As this is the first Pull List of 2014, I thought it might be nice to mention a few influential people that were tragically taken from the comic book industry in 2013. You may be asking yourself, “Well what does this have to do with horror?” Quite a bit actually. Four of these dead guys started their careers during the heyday of violent detective thrillers, and of course the first terrifying horror magazines. With shockingly graphic images of heinous acts of crime, death and the supernatural, those titles paved the way for the contemporary horror comics we love today. Also take into consideration the fact many horror comics feature characters who are, for lack of a better word, dead. Every single one of these people are also dead. Now, shove some large preferably recycled object into your reeking face hole and fucking learn something for a change.
Nick Cardy, 1920-2013. During the Golden Age of Comics, Cardy worked side by side with such greats as Wil Eisner and George Tuska until 1943. He returned to comics in 1950’s after earning two purple hearts in WWII to draw for many DC Comics not in the superhero genre. Starting in 1964, he was responsible for most of the artwork in the first forty issues of “Teen Titans”, as well as a shit ton of others. He was inducted into the Wil Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2005.
Al Plastino, 1921-2013 . As a freelance artist for DC from late 1940’s through the 1960’s, earning $50 a page, he worked on many golden age titles such as Superman . Plastino along with writer, Otto Binder, co created a few characters you may not be familiar with, like Supergirl, and the Legion of Superheroes. His greatest pride was the work he did in on “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy” in collaboration with the Kennedy administration to promote the president’s national physical fitness program in 1963. After the Kennedy assassination, the project was cancelled until at the behest of Lyndon Johnson it was finally published two months later in Superman #171.
Ok, I guess you busted me. This is not even remotely Janice Valleau Winkleman. Nice picture though, right?
Janice Valleau Winkleman, 1923-2013. Winkleman was one of the first female comic book artists working as an artist and inker for Archie Comics in the late 1930’s as well as She worked on such titles as dectective story, “Toni Gayle”, “Smash Comics” and “Nyoka the Jungle Girl”. She started moving away from the comics industry after the Senate hearings in the 1950’s but continued working until the 1960’s when she gave up drawing comic books in order to focus on her growing family. Winkleman even continued over the years to paint landscapes and greeting cards for her family until her death this year.
…and he knows it.
Carmine Infantino, 1925-2013. Inducted into the Wil Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2000, Infantino designed the, now classic, revamped uniform of the Flash, red with yellow accents, which first appeared in “Showcase” #4 in October of 1956. As publisher for DC Comics from 1971-1975, Infantino collaborated with Stan Lee in the second joint venture between Marvel and DC entitled, “Superman vs the Amazing Spiderman: Battle of the Century”. Pretty fucking bad ass, right?
Kim Thompson, 1956-2013. After working in the european comic publishing industry, Thompson joined Gary Groth as a co-publisher of Fantagraphics’ Comic Book Journal which was ” an early version of what would become the industry’s preeminent publication for comics criticism. Thompson began working with TCJ helping produce the news reports, interviews, criticism and commentary that would guide and outline the growth of both mainstream comics and the independent comics publishing movement going into the 1980s.” -www.publishersweekly.com. He was also known for being one of the best translators and publishers of many european comics and graphic novels introduced to the US.
Here’s what the first week of 2014 has in store for all you horror/comic nerds:
“Getting bitten by a vampire pissed him off. Seeing his best friend brutally slaughtered started a war. Trick was a typical college student-sort of-until vampires attacked. Then he found out his blood was poison to the bloodsuckers. And Trick will do anything to eradicate them. His blood kills!A vampire tale with an unlikely hero!”
Bad Blood is a new Vampire story created by Dark Horse artist and writer, Tyler Crook. In addition to BPRD, Crook has also done some fine work for Boom!, Image and Oni Press. In Bad Blood, a terminally ill college student discovers that the chemotherapy medication in his blood is a potent toxin to
vampires. I must admit that this is a facinating premise for a vampire hunting story. For this reason alone, Bad Blood sets itself apart from typical examples of the genre. I haven’t decided whether I like Crook’s unique drawing style, but I do intend to purchase the first one or two issues of this promising book.
“After his long hunt, Baltimore finally confronts the vampire who destroyed his life in London for a final showdown!”
Mike Mignola’s Chapel of Bones is the latest chapter in the saga of Lord Baltimore quest for vengeance against the vampire known as Haigus. And while the two part series is billed as the final confrontation between Baltimore and his arch-nemeses, Mignola has more in store for the horror character as the series continues. I was not terribly impressed by last Baltimore mini-series, The Infernal Train. Of course that being my first introduction to Baltimore, I don’t know much of much of the character’s back-story. Chapel of Bones does at least seem readable and I won’t mind giving Baltimore one more chance to redeem himself.
“The maniacal warden of the prison ship Antares has pushed its comely cons to the limits of human endurance—but these bad mamas won’t take their punishment lying down! Alex de Campi and Simon Fraser dish up the riotous finale to “Prison Ship Antares” in the proud sexploitation tradition!”
To be perfectly honest, the first three issues of Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight were a huge disappointment to me. I just didn’t feel that it should have taken three whole issues to tell the story of man hating evil bee-women bent on invading a small county. Any 1950’s horror anthology comic could have done it in five or six pages with more interesting results. I suppose, all things considered , Doors Open at Midnight might still have the potential to bee a decent comic. Time will tell.
“The Occultist has abused his power over life and death, and now he will face the consequences. He must choose the right path—and decide who his real friends are—so he can confront agents from the realm of the dead that want to claim his soul!”
The Occultist is a fascinating look into what it means to be a hero. A fresh, original tale of a young college student split between two lives. Our protagonist struggles to juggle school, a social life, romance, and fighting evil in a way that is completely un-Spiderman like. Will Rob Bailey get to class on time? How will he ever choose between the blond catholic school girl and the dusky brunette? Will he finally learn that with great power comes great responsibility? Instead of this generic somniferous crap-fest, I suggest taking an old issue of Amazing Spiderman and stapling it to an equally outdated issue of Dr. Strange. I have some from a garage sale I hit last summer. See my ad on craigslist.
“From the pages of THE SANDMAN, Neil Gaiman’s dead boys get their own monthly series! As fans of storybook detectives, Edwin Paine (died 1916) and Charles Rowland (died 1990) will take on any and all mysteries – including their own untimely deaths! The dead boys head back to St. Hilarions, where bullying headmasters continue to rule the school. But when they investigate the lingering mysteries of their own deaths, they meet a young girl named Crystal whose tech skills and strange link to the undead earn her a place as a new detective.”
The dead boy detectives made their first appearance in April of 1991 in The Sandman #25. Since then the boys have been featured in two mini-series and also made an appearance in Vertigo’s 2013 one shot, The Witching Hour. Having finally scored an ongoing series of their own, I am curious to discover if the characters are strong enough to carry an entire title. A Hardy Boys / Patrick Swayze in Ghost hybrid with just a dash of Mary Poppins to get the proper English atmosphere, The Dead Boy Detectives will please any fan of the crime fighting dead children genre. What are we to expect from Vertigo’s 2014 horror comic line-up? If I have my way, we will be seeing a series featuring a zombie Encyclopedia Brown very soon.
“Witness the birth of a new species of vampire in this reprint of the debut issue of this hit series! When notorious outlaw Skinner Sweet is attacked by a member of the undead, the first American vampire is born: powered by the sun, stronger, fiercer, and meaner than anything that came before.”
