Halloween With The Magnetic Tape Undead

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

Creepy Halloween Night

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

abandoned by disney

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

Milwaukee Lion

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

North Carolina Cloaked Figure

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

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

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

Hyde Road Bridge 0

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

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

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

Cellar Dweller 1Cellar Dweller VHSCellar Dweller 2

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

Ronald Clark O'Bryanpixie stixsThe Candyman had haters

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

A Ghastlee Ghoul (Bob Hinton)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Amazing A Ghastlee Ghoul

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

Halloween5

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

Eric Shonborn Art 1Eric ShonbornEric Shonborn Art 2

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

The Video Dead Logo

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

Video Dead Movie 1The Video Dead VHSVideo Dead Movie 2

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

Revenge Of The Video Dead 1

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

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

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

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

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

3D man logo

The Undead Panic Beats Of Alaric de Marnac!

It’s October, the time of the year when the wind blows cold and a chill is in the air.  For me, this month belongs to Halloween, horror films, horror hosts and of course one good scare. Being scared is thrilling and gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing.  I can remember one time when I was a teenager, my friend Kevin and I went to a local cemetery late at night during October.  The wind was blowing, and it was very chilly as we were walking around we were talking about film ideas and even exchanging ghost stories.  The cemetery was pitch black as we walked deeper in with ideas of vampire and werewolf films echoing among the tombstones. As we reached the center, a loud clang was heard and it sounded like metal hitting metal.  I was startled, and as I turned around to ask Kevin what that noise was, I saw a shadow and a dust cloud as he was so scared he was running at full speed back to the car.  Even though I figured out it was just the flag pole making the noise in the wind, he wanted to leave. This experience also made me think of the old ghost story of the woman who used the letter opener to stab the ground in the graveyard and by accident pinned her own dress to the ground.  She became so scared that an undead force had her, she died of fright! And that brings me to this update based on the Paul Naschy film Panic Beats that is about fear, revenge and a curse and also brings up the question, could someone die from fear? So hopefully you have nerves of steel as we take a look at Panic Beats, fear and other spooky and weird things on this October update!Fear of Death

Fear is defined as “to be afraid of (something or someone), to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant) and to be afraid and worried” by Webster, and I think that at some time in our life we have all tasted fear in some way or another.  Whether it’s a fear of animals or even death itself, fear has placed its cold grip on us all. When I was a youngster, being a total dumb kid and on a dare from friend Brad Burns, I poked a nest of hornets with a baseball bat and paid the price as they chased me across the street to my home stinging and biting me all the way! Needless to say, for many years after I had a very strong dislike for bees, wasps and hornets as when they would fly at me the fear of being stung would creep into my brain.  Of course now as an adult I have come to peace with them as I realized I was the butthead in that attack and was the one who provoked that stinging frenzy. Growing up, my mom was afraid of dogs and pigs as she grew up around them and saw the mean side of them.  My brother Bryan was scared of a ventriloquist dummy named Willy Talk when he was younger,  My cousin Stephen was scared of dolls like Chucky.  My friend Jason Young feared death for a short while as we all do, and my girlfriend Juliet was scared of the thought of her home catching fire and this gave her some sleepless nights for sure.  So as you can see, fear has even gotten to those close to me! So what did or do you fear?

mean hornet

This all makes me wonder if anyone has 100% truly died of fear as we have all heard the terms “you scared me to death” and “scared to death,” and the answer is yes! You see many people have died from fear during crimes, earthquakes and other natural disasters people’s hearts have stopped from fear and being overly charged with it! You can also die from any major emotional rush like even cheering for your favorite sport teams or being so hyped playing a video game! While this is not super common, it can happen and makes one wonder has anyone every been scared to death by a Halloween prank? So I did some deep searching on the web to try and find a case, and to my shock I could not.  I found cases where pranks on Halloween went wrong and led to the death of someone like accidental hangings and such and uncovered cases of people who died of fear as they were going to be executed via firing squad, but nothing solid to say someone died of fear from a prank pulled on Halloween. But for all you pranksters out there who like to pull a good rib on Halloween as well as you sports fans cheering for your favorite team, think twice before you do so because who knows, a sudden death might await you!

2 skulls scared to death

I can recount one time in the fall that I got a cold shiver up my spine while at a local cemetery called Beavertown Cemetery in Kettering.  You see Josh Weinberg and I were in the cemetery scouting it out for the purpose of maybe using it for a zombie flick I had written called “Stairway to Heaven” that followed a small town during a zombie outbreak.  We had shot some test footage at a cemetery in Beavercreek and liked what we saw but wanted to find an alternative just in case as a road was really close to that one and we wanted more of a quiet location like the Kettering one. I knew Beavertown Cemetery well as it had been the location for press pictures for my film Werewolf of Ohio 2 and was a place I use to take my girlfriend Misty to make out so. As we were wandering around, I was near a tombstone that was as tall as me as I stand 6 ‘ 2 “ and the name I saw was Sarah Houston.  As I got closer, I heard a knock. I was taken back as the knock sounded as if it was coming from the tombstone itself! I called for Josh who came over and as well heard the knocking that was coming about 15-20 seconds apart.  We stood around for a few minutes listening to the knocks and even returned the knocks on the tombstone, but as quickly and as mysteriously as they started, the knocking stopped. Josh and I tried our best to figure out what the knocking noise was as I am sure it was not a spirit or at least I don’t think it was! But the pure emotion of that whole situation was something amazing as it sent shivers down my spine but also made me feel alive and full of wonder. That grave and that experience even made me write a short film script called Sarah’s Grave about a man who lost his girlfriend in a car wreck and by a miracle she is able to come back to him for one day before having to return to her eternal slumber. It’s been many years since I went back to visit that grave and from what I have heard some scum bag Kettering d-bags decided it would be fun to tip over and break tombstones, and it appears as if Sarah’s grave was one of these buttheads targets. I am by no means saying that the knocking was that of the undead, but I am also not 100% ruling it out all I can really say is that it was a fun experience that made that year’s Halloween a little more spooky and added to the season for sure. I should also note that the knocking only happened that one time, and Josh and I went back several times after at all times of the day and never heard it again. Below is a picture we took of Sarah’s Grave as it appeared in 1999, the year of the knocking.Sarahs Grave

A murder took place on August 1st 2015 at 5:46 am in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one that shocked not only the world but also the internet as the lovable hitchhiking robot named hitchBOT was decapitated, arms dismembered and left like trash on the side of the road. A video of the attack was posted, but many think it was a hoax to gain hits to the website that posted it.  But one thing is for sure, someone brutally killed that poor little robot and even stole all the wires from his body and it looks like he might be beyond repair. For those who don’t know, hitchBOT was made by Canadian team David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller, and was a robot with a plastic beer bucket body, pool noodle arms & legs with gloves and boots on, with a cake saver head with a display screen face that smiled and talked to those who were nice enough to give him a ride or even pass him by on his journey. On his adventures he made it across Canada, parts of Germany as well as Europe! He went to weddings, baseball games, comic conventions and landmarks all the while documenting it via his website and Instagram account.  In other words, he was enjoying the interaction with strangers. It’s clear as day that whomever killed hitchBOT was a real lowlife scum bag kind of like the people who broke tombstones in Beavertown Cemetery and destroyed it because they didn’t understand him and probably wanted to steal his wiring to sale for scrap.  Total scummy and is sad that one/several lowlifes did this and gave America a bad name as it looks as if we have to destroy things that are here for fun. I hope that someday the freak(s) who did this is found so at least we can get an answer to why hitchBOT was killed and see if they have any remorse for what they have done.  Who knows if the poor little hitchBOT will be repaired and continue his journey as only time will tell. All silliness aside, it does really stink that hitchBOT was destroyed as I would have loved to have taken him around Ohio to visit Waynesville, Frankenstein’s Tower, Fifth Third Field, Game Swap Kettering, King’s Island and of course have him in a episode of Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre with Baron Von Porkchop! Here is to you hitchBOT, may your journey to the robot other world be a peaceful one, and to your creators, I am sorry that he meet his fate this way in our great country. Below are some pics of hitchBOT, but be warned, one is of his murder scene.

hitchBOT 1hitchBOT deadhitchBOT 2

But let’s move away from knocking tombstones and murdered robots and talk about something wicked that’s coming your way via your local comic shop! As I am sure you readers know, I am a huge fan of horror comics as well as independent horror films, and I am super hyped for a new comic mini series that’s in the works called We Kill The Dead that combines them together for what’s for sure to be a bloody good read. The mastermind behind this series is John Lepper, who also runs a horror website called The Blood Shed and grew up watching slasher flicks and became hooked when his dad showed him Halloween when he was a teen, with art done by Bryan Revell. The series will follow Joanna, a young woman who joins an elite group of soldiers who go after unstoppable killers called Supernatural Special Tactics Bureau lead by Nathan Scrimm who are on the trail of a resurrected Jack The Ripper and his undead slasher army! Sounds like lots of fun right? Well the most kick-ass part about this series will be that it will feature cameos from slashers from independent horror films! You will see the likes of Thorn from Legacy of Thorn, The Dollman from Methodic, Gurdy The Clown from 100 Tears, Porkchop from Porkchop, The Black Knight from Dead of Knight, The Bowling Bag Killer from Gutterballs, Billy from Billy Club, Dorchester Stewart from Crinoline Head, Bonesetter from The Bonesetter, Jonah from Jonah Lives!, Verden Fell from Frightworld, Jack-O from Jack-O, Stitches The Clown from Stitches, Blood Widow from Blood Widow, Mary Hatchet from Blood Night The Legend of Mary Hatchet, Charlie from High Beams: The Break In, Jimmy Fisher from Evil Night, and I am proud to say my own low budget slasher The Sadness will be slashing his way into the action! Plus he has one huge name he can not announce yet and who knows if more will be added! I am really proud to say that I helped with this comic’s Kickstarter and am looking forward to reading the issue and seeing not only The Sadness as well as the other slashers but also myself! You see I am going to be a member of the Supernatural Special Tactics Bureau as I am super hyped to have chosen that perk and can’t wait for you all to see what slasher waits me in combat. I already know, but I’m not telling as once this series is done we will have a major update about it. When the comic is done make sure to ask your local comic shops to contact The Blood Shed website and order some for you and fellow shoppers. The other thing that I can’t wait for is to see what other twisted horror comic tales are coming out via Lepper’s mind as I am sure they will be amazing. Plus it’s nice to see a new horror comic rise to take the place of the fallen companies like Fangoria Comics, Dead Dog Comics and Northstar Comics and give us fans series and issues to look forward to. Once I get the physical copies of We Kill The Dead, I will be sure to deliver an update to all my friends and readers here at Rotten Ink.

Jimmy Fisher Evil Nightwe-kill-the-dead-concept-artThe Sadness on swing

But we are now at the main course of this update as it’s time to talk about Panic Beats, a film that was made and starred the legend of Spanish horror Paul Naschy. Panic Beats was released in 1983 and was the brain child of Naschy who wrote, directed and starred in the film as Paul/Alaric de Marnac and it shows that his heart was in this film as it’s a solid chiller that has twists, turns and lots of bloody deaths that keeps the viewer glued to the screen. IMDB has the films write up as being this “The spirit of a deceased knight returns every 100 years to clean a house by graphically murdering the women who are making the life of his descendants unbearable.” and has the rating of 5.8 out of 10. While the film was a hit around the world, it only reached cult status here in America thanks to drive-in and grindhouse theaters. The issue that Panic Beats had here in America is that it was up against many now classic films like Psycho II, Sleepaway Camp, Cujo, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Jaws 3-D, Christine, Twilight Zone The Movie and Amityville 3-D! Not to mention, it was up against many other cult films like Scalps, The Final Terror, Mausoleum, Deadly Spawn and A Blade In The Dark to name a few so sadly it was overlooked and many places didn’t even show it in America until years later. I first saw the film thanks to Mondo Macabro who released it on DVD in 2005 and by this time I had already seen many of Naschy’s werewolf character Waldemar Daninsky film on VHS and was becoming a fan. I ordered Panic Beats on DVD from the Blockbuster Video I was working at and when it came in I quickly bought it and rushed home to watch it, and was blown away from the story as well as the effects used for the deaths. And when I discovered that artist Javier Trujillo who also did the Naschy comic called Return of The Werewolf also did a comic based on Panic Beats, I knew I had to read it!

Panic Beats 1Panic Beats DVDPanic Beats 2

Javier Trujillo, the artist behind this comic, has quickly become one of my favorite modern artist as his style is a blend of a Renaissance painting with a touch of fantasy and when put together, the art is absolutely stunning. Javier is the master of drawing Paul Naschy as every piece of art with his image looks as if you’re viewing a picture of the actor, not to mention the way he draws the female body is much like Art Adams as the both understand the curves of the female forum. His currant project is called Dreams, which can be bought on Amazon for your Kindle, and is a erotic comic. I am also proud to call him a friend. While I have never met the man face to face, thanks to social media I have been able to write to him and pick his brain on art as well as share good talks of physical paper comics vs. digital comics as he is sure to be a pioneer of bringing digital comics to the front with his amazing work. While he at this time has moved away from horror comics, I still will say his work on the Paul Naschy-inspired werwolf comics rank as some of my all time favorite comic series, and I am super hyped to read his Panic Beats comic and review it for you all today. In closing, thanks, Javier for being you and making quality books with top notch art.

Javier Trujillojaviertrujillo

I am a comic book reader and have been since I was a youngster, and while I love classic Marvel Comics, I have always had a soft spot for the independent comic companies as most of the time they delivered the best in the world of horror comics.  I cannot tell you how hyped I am to read and review this comic based on Panic Beats! So before we see if this comic can scare me to death, I should remind you all that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So I am ready to see what terror awaits me and how close this comic captures the spooky nature of the film so with no more wait let’s take a look at Panic Beats. I want to warn readers this review does contain spoilers for both the comic and the film, so read with caution if you have not seen the film.

Panic Beats comic 1

Panic Beats  # 1 ***1/2
Released in 2015    Cover Price $2.99    Javier Trujillo    #1 of 1

A woman in a panic is running naked through the woods trying her best to get away from a knight who has bloodlust in his eyes. The knight’s name is Alaric, and he murders the woman in cold blood and seems to enjoy every brutal moment. We skip to France, the year 1983, and Paul, a relative of Alaric, has just gotten word that his wife Genevieve has a weak heart and that she needs to go to his old family house in the middle of nowhere to get fresh air and peace and quiet. The maid and her niece Julie are getting the old home ready and talking about the ghost story of Alaric and how he killed his wife and became into the occult and was executed for his crimes.  The two woman exchange thoughts and go about getting the home ready. While on the road Paul and Genevieve run out of gas.  As Paul walks to get gas, some local thieves attack Genevieve and start to rob her but she is saved by Paul who beats them up. Paul and Genevieve make it to the old family house and quickly things turn bad as Julie tells Genevieve of the legend of Alaric and this triggers nightmares, delusions and panic attacks that lead to her death! But we soon find out that Paul used the legend as well as the help of Julie and the two local thieves to drive her into complete fear and give her a heart attack. Paul and Julie team up and kill the maid as well as Paul’s secretary from work and then marry after Genevieve’s funeral. But while Paul and Julie seem like a happy evil couple, it’s not so as Julie electrocutes Paul while he is taking a bath as she only married him for the money he inherited when Genevieve died! But as this twisted tale ends, we soon find that the evil spirit of Alaric is real and he brutally murders Julie for her crime against his ancestor.

This is a fantastic example of a well made top notch comic adaptation of a horror film and once more shows why Javier Trujillo is one of my favorite artists and creators working now! The plot of this comic is filled with twists and turns and surprises that keep the reader wondering what is the true nature of characters and what is real and what’s legend and superstition. Paul is a man who, when we first meet him, you think is a loving husband who wants his ill wife to get better and is trying his best to get her well, but when his true intentions and evil side come out we see he is just a sinister spirited man who cares more about money and power than his wife whom he never loved and only married for her money. The way he uses her weak heart against her and with the help of other scumbags forces her to have a heart attack is stuff of real life nightmares. Genevieve comes off a a very weak and ill person, who believes in her husband and thinks that by going to his old family home this will help her heal, but sadly she dies never knowing her scumbag husband has literally scared her to death. Julie is a young woman who as well has a black heart as she jumps on board with scaring Genevieve to death, and then in return seduces Paul into marrying her so that she can kill him and collect all the money! Julie is the perfect evil woman who uses her looks to draw people in and then uses them to inflect doom on those foolish enough to trust her. The maid, the two hired crooks and the secretary all are great background players and all fit their part well whether it be victim of accomplice. Alaric in life was a crazed madman and even as a spirit lives up to his reputation of bloodlust and murder.  His sinister legend is what’s used to kill Genevieve and in the end his curse is what avenges Paul by brutally killing Julie for her betrayal. The comic is packed with some great blood and gore and while not over done it’s very much effective, as is the use of change of colors when a character is having a nightmare or when panic has set in Trujillo is that master of capturing the mood of these Naschy films and making it come alive in the comics. The comic’s script was based on the film’s script written by Paul Naschy and is a great twisted tale that in my opinion still holds up to this day in the creepy and moody department.  The comic that was originally done in Spanish was translated by Elena Romea Parente, and while it does have some slightly rough patches it does its work. The artwork by Javier Trujillo is top notch art and feels like a painting come alive! The way he draws Paul Naschy really makes it feel like the late actor is alive and well on the screen/pages before your very eyes. This comic captures the magic of the film and delivers a well done horror comic that should not only please the fans of the film but also those comic readers who enjoy a good fright. Check it out as it’s worth every penny, and in closing this was a perfect comic to kick off my October and I can’t wait to see what Naschy inspired comic Javier Trujillo comes out with next! Check out this piece of artwork from the comic below.

Panic Beats Art 1

This fourth update to our countdown to Halloween was a great one and has truly gotten me in the mood to read more and more horror comics and with our next update we will be leaving the world of Paul Naschy and will be heading to the lab of Dr. Jekyll as we cover Comics Classic Illustrated’s adaptation of the novel The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! I hope Panic Beats didn’t scare you too badly and that you do join me back for the next update as I am sure it will as well scare you to the bone! So with the chill in the air and the ghost and goblins of Halloween running loose it the streets, it’s my cue to bid you a fun time reading a horror comic or three, watch a Paul Naschy Horror Film and support your local Horror Host.

jekyll hyde logo

Motorcycle Riding Rodents From The Red Planet

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! If you grew up in the early 1990’s then I am sure you knew just how tight of a grip Teenage Mutant Ninja had on the youth, but then you also know how many knock offs flooded the toy and cartoon market the years that followed.  Who could forget Street Sharks, The Toxic Crusaders, Cowboys Of Moo Mesa, Creepy Crawlers, Extreme Dinosaurs, SWAT Kats and of course The Biker Mice From Mars! While all these had their own charm, they still were very much inspired by the Turtles’ popularity, and the one we will be focusing on today is Biker Mice From Mars. Growing up through the 80’s and 90’s I was around for the huge boom of popularity of the Turtles, and Biker Mice From Mars was the butt of many jokes between me and my friends who just laughed about the silly name and the idea of alien mice on bikes saving the day. I can remember that you were made fun of if you said you watched the cartoon, and no one I knew admitted that they had any of the toys as they were afraid of being mocked. While I never owned any of the toys, I did watch the cartoon and thought how wonderfully cheesy it was.  At the time I was the proud owner of pet mice so of course I was going to check out a cartoon about ones that rode motorcycles! So you could say I was living a double life as at home I watched the cartoon but at school I made fun of it as if it was garbage left in the bottom of a Burger King trash can. So I admit it now; at a young age I watched Biker Mice From Mars.  Now at age 35, I am going to do an update about them here at Rotten Ink so let’s jump on our bikes and have some adventure, shall we?

