Thursday, March 1, 2018

Gun Dog Comics #1

Gun Dog Comics #1 1996 
$2.95 USA $4.25 Canada
Gun Dog Comics Publishing Division Starkville, MS
Story and Art by Eric Yonge

Scott and Shelly have parked on a dark road to fool around a bit. Shelly is nervous because they are minutes away from being out past the curfew. A curfew that went into effect when two young men, Roland Riley and Donny Sims went missing four months ago here in Boardtown.

Shelly suddenly notices something in the dark lane in front of their's Roland! 
And so begins our story..."Rule of Thumb!"

He is alive, but in "pretty rough shape" as described by Detective Banks who begins investigating the case. Traumatized and unable to speak Roland couldn't tell anyone what had happened to him. 

Banks decides to interview the new guy in town, one Morton Dean Durant, or Modean for short. Here he is now.

During the interrogation we find out that Modean has just inherited Bluewood Estates from his recently deceased great uncle Cecil, an odd fellow who was involved in some controversial government sound acoustics experiments in the '50's. 

Banks at first thinks Modean had something to do with Roland's reappearance last night, but eventually realizes Modean is most likely innocent. Most likely...

Modean stops by the First Baptist Church Daycare where his girlfriend Charene "Chuck" Woodward works. It's almost Halloween and they make plans to go to Octoberfest just before Modean notices a strange looking kid sitting off by himself in the playground. Enter Gordon Gooch.

Chuck tells Modean that Gordon is an angel, he just has a pituitary problem that makes him all hairy and creepy looking. Just then Gordon's grandpa Gregory stops by to pick up the little fella. He tells Chuck and Modean to stop by to see their display at Octoberfest. Even though he looks just the right amount of hairy, Gregory seems a little creepy too.

Later that night at Octoberfest our couple happens upon Gooch's Gallery of Gore! A collection of old sci-fi movie memorabilia that the Gooches set up like a little museum each year at the fest.

Inside they see a movie poster for an old film called "Segor the Space Sucker". Modean laughs and begins telling Chuck how hilariously awful the special effects were in the movie. But suddenly Mr. and Mrs. Gooch step out of the shadows to defend Segor's good name. Gregory Gooch says, "If you're interested in Segor... well, there he is" and reveals the life size Segor statue in the display.

Gregory asks Modean not to speak ill of Segor, it's a favorite amongst the Gooches. Then Glenda Gooch interjects that she believes Segor might have actually come to life and kidnapped those two boys that went missing. Gregory is furious with his wife for even suggesting such a thing! 

While the Gooches argue, Chuck and Modean sneak off. They talk about the weird mysteries surrounding Boardtown. Modean walks off for a minute and Chuck is snatched up by... Segor!

She awakens tied up in some sort of shed. But she soon finds she is not alone. Donny Sims, the other kid that went missing four months ago is there too!

Segor approaches and removes his head to reveal it is actually Gregory Gooch in costume! Gooch goes on to tell Chuck his whole story. When he and his brother were kids they heard about Modean's great uncle Cecil. They were so curious to know about the top secret government experiments he was conducting at Bluewood Estates and so one night ...they snuck in!

Through a window in Cecil's home they saw him at work. They peered in and watched until suddenly his experiment reached critical mass. They were hit with the force of the sound machines from Cecil's experiment and knocked unconscious. When they came to they saw Segor the alien. He told them that the sound experiments turned them into freaks! Freaks that could now hear thoughts the way most people hear sound.

Even though the alien turned out to just be a hallucination their thought sucking powers were indeed real. 

The Gooch goes on to explain what happened to poor Roland. The Gooch brothers kidnapped him and sucked the thoughts right out of his head. This left him the traumatized mess he was when the two young lovers at the beginning of the story found him stumbling around in the dark.

Chuck had heard enough. It was time for action! She slipped out of the ropes the Gooch had her tied up in and delivered a flying kick to his unsuspecting noggin!

Chuck then goes deep into the Gooch's lair where she finds Modean held captive. She releases him but he is attacked by a groggy Gooch who begins sucking the thoughts of Modean. It turns out whatever is in Modean's head is too much for Gooch! 

An explosion from the experience sends Gooch flying! Is he dead? Maybe!

Chuck raises the valid question that if Gregory Gooch got transformed into this creature of vampire like power then what happened to his brother?

We then cut to a lady opening her door to what she believes an ordinary trick 'r treater...

