Friday, October 31, 2014

"Medusa Non Grata"

From the "DCU Halloween Special 2010" here's a holiday treat..."Medusa Non Grata", written by Bryan Q. Miller, with art by Trevor McCarthy and featuring Miss Martian, Klarion the Witchboy and Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle! See? I told you if you stuck with me I'd find a way to include him!

October 31st, Halloween night, El Paso, Texas.  Kids are going door to door, trick or treating, as one does on this particular night. However when one hipster couple laughs at the wrong boy, Klarion the Witchboy, they find themselves turned to stone!

Nearby Jaime "Blue Beetle" Reyes, dressed in a sheet as a ghost, is trying to show M'Gann "Miss Martian" M'Orzz* what this night is about. "Halloween is a time to dress up as something you normally wouldn't." he tries to explain when she suggests he could just wear the scarab armor, and buy their own candy. As they approach the next door though they find the aforementioned hipster couple, and soon notice...the whole neighborhood has been petrified!

Quicker than you can say "Teen Titans, go!" a scream rings out and Jaime asks the scarab to locate it. In no time Blue Beetle and Miss Martian find Klarion, and his familiar Teekl the cat, enjoying some stolen Halloween candy. Miss Martian faces down a meme inspired Teekl, "I can haz ur soul?", while Blue Beetle stuns Klarion with a blast from his arm cannon. 

Then as the dust settles another group of trick or treaters approach. "What are you supposed to be?" they ask  Klarion, who rises angrily until he sees them. One of them straight out of "A Clockwork Orange", the other two in full goth get-ups. They like his outfit, they like him! 

Klarion removes the spell he'd cast, releasing everyone from their stone forms (apparently unaware it had ever even happened), and goes on his way. M'Gann, removing the Clockwork Orange outfit, suggests that maybe Halloween isn't just about dressing up as something you normally wouldn't, but maybe it also lets you express who you really are. A nice lesson!

Well, that brings an end to my own October tricks and treats. Hope you enjoyed, and until next time, Happy Halloween Beetlemaniacs!

*Fun Fact - Miss Martian appears in 6 different costumes! The 1st looks like something from he movie "Sucker Punch" , the 2nd as a Native American, the 3rd looks like Lex Luthor's armor, 4th is an old time diving suit, 5th is a space suit, and 6th is the Clockwork Orange outfit!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Horror Comic Trick or Treat #17

So previously I said it wasn't Halloween without "Halloween", but I do have a huge fondness for the Elm Street series! My first exposure was a sleep over at a friends when I was in elementary school. Afterwards every time I went to bed I pictured Johnny Depp getting sucked into his mattress and the resulting fountain of blood and then woke up with a stomachache...ah, memories...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Treat #16: The Return of Super-Team Family Sunday!

How's this for a Halloween treat? A new Super-Team Family mash-up from Ross Pearsall with Blue and Gold versus Sentinels!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kolchak Tales: Blood!

Once as a kid while staying home alone sick from school I stumbled on the movie "Kolchak: The Night Strangler" playing on one of the local TV stations. It was a nice blend of creepy and it had the dad from "A Christmas Story" so I was hooked pretty quick. When I later asked my mom about it, she told me there was another movie...and a series! I eventually sought them out, on VHS and later DVD. One year for Christmas my mom even managed to track down a paperback copy of  "The Kolchak Papers", a book that collected the novels by Jeff Rice that the two movies were based on. Looking back, now that my mom has passed, I see more and more that she really did understand and encourage me with the things I loved. Thanks Mom!

So, of course with my love of the celluloid Kolchak, I was eager to eat up the comic adventures published by Moonstone. Today, Lets take a look at one of the three stories included in 2006's "Kolchak Tales: Ghost Stories" Written by Tom DeFalco, with art by Ron Frenz and Sal Buscema, here's "Blood!"