The Biker Mice From Mars

In 1993, Biker Mice From Mars was released by Saban Entertainment to the syndicated cartoon market and had many companies behind its creation that include Galoob Toys, Marvel Productions and Worldwide Sports & Entertainment. The series followed three anthropomorphic mice that came to Earth from Mars after their planet was stricken by a harsh war and their race was wiped out.  They are Throttle, Modo and Vinnie, and they love to ride motorcycles.  They crash land in Chicago where they meet garage owner and mechanic Charlene “Charley” Davidson. Each of the mice have serve injuries that they got on their home planet and each have a different personality and color of fur. Throttle has tan fur and is the leader.  He is noble and driven to save Earth as well as his fellow mice men.  His injury is his eyesight that was damaged in an accident. Vinnie has white fur and is a smooth talker.  He has a crush on Charlene and had one side of his face burned off in the accident and must wear a metal mask to hide and protect it. Modo has grey fur and is the team’s powerhouse and lost one of his arms that is replaced with a metal one. Their friend and ally is Charley Davidson, the owner and mechanic for a small garage in Chicago called Last Chance Garage.  She is tough as nails and pretty to boot. But things are not all well as they find that the owner of one of Chi-Towns biggest industries is a Plutarkian named Lawrence Limburger, the same fish-headed smelly race that ruined their planet and worse, he has allies with him like dumb as a box of rocks henchman Grease Pit, evil scientist Dr. Benjamin Boris Zachary Karbunkle and weirdo Fred The Mutant to name a few. Now on Earth, the Biker Mice must try and stop Limburger from trashing their new home. The series lasted for 3 seasons and a total of 65 episodes. In 2006, The Biker Mice From Mars made a small comeback and had new episodes made for one season with a total of 28 episodes. So one thing’s for sure, while they might have been the butt of jokes at school, they still had an impact on the world of cartoons.

Biker Mice 1Biker Mice 2 logoBiker Mice 3

In 1993 to go along with the cartoon Galoob started to make action figures to push Biker Mice From Mars toward becoming a name in children’s entertainment.  The figures stood a little taller then Ninja Turtles and came with all types of weapons as well as vehicles and playsets that could be bought separately. All the main characters were made into the toy line that lasted till 1994, but before the toys were canceled, many different variations of the biker mice themselves were made and released. Besides the action figures there were also bendable figures, 12” figures as well as Micro Machine versions of the bikes. Growing up, I didn’t know any kids that had any of these figures, nor did I, but to be honest by 1993 I was older and not really buying a lot of toys as girls were more on my mind than buying an action figure. Over the years, I have seen lots of Biker Mice figures at local thrift stores and flea markets showing that somebody bought them back in the day.

Biker Mice Toy 1Biker Mice Toy 2Biker Mice Toy 3

Like all good cartoons of the time, it was turned into a video game for the Super Nintendo, and for the re-launch a game was made for PS2 and Nintendo DS. But let’s focus on the SNES version as it’s the classic of the bunch and was released during the height of Biker Mice Mania. In 1994, Konami released a racing game based on Biker Mice From Marsfor the Super Nintendo that would allow the player to choose a character and race around different tracks. The game was over all praised for its game play and is somewhat of a cult classic in the world of SNES games. I can remember seeing the game for rent at K&L Video years later and never renting it.  Maybe I’ll see if Game Swap in Kettering has it in stock.

Biker Mice SNES 1Biker Mice From Mars SNESbiker mice snes 2

So we took a look at the cartoon, toys and video game attached to Biker Mice, and we even talked a little about the uncool factor it had from my former classmates so now I think it’s time we take a look at the Marvel Comic mini series based on it. I want to thank Half Price Books and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and allowing me to read them for the first time here on Rotten Ink. So before we hop on a chopper and go for a ride, I want to remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s hit the road and see what adventure we can have with The Biker Mice From Mars and Marvel Comics.

Biker Mice From Mars 1

Biker Mice From Mars # 1  **1/2
Released in 1993      Cover Price $1.50     Marvel Comics    #1 of 3

In space aboard a ship the biker mice Throttle, Modo and Vinnie are relaxing and even a little bored when they are attacked and shot down by evil, smelly, fish faced Plutarkians and crash land in Chicago during a baseball game. The Biker Mice mount their bikes and avoid security.  While leaving the ball field, Vinnie even stops a robbery of a hot dog dealer, and they ride off and notice how the place they are at now looks as run down as their home on Mars. Meanwhile in a big skyscraper Lawrence Limburger, the town’s bigwig business man, is talking to his henchman Grease Pit about his plans to drain Chicago of all its natural resources in a week.  He needs a location to complete his task, the Last Chance Garage, and sends Grease Pit there to rough up its female owner Charley Davidson. As she tries to fight off Grease Pit, the Biker Mice arrive and save the day by making a fool out of Limburger’s henchman and send a message that they are here to uphold justice.

This comic series clearly would have been a Star Comic if Marvel would have let the company stay open long enough. This mini series is clearly just based on the first couple of episodes in the Biker Mice cartoon series, and this first issue shows how they crash land on Earth and how they become friends with Charley and get on the radar of Limburger. The Biker Mice come off as noble rodents who love to ride and relax and most of all love to stand up for good and justice. Vinnie is the one who comes off more reckless and focused on fighting than the other two.  It’s clear he in is the Raphael as he follows his own set of rules and is the first to jump in a fight. Throttle and Modo don’t get to shine as brightly in this issue and very little of their personalities shine through.  All we really get is the basics. Charley Davidson comes off as an independent woman who is not afraid to stand up to those trying to bully her and take what she has worked hard for. Grease Pit is a muscle bound goon who is dimwitted and covered with motor oil and uses his muscles to try and push around those he views as weaker. Limburger is scum and is a big business man all the way as he doesn’t care about people or environment when a quick buck can be made.  Plus it shows he has no guts as he sends others to do his dirty work. So far despite giving some of the lamest lines in kids comics history, the Biker Mice are likable characters and ones that I think translate very well to comic books. The art in this issue is done by Rurik Tyler, and he does a great job of making it look like the cartoon.  The cover is also fantastic and very eye catching. So let’s move on to issue # 2 and see how this mini series plays out, shall we?

Biker Mice From Mars 2

Biker Mice From Mars # 2  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.50    Marvel Comics    #2 of 3

Charley Davidson is confused and amazed by her new friends and rescuers The Biker Mice who explain that they are from Mars and that they are the last of their kind because a race called the Plutarkians raided and stole all their natural resources and wiped them out.  Charley tells them she thinks the same thing is happening there in Chicago.  Limburger is mad at Grease Pit for not getting the garage and is even more upset when he hears that he was stopped by the Biker Mice who he knows all too well as they were his prisoners sometime back.  So he gets the crazy mad scientist Dr. Karbunkle to build an ultimate mouse trap, and they set out to capture the Mice. Charley works on the mice’s bikes and even adds new weapons.  This leaves her open to be kidnapped by Grease Pit and placed on the twisted mouse trap as bait, but once more Grease Pit is outsmarted and The Biker Mice send him back to Limburger, save Charley, and destroy the mouse trap. In the end The Biker Mice are on the way to Limburger’s to take the fight to him as Karbunkle is bringing in an enforcer from another planet!

This second issue is used as a quick back story of Mars and all the bad stuff that happened that forced the Mice to live a life on the run.  It also shows that Limburger is already at his boiling point, and he wants those pesky rodents dead. I also like how it shows that Limburger has many oddballs working for him and each is as crazy as the next. Once more The Biker Mice come off as major good guys, and finally Throttle comes off as a leader and is clearly smart in his “war” tactics. Vinnie comes off a little more goofy in this one, always talking about how good looking he is and how his body looks.  He’s a little silly and makes you wish he would have stayed more like the brooding kick butt type. Limburger is as sleazy as ever and bullies his own men and wants to make short work of this planet so he can move on and pillage the next city. Grease Pit is as dumb as ever, and Karbunkle is super crazy and seem to be getting his kicks in torturing some strange little man who’s getting off on the abuse…it’s kind of creepy. At one point they ask Charley if she wanted to be rescued by Turtles, showing that they were aware that many kids compared the two. This second issue is pretty entertaining, and I found it to be on par with issue # 1 making this a good read for fans of the cartoon and characters. The artwork is done by two artists this time with Rurik Tyler returning and Gary Fields helping out.  Tyler’s work is better, and you can tell when Fields is working the pencil. The cover on this one is kick butt and eye catching, and I am it was appealing to kids who spotted it on the newsstand. Well let’s get to the third and final issue in this Marvel series based on a cartoon.

Biker Mice From Mars 3

Biker Mice From Mars # 3  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.50    Marvel Comics    #3 of 3

The Biker Mice are on the way to Limburger’s building and are greeted by armed guards and must fight their way to the top where they come face to face with Grease Pit and Limburger who cower to the Biker Mice. But when Limburger calls on Dr. Karbunkle who is the man responsible for the injuries to the Mice, they are filled with rage and are ready for a fight.  Instead they’re greeted by a killer robot called X-Terminator who knocks them out the window.  A chase on Motorcycles ensues that leaves Throttle knocking The X-Terminator into boiling metal and the Biker Mice win a big victory. In the end they meet up at the baseball field and decide that their base will be inside the scoreboard and out of the radar reach of Limburger and his goons.

This third and final issue is good but it’s clear that everyone who worked on it knew that this was the final issue.  Many pages are large art splashes with little to no dialogue.  That said, I still found it to be a very fun and silly good read. The story is that The Biker Mice get to the location of Limburger and come face to face with the evil doctor who has scarred them for life.  They tangle with a robot man who is programmed to kill them and in the end destroy their robotic stalker and find a new place to live at the baseball field. The part of the story I really liked is that Dr. Karbunkle is the one who did some horrible things to The Mice while they were prisoners and he gets joy when he sees his dirty work up close again – sick serial killer kind of stuff. This time around The Biker Mice are more fleshed out as we see Throttle really show leadership skills.  Vinnie is still ego driven but ready to kick some fish men butt, and Modo is a powerhouse who beats up anything that gets in his way. While Grease Pit takes a backseat in this final issue, Dr. Karbunkle moves to the front and shows he is a man with plans and cruel ideas. While X-Terminator has the weapons to kill the Biker Mice, he seems more into delivering one-liners taken straight from Terminator 2 then killing them off, not to mention he goes down like a chump at the hands of Throttle. Limburger, while loud-mouthed and very mean, sure is a coward when having to come face to face with the Mice. The comic was a nice treat for fans of the cartoon, and I can’t help but feel that if Star was open when this was released, the series would have lasted a little longer than three issues.  Much like Camp Candy, I feel Marvel just put little to no care into making this series work while the people working on the comics put time and care into making a quality kids comic for readers. The art for the final issue was Rurik Tyler and like the others, the cover is fantastic. To sum it up, if you enjoyed the cartoon when this was released, I am sure you had a great time collecting and reading these issues, but TMNT super fans might find the series to be a rip off of their favorite heroes in a half shell. Check out the artwork below to see how good it looks compared to the style of the cartoon.

Biker Mice Art 1

So The Biker Mice have just rode off on the forgotten highway into a sunset as our time with them has come to an end.  I will say that the comic series was pretty good and was a nice way to help promote them at comic stores and on newsstands. Our next update is a subject very special to me as well as I am sure many horror host fans from the Dayton, Ohio area and beyond/.  I will be taking a look at the one and only Dr. Creep in a new Horror Host Icon update! So until then, make sure to read a comic or three, watch a classic cartoon or two and as always support your local horror host.  See ya next update for a Shocking good time…

Dr. Creep Horror Host Icon Logo

Let’s Go Ghostbusters…Let’s Go!!!

Who you gonna call…Rotten Ink! Okay maybe not, but if you’re a kid of the 80’s you shouted Ghostbusters or maybe even He-Man like the kids at the birthday party did in the film Ghostbusters II! One thing is for sure, Ghostbusters was super popular with kids and adults and became a cult classic that spawned a movie sequel as well as a number of video games, toys, comics and cartoons. But did you know that the Ghostbusters that we all knew and loved might have been the “Real” ones, but they were not the original ones as Filmation made a live action TV Show called Ghost Busters in 1975 that would spin off into a cartoon series in 1986, the same time that the 1984 comedy hit Ghostbusters debuted its spin off cartoon The Real Ghostbusters.  This was a confusing mess for young kids who were fans of Ghostbusters as the cartoon and toys would come out at the same time, and I am sure the mix up of the figures ruined many Christmases. Do you kids of the 80’s remember just how big of a cartoon company Filmation was? I mean they made the likes of “He-Man Masters Of The Universe”, “Bravestarr”, “New Adventures of The Lone Ranger” and “Aquaman” to name a very few! I wonder if friends like Josh Weinberg, Todd The Fox, Garrison Kane and Stephen Alexander would ever be interested in having a Saturday Morning get together where we watch classic cartoons we all grew up with and eat bowls of cereal..hmmmm…if this ever happens I will for sure blog about it. So while we all are winding down from July 4th and all those wonderful fireworks as well as trying to stay cool from the summer time heat, I think it’s time to chill out and take a look at The Ghostbusters!

Masters of the Universe Season 1filmation logoTrix Cereal

In 1975, Filmation made a live action kids show called “The Ghost Busters” that reunited F-Troop actors Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker as Kong and Spencer, two goofy detectives who research paranormal occurrence along with their pal, a trained gorilla named Tracy. They ran business from a rundown office that had a payphone, and they would get their missions via tape recorder left in the general store by a mysterious man named Zero. They would use a Ghost De-Materializer on the monster or ghost they were busting and Kong would scream ZAP as he sent the ghoul away. The ghosts included Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Red Baron, Billy The Kid and The Canterville Ghost, and our heroes would end up defeating them in a very slapstick manner. The series only lasted one season and ran for a total of 15 episodes. The show would later come out on VHS and DVD, but those are now out of print and the DVD complete season set sells for over $200.00!! Growing up as far as I can remember I never saw an episode as I was born in 1979 long after The Ghost Busters had been sent out to pasture. I can remember seeing the VHS tapes at Hearts but never had an interest in asking my Mom to get them for me, and thats odd as I loved monsters and ghosts and this would have been right up my alley! Truth be told, even to this day I have not seen an episode of The Ghost Busters, and I hope to change that sometime soon as I would love to get the DVD set. I should also note that Bob Burns, legendary cult film collector, was the man in the monkey suit as he played Tracy. After the series ended and in the 80’s when Colombia Pictures began working on a comedy film called Ghostbusters, they paid Filmation royalties to use the name showing that this off beat kids show is truly the original Ghost Busters!

Filmation Ghostbusters VHS vol 3filmation ghostbusters live cast 1filmation ghostbusters live cast 2

In 1986 Filmation made a cartoon sequel to their 1975 failed live action kids show and it was clear that this show only was made to cash in on the huge popularity of the 1984 Ivan Reitman film and the cartoon series it spawned as well in 1986. Filmation also made this series out of revenge as they pitched the idea of turning the 84 film into a weekly toon series and Columbia wanted nothing to do with them and went to their rival DIC to make The Real Ghostbusters! Filmation’s cartoon followed the sons of Spencer and Kong who were named Jake Kong Jr. and Eddie Spencer Jr. who along with Tracy the Gorilla go up against Prime Evil, an evil wizard who had unleashed and united evil sprits from around the world and has kidnapped their fathers! The sons have inherited the ghostbusting business and must learn how to capture ghosts and find a way to free their fathers. The series was not a hit, and while a total of 65 episodes were made, it failed to capture the kids and proved not to be a rating winner for stations that aired it. I only slightly remember it being on and like 99% off the kids of the time, I was too busy watching The Real Ghostbusters and many other cartoons and just thought that this series was cheap spin off. In fact I think the first time I ever saw an episode of this cartoon was at my Dad’s friend Paul’s house when I watched it with his son Will.  I can remember him having a few of the figures, and I was shocked to see that someone owned one. I will get into the toys and my first impressions of them a little later. The cartoon has come out in two volume DVD sets thanks to BCI that make up the whole series and select episodes made it to VHS back in the day. I must say that as a kid I might not have watched it but I did find myself as an adult really enjoying it, and me and my girlfriend Juliet go around singing the show’s theme song.  If you have not heard it, look it up on Youtube and be prepared for it to be stuck in your head. While this cartoon might not be as iconic as The Real Ghostbusters, it still holds an amazing charm and made its mark on the world of toons.

Filmation Ghostbusters DVD vol 1Filmation Ghostbusters castFilmation Ghostbusters DVD vol 2

Schaper Toys, the company who made such classic games as Ants In The Pants, Cootie and Don’t Break The Ice, was the company who also made the action figures for Filmation’s Ghostbusters, and I must say they did an outstanding job on the figures designs. A total of 13 figures were made and each came with different accessories and a mini comic book.  There were also some vehicles showing that Schaper believed in this cartoon series and was hoping that they as well would hit gold with the action figures. Growing up, I only have some small memories of fellow classmates having any of these figures and I didn’t have any until I was much older. While the toyline much like the cartoon was not a super smash hot success they still had an impact of those kids who collected them. I almost wish I would have bought them as I could have had some fun toy cross over adventures with the Real Ghostbusters that could have been one of the most epic spooky toy war adventures for all the ages.

Tracy the Gorilla toyPrime Evil toyFangster toy

I first saw Filmation’s Ghostbusters figures at Cub Foods, a grocery store that was located in Sugarcreek, Ohio that had not only a wicked breakfast cereal aisle but also a tiny cool toy section that had lots of Hot Wheels, Barbies and Masters Of The Universe and yes those Ghostbusters. At the time, my dad worked for the Cub Foods that was by the Dayton Mall, but we lived in Waynesville and we would travel to the Sugarcreek one from time to time to go shopping. Most of the time my brother and I would walk around the store and check out the cereal and chat about comics, movies, cartoons and TV shows and then head toward the tiny toy aisle and see what He-Man figures they had in stock. Well on this grocery adventure what greeted my eyes was figures that said Ghostbusters and the one I saw was not Peter Venkman nor even Dracula but that of a Gorilla named Tracy as well as other characters that I had never seen on the cartoon “The Real Ghostbusters” and I wondered who were these generic characters! Then my brother and I remembered that there was another cartoon that was made that at the time all kids believed was a rip off of the Real Ghostbusters, and then I started to kind of want them as I imagined them being a part of my Ghostbusters adventures and all the Filmation ghosts would have made great additions for Ray, Egon, Peter and Winston to bust. We also were interested because they came with a mini comic and we both loved the mini comics that came with He-Man, Super Powers and M.A.S.K. to name a few. So I went to my mom and dad and asked for one of the figures that if I remember right was Prime Evil, and they told me no.  In my youth I never did get a Filmation Ghostbusters figure; it was not until my late 20’s when I ended up picking one up from the flea market for $1.00 and that figure was Tracy The Gorilla. Sadly that Cub Foods as well as all the others in the area went out of business and while I was not as attached to them as I was Big Bear/Hearts, I still hated to see it close. So this update as well is not only for Filmations Ghostbusters but also all those who worked for Cub Foods over the years.

Cub Foods Logo

So are you ready to bust some ghosts with your specter snare and ghost gun? I know I am, but first I must thank Bell, Book and Comic and Lone Star Comics for having these in stock as well as remind you that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So let’s keep repeating to ourselves “I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghosts” and let’s get ready to go on a ghost hunting adventure with Tracy The Gorilla and see what First Comics had to offer to help push Filmations busters.