Look out lady...I think young Gordon is actually Gregory Gooch's brother instead of his grandson! Who knows what power the little monster has!!

I would like to say this is probably my favorite book I have read for Bewildering. It was so weird and fun with fantastic artwork and imagery. It was as if Charles Burns and Mike Allred and Rob Liefeld all contributed ideas and designs to one of the strangest comics it has been my pleasure to stumble across. 

Here is my version of Gordon Gooch in tribute to the fantastic work of Eric Yonge.

Doesn't look like there are any more issues of this amazing book out there but Yonge did do some more comic work like Gunner and The Hat Squad. Check them out if you happen upon a copy.

Well, as difficult a task as it might prove to be to top this month's comic, I have faith it could be done by...Shaloman!

Join me next month to see what treasures await us upon reading it!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Martian Summers #1

Martian Summers #1 1989
Thumbprint Productions, Springfield, Virginia by David Neal Miller,
Sara Wildberger and Will Heyniger

The Way of All Flesh (our story title) unfurls with an opening featuring a Martian landscape and a quote from none other than Rodney Dangerfield. Okay, I'm in!

New Monaco, the Las Vegas of the stars (that is celestially and not referring to gamblers of celebrity status) where all manner of debauchery is available under its protective domes.

We slowly make our way into the apartment of a sleeping couple. When the alarm clock beeps and the lights come up it is revealed that the couple look like someone Rowdy Roddy Piper gawks at with his shades on in 'They Live'. Skinless bodies with all the muscles visible! Gross. I see their intestines. Someone just ate shrimp and corn!

Miranda tries on different skins as she decides who she wants to be today. I couldn't even imagine that kind of pressure. I've worn the same exact pairs of pants and shoes for a month and it still takes me a half hour to figure out what to wear in the mornings.

Her lover August gets out of bed to grab a shower. He tells her to wear her own skin, it's the one he likes best anyway. Awww, what a sweetie!

There are a couple of confusing pages here layout wise that I had to reread to figure out the panel order.  It's something that unfortunately really takes me out of the reading experience when it happens but luckily it is a problem that doesn't persist as the story continues.

Miranda gets dressed and makes an offhanded remark about how her job is great because it's as "warm as the Earth and all the slash you can slide down your throat." As if mouthing my own words, August pokes his skinless face out of the shower and asks, "What was that?'

She changes the subject and asks August not to bust the club she'll be working at. She needs the money. So, I guess August is some kind of Martian cop (like J'onn J'onzz). Awesome!

Miranda plants a kiss on her skinless fella and they say their goodbyes as they both head to their respective jobs.

Now, that's a great image!

August reports into work and is told he will be impersonating a man by the name of Aggart, a thug who is scheduled to give a report this evening to a group of scum known as "Core". A report, that is, on some kind of illegal import/export business going down. Hmmm... could it be that "slash" stuff Miranda was talking about earlier?

Miranda meets with the boss at her new job who hints that like a terrible Foreigner song he'd like her to do more than dance for some new clients tonight. Miranda declines like the classy Martian she is. She calls August and tells him to stop by the club and get some free drinks. He tells her he's working tonight but might just take her up on that after the meeting (which is taking place at her work)! 

August is supposed to just go in impersonating Aggart, record the thugs saying what they're up to and then get out of there. Seems easy enough until a call comes in from another thug who says he tried to bust Aggart out of jail but had failed to do so. Oh no, August's cover is blown!

A brawl ensues!

The bad guys escape before August's backup arrives. August meets up with Miranda who sarcastically thanks him for costing her a job. He embraces her, saying she has everything she needs already, but her thoughts reveal she may have a secret need that even August doesn't know about!

Oh no! Miranda's a slashhead! The End!

Well, I liked the freaky Clive Barker Hellraiser-esque visuals of the skinless August in a suit kicking ass so here is my rendition:

Alright! That certainly was an interesting one even if it was a quick read (there was a three page backup story that was completely unrelated so I'm not going into describing that one here). 

I thought the story was just fine and the artwork interesting and well done. Other than a couple of confusing pages at the beginning of the book it was a pretty good read.

There never was an issue two to this series so I guess we'll all have to come up with our own ending. I'm guessing Miranda, in a different skin, overdoses on slash and August is the one to find her body. Not recognizing her at first August discovers the horrible truth while in pursuit of the ringleader of this "Core".He then single handedly busts the drug ring in New Monaco and kills those responsible for getting the drugs into his sweetheart's hands.

