Archive for the Frankenstein Category

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: The Original Ghost Rider (1949)

Posted in comic books, Frankenstein, Genres, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, Western with tags , , , , , , on October 26, 2017 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Everyone knows Ghost Rider. The flaming skull. The Hellcycle. Penance Stare. Hell, just last week I posted a Cavalcade Comics cover featuring the motorcycle riding demon fighting the Headless Horseman.  But did you know that Ghost Rider was originally a supernatural western hero?

Back in 1949, Magazine Enterprises was publishing a western comic called Tim Holt: Cowboy Star of the Movies.  In issue #11, a backup story was introduced featuring the ghostly first appearance of the Ghost Rider.

The story was written by Ray Krank and drawn by Dick Ayers. It told the origin of the Ghost Rider.  Rex Fury, aka the Calico Kid, is ambushed by renegade Indians.  He fights the attacking braves while saying classy things like this:

fire water

It *was* 1949.  Anyway, the Indians’ numbers eventually overcome the Calico Kid and they throw him and his Chinese manservant, Sing-Song (I’m not even joking.  1949, guys.), into the “Devil’s Sink”, a bottomless whirlpool from which no one that has fallen in has ever returned.  Except Rex Fury.  After somehow washing up inside a hidden cave system, Rex decides to come back as the spectral Ghost Rider to fight crime and get the men who sent him to his watery grave.

Ghost Rider would appear in Tim Holt a few more times before, in 1950, getting his own title.

For this new title the character was again drawn by co-creator Dick Ayers. The first issue retold the character’s origin from Tim Holt #11 but with new art and an expanded story. This time they expanded on his time in the Devil’s Sink.  Instead of washing up in a hidden cave system, he enters something like the afterlife, or Purgatory.  While there he learns skills from famous Western heroes like Wild Bill Hickock, Calamity Jane, Kit Carson, etc so he can return to the living and fight evil.  They even give him the suit.

The title was a different type of Western and the Ghost Rider was a different type of Western hero.  The book was essentially a horror title.  The stories pitted our hero against a motley assortment of ghosts, monsters, cursed treasure, witches, and demons.

I’ve read a few issues of this title and there are some fun issues. Ghost Rider even manages to meet another of my AWESOME-tober-fest theme monsters, Frankenstein.  In issue #10.

The character was a big hit for Magazine Enterprises for nearly a decade until the company went bankrupt. In 1967, after the trademark on the character had expired, Marvel Comics released their own almost exact copy of the character in his own title written by Roy Thomas and again drawn by Dick Ayers.

Unfortunately Marvel stripped out all of the horror and supernatural elements and made Ghost Rider a more traditional western gunfighting hero.  Several years later, after Marvel introduced their motorcycle riding demon version of Ghost Rider, they renamed this Western character Phantom Rider.  Phantom Rider would team up with the new Ghost Rider several times for Marvel.

For Halloween a few years ago I did a Cavalcade Comics cover featuring a meet up of the Original Ghost Rider and the New Ghost Rider.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Advertisements

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Angel vs Frankenstein (2009)

Posted in comic books, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, horror, monsters, TV shows, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2016 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Back in 2011, when I did Dracula/vampires for my theme, I covered the appearance of Dracula in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  This included several comic book appearances with Buffy and Spike.  So, I thought I should next cover another Buffy character teaming up with another classic monster.  Let’s see if this one fares any better.

In 2009, IDW released a one-shot called Angel vs Frankenstein. It was written and drawn by the great John Byrne.

angel-vs-frankenstein-01-001

The story takes place after Mary Shelley’s novel, which we get a brief recap of in the comic. It also takes place before Angel is cursed by the gypsy to have a soul.  So, after Frankenstein discovers Victor dead in the arctic at the end of Shelley’s novel, he decides to return to his home to claim the right as the last heir of Frankenstein.  However, the monster realizes he can’t do it alone, so the monster hires Angelus to return to Castle Frankenstein with him to help. However, Angelus has different ideas and throws the monster out of the stagecoach and over a cliff.  He then goes to the castle to claim the fortune for himself. But the monster didn’t die, and it makes its way back for his revenge. Queue Frankenstein vs Angelus fight.

angel-vs-frankenstein-01-010 angel-vs-frankenstein-01-019

It’s a pretty good story. I like the setup. I love Byrne’s art. I enjoyed reading it. It’s only a one-shot, so it’s short, but Byrne makes the most of it.

