him with it, but before he can truly escape or get help a ghoul as well enters the house and the Creep comes back for more causing him to have to flee his house and run into the near by woods at night and finding shelter with a young man who has a tent up as he is camping. The thief will not give up the lamp and has it with him as he sits in the tent and tells the man that he has it and that’s what they want! Meanwhile outside the monsters are gathering as besides the Creep and Ghoul such monsters as a Dinosaur Man, Vampire, black hooded man, the rat and Werewolf have joined in the stalking! The youngster in the tent takes out a gun opens fire on the ghouls and then the thief as well takes the gun and shoots the ghouls and they hurry back into the tent. Once inside the thief asks the kid if he believes in the curse of the lamp, and before he can fully answer the tent is attacked by the ghouls! When one finally gets in they remove their mask as does all the ghouls outside as they only dressed this way to scare them and take the lamp as they are thieves as well! But the joke is on them as the lamp curse is real and turns the original thief and the tent kid into monsters who kill them in the end.

Thoughts: A Night Of Total Terror is a fun backyard shot horror film that you can tell was very much thought up on the spot and props pulled out of the Halloween boxes from the basement, but because of this is why I think it has a charm of being a early work of a director that went onto bigger and better films and shorts. The film for the most part is a silent horror film all though very little title cards are used to explain the plot, but to be honest it’s very easy to follow. You can tell that James had his heart into the film even with the zero budget and at the start lack of help and you can also see his influences from classic black and white horror films throughout. He also had a nice twist ending that was very popular in classic horror that has not everything you see being what it seems. Plus in the end when the thief who is played by James Rolfe turns into a monster cause of the lamp he transforms into a gorilla creature and this makes me wonder if he does so cause of his love for the film King Kong or because Gorilla’s were super popular in classic horror to be the monster on film? The films effects are super backyard and charming with clearly store bought plastic limbs and eyes being used to pull off the “gore”. Also I am not sure but I think that the magical lamp is a Disney Aladdin toy and that is awesome as kids and teens in their backyard epics use what they have and that’s lots of toys, I mean in Werewolf Of Ohio I used a old Lone Ranger gun as the leads weapon! While A Night Of Total Terror is not super scary nor is it the best film James has made, I will say that holds lots of magic as you can tell it was made with the love of horror cinema and filmmaking. Check it out if you are a fan of silent horror and zero budget backyard films.

Grade: B+

After watching this chopped down version of this film I for one once more must stress that I would have liked to have seen the full 30 minute version and hope that one day James will stop chopping these down and allow us to also see the true original versions, no need to George Lucas these films as those who love SOV films enjoy them no matter how flawed they are. In fact I am hoping that someday a company like SOV Horror get the rights from James and put this film out in a collectors edition DVD as the world needs it! I am having such a great time doing these updates based on Shot On Video Horror Films and I hope you are enjoying reading them, and in 2022 I will be doing a few more so that is something for you to look forward to as one of them will be Werewolf Of Ohio the first film I ever made! But for my next update we are leaving the SOV films behind and will be once more looking at a Horror Host and a very awesome one at that as its time we take a look at Dayton, Ohio’s own Baron Von Porkchop! So until next time make sure to read an indie comic or three, watch a SOV film or two, and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a Terrifying Tale Of The Macabre!

Horror Host Icon: TNT Monstervision – The Moon & Narrator

Back in the 90’s, network TV had cancelled many of the amazing Horror Host shows that graced their airwaves as the TBS show Super Scary Saturday with host Grampa Munster was history in 1989 with that same year USA ended Commander USA’s Groovie Movies and even the original run of Movie Macabre with Hostess Elvira Mistress Of The Dark came to an end by the late 80’s. But in 1991 TNT stepped into the Horror Host game and delivered Monstervision to weekend viewers that became a mainstay for the station all the way to the year 2000! Most of you readers know Monstervision with its Host Joe Bob Briggs, but did you know that the show had more hosts then just him? That’s right before Joe Bob there was The Moon, Penn & Teller and Logo with Narrator’s Voice! And for this Horror Host Icon update we will be taking a quick and yet fun look at The Moon and The Narrator as I feel they are very important to the legacy of Monstervison as well. And I have been itching to talk about Monstervision and my Joe Bob Briggs update is in the works but still years away from being posted, so it’s with great pleasure that I bring to you Horror Host Icon: TNT Monstervision – The Moon & Narrator! So let’s get our MOOOONSTERVISION on.

TNT Moon and Narrator 1

TNT Monstervision started on June 29, 1991 and was a way to bring viewers marathons of classic Horror and Science Fiction films plus TV Shows as special epic feeling events. The marathons would run all night and would keep fans glued to the TV Screens fighting off sleep to watch all the cheesy goodness. And our guide for Monstervision for the first year or so was a smirking Moon who was in the sky who would accompany a Narrators Voice over, and this pairing clearly got joy in bringing you classic films for your late night viewing. The Moon in the sky seemed to always be looking at the viewer and with a half grin and a sinister glee in his eye it was as if he was warning you about the classic films that awaited you that evening’s marathon. While The Moon was silent his expressions really did say everything you needed to know as you entered the world of TNT’s Monstervision! While his run as the Host of Monstervision was very short The Moon made his impact not only with the fans but also in the world of Horror Hosting. And one other very important fact I would like to point out is when The Moon was the host all the films were classics from the 40’s-70’s and stayed clear of the rated R fright flicks the show would go on to be known for.

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Sometime later before and even after comedy duo Penn & Teller took over for a very short time an amazing Voice Narrator was the soul host of the show and would talk over the shows opening as well as logo and title cards. The Narrator would make the show sound so epic as he would stress the shows title and deliver one of the best voiceovers for a Horror Host show in the 90’s. This Voice also helped co-host the show with The Moon and brought the excitement as his tone would boom! But to be honest there was two different voice actors that did the Narration for the show over the years and each brought their own touch or should I say golden pipes to the show. The Narrator would last as the host all the way up until 1996 when the show became a weekly program and had a permit host with a true icon of Horror Hosting the one and only Joe Bob Briggs who had his own announcer…so yeah I guess the show had a total of three…or at least I think three….so many classic voice work on this show!

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Growing up I was much like James Rolfe (Angry Video Game Nerd) as I would grab the TV Guide and scroll through to find what monster movies were playing that week and when Monstervision was on it was like an all night marathon of cheesy and fun classic genre films! My Mom and Brother most of the time would remember for me what was coming on and I would rush to turn on the TV to watch the films. Monstervision through out it’s entire run was a very important part of my childhood as alongside USA Up All Night, Moraine Playhouse Theater and USA Saturday Nightmares during this time was must see TV for me and filled the void left behind of Commander USA, Dr. Creep and Grampa Munster being off the air. Crazy to think that Monstervision was the show that introduced me to many amazing classic Sci-Fi and Horror films with the one standing out the most to me being the 1956 film The Werewolf that aired on a Monstervision Marathon on Christmas night in 1993, I even taped it back then and became obsessed with that film for years after….sadly that VHS tape is long gone and I wish I had that airing for this update. While writing this update it was great to remember back to the early years of Monstervision when it was a true event when it came on and the films lasted all night and delivered chills, thrills and adventures to all those who watched. It’s a shame that TNT has followed the path of USA Network and have became a shell of what they use to be, but who knows now that they brought back wrestling to the station with AEW Dynamite so who knows maybe Monstervision’s return is in the cards as well with a new host or even back to the none hosted format, one thing is for sure if this happens I will be tuning in.