He then quits the force and disguises himself in the skin of a pilot and leaves Mars once and for all.

At least that's my imaginings. What do you think happened?

If any of the creators of this book happen upon this post please enlighten us. 

Also, check out the sweet back cover to the book. Might be my favorite image in the entire comic!

Thanks to everyone for reading and be sure to check back in a month for my next review:

Until then, keep an eye out for the buried treasures in the bewildering world of small press and independent comics!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Existing Earth #1

Existing Earth #1 1987
Wind Wolf Graphics Saskatoon, Saskatchewan by Colin Oleksyn
and Brent Butt

Where I picked up this book I honestly can't remember but I do know it was the striking cover by Terry Gilecki that was the deciding factor. Such a cool '80's airbrushed cover... love it!

Our story opens in 1186 B.C. as the city of Troy attempts to withstand the onslaught of the Greeks' attacks that has lasted an astonishing nine years. Slain soldiers lie dying as naked bodies and helmets are dragged by Greek chariots in a horrific display of conquest.

The king cries in despair for his son Hector who has been killed by that heel Achilles.

His other son Paris is apparently unloved (and obviously disrespected) by the king. He decides to take out his frustrations by beating up on one of his own guards and then picking a fight with his woman, Helen of Troy.

She taunts and insults Paris to the point that he almost strikes her.

Stopping short he decides to walk away instead heading through the streets of the kingdom. He begs Apollo for the strength to do what he must to end this unending war. On his walk he sees the death and despair of his people and remarks how the Gods care not for the fate of mortals. 

But suddenly he is snatched into a dark corner by a shadowed foe!

We then are transported to a realm unknown as a ball of light speaks to shrouded figures who seem to be sleeping on a slab of stone floating through outer space.

The light begins to lead them to their task at hand. The light narrates the tale of the existing Earth and its origins. Earth was created for mortals by the God Ora who then created man to live there and guard the planet from interference by other Gods. Wanting to see man multiply, Ora plucked one of the man's ribs and from it created woman.

The remainder of this powerful rib was given to a group of Ora's favorites to protect it. This rib was the only means that other Gods could use to create other mortals to do their bidding on Earth.

But the other Gods created a dark alliance to devise a plan to gain control of the all powerful rib.

Luther, the God of trickery, suggested they use it to create parallel Earths so they would each have a world to rule over!

They loved the idea and sent Luther in the guise of one of Ora's sentinels to swipe the relic. Luther smashed the case it was held in and used a Ring of Conveyance to transport himself away from the other sentinels.

When news of the theft reached Ora a war of good verses evil began. The battle raged on and on. The rib was eventually recaptured by the forces of good but the dark alliance managed to enslave the powerful Ora.

With the final bit of the rib the forces of good created two warriors to fight for the light. These two were Tempest and Arian, two females imbued with the complete knowledge of weaponry and the consummate skills of battle.

With these abilities they are expected to champion the Gods of light and destroy the dark alliance once and for all. 

We're then treated to a great scene of the two warriors suiting up for battle reminiscent of the montage scene from the classic television show "T and T" starring Alex Amini and Mr. T!

We cut back to that dark alley where Paris is being bullied by those shadowy fiends from earlier.

Suddenly the biggest of the villains arm is chopped off by an unseen avenger.

It is Tempest and Arian come to fight for the forces of light!

And that is how the issue ends. 

Torn between drawing the crying king and the God of trickery Luther, I chose the latter as seen below.

Overall this comic was a little boring but I did enjoy some of the scenes and characters and would definitely read issue two if I happened upon it (especially with its sweet cover of evil hands wringing the blood from a heart as it spills down upon a sword again airbrushed by Gilecki).

Don't miss next month's exciting selection Martian Summers #1!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Savage Ninja #1

Savage Ninja #1 1985 
Cadillac Comics Schaumburg, Il. by Edward M. Mandel and Michael Carr

   Our comic opens with a splash page immediately following a ninja battle. The image of a ninja kneeling amongst a field littered with bodies. The same image, in fact, that appears on the cover of the book. Which, I have to say, is a little lazy.

   Michael Savage is the kneeling ninja who is attempting to gather his power to survive after the injuries he has sustained in battle. His mind wanders and rests on a childhood memory. His mother is dropping him off to study Tai Chi with the Sensei. Although Michael is awed by the swords and dragons on the walls he is also very afraid and begins to cry.