The Vertigo Essentials series is a boon to both long time fans and curious new readers who may be unfamiliar with some of Vertigo’s most acclaimed fan favorites. These books offer the opportunity to become acquainted with some of Vertigo’s most revered titles including, The Sandman, 100 Bullets, V for Vendetta and more. The series is comprised of first issue reprints of many of Vertigo’s finest offerings. Long time fans will enjoy the nostalgic re-reading of classic selections from among some of Vertigo’s most highly acclaimed comics. New readers will have the chance to learn what all the fuss was really about. The best part, these classic #1 issues sell for only $1.00, a great buy for even the most frugal of comic collectors. Fans will enjoy falling in love all over again while newcomers will get to read some great titles that they might have otherwise overlooked.
“Stranded in the Deep South and severely wounded from a mystical demon’s blade, Vampirella must continue her quest to save her former lover’s soul, protect an innocent child, and not die in the process. Can Vampirella battle a bloodthirsty horde of rabid demons as her body fails her?”
In the wake of the disaster that was Vampirella’s last awful adventure, Vampirella meets the Drac Pack, Dynamite once again succeeds in bringing us another painfully underwhelming Vampi title. Southern Gothic is set smack dab in the middle of Klan country and let me be the first to let out a resounding rebel yell (if you are not sure exactly what a rebel yell sounds like, just type Dukes of Hazzard in the search box on youtube). Besides having shallow characters spewing ridiculously poor dialogue, this comic also contains a mountain of obscure references to Vampirella’s past romantic involvement with her sausage gravy chugging, Winston smoking, cow rapist of an exe. This comic leaves me with a fervent wish to see the story set even deeper south. Way way further south. Like Antarctica south.
“The zombie classic returns in an all new series from the same creative team that brought you the acclaimed War of the Dead. The lepers have been slaughtered, the people who escaped the breeder pits head for the safety of New Washington, and now the zombies are under the control of Donna, the half-human/half-zombie hybrid. With King Zombie dead, she leads the zombies. Or does she?”
Deadworld: Restoration is the latest title in the long running Deadworld series which includes two volumes, nine limited series, no less than nine one shot issues as well as some original graphic novels spanning from it’s first publication in 1987, to present. Yes Deadworld has been around way longer that other trendy zombie comic with the word “dead” in the title. Finding the task of catching up on twenty six years worth of back issues somewhat daunting for my taste, instead I undertook the less intimidating chore of reading issue number one of Restoration. Having limited knowledge of what came before, my first impression of this comic was a very good one. The sometimes disorienting, but very stylish artwork in addition to the (so far) competent story telling make Restoration a book I will not hesitate to buy next month.
“In “The Teacher and the Preacher,” Tom and Tilly, under employ of the FBI, seek out a kidnapped girl in a creepy old mansion – and her mysterious piano teacher, a longtime practitioner of the dark arts with a scheme up his sleeve that even Tom doesn’t see coming.”
Going only as far back as issues 31 and 32 was enough for me to be fairly certain of how I feel about this paranormal thriller from Top Cow. Artifacts seems to be a perfectly readable little comic along the lines of television’s Supernatural and Warehouse 13. What has really impressed me, is the fact that #33 is done by first time writing/illustrating team of Italian artist ROM and American writer Kenneth Porter. Both men are previously unpublished and were selected out of over 1100 applicants in Top Cow’s 2012 Talent Hunt. From the haunting, beautifally painted artwork and what little dialogue avilable from the CBR preview, one can see that both were well chosen. As for the title itself, I still need to a little more horror homework to determine if the rest of the series satisfies DeathClown’s requirements for excellence. -sigh- A clown’s work is never done.
” In “Hell Is Waiting,” Sinful Suzi learns a lesson about the wages of sin. And in “Burning Roses,” Obsidian Stone loses an old friend and welcomes a new demon.”
Sinful Suzi is a character from the erotic horror series featuring the lingerie clad goddess of birth and rebirth, Dawn. Suzy now has her own story in Image Comics’ one shot, Sin boldly. Not a big fan of shirts or pants,for that matter, her eye-popping supernatural endowments are intimidating enough to send Vampirella scrambling to call Kim Kardashian’s personal trainer and to make frantic appointments with the plastic surgeon for botox injectionsAsidefrom the dirty, dirty drawings, Image’s preview of Sin-Boldly gives little indication as to whether or not the book is good enough to merit anything more than just looking at the nice pictures. Hm, intriguing…
One final note, I look forward to the next year of new horror titles and dream of the coming months when we can expect even more chilling, terrifying, and disgustingly grisly macabre comic book offerings. Hope you enjoy reading this week’s comics and remember, be sure to rot your brain as much as possible by binge watching reruns of Hannibal and reading as much morally bankrupt, IQ reducing, completely tasteless, comic book trash as you can fit in that wee little skull of yours.
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, we drank too much eggnog and puked it all out. The toilet was covered in blood and some hair, passed out in the bathtub, a midget was there. His green tights were missing exposing his junk, when Santa burst in for a Christmas spelunk. Left in my stocking, protected from vomit, I sat on my ass while I read horror comics. Now here are some great ones, these comics are many, read them you may so plop down your fat fanny.
“It’s the holiday season, time to deck the halls…with shotgun racks, ’cause boughs of holly ain’t gonna keep the zombies at bay! Antarctic Press spins more stories of spooks shambling through the snow, rotting in a winter wonderland! “
This zombie anthology looks like a fun way to get into the Crypt-ness spirit.
“Horror master, DAVID HINE has taken us into the broken mind of an abused girl and spun out her revenge fantasies across the page. But are you ready for bloody misery that comes with the Crossed infection spreading across Japan? No one is safe from the horror and misery of the Crossed, no one.”
Crossed is a comic with great story-arcs and the sickest, sacrilegious, and wildly inappropriate imagery of any horror book out there. If you think C-day in Japan was bad, wait ’til you see what went on at the Vatican.
“Zombies have been at best a nuisance to the vampire race for thousands of years but never a real threat. Their clumsy foothold over humans has always been beaten back. But this time the tide of shambling dead have turned the corner and are rapidly depleting the ranks of the living. Even with their superior abilities and ferocity, can the vampire race find a way to stop the decimation?”
So we all know that “World War Z” was an awful movie, but Max Brooks redeems himself with Extinction Parade. Throw in Crossed artist, Raulo Caceres’ fine work and you have the recipe for an excellent vampire/zombie comic. This book is a fantastic read with an original story.
“As the war between Hells rages, the three people to hold the title of Lead Cenobite Elliott Spencer, Kirsty Cotton, and Harry D’Amour, each attempt to end the conflict in their favor.”
Hell is supposed to be bad, right? Then how does Clive Barker make it look so awesome. The Dark Watch continues to be a tense, masterfully told thriller with a great plot and decent artwork. This is a great addition to any Hellraiser fanatic’s collection. Just open the box.
“Tristan and Eslpeth know where they need to go, but no way of getting there… Meanwhile, Julian is forced to make a very public display of loyalty to Wick, as their flock meets resistance from an unexpected source. “
Halfway through this twelve issue series and this book just keeps getting better. As usual Clive Barker pens an exemplary tale questioning the deities we worship and the origins of religion. Good stuff.
“Liz Sherman brings a fiery assault to the mad doctor’s hospital and his army of mutant monsters, while the B.P.R.D. plans a sneak attack on Manhattan-now under the Black Flame’s control.”
DeathClown is not a big fan of BPRD, but this current story arc has managed to hold my attention. Another plus is that Mike Mignola has not been drawing it. From me, this Hellboy spin-off has earned an emphatic “meh”.
“ Self-proclaimed supernatural expert Jason Hemlock has revealed himself to be more dangerous than even occult detective Cal McDonald suspected. And now Cal, Mo’Lock, and Frankenstein’s monster must escape a supernatural cage fight that will leave Cal changed forever.”
