The new Nightbreed comic book series is off to a great start!

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It is certainly a great time for fans of Clive Barker and his classic tale of misfits and monsters, Nightbreed. First appearing in the novella Cabal in 1988 and starring in an underwhelming theatrical release in 1990, Barker’s cast of memorable monsters have taken root as genuine cult classics and mainstays of popular horror culture.

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Telling the story of the end of Midian, the place where monsters go, the novel and film tell a tale that nearly any kind of outcast can relate to. Persecuted for their strange appearances and odd customs (admittedly eating the flesh of humans), the members of the Nightbreed have found a sanctuary in their little town, which comes unraveled when a young man wanders in and exposes their secrets. The original story is a classic tragedy full of fascinating characters and dark humor, and is finally getting some recognition for what a true work of art it was and is.

Last year, the “Cabal Cut” of the film toured in select theaters, and is scheduled for release on Blu-Ray later this year from Scream Factory! I was lucky enough to catch the one of the screenings in LA last October, where Mr. Barker was present and spoke about the long journey to get his vision on the screen at last.
That fascinating Q & A was transcribed and can be read here.

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Also on the radar for fans of Nightbreed is talk of a television series. With the current trend of classic films being re-imagined and translated to the small screen, this one seems like a no-brainer. I asked the question directly to Nicholas Vince (who played Kinski in the film) last week during his fascinating Google+ hangout and got this answer (around the 52-minute mark) :

So yes, it looks like a Nightbreed television series could be a reality in the near future!

Also coming soon is a unique anthology collection of short stories expanding on the Nightbreed mythology entitled Midian Unmade. The publishers were open for submissions last year, and I even wrote my own short story for hopeful inclusion, but it sadly was rejected. You can read it here, if you are into that sort of thing.
I am honestly very much looking forward to reading this book when it is released later this year from Tor Books.

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And last, but definitely not least, this week saw the release of a brand new Nightbreed ongoing comic book series from Boom! studios. Based on an original story from Clive Barker, the new series seems to be an epic expansion of the mythology he set in motion 25 years ago.

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Written by Marc Andreyko, and wonderfully illustrated by Piotr Kowalski, the first issue sets the stage quickly in the modern day, as we see Lylesburg safe and sound in another underground cavern. He quickly introduces us to the story before it starts jumping around to different time periods, setting up the wide scope of the universe quickly and efficiently. The storyline picks up in  Lacombe, Louisiana in 1857, where we see that our old friend Peloquin has been doing his “Beast mode” thing for a long time.

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Then we are in Boston Massachussets in 1945, seeing the world of the lovely Shuna Sassi, and an interesting take on her origins. The issue is fast-paced and an interesting kick-off to what could potentially be some great new stories of our favorite characters of the Nightbreed. While I look forward to seeing more of the story of what became of the remnants of the Breed after their sanctuary home was destroyed at the end of the film, it is definitely a great idea to look at the roots of these now-iconic characters and find out where they came from.

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Here’s hoping this creative team can deliver the best of both worlds for us die-hard fans of Nightbreed. They are off to a great start with issue #1 of this ongoing monthly series, and I am very much looking forward to the next few issues!

It is definitely a good time to be a Nightbreed fan!

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Doomsday is coming. What are you going to wear?

A Look into Hal Moore’s “The Withering”

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You may or may not be familiar with the work of horror artist, Hal Moore. His excellent pieces have from time to time been featured on the Horror Homework site. His company, Leaky Pen Productions, is responsible for publishing this excellent independent comic as well as the many gore-geous prints and works of art available at:                                                                                       Leaky Pen Productions

Not satisfied with being an accomplished artist, Hal is also a musician. Frontman for the horror-punk-thrash-metal band, Jason and the Kruegers, he obviously enjoys being in the spotlight.
I believe that is him in the viking helmet.

When Darth Biscuits sent me this title to review with the admonishment, “Be gentle, he’s a friend of the site!”, I was not quite sure what to expect.  What I discovered upon opening his package delighted and amazed me.  I now wish to share here, a little of the experience I had reading this enchantingly dark graphic novel.
Many times, the cover of a comic book while skillfully executed, can be merely a ruse designed to capture the potential reader’s attention and if possible, compel him to part with his precious coinage.  In the case of this deliciously depicted integument,  all that is promised is delivered.

