Welcome back to Rotten Ink. In this update, as promised, I am going to take you back to my past when I was about 10 or 11 years old and was making my own comic books to share with family and friends, and I decided to focus on one of my own creations called Robo-Raccoon, a space adventure animal who packed robotic armor as well as some powerful guns. I used to sit for hours with a number 2 pencil as well as some retractable pencils and colored pencils and drew these comics. I hit my stride doing comics based on the Nickelodeon show Ren & Stimpy that were holiday themed; they were just single panels on a page of paper that had the two characters saying a few lines to each other. While those were my first full comic books, I drew a lot when I was younger, and while I never found myself to be a good artist, I always had fun creating whatever I wanted. As far back as I can remember I use to draw Frankenstein’s Monster, Captain America, Devils, Demons, Werewolves, Vampires, Dr. Creep, Jason Voorhees, Minatours and many other things that interested my young mind. When I was in Waynesville my art teachers always encouraged me to draw what I was into, and the older I got, I continued to do so. Even when the terrible art teachers of the Kettering school district tried to label me a devil worshiper and would question why I drew monsters all the time, I still created what I wanted and what I liked no matter how hard they pushed me to not be so weird.
The biggest influence on why I made my own comics was my brother Bryan who was making his own comic series to entertain us neighborhood kids called “Weird Tales Of Waynesville” that was humored filled spooky stories about people from out neighborhood and fellow classmates. I can’t tell you how many times I read his comics and laughed at the kooky stories. Sadly he only made one of them before he moved away from doing them and started to make a “sitcom” style live show using Battle Beasts as the neighborhood kids. Who could forget Matt The Rat or Brad The Warthog? The second influence was a friend of mine named Jeremy Patton who was making stick figure comics called “Todd & Jeremy” about himself and our friend Todd Osborne that had them being like Beavis and Butthead going around causing mischief and fires. The comics were cheesy yet fun, and I even drew a few to give to Jeremy who I don’t think liked it very well that I was making comics based on characters he created. The stick figures had a J in the circle face for Jeremy and a T on the one that was Todd. Last but not least was Marvel Comics who made series like Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Werewolf By Night and many others I grew up reading and enjoying. So I want to thank all three of them for making me want to be comic maker with big dreams even though I had very little talent when it came to drawing. Below is the cover for my brother’s old comic, the middle one sadly is one of my comics based on Todd and Jeremy, as I don’t have any of his originals as well as a Captain America cover to an issue I read all the time.
My first character I made that was a Matt original was Benny The Squirrel, a small little guy who lived in a forest town and would get into adventures along side his buddies Fred The Mole and stick figure man Chuck. I did several comics based on him as well as a few “books”. You see, when I was making these comics and even before, I loved to write short stories about anything and everything. The most popular topics I would write about were horror short stories, movies, music and video games. But Benny The Squirrel, while not the topic of this home grown update, remains near and dear to my heart, and while many of his original comic adventures of Benny are long gone, maybe some day he will get his own update. The last time Benny was about to make his big return to the comic world was when Jason Young asked me to make a short comic story for his Buyer Beware Anthology 2 and my original idea was a little dark and would have had Benny being down on his luck and in the end taking his own life via a shotgun…I am glad I decided to go with a new character called Mr. Emo based on the Mr. Men franchise trying to get a blue drink from the dollar store. At the time it would have been a rebellious thing to do, killing off a character from my childhood, but I really don’t think I was ready to really let him go and still don’t think I am ready. Below are some pictures of Benny, Chuck and Fred that I drew when I was about 10 for a Halloween horror story book I was writing.