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The Monstervision Narrators are as important to the shows history as Joe Bob Briggs and while the Moon might not be as remembered he still was apart of the shows legacy and made his mark on viewers. Now it’s time to take a look at the episodes of MonsterVision I have that feature The Moon or just The Narrator and I would like to thank Ebay and my friend Scott Scarborough for making this update possible. I want to remind everyone that I will not be giving these updates a star rating and I will take the films write up from our friends at IMDB and the Host write up is done by me. So lets get ready and take a look at MooooonnnnsssttteeerrVisssion!

TNT MoonTriple Feature DVD

TNT Monstervision: Spaced Out Adventures
Starring – Zsa Zsa Gabor & Peter Graves     Not Rated        1958/1966/1952

Host: This episode is the combo of The Moon and the Narrator who bring us in and out of the movies. While The Moon looks smug and sinister the Narrator brings his A-Game of making the nights film and theme seem like the most important thing on TV that night.

Movies: Queen Of Outer Space: American astronauts are drawn by a mysterious force to the planet Venus, which they find to be inhabited only by beautiful women and their despotic queen. The Wild, Wild Planet: A deranged scientist is using his employer’s top-secret bio-laboratory to engage in clandestine eugenics experiments. When he starts kidnapping leading citizens for use in his twisted tests, it’s up to rogue cop Mike Halstead to come to the rescue of all and sundry, including his lady friend Connie, who is also being held captive by the madman. Red Planet Mars: An American scientist is able to contact and communicate with Mars with shattering political, economic, and spiritual repercussions.

TNT Monstervision - Outer Limits Vol 2 DVD

TNT Monstervision: Outer Limits Vol. 2
Starring – Leonard Nimoy & Martin Sheen         Not Rated       1963/1964

Host: This second TNT Monstervision salute to the Outer Limits Marathon has just the normal TNT Narrator taking us in and out for breaks. We also get a sneak peak at The Moon as they welcome us to Monstervision and that more episodes are to come.

Movie: Soldier: A soldier from the far future is accidentally teleported back to 1964. The psychiatrist assigned to examine the soldier realizes that he has been bred purely as a killing machine, but he believe he can reawaken the warrior’s humanity. Meanwhile, a second soldier arrives, dedicated to hunting and killing his enemy. I, Robot: A cynical lawyer is hired by a young woman to prove that her uncle was not killed by his invention – a sophisticated robot. Nightmare: A stranded team of soldiers are captured and experimented on by demonic looking aliens. Demon With A Glass Hand: Days ago, Trent awoke with no memory of his past. Since then, sinister men have pursued him constantly. He manages to stay one step ahead of them by following the advice of his hand. Made of glass and apparently capable of speech, Trent’s hand can answer many of his questions. But it cannot tell him who he is or why his enemies seek him until he finds all of its fingers. The only trouble is that they’re in the hands of his enemies. The Bellero Shield: Richard Bellero, a dedicated scientist, is working on experiments involving sending laser beams into outer space. His father, Richard Bellero Sr., believes the scientist isn’t strong enough to take over the Bellero business empire. In the meantime, Richard’s wife Judith has more than enough ambition for the two of them. Richard, through a freak accident, reels in a being from another dimension with his laser experiment. The being has a small device that can project a shield that no force can penetrate. The alien at first wants to learn all about earth that he can and Richard cooperates. Judith, however, sees the alien and the shield-projecting device, as a means to power. While Richard is away, Judith first tricks the alien to deactivating his shield device then shoots the alien to prevent him from departing Earth. She removes the hand held device while failing to notice it was connected to a vein in the alien — whose bodily fluid is the key to operating the device. This is the … Cry Of Silence: A couple find themselves lost and in the middle of a deserted valley. Then, they come under attack by a series of rocks, tumbleweeds and animals. What could be causing this assault?

Note From Matt: This was originally aired on November 30, 1991 on a Saturday night as part of their TNT Salutes The Outer Limits II event that featured a total of nine episodes. This tape only has 5 1/2 of the episodes. The episode Cry Of Silence is only partly there. Its missing the episodes “A Feasibility Study”, “Don’t Open Till Doomsday” and “The Chameleon”.

TNT Monstervision - Outer Limits Vol 5 DVD

TNT Monstervision: Outer Limits Vol. 5
Starring –Don Gordon & Peter Breck         Not Rated       1963/1964

Host: This classic Monstervision marathon has just the Narrators Voice set over TV Screens that show clips of the show The Outer Limits.

Movie: Moonstone: A lunar exploration team from Earth encounters alien life, and must make a difficult decision. The Human Factor: At an isolated military installation in Greenland, Major Brothers has allowed one of his men to die after falling in a crevasse. Suffering from hallucinations, he goes to Dr. Hamilton. Hamilton has invented a device that allows him to read the thoughts of another person. Hamilton and Brothers connect via the device, but then a power surge causes the unthinkable: the minds of the two men switch bodies. The deranged Major Brothers is bent on destroying the whole base. Unfortunately, his mind is in the psychiatrist’s body, and the other base workers know nothing of the mind switch. The Duplicate Man: When a dangerous alien creature called a Megasoid escapes, the scientist who smuggled him to Earth creates an illegal clone of himself to hunt it down. But his plan is complicated when his neglected wife begins to fall in love with his duplicate. The Forms Of Things Unknown: Two female friends poison a sadistic blackmailer, then while fleeing happen upon an isolated house containing a time machine. Kasha, his lover, and Leonora, the daughter of the blackmail target, fight to bury him before the idealistic inventor Tone Hobart is able to re-animate the murdered man, by tilting him back into the past. The Invisibles: Aliens plan to take over the U.S. by recruiting disaffected loners who are themselves “invisible” to normal society. The alien crab-like creatures attach themselves to human hosts and control them. The recruits are assigned low-level jobs of highly appointed government officials so they can get the alien in close proximity to them. A U.S intelligence agent infiltrates the alien organization, but it may be too late. O.B.I.T.: While operating the Outer Band Individuated Teletracer, or O.B.I.T. machine, in a military base, Captain Harris is strangled. U.S. Senator Orville arrives at the base to investigate his murder and learns that there are several bases with the O.B.I.T. machine, which is capable to monitor in a video display the privacy of any person anywhere. Along his investigation, Senator Orville asks for information about the OBIT, such as who is the manufacturer, price, who bought, but no user has any information about the mysterious machine. The Guests: A drifter enters a lonely house, unaware that it is actually an alien creature in disguise. Soon he realizes that he is a prisoner, along with several other half-mad inhabitants, but he is determined to escape.

Note From Matt: This was originally aired on February 27, 1993 on a Saturday night as part of their TNT Salutes The Outer Limits V event that featured a total of nine episodes. This tape only has 6 1/2 of the episodes and at the start the commercials have been removed and later in the tape some commercials are shown and the recorders editing becomes very sloppy as parts of episodes are even cut off. The episode The Guest is only the first 17 minutes of the episode.

TNT Monstervision - House Of Wax 1953 DVD

TNT Monstervision: House Of Wax (1953)
Starring – Vincent Price & Carolyn Jones      Rated PG     1953

Host: Film Director Tim Burton opens the show talking about his love for House Of Wax as well as a little about the films production and history.