The conclusion of this four issue mini-series, The Eyes of Frankenstein is another great addition to Steve Niles’ Cal MacDonald Mysteries. I recommend reading the series in it’s entirety.
“Lilith’s been keeping a secret, and she’s not the only one. When the truth comes to light, will Vampirella give her mother the benefit of the doubt…especially if Lilith’s secret concerns some of Vampi’s most sinister enemies”
Dynamite’s revamp of classic horror title Vampirella is about as dull as they come. The lackluster illustration does nothing to improve the tedious experience of reading this flaccid comic. Santa can expect a swift kick in the ‘nads if I find this in my stocking.
” Why has a wounded angel been chained and imprisoned on the outskirts of hell for a hundred thousand years? And why should Joe Fitzgerald care enough to help her, since it’ll just slow him down in his search for Laura? Knowing that his actions could result in his permanent death, and with a civil war breaking out in heaven, Joe must make a fateful decision that will endanger not only his soul, but the soul of the woman he loves more than life itself. “
The absence of artist Ben Templesmith has been keenly felt over the last two issues of Ten Grand. The writing continues to be excellent so I won’t count this unique horror comic out just yet. I will still have a ways to go before I feel completely comfortable with replacement artist C.P. Smith but the gripping story does much to soothe my ruffled clown feathers. I will continue to follow this twelve issue series for the time being.
“El mundo que conocíamos se ha ido. El mundo del comercio y la necesidad frívolo ha sido reemplazado por un mundo de supervivencia y responsabilidad. Una epidemia de proporciones apocalípticas ha barrido el mundo, causando la muerte a subir y se alimentan de los vivos. En cuestión de meses la sociedad se ha desmoronado: ningún gobierno, no hay tiendas de comestibles, no hay entrega de correo, no hay televisión por cable. En un mundo gobernado por los muertos, los sobrevivientes se ven obligados a empezar a vivir por fin. Reimpresión edición!”
El mejor libro de historietas jamás creado zombie ya está disponible para todos nuestros amigos hispanos. Zombies mexicanos de mierda, impresionante!
There now we are finished, good bye and farewell, If you’re Jewish, Buddhist, or Muslim, I will see you in Hell. So gather ’round DeathClown, and listen, take heed, these creepy horror comics I suggest that you read.
Tomorrow we mark the beginning of the end for the thousands of hapless indigenous peoples of North America. After you glut yourselves on thirty pounds of roasted stuffed bird and green bean casserole, wouldn’t it be nice to have some deliciously devilish rotten reading material to pass the time as all your drunken relatives gather round the idiot box for the traditional post gorging football game? Don’t be a fucktard. Go out and buy some of these baddies before the shops close. Make sure Granny isn’t reading over your shoulder (unless she is dead ) and enjoy your tryptophan coma.
“Emiko is a broken girl. Her art expresses the horror and violence she holds close to her with gore filled imagery of sexual revenge. Men who take innocence face the slashing and bloody vengeance they deserve in the pages of ‘Gore Angels.’ But when the Crossed begin to spread, the world itself is transformed into a mockery of her art. And among the gleeful monsters, there are precious few places to hide from the misery of the Crossed.”
I must say, I have absolutely been loving Crossed‘s latest story arc. I find it very interesting to see how C-Day went on the global scale. As usual, this unapologetic gore fest is brilliantly written and deftly illustrated. Regular readers and those new to the series will not be disappointed as this latest issue delves into society’s current misogynistic ills. Also of course necrophilia, torture porn, and the graphically portrayed dismemberments of nekkid female college students.
“The final issue of the first Ferals series will leave you speechless! ‘It Begins’ is the title of this issue and that is an indicator of the bloody consequences of the military invasion of the Feral town. Now, Dale Chesnutt must face an entire facility of newly turned Ferals if he wants to have any hope of stopping the escalation of violence. The stakes could not be higher and drastic measures have to be taken!”
I have always been a fan of werewolf fiction. In fact, it was the only reason I allowed myself to be subjected to the pre-teen celluloid monstrosity referred to as Twilight. Unfortunately, I found little to arouse my interest in the lycanthropic drama, Ferals. The few issues that I read seemed more akin to Days of Our Lives or True Blood than any kind of decent monster story. David Lapham’s writing is definitely sub-par compared to the brilliant work he did on Crossed. Gabriel Andrade’s dull artwork is rather unimpressive as well and lacks the major component of any great werewolf story, badass looking werewolves. Lackluster transformations and generic B movie wolves make this book a bitterly disappointing read for a true werewolf fan. My advice, skip Ferals and watch Teen Wolf on Netflix.
“Series Finale. ‘4 Stories of the Apocalypse’ concludes with an alternate reality tale -- what if the Wrecking Crew turned zombie at SDCC, and the scrappy creators of a comic book series called FANBOYS VS ZOMBIES were the only humans left alive to stop them?”
I must admit that since I began covering Fanboys vs Zombies this silly comic has grown on me. There seems to have been a shortage of good zombie satire as of late. Looking past the ridiculous title, this is actually a most amusing book. Poking fun at comic fans and the zombie craze that has taken over the comic industry, Fanboys vs Zombies is a solid comic with some excellent dry humour thrown in. This horror/comedy is a refreshing break from the zombie melodramas that have become distressingly mainstream.
“‘The Dark Spiral,’ Part 9: ‘The Wounded.’ The conclusion of the Dark Spiral storyline. Tarot’s family members are burned beyound recognition and hangs by a thread to life. Tormented by the suffering her magick has caused, Tarot tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered life as the Skeleton Man confronts Lord Thornwic for betraying them.”
I cannot in all honesty provide an apt assessment of dialog, character development or plot line of Tarot Witch. What I can tell you is that this softly shaded and beautifully rendered comic book contains more titties than a late night Cinemax feature. Set in a universe where apparently, the laws of gravity differ drastically different from our own, this witchly wonder takes place in the decrepit castles and spooky swamps one would expect to find in such a tale. I am fairly certain the story involves some bad guys or some such perpetrating evil whom the gloriously endowed heroines must thwart in order to save the world or something. I think. That is all I managed to glean from the three or ten back issues I read.
Criminal Macabre: The Eyes of Frankenstein #3
“While Cal and Frankenstein go shopping for human eyes, a strange stage magician reveals why the ghoul population is dying out.”.
The latest chapter in the Cal MacDonald epic deserves a place of honor among it’s predecessors. Criminal Macabre has long been a DeathClown favorite. While I prefer the art of Ben Templesmith, Christopher Mitten does well enough. As usual, Steve Niles expertly blends the supernatural with elements of gumshoe noir. For those new to Criminal Macabre, I would recommend picking up some of the Cal MacDonald trade paperbacks. This a great story and well worth the cost.
“The grand bleepin’ finale! A mysterious comet, a crash-landed stranded alien, a female military detective hot on the apocalypse trail, and ALL the DEAD SOLDIERS of the world coming back to life to destroy the world one bite at a time — what more could you ask for?!”
Stop yourself before wasting any cash on this soggy waste of paper. You will find nothing original or interesting here. Kevin Eastman should be ashamed to have his prestigious name associated in any way with this piece of generic garbage. Zombie War is a perfect example of an artist way past his prime trying too hard to come up with new material.
Eastman needs to abandon his zombie pursuits and stick to drawing talking turtles and Heavy Metal covers.
Black Science #1
“Grant McKay, former member of The Anarchistic Order of Scientists, has finally done the impossible: he has deciphered Black Science and punched through the barriers of reality. But what lay beyond the veil was not epiphany but chaos. Now Grant and his team are lost, living ghosts shipwrecked on an infinite ocean of alien worlds, barreling through the long-forgotten, ancient, and unimaginable dark realms. The only way is forward. The only question is how far are they willing to go, and how much can they endure, to get home again?”