The thing that first struck me as I opened the book, was the sullen, brooding, anger that emanated from the pages.  Backgrounds that created an almost claustrophobic sense of confinement as if I was actually trapped inside my own head.  The beautiful yet somberly painted panels offer a maelstrom of wildly abstract images intermixed with portraits of almost photographic realism.  The book also contains elements of Christian, Greek, Norse and even Druidic mythologies that I found to be fascinating .  As a fan of horror comics, I would happily add this to my library based on the artwork alone.
The story primarily features a nameless, but somewhat recognizable young protagonist WitheringReviewwho must ultimately discover his own identity and place in the chaotic universe into which he has been violently thrust.  Relentlessly pursued for reasons unknown through the demesne of a cruel god,  he is forced to put his trust in a powerful mystic entity known only as Autumn.  As the story progresses we only see more of the deep symbolism so prevalent in this book.  It seems almost like a nightmare, ripe for interpretation.  As I reached the end of the second issue, I was left feeling perplexed and eager to have all my questions answered in the next issue, as the last page so tantalizingly proclaimed.  Discovering that the next volume in this twelve issue masterpiece was not to be published until early 2014 caused me to grind my teeth with frustration.
I spoke briefly with Hal. He had this to say, “I tend to work on many projects all at once.  Although, as odd as it may sound, “The Withering” is still the most important to me. I look at all my other work as skill building to prepare me for the next issue.”
Unfortunately, I am not certain that this book will be for everyone.  The narration sometimes reads like the journal of a mad 19th century poet.  I often found myself reading pages multiple times.  In order to appreciate the full impact of the stunning illustration, and rich melancholy of the text, one can not simply glance briefly at the page.  It must instead be studied.  Pored over like an ancient scroll penned in some forgotten tongue.  For the casual reader, this may be too heavy of a commitment.  This is most definitely not an issue of “X-Men or “Avengers”.
The only difficulty I could perceive was in the occasionally laborious  translation of the tiny, ofttimes almost indecipherable verse.  One must understand however, that the unique font adds to the character of the book and that to enlarge it might detract from the visual clout of this expertly painted graphic novel.
All in all, this is some very good shit.  If you consider yourself a purveyor of fine graphic art and like a good story, you owe it to yourself to read “The Withering”.  It has earned a place of honor in this clown’s collection and would be a lovely addition to yours as well.

“This body of work can best be described as depictions of a narrative.
With the imagery I seek to provoke feelings of horror and absurdity while expressing the burden of human consciousness and existence, but this is merely a departure point. The true subject of the work deals with a state of tension, the visual and mythical objectification of a metaphysical rebellion. An art which inspires, triumph over fate, becoming through ordeal, a constant struggle I have come to call: The Withering.” – Hal Moore

 


Great Halloween Costumes for the whole family.

 


Locke & Key : Welcome To Lovecraft

251858_324946470922279_914160750_nLooking for some great comics to get hooked on?
Well, look no further than Locke & Key, from one of this generation’s greatest storytellers, Joe Hill. Featuring the stunning artwork of Gabriel Rodriguez, this series should be in every collection!

locke-key-1-welcome-to-lovecraft-hc-w-logosThe first issue of Locke & Key was released on February 20th, 2008, and sold out completely on the first day!
Welcome to Lovecraft is the first collected volume of the series, which ran for six issues through July of 2008. It tells the story of the Locke family, mainly from the points of view of the three children Bode, Kinsey, and Tyler, in the aftermath of the brutal murder of their father.
After witnessing the death of their father at the hands of a troubled acquaintance of Tyler’s, the remainders of the family are swept off to their father’s lavish ancestral home, Keyhouse, in the town of Lovecraft.

6a00d8345169e469e20168e9faa0cc970c-500wiThey soon discover the secrets contained within the Keyhouse when they start finding strange keys that open some strange magical doors. The youngest child, Bode, is the first to experience this when he finds the key to the Ghost Door.
Of course none of the older siblings believe the kid’s story of turning into a ghost…

663073At the same time, we learn the story of Sam Lesser, the troubled teen who murdered the elder Locke, and his mysterious motivations for the killing. Sam is a complex character, and despite his obvious madness, the reader does develop some sympathy for the poor misguided kid.

Locke_and_Key_FinalAlso woven into the narrative is the strange tale of “Dodge” who initially appears as a girl trapped deep in a well outside of Keyhouse. She attracts the attention of Bode by convincing him that she is his echo.