"Tuesday, October 17...Word had recently leaked out that the Environmental Protection Agency had launched a full scale investigation into Windsor's dumping practices." Like the movies "The Night Stalker", "The Night Strangler" and the series that followed, the story begins with reporter Carl Kolcak's narration. He's currently between jobs and hoped that checking out Windsor Chemical's press conference would give him an opportunity to network, maybe find a lead on a new job. 

Instead, he finds brother and sister owners, Jason and Cameron Windsor (great grandchildren of the founder) arguing about responsibility, and illegal dumping of their company's chemical waste. Kolchak isn't sure the story is worth his time...until a mysterious woman named Grace shows up at his door. 

She identifies herself as a former employee of Windsor, and tells Kolchak she's worried about the safety of Jason and Cameron. There's already been one murder! She gives Kolchak a list of names, but he's not the first one to locate the men. Truck driver William Beatty, is wrapping up a delivery when a specter appears. Kolchak later hears that Beatty was killed. His interest increased, he heads off to meet the next name on the list. Howard Jordan arranges to meet Carl later at a secluded spot. When Carl arrives, Jordan is there with several truckers. 

He want's to know what Kolchak knows and who else has talked. Before the conversation gets much further, the specter appears again! The creature slaughters the men, screaming about them "destroying her" and having his "justice". When the dust clears, only Kolchak is left alive. After spending 36hrs in police custody, and then finding Grace unexpectedly waiting in the back seat of his car with a warning that Jason and Cameron are in grave danger, he's determined to get to the bottom of this story! Arriving at Windsor Chemical, our intrepid reporter tries to question Cameron about the EPA investigation, and murder of several of her employees, but is quickly interrupted by the ghoul! 

Kolchak argues her innocence, and says it was her brother Jason that was responsible prompting the ghost to seek out Mr. Windsor. Not wanting to see her brother harmed, Cameron charges in, "I won't let you murder Jason. He's my only family! My only blood!" This causes the creature to pause long enough for Grace to enter the scene and urge him to come with her. 

Jason, shocked by what has happened, owns up to his responsibility...and the ghost vanishes. Monday, October 23, Jason and Cameron have another press conference acknowledging their company's wrong doing and swearing to make things right. Standing by some family portraits, Kolchak summarizes the events, and speculates on the identity of the creature as we, the reader, see one final portrait...great grandfather Windsor and his wife...Grace!

This was amazing! DeFalco's story captured the tone of the Kolchak movies and series perfectly, and the art by Frenz and Buscema worked really well too!  Now I have an overwhelming urge to break out my DVD set and binge watch "Kolchak" The Night Stalker"...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halloween Horror Comic Trick or Treat #14

I very clearly remember buying this comic! I had seen the movies, and read Clive Barker's book and was completely fascinated by this world...the comics could be hit or miss but this cover...I lost track of how many times I tried drawing Pinhead in this exact pose...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween Horror Comic Trick or Treat #13

I'm going to be honest...I only have a couple issues of "Ghost Manor", and neither features Winnie the Witch...but I couldn't resist the "Special 13 Issue" for the 13th Halloween Horror Comic Trick or Treat! I think I'll go check ebay now for this issue!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween Horror Comic Trick or Treat #12

There is an undeniable beauty in Mike Mignola's art...simple, yet full of detail, dark, creepy...perfect for Halloween. The story "The Wolves of Saint August" still stands as one of my favorite Hellboy stories...and the cover to this issue...well it speaks for itself!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Halloween Horror Comic Trick or Treat #11

This is one of my all time favorite comics! I love this team and have read every published adventure! From "Weird War Tales" to the "Creature Commandos" mini series, and from from the "Flashpoint: Frankenstein & The Creatures of the Unknown" mini to the New52 "Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E."...and in every iteration I've wondered..."Why isn't this a movie?" C'mon DC/Warner...add this to the projects in the pipeline! It's gold I tell you! Gold!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Blue Beetle in Batman v. Superman?!