“The Old West is steeped in violence and strange magic in this macabre tale from the team behind the cult-hit miniseries Osborn, KELLY SUE DECONNICK (Captain Marvel) and EMMA RÍOS (Dr. Strange). Gunfighters have it out with swords as the whole world burns. There will be blood, blood, blood.”
Westerns are another guilty pleasure of mine. Rugged gun wielding anti-heroes drifting from town to dusty town seeking the unknown, very romantic. Pretty Deadly is a little too new to be described as a “cult-hit” but the series does show promise. As you might expect from a comic drawn and written by a couple of girls, the protagonists are predominantly female and include a super bad-ass cold blooded killer, Clint Eastwood with lady parts character. The jury is still out on this one folks. Time will tell.
“‘ALL OUT WAR’ continues! In the aftermath of the battle of Sanctuary, Ezekiel must survive on his own.”
As usual the exemplary zombie story, The Walking Dead lives up to it’s reputation for excellence. This is another title worth reading from the very first issue and working your way up. No mere comic book, The Walking Dead reads like a masterful work of horror fiction. Robert Kirkman creates compelling characters intricately woven into an impressively written plot. Reading 117 back issues may seem at first like a daunting task, but if you are anything like me, once you start you will find it difficult to put down. See for yourself.
You may have noticed a few omissions from this week’s Pull List. What I have provided here are looks at some of the bests and worsts of today’s line up. Deal with it. Once again, have a nice time carving up that carcass. Save the neck for me, Clark. And for the pathetic losers who will be spending the day all alone, I hear Swanson makes a mean frozen turkey dinner.
“Manson is in flames as a blinding snowstorm freezes the little town like a corpse. Rachel’s only chance of saving her hometown is to reclaim the box she buried 300 years ago – and now lies buried under a paved city street! The story of Lilith’s revenge heats up in the latest issue of Terry Moore’s horror thriller!”
Rachel Rising is a black and white horror comic that I read quite frequently. Written and drawn by artist Terry Moore, this book has a dark and compelling story. Rachel Rising is a phenomenal book that appeals to fans on many levels.
“The Witches’s Sabbath went awfully wrong. Now one of the demon-worshippers is dead, and Jack knows the truth about his beautiful-yet-deadly neighbors. With their spells failing, the witches have no choice but to ask the Oracle, their former friend that became mad due to Baphomet’s revelations.”
Imagine if you will, a quiet suburban neighborhood. The perfectly manicured lawns with tastefully decorated porches, book clubs, potluck dinners and homemade pie. These desperate housewives hold a dark secret. You guessed it, they worship Satan. I find myself enjoying the plot of this occult book. The excellent artwork and melancholy backgrounds set the shadowy tone of this frightening comic. The Westwood Witches is a phenomenal reading experience for fans of witchcraft and Lucifer alike.
“The horror continues as a zombified Jughead goes on a relentless hunt for brains. When he performs a despicable and frightening act in front of everyone at the Halloween dance, tensions start to rise and fears begin to mount-who will be next to join Jughead in the Afterlife? And what about those who are already infected?”
I wanted so badly to like Afterlife with Archie. The idea of the Riverdale gang being set upon by the rotting corpses of Jughead and Mrs.Grundy sounds terrific, doesn’t it? Unfortunately in addition to a virulent zombie plague, this comic is also afflicted with soul crushing boredom. I had a feeling Archie Comics would not be able pull this off. Afterlife with Archie is a phenomenal failure.
“The end is here as DAVID HINE tells the final bloody chapter in the Night of the Living Dead: Aftermath story. The excessive 1970s have given way to the dawn of the undead. Zombies have overrun the defenses that held them in check and turned major American cities into shambling ghoul towns. We started our journey with the Las Vegas survivors and our tale of misery ends with them. “
Another zombie comic, not much different from the rest. There is one aspect in which Aftermath excels. David Hine writes a mean script with decidedly likeable characters. The story keeps you interested and the artwork captures your attention. Aftermath is a phenomenal addition to the vast zombie genre.
“The once-undisputed Yakuza rulers of Tokyo’s Harajuku District find themselves the victims of unexplainable ambushes. They are being killed and transformed into a stealth strike force of undead, bloodthirsty Stitched! In league with the shadowy ‘Nameless One’ who has brought the supernatural magic of the Stitched from the Middle East, businessman Kenji Nakamura’s dream of revenge on the villainous Shinju-kai is about to be realized.”
Unlike the average revenant the stitched are not easily thwarted. Even headshots are ineffective against these frightening walking dead. Stitched is a grisly look into the dark world of necromancy with stunning artwork and a phenomenally written story.
“Elliot Spencer’s last run-in with Leviathan didn’t go as planned, but the lord of the Labyrinth has no idea what his former protege has in store for him…”
Even Hell is subjected to the manipulative bailiwick of politics. After all, everybody knows where politicians go when they die, right? The Dark Watch is another flawless addition to Clive Barker’s Hellraiser universe. This battle for the control of Hell is a well written, and expertly drawn story. The Dark Watch should be on every Barker fan’s pull list. I should also mention, as horror comics go, that this book is just a phenomenal read.
“As Liz and a police squad ambush the mad doctor and his Moreau-like experiments, Fenix takes on a group of cultists and by killing their god!”
BPRD has never been a favorite title of mine, but the book is fairly readable. This comic has been around for some time since it first appeared in 2001 as a teaser in Dark Horse Adventures. And while BPRD is, in my opinion, is not as good as spin-off series Abe Sapien, I can not call it awful. This action/horror comic is phenomenally mediocre.
“Sure that an ancient tome, the Occido Lumen, holds the secret to defeating the Master, Fet and Setrakian head to the auction house for a different kind of battle. Meanwhile, Eph, sure of a conspiracy surrounding the vampire epidemic, mounts a secret mission to assassinate the wealthy and ailing Eldritch Palmer!”
DeathClown’s second favorite vampire comic returns. The Strain is a well spun yarn centered around CDC scientist Ephraim Goodweather and the elderly VanHelsingish character, Professor Abraham Setrakian. The vampires in this gruesome tale are true inhuman monsters, mindless servants of the Master. I love the way these creatures are portrayed, definitely no sparkles here. The Strain is very much worth the trouble of digging through those dusty back issue boxes to get the full story. A phenomenally written horror comic.
“There have been hints that Lee Archer’s struggle at the bottom of the ocean will have much, much bigger ramifications. A flooded future . . . an impact on evolution . . . and more. Now, we finally find out. If you think you know what THE WAKE is about, this issue changes everything.”
As much as I dislike most DC titles, I have to admit that TheWake is an excellent book. The writing is as sharp as the finely detailed illustration. Nothing can be more terrifying to a claustrophobic clown than being trapped deep under a mile of crushing ocean. Adding to that, a school of malevolent aquatic apes creates a tense horror comic. Simply put, The Wake is a phenomenally chilling story.
“It’s been 72 days since Zoey killed someone. With her recent move to college, Zoey is eager to start a fresh chapter of her life – one where she can control her dark urges they way she has before. But when she becomes the host of a late night campus radio show, Zoey must consider if she has given a voice to something far more troubled than her anonymous callers.”
A Voice in the Dark is one book I will love to get my hands on today. A sorority serial killer and college radio host sounds phenomenally interesting. I hope this comic measures up to DeathClown’s stringent standards.