LockeKey2page7-1The story is full of twists and actual emotion, all brought to life by the beautiful artwork.
Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez have really brought these characters to life, and as a reader you are forced to witness their struggle up close and personal. With characters as richly crafted as this, it is really difficult not to get absorbed in the story.
This book is truly something special, and if you missed it, now is your chance to catch up before the upcoming film adaptation makes everyone fall in love with the Locke family.

20_comic_tease In 2011, Fox began developing a series based on the best-selling books.
A pilot episode was filmed, directed by Mark Romanek, but never actually picked up for series. See the trailer for the pilot episode below :

It was recently announced that Universal has picked up the rights and are now developing a feature film with the pilot’s production team of Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Bobby Cohen still intact.
This is great news, as the comic series goes to some very dark places, things would have likely been toned down for television. With any luck, the film will be as great as the series, concluding right now with Alpha, which is on sale monthly right now!
Stay tuned to Horror Homework for more news about the film adaptation of this excellent book, and pick up your copies of the Locke & Key collections using the widget below!
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Severed

Severed is a relatively new horror comic that doesn’t follow any of the trends currently going on in the 4-color world. A unique take on the vampire mythos, and an unexpected period piece populated with believable characters, this book has truly forged it’s own path.

Conceived by two life-long writer friends, Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft, with eye-popping artwork by Attila Futaki, the book will not fail to impress even the most jaded horror comic reader.
Scott Snyder has been a comic writer to watch, with Batman: The Black Mirror and American Vampire being fine examples of his work. Scott Tuft is a film-maker and writer with a few award-winning shorts under his belt, and Severed was his first experience writing comics.
He talks a little bit about his first time writing comics in the Afterword of the trade paperback for Severed, explaining that the comic medium has opened his eyes to a whole new array of storytelling possibilities.
The two old friends go on to explain how the story evolved over years of traveling and trying to discover what they each found terrifying.
Tuft says, “Not just madmen jumping out of closets (we have that too) but deeper fears…desolation, deceit, and despair. Within the pages of this book lie some of our greatest fears.”

With incredibly detailed and classy artwork by the great Attila Fukashi, the story comes alive from the very first panel, where we are introduced to Grampa Jack Garron, an old one-armed man who freaks out when his grandson hands him a letter from a man who claims to be an old friend of his….

Which leads directly into the story of young adopted Jack, and we begin to know the boy who grew up in 1916, with high hopes and dreams of the open road. The painterly style of the artwork really brings this time period to life within the pages of the book, and we quickly learn that young Jack was a precocious talented musician with one goal, to find and reunite with his absent father, somewhere out there in the landscape of young America.

Of course this path is not an easy one, and Severed’s version of the old days shows us a world fraught with perils, and almost every page drips with some kind of foreboding menace.
In fact, this is one of the things about the book that works so well, in my opinion. The eerily conveyed sense of dread that fills the book is almost unbearable at times, especially as we get to know good-hearted Jack and his simple goal of meeting his musician father at last, and having a happy music-filled life together.
The dark forces lurking just out of sight in the story let us know that this will not likely end as planned, but it is hard not to get caught up in Jack’s wide-eyed innocence and essential purity. Jack befriends another orphan train-hopper, and she turns out to be a little more streetwise than Jack, and the two embark on their cross country journey together.

Unfortunately, those aforementioned dark forces are everywhere, especially for a couple of orphan kids on the run, and the pair have a few adventures before running into “The Salesman”, a lurking old man going by the guise of Alan Fisher, who peddles for Victor and represents and distributes musicians the way they did back then before your fancy 8-tracks and digital downloads.

Truly one of the most horrifying villians in recent genre fiction memory, “The Salesman” slowly reveals himself to not be what the pair expected, and the book just gets creepier and creepier, and the later scenes come alive with pure dread and true horror.
The writers, in combination with the spectacular artwork, bring the story amazingly to life in the climactic scenes, that actually had me cringing!
I can’t praise the writing and artwork within this book enough. The two Scott’s have concocted a slow-burning story that just layers the dread until you can hardly stand it anymore, then they hit you hard. Amazing work!

We have been having a great discussion about horror comics over on the Chalkboard, if you log in or connect with Facebook on this very site. And for those of you that have been looking for your next horror comic purchase, look no further.
Check out the Severed Facebook page for details on the upcoming release of the Severed Hardcover collection (!) or pick up the trade paperback at your local comic shop, like I did!
Or use the convenient links to Amazon below to find this book and more recommendations from your friends and faculty at Horror Homework.
Thank me later.