Movie: Professor Henry Jarrod is a true artist whose wax sculptures are lifelike. He specializes in historical tableau’s such a Marie Antoinette or Joan of Arc. His business partner, Matthew Burke, needs some of his investment returned to him and pushes Jarrod to have more lurid exposes like a chamber of horrors. When Jarrod refuses, Burke set the place alight destroying all of his beautiful work in the hope of claiming the insurance. Jarrod is believed to have died in the fire but he unexpectedly reappears some 18 months later when he opens a new exhibit. This time, his displays focus on the macabre but he has yet to reproduce his most cherished work, Marie Antoinette. When he meets his new assistant’s beautiful friend, Sue Allen, he knows he’s found the perfect model – only unbeknown to anyone, he has a very particular way of making his wax creations.

Note From Matt: This was apart of a MonsterVision event that was called “Our Favorite Movies” that had director Tim Burton not only hosting House Of Wax bust also the films Mysterious Island, The Time Machine and 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao. This originally aired on July 28, 1994 on a Thursday night and my friend Scott only recorded this movie.

TNT Monstervision 20 Million Miles To Earth and IT DVD

TNT Monstervision: Fiend Fiesta Pt. 2
Starring – William Hooper & Ray Corrigan       Not Rated     1957/1958

Host: The Narrator ushers us in and out of the film over clips of films with his spooky voice echoing out. This also the classic colorized film bumpers that helped push Monstervision into super popularity. Plus we get cool Monstervision bumpers and ads.

Movie: 20 Million Miles To Earth: The first spaceship to visit Venus crash lands in the sea, freeing a small native Venusian creature called the Ymir. Eventually growing to enormous size, it threatens the city of Rome. IT! The Terror From Beyond Space: In 1973, the first manned expedition to Mars is marooned; by the time a rescue mission arrives, there is only one survivor: the leader, Col. Edward Carruthers, who appears to have murdered the others! According to Carruthers, an unknown life form killed his comrades during a sandstorm. But the skeptical rescuers little suspect that “it” has stowed away for the voyage back to Earth.

Note From Matt: These are two of the films that showed on August 27, 1994 as part of the “Famous Last Words/Fiend Fiesta” themed marathon and was the last two films of the night! The first three minutes or so of 20 Million Miles To Earth is missing

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TNT Monstervision in all its forums and all its hosts over the years has always been something very special to those of us who grew up watching it and is truly missed by late night TV watchers. I for one would like to see it return to air with a new host (as Joe Bob Briggs is hosting the Last Drive In on Shudder and is delivering one of the best Horror Host programs going) or even just bring back The Moon and Narrator as the world truly needs this and I feel that if Ted Turner was still in charge of TNT the show would have never went away fully as by 2001 most of what made stations like TNT and TBS special was washed away by AOL and Time Warner and as I have stated before they are both just a shell of what they use to be and only delivering a small amount of programing that is worth watching with most programs being aired are just bad reruns of crime shows. For me The Moon and Narrator for TNT Monstervision are true Icons in the world of Horror Hosting and helped make my childhood amazing! Sadly I don’t think Monstervision will ever come back on TNT, but what will be coming back in my next blog update as I will be doing another in my From Horror Movie To Horror Comic updates to help ring in the Halloween season as I will be talking about Wolf Cop and the comic mini series based around it! 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 soon for a ride along with a werewolf who has a badge that likes beer and doughnuts.

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Horror Host Icon: Count Floyd

Horror Hosts can be viewed all types of ways from major broadcast TV, all the way to old home media tapes found at a local thrift shop and all types of hosts are out there waiting for their viewers to join them on a spooky journey through the night’s creature feature. Not to even mention the different styles of Horror Host shows that have entertained viewers for decades as most Hosts presents movies of all type of cult statues, but not all Horror Hosts guide us through movies…some are hosts on sketch comedy shows and one of the best Horror Hosts from that style of hosting hands down is Count Floyd of SCTV who has entertained viewers with his goofy howl and cheesy skits he hosted, and to be honest Count Floyd has been apart of my childhood and even in my 40’s his antics still are entertaining me. So it’s with great honor that I bring to you Horror Host Icon: Count Floyd, an update that is perfect for my Hall Of Fame Anniversary updates.

Monster Chiller Horror Theater started on SCTV back in 1980’s and was “aired” on a very low-quality TV Station called SCTV that was ran by a very cheap program director who would get some of the worst and even none horror films to have host Count Floyd struggle to hype for viewers that were mostly kids. He was given very poorly made features that starred character Dr. Tongue, and the gimmick was they were in 3-D! And while the movies were pure stinkers, Count Floyd tried his best to build the film up as scary and spooky…even though he knows they are terrible. But while his show was so cheaply made and his films bottom of the barrel, he was the favorite Horror Host for such people as Space Ghost and Ed Grimley! But really Monster Chiller Horror Theater started on Canadian skit comedy show SCTV that ran from 1976-1984 and featured some amazing talented comedians like John Candy, Rick Moranis, Martin Short, Dave Thomas, Harold Ramis and Eugene Levy and brought us characters like The McKenzie Brothers, Dr. Tongue, Ed Grimley and of course Count Floyd. SCTV was like Saturday Night Live and when on air had a solid viewership as it was silly light-hearted goofy comedy. So while not a real Horror Host show Monster Chiller Horror Theater has truly left its mark on fans a viewers and made Count Floyd a kids favorite Host character.

Count Floyd is a vampire who wears a white turtleneck shirt, a cheap cape and has a painted on widows peak with no fangs. He lives in a castle and sleeps in a coffin and loves to greet his viewers with a very loud and off pitch werewolf howl flowed by a jolly chuckle. And Count Floyd is a true icon in the world of TV Parody as well as Horror Hosting as his Monster Chiller Horror Theater skits on SCTV brought him a cult following as well as brought attention and eyes on the Horror Hosts of the world. Count Floyd on SCTV was played news anchor and reporter Floyd Robertson who had to do double duty for the station and had no clue about Horror Hosting and had zero idea on what makes a vampire a vampire! Count Floyd would make the best of his super cheap movies that he was forced to show and did his best to entertain his live audience when they were on set. Sadly his time on SCTV would end in 1984 but this did not stop him as Count Floyd would go on to star in many direct to video programs that included many for kids that would teach them about stranger danger and fire safety. During the band Rush’s “Signals” and “Grace Under Pressure” tours a video of Count Floyd would play and he would introduce the song “The Weapon”! Back in 1987 he would be the pitchman for The Bat a roller coaster from Canada’s Wonderland Amusement Park. In 1987 Count Floyd would host a free weekend of Cinemax bringing his brand of Horror Host humor to families all over America. He would appear on the 1988 cartoon show “The Completely Mental Misadventures Of Ed Grimley” as well as “Cartoon Planet” and be introduced by Space Ghost. In 1999 on TNT Monstervision Count Floyd was a guest host along with Rhonda Shear of USA Up All Night to join Joe Bob Briggs on his Halloween special hosting “In The Mouth Of Madness” also in 1999 Count Floyd appeared in the CBC TV Film “Must Be Santa” that was directed by Brad Turner. The band The Wet Secrets for their music video “Nightlife” had Count Floyd appear and go up against sparkly bloodsuckers. Count Floyd is a true icon of TV and yes I would say Horror Hosting and this goofy Vampire that howls has brought so much laughs to so many people.