Well my freaky stylies, that is all for now. I must mention that this week’s phenomenal Pull List is dedicated to my phenomenal friend and mentor, the phenomenal Darth Biscuits. Go out, buy some comics, and have a phenomenal week. In closing, today’s secret word is phenomenal. When you hear the secret word, scream real loud.
Halfway to Halloween and the flood of horror comic goodness shows no signs of stopping. Sharpen those fangs my despicable droolers, and light another candle in the sepulcher for we are about to feed on the rich blood of New Comic Book Day.
“As Liz flees the monster-filled hospital, her conscience kicks in and she thinks of everyone she left behind at the mercy of the mad doctor. She has to return to save them, but what can she do when she remains powerless? Can she find the fire again?”
I can’t say I am entirely satisfied with this somewhat pale horror series written by Mike Mignolia. Being fairly new to Hell on Earth, I haven’t found much to hold my continuing interest. This comic seems to have been written only for the benefit of long time readers, containing so many references to past events that it isn’t newb friendly in the least. Tyler Crook’s tedious illustrations appear unrefined and contain little of the fine detail present in other Hellboy spin-offs such as Abe Sapien and Lobster Johnson. The well drawn covers by Rafael Albuquerque are very stylish and look great. It is unfortunate his work is not featured between the covers as well. I would love to tell you that I enjoyed this tiresome book, but the Clown refuses to lie. In my opinion, this is not Mignola’s best work.
This week in light of the cyclopian nature of Wednesday’s Pull List, I have decided to keep this brief. The massive deluge of horror comics being released this week in honor of the spookiest month of the year presents a challenge of ponderous proportions. Fear not, rancid readers. DeathClown is more than equal to this herculean task. We have a whopping twenty three titles to review this week, making this the most colossal compendium of comic critiques to date! Let us begin…
“Featuring the ZvC debut of indie star creator Ray Friesen (Pirate Penguin vs. Ninja Chicken) and a new Becky & Bob adventure! Also, a new installment of Rich Koslowski’s Death Valley High. Includes the second of the three Z-V-C puzzle variant covers!”
The third issue of this sophomoric disappointment turned out to be just as awful as the first two. Zombies vs Cheerleader’s is an anthology comprised of four different zombie shorts. I am still reeling from the traumatic ordeal I was subjected to at the hands of this book. You might assume that out of four completely different stories at least one would be a little bit readable. Not in the case of this puerile publication. The artists seem to all have drawn for Hanna Barbara at some point in their careers, having little in the way of technique and even less in the way of talent. Suffice it to say I was unimpressed if not down right offended by this suck-fest. The writers were equally incompetent, creating stories so bad as to leave the reader completely devoid of interest. I can not command any of my readers to not buy this exceedingly dreadful comic book, but I can urge you to use caution before wasting any hard earned coinage on this terrible read.
“Rachel and Jet must face off against Mary Scott and Hannah the snake lady if they intend to save the town of Manson, and witchcraft is the weapon of choice. Is Rachel ready for such a dangerous test of her long-forgotten powers? Find out in the latest issue of Terry Moore’s horror thriller!”
Terry Moore has self published three of his own original titles beginning in 1993 with Strangers in Paradise. Since then he has worked on a slew of projects for a myriad of publishers including Marvel Comic’s Spider-man Loves Mary Jane from 2008-2009. His current book, Rachel Rising, is I believe, among his best. Rachel Rising revolves around central character Rachel (of course) who after regaining conciseness buried in a remote shallow grave, discovers that she cannot die. Rachel engages silliness Lilith who possesses an enduring animosity towards the entire human race. Lilith, still pissed after all these years about Adam dumping her in favor of the more tractable Eve, has vowed to destroy all mankind. Rachel must stop her by any means necessary in this provocative supernatural fiction. Terry Moore excels in both his story telling and illustration styles. The artwork in this black and white comic is executed in simple but refreshingly unique fashion. This is a very well crafted horror comic and makes for a compelling read.
“A horrific accident sets off a series of grim events and Sabrina the Teenage Witch must try to repair the unspeakable evil her spell has unleashed. Gasp in horror as Riverdale faces an impending zombie Arch-pocalypse in this brand-new, spine-tingling ongoing series-but be warned, kiddies, this one’s not for the faint of heart!”
Archie Comics plunges boldly into the zombie horror genre. Although I am not well versed in the wacky adventures of Archie, Jughead and the rest of the gang, I find myself with the overwhelming urge to watch Betty and Veronica be horribly dismembered and eaten alive by a decomposing, mindlessly hungry undead Archie. Italian artist Francesco Francavilla creator of The Black Beetle and Dynamite’s Zorro series lends his formidable talents to the project. Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa co-author of the screen adaptation of the 2013 reboot of Stephen King’s Carrie completes the team. Afterlife with Archie is said to be unlike any other title ever released by Archie Comic Publications. I am expecting to be blown away tomorrow when I purchase this much anticipated comic. I pray I will not be disappointed.
Now he and Frank are prisoners of a crazy priest and are living bait for the Crossed. But these men on a mission don’t die easy and the story ain’t over until the beatnik and the biker get their revenge.”
Scarcely a week after the gripping 37th issue we are promptly treated to another blood soaked installment of Crossed Badlands! One of the greatest things about this book has to be the nearly instant gratification that comes with not having to wait a full month between each gore dripping
issue. This comic has so many of the qualities we admire in homo sapiens. We have the complete sociapathic lack of empathy coupled with an endearing adoration of any type of depraved sexual perversion imaginable. The aphoristic nature of each story arc makes Crossed the perfect comic for readers new to the series. Simon Spurrier continues to delight horror fans with his ever more demented dissertation reaching new heights of lunacy with each issue . Raphael Ortiz, a seasoned Avatar veteran, keeps pace with his equally disturbing illustrations. I would have to recommend this graphic gore-fest to any fan of death and destruction. I read this every night to my little clowns before bed. They sleep like dead babies.
“Werewolves clash with snarling ferocity but Randi Wade is on the cusp of uncovering a trail of murders that ends with her father’s death years ago. A chess game is being played with humans as the pieces and life and death the stakes. She must navigate the mysterious machinations before she becomes the latest victim of brutal murder.”
Being asked to provide my own assessment of this lycanthropic horror comic book, I would say that SkinTrade is first and foremost a fascinating murder mystery. As you read can sense an almost palpable air of trepidation the tension rises. Authored by George R.R. Martin, well known for his work on the much lauded 1980’s television show Beauty and the Beast starring the divinely gifted Ron Perlman, Skin Trade is written in a class all it’s own. It gets even better. The victims of these brutal murders are found flayed alive, skins completely missing. They also incidentally all happen to be werewolves. A beautiful female gumshoe and a rugged homicide detective join forces to solve these gruesome murders in a race against time. Will they be able to catch the diabolically brutal killer before he strikes again? Now the artwork in this book though acceptably competent is less than spectacular but the story is so skillfully written, that it could be drawn by a six year old with a dull purple crayon and still be more than readable. Skin Trade is one werewolf story that has earned the much coveted DeathClown seal of approval.
Night of the 80’s Undead #2
“Having broken into the biggest Hollywood party of 1986, our gang of Sixteen Candles-style teens must now survive what’s become a Commie-Coke-Zombie-Bash of epic proportions! Can they team up with action stars to do battle with the undead icons? Are there enough automatic weapons at their disposal?!”