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Hellraiser : Dark Watch from BOOM! Studios.

Out at your favorite local comic book shop today, is the first issue of the new Hellraiser series, Dark Watch, from BOOM! Studios. Written by Clive Barker and Brandon Siefert, with excellent art from Tom Garcia, this great new series should be on everyone’s pull list this week.

For a long time now, it has been obvious that the Hellraiser film franchise has been horribly mishandled. The films went from outstanding to laughable, with each sequel drifting further away from the unique story Mr. Barker began to tell in 1987 . As the years passed, sequels were cranked out that felt more like the studios were just writing Pinhead into un-produced screenplays. Last year, a version was even released without Doug Bradley as Pinhead. For shame!

I have maintained my love of the Hellraiser mythology all along, despite the progressively less-interesting film sequels. Many excellent comic books have continued and expanded the story of the Cenobites, the puzzle box, and the gateway to legendary suffering. Not to mention the great book of short stories Hellbound Hearts, featuring Hellraiser tales from Mick Garris, Richard Christian Matheson, and Mike Mignola, to name a few.

Dark Watch picks up where the last series from BOOM! ended. The Road Below told the story of how Elliot Spencer has lost his power as archangel of hell and master torturer Pinhead, and passes the power on to Kirsty Cotton, survivor of the original Hellraiser film. Kirsty becomes the new leader of the Cenobites, and is called to New Orleans by a holder of the LeMarchand Device — a woman looking to end a decades-long family feud by any means necessary.

The first issue of Dark Watch picks up following these events, as the book opens with the Female Cenobite giving a lost soul a tour of hell, and bringing the readers up to speed on what they may have missed in the last series.

Some interesting developments in the story are afoot, including the addition of long-time Barker character Harry D’Amour in a pivotal role. Also in this issue, Tiffany the mute puzzle-pro from Hellbound: Hellraiser II shows up and seems to be leading a group to track down and destroy all of the puzzle boxes in the world.

This is a very good time for fans of Hellraiser and comic books, as we are finally being treated to true sequels to the beloved original source material, supervised by Clive Barker himself.
I, for one, am definitely looking forward to the rest of this series, and why the hell can’t we get some films based on this material?
Follow the links to catch up on all this new Hellraiser goodness, and thank me later.


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Crossed

Crossed is without a doubt the most depraved, stomach-churning, hopeless work of art currently circulating in the comics world. By that, of course, I mean it is the best thing ever.
Beginning with Crossed #0 on August 27, 2008, Crossed is a ground-breaking independent comic series owned by creators Garth Ennis and artist Jacen Burrows.

The story follows survivors dealing with a plague that causes its victims to carry out their most evil thoughts. Carriers of the virus are known as the Crossed due to a cross-like rash that appears on their faces. This contagion is primarily spread through bodily fluids, which the Crossed have used to great effect by treating their weapons with their fluids, as well as through other forms of direct fluidic contact such as rape and bites, assuming the victim lives long enough to turn.

The outbreak spread rapidly, apparently overwhelming the entire world. The infected run amok, killing, raping, and maiming for fun. Infected pilots crashed their aircraft into buildings whilst technicians who had also succumbed to the virus intentionally blew up nuclear power plants. Families and friends turned on one another and butchered each other with whatever weapons they could lay their hands on. Within hours, society was in a state of collapse as entire cities burned, government officials fled or became casualties along with the general public and police and military response dwindled to nothing. Outbreaks were reported in every city in every state of the US on the first day of the outbreak, rendering any attempt at quarantine pointless. Emergency bulletins on the radio from the White House urging citizens to remain indoors and avoid contact with the infected seems to do little if anything to slow the spread of the Crossed, and soon human civilization is all but gone, and mankind appears to be an endangered species.

It is the hopelessness and savage nature of the book that makes it so memorable.
Following Garth Ennis’ original run with his creation, he said, “To be honest, there was never really going to be a volume two- William [Christensen, editor-in-chief/publisher of Avatar] would ask me regularly about the possibility, but apart from one or two vague scenes I pretty soon realised I had no more Crossed stories in me. I didn’t want to force the issue, either, because I’m very pleased with Crossed and don’t want to dilute it with a sequel that I hadn’t the ideas to sustain. That said, it’s pretty obvious that what you have with Crossed is a ready-made fictional world with a good deal of potential for further development, and the Crossed themselves seem to be strong enough villains to maintain an audience.”