The man that was behind Horror Host Count Floyd is Joe Flaherty who is a great comedian and actor that was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 21, 1941, and started his career as a comedian when he moved to Chicago and worked for the Second City Theater. Also while in Chi-Town he appeared on National Lampoon Radio Hour from 1973-1974. After a run in Chicago came to an end Joe moved to Toronto, Canada as he had a goal to help set up a Second City Theatre group there, and so was born the TV show SCTV that he was not only an actor on but also a writer for, and on this show is were Count Floyd was born and he would be on the show from 1976-1984. And during this time and after Joe became a character actor starring in many amazing movies like 1941, Stripes, Heavy Metal, One Crazy Summer, Back To The Future Part II, Happy Gilmore and Detroit Rock City to name a few. I should also say that he was in the film Used Cars from 1980 that not only starred Kurt Russell but also fellow Horror Host Al “Grampa Munster” Lewis! He also stayed active in TV Shows with roles in Freaks And Geeks, That 70’s Show, The King Of Queens and Married With Children. He also stayed with playing Count Floyd for many projects as I stated before keeping him alive for new generations to discover. In 2014 he even starred in the music video Nightlife by the band Wet Secrets. And besides acting Joe also was a faculty member of Humber College where he was on program the advisory committee as well as taught of comedy-writing course. While Joe is in his late 70’s he still remains active in acting as well as makes pubic appearances at conventions. Joe Flaherty is a great comedian and was a big part of my childhood as Count Floyd and his many acting roles.

Like all Horror Host the Count also had his own strange co-hosts that helped bring his SCTV segments to life, but these co-hosts are not like your normal style as they were also the stars in many of his terrible movies he would have to show and of course I am talking about Dr. Tongue and his hunchback assistant Bruno! You see these two actors who are much like the characters they play in the films and are in good with Count Floyd, the gimmick to each Dr. Tongue film is that they are in 3-D and Count Floyd will sell you the 3-D Glasses at a high price in order to fully enjoy the film…as you can see they are all kind of in on a scam! Dr. Tongue was played by John Candy and Bruno was plated by Eugene Levy, both actors of course went on to be household names in the world of comedy. The Pittsburgh Midget was another of Floyd’s sidekicks, he was a short goofy guy who wore a cape and would sometimes recommend or bring the nights film. The Pittsburgh Midget was played by Paul Flaherty who was the brother of Joe Flaherty aka Count Floyd himself and that’s one cool fact indeed! So as you can see these sidekicks and co-hosts helped make Monster Chiller Horror Theater something truly special for viewers.

While not a traditional style Horror Host Count Floyd was very important to his fans, as he has sparked lots of great merchandise over the years. This goofy vampire’s image has graced T-Shirts, Buttons, photos, art and of course home media. In fact over the years I myself have a good collection of Count Floyd merchandise from his releases of specials I have on VHS and DVD, I have T-Shirts, a magnet and a CD of his musical release. Count Floyd is a legend and I for one think the world needs more Floyd items for fans to collect…come on Funko, make a Pop!

As you readers know this year marks 10 Years of the Horror Host Hall Of Fame at HorrorHound Weekend and this year 10 Hosts will make it into the Hall Of Fame to mark the 10 years this amazing event has taken place! And I am happy to report that the board who elects the ballot has placed Count Floyd on it! He is joined by such amazing names like The Shroud of Nightmare Theater, Mr. Lobo, Doc Sanguinary and Baron Daemon to name a few on the ballot! Make sure to keep your eyes on this update as when and if he is inducted by votes I will update this update and talk about who inducted him in and more!

Growing up I first found out about Count Floyd via old reruns of SCTV that I would catch on TV from time to time, but my main fandom of the character came from his segments on the animated show “The Completely Mental Misadventures Of Ed Grimley” and even later I found a VHS copy of “How To Make Funny Home Videos” that was hosted by Count Floyd and we will cover it later in this update. Being a Horror Host and Horror Movie fan I found myself being a massive fan of Count Floyd as he was funny and his howl always cracks me up as its so awkward and off pitch, in fact Juliet will tell you I go around our house doing his goofy howl. Not to mention Count Floyd always came off as a Horror Host who tried his best to make the cheap situation he is in entertaining for his viewers, and being friends with many and even working on many shows we all know that this sometimes is the truth when the Host is saddled with a stinker of a film and they have to up their game in order to save the show. What is crazy is I really mark out when I see Count Floyd on shows or even in clips on the web, its crazy that a Horror Host parody is a true icon of Hosting in my eyes. In 2018 it was stated that Count Floyd was going to be at the October Monster Bash convention and I was super happy when I found out as I could get the time off work as could Juliet and we made the plan to drive down and see the legend himself as I so wanted to get my picture with him! But sadly me meeting Count Floyd was not to be as he cancelled due to illness and was never re-added to the guest list…and it’s a shame as I really do hope to one day meet him. So to sum it all up I am a big fan of Count Floyd and think his antics on his “show” Monster Chiller Horror Theater is fantastic and funny, he should be in the Horror Host Hall Of Fame and is a true icon in all media.

So as you can see, Count Floyd is like no other Horror Host I have ever covered here on Rotten Ink as he is a Host in only character sake in comedy shows, but to be he really is an Icon! We are now at the point of the update that we will be taking a look at shows that I have that featuring Count Floyd. Like always I will not be giving these episodes a star rating and watching most of these again after many years was lots of fun. So if you are ready to Howwwwwllllll with Count Floyd lets get to his comedy antics.

Count Floyd: Kid Safe
Starring – Andrea Martin & Stephen Lee     Not Rated   1988

Host: Count Floyd comes from his coffin and welcomes the viewers to another episode of Monster Chiller Horror Theater and hypes up the nights film Kid Safe! After the safety video Count Floyd hypes the monsters that appear at the end and tells kids to stay safe.

Movie: Kathy is a young girl who left home on a dark and stormy night, and she does all types of things she should not do like drink alcohol, burns toast, opens the door to strangers and with the help of a police officer, paramedic and firefighter she learns what to do in case of emergency. After they leave Kathy don’t answer the door to the likes of a werewolf, alien, Jason Voorhees, The Mummy and a witch!

Count Floyd: How To Make Funny Home Videos
Starring – Count Floyd & Carolyn Scott     Not Rated     1990

Host/Movie: Count Floyd has found that his Horror Host show is not making any money so armed with his camcorder he decides that he is going to show us the viewer on how to make funny home videos that you can send to TV Stations and try and win prizes and money! And Count Floyd shares some easy and cheap ways to make things funny, and uses his son Junior, Baby Floyd and even his dog Duke as subjects to show you his ways. And his wife is mad, as she throughout the video wants him to clean the grill and hang up decorations for his daughter Sissy’s Birthday! And his poor neighbor is also the target of many of Count Floyd’s silly tricks! In the end he uses the magic of his camera to get ready for the party and after causing so much trouble for his neighbor is punched in the face and falls into the pool.

The Smoke Detectives
Starring – Robyn Clark & Steven Crayton       Not Rated     1990

Host/Movie: A club of young kids are called The Smoke Detectives who solve crimes that have to do with fire safety and they are called to the old spooky house and are greeted by the owner Horror Host Count Floyd! And the kids spend time showing Count Floyd all of the fire hazards his old house has and even things he does, and while they check he tries his best to scare them with a story of The Fire Monster! The kids give Count Floyd a checklist of all the things he can do to make his old house safer, and even make him watch a video about safety and he makes all the changes needed. In the end The Smoke Detectives come back and visit Count Floyd who is now a firefighter and becomes a member of The Fire Detectives himself.