As I prepared myself to read issue #2 of Action Lab’s most recent zombie horror title, I was not quite sure what to expect. After the monumental disappointment I endured at the hands of Dynamite and their poorly scripted horror/humor(?)
title The Mocking Dead, I was not thrilled at the idea of reliving the experience of yet another so called zombie “laugh riot”. As I began to tentatively turn pages, my expression of suspicious caution slowly transformed itself into a slight up curling of the lips . As I continued to on the next page, my smile became a wide grin which was followed by a quiet chuckle. by the time I was half way through this amusing story my exuberant chortling had increased to such a volume that I began to draw irritated glances from the humorless Mrs.DeathClown. I have to admit, I underestimated the hilarity of this infectiously droll comic. Writer Bill McKay who in the past, has done work for Image, Avatar, and Zenoscope Entertainment has crafted a wickedly funny original piece of graphic fiction. Let us not forget Jason Martin who is famous for his beautiful cover art for both Marvel and DC as well as others. Martin’s fluid style is pleasing to the eye forgoing the sharp angles and severe line work of other artists in favor of smooth curves and softly rounded shapes. Although his character depictions are slightly cartoonish, they are not offensively so, working very well with the tone of the book. Having an unusually jaded and dry sense of humor for a clown, there are few comic books of this type that can tickle my grouchy funnybone in such fashion. After finishing the hilarious #2, I immediately raced to my computer to download issue #1. Reading Night of the 80’s Undead will induce convulsions of uncontrollable laughter in even the grumpiest of comic fans. Plus, the zombies are like grody to the max. Oh, and as a bonus, each issue contains a link to a special Spotify playlist meant for listening to as you read. This is a totally tubular soundtrack featuring some of the greatest classic 80’s tracks ever recorded.
“Abe uncovers connections between the hell on earth he and the B.P.R.D. are experiencing, and blood-soaked Mayan legends of the origins of man and the end of the world.”
As my regular readers should have discovered by now, there is nothing I appreciate more than a comic that provides an original, uniquely styled visual encounter. Abe Sapien’s Max Fiumara delivers this in abundance. As an avid comic book reader, I despise the homogeneous Marvel Way* style of illustration so prevalent among many super hero titles. Fiumara satisfies all of my reading requirements in this regard. Abe Sapien #6 sets in motion a new story arc succeeding the former, A New Age of Man. As this gripping story of Abe’s quest for self realization continues, more and more of his complex character is revealed. Mike Mignolia and John Arcudi have spun a splendidly crafted yarn. Although originally a spin-off of Mignolia’s Hellboy, Abe Sapienhas become a prodigious title in it’s own right and is a rewarding comic book reading experience even for those who are not devotees of Hellboy or BPRD.
“Alan Ostman, a middle-aged husband/father, sees his life quickly unravel when his daughter goes missing on a camping trip in the Pacific Northwest…Bigfoot country. After Gray aliens abduct him from a roadside bar, he learns that the fate of the world is dependent on trapping the world’s most legendary cryptids…not to mention defeating a psychopath in a pig-shaped leather bondage mask, Alan knows he has his work cut out for him.”
Emphatically endorsed by the legendary Stan Lee, Cryptozoic Manis the brainchild of Walter Flanaghan and Bryan Johnson, stars of AMC’s hit comic geek reality series, Comic Book Men. This four issue mini-series from Dynamite is discussed on more than one episode of the show plugging the comic frequently and shamelessly. The prevailing sentiment in the discussion I followed on CBR’s comic book forum was one of general approval and anticipation of the release of this book. One pessimistic voice of reason rang out in the midst of the vacuous gibbering of this mindless mob of caterwauling fan boys. His views were very similar to my own, asserting his disgust and disappointment in what from the previews, appeared to be over hyped commercial comic book garbage. Until I actually read Crytozoic Man, whether both of us are accurate in our negative appraisals of this newly published series will remain a mystery.
“The Ghostbusters have their hands full in this issue! Kylie, Peter, and Ray have boarded the John Milton to meet its restless captain — the stubborn spirit of a teenager who was lost at sea in the ship’s original sinking!”
Fans of the 1980’s Ghostbusters movies will be extremely disappointing in this snot rag of a comic book. Starring all of our familiar much loved characters, where Ghostbusters tragically fails is in the inadequate writing. For a professional comic book author, Erick Bunham has generated some especially poorly
scripted dialog containing little, if any of the witty banter we have come to expect from the sarcastic Dr. Venkman. Collaborating on this visually unimpressive project are artists Claire Hummel and Erick Burnham who provide little in the way originality and even less in style. This book has virtually nothing to offer the discriminating horror buff who may like me, may even find this comic a little offensive. I suppose a rabid Ghostbusters enthusiast would feel the need to own these books in the name of a totally complete collection. My advice to anyone else would be to wait for the Ghostbusters 3 movie which is rumored to begin production in late 2013.
“The Martian mayhem continues in Mega-City One! It’s all-out gang war as the Martians help muscle in on as much territory as possible. Meanwhile, Dredd brings in one of the Mafia dons for interrogation, and what Judge Anderson discovers sends chills down her spine. And what’s inside the mysterious sphere found in the Mafia nightclub?”
Martians and Mega-City 1. What other two science fiction leviathans could meld together in such fashion to produce such a fine comic book? Mars Attacks Judge Dredd is a crime story by 2000 AD writer, Al Ewing. With Martians. Ewing creates a perfectly scripted sci-fi masterpiece starring fan favorite, Judge Dredd. And Martians. Mars Attacks artist John McCrea adds his own drawing expertise, showing off his deviously depicted villains and his gallantly penciled heroes. And Martians. With these two at the helm, a comic book like this can hardly hope to fail. Even though this is not strictly speaking, a horror comic, I still feel justified in recommending this fun book to anyone as it is pure comic book magic. Did I mention it has Martians?
“Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A recovering alcoholic, an 8″ tall Jesus, a mummified cat and Satan walk into a bar . . . No? Then check out the final issue of this exceptionally unorthodox series and see how the punchline might not be what you’d expect.”
Created, written, and illustrated, by Ted McKeever, Miniature Jesus is a masterpiece of graphic literature. The story revolves around Chomski, a recovering alcoholic. Beset by a tiny malignantly sarcastic demon, Chomski is encouraged to give up his hard earned sobriety and return once more to the bottle. His only salvation appears in the form of an enigmatic eight inch statue of Jesus Christ. This disturbingly delphian story is expertly drafted but can often leave the reader feeling a little perplexed. Where MiniatureJesus most excels is in McKeever’s stunningly detailed delineation. His stunning use of light and shadow approaches genius in it’s complexity. I find myself quite impressed with this profound and uniquely well executed comic book. As another DeathClown approved horror comic, I would encourage any reader to put Miniature Jesus at the top of his/her shopping list for Wednesday.
“Regan and Donovan’s encounter with the deadly demon in their search for the Book of All Futures reveals a shocking insight from Donovan’s past. Meanwhile, Jack and Ken continue to quell the surging cryptid activity across the Midwest.”
Hoax Hunters is about a team of specialists who track various cryptids who are basically legendary creatures of inhuman persuasion. In the guise of filming a ghost hunter type reality show, the team comprised of one black guy, a girl with demonically endowed powers, a zombie rocket scientist, and finally an antique space suit possessed by the spirit of a dead astronaut and filled with crows, is tasked with discrediting rumors of these monsters’ existence in order to protect the fragile minds of the common folk. So far this sounds like an awesome idea for a comic book. As hard as I tried, I just could not get into this unremarkable book. Issue ten marked the beginning of a new story arc that is at least decently drawn by artist T-Rex. As long as Hoax Hunters continues be illustrated by this superbly proficient calciminer, I shall continue to find this comic readable. As for the tedious talent of Michael Moreci, his prosaic penmanship can be aptly described in one word. Meh.