So, a series of excellent sequels and spin-offs have followed in the wake of the original series, starting with Family Values, which was written by David Lapham  with art by Javier Barreno.

The story continued with Crossed 3D, an experimental take on the story, available only in the innovative 3D format. The story follows SWAT veteran Lt. Hunt MacAvoy as he leads a rescue mission into the middle of Crossed-infected New York City to rescue a stranded doctor.

Crossed 3D was followed by Psycopath, which follows a group of survivors who pick up a man, Harold Lorre, who understands the way the Crossed think, and is tracking a specific group of Crossed who killed a woman he had stalked prior to the outbreak, and subsequently forced a relationship upon her as they survived and kept a fragment of her breast in a plastic bag when she was turned into a Crossed and killed. He is a psychopath and is killing members of the group as they discover his true nature, passing them off as the grisly acts of Crossed.

Psychopath is followed by “Wish You Were Here”, which began life as a weekly webcomic you can read for FREE here. The story is increasingly desolate here, following the daily life of a group of survivors trying to get buy on a remote island off the coast of Scotland. It is written in a journal style by “Shaky” (short for Shakespeare) and has an enthralling storyline, which is a great expansion to the Crossed universe.
You would think that doesn’t get much more  depraved than a maniac fucking a dolphin in the blowhole while screaming for his Mommy, but that happens on the first page of this sick and twisted work of art, and things degenerate from there…

A newer monthly series called Crossed : Badlands is out now, and focuses on a different group of survivors every few issues. If you have never checked out Crossed, do your homework!
Thank me later.
Find them for sale directly through Amazon below, and be sure and dig on the free webcomic right here.

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The Goon

Another week, another Kickstarter.
Blame it on rampant piracy or corporate greed or whatever you like to blame it on, but “crowd-funding” has become the only way for truly independent artists to get their projects made. I guess it is the wave of the future…
Well, so be it.
This week’s Kickstarter is for a film I know I would love to see. A feature-length animated adaptation of Eric Powell’s excellent comic book, The Goon, directed by none other than David Fincher!

That’s right, this is your chance to help bring everyone’s favorite zombie smasher to the big screen! For over 12 years, Eric Powell’s comic book “The Goon” has thrilled readers around the globe with its fantastic world of mobsters, zombies, killer robots, giant fish-men, and every outrageous thing in between. The time has come to bring this great comic to theaters!

If you are not familiar with the Goon comic book series, you have really been missing out!
The Goon debuted in Dreamwalker #0 (March 1998, Avatar Press) in a 4-page Preview (later reprinted as the third story in the Goon #1, which is the true first appearance of the character). Powell was unhappy with the quality of the Avatar Press comics after just 3 issues, so he stopped handing in new material and waited for his contract to expire. Once that happened, he was unable to find another publisher, so he moved into self-publishing in 2002 with Albatross Exploding Funny Books. These self-published issues caught the eye of Dark Horse Comics, which approached Powell by telling him that they didn’t know why they passed on the book, and in 2003 publication of The Goon moved to Dark Horse.

For the Kickstarter, they have included all kinds of incentives for us fans to recieve with our donations, from blog access to t-shirts, limited edition posters and original artwork to high-powered fondue parties at David Fincher’s Hollywood mansion. (that’s a joke, David lives in a top secret Dick Cheney-like subterranean lair). But they ARE offering a day at Blur Studio where’ll you’ll get a meet-and-greet with the filmmakers… along with a special screening of the finished story reel!

A teaser / short film showcasing what the film-makers and Blur Studio aspire to has been floating around youtube for the last few years. Who here doesn’t want to see this film get made?

Still not convinced?
Well, be sure and pick up a copy of the excellent trade paperbacks available here, or via the widget at the end of this post!
And be sure to stop by The Goon’s Kickstarter page and give them your two cents…




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Brian Posehn writing a new DeadPool series!