While Count Floyd never hosted any real movies and was mostly a character used for TV Show SCTV as a comedy segment, he still has made his mark in the world of Horror Hosting as his antics helped bring eyes to the art. Plus he was very kid friendly and appeared in many educational films that were seen all over America given kids a taste of Horror Hosting. And I must say that while he is not a traditional Horror Host, he is still one of my favorites as I grew up seeing him and he has always brought be great joy. But for our next update we will once more be leaving the world of hosting and will get back to comics, well comic strips, as I will be taking a look at Ziggy! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. And this Sunday make sure to grab the Sunday Funnies and give the comic strips a read.

Horror Host Icon: Commandant Gore

Horror Hosts have always been an important part of Dayton, Ohio culture with Channel 22 bringing Shock Theatre with host Dr. Creep to viewers starting back in 1972 and many amazing hosts followed in the good Dr.’s footsteps like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, The Creeper, Baron Von Porkchop, Iris & Retina, Rayne and Dr. Freak to name a few and all made impacts with viewers. But one host here in Dayton never reached a cult statues with viewers and faded away into obscurity with very few ever speaking his name and I am talking about Commandant Gore and his show Gorevision that haunted airwaves on MVCC Public Access here in Dayton. With this I have searched the VHS vaults and trade lists high and low to bring you this Horror Host Icon(?) update based on the one and only bringer of the gore, the master of splatter, the duke of mayhem Commandant Gore. I should also note that this update will be a fast one as there is not much to say and or information about this show and host out in the world. On a side note due to some timing issues Juliet’s look at Horror Host Stella Desire has been pushed to a later date.

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Commandant Gore is a shape shifting dead nazi who is upset with the living and is seeking vengeance and revenge on the them and he figures what better way to get what he seeks then to host classic horror movies as well as showcase death metal bands from the area on a public access show! He would host the show via the studios of MVCC as well as in the basement of an apartment complex from the Kettering, Ohio area. The Commandant was not a fun joking kind of host and hosted with a snarl and a sinister tone. He also really liked the gore and violence from the movies and embraced all things evil. His appearance would change from episode to episode as would his body size making viewers wonder just what the Commandant was up to as sometimes he would look like a zombie while others he would have grease paint smeared on his face. The show Commandant Gore hosted was called Gorevision and started in 2000 on Centerville, Ohio public access station MVCC and only lasted a handful of episodes before the show faded away and was not even shown in reruns, and this happened around 2003-2004. In 2005 Commandant Gore tried to bring the show to the Internet, but that never happened and that marked the final end to the show. The show did become the subject of lots of public access urban legend as to why MVCC pulled the plug on the show and booted it from air with some claiming it was because some of the subject matter they showed while others talk about how by accident they put peanut butter in one of the editing machines causing hundreds of dollars in damages and that was the nail in the shows coffin! Even word is that all the master copies of the show have been destroyed and that Gorevision can only be found in the collections of diehard Dayton Horror Host collectors as well as those who were apart of the Horror Host Underground who might have gotten the episodes to play on other Access stations. While Commandant Gore might not be a household name I am sure some fans remember his show and enjoyed his bloody antics. I should also note that many people including Rick Ammon as well as many of his friends played Commandant Gore, and he as well made a small amount of public appearances mostly at Cinema Wasteland Convention as seen below in this pictures, he is the one behind A. Ghastlee Ghoul in the first two and is almost cut off in the third.

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Growing up I watched lots of shows on MVCC with host shows like The Ghastlee Movie Show, Moraine Playhouse Theater, Cult Theater and New Shock Theater being must watches! Not to mention oddball shows like Eat More Carp, Media Only and Neon Maddness were enjoyed as were music shows like Metalmania and Zoo World. And yes I do remember when Gorevision hit the airwaves and while I enjoyed seeing movies like the Blind Dead I was never a mega fan of the show and didn’t watch that often. While I have always been a huge fan of Horror Host shows Gorevision for me was just lost in the sea of other Dayton area hosts who brought shows and antics that I found to be way more enjoyable. Plus I had always found the show to slightly lack focus when it came to presenting the host Commandant Gore as he needed to be the main attraction of the show and not random title cards and local metal bands. But while I might not have been a fan I can still give credit that Commandant Gore and his Gorevision is apart of Dayton, Ohio Horror Host history.

Commandant Gore 5Commandant Gore 6Commandant Gore 7

Gorevision also spawned other Horror Hosts or should I say Horror Host personalities who claimed the mantel of being a host and yet never produced or made a show in the case of one! As these hosts were Dr. Horrific and even a Dr. Creep Jr. emerged after the disbanding of Commandant Gore’s short time on TV. I have only heard rumors of Dr. Horrific having a show or two and I had heard zero of Dr. Creep Jr. ever having one. So I don’t want to spend too much time on these two as they have no legacy of Hosting on TV, but I do sadly want to say that Jeff Ammon who played Dr. Horrific passed away in 2020 and Lonnie Ray Lynch who played Dr. Creep Jr. passed away in 2014. And I do make this promise if any episodes of either of these “Hosts” are found I will give them the honor of having a full Horror Host Icon update, as I have always said all Hosts mean something to their viewers and no Host is two big or small to be given these update respect.

Dr Horrific 1Dr Creep Jr and Dr HorrificDr Creep Jr

Gorevision and Commandant Gore was very much a more underground Horror Host here in Dayton and with that comes episodes that are hard to find and if not for the likes of A. Ghastlee Ghoul and the late great Andy Copp this update would have not been possible as they both had episodes to share. I want to remind you that I will be taking the movies plot write up from our friends at IMDB and will myself write the breakdowns of the Host segments. So if you are ready put on your glasses as its time to see the world in Gorevision!

Gorevision American Nightmare Pt 2 DVD

Gorevision: American Nightmare (1983)
Starring – Lawrence Day & Lora Staley     Rated R     1983

Host: Commandant Gore does not make an appearance in this episode and we start the show with a few songs from a local metal band.

Movie: A man investigates the disappearance of his sister with the help of her roommate. He uncovers a trail of prostitution, incest, blackmail…and murder.

Note From Matt: This episode has the second part and final part of the 1983 film American Nightmare.

Gorevision Itchi The Killer Ep 0 DVD

Gorevision: Itchi The Killer: Ep 0
Starring – Chihiro Suzuki & Takashi Miike     Not Rated       2002

Host: A Title Screen off center welcomes the viewers to Gorevision, and no appearance from the shows host or characters.

Movie: A masochistic mobster meets his match in the dark streets of Tokyo. His nemesis, Ichi, is a psychopathic killer with an unrelenting thirst for bloodshed. A horrifying secret burns in his mind, and his hands deal death without mercy. At last, the shrouds of mystery are parted to reveal the origin of the monster. The city will know its greatest fear at the unveiling of Ichi the Killer.

Note From Matt: This episode is very poorly put together and is Episode 3 from them. And I think they forgot that the Host is what makes an iconic Horror Host show and that he needs to appear in your episodes!