Filmation Ghostbusters 1

Filmation’s  Ghostbusters # 1  **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $1.25    First Comics   # 1 of 4

It’s Halloween time and Jake, Tracy and Eddie are having a party at the office and invite Belfry, Futura and Jessica Wray to celebrate this spooky holiday. Meanwhile in the past, Prime Evil and Mysteria decide to call upon all the ghosts and attack the castle of King Fred! The kingdom’s wizard Morton comes up with the idea of calling in The Ghostbusters from the future to help them chase off Prime Evil and allow the kingdom to have their Hallow’s Eve Feast by the fire! They show up and make short work of Mysteria as they bust her and make their way to the castle where they figure out that if they can crack a code from an old spell book, it will clear out all ghosts and ghouls within 20 miles of the castle and will send Prime Evil and his goons away. Prime Evil sends Sir Trance-A-Lot to stop the Ghostbusters, but with the help of the Princess they distract him and bust him as well.  Morton and Jessica crack the code and send Prime Evil packing! In the end, the feast happens and The Ghostbusters are the guests of honor.

This is a really fun kids comic based on a cartoon that adds puzzles and other activities to entertain the readers. The story is very simple and has Prime Evil showing up in the past to collect ghosts and spirits and the kingdom he has invaded calls in the help of The Ghostbusters from the future.  Together, they chase off the evil and have a good time on Halloween. Jake and Tracy seem pretty together and by all account rush in to help save the day.  They are the ones who bust Ghosts and come up with the plans to set them up to take them down. Eddie is a chubby coward who spent more time figuring out what costume to wear for the office party and wanting to turn back than figuring out a way to run off Prime Evil! Belfry is a tiny little pink bat who has a good heart but is a goof ball much like Snarf in Thundercats. Jessica Wray is a good looking reporter who goes on cases with the guys from time to time and is smart and clearly has a crush on Jake. Futura is a stunning blue skinned woman from the future who also helps and joins the guys on busting ghosts. Morton The Wizard along with King Fred and the Princesses are nice touches to the story and add the drama of people being scared of the unknown who must fight the fear in order to save what they love. Prime Evil, much like all bad guys of 80’s cartoons, has the power to stop his enemies but always puts it into the hands of his henchmen who screw it all up! Speaking of his henchmen I should also give you a run down of the ones who appear in this issue like Sir Trance-A-Lot who is a skeleton knight and Mysteria who is a raven-haired mist spirit that looks like Lilly Munster, Morticia Adams and Vampira got mixed in a blender. Fans of the cartoon I am sure would enjoy this simple first issue, but fans of The Real Ghostbusters would use its simple nature against it to show that it was too childish. I also found it a nice touch that Morton knew Jake and Eddie’s dads as they helped many moons ago to bring down a dragon that was tormenting the kingdom. The artwork done by Howard Bender is fantastic and looks as if you are reading the cartoon, and is some topnotch work for a comic based on a cartoon at the time. I can’t wait to see what issue # 2 holds as I found this one a very entertaining read and a nice way to start off the series. The cover is very eye catching and is just flashy enough to catch the attention of fans of the cartoon as well as those who were not.

Filmation Ghostbusters 2

Filmation’s  Ghostbusters  # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $1.25     First Comics    # 2 of 4

Jake, Eddie, Tracy and Belfry get a call to go to the museum by Dr. Brown who has seen Prime Evil along with Scared Stiff, a robot skeleton who falls to pieces easily and can build things, as well as green skin sorceress Apparitia who are using a machine to bring dinosaurs back to life! As The Ghostbusters travel to the museum, Prime Evil brings three dinosaurs back to life that are T-Rex, Brontosaurus and Pterodactyl, and they are all running amuck.  As The Ghostbusters arrive, Tracy and Belfry set up and capture Apparitia as the whole group brings down the Pterodactyl. They trap the Brontosaurus in the lunch room as he is friendly, and they trick the T-Rex with a giant balloon and a machine Tracy made that turns the giant beast into a pile of coal! In the end the museum is happy for the help but a little annoyed with the loss of the T-Rex bones!

This second issue also holds the charm of the cartoon and has even a more simple plot as Prime Evil brings back dinosaurs and The Ghostbusters come to the rescue and save the day by running off Prime Evil and his goons and stopping the dino rampage. In this issue, Tracy the gorilla is the true smart one as he invents the machine to stop the T-Rex as well as comes up with most the plans that work to capture and stop the bad guys. Belfry makes himself useful and helps the gang capture both the Pterodactyl and Apparitia showing that the goofball characters can be heroes. Jake, while clearly the leader of the group, has some ideas and shows he’s brave as he shows no fear in tricking the man eating T-Rex. Eddie is as goofy as ever and even causes accidents by being a bumbling fool, and as always has the spine of a jello mold left out in the summer sun. Prime Evil once more has a good idea and leaves its success into the hands of his minions who amount to a shaking bucket of bolts known as Scared Stiff and a sexy evil sorceress named Apparitia, both of whom try but fail. Speaking of Apparitia I would love to see cosplayers like Ivy Doomkitty or Nicole Marie Jean dress as this character! Kids at the time who like dinosaurs and monsters I am sure got a kick out of this issue and I will say it was a great issue to build up readers. The art is once more done by Howard Bender and is fantastic and makes me ready to read issue # 3 so let’s waste no more time. And oh yeah the cover on this issue is ok and while not as cool as the first issue’s, it does capture the mood of the story.

Filmation Ghostbusters 3

Filmation’s  Ghostbusters  # 3   **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $1.25    First Comics    # 3 of 4

The Ghostbusters are gearing up for Christmas when they get a call from a family that is having a ghost run amuck in their home throwing around all the presents and smashing the Christmas tree.  As they are leaving, they get a call from a department store who is having a ghost issue in the bike department! Two Christmas ghosts running wild miles apart in places that are over 100 years old and really close to each other. At the family’s home, the sounds of crying can be heard, and at the store the ghost is really mad about bikes.  The Ghostbusters must figure out a way to help both as the holiday is being ruined for many. So Jake, Tracy and Eddie travel 100 years into the past and find out that the ghost in the house and store are connected as the house one is a grieving mother whose son went missing and never returned, and the store ghost is the missing kid who got lost and was locked in the store over night and died from not wanting to talk to strangers. The Ghostbusters save the kid and bring him home and travel back to the future and find that they have solved the issue and have a good home cooked dinner with the family.

The first issue was a Halloween Special, now this third issue is a Christmas one that has the storyline of a family’s past holding the secrets of haunts that are happing in present day and The Ghostbusters must go back in time to set things right and save a child’s life! This issue has no Prime Evil or any of his goons causing the issue and in fact no ghosts are seen at all making for a pretty tame yet entertaining issue. Tracy and Jake seem to be annoyed with each other at the start of the issue but soon work together in order to save Christmas. Eddie this time around is the more focused one and is really in the spirit of the holiday. James is the kid who haunts the store and it makes me wonder how he died in the store after only being locked in it for a night? Then it makes you wonder how dumb is he if death is a better option then asking a store clerk for help! This issue is very cheesy, and the only thing that could have set it over the top and made it a full fledged hunk of limburger is if Prime Evil at the end would have been having Christmas Dinner with them all! The art once more was done by Howard Bender and is fantastic as the others before have been. The cover for this issue is okay, and while it has Christmas themes to it, they should have gone a little more crazy with it. Over all another solid issue and shows that First Comics put time and care into this series, and I can’t wait to read the 4th and final issue to see if it keeps the charm all the way till the end.

Filmation Ghostbusters 4

Filmation’s  Ghostbusters  # 4  **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $1.25    First Comics    # 4 of 4

It’s dinnertime, and Eddie is making something special as Tracy is making banana soup and Jake and Belfry are ready to eat when they watch a TV Report done by Jessica Wray in the everglades swamp in Florida where local Melvin Loner has seen ghosts in the swamps as well as the alligators dancing to haunting music. The Ghostbusters drop what they are doing and head to Florida.  In the swamps Prime Evil along with Scared Stiff and Float-Zart, a ghost maestro, who all have a plan to take over the swamp and make it their new home base. The Ghostbusters arrive and Melvin acts as their guide.  They are able to bust Float-Zart as he tries to keep them away from Prime Evil, but all things don’t end well for Prime Evil as the experiment Scared Stiff was working on explodes and blows up their base! In the end the swamp is safe, and our heroes return home to a long over due dinner.

This final issue shows that First Comics really knew how to handle this cartoon property and made a good mini series that sadly ended only after 4 issues when 6 was planned. This issue’s story has The Ghostbusters heading to the everglades to stop Prime Evil and his goons and barely have to put anytime in busting as they go down easy, and they once more leave the scene of the haunt as champions of good. Jake, Eddie and Tracy work great as The Ghostbusters and all of them are likable with Tracy being my favorite because who in the world wouldn’t like a hat wearing gorilla who busts ghosts! I also really liked all the side characters as Belfry was not nearly as annoying as he could have been, Jessica Wray is a nice normal straight laced character who helps report the truth of hauntings and Futura is interesting and a time traveler who enjoys busting ghosts in her spare time. The best part of all these sidekick characters is that they are not over used, making each time they appear something special. Prime Evil, while powerful and even frightful, seems to be kind of lazy in his haunting as he always passes off the hard work to his goons who clearly cannot get the job done as they all are beat easily. The one letdown is that the future werewolf ghost Fangster does not appear as I would have liked to have seen him in action and fail. The Ghostbusters is a kid comic series that I could say gave most of Star Comics a run for their money and showed that all the people involved cared about making quality stories with good art and fun puzzles.  I am wondering if First Comics had to pull the plug on the series due to the cartoon and toyline failing or if sales on this issue were too poor to continue. The cover of this final issue also is well done but kind of looks like the 1st issue’s making for an eye catching and fun cover that has a touch of something familiar. The art for the whole series was done by Howard Bender, and he did fantastic work.  I would have loved to have seen him work for Star and on comics based on the likes of My Pet Monster, Go-Bots or Commander USA if he ever got his chance at kid comic greatness. This is a mini series that shocked me as I feel it was way better than I ever could have imagined and lived up to the toon it was based on making a nice addition to fans who watched, and I would say that this is a series worth reading for sure. Below is some artwork from these issues, and you can see how Bender’s art looks just like the cartoon!

Filmation Ghostbusters Art 1

So while these Ghostbusters might not be as popular or as beloved as The Real ones, they still made an impact in the world of cartoons, toys and comics for those who followed their busting adventures! I should also note that the amazing voice actor Peter Cullen did the voice of Eddie Spencer Jr. in the cartoon, and for those who live under a stack of old 90’s comic books, Cullen is best known for voicing Optimus Prime in Transformers.  Speaking of a robot, our next update will be all about The Terminator in honor of the 5th film in the series coming out this summer! So until then, read a comic or three, support your local horror host and don’t be afraid of no ghosts! See you all next time.

The Terminator logo

The Deadly Hands Of The Dragon, The Quick Bite Of The Cobra!

Here at Rotten Ink I love martial arts and not just in comic and movies but also in the world of MMA! Growing up I used to watch Kung-Fu Theater on USA Network and always looked forward to a special they had on USA Network called Kung Fu June, not to mention from time to time Commander USA would host a martial art film.  Because of all this I became addicted to watching Kung Fu martial art films. Names like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and The Shaw Brothers became staples in my young mind and were at the top of the list of stars in this genre. But what also helped kick off my love for Kung Fu films was a book I found at Waynesville Antique Mall called “Kung Fu: Cinema Of Vengeance” by Verina Glaessner that was all about the films and actors of the genre.  I learned so much about the genre at a young age thanks to this book and USA Network, not to mention films like The Karate Kid and all the Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris action films I grew up watching! So this update is for martial arts fans all over the world who enjoy the art of fighting and self defense.

Kung Fu Cinema Of Vegeance Book

One of my favorite martial art films I saw on the USA Network was called “Chinese Super Ninjas,” made by The Shaw Brothers in 1982 and is also known as “Five Element Ninjas.” It’s about a young man whose teacher and fellow students are killed by a ninja.  Lost and filled with rage, the young man finds a new teacher and fellow students and learns a new style of martial arts.  Together with his new friends, he must take on ninjas who represent the elements like wood, water and fire. When I was a late teenager, I moved back to Kettering and was close to a Blockbuster Video (that I would later work many years at) where I picked up a bunch of old martial arts films on VHS in a discount bin for .99 each that included such titles as “Chinese Samson”, “Fearless Hyena”, “Snake Eagle Crane” and one of my personal favorites called “Chinese Hercules” that starred the one and only mountain of muscle Bolo Yeung! Chinese Hercules was made in 1973 and is about a peaceful man who swore off fighting and works for a dock that is taken over by mobsters.  The workers are mistreated by him and his muscle bound goon who is the Chinese Hercules.  The man is forced to fight to stand up for what’s right. When I started to work for Blockbuster, they where still renting out VHS and during one of our shipments we got a classic martial arts film in for sale.  It was called “Five Deadly Venoms,” and I was taken back on how kick ass the film was when I bought it! My friend Jason Gilmore also saw the film around the same time and he was also a super fan and we both cracked up when rapper O.D.B (Old Dirty Bastard) used samples from the film on one of his CD’s. The film was another Shaw Brothers production made in 1978 and follows five students who are trained in many styles based on poisonous animals like snake, toad and scorpion.  While all are trained by the same teacher, they all don’t know the true identity of the others and some are good and some are bad.  In the end the two sides clash in a breath taking kung-fu showdown! This is just a tiny taste of the martial arts films I truly like but these three are very much at the top of the list of some of my all time favorites. I could also list quite a few Bruce Lee films but I figured I would talk about three that some of you fine readers might not have known about, so if you have not seen any of these and enjoy classic Kung-Fu flicks, I say check them out.

Chinese Super Ninjas PosterChinese HerculesFive Deadly Venoms DVD

Bolo Yeung is one of my favorite classic Kung-Fu actors and is one of cinema’s best bad guys of the 70’s and 80’s. Yang Sze was born July 3rd 1946 in China and before he became an actor, he was a completive body builder and was Mr. Hong Kong Champion, a title he held for 10 years! Bolo also studied many styles of martial arts from many teachers and mastered the art of self-defense that helped him when he decided to become an actor in action films. Bolo started acting in 1970 in Shaw Brother films with his first role being in a film called “The Wondering Swordsman” and took roles mostly as bad guys in other films like “The Oath Of Death”, “Tiger”, and “The 14 Amazons.”  His biggest role was in the Bruce Lee film “Enter The Dragon” where he played a character named Bolo. Many other great roles followed like “Chinese Hercules”, “Soul of Chiba”, “Bolo The Brute”, “Bruce The Superhero” and “Fearless Hyena 3”. In 1988 he played the role of Chong Li in the film “Bloodsport” that starred Jean-Claude Van Damme and would be in another Van Damme film called “Double Impact” in 1991. Bolo continued to star in several action films through the 90’s and into the 2000’s, and it appears he will be in a film this year called “The Whole World At Our Feet”! Love him or hate him, Bolo Yeung is one of the best badass actors who made playing a bad guy cool during his career on the silver screen.

bolo yeung

The 1970’s in the world of comic books, most companies rode the wave of the popularity of martial arts films and many great characters came out of this time. Marvel Comics has two popular characters that were hand to hand combat experts, Iron Fist and Shang-Chi The Master of Kung-Fu. Growing up I had issues of both of these characters and with Iron Fist I had mostly the ones were he teamed up with Luke Cage Power Man.  For Shang-Chi I had many of his issues and enjoyed them a lot.  A couple years back, I had a pretty good run of Master of Kung-Fu’s and like a numb skull I sold them to a web based comic store….I know a run of them would have made a great update. DC Comics had Richard Dragon Kung Fu Fighter and Val Armorr The Karate Kid. I never owned an issue of either of these characters and sad to say had zero interest in both characters. The martial arts was so popular in the 70’s even independent comic companies got into the market of making comics based of karate characters like Charlton’s House of Yang and Hong Kong Phooey based on the popular cartoon. While many of today’s super heroes know karate and martial arts, the magic of the 70’s kung-fu fighters will always live on.

Master Of Kung Fu ComicKung Fu Fighter ComicHouse Of Yang Comic

I have been watching The Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) since the start thanks mostly to my uncle George who would order the PPV and invite us over to watch them with him.  It was a blast watching George get worked up over the fights! You see my uncle George is a bad ass when it comes to the martial arts and I am sure could and would have done very well in the early days of UFC. I can remember sitting at his house along with my dad, brother and cousins Dino, Norman and Nick and watching the likes of Don Frye, Royce Gracie and Maurice Smith duke it out and do whatever it took to get the win under their belts. Over the years the sport of MMA and the company UFC have changed, and UFC has become of the biggest mixed martial arts companies in the word running others like Pride FC, Strikeforce and EliteXC out of business. And along this long journey of watching the sport and seeing it evolve, I have a list of fighters that I love and loved watching in the ring and really briefly I would like to share some of them with you.  This list is in no order, and I picked my top five MMA stars.

UFC Red Logo

So let’s step into the octagon and see what I would call Rotten Ink’s MMA Hall of Fame Class 1!

vitor belfort

Vitor Belfort

Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort has always been one of my favorite fighters ever since I saw him KO the likes of Tank Abbott, Wanderlei Silva and Scott Ferrozzo in the early days of UFC. He is trained in many fighting styles like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Judo, Shotokan and Boxing with the latter truly being one of his strong suits as Belfort can throw wicked fast punches with knock out power in each strike! Belfort started his fighting career at the age of 19 at an event called SuperBrawl 2 in Hawaii and beat the much larger Jon Hess by KO in 12 seconds into the first round! Some key names he has also beaten in the sport include Gilbert Yvel, Heath Herring, Randy Couture, Marvin Eastman, Rich Franklin, Anthony Johnson, Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson. To this day, Belfort is one of my favorite fighters to watch and here is to hoping that he holds the middleweight title for a long time! His record thus far is 24-11 and his career looks as if it will not be slowing down anytime soon.

Mark Coleman

Mark Coleman

Mark “The Hammer” Coleman is the godfather of ground and pound as well as the first ever UFC Heavyweight champion! Much like Vitor I have always been a fan of Mark Colman as in his early days in the sport he was one of the most dominate fighters to step into the octagon and pound his opponent down. Another great thing about Coleman is the fact he is also an Ohio boy who in college was a freestyle wrestler and went to OSU (The Ohio State University) and as well made it to the Olympics. Coleman first entered the UFC in 1996 at the point when each event was a tournament, having the fighters at some points fighting up to three times a night! Coleman’s first fight was against Moti Horenstein that he won when he pounded Moti in to sudmission! Coleman would not stay in the UFC his whole carrer and would go on to become a even bigger star in Japan fighting for Pride FC. In 2009 Coleman made his UFC return at the age of 45 and had a short run before being let go and later retiring from the sport. During his amazing MMA run he went 16-10 and beat such talents as Gary Goodridge, Don Frye, Dan Severn, Igor Vovchanchyn, Mauricio Rua and Stephan Bonnor. Mark Coleman is also in the UFC Hall of Fame and still remains a major figure in the history of MMA.

Ken Shamrock

Ken Shamrock

The World’s Most Dangerous Man Ken Shamrock was the sport’s first major megastar who helped bring MMA into the main stream. Ken was the first fighter to use a shoot style and would show the world that Royce Gracie was human after all as he wore out the legend in a 36 minute fight that ended in a draw. Shamrock also was the head of a training camp called The Lion’s Den that dominated the octagon for years and had/has such fighters as Guy Mezger, Vernon White, Frank Shamrock, Maurice Smith and Roy Nelson showing the talent that has come from his camp. Shamrock fought not only for the UFC but also companies like Pride FC, Rage Cage and Pancrase and was a major draw for each. Ken’s biggest feud in the sport was against Tito Ortiz, and their first fight was one of UFC’s top purchased PPVs.  The next three times the fighters stepped into the cage was a draw for viewers. Ken Shamrock was also on the UFC reality TV show called The Ultimate Fighter as well acted in some films like Scarecrow Gone Wild. Ken has victories over such fighters as Bas Rutten, Maurice Smith, Dan Severn and Kimo Leopoldo to name a few.  In his career Ken holds a fight record of 28-16-2, and while he has fought this year 2015 and lost in the first round to Kimbo Slice, Shamrock claims he is not retired and might fight sometime again. Ken is trained in many styles of fighting but is best described at a shoot fighter. Ken Shamrock as well is in the UFC Hall Of Fame.