The news over at Marvel is that they have hired Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, with art by the great Tony Moore to re-boot DeadPool in a brand new monthly series. You probably know Posehn best from his great stand-up work, or maybe his hilarious gay neighbor character on the Sara Silverman Show.
Or maybe you remember him getting shot in the head in Rob Zombie‘s Devil’s Rejects…

He is a quick-witted and very funny weirdo, much like many of us here in this deranged little classroom. This is not his first attempt at comics, either.
Posehn and his collaboraters on this new project all worked together previously on the hilarious mini-series The Last Christmas a few years ago.

The character of DeadPool is in need of an overhaul, and dark comedy is just what the doctor ordered. The series will reportedly revolve around Deadpool vs.the Undead Presidents Of The United States of America!

Sounds crazy enough, and I can’t wait to see Tony Moore get back to drawing the undead. His work on the first issues and covers of the Walking Dead was amazing.

Marvel is making bold moves these days with their books and movies, and this is a great one. It is nice to see that they are so willing to take chances on creative people.
I am very much looking forward to seeing what these talented people can get away with in this series.
Issue #1 will hit your local comic shop this November.
Be sure and check it out, freaks!




Ugli Studios Presents #1

Ugli Studios Presents is a collection of two outstanding original comics from Jason Lenox and David Paul.

The first story, Through The Eyes Of Grizelda, is a gloriously violent look at a world called Xendria, a once powerful empire now destroyed. In this world, the meek have inherited a nightmare of chaos and oppression.

The story is not told from the hero’s perspective. Instead, the reader watches from the eyes of a cat, the “familiar” of the destructive necromancer who has brought this anarchy into being.

The artwork is bold and alive with color, giving the feeling of being in the midst of a great battle. The story quickly brings you into this new land, and establishes the rules of the Necromancer and the armies who have tried unsuccessfully to defeat it.

I, for one, am looking forward to seeing more tales of Xendria, and the pet-lover who rules them all…

 

The second story, The Great Vermin, is a real sci-fi sucker punch.
A team of space-men are en route to planet Ganymedes IV on a high-priority mission to exterminate the last of a dangerous species, the scourge of the universe.
The enemy turns out to be more clever and familiar than we knew, and the story ends on an awesomely bleak note.
Really great stuff!

 

Ugli Studios is made up of a talented group of individuals :

Jason Lenox is an illustrator who currently resides in State College, PA. His work has been seen in Role Playing Games (TPK Games), Comics (Gray Haven Comics & Viper Comics) and in the Movies (“Zero Charisma” release date 2013) as well as additional freelance works for a variety of clients. Jason is a graduate of The Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts (1992) and he trained under professional illustrator Elaine Renna of Lancaster, PA. Jason currently serves as an Instructor at The Central Pennsylvania Art Alliance where he teaches sequential arts when he is not at his day job, parenting, or chained to his drafting table drawing dark fantastic images. “UGLI Studios Presents” is his first full-length comic book.

Letterist and writer David Paul is the author of Naked Vitality, a nominee for several literary awards and the 2004 International Library of Poetry Silver Award Cup recipient. His works in graphic novels include the award-winning Cold Blooded Chillers by Heske Horror and he is a long time Heavy Metal Magazine contributor. David is the web comics managing editor at InvestComics.com and he writes the cartoon strip “Joseph!” with artist Gary T. Becks.

Cartographer/Illustrator Joseph Freistuhler has been making maps of fantasy places since childhood. After studying illustration at Ohio University years ago, he has recently refocused on his passion for cartography. He currently has several maps being published for the role playing game industry and last year had a map featured in an art exhibition in New York City.

The book can be purchased here, signed, for a measly $5.
Also, be sure and checkout Ugli Studios official website for news and updates.
So, support your independent comic books, and do your homework!
Grade : B+



The Walking Dead : Books vs. TV

I have been a huge follower of the Walking Dead for years now, it was in fact the graphic series that brought me back into the world of modern comics. I have the whole series bagged and boarded in my mom’s garage in Florida right now (I hope). Despite a very irregular publishing schedule in the early days, my son and I always looked forward to new comic Wednesdays, hoping for the next chapter in the story of the Walking Dead.

I was such a fan, I even read the lengthy letter column every issue, interested that the writer Robert Kirkman took the time to thoughtfully (or humorously) answer every question posed him by his fans. He gives great insight into his ideas for the story in those responses, and I always found them intriguing.

This  article will refer only to season 1 of the show, since I haven’t yet seen the 2nd season, and really wasn’t too keen on it, until I read Kimmy Karnage’s excited review of the finale here http://horrorhomework.com/blog/?p=1396.