So who really is Robo-Raccoon, and what is he all about I am sure your all asking yourself before we get into this short homegrown comic series created by a very young me. Well here is what I remember of his past: Robo-Raccoon was a character who traveled around space doing the right things and was almost like a bounty hunter who would take on jobs to bring in the galaxy’s worst criminals. A mad scientist on Earth is who created him and made a hybrid between a man and a raccoon and added robotic armor to his creation. While on his journey in space, his allies included a Native American wolf named Wolfen and a Kung-Fu rabbit named Ninja Bunny. Robo-Raccoon was my most popular character among my peers, and I can remember some fellow classmates commenting on how cool he was. I also remember my mom reading all the issues that came out that was a total of 4. The silly thing about the comic series was that each “issue” was only about 2-4 pages long, and sadly I never did finish the story arc. Death Maker was the super villain created to be the thorn in Robo’s side; he was a cyborg zombie who could not be killed and was the master of hand to hand combat. I created all types of bad guys for Robo-Raccoon to fight in space and even Earth, but most of them never got a time to shine in my comic world. I must also state that I am not going to give these issues a 1-4 star rating because they are the mad ramblings of a young monster kid with a big imagination. I must also say that I am not 100% sure of the year I made these comics but I did some guessing and think I was able to pinpoint it. Plus I love all the spelling errors and even the misspelling of my own characters. Oh, the joys of being young and always in a hurry to get things done. Below are pictures of Robo-Raccoon, Ninja Bunny and Death Maker. Enjoy them up close in all their glory.
Robo-Raccoon # 1
Released in 1990 Cover Price .75 Cosmic Comics # 1 of 4
Robo-Raccoon enters a bar on a mission to find Ninja Bunny and get his help, but while at the bar, bartender Bulk informs them that the owner Jabba The Hut does not allow animals in, and is about to have Boba Fett kick them out when Death Maker, a powerful zombie cyborg, steps in and says they are his guests. They all go to Jabba to plead their case, who in turn kicks them all out of his bar! Death Maker is mad and punches out Bulk as Robo-Raccoon shoots Death Maker in the chest as he knows it’s been a set up all along as Death Marker stands back up and is joined by Bulk, Pumpkin Head and Shadow, and they have Ninja Bunny as a hostage.
Well that’s the plot of the first issue…are you drawn into the action and story…yeah didn’t think so! So as you can see, the comic throws us into the middle of a mission for Robo-Raccoon that we the readers have no clue about, but we know it’s important and that Ninja Bunny is needed to complete said mission. Bulk is a generic version of The Incredible Hulk, who was inspired by an old Mad Magazine version of The Hulk, who in fact I think name was Bulk. This issue also had cameos from many Star Wars characters like Jabba The Hut, Boba Fett and even Bib Fortuna showing that Star Wars really did have a grip on my imagination! As I said, Death Maker was created to be the arch-villain of Robo and is clearly a major threat that is un-killable and super strong. Pumpkin Head is a cursed Halloween Jack-O Lantern with a thick vine body, and Shadow is simple a masked Phantom. The issue is left on a cliffhanger and makes the reader wonder how Robo-Racoon is going to get past all the bad guys who are aiming for him. Let alone, will Ninja Bunny make it out alive?! Below is artwork from my old comic that showcases when all the bad guys show up at the end of the story…enjoy. Alright let’s move onto issue # 2 so you can all see what happens next.
Robo-Raccoon # 2
Released in 1990 Cover Price .00 Cosmic Comics # 2 of 4
We come back and find Robo-Raccoon and Ninja Bunny in a jail cell as Bulk is their jailer. He is knocked out by a ball and chain flung by Wolfen, who takes the pair to Jabba The Hut to buy the services of 5 other bounty hunters for $300.00 that are Conan The Barbarian, Boba Fett, Black Spy, Cybrg and an orange M&M. They all split into groups to track down and kill Death Maker. The issue ends with Conan, Boba Fett and Black Spy blasting off in a spaceship.
This second issue is a set up to showcase a second group of heroes that will be joining the hunt, and man, how cool is it that when I was a kid, in my mind it made perfect sense that Conan The Barbarian would be in space teaming up with the Black Spy from Mad Magazine’s Spy vs. Spy and Star Wars Boba Fett, not to mention an orange talking M&M and a bionic eyed lion named Cybrg. Plus it’s funny how Jabba The Hut was a jerk to Robo-Raccoon in the first issue for being an animal, but by the second is fine with Wolfen, a wolf Native American man who buys a total of 5 bounty hunters with only $300.00….man, bounty hunters in space are cheap! Not much happens action-wise in this issue unless you count Bulk getting hit in the back of the head with a ball and chain. Check out the art below for the super awesome bounty hunter line up. Let’s move onto the third issue in my Robo-Raccoon comic series and see just what action happens next!