Then in 2010, IDW released a sequel called, appropriately, Angel vs Frankenstein II.  This one-shot was also written and drawn by John Byrne.

angel-vs-frankenstein-02-0001

This takes place many years after the first comic. Angelus is now just Angel. He’s in America and working as a janitor at a mental hospital. He discovers the monster bound up in a hidden set of rooms in the hospital. Angel tries to sort out the mystery of how the monster got there but when the monster sees Angel, he goes off on a rampage thinking it’s Angelus and Angel has to stop him from tearing apart the city. We also learn a few secrets about the nature of this Frankenstein monster.

angel-vs-frankenstein-02-0020 angel-vs-frankenstein-02-0024

Again, this is a good, if a bit more understated comic story. It’s another one shot, but Byrne makes good use of the characters and his art is great. I like the wrap up of the Frankenstein monster here. I’d definitely recommend these comics to a fan of Angel.


2012 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Cavalcade Comics #11 – The Frankenstein Monster vs The Winter Olympics

Posted in comic books, Frankenstein, monsters, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on December 16, 2015 by Paxton

Cavalcade Comics

I’m temporarily sticking my head out from where I’m hibernating during the winter to post up this newest cover in my Vintage Comic Throwdown series.

This month’s cover isn’t necessarily holiday themed, as I don’t really have a “Christmas” themed cover in my back log.  But I do have a “winter-y” themed cover I can use.  Peep your ‘balls on The Frankenstein Monster vs The Winter Olympics.

Cavalcade Comics 11

I’m sort of in love with the concept as well as the execution of this cover.  It was birthed almost entirely out of one awesome Marvel Treasury front cover as well as the back cover pin-up.  Check out that cover’s double sided awesomeness right here (click to see BIGGER).

Marvel Treasury cover

This is Marvel Treasury Edition #25 from June 1980.  The front cover was drawn by Al Milgrom and Jack Abel.  The back cover “pin-up” was drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz and Bruce Patterson.  So much action-y goodness that I couldn’t pass up using the majority of the elements in this layout.  You can see all of them in the cover.  The skiers, the snow, the broken light pole, the building in the background with the crowd.  All re-purposed for my Frankenstein gone amok cover.

An element that I didn’t use from the Marvel cover is the Frankenstein monster himself, which comes from Marvel’s The Frankenstein Monster #7 from Nov 1973.  Drawn by the great John Buscema.

Frankenstein Monster 07

I love doing these monster mashups. I have another Frankenstein monster mashup stashed away as well as a return for Ghost Rider! But is it the old gunslinger Ghost Rider or the Hell Cycle ridin’ demon? You’ll have to wait to find out.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Dell Comics Monster Squad

Posted in comic books, Dracula, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, werewolf with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Yesterday, with my review of Dell’s Frankenstein, I finally completed all three infamous 60s Dell superhero monster comics reviews (Here’s Dracula and Werewolf).  I love all three of these zany re-imagining of the classic monsters.  And as I mentioned in my reviews, the only thing that was missing was a team up.  We did see Frankenstein pop up briefly in a one panel cameo in Dracula, but other than that, no other crossover ever happened.  It’s time I rectify this situation.

So, issue #10 of Cavalcade Comics features the debut of the Dell monster super heroes in a team up.  Finally we get the Dell Comics Monster Squad.

Cavalcade Comics 10

How did this never happen? I’ll tell you how, the comics never sold. It’s why we only got three issues of each title. I would love to see these characters come back in a cool retro reboot. I don’t even know who owns the license to them anymore, but with the right writer and tone, they could be fantastic.

I had only three covers of each of the three heroes to try to make work, but I luckily found Marvel’s Where Monsters Dwell #3 (1970) which works as a really nice base image for this cover.

where-monsters-dwell

I love all those 70s horror comics from Marvel. Such good cover artwork and great to use as a base for these types of Photoshop projects.

The Dell Monster Squad logo was going to be a re-interpretation of some awesome original art by Nathan Milliner.

nathanmilliner

Nathan created these awesome EC-style vintage comic covers I just love.  I really wanted to use that logo, but no matter how I manipulated it, it didn’t fit in the 60-70s vintage comic cover I was trying to create, so I sadly had to abandon it. I then went back to the original Where Monsters Dwell logo and just created the new logo off those letters and I think it turned out pretty good. I’m happy with it.

As for the monster heroes themselves; Dracula comes from Dell Dracula #4, Frankenstein comes from Dell Frankenstein #2 and Werewolf from Dell Werewolf #1.  

I also had to change the background a bit and add the night sky with the full moon which I believe I got from Marvel’s Werewolf by Night #11.


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Dell’s Frankenstein

Posted in comic books, Frankenstein, monsters, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on October 26, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Here we are, kids. The final week of October and the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest 2015. It sure has been a lot of fun this year, I hope you guys are enjoying this year’s celebration as much as I have been.

Anyway, this final week, I’m parting with my month long theme of the invisible man. Each day I’ll be revisiting a previous theme from an earlier AWESOME-tober-fest. I’ll use this week to review a few things that were supposed to be included in previous years, but for some reason, got cut from the final lineup. And since I’ve always wanted to do them, here’s my chance.