Updated 10/19...turns out this wasn't true. We'll chalk it up to an early Halloween trick fro Latio Review's el Mayimbe

Ghost Busters vs Ghostbusters

Dracula vs Frankenstein, Addams vs Munster, Freddy vs Jason, there have been many head to head horror match-ups. Today I wanna take a quick look at one some people may not be as familiar with...GhostBusters vs Ghostbusters!

In 1986, Saturday morning TV saw the debut of "The Real Ghostbusters", an animated series based on the hit film "Ghostbusters" produced by Columbia Pictures and DIC Animation. That same year another team of spook hunters appeared in syndication called "Filmation's GhostBusters". A lot of kids in my neighborhood thought this was some kind of ripoff...but luckily I knew the truth! I'd been checking out books from the public library about Saturday morning TV. I could tell you all about cartoons, which ones were produced by which animation studio, voice actors, and had decorated my school books with doodles of all kinds of characters! So I knew that this toon was actually based on an older TV that was around long before the film!* But that's not why we're here today...we're here today to take a quick look at the debut issues of First Comics "Filmation's GhostBusters" and Now Comics "The Real Ghostbusters"

"First" things first, lol. "Filmation's GhostBusters" hit the shelves in October of 1986 (cover dated February of 1987), just in time for Halloween. That probably explains why the cover announced it as a "Special Halloween Edition", and the story is entitled "A Halloween Haunting". Jake, Eddie and Tracy the gorilla (aka the GhostBusters) are gettig ready for a Halloween party with their friends Jessica, Futura and Bellfrey the bat.


They get a call on their skelephone from Morton the wizard asking them to come back in time and help him fight Prime Evil (the main villain from the cartoon) who is plotting an attack on Lockheed Castle. 

Jake and Eddie's fathers, the original Ghost Busters, knew Morton so the boys jump in their Ghost Buggy ready to fight some ghouls...but not before we complete an activity page featuring a maze through the ages. 

Maze complete and our heroes arrive in medieval times! A few pages later there's another them make it through the forest by finding witches, ghosts and goblins. Yes, this is clearly a book intended for kids...and it's fun! Prime Evil, aware of the GhostBusters arrival, thanks to a magic vid screen, rallies his minions for an all out assault on Lockheed Castle. Luckily the GhostBusters and Morton (with the help of Jessica and YOU via another activity page) have decoded a powerful spell and are ready for the sinister spooks! As a reward, the heroes get a Halloween party and you, the reader, gets a word search and some tutorials on how to draw the main characters. 

Writer Hilarie Staton and artists Howard Bender and Sal Trapani really nail the tone and look of the Filmation cartoon, and silly as they may seem, the activity pages bring a level of interaction to the story that would make any reader (especially kids) feel like they were part of the adventure.

"Now" lets move on to 1988's "The Real Ghostbusters". A group of time travelers arrive in New York City just in time to see the Ghostbusters (Egon, Ray, Peter and Winston) speed by in Ecto-1. It seems the ghost of Captain Nemo has taken issue with the unauthorized use of his name by "Captain Nemo's Submarina", a sandwich shop.

Nemo's not alone though, he has a a couple ectoplasmic sea-monsters around to do his bidding...but the Ghostbusters have no problem making short order of the terrible trio. The time travelers, watching from a nearby portal, grab the trap the 'busters have just put Nemo in and thank them before disappearing. 

Apparently they need Nemo's ghost to take on someone, or something, called the "Slug". Then, deciding to test just how good the Ghostbusters are place devices in the firehouse, locking each of the boys into their own nightmares. Winston finds himself face to face with a clown and a room full of classic monsters. Peter ends up in a classroom full of werewolves. Ray is surrounded by humanoid, tentacled, aliens, and Egon finds himself alone in an apocalyptic world. Winston manages to wake from his nightmare first, only to find himself staring into the eyes of...the Slug! 

This one was written by James Van Hise, with art by John Tobias and Brian Thomas. The story matches the tone of the cartoon, but the art, while based on the animated series...well, it's not perfect match.