   So, I want to say right off the bat, I think it would've been more interesting to see more panels of the big ninja battle (there is only one) and a few less of a child crying as he walks around a Tai Chi center with his mom (there are thirteen). Maybe I'm crazy.

   Like most kids who cry a lot Michael is eager to learn to fight, but the Sensei informs him he must first learn about his relationship with Mother Nature. He also suggests learning some creative pastimes and introduces Michael to his son David. 

   We then are treated to six more panels of Michael looking sad as his mom finally decides to leave him at the Tai Chi center. Apparently it's for a long time, not just the afternoon.

   Lee, the man servant, prepares a lunch for them all and they sit down to talk about life at the center.
But first Michael mentions how he and his mother have never been separated and looks sad again.

   Seriously, I've heard Morrissey albums with less whining then this comic ABOUT FREAKING NINJAS.

   David changes the subject and says Lee is like an older brother to him. Lee seems cool.

   They talk for awhile and then the Sensei informs them it is time to retire for the night. He tells David to lead Michael to his room.

   You'll never believe this but on the way to his room Michael thinks to himself about how much he misses his mother. Dear Lord.

   David shows him to his room and tells Michael that he welcomes his friendship. But Michael says he is tired. Tired and...(sigh) that he misses his mom.

   But night passes and in the morning Michael is treated to a beautiful view from his window.

   Maybe a good night's sleep is all Michael needed to snap out of being such a wuss because we're now treated to a montage splash page of him kicking ass! As time at the center passes Michael becomes quite the fighter and by the end of the page he's knocking guys into the next panel! Who's crying for their mommy now?!?

   This memory brings us back to the present where Michael is waking up from the haze of the injuries of battle. He realizes he's got some broken ribs and torn muscles but being the bad ass ninja he is he decides to walk it off!

   If only his mom was here to pick him up. Nevertheless... Michael staggers through the darkness and up a flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs is a door which opens to reveal... Lee! Lee takes him inside for medical treatment and then cleans the stairs.

   While Michael's wounds heal David does some detective work. He discovers who lead the group of ninjas that almost killed Michael. The two men decide Michael has healed enough from his wounds and decide to track down their new nemesis, Fantu. They make it to their enemy's gates and climb stealthily over the gates. Inside the yard they are attached by Fantu's Doberman but they kill him and bust in through a window. They then throw ninja stars and daggers into the faces of the thugs inside!

   Finally, some ninja action!!!

But Fantu lands a heavy blow of his sword into David!

   Michael, seeing his friend's injury, lashes out against Fantu and rips open his chest cavity with his poison laced clawed glove! Fantu lies there dying but manages to whisper one last decree...

   Michael looks at the hand written directive Fantu has handed him and thinks how familiar the handwriting looks. Michael picks up David's unconscious body and takes him back to the Tai Chi center to treat his wounds. The next morning Lee has prepared breakfast and is serving it in the garden when an unknown assailant attack, throwing a shuriken right at Michael Savage!

   The End! Next issue The White Slaves of Tokyo! Hot Dog! Was this the first full color comic we've talked about here at The Bewildering? I think it might've been... how cool!

   Another cool thing about this comic is that it is sponsored by a company called East West Markets Exchange Inc. that makes all kinds of sweet ninja clothing ware and equipment! There are a couple of ads for them in the book. Here's the one on the back cover!

And here is my depiction of the man servant Lee as an '80's action figure:

   According to Savage Ninja never reached issue #2 so we may never know who Fantu was working for. But I for one hope it's Michael's mom. That it's her handwriting he recognizes on that document that Fantu gave him. She got so sick of him constantly crying when she stepped out of his sight for a minute that she decided to teach him a lesson by becoming his ninja nemesis! I don't know. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe it was Lee! Kind of convenient that he was just a short walk away from Michael when he was beaten to a pulp earlier in the story. Or...perhaps it is Michael's father. At the beginning of the comic it was revealed he was an old friend of the Sensei. Either way, pretty fun comic, flawed as it was.

In addition to story by Edward M. Mandel and art by Michael Carr the lettering was by R. Hansen and colors by Mark Smith. Good job fellas! 

Let's hope next month's book is just as exciting. Won't you come back and join me for...
Existing Earth!