Gorevision Return Of The Evil Dead DVD

Gorevision: Return Of The Evil Dead
Starring – Esperanza Roy & Tony Kendall     Not Rated     1973

Host: Commandant Gore opens the show sitting in the studio with red and black grease paint smeared all over his face. He informs us this is another of the looks he takes on and talks about the nights film and then ushers us in to it.

Movie: 500 years after they were blinded and executed for committing human sacrifices, a band of Templar knights returns from the grave to terrorize a rural Portuguese village during it’s centennial celebration. Being blind, the Templars find their victims through sound, usually the screams of their victims. Taking refuge in a deserted cathedral, a small group of people must find a way to escape from the creatures.

Note From Matt: The movie has bad audio at the start of the film and has a hiss throughout.

Gorevision SS Experiment DVD

Gorevision: SS Experiment
Starring – Paola Corazzi & Mircha Carven     Rated R     1976

Host: The only Host segment for this episode is a title card of center that says the night’s movie is presented in “Gorevision Sytle”.

Movie: Near the end of WW2, prisoners of war are used in experiments to perfect the “Aryan” race.

Commandant Gore 8

Commandant Gore is one of those hosts that I think had potential of being a creepy host if only he had direction and scripts. They should have kept the same actor in the role and showcased him more in the episodes, as there is no reason why he should not be seen in every episode and he should be shown more than once per episode when he did appear. Over all while he was not the cream of the crop when it comes to Dayton, Ohio Horror Hosts, he still has his place in the area’s history and as I said before I am sure he had his fans. And here at Rotten Ink I made a promise to myself to cover any and all Dayton, Ohio Horror Host from the past and present and I am sure many of you are learning about Commandant Gore for the first time! For my next update we will be walking away from the world of Horror Hosting and will be heading to the world of Forgotten Heroes as we will be taking a look at Tiger Girl from Gold Key Comics! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie of two and as always support your local Horror Host! Say do you think Gold Key Comics Tiger Girl is related to Atlas Comics Tiger-Man?

Tiger Girl Preview Logo

SOV Flashback Classics – Suicide 2

Welcome back to another SOV Flashback Classic update and another entry from the history of Independent B Movie’s video vault! We are on the fourth film in the history of this Dayton, Ohio shot-on-video company and marked the end of Fairmont Productions and the start of Independent B Movie and all its sub branches that include Acid X, Dark Soul Productions and Jive Turkey. And the film that is the topic today is the first sequel we ever made and one that for years was considered our most watched film as it always played at parties and gatherings and was considered our peak film for quite a while. I am talking about Suicide 2, the hit sequel to our first film Teen Suicide! I am very much looking forward to looking back on Suicide 2 as this film is the one that the likes of co-founder of Independent B Movie Brandon Womeldorff always looked at as the best film in the company’s long history of shot on video films only rivaled by 2002’s “Razor” in his eyes, and really was the film that kicked off years of films to follow as it was the bar that was set for them to reach. So if you are ready, let’s go back to 1999 when Matt returned to get his revenge on those who tormented him and forcing him to attempt to take his own life!

In 1999 after making the films Teen Suicide, Twisted Batman, Cask of Amontillado and The Things They Carried, I graduated High School and so ended my time at Fairmont and I also thought maybe could have ended our movie making days as a group of friends because we had always used the school’s cameras and editing systems to pull off them all besides Twisted Batman. While I was out of school, the rest of the guys Matt Hoffman, Brandon Womeldorff, Dan Salter, Dave Wean, Rion Neeley and Linda Webb were all still students starting their senior year, and we all stayed close friends as while they were at school, I was working a job at the grocery store Krogers as a bagger. And the thing that was killing me was the fact I knew that they could and would make more films that year and maybe if I was lucky I would be asked to act in them, and then the idea happened. One day while eating lunch at fast food restaurant Wendy’s Brandon pitched the idea of making a sequel to Teen Suicide and calling it Suicide 2…and during this talk many ideas were thrown around from it following another kid from the school who was being picked on by the same group of bullies, the idea of a unknown masked killer stalking the bullies was very briefly discussed and also the idea of having Matt survive the suicide attempt and going for revenge was chatted. And after everyone saying their ideas and which ones they liked, it was decided that Matt had to return as he needed his time to shine and fight back. Plus this time it was not going to be a silent film and would be more of an Action Horror flick with lots of supernatural elements.

The film was cast first before the script was even written and of course Matt Hoffman was back as Matt, Brandon Womeldorff once more played The Car Thief Bully with Scott Harman back as Bully 3 with a name change to Karate Killer Bully, and I was Bully 2 this time around called The Silent Predator! Dave Wean was the Crazy Man Bully, Dan Salter was Skate Boarder Bully with Rion Neeley being Roof Man Bully, who rounded out film’s baddies. We also added to the cast was Linda Webb as the Girlfriend and Jacquelyn Maxwell as a streetwalker. And once the names were in place, Brandon got hard at work on doing the script and also took ideas that both Hoffman and I added as I wanted to add a dark satanic element to the bullies and Hoffman picked the ways he would get revenge on the bullies. After only a week, the script was done and Suicide 2 was ready to film! And the film was shot on a Super-VHS camera for those wondering.

We started filming and tried to stay in order of the script as the film was made in the middle of the school year for them, and graduation was just around the corner so as we filmed it, Brandon was editing away on the Avid Editing Machine and I was asked to also run camera for many scenes as well as produce it, as I had a job at the time and could pay for some of the small amount of supplies. The first day of filming took place on a sunny day just after a night filled of thunderstorms, and we headed back to State Farm Park and the “Suicide Hill” location only after stopping at K-Mart once more and picking up some ketchup to use as blood. The first day of filming used a very small crew as it was Hoffman, Brandon, Dave and myself and with me getting the honor of squirting the “blood” on Hoffman’s head started the production of Suicide 2 and set the mood and tone of this second film. The production of this film took a few months as it had the biggest cast we ever worked with and they were lucky that they were able to film during the school day so Brandon and Hoffman were able to film with the likes of Dan Salter, Linda Webb and Scott Harman during the day, and in the evening and weekends I would join the film team again as well as play the part of the Silent Predator who was now the leader of the bullies as well was a Satanist who was using dark arts to help gain “powers” for myself as well as my bully crew, and man I had a blast playing this character as he was mean and just scummy and took joy in tormenting Matt who was just trying to live his re-given life and figure out a way to get revenge.

The film during production had many fight scenes and they are some of the worst we have ever filmed, but at the time we thought they looked great…but they were so bad with us looking super stiff and awkward doing fake style moves on each other…but of course because none of us were trained, accidents did happen as on one scene I gave Hoffman a running clothesline while he was sitting on a swing, and well I hit him a little too hard! On many of the Dave Wean and Hoffman fight scenes, things got a little rough and poor Hoffman was on the bad end of a move. In one scene Hoffman is getting beat up by Rion, Dave and myself and by accident I kicked him in the gut and knocked the wind out of him. We also thought that we could pull off many stunts and like with the fighting we were wrong and people ended up getting hurt like in one scene Rion Neeley was hit by a car by Hoffman and the car hit him a little harder then it should have and when he fell to the ground he screwed up his back. Another amazing thing about making this film is that we filmed part of it after the Columbine High School Massacre as were able to pull off fake guns in the schools parking lot as well as show fake bullying in their hallways. Plus the satanic elements of my character were based on my high school time at Fairmont and was a way to make fun of the label that school workers placed on me. Plus we also played with lighting in this film that was a first for us, and Brandon during editing found his love for the use of slow motion to draw out the drama and action of the movies he worked on in the future.