Ok, here we go!
5 reasons the Walking Dead TV series is inferior to the Walking Dead comic books :

1. Black and White.

Right off the bat, the first mistake they made was not presenting this in black-and-white. It would have been a bold move for a modern TV series, and could have been used to great effect, as it is in the books.

The artwork in the books is amazing, particularly in the first issues, drawn by Tony Moore. The black, white and grey help to set the tone, and give the book that great classic cinematic flair.

When Tony Moore moved on to write and draw his own great series Fear Agent, Charlie Adlard took over art duties with a distinctly different style that was still used to great effect without color. Adlard has drawn all the issues since #6, to my knowledge.

Black and white would have truly helped the atmosphere and starkness of this story on the screen as well. It is, after all, a defining feature of the source material.

2. The characters are all wrong.

One of the things Robert Kirkman said over and over again in those old letters columns was that the Walking Dead story was not about zombies, but about the characters, and the different ways they choose to react to the horrific situation they find themselves in.

If you aren’t even going to bother staying true to the characters that were well-written, why bother with the adaptation in the first place? Just call it something else, and poof! You have a new story. I mean the core idea of a zombie apocalypse is not exactly original, but the selling point is your original characters and situations in this frame-work.

Robert Kirkman knew this when he was writing the original books. In fact, he said from the beginning that his goal was to write a zombie story that didn’t have to end after 2 hours,  because he found he was always curious what happened to the characters after the credits rolled on Night Of The Living Dead.

So, Rick is pretty well done, but that is only because his character starts off as the do-gooder, generic hero archetype. He goes to very dark places in the books, which I am sure we will never see on network TV.

T-Dog? Um, is that seriously supposed to be Tyreese? No fucking way. Take one of the toughest characters ever written and turn him into background noise…
I will never understand the logic here.

Merle and Darryl, what is the point? Although it is always nice to see Michael Rooker chewing on scenery, that contrived scene of him being left handcuffed on the roof-top and having to saw off his own hand = snoozeville. Boring, lazy and just a stupid side-plot that was never even resolved that I know of.

 

3. Shane.

Which brings us to Shane. His character is completely wrong.
Not only does he look much less physically imposing, he hardly acts like the complex character he is meant to be.


Add to that the way they monkeyed with his story-line to keep some love triangle drama going on to entertain the soccer moms, and they have pretty much destroyed his excellent story arc from the books.
As I understand it, they finally killed him off in the second season, but his demise would have made a much more effective first season finale, but we will get to that later.

4. Vatos.

Out of the incredibly short six episode run, one episode in particular stood out as a complete waste of time. It was (I think) the fourth episode, entitled “Vatos”.
You might remember it as the “gangsters with a heart of gold” sub-plot, where all these tough gang-banging thugs were really just threatening to kill our heroes to protect a nursing home filled with elderly people. This episode was just irrelevant and insulting, and completely unbelievable.
I was actually really angry at this silly pointless waste of an hour.

5. The 1st Season Finale.

Here is the worst crime against the story.
A complete change of the plot and actual point of the source material. The focus in the final episode becomes the search for answers to why the zombie outbreak happened.

This is something that the writer Robert Kirkman was explicitly against when he created his series. He wrote around that, and made it his mission NOT to try and explain where the zombies came from, just how his creations deal with them. This is one of the most attractive things about the story, the fact that he leaves this ambiguous.

Because somethings just ARE.
Sometimes shit just happens, and no one knows why.
That is where the comic series is most effective, because it’s focus stays on it’s characters and their immediate survival, not on the larger universe. It is a common thing in horror fiction of today to over-explain everything, and the season finale of the Walking Dead went directly against every thought that created it to begin with.

Who is responsible?

I blame the director, Frank Darabont.
He has a history of fucking with the adaptations that he has done, and some of them have been very popular. His adaptation of the Shawshank Redemption is somehow everyone’s favorite movie, same goes with his version of the Green Mile.
He is a director that has proven to be bankable and trustworthy to the suits, and I think it is possible that he thinks he knows best. And the producers are probably letting him do his own thing, since it has proven to be a great success on cable.
Oh well, at least I still have the books to entertain me…
And to all of you fans of the show, do yourself a favor and pick up the paperback or hardcover collections for a much more satisfying experience.

Walking Dead graphic novels – Grade : A

Walking Dead AMC season 1 – Grade : C


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