Tito Ortiz

Tito Ortiz

The Huntington Beach Bad Boy Tito Ortiz is one of those fighters you like or hate, and I find myself being a fan of Ortiz who brought back ground and pound to the UFC when he busted onto the scene in 1997. Ortiz early in his career made an impact with fans with his take no crap attitude and his outlandish opinions of his opponents. I mean what other fighter can you name that in a short time could piss off a whole fight camp like the Lions Den and to back up his mouth was able to beat down many of the camp’s top stars! Ortiz has been a Light Heavy Weight Champion, a coach on Ultimate Fighter, a short lived pro wrestler, acted in movies and shows like Zombie Strippers and Crow: Wicked Prayer and married adult film actress Jenna Jameson. Ortiz was never one to keep quiet on things and has had falling outs with UFC and it’s president Dana White on many occasions and most of the times worked things out to return to the octagon. Ortiz is now fighting for Bellator after UFC wanted him to retire from the sport. Ortiz is a well rounded fighter and learned many types of martial arts to become the fighter he is and one of few to be inducted into the UFC Hall Of Fame. Ortiz in his career thus far has wins over such talent as Guy Mezger, Wanderlei Silva, Evan Tanner, Ken Shamrock, Vito Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Ryan Bader and Stephan Bonnar. His record in the sport as of the day this update was posted is 18-11-1 and here is to wishing Ortiz more wins and one last title run.

Mark Kerr

Mark Kerr

The Smashing Machine Mark Kerr is a fighter that I feel is often overlooked when people talk about the legends of MMA.  Much like Belfort and Coleman, he is a fighter that I have found myself cheering for since he broke into the fighting world. Mark Kerr comes from a collegiate wrestling background and was one of the best at what he did, making people submit and dominating them with his pure power. Mark made his MMA debut in 1997 at World Vale Tudo Championship 3 where he beat down three opponents to win the event and did so with a broken hand! Kerr went on to fight for the UFC where he made a name for himself by smashing the competition.  He later went to Pride FC and became a mega star but at the time he was always battling some demons and his career took a hit for it with a string of loses in the company. After Pride, Mark went on to fight for many smaller companies and was a draw for them on his name value. Mark Kerr was the subject of a documentary about his addictions and the sport of MMA for HBO called “The Smashing Machine” that helped open eyes for many about the dangers of addiction and it also showed how competitive MMA is. While later in Mark’s career he had a string of losses those can’t take away the impact of what he contributed to the sport and showed that wrestlers can be top fighters like Mark Coleman before him. I should also state that Kerr is born in Ohio making him one of us! In his career Kerr has victories over the likes of Paul Varelans, Dan Bobish, Nobuhiko Takada and Enson Inoue. Kerr, who is retired, holds a MMA record of 15-11-1, and is sadly not in the UFC Hall of Fame.

ronda rousey

Rhonda Rousey

I am still a huge fan of MMA, but I seem to think the sport is currently lacking the type of top notch athletes that made the sport from the start, I mean who can look up to the likes of Jon Jones or Chael Sonnen? But one fighter I find myself liking is Rowdy Rhonda Rousey who is a Judo machine who even has Gold Medals from the Olympics to prove it! Rhonda who is only 27 has already won the UFC Light Weight Championship and has starred in many movies like The Expendables 3 and Furious 7 and is sponsored by Reebok Shoes. She has wins over the likes of Miesha Tate, Sara McMann and Alexis Davis and holds an impressive record of 11-0! I am keeping an eye on Rhonda as I feel she is truly the next big thing on the world of MMA, and I see her holding the title for a very long time! Plus she loves Pro Wrestling so she is A-OK in my book!

The Octogan

Well we talked about Kung-Fu films, martial arts comics and MMA so I think it’s time we jump into our comic made by Atlas Comic,s a company you long time readers know I love and learned about thanks to the gone but not forgotten comic shop The Bookie Parlor. But much like the other Atlas titles we have covered in the past, this series disappeared as fast as it appeared as the company folded up thanks to the shelf hogs Marvel and DC who made it impossible to get their issues on the news stands when they would flood the racks with tons of titles at a time. And if you think about it, they both still do it to this day – I mean how many Batman and Avengers titles do we need? The title we are looking at today is so fitting for this update, The Hands Of The Dragon, and follows a masked Kung-Fu hero named The Dragon as he attempts to stop his evil brother and avenge the death of his grandfather. I found this comic at an antique mall so I want to thank that vendor for having it in stock for me to buy and review. So let’s see what The Dragon can do, but before we do, I must remind everyone that I grade this issue on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s karate chop our way to an adventure packed time.

The Hands Of The Dragon 1

The Hands Of The Dragon  # 1  ***
Released in 1975    Cover Price .25    Atlas Comics    #1 of 1

It’s World War II and an old man along with his two baby grandchildren (Wu Ten & Ling) have returned to Japan at a horrible time as the atomic bomb is dropped and the radiation burns the face of Ling badly.  The old man goes to the only place he feels safe, the monastery where he grew up. As the kids grow up, Wu Ten is a noble and strong young man who has mastered the art of fighting as has his scarred brother Ling but he is filled with rage and anger and has been hanging around a bad influence named Dr. Nhu.  A fight between the brothers leaves their grandfather dead by the tip of a spear thrown by Ling, and this starts a feud between the brothers that leaves them as mortal enemies. The years pass and Wu Ten moves to California and becomes a news anchor.  At night he puts on a mask and calls himself The Dragon and is looking for his brother Ling who is now going under the name The Cobra! After he finds a picture taken by co-worker Nicky he finds that Cobra as well as Dr. Nhu are in town and planning on killing the Prime Minister of Japan! During a speech at a college, the Prime Minister is shot by the Cobra as The Dragon is fighting Dr. Nhu who escapes after The Dragon himself is shot by the Prime Minister’s scared bodyguards in the back! In the end at the hospital, the Prime Minister is in a coma but comes out of it thanks to The Dragon who uses a mystic medallion to give him strength.  When The Dragon leaves the hospital in the shadows, he knows that he must find his brother and stop his killing rampage.

This is a great Atlas Comic that I had never heard of until I found it at the antique mall, and I must say I am glad I did as I think it was fantastic and had so much potential to be a great martial arts comic series. Sadly I must say that much like the other Atlas Comic series I talked about, The Brute and The Cougar, this series just ends on the promise of a new issue coming that never came to be thanks to the doors of the company closing. The plot of this comic is pure Kung-Fu movie stuff as it has two brothers on two different paths becoming enemies over the death of their “master”. The plot thus far was really well done and easily could have given Marvel’s Master Of Kung-Fu a run for its money. Wu Ten/ The Dragon is a noble and nice young man who defends the defenseless and has a sense of pride in his family and his heritage. He is skilled in hand to hand combat and can shut out pain when it comes to saving lives and stopping bad guys, and I can’t forget that he is super strong. When becoming The Dragon, he wears a mask to hide his face and hides in the shadows much like Batman…in fact The Dragon/ Wu Ten is a combination of one part Peter Parker, a dash of Clark Kent with the appearance of Iron Fist, and for good measure add in some Jackie Chan. Ling/The Cobra is not as fleshed out as his brother.  All we really know is that he is badly scarred in the face, he is filled with rage and doesn’t care about taking other people’s lives, he hangs around with shady people and he is not as skilled as his brother. The Cobra/ Ling is a mix of the following: add one splash of Storm Shadow, two parts Shredder with the appearance of Freddy Kruger and the attitude of Bolo Yeung. Dr. Nhu is a man covered in tattoos who is a bad man and is not liked by the monks, and when Ling kills his grandfather this man takes him in. Grandfather is a fighter who did whatever he could do to save his grandchildren whose parents were killed in the war.  Grandfather hates war and hates the needless violence of others. I also need to add that Grandfather had radiation poisoning and was able to kill a polar bear with his bare hands….now that’s a badass! It’s a shame that this comic series ended before another issue was able to come out as I would have liked to have seen a little more character development for The Dragon and The Cobra. The art is pretty solid and is done by Jim Craig and holds that 70’s comic feel and also looks like it could be a Marvel Comic in it’s style. Once more Atlas proves why it’s one of my favorite independent comic companies of the past and delivered another action pack character whose life was sadly cut short by lack of rack space at the comic racks at the five and dime stores.

Hands Of The Dragon Art 1Hands Of The Dragon Art 2Hands Of The Dragon Art 3

Well it’s the fifth round of this Atlas Comic title fight, and I had a blast taking a trip down memory lane of the old love I had for martial arts films as well as talking about the warriors of MMA that I cheer for as they step into the octagon. But our next update is taking us away from hand to hand combat and into the world of spooky ghosts as we not only take a look at the comic series based on Filmation’s Ghostbusters but I will also go on a local ghost hunt and tell you all the spooky details! So until then, Young Grasshoppers, be active and make sure to take some time to read a comic or three and remember: No Retreat and No Surrender!

Filmations_Ghostbusters_Logo

The Baseball Hustle Of Pete Rose

Welcome back to the Rotten Ink Ballpark, a place we will be showcasing a comic book that is based on the legend of Cincinnati’s Mr. Charlie Hustle himself, Pete Rose of Reds’ fame! Baseball is considered America’s favorite past time, and while it’s still a popular sport, it has slipped quite a bit and has never bounced back after the strike that happened in 1994-1995 when players demanded higher pay and the player pay cap, making many fans upset over the greed and the lack of games because of this strike. My dad has been a baseball fan for a long time and enjoyed listening to the games on the radio, watching them on TV, playing the sport at school and with friends as well as collecting the trading cards (that his parents would later throw in the trash – including cards that became worth lots of money).  As he got older got married to my Mom and they had my brother and me, he ended up even taking us to Red games as well as minor league teams like The Columbus Clippers and watched games on TV and even collected Topps cards alongside us. But sadly while it was a fun time bonding with my Dad, I just could not get into baseball and found the game kind of boring and things like comics, horror films and video games more interesting. One thing I will say is that while my Dad is a jock, he never has judged me for not liking sports like he does and even bought me Captain America comics and VHS as well, even horror films like Hellraiser III, when I was a youth. As I’ve gotten older, my Dad and I watch MMA, boxing and NFL Super Bowl together and have a great time. But back to baseball – when I was a kid, my favorite players were Eric Davis and Barry Larkin, and I can remember trading baseball cards with my neighbor Kelly who was a very cool and sweet person, and going to Bills Baseball Den in Waynesville and Bookie Parlor in Kettering to get cards and packs. It’s odd to think that while I barely watched the game, I still spent time and effort collecting cards for sport stars that I knew very little about, but I think that was part of the MLB magic, that it was able to make a strange monster kid like myself want to buy trading cards.  Plus I think it came down to trying to fit in with friends and having a good time opening packs with my dad, mom and brother at the kitchen table. This update is for my Dad and friends like Josh Weinberg, Nick Wiget and all the others who love this classic sport and respect all that Pete Rose has done for it. This update will be about Pete Rose, baseball and my ties to this game.  So get your ball glove ready and your cap on because we are here till the bottom of the 9th and we are ready to hit a Rotten Ink home-run!

Pete Rose Card 1Pete Rose Card 2Pete Rose Card 3

To talk about Pete Rose we must first talk about The Cincinnati Reds, and I am going to do my best to get the facts right and give that ball team the respect it deserves in a quick yet fun manner, so here’s a crash course on the history of the Reds! In 1869 a baseball team called the Cincinnati Red Stockings was the team that would morph into the Reds and did so in 1881 and became a American Association team in 1882.  In 1890, they joined the National League and became a true pro baseball team. The team has won five World Series in the years 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976 and 1990 and have played in many home town ballparks like Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium and Great America Ball Park they currently call home. In 1970-1976 under the manager George “Sparky” Anderson, the team went under the nickname The Big Red Machine and had lots of big name ballplayers on the team the included Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Tom Seaver and Lee May to name a few.  The team won two World Series and it became one of the biggest most popular times for the team in it’s rich history. Another big time for the Reds was in 1990 when they went wire to wire and won the World Series with players like Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Paul O’Neill and the pitching team nicknamed “The Nasty Boys” who were Rob Dibble, Norman Charlton and Randy Myers.  This team was managed by Lou Piniella. The Reds are still going strong in 2015, and while they have made it to the play-offs many times over the past few years, they have not been able to make it to the World Series, but if you ask guys like Josh Weinberg they will tell you that this year is the year they will take it all and if not, the next year or maybe the next year…yeah, you get the point.  Fans of the Reds are very loyal and have tons of respect for their team even if they do lose. So while this team has such a rich and amazing history, this tiny write up is just some of the highlights.  If you want to learn more about The Reds, check out the team’s Wikipedia or read a book based on the ball club. I should also note that the team’s mascot is Mr. Redlegs who is a baseball headed ball player.  For most of his time on the team Mr. Redlegs rocked a mustache, but when I was younger he had none and was a pretty popular mascot at school in Waynesville. Over all while I might not be a big watcher of sports, I can still respect and cheer for our home state teams and hope that sometime very soon The Reds once more become champs!

Mr Redlegs 1Reds LogoMr Redlegs 2

I am by no means an athlete.  When I was younger, I was okay at playing football and basketball, but I could have been the worst of the worst when it came to neighborhood baseball and could have had the worst batting average among my friends! One summer my dad bought us a wiffleball bat and ball.  We would play in the backyard, and it would almost always be me and my brother against our parents in a battle of home-runs hit over the roof of the house; we lost almost all the games. In the neighborhood, we would play baseball at Brad Burns’ or Mike Cessna’s house, and I can remember that being a lot of fun as all the kids from around would come and play, and even Mike’s dog Barney would join in on the fun! At my grandparents’ house I would play ball with my brother Bryan and cousins Nathan, Stephen and Tony.  While some times this was pitching, most of the time it was T-Ball. In school, we played baseball in gym, and I can remember one time we where playing outside and I so wanted to impress the girl I had a crush on my whole tenure in Waynesville and was hit in the head with softball from a pitch thrown by Ryan “The Bull” Jones.  The impact made me blackout for a second and I fell to one knee, but I was lucky and was able to shake it off! I should have probably gone to the nurse after it, and for months after I had massive headaches that would come and go, but that didn’t bother me as much as the fact I looked foolish in front of her! So as you can see my baseball “career” was very lame and filled with defeat and heartbreak!

Wiffle Bat and Ball

So at this time I think I am going to ask one of my best friends and one of the biggest Reds fans I know, Josh Weinberg, 5 questions about his love and respect for the Reds. I have known Josh for so many years now and from the first day I met him, he has always worn Cincinnati Reds and Bengals shirts, hats and jerseys as well as Ohio State gear so when writing about Pete Rose I knew I had to have my pal involved. I mean he is the guy who bought VHS tapes from a Goodwill Outlet that had the Reds winning the 1990 World Series.  So here we go, 5 Questions with Josh Weinberg!

Josh Weinberg Reds Fan

Me:  Welcome back, Josh, to Rotten Ink.  You are a legend among my friends I write about here on my slice of the web.  So how long have you been a Cincinnati Reds fan?

Josh: I have been a Reds fan since 1990, the year that they swept the Oakland A’s in the World Series. Ever since then I was hooked. I remember being at my dad’s shop listening to the games.

Me: Always cool to hear how sports brought families together.  Who are your 4 top favorite players for the Reds of all time?

Josh: My top 4 Reds players of all time are simple number 1.) Barry Larkin 2.) Chris Sabo 3.) Jose Rio and (4 Sean Casey.

Me: Barry Larkin and Eric Davis would be two of my favorites too.  Did you every play baseball for school or Little League? If not, have you ever thought about it?

Josh: I played little league growing up as well as umpiring for kids’ leagues. I had to stop because I could not keep up my grades.  Such is life.

Me: Those pesky grades and school standing in your way of being a baseball legend! So how many Reds games have you been to in your lifetime thus far?

Josh: I have probably been to between 20 and 30 games in my lifetime. With many more to come.  My ultimate is going to opening day.

Me: That’s way more games then I have been to.  If I am lucky, I think I have been to 4 or 5.  Last question for you Josh, should Pete Rose be in the Baseball Hall Of Fame, and why or why not?

Josh: Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame for one single reason: the hall is about what you did on the field not what you did off the field. He is the hit king, Charley Hustle, and deserves to be in the hall. There are plenty of things other players have done back in the day and are in now. If he had not lied about it, he would be in.

Me: I agree Pete should be in for all he has done for the sport! Thanks Josh! Do you have any closing words for the Rotten Ink readers and fans of the Reds?

Josh: Last thing I have to say is Go Reds! One of these days they will win it all again…hopefully before I die!

While I don’t think they will do much this 2015 season, sometime soon I am sure the Reds will rise to be champs again!

Reds Bumper Sticker

Pete Rose has also been involved in another sport, Pro Wrestling, where he had a feud with the Big Red Machine Kane that spanned a few WWE WrestleMania’s as well as earned Rose a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame! Pete Rose at WrestleMania XIV was the guest ring announcer for a match between The Undertaker and Kane and for some reason became the target of Kane who gave the ball player a tombstone pile driver before the match even started. The following year at WrestleMania XV, Pete Rose wanted revenge on Kane and dressed as the San Diego Chicken to attack the wrestler from behind.  This did not work as once more Rose was knocked out with a tombstone pile driver, and Kane went on to wrestle his match against Triple H. At WrestleMania 2000, Pete Rose once more tried to get the upper hand on Kane and after his tag match against DX, Rose tried to hit Kane with a baseball bat but was choked slammed! After this, Rose did a commercial for WWE No Mercy PPV and was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame by Kane in 2004. Pete Rose in 2010 was a guest host of Monday Night Raw and set a match between Kane and Shawn Michaels, after Kane lost he once more attacked the aging ball player. After this appearance, Rose has been mentioned on air as well as did an interview for WWE.COM on Kane’s attacks on him. While Pete Rose never wrestled a match for WWE, during his appearance he made some great moments in wrestling and it was nice to see a baseball player of his caliber not take himself too seriously.

WWE Kane and Pete Rose

So from the ball field to the wrestling ring, Pete Rose has proven time and time again that the man is a legend and is a very interesting person who has worked for his fame the hard way by given 110% every time. He has also proven that he is a marketing machine as his image has graced the likes of RC Cola cans, collector drinking glasses even one from Gold Star Chili, action figures from the Starting Line-Up a series made by Kenner & Hasbro, comic books, trading cards, collector coins, video game for Atari 2600/7800, TV Commercials, t-shirts among many other products and goods! The ones I remember the most are the video game for Atari 2600 that was a solid cheesy baseball game and the Starting Line Up figures that looked nothing like him and had very little articulation. But if you were a Rose fan, the world is filled with enough collector items to keep you very happy!