So...two teams of ghost busters, two first issues, and both involving a time travel element. Interesting, huh? They're both fun reads, each pretty true to their source material. First Comics "Filmation's GhostBusters" ended up only running for 4 issues, like the cartoon, quickly eclipsed by the wildly popular series based on the films. Now Comics "The Real Ghostbusters" ran 28 issues, spawned a 3D special, annuals, and a spin-off starring Slimer! That's a lot of ghosts! I like them both, but truth be told...I did prefer "The Real Ghostbusters" cartoon.

*Yup, "Filmation's GhostBusters" was based on a live action TV show from 1975 starring "F-Troop's" Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker called "The Ghost Busters". 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Horror Comic Trick or Treat #10

These old horror books were some of my earliest comics collected. My mom let me get a stack of them at a flea market one Sunday afternoon and I was hooked...still am to this day!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween Horror Comic Trick or Treat #9

What's Halloween without...uh, "Halloween"? It's a very close call for my favorite (modern) horror franchise, between "Halloween" and "Nightmare on Elm Street". Very close!

I just recently purchased the complete film collection on Blu-Ray and started re-watching from the beginning, and even pulled out the "Halloween" comics from Devils Due and Chaos to re-read!  Yes, this year...Michael Myers has come home!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Horror of What the Kaji Dha Wednesday!

Several months ago I did a "What the Kaji Dha" post about Saturday morning TV. I intended to follow that up much sooner, but after settling on a specific topic felt it more appropriate to post in this month. After some recent articles hit the web about Saturday morning cartoons meeting their final demise, I feel even better about waiting...because nothing speaks to the season more than death and cartoons!

In my young impressionable mind, having discovered the Universal horror classics at a young age, monsters made everything better! Wanna watch "The Flintstones"? Sure. Wanna watch the Flintstones with the Gruesomes or the Frankenstones? Absolutely! 

I'll be honest, its been years since I watched a Flintstones episode, but I always think of the Gruesomes as the Addams Family and the Frankenstones as the Munsters of Bedrock! Speaking of the Addams Family, they had their own cartoon too...twice!

If you liked your monsters more traditional (i.e. Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman...etc) you had "Drak Pack", "Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies", "Fangface" and "Frankenstein Jr & the Impossibles" (ok, maybe traditional is the wrong word, but you know what I mean!)

Like your ghosts and ghouls served up with a side of mystery? I know I did, and ate countless bowls of Count Chocula and Cap'n Crunch while huddled in front of the TV watching "Scooby-Doo" (available in a very wide variety of incarnations) and "The Funky Phantom"!

Want movie monsters? "Beetlejuice", "Teen Wolf", "The Real Ghostbusters" and "Filmations Ghostbusters", (more on that this weekend) all made the rounds!

Heck, with the "Krofft Superstar Hour" alone you got Witchiepoo from "H.R. Pufnstuf" (with Orson the vulture and Seymour the spider), "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters" and "Bigfoot and Wildboy". 

I'm sure there's plenty more I'm missing ("Tales from the Cryptkeeper", and "Casper" just came to mind) but the ones I listed were the ones I watched...over and over, year after year, on network TV and cable, both new and in syndicated reruns. They are fond childhood (and teen and adulthood) memories and things I feel are worth revisiting...especially at this time of year! So maybe this Halloween I'll break out my "Groovie Goolies" or "Funky Phantom" DVDs? Work them into my traditional horror movie marathon...better hit the store first though for some cereal! Frankenberry or Count Chocula? Decisions, decisions!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Halloween Horror Comic Trick or Treat #8

I just started re-reading this series...and this cover? No words needed, it speaks for itself!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Halloween Horror Comic Trick or Treat #7

Whats better than Frankenstein and Dracula? Frankenstein and Dracula drawn by Mike Mignola! He only did covers for this series...but with Roy Thomas writing and Claude St. Aubin on pencils it was a fun read!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Funky Phantom

"The Funky Phantom" was a Hanna Barbera cartoon that played off the success of Scooby Doo. Instead of mystery solving teens and their dog, you now get mystery solving teens and their dog teaming up with a ghost from the American Revolutionary War and his ghost cat! Ever since I saw it rerun on cable it's been one of my favorites! And what's better than to checking out a Funky Phantom comic for Halloween? One that includes another Halloween tradition...the Headless Horseman!