The final shots of the film took place in Hills & Dales Park in Kettering and then Waynesville, Ohio and it was Matt’s showdown revenge with The Silent Predator, and was filmed very late at night with the first part being shot at a shelter at the park with car headlights and a red light used to build the eerie feel, and the Silent Predator even spits out blood like a vampire (it was food coloring and it tasted gross) and after the final fight, we packed up and headed towards Waynesville and at the side of the road we filmed a scene of The Silent Predator with candles and chants bringing back the Car Thief from the dead…it was silly and was cut from the film in the end. Once done Brandon worked super hard to polish the film up and make it look just right and placed music throughout that was mostly just 90’s Techno and Alternative Rock tracks, and once he was done, we had a massive gathering at Linda Webb’s apartment that was complete with pizza, pops, chips and other drinks and we watched the film as a group and we all had a blast laughing and goofing on each others performances. And from then on at many house parties and gatherings Brandon would bust out Suicide 2, and I cannot even count how many times I have seen the film, and for the longest time it was considered the top of the line for our filmmaking group…but that would change a few years later. When Independent B Movie was finally created and we started selling our films Suicide 2 was released on VHS and sold pretty well and made its rounds also doing some small screenings at Conventions, and even played a handful of times on a local Public Access station. Later it would be paired with Teen Suicide on DVD and was our first DVD release that even included commentary and extras and was put together by a young filmmaker Henrique Couto.

Suicide 2 was the main film that kicked off our want to keep making movies as a group as we had a blast making it. I mean sure, at times Matt Hoffman and Brandon Womeldorff would get into drag out verbal fights and would be at odds with each other for days while filming it still was something that just felt very special that we all created together. Even now in 2021 when watching this film it holds a special place in my heart. So I want to say that for these I.B.M films I will write about its plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for Independent B Movie/Bloodline Video films. So if you are ready, let’s take a look at Matt’s second round of fighting for his life against bullies, and also his quest to find death.

Suicide 2
Starring – Matt Hoffman & Linda Webb     Directed by Brandon Womelforff
1999     Not Rated     54min     Independent B Movie     DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: Matt awakens in the field with blood all over the side of his head five days after he put a gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger. He is confused and stumbles away from the scene. We then join the Car Thief as he picks up the Kung-Fu bully from school, he is still driving Matt’s car and the pair discuss the return of Matt after the suicide attempt and that they will make Matt pay for not dying. Once back at school Kung-Fu Bully has a run in with Matt and leaves him once more beaten up. The next day Matt is beat up by the High School Security Guard and the next day he is beat up by The Silent Predator and the Crazy Bully! Day after day Matt finds himself the victim of beat downs at the hands of all his tormenters including a new ones called the Roof Man Bully and Skateboard Bully as they all beat him up by themselves or in a groups. Matt’s girlfriend is cheating on him with the Car Thief Bully and even a Prostitute degrades him when he goes looking for love. Day after Day Matt is made fun of and bullied…and he snaps and this time suicide is not his first answer as revenge is on his mind! One by one Matt hunts down his tormentors armed with his gun, car and bare hands and makes them pay by dealing out death. In the end he has a showdown with the Silent Predator and after shooting him all his bullies are dead! Matt then returns home and makes a bomb and straps it to his chest and blows himself up…ending his torment as well as the lives of his bullies.

Thoughts: Watching Suicide 2 after all these years was very cool as so many great memories came back to me about filming this “epic” shot on video backyard film as it was a blast to be once more being creative with my friends from school. Plus I think the making of this film made us all even better friends as we all got to hang out all the time and not only film, but also plan more films as well as other creative outlets even forming a band and well as going on ghost hunts together. The film allowed many of us to also give our ideas and develop our own characters with poor Matt Hoffman being he one who ended up having to be the one who had to be the butt of all the on screen jokes and butt kicking’s. But I must say that Hoffman is the one who got to pick the way we killed off each of the characters that made his characters life miserable and I think he enjoyed that as he got to really build the films action climax. One thing that was also lots of fun was just traveling around town at all hours of the day and night armed with our trusty school borrowed camera setting up shots and situations. This was also the first time in a shot on video film that I used food coloring as blood, and learned that putting a bunch in your mouth to spit out does not look good when you do it way too fast. While this was the fifth film in the history of what would become Independent B Movie it was one that was a blast to make and was our biggest and boldest made for the time as we pushed the limits of what we could get away with while many of the creators and actors were in school. Is it my favorite film we made…not at all…but it is one that I say helped push us all into making the movies that followed that got us some attention in the world of backyard shot on video films.

Grade: B-

Suicide 2 was to also be the start of a series of Suicide films that would have starred Hoffman as the undying anti-hero Matt as he would face off with not only the bullies but later would have fought Asylum workers, demons and even The Devil himself, but this franchise was just not meant to be even though it started production many times and went through many of scripts over the years with Brandon, Hoffman, Wean and myself all have written a treatment at some point. But who knows, while I doubt if a third movie is ever made, I would not rule out Suicide 3 from one of the many scripts being made into a Blood Scream Comic one-shot issue. And also for those interested the character Matt from Teen Suicide and Suicide 2 does make a comic book appearance in the first issue of the Sparkle Comic anthology comic called “Weird Sci-Fi Tales” with the story and art being done by Bruce O’ Hughes. And a “technical” third film was made in 2003 that also acted as a remake called Teen Suicide and was directed by Henrique Couto and featured a female lead being bullied. Well I hope you enjoyed this look back at this SOV classic from not only my past but that of Independent B Movie, the little indie company that could and did. For our next update we are walking away from the shot on video world and entering the world of Puppet Master as we will be taking a look at the Deadly 10 Comic based on puppet Blade for a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update! So until next time read an indie comic or three, watch a SOV film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a Full Moon Entertainment Comic good time.

For the Honor of Greyskull: She-Ra Through the Ages

Greetings readers – it’s Juliet, reporting back in for blogging duty. Back in the early days of Rotten Ink, 2013 to be exact, Matt asked his friends what franchises they thought should have been made into comics.  Interestingly several of my picks have become comics since then with one franchise in particular enjoying a reboot and subsequent relaunch into popular culture.  That franchise is She-Ra, and today we’ll be taking a look at both the classic Princess of Power and the modern Princesses of Power series including a modern comic for younger readers.  So saddle up your flying horse, grab the Sword of Protection and let’s head to Etheria for the honor of Greyskull!

In 1985, Filmation launched a spinoff to it’s animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  Geared at young women, She-Ra: Princess of Power followed Princess Adora, the twin sister of Prince Adam (aka He-Man), who was kidnapped by Hordak at birth and was taken to Etheria where she served as Force Captain of the Horde.  After being saved by He-Man and reunited with her family, Adora then chooses to return to Etheria as a freedom fighter in the rebellion, taking up the Sword of Protection and the mantle of She-Ra.  

She-Ra: Princess of Power introduced many supporting characters, some of whom were created by Filmation and others by Mattel, presumably so they could add toys and other merchandise featuring the new characters. The series made its debut on TV in 1985, and the five episode introduction was packed as the film He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword. She-Ra: Princess of Power would run for two seasons and a total of 93 episodes. 