Pete Rose Drinking GlassPete Rose Starting LineupRC Cola Pete Rose

As I have stated before, I am a Monster Guy who loves comic books and this year (2015) I have gone through a stage where I am reading lots of 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s Spider-Man comics.  I am talking Amazing, Spectacular and Web Of and have gotten issues all over from Mavericks all the way to Lone Star Comics and many of the issues are coming bag and boarded to protect and keep the issue safe. Well one of the WORST places that bag and board their issues has to be Half Price Books as they clearly use the cheapest bags and boards and some of the worst tape in comic collecting history! When trying to open your comic the tape sticks to the plastic bag and rips holes in the bag and can even bend your comic as you try to get it open.  This has caused many annoying late night readings of Spidey and lots of curses toward these cheap bags. Also when writing this update, I was listening to Billy Idol’s 2014 release “Kings & Queens Of The Underground.”  It’s a pretty solid album.  While it’s by no means a classic, I still am glad that Billy is making music as he has been one of my favorite music artists sense I was a kid alongside Alice Cooper, Motley Cure, W.A.S.P. and Cinderella. In fact one of the best birthday presents in my adult life that I ever got was from Juliet as she got us close seats to Billy Idol at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering in 2010! The best tracks off this CD are the title track Kings & Queens Of The Underground and Eyes Wide Shut. The odd part about this disc is that almost all of the songs are ballads and not the fist pumping tracks one would expect from Billy Idol. So a special thanks goes to Marvel Comics for Spider-Man and Billy Idol for helping me while writing this update. I should also thank The Angry Video Game Nerd as I had episodes playing on the TV while I wrote and Billy Idol’s CD was done.  So I think it would be safe to say that Idol and AVGN acted as the soundtrack to this update and Spider-Man entertained my mind before I went to bed almost every night.

Billy Idol cd and Spiderman Comics

It’s Masstar Comics turn at bat, and I can’t wait to see what this bio Comic is like. I am wondering what direction they will take with his suspension from the sport and what kind of stories off the field they will share. I have never heard of Masstar Comics, and this will be my first read for one of their comics so this should be interesting. I want to thank a vendor at Peddlers’ Mall for having this comic at their booth as well as thank Jason Young for taking me there to look around. Oddly during our time at the Peddlers’ Mall, Jason and I found lots of Pete Rose merchandise and after that Mavericks even ended up putting out boxes of Rose’s ball cards, making me think that it was my calling to do this update. I should also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s see if Masstar can slide into homebase as they team up with Pete Rose and Rotten Ink to bring you this fun read at the ballpark, oh and um can I get some peanuts and a hotdog…and maybe one of those foam oversized hats?

Pete Rose 1

Pete Rose  # 1   **1/2
Released in 1992     Cover Price $2.50     Masstar Comic     # 1 of 1

Pete Rose or Pee Wee as his father called him was a young man who grew up in Ohio and was a fan of sports with baseball being his passion with football coming in second. His mother and father encouraged him to try harder at everything he did and thanks to his Uncle who was a baseball talent scout he was able to get a tryout for the Cincinnati Reds in 1960 by being put into the minor leagues and he once more busted his butt in order to impress the scouts and to get better at the game he loved. As he became better and better he finally catches the eye of Reds couch Freddie Hutchinson who hires him as second base man and allows him to prove that he has heart, but this upsets the older players who act as if Pete is not even alive and his only friends on the team are Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson who as well were ignored by teammates cause the color of their skin. Rose was not a super star from the start but season after season he became better and better and even turned up the intensity in the way he played and would go on to win the MVP Award for the year 1973 and in 1975 and 1976 he helped lead them to World Series wins. In 1979 Pete Rose turned down a contract from The Reds and took one from the Philadelphia Phillies and had some solid good seasons with them. Rose returned to The Reds in 1984 after a short time with the Montreal Expos and back with the Reds he broke hitting records and even became the teams Manager. While things looked great for Rose in 1989 it all came crashing down as he was accused of illegally betting on baseball games and the MLB Commissioner banished him from the game he loved.

Pete Rose is a ball player that is beloved by fans and has a mixed reaction from players and higher ups within the MLB all for his gambling issue. But this comic does a great job of making Rose a likable underdog who proved that hard work and support from your loved ones can make you a superstar of whatever your profession is. This bio comic follows Pete Rose from a youngster playing ball with his friends all the way to playing for the Reds coaching them and being banned from the game that he loves. The plus side to this comic is that the story is very fast paced and highlights all the major events in his life without dragging along, but the downside is the fact most major events are done in a couple of panels and don’t show much of his friendships nor rivalries with his fellow Reds and that’s a letdown. It was interesting to see why Rose left the Reds to play for Philadelphia and even more so how when he first joined the team all the older players didn’t like him so they ignored him and treated him like he was a ghost. The comic ends with Rose being suspended from baseball and leaves it making it look like he never bet on baseball when in fact he did and lied about it for years. The cover is pretty eye catching and shows Rose through the years as the art inside is pretty well done and makes Rose look like he should and is done by John Tartaglione who you can tell had fun drawing this comic. Over all this was a fun Unauthorized Bio comic on an iconic baseball player and was well worth the read and purchase. Check out the art below done by Tartaglione.

Pete Rose Art 1

We made it to home base and scored the winning point thanks to Pete Rose and Masstar Comics, and along the way I found a new respect for baseball and now understand the appeal it has for all its fans, as it’s a sport that is filled with a rich history and gives people pride in their favorite team and something to talk about around the water cooler at work. While I may or may not ever go see a Reds game again at the stadium I still have the good memories of going to them with my Dad, brother Bryan and my dad’s best friend John in my youth. Well our next update is going to take us out of the ball field and into the world of self-defense as I am going to take a look at an Atlas Comic based around the secret world of the martial arts called The Hands Of The Dragon! So make sure to come back for that one but until then enjoy the summer and read a comic or three.

Hands Of The Dragon Logo

Have You Seen This Lost Dog: Foofur

Welcome back to Rotten Ink!  This update is all about that blue dog Foofur. Dogs are a man’s best friend, and they are loving as well as loyal.  Growing up I have only had two dogs in my life but have been around many.  From the chubby old dog Two who lived at my grandparents’ house all the way to Conan who is my cousin Stephen’s hyper little Chihuahua, I have always been around dogs. The first dog that we had was a mutt named Droopy, who from what I understand was a very fun loving little guy who loved my brother Bryan and I. The sad part is I was very young and don’t remember him all that well, and to add to his sad story while my family was away, my uncle was watching him and someone stole him from the backyard! I mean what kind of scumbag steals a family pet? The second dog we got was Stella, a German Shepard, when I was around 16 years old.  She was a sweet dog who was my best pal when I first moved back to Kettering.  She used to follow me around the yard, and we would have all kinds of adventures walking around the neighborhood. Stella was a scaredy cat for the most part, but if she thought I was in trouble, she would spring into protective mode. Stella lived to an old age and I find myself missing that goofy knucklehead. If you’re a dog owner, cherish the time you have with your furry buddy and give them an extra treat after dinner. Below is a picture of Bryan and I with Droopy, and I have to make a note that for some reason I can’t find my pictures of Stella I took when I was a teenager.

Bryan and Me with Droopy

Back in the day, many of the top watched cartoons were made by Hanna-Barbera who was the company who brought us such great characters as Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo, Jabber Jaw and Huckleberry Hound, all popular and beloved cartoon characters. Hanna-Barbera were at the top of what they did, but by the late 80’s while their classic work was still popular, many of the newer stuff was not as iconic as the past work.  Shows like Yo! Yogi, Flintstone Kids and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo were all great shows and all ones I watched when they aired in the 80’s and early 90’s, but most of those shows didn’t have the life and staying power as their classic toons did. In 1986, they made a character that was pretty well liked by the kids of Wayensville but now in 2015 is pretty much forgotten, and that’s the loveable blue dog Foofur. In 1986, on NBC during the station’s Saturday Morning Cartoons, a cartoon made by Hanna-Barbera called Foofur started airing and is about a skinny dog named Foofur who finds a mansion to live in that’s abandoned! But living in the big house by himself is lonely so Foofur, along with his niece Rocki, free fellow dogs from the kennel, and they all now live with him and dodge the dog catcher and a realtor who wants to sell the house from under Foofur’s paws. Foofur lasted for two seasons and a total of 46 episodes and was canceled in 1988, but for those of us like myself who watched Foofur when it aired those two seasons were very entertaining and had that Hanna-Barbera charm. It’s odd, with WB putting out their Warner Brothers Archive Discs for many Hanna-Barbera shows, that this series has never made it to DVD on demand. While his run was short, Foofur still made his mark on Saturday Morning Cartoons and remains a cult favorite among the fans that remember his adventures.

Foofur Cartoon 1Foofur Cartoon 2Foofur Cartoon 3

While characters like Scooby-Doo had tons of merchandise from toys to keychains, poor Foofur had very little merch.  So if you were a fan, it was pretty slim pickings to get collectibles of your blue furred pal. So let’s take a quick second to talk about some of the things that were made that included VHS tapes of some of his episodes that quickly came and went at retail stores.  I can remember finding some of these tapes in the cheap bin at Hearts and Gold Circle. Sticker story books of FooFur also came out and were geared toward young readers that helped kids not only to read but also survived as a way for kids to get more FooFur hijinks. The last thing I can remember is the stuffed doll of Foofur made by R.Dakin Co./ Phil Mandez productions that was very long and looked as lazy as possible and captured the goofball loving nature of the character. I never had any of these items, and I can remember that someone I knew had the doll and it was either my friend Joanna or my cousin Nick…but I am not 100% sure on that one.

Foofur DollFoofur BookFoofur VHS

So we just learned a little about the show as well as the merchandise so now I figure we should take a quick crash course on the side characters that made up the show. Let’s start with Fencer; he is a black and white furred cat who loves karate and thinks he can fight. Louis is a strong as an ox bulldog who can fight as well as be a loyal friend to all his fellow housemates. Annabel is a sweet female dog with long bangs that cover her eyes and is the girl of Louis. Fritz Carlos is a proper dog with a sweet mustache and has total manners as well as tall tales. Hazel is a curly eared female dog who is a clean freak and is buddies with Fritz. Dolly is Foofur’s girlfriend who is owned by a well to do woman and her best friend is Burt a snob dog. The show had many “bad guys,” but we will get to them when we cover the comics. I should thank Lone Star Comics and Bell Book And Comic for having these issues in stock and should as always remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So with that let’s head to the old mansion and see what Foofur and the gang are up to, shall we?

Foofur 1

Foofur # 1  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #1 of 6

Curly Tale” has Foofur and the gang almost being found in the mansion when it was being looked at for purchase.  Once they are safe, Dolly stops by and invites Foofur to her tea party that will be attended by many of the town’s top dogs! Foofur gets the help of Hazel to look nice for the party but uses too much conditioner and ends up putting a curl to all his fur! When he gets there, at first he’s looked at as a joke, but when the smart fashion dog likes the look, he becomes a trendsetter. “Alone Again” has that Kung-Fu cat Fencer doing his moves in the house and annoying Foofur and Annabell, who are cleaning the attic of the mansion.  When he goes outside and thinks that his pals are captured by the catchers, who he actually frees is the Ma Baker gang who kidnap Fencer and hide in Foofur’s mansion.  Once inside, they beat up Fencer and Foofur, but the gang of bad animals meet their match when the raging bulldog Louis shows up and beats them up and makes them run to the dogcatchers to be captured and safe away from him! “Trial And Error” has a group of rats living in the mansion who want to throw out Foofur and the gang and get the help of a lawyer rat who banishes Rocki from the house.  When the young dog is sad and is crying over being kicked out, Louis shows up and beats up the rats and throws them out of the mansion!

This is another kids comic that takes the route of doing multiple stories in a issue instead of one solid onem and while in the days of Goldkey and Whitman, that style worked for the likes of Bugs Bunny and Pink Panther, in my opinion it does not work for Foofur in 1987 as it clearly should have been one continuous story that helped add to the world that the cartoon was building on Saturday mornings. Each of these stories, while cheesy, packs a fun feel, and I must say I really like the abandoned mansion backdrop. Thus far only three of the characters shine and that’s Foofur, Louis and Fencer so I will give you a little of my first comic book impression of these three characters. First up is Foofur; while he is very laid back, he clearly cares about his friends and is trying his best to keep the mansion theirs. The one negative thing I noticed is when is niece Rocki is crying, he pays no attention and keeps playing cards, and it’s Louis who checks on her and takes care of the issue. Speaking of Louis, he is one tough bulldog who whoops butt not once but twice in this issue and is clearly the muscle of the group. But while he might be the meathead, it’s clear that he cares about his friends and will protect them at all cost. When I was younger and watching the cartoon, this next character was my favorite and it’s the cat who knows karate named Fencer who while noble at heart is really just a goofball who tries more then he knows, and means well when trying to stick up for his pals. Now I should also pick the best story out of the three, and I would say Alone Again not only because it shares the name of a power ballad sung by Dokken but because I love the idea of a gang of rough and ready animals taking orders from an old dog named Ma Baker who is straight out of Batman 66 if that show was played by animals. The art is pretty solid and is done by Ben Brown who captured the look and mood of the cartoon, really good stuff and reminds me of Archie and Harvey comic art. So far I would say that this Star Comic series based on the cartoon Foofur is pretty entertaining and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this series goes, so let’s move onto issue # 2!

Foofur 2

Foofur # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #2 of 6

The first story is called “Unreal Estate.” In it relator Mrs. Escrow is trying to sell the mansion and fills it with furniture to give it a more homey feel.  So Foofur takes an idea from Fritz Carlos, and they put the furniture in crazy places! As the open house starts all the people are mad at Mrs. Escrow and think she pulled a joke on them because of this, but it backfires as one strange man loves the mansion and the way it’s set up and agrees to buy it the next day! Foofur and the gang spend the night making the mansion look normal again and stops the buy when the man gets mad about how normal the house looks and Mrs. Escrow in the end thinks the mansion is haunted. The second story is called “Costume Canine Caper.”  Those rats are at it again and use a dog costume to try and sneak into Foofur’s group to gain secrets on how to get rid of them, but the plan is cut short when the rats are captured by the dogcatchers and must ditch the suit.  Fencer witnesses it with his own eyes, and Foofur in the end scares off the rats by wearing a giant rat costume! “User Unfriendly” has the Mayor firing Mel and Harvey from being the city’s dog catchers and replaces them with a robot named 4-D who can capture dogs super fast! 4-D goes on a capturing rampage and even gets Louis, but all things backfire on the robot when Foofur over loads its circuits by using a ton of wind up dog toys! At the end Louis breaks free from the pound and 4-D ends up in a trash can.

This second issue is just like the first issue with three stories and a one-page joke, and like before, each of the stories have a charm and each are well done and silly. Much like before, most of the time the plots are set in and around the mansion making the old structure almost feel like a character on its own. Foofur in this issue is much like the first and does show he has a prankster side as he helps move around couches and place beds in the kitchen not to mention wears a costume to scare off those pesky rats. Fritz Carlos is a proper little dog who is very British and very much a supporter of the abstract. So we should also take a look at the “bad guys” of this series.  Let’s start with the three rats who are named Sam, Chucky and Baby.  They want the mansion all to themselves and are trying to do whatever it takes to run the dogs off.  Sam is the brains of the rats and bullies the other two. Mrs. Escrow is not fully bad in the comic and is only doing her job of trying to sell the mansion, but her little dog Pepe is a jerk and hates Foofur and the gang. The last two are the dogcatchers named Mel and Harvey who once more are just doing their job but do seem to target Foofur and the gang and patrol that area a lot. Out of all these “bad guys” I would say the biggest threat to them has to be the Rats as I feel they would murder Foofur in his sleep if they could figure out a way to do so! The best story out of the three this issue has to be Unreal Estate as I like the fact Foofur and the gang are running around changing things to save their home from being sold, and I could see the Three Stooges doing something like this. The art is once more all done by Ben Brown and is fantastic for this kids’ style of comic.  I must also point out for some reason I really like this cover with the rain and Foofur being so tall he is blocking his friends from getting wet. This is another good issue, and this makes me hopeful that this whole series will stay entertaining and steady with the two and a half star ratings.

Foofur 3

Foofur # 3  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #3 of 6

Foofur and the gang’s first adventure is called “History Defeats Itself!” and has Mrs. Escrow selling the mansion to land developer Cashman who wants to build a condo in the spot where the mansion sits! Foofur, along with Dolly and the gang, try to figure out how to stop the buy and most importantly stop the mansion from being torn down. They try to use some of Fritz’s old arrowheads to get the historical society to step in but that turns into a bust.  Finally Louis has an idea just as things look bad and gets a giant bone from the butcher shop and the demolition stops.  Cashman rips up the contract after what he thinks is all a waste of his time, and the mansion is saved and once more put up for sale. The second adventure is called “A Close Encounter” has an alien landing on earth and meeting the rats who he thinks are the kings of the planet.  They tell him that they are indeed and are under attack by the K-9s! The Alien takes Foofur and his friends off the planet and is about to leave them when he finds out he has been played by the Rats! And with the help of Foofur, the Alien is able to scare the Rats away from the mansion. The last story is called “Plant You Know, Dig You Later.” Annabel has her sister and her kids over at the mansion, and her sister brings her a plant as a gift and they leave it on the porch. During the visit the plant grows and grows and covers the mansion! Louis uses his brain and grabs the plant’s root and places it in the freezer causing the plant to die and detach from the mansion.

Issue three is another solid Foofur adventure packed from page to page with cartoon inspired goodness. Much like all the issues before, all three stories are well done and each hold their own charm.  If I had to pick one as my favorite, I would say History Defeats Itself would take the spot, not just cause it’s a good story but it also makes me think of the big mansion and woods in Sugarcreek that was torn down so they could build a soulless Coastco…but let’s not harp on that. But A Close Encounter comes in close second and that’s because I love the whole alien comes to Earth story that reminds me of so many classic Sci-Fi films I watched when I was a kid. Foofur remains the same in this issue, and it’s really clear he loves to play cards, cares about his pals and his girlfriend Dolly. Annabel is a sweet dog that has bangs that block her vision as this is said many times o far in the series.  We also get the fact she has a sister and is the aunt to many puppies, and she is married to Louis. Ben Brown is still doing the art, and it’s fantastic and really does make it feel like the cartoon.  One other thing I should note is that the inking in this series so far is very bright and this helps add to the over all fun feel of the comics. Not much more to say besides another good issue that brings all the Foofur action to comic readers.

Foofur 4

Foofur # 4  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #4 of 6

Fernando’s Hideaway” has Foofur and his pals finding hiding spots for when Mrs. Escrow comes to the mansion to show it to a buyer. After they master the art of hiding, they all go to take a nap when crooks break in and are hiding from the police. Foofur and the gang use their new hiding spots to act as if the mansion is haunted, and the crooks run back into the arms of the police. In the end, all ends well besides the fact The Rats are mad about them being around the inside of the walls for the hiding spots claim that’s their territory! In “Show Business” Fritz Carlos is on a date with Hazel, and they see a hypnotist that by accident hypnotizes Hazel and turns her into a slob when she is the clean freak of the gang! When home she trashes the place, and worse the house is about to be shown, so Fritz and Foofur rush back to the hypnotist and have the spell broken get he back to the mansion just in time to clean it up and all ends well. The final story is called “The Buddy Guard” and is about Louis and Annabel wandering the streets looking for food when a gang of dogs led by a pitbull shows up and start calling Louis a chicken, and instead of fighting, the bulldog leaves! Foofur tells Annabel, who is worried about her man, that the dogs they ran into was once lead by Louis and he left them to become friends with Foofur. The Rats hear this and bring in the gang who attack the house, but the bad dogs soon learn Louis is no chicken as he wipes the floor with them and proves he is a smart fighter.