Robo-Raccoon # 3
Released in 1990 Cover Price $1.25 Cosmic Comics # 3 of 4
Conan with Black Spy and Boba Fett have landed on Mars and meet Herman, a tiny one eyed alien, as well as his friend a Xenomorph who attacks Conan after a massive feast! After the attack, Herman apologizes for his friend’s attack and asks if Conan could help them rid their planet of King Ghidorah, the three headed monster, for some gold. After the battle, bloody and bruised but richer, Conan shows up to the tent of his fellow bounty hunters and informs them they will be leaving the next day as Death Maker is not on Mars.
So Conan is clearly the leader of the second group on the hunt, and his men seem loyal to his word. On the planet Mars not only does King Ghidorah of Godzilla movie fame live but so does a Xenomorph from the Alien movies! Herman was a character I was drawing before I made this comic, and he is a small green guy with one big eye and tentacles as feet. While Conan is attacked by the Xenomorph and does battle with Ghidorah, his poor teammates Black Spy and Boba Fett don’t get to see any action. Below are some pics from this issue to show you what my Xenomorph, Ghidorah and Herman look like.
Well we are now on the final issue in this classic cosmic comic series done by me when I was a kid. So far I must say that this comic story is all over the place and that to me it is fun looking back because it just shows you all the stuff I loved at the time being thrown together to make a storyline that I am sure only made sense in my own mind! But with that let’s get to the final issue!
Robo-Raccoon # 4
Released in 1990 Cover Price $1.75 Cosmic Comics # 4 of 4
Robo-Raccoon, along with Wolfen, Cybrg, Ninja Bunny and the Orange M&M, are on the Moon when they mistakenly fall into a crater! When Robo-Raccoon and M&M wake up, they meet a Swamp Creature who takes them to a temple where they find their friends suspended in the air via ropes. Swamp Man informs them that Death Maker is not on the moon and will help them get their friends down and is now going to join their quest.
This final issue has Robo on the moon with his friends, and the only thing that happens is they meet a swamp man who is a generic version of Marvel’s Man-Thing and they fall into a crater. It’s a pretty lame way to end a series but that’s just the way it went down in the world of Cosmic Comics! Below is some artwork that I did for this issue. Looking back now being 35 years old at comics I made when I was 11 is really a fun time, and I can remember how proud I was of these comics when I was young. Now I am almost embarrassed by all the spelling errors and cheesy silly artwork but still love the characters and idea of them. As I reread them and scanned them, I remembered sitting in front of the fireplace with my pencils and clip board drawing till my “comic” was done. I am sure you’re wondering why only 4 issues of Robo-Raccoon were made by Cosmic Comics. Well it’s simple; when I was making these comics I was also making comics based on Conan The Barbarian, Bat-Bat from Mighty Mouse fame as well as an original character called Miss Freedom and sadly Robo-Raccoon just got lost in the shuffle of my young mind, and never was to be completed once I moved onto other ways to entertain my imagination, comic making was not in the cards. Comic book making is one of the things that let me move onto doing such cool things creatively as writing more stories and even film reviews, making my own shot on video movies and even making my own radio shows complete with dramas about me and my cousins being paranormal investigators. Who knows, maybe some time in the coming years I will share some of my other original old school comic work, but only time will tell for sure. Well we have come to the end of the hunt and tonight after you read this, I want you to look to the night sky and just know that Robo-Raccoon is up there rounding up aliens and outlaw scum and making our world a safer place. Our next update is going to be a look at Spider-Man, who wants all of us to have clean and healthy teeth and suggests we use AIM Toothpaste in two Marvel Comic giveaways. So until then, take some time and be creative in your own way and enjoy this wonderful world we all share.