“Dexter Morgan isn’t just Miami’s #1 forensic blood splatter expert, he’s also a serial killer who targets other serial killers! Has Dexter met his match and did he help create him? The bodies are piling up-and Dexter might be next!”
Marvel Comic’s Dexter is an indescribably awful mini-series running for a gut wrenching five issues. I have resolved to endure all five no matter the risk to soul and sanity. So far the plot has been so predictable that by now an eight year old afflicted with Down’s Syndrome could probably tell you the ending. This is possibly the worst comic I have ever had the misfortune of reading. An aggravating affront to the memory of the freshly deceased Showtime series, I was shocked to learn that Jeff Lindsey author of the original Dexter novels is also responsible for writing this terrible comic book adaptation! I find it so sad when a talented artist publicly succumbs to the ravages of heavy crack addiction. Speaking of artists, Dalibor Talajic’s unoriginal work is one reason for my contempt of the bloated mainstream crap factory that the greed riddled Marvel Comics has become in its latter years. But the end is sight. The light at the end of the tunnel is becoming faintly visible as we reach the second to last issue of this egregious excrement entitled Dexter.
“Beckett and the Angel Killer have a sit down in which he learns that these killings are the first piece of a much larger puzzle. Duran risks his life to save his partner”.
Asylum is an adrenaline producing, gorgeously painted horror comic created by the famed director, John Carpenter. It is the well written tale of a defrocked priest on a mission to exorcise a malefic demon while battling his own. Jason Craig, also the artist on the Freddy vs Jason vs Ash mini-series from Dynamite and the now defunct Wildstorm, has done some of his most outstanding work in this God vs Satan horror story. Each panel is skillfully drawn in his own distinctive style. I love the darkly haunting presence predominate in both his back and foregrounds. Talented author Bruce Jones, has written for both DC and Marvel and has worked on the HBO series The Hitch Hiker. This team has pieced together a fine comic book replete with grimly religious undertones and suggestions of an invisible realm not so far from our own. John Carpenter’s Asylum will not disappoint even the most hardcore fans of the occult horror story.
September has passed. We have survived mostly unscathed to at last be enfolded in the sweet succor of October’s tender embrace. Twenty-nine days remain until the most revered of holiday festivities will once more ensue. To pass the time during this season of eager anticipation when the little ones ready pillow cases and the biggest children, namely us, hone our scare tactics, the comic book deities have blessed us with many horrifically chilling new titles. Regular readers of this publication will be pleased to discover that this week’s Pull List will actually be published BEFOREnew comic book day. Many thanks to Darth Biscuits and Benny Buzzkill for their tireless efforts in correcting the irritating technical difficulties that have been plaguing my column for the past month. The many delays have provided me the opportunity to make a few modifications to my precious almanac. From now on, in order to view a preview of a book one has only to click on the cover. Where a preview is not available, I have included a short excerpt from the latest issue of the comic in question. Please enjoy, or at the very least tolerate my macabre musings. I encourage comments both cavillous and complementary. Just remember, clowns have been known to hold a grudge.
“Enter the dark corners of the human psyche in these hilarious and thought-provoking episodes in the life of one spindly, black-clad young homicidal maniac, as well as his terrified neighbor boy Squee, the unfortunately superior Wobble Headed Bob, a blood-drinking wall, cavernous basement torture rooms, and Johnny’s own comic, Happy Noodle Boy.”
Penned by Jhonen Vasquez, creator of the animated cartoon Invader Zim, this latest edition of “Johnny the Homicidal Maniac” or JTHM, is a reprint of the original 90’s series. First published in 1996 by Slave Labor, this book has enjoyed some measure of popularity among indie comics fans. I can certainly see the appeal. With the manic monochromatic brush work of Vasquez, one can almost experience first hand the schizoid starkness of the delusional world of in which Johnny exists. The inner monologue of the psychotic protagonist is well written but I feel the lettering could have been executed in a slightly more legible fashion . Vasquez has himself admitted that most of the script was improvised in the final moments of inking. That said, I found the deranged humor and seizure inducing illustration to be worth a read.
“The Las Vegas survivors thought they were saved, delivered unto a military compound where the human race could fight back against the rising tide of undead. But inside the concrete walls a more heinous evil lives and breathes under the auspice of ‘research.’ How can you survive a dead world when the living are just as much a threat as the virus ridden zombies?”
So far this riveting classic zombie story set in the 1970’s, has been able to keep me rapt and reading. Well written and nicely drawn, “Aftermath” is a thrilling survivor tale. Intensely depicted scenes of graphic violence by Jaccan Burrows (Crossed) make this a stunning visual experience while the well scripted characters of horror writer David Hines are completely identifiable. Any collector of zombie horror comics would be well advised to add “Night of the Living Dead Aftermath” to his/her roster of rotten revenant ruminationaries.
“The aftermath of Lady Bathory’s death is felt across the globe. Vampires take to the streets in protest of the secrets that they believe are being kept from them. But the citizens of the United States no longer support the vampires as they once had. Now the people are asking their own questions, and a return to a time of fear and distrust seems inevitable. The vampires know they must find their enemy quickly. For the last werebear on Earth has made itself known in a very big way.”
A continuation of Tom Hutchenson’s 2012 series “Ursa Minor”, this ongoing title is published by Big Dog Ink. I have read issues from the previous chapter and cannot say I was particularly moved. Ian Snider although a proficient artist, lacks panache and his unoriginal style left me feeling somewhat dissatisfied. If this new series is as good as the first, I prefer to wait for the movie.
“An evil witch doctor needs the book of spells known as the Sword to reject the Occultist. He needs the weapon itself to decide that he is a bad host in the ongoing war against the realm of the dead. The solution lies in a Catholic schoolgirl who dabbles in death for a quick high.”
You may be familiar with the work of artist Mike Norton from another of my most treasured titles, “Revival”. Norton is also known for his contribution to many DC books including: “Green Arrow/Black Canary” and “Countdown to Final Crisis” . Written by Hack/Slash creator, Tim Seely “The Occultist” is another new comic from Dark Horse released in honor of the approaching holiday of horror. Judging by the preview, this book appears to be well drawn and alludes to an intriguing plot. “The Occultist” may be another new series this week toward which to turn your baleful eye.
“Men go and come, but Earth abides.”- Ecclesiastes 1:4 Decades after “The Blight” all but wiped out the human race, Mother Nature is taking back what’s hers, and she’s not alone . . . The Hinterkind have returned.”
Written by Ian Edginton, famous for his work on 2000 AD, “Hinterkind” is another new release this week from Vertigo. Contributing his own impressive talents is Italian comic book artist Francesco Trifogli who has drawn for Vertigo in the past on the science fiction title,”Mysteries of Space”. Trifogli is also well known in his home country as the artist of an Italian erotic comic called “X”. I couldn’t decipher much of the issue of “X” which I aquired solely in the name of research. I never learned to speak Italian, but the pitchers shore wuz purty! I am of uncertain disposition regarding this new series. A story about scary magical animals come to wreak vengeance on humanity does not really appeal to my interest. As always I must read all these new books in order to deliver the most well informed critique. And as always, the unflappable optimism of my inner clown compels me to ask, “Meh, how bad could it be?”
“The Seeder’s true identity is revealed, but what’s required of Alex in his role as Avatar of The Green becomes increasingly complex!”
Long one of DC’s most acclaimed horror titles, “Swamp Thing” continues to grow on me. I am really digging the current story arc and with the skillfully executed work of “Marvel Zombies” artist Kano, this comic is wondrous to behold. An excellent read as well, Travel Foreman’s fastidiously realized characters are intricately written into a compelling plot. For this one book at least, I can finally put aside my differences with DC comics. I find “Swamp Thing” to be an engrossing horror story in spite of the irritating super hero cameos sprinkled throughout the series.