Louis once more shows that he is the biggest and baddest bulldog in the comic world as he beats down a pitbull and a pack of other dogs by himself! Plus I like the backstory given to him that he once was a bad dog who ran the streets and would beat up other dogs just because he could, but once he met Foofur he changed his way and became a dog who only fights when it’s called for like to protect his friends. But to play What If like The Watcher does for Marvel, imagine a world were Louis beat up Foofur instead of friending him, would Louis go on to beat up the likes of Snoopy, Odie, Scooby-Doo and so many more K-9’s in comic and cartoons…makes one wonder. My favorite story has to be The Buddy Guard just for the backstory of Louis and the fact it has Foofur being put in some major danger as a pitbull wants to rip his head off. The other two stories are well done, and I love the fact they have taken them out of the mansion and into the world a few times in this issue. One thing that I also think this series is doing right is while Foofur is the clear star of the comic, he is not over used and each character has their time to shine even if it’s only for a panel or two. The Rats are back also in this issue and once more try so hard to chase off the dogs, but as always fail at their plan. The art is done by Ben Brown again and as always looks like a classic 80’s kid comic. I should also note that this is the final issue of Foofur to come out under Star as the next in the series has the Marvel logo. So let’s see of Marvel put the care into Foofur like their kids branch did.

Foofur 5

Foofur # 5  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #5 of 6

The Bear Facts” is the opening story and is about Mrs. Escrow having the mansion treated for termites that has Foofur and the gang going camping, but before they leave they also warn the rats who think the dogs are up to something! Rocki can use the trip to get a badge in the scouts, and while out in nature, a nearsighted mama bear takes Rocki by accident as she thinks she is one of her cubs. In the end Foofur uses cola bottles and makes the bear glasses, and she and her cubs hang out with them and get food as a way of saying thanks. The second story is a continuation of the first story and is called “Fur Better Fur Worse” and has the Rats taking fur from Fencer and pull mean pranks on the fellow house dogs trying to get the K-9s to turn on the cat. In the end Louis and Foofur are the voice of reason as all the others in the house are ready to beat up the karate cat.  In the end Louis finds out the Rats are the ones causing the issues, and he gets even by placing them on a log in the harbor! The final story is called “Pipe Down” and has those two numbskull dogcatchers Mel and Harvey get a magic flute that attracts dogs, and it’s up to Fencer and his trusty baseball to save his friends from being captured.

Marvel took over Foofur after closing Star and was smart enough to keep all those working on it intact. Foofur as a character in this issues shows compassion and that he really wants to make the world he lives in a better place as he helps a bear to see and even warns the Rats that they could be caught or killed when a exterminator comes. Say what you will, but Foofur, while a silly comic based on a cartoon ,does have some positive messages and teaches readers to honor friendship, keep positive as well as try not to hold grudges. Louis in the issue goes 1-1 as he is able to beat up Mel and Harvey in an ally but gets knocked out when he tries to tackle the nearsighted bear. My favorite story has to be Pipe Down because who doesn’t like a silly take on the Pied Piper legend? Ben Brown takes the duty of art again as like the others it’s solid and shows I think he enjoyed doing this series. So are our next issue is the last issue of Foofur so let’s see if it can end as a solid cartoon adaptation comic.

Foofur 6

Foofur # 6  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #6 of 6

Raising Spirits” opens our last issue and has the mansion being the subject of being called a haunted house and brings an oddball to try and find if the legends are true. Of course the oddball sets up the house to appear haunted so he could buy it dirt cheap,and when Foofur finds this out, he turns the fraud haunt back on them and scares them away. “Smitten Kitten” has Fencer falling for a cute grey cat named Miss Mitzi and asks her out on a date.  To get ready for the date, Fritz tries to help him get manners and ditches the karate look for a more preppy look. During the date, a group of cats start trouble and Fencer kicks into action and finds that Mitzi likes him for him and that’s the karate cat. The final story for the issue and the series is called “The Outcast” has Dolly’s snob friend Burt, a purebred dog, thinking he is a mutt and running away from home to stay at the mansion and after getting himself caught by Mel and Harvey. Foofur and the group go to save him and in turn get caught! In the end Burt saves Foofur and finds out he is indeed no mutt!

So much like the cartoon, the comic series of Foofur comes to an end way to fast! This final issue is well done and doesn’t lose a step from the rest of the series and is a good kids comic based on a cartoon that was only mildly popular. Foofur is a cool dog who has a kind heart and a sharp mind and always thinks about the well being of his friends…for the most part because if he’s playing cards he shuts down on caring. I am a cat person, and I have to say Fencer in this issue gets to shine as he goes on a date, learns manners and even whoops some butt on cats who are hassling his girl. Burt, who is a friend of Dolly’s, is also a snob and stuck on himself and treats Foofur like a fleabag.  It’s only after he thinks he’s a mutt that he shows Foofur and the gang respect. Marv and Harvey almost, and I mean almost, have Foofur in this issue but are once more outsmarted by a pack of dogs.  These two guys are as goofy as they come and are great “bad guys” in a comic series like this. What made Foofur work as a comic is the over all good nature of the stories and characters. I mean most kids love talking animals, and Foofur is a perfect fit for those type of readers. Hanna-Barbera and Star made a perfect team on this, and I wish the team up would have continued with other properties they made like The New Yogi Bear Show, The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley or even Paddington Bear! Imagine a Star Comic based on Ed Grimley.  I know that I as well as many others including Jason Young would have read it. Ben Brown did the art for the whole run, and his style is the kind of art I love for kids comics based on toys and cartoons, I would like to see Ben make more comics of this nature. With Disney owning Marvel Comics, I am not sure why they have not reopened Star Comics and make retro style kids comics based on old Disney Shows like Ducktakes, Goof Troop, Darkwing Duck and Gummi Bears, all that wonderful stuff that was played after school in the late 80’s and 90’s. But to wrap up the look at Star’s Foofur I will say it’s a series that stayed true to its quality and stayed steady on entertainment and held true to it’s source material so I would give this series a must check out for fans of the cartoon. Below is some of Ben Brown’s artwork for the series, and it showcases the main cast to the series.

FooFur Art 1Now I am sure many of you readers don’t remember Foofur and those who do probably only slightly do so I hope that this update helped inform you about his existence in the world of comics and cartoon. One thing I should also point out is the fact that much like many classic kid comics of the 70’s and 80’s, the cover to most the issues has nothing to do with the stories inside.  Not once did they go skiing nor did Foofur and Rocki race a kangaroo and joey! And while the rats and dogcatchers were a threat to them somewhat, the main drama comes from them always living in fear that the house they live in will be sold from under their feet and they will all be homeless. Our next update will have us leaving the mansion of Foofur behind as I once more will turn Rotten Ink over to Juliet and she will take a walk on the dark side with The Witching Hour! So until next time make sure to pet your pet, read a comic or three and support your local comic shop.

The Witching Hour logo

The Strong Arm Of The Law Of Marshall Bravestarr

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, a place were we can talk about classic toys, cartoons, movies, horror hosts, video games and so much more.  For this update we are going to travel to space and meet a cowboy who is the law on the planet New Texas that goes by the name Marshall Bravestarr! That’s right, a planet called New Texas is where we will be traveling for this update, but I should warn you that while we are traveling on the BlackThorne Comic Express we will need some 3-D glasses for this adventure. Thinking about it, is New Texas on the Planet Texas that Kenny Rogers sang about in his super cheesy song called “Planet Texas”? Just ponder that for a while.  So I hope you’re ready for a Texas size good time! I must also say that growing up I was not a super fan of Bravestarr, but did watch the cartoon from time to time so this will be nice to go back and try to reconnect with a character I have not thought about in years. Oh yeah, and on the last picture below does it look like maybe Bravestarr ate the wrong kind of mushroom or he just witnessed something very, very bad that marked his very soul?

Bravestarr sprit animalsBravestarr open logoBravestarr 0

So before we move onto Bravestarr, I finally must touch up on WWE 2K15 for the PS3, and wow, I must say 2K Sports who took over the IP when THQ went sadly out of business REALLY dropped the ball this first year of them being solely in charge of the wrestling game. The roster is the weakest it’s been in years and the lack of push and updates to their website show just how little they care about the fans of this game series. The fact the major WWE Summer Slam roster reveal panel was incomplete and left out many of the superstars in the game just shows you how lazy 2K is about doing anything with this. I mean when they crammed out NBA 2K15, they really pushed it! This year the major focus of the game is legendary feuds in WWE History like such “major” beefs like Triple H vs. Shawn “HBK” Michaels, Christian vs. Randy Orton and who can forget John Cena vs. CM Punk…..yeah no Hogan vs. Piper or Austin vs. Bret Hart, this feature is super lame on most accounts. Some of these feuds come as DLC as well; they are making you pay to play Orton vs. Christian as well as get a terrible storyline pack for Mark Henry that only adds The Great Kahli to your roster besides some arena and outfits! The only really awesome feud pack that will be released is one that follows the career of The Ultimate Warrior that adds many great legends to roster like Hulk Hogan, Macho King Randy Savage, Sargent Slaughter, Honkey Tonk Man, Ravishing Rick Rude and Andre The Giant. They also will have a WCW roster pack that will add Lex Luger, Diamond Dallas Page, Bam Bam Bigelow, Fit Finley and William Regal that will be a pretty good addition. They also have a story pack based around the rookies of NXT that helps bring the next generation into this generation and legends.

WWE 2K15 Hulk HoganWWE 2K15 HBKWWE 2K15 Goldust

But while 2K tries to make the theme of this year the terrible feuds, for me and others this game belongs to Sting! That’s right the icon of WCW, Sting, is in the game and not only do we get the Crow version but we also get the late 80’s/early 90’s blonde hair one as well! Who would have thought that in 2K15 fans would be treated to Sting in all his video game glory allowing you to have him wrestle the likes of The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels and rematch with Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin. Not to mention many other faces of his past are present like Ravishing Rick Rude who he had a great set of matches with in WCW, his friend and some times enemy Lex Luger and not to mention his old tag team partner The Ultimate Warrior.

WWE 2K15 StingWWE 2K15 PS3WWE 2K15 Sting (Crow)

So let’s take a look at 5 wrestlers that had great matches with Sting in WCW that should have been included in this game instead of being snubbed and left out in the cold.

Big Van Vader

Big Van Vader

One of the best big men in the business, Big Van Vader should have been in the game and could have had great matches not only with Sting but many others on 2K’s roster. Starting his career in 1985 in AWA under the name of Baby Bull and later changed to Bull Power, he took the scene by storm with his large size and powerful moves. In 1987 he went to New Japan Pro Wrestling and changed his name to Big Van Vader and dominated the competition becoming one of the biggest stars the company has ever had. He had great matches and feuds with the likes of Stan Hansen, El Canek, The Great Muta and Antonio Inoki and was feared by the Japanese audience. During this time New Japan was trading talent with WCW and would have Vader come in for pay per views and take on the likes of Tom Zenk and Stan Hansen, but by 1992 Big Van Vader had left New Japan and took full time work in WCW where he was managed by Harley Race and was the company’s new major heel! Vader dominated once more the competition with matches against the likes of Cactus Jack, Nikita Koloff, Dustin Rhodes, Britsih Bulldog Davey Boy Smith and Sting, and with Sting he defeated and became the World Champion. As years passed and new talent came in, Vader found himself still a draw but taking a back seat to the likes of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage who had jumped ship from WWF to WCW. By 1995 and before the first WCW Monday Night Nitro Vader had left the company. In 1996 he returned very briefly to New Japan Pro Wrestling to finish his feud with Antonio Inoki. WWF came calling in 1996 as well, and Vader made his in ring debut for them at the Royal Rumble.  Very soon after coming in he was managed by Jim Cornette and it looked like he would be pushed once more as a monster heel, but sadly this never was as he seemed to be lost in the shuffle thanks to the likes of Shawn Michaels and Diesel. But during this run he did have some great matches with The Undertaker, Yokozuna, The Patriot and Kane. Vader left WWF in 1998 and went on to wrestle for All Japan Pro Wrestling as well as other independent federations, and still makes appearances from time to time in WWF (WWE).

Key Match Against Sting: WCW Slamboree 94

Barry Windham

Barry Windham

Bad Boy Barry Windham is the son of legendary tag team wrestler BlackJack Mulligan and is a super talented and hard worker who was also a member of The Four Horsemen in NWA/WCW. Barry began is career in 1980 and worked for many NWA territories including Florida Championship Wrestling. He feuded with Kevin Sullivan and later went on to capture tag team gold alongside Mike Rotunda. By 1984, WWF came calling and Barry and Mike went to New York and became the tag team known as U.S. Express and had a short year run winning tag gold and losing it to teams like Iran Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff and The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake & Greg “The Hammer” Valentine), making the U.S. Express run out of gas by 1985. In 1986 Barry, as a singles wrestler, returned to NWA and took on the likes of Ric Flair and even formed a tag team with Ron Garvin as they had a good feud with The Midnight Express. Around this time Barry became allies with Lex Luger who would later turn on him and join Ric Flair’s stable known as The Four Horsemen. Barry floated around for a while having matches with Dr. Death Steve Williams, Black Bart and Rick Steiner. In 1988, Barry and Luger, who had left the Horsemen, had patched things up and took the tag titles away from Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard who were members of the Four Horsemen, but when defending them Barry turned on Luger and became the newest member of the Horsemen that consisted of Flair, Anderson, Blanchard and Windham. During this heel run, Barry would become NWA United States Champion and take on many top names in the wrestling world like Sting, Dusty Rhodes, Brad Armstrong and Bam Bam Bigelow.  He would later lose the title to Lex Luger, and in 1989 he left the NWA. Once more he went to WWF and took the name The Widowmaker and played an evil tough cowboy character who went undefeated for over 4 months, but this was very short lived and he once more left the company as quickly as he entered. In 1990 he returned to NWA now WCW and rejoined the Four Horsemen and even helped his fellow member Sid Vicious win the world title from Sting, as Windham dressed as Sting and allowed Sid to pin him! This run in WCW would see him turn from face to heel and make allies and enimies out of the likes of Dustin Rhodes, Brian Pillman, Stunning Steve Austin, Ricky Steamboat and The Great Muta, as well during this time he would win many titles and become a solid worker for the company. But once more he left the pastures of WCW and went back to WWE in 1996 to become a character called The Stalker a crazy outdoors hunter type who was a babyface.  Thank God that in 1997 they changed his character and teamed him up with Justin Hawk Bradshaw to become The New Blackjacks, but this as well didn’t last long as they had Windham turn on Bradshaw and join a faction of wrestlers who were pro NWA. And once more as quick as it started Windham left WWF and went back to WCW to be part of a team called The West Texas Rednecks alongside the likes of Curt Henning, Bobby Duncum Jr. and his younger brother Kendall Windham, and they all were a bunch of good old boys who hated rap music. Barry and Kendall would team up and become Tag Champions before they both were fired in 1999. Barry after this release would go on to wrestle for many small independents around the world where he still was able to make an impact. While all the Four Horsemen should be in this game, we do already have Ric Flair so it would have been nice to see the likes of Barry Windham to have feuds in 2K15 with Sting and even guys like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Rob Van Damn.

Key Match Against Sting: WCW Clash of The Champions # 22 – Barry Windham, Vader, Paul Orndorff vs. Sting, Dustin Rhodes, Cactus Jack.

British Bulldog

British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith

It’s a crime that Davey Boy is not in this game and more so that he is not in the WWE Hall Of Fame! Davey Boy began pro wrestling in 1982 in Stampede Wrestling and had a series of matches against his cousin, the Dynamite Kid. He later went to New Japan Pro Wrestling and had tournament style matches against Dynamite Kid and The Cobra, and after this he and Dynamite formed a tag team they called The British Bulldogs and shocked the world when they jumped to All Japan Pro Wrestling. But during this time they also caught the eye of WWF who signed them as a team to a contract in 1985 where they came in as a baby face power house team who had many great matches with teams like The Hart Foundation, The Dream Team, The Islanders, Rougeau Brothers and Demolition and won tag gold and became one of the biggest tag teams for WWF. But by 1988 they were released from their contracts due in part to Dynamite Kid’s reputation of being a bully backstage. In 1989 they returned to Stampede Wrestling and stuck around for a year, but issues between the cousins arose and Dynamite went to All Japan while Davey Boy went back to the WWF as a solo wrestler in 1990. Davey Boy returned and became a popular star having matches with the likes of The Warlord, Mr. Perfect Curt Henning, The Mountie among others. During this run at SummerSlam 1992, he defeated Bret “Hitman” Hart for the Intercontinental Title and became even bigger of a draw and a star! Davey Boy lost the belt to Shawn Michaels on Monday Night Raw and a little later on he and the Ultimate Warrior were released from WWF for using growth hormones. By 1993 Davey Boy signed to wrestle for WCW where he paired with Sting to feud with Big Van Vader and Sid Vicious, but once more trouble appeared and Davey Boy was fired from WCW over a brawl he had with a fan at a bar over his wife. Davey Boy floated around small independents in England for awhile before coming back to WWF in 1994 where he joined in the family feud between brothers Bret and Owen as he is in fact their real life brother in-law! After that died down, he formed a tag team with Lex Luger called The Allied Powers, but this didn’t last long as Davey Boy turned heel and joined Jim Cornette’s stable of wrestlers that included Owen Hart and Yokozuna. During this time Smith would have matches for Tag Titles as well as The World Title and even became the first ever WWF European Champion! Davey Boy would later join Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart and Brian Pillman to form The New Hart Foundation.  Davey Boy left WWF alongside Bret and Jim when at Survivor Series 1997 Vince McMahon screwed over Bret Hart during the world title match against Shawn Michaels by pulling real life underhanded dealings. Davey Boy joined Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart in WCW in 1998 where he floated around the midcard tag team division until he seriously hurt his back in the ring and was served his pink slip via FedEx while in the hospital. In 1999 Davey Boy returned to WWF with a new attitude and look as he simply wore blue jeans and boots and won the Hardcore title from Big Bossman.  He later turned heel and set his sights on the world title and had a few title matches against The Rock who was the champ, but Davey Boy never could get the gold away from the peoples champ. Davey Boy was pushed down the card and had matches against the likes of Crash Holly and Val Venis. Davey was let go in 2000 for having an addiction to pain pills among other drugs and sadly passed away in 2002. Besides teaming with Sting in 2K15, I would also love to have him in matches against the likes of Ryback, Mark Henry and Rusev.

Key Match Teaming With Sting: Beach Blast 1993 – Sting & Davey Boy vs. Big Van Vader & Sid Vicious

Black Scorpion

The  Black Scorpion

Okay I know what you’re all thinking, how could I pick such a cheesy wrestling gimmick as The Black Scorpion as my pick for being snubbed from the game, as others would say he wasn’t he just Ric Flair in a mask? And the answer is yes to both! While The Black Scorpion was discovered to be Ric Flair, many wrestlers played the part, and Ole Anderson who came up with the storyline said it was not supposed to be Flair but him! The Black Scorpion appeared in NWA cutting odd promos about then World Champion Sting claiming that he was from his past and making people believe it was one of his former tag team partners like The Ultimate Warrior or Angel Of Death. During his taunts to Sting, the black masked Black Scorpion would do simple magic and illusions to try and confusing Sting even during matches sometimes multiple versions of him would appear. Every time Sting would get close to unmasking The Black Scorpion during a match, the masked wrestler would be saved by a clone of himself or Sid Vicious who was also having a feud with Sting at the time, never letting him see the identity of his foe. This all came to a head at Starrcade when Sting beat The Black Scorpion in a steel cage and when unmasked, it turned out to be Ric Flair! The character was dropped after this even though rumor has it that he was supposed to go on. The Black Scorpion could have easily been in the game if 2K didn’t cheapen out on his “Feuds” campaign and gave Sting one as he could have been a alternate attire for Ric Flair even! If The Black Scorpion would have been in the game as his own character I would have not only feuded him with Sting but also The Ultimate Warrior and The Undertaker.