The story begins with April, Augie and Skip (the teens), along with their dog Elmo and the "Funky Phantom", Jonathan Wellington "Mudsy" Muddlemore and his ghost cat Boo, enjoying a fall picnic. While laughing at Elmo the dog chasing Boo the ghost cat, Mudsy comes down with a case of the hiccups. 

The gang tries having him breathe into a paper bag, and scaring him by popping a second bag, but no luck. They decide to hop in their dune buggy and head into town to find a cure. Along the way though, they blow a tire...right beside a sign pointing the way to Sleepy Hollow! Mudsy warns the gang that this is the territory of the Headless Horseman, but the teens figure any possible fright might be just what they need to scare the hiccups out of their ghostly friend. No sooner do they reach Sleepy Hollow than the specter gets spooked when the dune buggy's antenna begins swinging wildly as they pass a cemetery. 

Frightened, Mudsy flies off into the woods. Skip runs after him, but is knocked down by an unseen force. Augie charges in swinging a tire iron and gets bonked on the head by his own hand. Its then that they realize not all is what it seems...someone had strung a wire across the path! April urges the boys to find their ghostly friend, so following the sounds of his hiccups, they move deeper into the woods. They soon find Mudsy, and Boo, hiding in a tree, but the happy reunion is short lived as the Headless Horseman suddenly appears!

Tacks in the road take out the dune buggy's wheels, again, so the group hightails it through a pumpkin patch. When they stop to catch their breath, the boys realize April is missing! Lucky for them, she's the smart one of the group and has made her way to the nearby farm of Katy Van Castle. She fills them in on the Headless Horseman, how he's scared everyone else away but her, Brom Bones and Ichabod Crane (not the real deal...a descendant of the famous one). I'm guessing with the Horseman on the loose she doesn't scare easy, because she doesn't even question the fact that the teens are palling around with a ghost! As if on cue, Brom and "Icky" show up, and its very clear there is a love triangle at play. 

Ichabod's horse runs off and everyone splits up allowing Mudsy and Boo to find a secret tunnel leading to Ichabod's schoolhouse. They find Ichabod's horse hiding in a coat closet and things go from bad to worse when the Horseman comes galloping in! After Mudsy spooks the horse, it's revealed that Ichabod was the Horseman! And then, all the pieces come together. Brom laid the tacks and wire to catch the Horseman. Ichabod was trying to scare off Brom to protect Katy. He had found a letter to Brom's other girlfriend. Brom was just after Katy's money! With a little postmortem magic, Mudsy removes his own head scaring Brom and sending him running away for good!

So, I love the cartoon...the comic...well, it's fun, and I enjoyed it, but it doesn't quite convey the magic of the animation. The voices are missing, though I do hear them in my head, lol. Micky Dolenz, of the Monkees, provided the voice of Skip, while voice over legend Daws Butler voiced Mudsy the Funky Phantom! Butler's voice for this character is virtually identical to the pink mountain lion Snagglepuss (which is basically a Bert Lahr/Cowardly Lion) but instead of saying things like "Heavens to Murgatroyd!", Mudsy says "Heavens to Betsy Ross!" Hope you enjoyed this Halloween treat!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween Horror Comic Trick or Treat #6

What would Halloween be without Elvira, Mistress of the Dark? Even in comic form she is frighteningly seductive!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Halloween Horror Comic Trick or Treat #5

Another horror favorite of mine...Re-Animator! I loved the films, and this comic series was pretty good too!