Today, I’m revisiting AWESOME-tober-fest 2009. That year was the first year I did “daily updates” and is the starting point for what AWESOME-tober-fest is today. That year, I covered Frankenstein’s Monster. On October 23, I talked about a bunch of different Frankenstein comics. Amongst that list was a blurb on an obscure 1960s Dell comic called Frankenstein #2.

Dell Frank 2

The Dell monster comics should be familiar to anyone who reads AWESOME-tober-fest.  But, to refresh your memory, in the 60s, Dell Comics acquired the Universal Monster license and did comic adaptations of several of the movies.  Then, Dell decided to reboot three of the monsters into super hero comics.  I reviewed the Dell Werewolf and Dell Dracula comics in their respective AWESOME-tober-fest reviews.  But I never got around to a full review of the Dell Frankenstein comic.  Today is that day.

As I mentioned, Dell rebooted Frankenstein’s Monster into a super hero comic in 1966 starting with issue #2 (issue #1 was an adaptation of the Universal movie).  Like the other monster super heroes, it would only last three issues.  Here are issues #3 and #4.

Dell Frank 3 Dell Frank 4

Similar to Dracula, this one is pretty zany. But in a fun way.  I mean, look at Frankenstein up there.  His head is GREEN but his arms are inexplicably flesh colored.  What?

Origin 1 Origin 2
Here’s Frank’s origin from the first issue.  It’s 100 years after the Universal movie.  Frankenstein’s Monster is buried beneath the ruins of the mad doctor’s castle.  A random lightning strike revives the monster who awakens with partial amnesia.

Birth
Frank realizes that he’s stronger and smarter than 50 men, so he decides to use his abilities to fight crime. And somehow in the last 100 years Frank’s extremities have gone back to their pinkish color while his face remains ghastly green.  Also, I guess Dr Frankenstein knew that his creature would eventually fight crime so he left a unitard and some masks for the monster to cover up his monstrous face.

Mask 1 Mask 2 Mask 3
And Frank makes sure to use those masks ALL THE TIME. That’s some Mission: Impossible level mask technology right there.

Continue reading

AWESOME-tober-fest 2014: Fangoria #56 – Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Posted in Frankenstein, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, monsters, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2014 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Let’s start off this week, the fourth week of AWESOME-tober-fest, with one of my favorite Fangoria covers of all time, issue #56, featuring the Green Goblin truck from Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive.  This issue was on the newsstands in 1986.

Fangoria 56

Inside this magazine is an interview with King. Plus, they run a contest featuring the awkwardly named The Fango Maximum Overdrive Stephen King Scream Test.  The goal was to answer 15 Stephen King book/movie specific questions for lots of cool prizes.  I read through these questions.  Without resorting to Google, they are actually pretty hard.  Several of them can be gleaned from the previous interview, but some of them are really tough questions.  Take a gander for yourself.

Fango Stephen King Scream Test


2012 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Posted in Dracula, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2011 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Continuing the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest. This week I’ve been reviewing all Dracula movies. Monday was Nosferatu from 1922. Tuesday was Universal’s Dracula from 1931. Yesterday I reviewed Horror of Dracula by Hammer Films. Today I’m looking at a movie that threw out these past movie versions of Dracula and went back to the source.  The director wanted to do a new, more faithful adaptation of Stoker’s novel.  That director was Francis Ford Coppola.

Coppola's Dracula

So, in 1992 we got Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Coppola was actually given the script for this adaptation by Wynona Ryder.  She wanted a project for them to do together to help patch things up with the director after she pulled out of The Godfather Part III at the last minute. So Coppola agreed to do this and production began.

Coppola really wanted to create an ethereal almost dreamlike quality to this movie. Originally, he didn’t want to build any sets. He wanted elaborate costumes but very sparse, minimalistic backgrounds. Luckily the studio said no and forced him to do “traditional” sets. I’ve attempted to watch this movie several times since the 90s. But I hadn’t tried for a few years, so I thought this might be the year to give it a try, especially since I just read the original novel and watched a bunch of other Dracula movies.

So, what did I think this time? I didn’t like it. At all. They put Stoker’s name over the title, but that was mainly to differentiate it from Universal’s movie, not because there is that much more devotion to the novel. Coppola has created an overly indulgent arthouse flick about Dracula. It’s surreal and strange and boring. He ties the origins of Dracula to “The Impaler” Vlad III who renounces God after his beloved wife kills herself after mistakenly believing her husband was killed in battle.  Then Dracula stabs a stone cross, which starts to bleed, then he drinks the blood from the cross.  WHAT?!

Continue reading