Key Match Against Sting: Starrcade 1990 – Sting vs. Black Scorpion in a Steel Cage

Vampiro

Vampiro

In 1984 at the age of 16 Vampiro wrestled his first match in Canada and from that moment on, he was hooked on being a Pro Wrestler. His career would lead him to Mexico where he would wrestle for many promotions and have great matches against luchadors like Konnan, Dr. Wagner Jr., Silver King, El Dandy, Dos Caras and El Canek to name a very few. During this timem he also worked a little in Japan but landed a job in WCW in 1998 where he made a splash in the midcard division and formed a stable alongside Rappers ICP and ECW Original Raven called The Dead Pool, and while very short lived, they had a great rivalry with Konnan, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Eddie Guerrero. His next major matches came when he brought in Punk Rock Band The Misfits and took on Dr. Death Steve Williams. Vampiro then formed a team with Sting that they called The Brothers In Paint, but Vampiro had other plans as he turned on Sting, and while most times Sting always got the upper hand, Vampiro won the “Human Torch” match and set Sting on fire causing the icon to disappear from wrestling for awhile. After beating Sting, he set his sights on The Demon, a wrestler who was based on the rock band Kiss, and after a Graveyard Match, Sting returned and set the wrongs right. Vampiro then went on to team up with The Great Muta and win the tag team titles from KroniK that they lost the next day to Rey Mysterio Jr. and Juventud Guerrera, causing Vampiro to turn on Muta and later sparked a three way match with Sting. After this he went on to have a few matches against Mike Awesome and while injured WWE bought out WCW and his contract was not picked up. Vampiro returned to Mexico and even made a few appearances for companies like TNA, JCW and Wrestling Society X. Vampiro is currently working as an announcer for Lucha Underground, a show on El Ray Network featuring matches from wrestlers from AAA. If Vampiro was to be in this game besides Sting I would have him in feuds with The Undertaker, Rey Mysterio Jr., Alberto Del Rio and Goldust!

Key Match Against Sting: Great American Bash 2000 – Sting vs. Vampiro in a Human Torch Match. 

So those are a few names I would have loved to seen in WWE 2K15 for a Sting Rivalry/ Feud story line! I know that Sid Vicious is supposed to be in the game as a manager, but not a wrestler because that makes a lot of sense, 2K, and the fact that none of the Four Horsemen besides Ric Flair is in the game makes me really want to see them in next years. Plus I would love to see guys like The Great Muta in a WWE game, but sadly I see this never happening. While this could be the worse WWE game roster in a long time, here is to hoping they get their act together next year and give us long time fans something better.

WWE 2K15 Sting with Bat

For those of you wondering and don’t know who Marshall Bravestarr is, let me tell you a little about the character. Bravestarr is of Native American decent and is a very good man who wants to uphold the law and help those who can’t help themselves. Bravestarr can call on his spirit animals and gain superhuman powers for a short time.  For example, if he calls on the Bear, he gains its strength, and if he calls on a Hawk he gains super sight and so on and so on. His best friend is his trusty cyborg horse name Thirty/Thirty who not only walks on all fours but can also walk on two legs like a person and fire a gun to help. He also has a small deputy named Fuzz, a green powerhouse bartender named Handlebar, a female Judge named J.B. McBride and has many other strange and helpful allies in New Texas. So if you find yourself in space and in need of help just call for Marshall Bravestarr as he will be there to lend a hand.

Marshall Bravestarr 1Marshall BravestarrMarshall Bravestarr 2

Filmation,the same company who made “Masters Of The Universe”, “Ghostbusters” and so many more great cartoons in 1987, decided to make a cartoon about space and then they had the idea of mixing in the old west! Back in 1984 while they worked on Ghostbusters, they created an evil ghost cowboy named Tex Hex as one of the series baddies, but the character was pulled from the list as founding member of Filmation Lou Scheimer liked the character’s look and didn’t want him to be a second banana villain so Tex never made it to the cartoon. Tex Hex sat around for 3 years until 1987 when they began to develop the space western animated action cartoon Bravestarr. The series would run for 1 very long season with 65 episodes total as well as a film in 1988. When I was a young lad, I knew very few kids who watched Bravestarr and even fewer kids who owned any of the toys! If I remember right, I think Jeremy Patton had a few that he would bring to the playground in Waynesville, and Grandma Brassfield had Tex Hex and Bravestarr at her house. I can remember watching the cartoon from time to time and while it was fun, it just didn’t catch my attention like other toons released the same year did like Ducktales, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, not to mention other cartoons still running at the time like Muppet Babies, Dennis The Menace, The Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Snorks and so many others were things I watched. Plus at this time I was watching horror hosts Commander USA and Grandpa Munster who started Super Scary Saturday on TBS in 1987, so sadly Bravestarr was just not a shinning star for a young Matt to be watching all the time. The show also just like many other Filmation cartoons always ended with a lesson to be learned and would teach not only the characters but of course us the viewers. While I was not a loyal watcher, I do have a fond likeness for Bravestarr, and even went out and bought all the seasons on DVD.

Bravestarr 1BraveStarr 2Tex Hex 2

In 1988 “Bravestarr: The Movie” was released to limited theaters and was a bomb at the box office as it mostly showed during the day on weekends for its short run. The film was trashed by critics and even fans of the show were not sold, and the film fell off the radar. The film was groundbreaking on some small levels as it was the first animated film to use computer graphics, and was the first animated film to come out after the original show was off the air. The film’s plot was an origin story and followed how Bravestarr and Tex Hex became bitter enemies and showed that the Bull Skull named Stampede is the true evil mastermind. I barely remember the film coming out and for some reason think that it might have had a showing at the movie theater that use to be inside the Dayton Mall. The film did come out on VHS and twice on DVD, one being on a single disc release and the other being part of a best of.  So if you want to watch the origin story of the law of New Texas then you have options.

The Legend of Bravestarr 1The Legend of Bravestarr Movie PosterThe Legend of Bravestarr 2

I must mention that one of my favorite bad guys from this series was a fish faced lizard man named Sandstorm! Sandstorm’s power is that he can breath out large amounts of sand and create sand clouds, sand creatures and even can put people to sleep with his sand much like the famed folklore legend Mr. Sandman. His race is called Sand Walruses, and his kind are native to New Texas. For some reason his look reminds me a lot of Mer-Man from Masters of the Universe. Ed Gilbert is the voice actor who played the part who also did voices for characters like Blitzwing (Transformers), General Hawk (G.I. Joe), Metlar (Inhumainoids), Mr. Smee (Peter Pan and the Pirates), Major Disaster (Toxic Crusaders), Baloo (Tailspin), El Seed (The Tick) as well as many other characters in many cartoons. My brother Bryan seems to think we had the Mattel figure of Sandstorm growing up, I however barely remember owning it. So just wanted to give Sandstorm his tiny time to shine before we move onto more history of Bravestarr.

Sandstorm 1SandstormSandstorm 2

I wanted to take a brief moment to cover this: many of the women I know have this weird thing where they think cowboys/country boys are the definition of a man’s man, and even in media, it’s pushed this way from John Wayne all the way to the Marlboro Man, they are considered tough rugged good looking guys. Well I am going to take this time and be on the opposite side and say that I find country and cowgirls sexy! And I am pretty sure I can pin point the moment I found the look of cowgirl sexy, and that’s Brad from Nickelodeon show Hey Dude played by Kelly Brown started it for me and Faith Hill the country singer sealed it. Something about a pretty girl with the looks of the Girl Next Door wearing a cowboy hat and chaps is something that a guy like myself can appreciate. Don’t want to waste too much time talking about this, but just wanted to give a shout out to all the cowgirls out there. Below are some cowgirls including former WWE Diva Maria dressed as one as well as singer Jewel.

Maria as CowgirlJewel CowgirlGirl Next Door CowgirlBlonde Cowgirl

Mattel Toys started to make figures based on Bravestarr almost immediately when the cartoon came out and made them different and more “grand” then many of the figures being released at the time as they stood 8” tall and many of them came with infra red backpacks that interacted with a laser gun you could buy and have your very own shoot outs with the figures! Besides all the main cast of characters like Marshall Bravestarr, Tex Hex, Sandstorm and Deputy Fuzz, they also made the town and jail play set, the wagon and the laser gun. The figures when released came in boxes with very cool art on them and a window to peer in and see the toy. But as I stated before, not many kids I knew had these toys but I do remember seeing the toys on the shelves of stores like Hills, Hearts and Gold Circle and remember seeing lots of them in stock. I can’t be for sure on this statement, but from what I could see at a young age these toys must not have sold very well in normal department stores and must have found some tracking via discount stores like Odd Lots. Being older now and looking at the figures now I must say while they are bulky, they are very well done, and I am sure really made kids of the time happy if they were fans of the cartoon.

Bravestarr figureTex Hex FigureBravestarr Sandstorm Figure

Funny enough as I was working on putting this blog together, my friend Brett Prescott who does video game reviews called “Bad or Rad” brought almost a full set of Bravestarr figures into my work to sell! While going through the collection, a sense of nostalgia rushed over me as I looked up the going prices for each figure and even the jail/town playset. And while I knew I wanted them, looking at the figures made me want to own them even more.  So what you are looking at below are the Bravestarr figures I bought from my work thanks to my pal Brett!

My Bravestarr FiguresMy Sandstorm Figure

Besides the Mattel Toys and Blackthrone Comic series, lots of other merchandise was made to try and make money off the cartoon that includes Halloween masks, lunchboxes, a video game for home computers, pillow cases and bed sheets, Colorforms, storybooks, stickers and even water guns! They tried really hard to try and make kids of the 80’s care about Bravestarr, and for those who did, they had plenty of things to choose from. I really think that both Mattel and Filmation thought that Bravestarr would have been their successor to Masters Of The Universe and put lots of eggs in that basket that sadly for them just didn’t bring the draw that He-Man did.

Bravestarr colorformsBravestarr lunchboxBravestarr Halloween CostumeBraveStarr video game for Spectrum

So are you ready to hit the old trail and stop outlaws with our good pal Marshall Bravestarr? Before he swears us in as deputies hoever, I do need to thank Lone Star Comics and Mile High Comics for having these issues in stock and must also remind everyone that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s saddle up and go kick some Tex Hex butt as we put on our 3-D Glasses and hit the trail.

Bravestarr 3d 1

Bravestarr 3-D  # 1   **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $2.50    Blackthorne    # 1 of 2

Shaman is the father of young Bravestarr who sends him away to become a Marshall at a young age, when he finds that his powers could no longer defeat his enemy Stampede. Years pass, and the planet of New Texas is a hole in the wall that’s main resource is Kerium crystals that is used as fuel sources for large ships. The planet is also filled with outlaws and that’s why law enforcement like Judge J.B. McBride, outpost owner Handlebar, Mayer Derringer and of course Marshall Bavestarr with his trusty cyborg horse 30/30 and pint size Deputey Fuzz look after the townspeople. The ghost bull skull known as Stampede sends his right hand man Tex Hex alongside Sand Storm, Skuzz and Vipra head to town and have a showdown with Bravestarr and his allies.  The fight doesn’t last long, and Barvestarr sends them high tailing it outta town. As Bravestarr is proud of his heroic deed, he gets a visit from Shaman who tells him a long fight is ahead of them all and to learn from each other. In the end to show the townspeople strength, Marshall Bravestarr, Fuzz, 30/30. Handlebar and J.B stand tall and ready for the tough fight ahead.

First thing I have to say is that I hate 3-D comics, and this is one where the “3-D” doesn’t work as well and just kind of looks blurry, so I had to order better 3-D glasses from Amazon to try and help see if I could actually read this comic and get the full effect! The new glasses did help, and I was able to enjoy the sci-fi Western with more enjoyment. The plot is really a crash course of an origin story as we are shown a young Bravestarr being sent to a Marshall station and then follow him as he makes quick work of his enemy Tex Hex to show just how noble and strong he is to the townspeople. Marshall Bravestarr is 100% pure cheesy old school western hero complete with white hat and a sense of pride and very high self-confidence. He is a great hero for this style comic, and I can see why Mattel and Filmation thought they had a hit on their hands. Judge J.B. McBride is a great female character who is pretty and also a fighter; it’s also clear that she has a crush on Bravestarr. Deputy Fuzz is your typical small annoying character that appears in most of Filmations IPs as well as many other 80’s cartoons so just think Snarf and Orko and you have Fuzz. Handlebar and 30/30 are not given much to do in this issue so I hope that in the second they are fleshed out more as they are both important in the cartoon this 3-D comic is based on. Tex Hex is kind of wasted in this issue as he is made of full of pretty quick and is knocked on his butt with a single punch from Bravestarr.  It does show however that he has powers as he turns into a giant. Other bad guys like Sand Storm, robot Thunder Stick, pint size terror Skuzz and female reptile woman Vipra are all wasted and are taken out super quick by the heroes. While the first issue is good, it also adds no real threat as we just see in matter of panels that all the bad guys can be beating with little to no effort making me wonder just who can beat Bravestarr? The art is done by Adrian Moro and is pretty dang good and looks like the cartoon.  The downside is the terrible 3-D effect put onto the art by Bob & Nancy Fritsch that worked only some of the time. Over all this is a pretty good comic that captures the cheesy feel of the cartoon it was based on. I really dig the cover of this issue, as for some reason it has a old western trading card look to it. Let’s move onto the second and final issue in this series and see just how Blackthorne Comics sent Bravestarr off into the big canceled newsstand in the sky.

Bravestarr 3d 2

Bravestarr 3-D  # 2   **1/2
Released in 1988    Cover Price $2.50    Blackthorne    # 2 of 2

A group of kids are fighting and one time friends are really mad at each other as Bravestarr, 30/30 and J.B McBride come over to break it up. The kids are fighting over a item that one thinks the other stole, and J.B tell them a story of how Bravestarr meet 30/30! It begins with Shaman training Bravestarr and tells him that he must go to and find the ultimate weapon.  The young Marshall rushes off into the desert and finds a old temple and inside is a powerful gun as well as a cyborg horse named 30/30 who is mad and thinks Bravestarr is nothing more then a treasure hunting thief.  The two duke it out and cause the temple to collapse! Bravestarr saves 30/30 from the destruction and the two become friends with Bravestarr learning that friendship is the ultimate weapon. The kids learn the lesson and rush off to enjoy the day as do Bravestarr and his friends.

A heart warming issue that teaches us all that with a good friend at your side you don’t have to live in fear, that is unless you are both stuck in the path of King Kong…or you’re both cornered by a horde of zombies with no weapons…or if you’re on the bad side of Doctor Doom…or…wait you get the point. The plot of the issue is when Bravestarr met 30/30 and how they fist fought and then became best friends.  While Bravestarr comes off like his boy scout self, 30/30 comes off as a hotheaded bully who would rather fight then talk it out. Judge J.B acts as a storyteller as she is the one to speak to the kids of this epic meeting. This issue has zero bad guys and once more has no threats, making you as the reader know that nothing bad is going to happen to anyone. Art is well done by Adrian Moro once more as the 3-D effects were handled by Bob & Nancy Fritsch again.  This second cover is okay, but for some reason it looks like Bravestarr is having a stroke on it. This second issue is the same as the first a cheesy comic based on a cheesy sci-fi Western cartoon. Below is some of the 3-D artwork used in the two issues so enjoy!

Bravestarr Art 1Bravestarr Art 2Bravestarr Art 3

Well it looks like we took out old Tex Hex pretty quick, and it looks like Blackthorne didn’t truly believe in Bravestarr 3-D as a series as they pulled the plug only two issues in. While I was not a super fan of Bravestarr growing up, I found that these comic were pretty well done and the younger me would have enjoyed them and even maybe helped me care more about catching and watching the cartoon when it was airing. But as Marshal Bravestarr rides off into the sunset, I feel the need to tell you that our next update will be about the DC Comic based on the arcade video game Centipede! So until next time make sure to read a comic or two and support your local horror host.

Centepede Logo

Horror Host Icon: USA Saturday Nightmares

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  Today’s update will be about that wonderful Saturday night block of horror known as USA Saturday Nightmares! I know many of you are saying how can this be about a Horror Host when the films and TV shows were aired with no host? Well simple, while no host was shown, the iconic voice of Alan Kalter would welcome us to the night’s fears and even give an introduction to the nights film making the show feel like a horror host program. So it’s truly my honor to present to you my readers and friends Horror Host Icon: USA Saturday Nightmares.

USA Saturday Nightmares Logo

Saturdays when I was a kid were a fantastic time for TV.  Not only was the day packed with classic cartoons all morning but it also was swamped with some great horror host programs like Commander USA’s Groovie Movies, Super Scary Saturday with Grandpa Munster and USA Up All Night. But one horror themed program that my brother and I looked forward to every Saturday night was Saturday Nightmares on USA.  It was like clock work as we would beg our parents to let us watch the night’s horror film and as an extra bonus they would show such TV shows as The Hitchhiker, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Werewolf and Ray Bradbury Theater making for one spooky themed night. This is the place I first saw many great b-movie horror films like The Video Dead, Zombie Nightmare and Forever Evil and is also the place I got to see such classics as Friday The 13th and Prom Night. My brother and I would plant ourselves in front of the living room TV with a bowl of popcorn or potato chips as our parents would go watch TV in their room, and we would be sucked into the eerie terror glowing from the TV screen as most the times we would turn off the lights to add to the atmosphere and mood of the night’s feature movie. The block of programs was very simply formatted and would start at 8 pm with the intro to the show that would act as a way to show you the plot of the film as well as the two shows with a amazing voice over.  The most famous intro consisted of a haunted house with the camera going down a hallway where the pictures on the wall would morph from say Dracula to Frankenstein and the next from Freddy Kruger to Jason Voorhees. During breaks they would have a title card with the show’s logo and the voice intro-ing us in or out of a commercial break. Sometimes if the movie was running a little short on run time, they would fill in with a short horror film, the most popular being The Dummy that was also shown many times on HBO. Saturday Nightmares began in 1986 and would run till 1994 before USA would pull the plug on their horror block on Saturday nights.  This was a sad day indeed because by 1989 Commander USA was off the air and Up All Night only lasted 4 years more when it went off the air in 1998. Nowadays USA is a shell of what it used to be and now mainly focuses on Law and Order and C.S.I. reruns making for some boring and over played viewing. I will say that USA does still air WWE Raw as well as makes their own shows, but they are far from “America’s Favorite Cable Network” like they use to be.

USA Saturday Nightmares Logo 2Saturday Nightmares Logo 3Saturday Nightmares Warning

That’s something TV nowadays is really lacking, the horror program blocks that were so popular in the 80’s and 90’s, and when USA dropped the ball, TNT picked it up when they introduced Monstervison in 1993, but that series will be held for another Icon update. DATV in 2013 tried to make a great horror themed line up called Saturday Night Nightmares that showcased Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales of The Macabre as well as Andy Copp’s cult movie review show Neon Madness and his “mix tape” style show called Psychotic Feed. But sadly the program block was too hard for them and myself to keep up on a weekly bases with new and fresh “cult” style shows so as quickly as it started it ended. I really wish USA Network would bring back Saturday Nightmares as well as Commander USA and Up All Night; I think it would surprise them on just how many people really do miss and want these shows back on the air. Shows like Saturday Nightmares was a great place for kids to watch and learn about horror films that were not in the mainstream as well as those were.  While many would say that they can learn about these films via the internet, nothing could take the place of sitting in front of the TV with your favorite snack and watching horrors unfold before your eyes on your TV screen. In fact when I was a kid, I can remember kids talking about some of the films we all had watched on USA Saturday Nightmares and comparing what part we got chills from and what deaths shocked us.  It’s a shame that this kind of enjoyment is taken away from the youth of today.

USA Saturday Nightmares Short Film LogoSaturday Nightmares Haunted Castle

So below are some USA Saturday Nightmares I own on DVD-R, and while no host segments are present, I still will take the film descriptions from IMDB so you can see what types of horrors as I kid I got to witness. And as an added bonus I will also include the horror films from the 80’s and early 90’s that I have that were taped from USA Network. So sit back and relax and welcome to my Saturday Nightmares!