The original She-Ra series is one of those cartoons that’s just always existed for me.  I was so young when it debuted, that I can’t actually remember the first time I saw the show, rather, it was ever-present throughout my childhood.  Even after it went off the air, I had a VHS copy of He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special taped off TV that I’d regularly watch.  I loved the characters, but moreover, I loved the idea of the characters and their world.  These were the types of characters that I’d make my own stories about while daydreaming (hello, future fanfiction and original fiction writer). Like many cartoons of its era, it faded away for a while but saw a huge resurgence of interest with the rise of nostalgic pop culture in the late 90s/early 00s.  And of course, the release of the show on DVD helped fuel that fire.  I have the DVDs, and it’s been fun getting reacquainted with the series, especially getting the watch the entire run in order, something I didn’t get to do as a child.  

In 2018, a new version of She-Ra debuted on Netflix.  She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was developed by Noelle Stevenson, already well known for her Nimona and Lumberjanes comic series.  It focused on a teenaged Adora’s journey of love and friendship from being a Horde force captain to taking on the mantle of She-Ra, the savior of Etheria. This series ran a total of five seasons on Netflix to wide acclaim for both its storytelling and its inclusive characters and relationships.  

I had heard good things about She-Ra and the Princess of Power since its launch, but being notoriously late to the game on Netflix shows, it took me until the fifth and final season was released to start my watch.  In all honesty, however, my timing couldn’t have been better.  I watched the entire run of the show in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic and was fairly awestruck.  It was amazing to see beloved, albeit sometimes one dimensional characters from the original series reborn with intentional stories and personalities all their own in bodies and with identities that reflect the varied and awesome realities of our world with a fantasy backdrop.  And then there’s the storytelling.  I have such appreciation for shows that are geared towards younger folks that don’t shy from complex stories and don’t pander to their intended audience.  Watching She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, I was moved to tears on more than one occasion and could imagine my younger self feeling all of the feelings when watching it.  

One thing that really surprised me going from She-Ra: Princess of Power to She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was which characters became my favorite from each show.  In the original show, I was a huge fan of Adora/She-Ra but also loved the looks of Peekablue and Frosta.  In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, I totally adored Mermista and, mostly surprisingly of all, became a diehard fan of Scorpia.  Both of those characters grow so much through the series, and with Scorpia, you just want her to win and find happiness.  

Before we go on, I have to talk for a moment about music.  Both She-Ra series have memorable theme songs.  The original 80s theme is a riff on the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe theme with a voiceover from titular hero and a chorus of their name, though I find the She-Ra theme to be much catchier.   The theme for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, however, takes catchy to a whole new level with the song “Warriors” performed by Aaliyah Rose.  It’s such a great anthem that’s guaranteed to get stuck in your head.In addition to the original run of Mattel figures and their accompanying playsets upon which the show was launched, the 80s version of She-Ra had plenty of merchandise both then and now including t-shirts, coffee mugs and cups, sticker and coloring books, board games, backpacks and Funko Pops. Starting in the 2000s, Mattel began to cash in on toy collectors’ nostalgia with several series of reissued He-Man and She-Ra figure sets, beginning with Masters of the Universe Classics.  This first series ran from 2008 until 2016 and featured She-Ra characters scattered among those from He-Man throughout the line.  These were good looking collectors’ figures that were based on the original Masters of the Universe sculpts rather than the original She-Ra figures (so they were bulkier and all plastic with sculpted hair).  My own collection includes both Adora and She-Ra as well as Teela from Masters of the Universe. There have been several additional reissue series in the same vein of Masters of the Universe Classics over the years with a new one that just started (the She-Ra from that series was released in February, 2021) and a line of ReAction figures.  Like its predecessor, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power also has its share of cool merchandise including t-shirts, enamel pins, stickers, a line of books and graphic novels aimed at younger readers, and an awesome line of Target exclusive figures.  

I had many of the original She-Ra figures growing up including She-Ra and a Crystal Swiftwind.  I remember always wanting the Crystal Castle playset, but alas, never actually had it (though my extensive Jem and the Holograms collection more than made up for that), but I do still have my childhood She-Ra coloring book.  I haven’t gotten any merchandise from the new show yet – save for the topic of our review, but I blame that on having watched it entirely during the pandemic and having not set foot in a Hot Topic in over a year as of this posting.  

So let’s talk about what we’re going to review today — in 2019, Scholastic (who you may know from your childhood book fairs) released a chapter book designed for grades 1-5 called She-Ra: Origins of a Hero.  Written by Tracey West, this book kicked off an unconnected series of books for the same age group that took place in the world of the Netflix show.  The fourth book, released in early 2020, however was a graphic novel called She-Ra: Legend of the Fire Princess.  It was written by D.G. Gigi and illustrated by Pauline Ganucheau with input from Noelle Stevenson.  That graphic novel, which was a gift from Matt, is the subject of today’s review. As a reminder, here on Rotten Ink, we grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and are looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get ready for an adventure of friendship and wonder as we look at She-Ra: Legend of the Fire Princess

She-Ra: Legend of the Fire Princess  ****
Released in 2020   Cover Price $12.99   Scholastic   #1 of 1

The Spirit Ember is the hot topic of the day as both the Horde and the Rebellion are seeking this lost rune stone.  As Entrapta and Catra plan their search, Glimmer tells the other princess of the legend of the Fire Princess, whose years of solitude trying to master the secrets of the Spirit Ember ended up destroying her kingdom.  Adora is disturbed by the legend, but soon her attention shifts as a Horde vehicle is reported outside Thaymor.  Queen Angela sends Adora, Glimmer and the others to investigate and permits them to search for the Spirit Ember. Meanwhile, Catra and Scorpia are on their own search, but are decidedly not on the same page about their objectives for the day.  As both teams race toward the Spirit Ember, it becomes clear that everything is not as it seems with the lost runestone and each team will have to not only decide if the rune stone is worth it, but also confront issues of trust and friendship along the way.

Comics based on cartoons (as opposed to cartoons based on comics) can really go either way: they can provide fans with additional stories that are faithful to the shows they love or they can utterly pale in comparison with the source material.  Lucky for us, She-Ra: Legend of the Fire Princess is the former. Just like the show, while this graphic novel is aimed at a younger audience, it’s a great read for fans of any age.  The story of a quest for a lost rune-stone would fit perfectly in the middle seasons of the show and, like all of the episodes, manages to balance the “quest of the day” with the larger things the characters are dealing with emotionally and interpersonally.  You can tell Noelle Stevenson had a hand in this because the tone is just right.  Gigi D.G.’s script is well-paced and gives each character time to shine, and Paulina Ganucheau’s art, which you can see below, fits perfectly with the style of the show.  Given that it is aimed at young readers, this will be a quick read for most, but it still manages to pack in a lot of story and a lot of heart.  If you’re a fan of the show and are craving more She-Ra content after the final season, definitely check this one out.

What a fun trip down the nearer and further stretches of memory lane.  When I proposed a She-Ra comic back in 2013, I had hoped that it would provide context and depth to the 80s characters.  Never could I have imagined a show as amazing as She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and I’m so happy we have it.  For our next update, I’ll be handing the blog back to Matt, but we’ll stay in the world of nostalgia as we visit the 90s for a look at Malibu’s Prototype.  In the meantime, support your local comic shop, be strong and be brave.