USA Saturday Nightmares curse of the cat people dvd

Saturday Nightmares:  The Curse Of The Cat People
Starring – Simone Simon & Kent Smith      Not Rated      1944

Movie: This mostly unrelated sequel to Cat People (1942) has Amy, the young daughter of Oliver and Alice Reed. Amy is a very imaginative child who has trouble differentiating fantasy from reality, and has no friends her own age as a result. She makes an imaginary friend though, her father’s dead first wife Irena. At about the same time, she befriends Julia Farren, an aging reclusive actress who is alienated from her own daughter Barbara.

USA Saturday Nightmares friday the 13th dvd

Saturday Nightmares:  Friday The 13th
Starring – Betsy Palmer & Adrienne King    Rated R      1980

Movie: One summer at Camp Crystal Lake, a group of young counselors begin to get ready to lead campers. Unfortunately for the former, someone isn’t happy about what’s going on in the camp and enjoys playing kill the counselor. As bodies fall to the ground in the camp, no one is safe.

USA Saturday Nightmares spookies dvd

Saturday Nightmares:  Spookies
Starring – Felix Ward & Dan Scott      Rated R    1986

Movie: Taking a wrong turn, travelers find themselves trapped in a mysterious house. One horror after another threatens them as the sorcerer who lives within needs sacrifices to give eternal life to his beautiful bride.

USA Saturday Nightmares tourist trap dvd

Saturday Nightmares:  Tourist Trap
Starring – Chuck Connors & Tanya Roberts    Rated PG      1979

Movie: A group of young friends stranded at a secluded roadside museum are stalked by the owner of the place, who has the power to control his collection of mannequins.

USA Saturday Nightmares werewolf dvd

Saturday Nightmares:  Werewolf
Starring – Chuck Connors & John J. York      Not Rated      1987

Movie: Young Eric has been bitten by a werewolf. However, he’s not particularly thrilled by this turn of affairs and wishes to escape his curse.

USA Saturday Nightmares shorts dvd

Saturday Nightmares:  The Dummy & Living Dolls
Starring – Carrie Vickrey & Park Dougherty      Not Rated    1982/1980

Movies: The Dummy – A woman is trapped in her apartment alone with a murderous ventriloquist dummy. Living Dolls – Melvin is a henpecked worker in a Bridal shop. To get way from the nagging women, he retreats to a storage room filled with mannequins where he vents his frustration. The only problem is, the mannequins upstairs offer something more horrifying than Melvin expected.

So while your blood is still chilled from all these nightmares, I should also take a moment to highlight some great horror films that aired on USA during the 80’s and early 90’s that I happen to own on DVD-R and VHS, cause I would never get the chance to speak about them any other time that would be as fitting as this update! The main regular none Nightmare or Groovie Movie USA Network airing of a horror film I remember has to be the George Romero zombie epic Day of The Dead.  They did a great job of promoting the premiere, and my brother and I were so hyped to watch it and were not let down after seeing it. I happened to get a copy of an 80’s USA Network airing of Day of the Dead from my pal Jason Young who taped it off TV when he was a kid.  He edited out the commercials but left the amazing intro that showed clips of Night of the Living Dead. So a big thanks goes to Jason for letting me watch the USA Network TV print of my favorite Romero Dead film again. So here are a few of those films that also scared the young viewers at the time of airing.

USA Network Day of the dead dvd

USA Movie:  Day Of The Dead
Starring – Lori Cardille & Joseph Pilato      Rated R      1985

Movie: Zombies rule the world, except for a small group of scientists and military personnel who reside in an underground bunker in Florida. The scientists are using the undead in gruesome experiments, much to the chagrin of the military. Finally the military finds that their men have been used in the scientists’ experiments, and banish the scientists to the caves that house the Living Dead. Unfortunately, the zombies from above ground have made their way into the bunker.

USA Network_childs play 3 dvd

USA Movie:  Child’s Play 3
Starring – Brad Dourif & Justin Whalin      Rated R      1991

Movie: Chucky, the doll possessed by a serial killer, returns for revenge against Andy, the young boy that defeated him and has since become adult.

USA Network_Psycho 3 dvd

USA Movie:  Psycho III
Starring – Anthony Perkins & Jeff Fahey        Rated R      1986

Movie: Norman Bates is still running his little motel, and he has kept the dressed skeleton he calls mother. One of his guests is a young girl who has left the convent where she lived. To get some help he employs a young man. One day a nosy journalist comes to see him to ask questions about his past.

Note From Matt: I was lucky to get this 1995 USA Network Broadcast of Psycho III thanks to my friend Mike Ritchie who taped it off TV during the cool marathon they were having called “Psycho Saturday”. The film is complete with commercials that is highlighted by advertisements for WWF Monday Night Raw, Duckman and Tekwar. I found another tape at his house that had only a small part of Psycho IV taken from the same marathon but it was taped over with WCW Monday Nitro…yeah he has a lot of wrestling tapes.

USA Network Logo

While we are on the subject of USA Network, I should also take a brief moment to talk about a syndicated show they used to air called “Kung-Fu Theatre” because otherwise I never will be able to. The show would feature some really cool martial arts films, many made by The Shaw Brothers exposing viewers to the vast world of Kung-Fu films. The show aired in the early 80’s and disappeared by the mid 80’s and made room for Commander USA as well as all the other movie themed broadcast that followed. One thing I remember that USA did one summer in the early 90’s was called Kung-Fu June where they would play some really cool martial arts films one being called Chinese Super Ninjas, a film I still love to this day. I can remember thinking that this June long fun event would happen every year and was let down when it did not. But as you can see USA Network back then did not just cater to the horror fans they also were delivering action to the Martial Arts fans…those were the days. Below are some screen grabs from Kung-Fu Theatre, so check em out and enjoy.

Kung Fu Theatre 1Kung Fu Theatre LogoKung Fu Theatre 2

I happen to have two episodes of Kung-Fu Theatre from the USA Network thanks to my horror host pal Dr. Pureblood, so why not showcase them a little as well while I have the chance.

kungfu theatre ninja exterminators

Kung-Fu Theatre:  Ninja Exterminators
Starring – Lung Chan & Lung Ching      Not Rated    1980

Movie: A ruthless rapist and jewel thief and his gang are brought to justice by a cop and a young avenger.

kungfu theatre showdown at the equator

Kung-Fu Theatre:  Showdown At The Equator
Starring – Lieh Lo & Nora Miao      Rated R      1978

Movie: An undercover detective uses a restaurant targeted by harassment by a criminal gang to infiltrate the gang and arrest its members.

USA Network Map Logo

USA Saturday Nightmares meant a lot to me growing up, and spending Saturday night watching a cheesy horror film as well as horror related TV shows with my family was what I called a perfect weekend night. Looking back at USA Network as a whole, back then the whole station was iconic to me as I would watch Commander USA’s Groovie Movies, USA Cartoon Express, WWF Monday Night Raw and so many other great programs that all entertained me. If you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s and had cable I am sure you also watched many of these shows, and if you were into horror I am sure you watched Saturday Nightmares and know what I mean about how awesome it was to watch. I should also note that I am looking for more taped off TV Saturday Nightmares movies and if you have some please contact me as I would love to watch them! So as this Horror Host Icon update comes to an end, I think our next update will be based around the world of pro wrestling’s most dominate tag teams and the mini comic series based around them and of course I am talking about The Legion of Doom! So until then make sure to support your local horror host and watch a horror film or two, cause you never know maybe you’ll have your own nightmare.

Legion Of Doom Logo

Spider-Man Cares About Your Teeth

Do you like candy? How about soda or bubble gum? What about cakes and pies? Well we all have a sweet tooth from time to time and besides your dentist, you know who else cares about your teeth and dental healthcare? Is it the president of the United States…nope. While he cares some, the man I am talking about really cares a lot. Could it be Timmy The Tooth…well, no. While he does care about our teeth, he is not who we are talking about at this time. The man I am thinking of is a hero of the super variety, and it’s not Colgate Junior or Sparkle Man.  I’m talking about the one and only Amazing Spider-Man! You see, when he’s not beating up the likes of Rhino and Venom, he is fighting the good fight against cavities and gum disease alongside AIM toothpaste, and this quick update to Rotten Ink is about Spidey’s fight for healthy teeth and will serve as a reminder to brush your teeth three times a day.

Colgate JuniorTimmy The ToothSparkle

When I was young, I believed in the Tooth Fairy just like most young kids did.  When I would loose a tooth, I would leave it on the kitchen counter and in the morning there would be a dollar left in its place. I was always confused about why I had to leave it on the counter and not under my pillow like the story goes, but when I would see that dollar that question would be thrown out the window as I would just think about what toy or comic I could buy for my cash prize. I always pictured the tooth fairy as a beautiful blonde woman with a smile that would light up a room.  She loved her job and collected all the teeth and kept them in jars. But my belief in the Tooth Fairy was very short lived as my Mom spilled the beans that there was no such thing and thats she and my dad were the ones leaving the money.  It’s a good thing too because I could remember at night counting how many more baby teeth I had left and adding the dollar amounts to each. My parents always made sure that my brother and I brushed our teeth and even got us kid friendly mouth wash, and at school in Waynesville, they use to make us swish fluoride like once every two weeks and man that stuff the school gave us was so gross.  The taste still haunts my taste buds to this day. One cartoon that sticks out in my mind that I saw when I was younger was Ren & Stimpy on Nickelodeon called “Ren’s Toothache” where Ren’s teeth all rot and fall out and he even gets a visit from the Tooth Fairy who is a creepy old man dressed in a tutu who leaves him lint instead of money. This episode is so gross and so oddly great, it has always stuck out in my mind. I also want to point out that the Tooth Fairy has been turned into a monster in a few horror films but the most popular was the 2003 film Darkness Falls about an evil spirit of a woman who was wrongfully accused of kidnapping some missing children and is burned alive.  Now in modern times her ghost is killing kids and families if they see her as she comes for the lost teeth under pillows. The film was a minor success but did spark a Dark Horse Comic prequel as well as an action figure made by McFarlane Toys. So that’s just a few of the things that I think of when teeth and dental care pops into my mind.

Blonde Tooth FairyR&S ToothfairyDFalls Toothfairy

In Waynesville I can remember also watching many great educational shows during class like Reading Rainbow, Mr. Wizard and Slim Goodbody, who will be the topic of this section of the update. Slim Goodbody was created and played by John Burstein and was the Superhero of Health who wore a tight body suit that showed muscle and organs and would teach kids good eating and grooming habits to try and stay healthy. Burstein created the character in 1975 and made appearances at hospitals as well as had small segments on TV shows like Captain Kangaroo, Good Morning America and The Today Show.  With these segments Slim Goodbody became a popular character in children education. By 1980, PBS gave Slim Goodbody his own series that for years would be the network’s second highest rated show, and with this also came making books about health. To this day Slim Goodbody is still teaching his message and even was featured in a 2013 Super Bowl ad for Radio Shack that showcased many 80’s icons including Hulk Hogan and Jason Voorhees. I always enjoyed watching Slim at school and learned a lot of things about the human body from Slim, oh yes I also learned things about teeth from him! So here is to you, Mr. Slim Goodbody, for being a good role model to kids. Oh yeah one other thing, with Slim’s popularity it’s shocking that no one made a comic series based on his healthy adventures…another missed series that Star Comics could have made.

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One thing before we get into the Marvel/Aim Toothpaste comics that I would like to talk about is the 80’s and 90’s weird toothpaste flavors for kids, the most notable being bubble gum that was green and was a tie-in to the cartoon series The Real Ghostbusters and used Slimer as its mascot! The Slimer toothpaste had a real sugary taste to it and looked a little strange sitting on your toothbrush. My parents never did get it for us as they almost always bought us just Crest, but my cousins Wayne and John did have the toothpaste and while at their house, we got to try it. One thing is for sure, back in the 80’s and early 90’s companies sure did try very hard to encourage kids to brush their teeth and floss and used all types of gimmicks to try and make it cool; from mascots to cartoon tie-ins, companies wanted to kill those pesky mouth germs. So did any of you readers out there ever brush your teeth with Slimer toothpaste?

Slimer Toothpaste 1Slimer Toothpaste 2Slimer Toothpaste 3

One other thing I loved as a kid were the character tooth brushes by companies like Oral-B.  Picking a tooth brush always was fun as you flipped past Star Wars characters, Bugs Bunny and even WWF Wrestlers. Ones I can remember having as a kid were The Ultimate Warrior, Bugs Bunny and Darth Vader and while they were very generic in style, these character brushes made brushing more fun.

Star Wars ToothbrushWWF Toothbrush

So are you ready to brush your teeth with Spider-Man and Aim Toothpaste? Cause Spidey really wants you to have a good check up next time your at the dentist! So I should thank Mavericks and Bell Book And Comic for having these issues in stock, and I should also remind my readers I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s take a hit off the “laughing gas” and give a great big smile cause Spider-Man is going to kick some bad teeth care in the butt.

Amazing Spider-Man Aim Toothpaste 1

The Amazing Spider-Man: Aim Toothpaste  # 1  ***
Released in 1980    Cover Price .40    Marvel Comics      #1 of 2

Peter Parker has to babysit and take J. Jonah Jameson’s nephew Randy to the dentist as part of his job at the Daily Bugle.  While there he meets dentist Raymond Sadetsky who had created a Dental Laser that will change the face of tooth care forever! But during Randy’s check up, The Green Goblin kidnaps the dentist and even beats Spider-Man who tries to rescue the dentist. The next day when Peter and Randy are at the zoo, they pass by a police car and hear that Green Goblin is now attacking the Robert Bite’s jewel shop, and after ditching Randy once more Peter becomes Spider-Man and rushes to the rescue, only to once more fail.  This time Green Goblin escapes with tons of rubies and before he leaves, lets out a clue about bridgework. The next day Peter Parker takes Randy to the dental exhibit to snap some pictures for the Bugle, and all the while the Goblin’s “clue” picks away at Peter who drops off Randy at Aunt May’s and heads to a steel mill underneath a bridge and finds Green Goblin stealing some piping.  Once more Spidey tries to stop him and fails; this time web head even finds himself at death’s door as he is buried under tons of steel! While Spider-Man tries to save himself, it’s very clear Green Goblin is using Sadetsky to build him something that will make him rich and even be used to kill superheroes…but what is it? Spider-Man gets free of his death trap and thanks to his Spidey tracker finds the Green Goblin’s secret hideout right as he receives a powerful laser ray and during the fight Sadetsky gets hurt and Spider-Man must get him to the hospital and Goblin gets away. In the end Green Goblin goes to the Dental Exhibit with his laser to steal all the gold and silver used for fillings but is stopped thanks to Spider-Man who knocks him into a giant pair of teeth that holds the Goblin down. Peter Parker sells some pictures of the Goblin and Spidey fight as Randy goes back to the dentist to fill the cavities he has, and Raymond Sadetsky is a-ok.

The adventure Spider-Man has just to try and make brushing your teeth hip and cool as well as going to the dentist is one heck of a fun ride that comes off not too preachy and holds a classic Silver Age Marvel charm. First things first, I have to say is J. Jonah Jameson is a terrible uncle as he passes of his young nephew on Peter Parker and makes him take him all over New York.  Now think about that how well does Jameson really trust Parker as a responsible adult…not at all! Randy is a very well behaved kid who wants to be a photographer so being around Parker is a good learning tool for the young man, even though his Uncle wants him to be a reporter. Peter Parker does a great job babysitting and does an even better job ditching the kid when he needs to change into his alter ego. Spider-Man for some reason feels out classed in this issue as Green Goblin makes a fool out of him many times during the several battles they have, but when push comes to shove Spidey saved the day and even managed to save a dentist. Green Goblin is filled with giving clues in the issue and really reminded me of the DC Batman super villain The Riddler, but man he sure does pack a punch and gives Spider-Man a run for his money. While the comic is sponsored by AIM Toothpaste, besides one tiny ad in the back and the logo on the cover, they do not push themselves into shameless plugs and ram that everyone should use their toothpaste down the readers throats. The over all feel of the comic is that of a classic Marvel Spider-Man issue, and I must say this reader enjoyed every cheesy panel of it. The comic would have cost .40 but if you bought AIM, if was free with the purchase. Alex Saviuk, who was an a-lister artist that worked on the normal Amazing Spider-Man series and is truly a master of the Silver Age, does the art. Check out below for a sample of the art from this issue.

Spider-Man Aim Art 1

So with that let’s get onto issue 2 and see what other tooth filled adventure Spider-Man can have and what super villain will stand in the way of good dental care this time!

Amazing Spider-Man Aim Toothpaste 2

The Amazing Spider-Man: Aim Toothpaste # 2   **1/2
Released in 1982    Cover Price .60    Marvel Comics      #2 of 2

Peter Parker has been sent to Cape Canaveral to take pictures of a space shuttle/ weather satellite launch for the Daily Bugle, but while in the pressroom, he notices Doctor Octopus who seems to be in pain and rushes out of the room and drives away.  Peter as Spider-Man now follows him and finds that Doc Ock is going to the dentist Dr. Allen who gives the super villain a filling in a tooth giving him a problem and also notices a metal object wedged in one of his teeth and this sets Doc Ock into a rage! Once Dr. Allen helps Doc Ock, he then goes to help Peter Parker who followed his arch enemy and loses his trail when the dentist gives him a check up, but while there he learns that Doc Ock has a small transmitter in his mouth and he is planning on high jacking the launch! Peter rushes out and turns back into Spider-Man and makes short work of Octopus’s thugs and then Ock himself.  One power punch even knocks the transmitter from his tooth! In the end Doc Ock gets more dental care in prison, and Peter Parker sells his pictures of the launch and the fight.

This second AIM Toothpaste comic is pretty good but does not hold the charm of the first give away issue and is way more preachy about tooth care. Spider-Man, while fighting one of his biggest arch enemies, really doesn’t have much to do as his fight with Ock only lasts a few punches as does his fight with the henchmen. Peter Parker is more of the issue’s focus and that’s just so he can visit the dentist and give a run down on how he takes care of his teeth and that he learned good dental habits from his Aunt May. J. Jonah Jameson has a cameo that amounts to nothing more than giving Parker his assignment and in the end telling him that he should visit a dentist regular for healthy teeth. Doctor Octopus is up to his old tricks, but his tooth pain is causing him some major issues and even distracts him from his main prize of high jacking, but man does he go down like a chump in his fight with Spider-Man! The plot is very simple, and most of the issue takes place it seems in the Dentist Office where they push facts about brushing and not eating a lot of sugar snacks with Dr. Allen. Over all there is not much here in this issue, and while it was a fun read, it’s also very forgettable and is clearly sponsored by a toothpaste company. The art is done by ummmm..I don’t know as there are no credits besides of course Stan Lee presents.  We can’t forget that credit now, could we? But take a look below for an example of the art.

Spider-Man Aim Art 2

That’s one thing I loved about classic Marvel, they would do free give away comics for all types of products and charities, and they were always fun cheesy adventures. Spider-Man I think was always a perfect fit for these types of comics because he was well loved by kids, and you could put him in all types of adventures with mascots like Cap’n Crunch or the Quick Bunny.  He could even tackle things like fire safety all the way to back to school, and he would not lose any credit at being a superhero in the youth’s eyes. So when it comes to dental work and to make sure kids brushed their teeth with AIM Toothpaste, Spider-Man was the perfect spokesman!

Spidey Says Brush with Aim

So I am sure you’re wondering what our next update will be about. I mean what could top an update about Spidey hocking a toothpaste product? Well, we will be taking another look at an icon of Horror Hosting as we take a look at USA Saturday Nightmares! So make sure to come back for that one.  Until then make sure to brush your teeth, read a comic and support your local Horror Host, and oh yeah Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

USA Saturday Nightmares Logo copy