“The secret spell to controlling the universe is contained in this anthology! Also included are nine new supernatural tales by a coven of the best writers and artists VERTIGO could cram into 70 pages.”
“The Witching hour” is a horror anthology series published from 1969 to 1978 by DC comics. This one shot October special from Vertigo reanimates three pernicious practitioners of prestidigitation in nine new tales of devil worshiping fun. Each short is drawn and written by a different team of artists and authors, so expect a showcase of some of your favorites. I will find it interesting to discover whether or not this horror classic reboot can live up to the loathsome legacy of it’s purulent predecessor.
“The side-splitting and artery-spurting epic continues as the battle for Pittsburgh is underway as hordes of the Mocking Dead descend — and Aaron Bunch’s pop-culture-inspired battle plan is put to the test! Will the Internet nerds of DIA’s Tinseltown Division save the city — or accidentally lead it to the edge of the abyss of total zombie apocalypse?”
With all the hype surrounding this new book from Dynamite Entertainment, I had high expectations for this promising zombie satire. Filled with bitter disappointment, I cannot in good conscience recommend this book to anyone. The claim made by the publisher of the sidesplitting laughter which is to commence upon reading of this lackluster “laugh riot”, is a complete and utter fabrication. In addition to failing to deliver one ounce of humor, the whole first issue is one giant spoiler. The story starts out with the narrator lamenting the end of the world as we know it. Any reader with the intelligence of a common stapler should be able to puzzle out the fact that despite any ensuing turn of events, the story does not end well. This awful comic should be displayed where it truly belongs; right between “Vampirella” and Dynamite’s other terrible abomination, “Dark Shadows”.
“Kichiro is an outsider in feudal Japan. Lacking the Japanese blood that would allow him to become a samurai, Kichiro must fulfill his dreams of serving the shogun in a less traditional manner . . . by eliminating every foreign supernatural threat that rears its fangs!”
This book is a tale of vampire hunting in feudal Japan. Author Rob Levin whose work includes: “Witchblade”, “Netherworld” and “Driver for the Dead” teams up with artist Jessada Sutthi of Studio Hive to deliver what appears to be a gorgeously painted book. Released by Top Cow Productions and Heroes and Villains Entertainment for Image Comics, this much anticipated five issue comic book series is scheduled to run all through October.
“Lobster Johnson is on the trail of a Squatch! His search has led him to the deep woods, and Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. are going to help him the best way they know how! That’s right-it’s a camping trip! One thing is for sure: when Liz is around you never need a flashlight, but you might need to bring your own marshmallows!”
“Itty Bitty Hellboy was actually published last week on 09/26. I just thought it was so darn cute that I couldn’t resist including it here.
An amusing children’s adaptation of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy universe, this charming comic will delight your little clowns. Perfect for young readers, these shorts include all your favorite Hellboy friends. Featuring the familiar Liz, Abe, Johann and even villain Karl Kroenen, this book is a nice alternative to “Captain Underpants” and “Walter the Farting Dog”.
Before I conclude this week’s contemptuously constructed compendium of comic books both crass and creepy, I wish to take this opportunity to elaborate a little on my severed clown head rating system. You may have noticed today that many of this week’s entries have been given a score of three clowns. Three being considered readable but otherwise unremarkable, is also the rating I have designated for all first issues. I find this noncommittal approach to be the safest route when there are no back issues for me to look into. A rating of five clowns is of course synonymous with pure comic book ecstasy and one clown denotes a tragic waste of ink and precious natural resources, more commonly referred to as trees. Occasionally a book is so offensive that my only choice is to rate it as a ClownBuster. These comics should be stacked into massive piles and immolated in the town square by angry villagers brandishing torches and pitchforks ( yes they are that bad). All of these ratings reflect my own personal tastes which I am told, are impeccable. I feel a keen sense of regret for those doubting the validity of my completely correct appraisals of these publications. Frankly, I feel it is my solemn duty to inform you of your idiotic fucktardedness, and to plead with you to immediately cease and desist any reproductive activities in which you may be participating. Please, please, please.
Another week, and of course another Pull List for your reading pleasure. As I am feeling unusually magnanimous this week, my ratings may reflect this. I thought you might like to see some previews of some of the books we will discuss today. This may make it easier for you to discern for your own self what you may prefer without the ambiguity of a mad clown’s ravings. Basically, you will be able to ascertain the amount of horse shit of which I am full. If you find that too difficult, you may also just blindly heed my words. Dance puppets, Dance!
With that, I must for this week bid you adieu . With such a small selection of horror comics to choose from, you may find yourself with a little more time and possibly cash on your hands. I suggest spending that time with your significant other. Take them out. See “You’re Next” , or if you are in the mood for a chuckle, “World War Z”. Or if you are pathetically alone and find that nobody loves you I can recommend some great internet porn sites.
Army of Darkness vs Hack Slash #2 Ash and his new partner Cassie Hack are on the trail of missing pages of the NECRONOMICON and their first case leads them to a prison shower, naked deadites, and an evil double! Can Cassie and Ash stand each other long enough to deal with Bad Mahesh?
Hack Slash has never been a favorite of mine. After reading a couple of issues, it just didn’t seem to hold my interest. On the other hand, I am a very big fan of the Evil Dead franchise. In this story, the Necronomicon ex Mortis has resurfaced once again. Enter Ashley J Williams, S Mart employee of the month, housewares, January, 1999. Cassie’s babysitter is the first to fall before the dread curse of the Deadites. Leaving her baby in the care of her wife Margaret, Cassie and Ash partner up to find the party responsible. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the artwork of this book. I find it annoying when artists focus on drawing hot chicks rather than rendering unique characters with individual personalities. One area in which this comic really excels is the script. Tim Seeley has captured perfectly, the very essence of Ash. All the cheesy one liners and sarcastic quips are there for our enjoyment. I like where this story seems to be leading and I definitely wish to see more of this capriciously gory comic.
Haunted Horror #6
Haunted Horror #6 These creepy, eerie comics from vaults of horror will appall you, shock you, horrify you, disgust you, make you throw up in your mouth a little–in other words… you’ll LOVE them! Read and see the brilliant art of the best 1950s comics that your mom, Dr. Fredric Werthless, and the U.S. Senate didn’t want you to see! Don’t miss this!
If you are fond of pre-CCA (Comics Code Authority) horror comics then you will absolutely love “Haunted Horror”. Vintage horror books have enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence as of late. The reboots of “Creepy” and “Eerie Comics” as well as new titles such as “Bela Lugosi’s Tales of Terror” are fairly decent horror anthologies. Haunted Horror has one thing that these books lack. I contains original stories from little actual 1950’s horror magazines. The chilling tales in this comic were fascinating. I almost felt like an anthropologist analyzing ancient cave paintings. This book is steeped in history, from the simple yet beautiful drawings to the out of date 1950’s dialogue. I especially enjoyed the completely accurate depictions of the villainous, scheming bad girl characters. Every male living in this pre-feminist era knew how evil and manipulative women can be. Even now, How many innocent males are suffering the malicious machinations of females wielding the awesome power of their irresistible weaponized vaginas. Misogynistic ramblings aside, this exemplary book, without the gratuitous violence and gore so many modern horror titles rely on, manages to deliver an atmosphere of the macabre in these clever suspenseful stories.
Dexter #3 Miami’s leading forensic blood spatter expert, Dexter, is a cut above the rest. And in his spare time, he’s cutting up bad guys! Dexter’s Dark Passenger is burning for revenge after Dexter and his sister, Deborah, are nearly torched by a Molotov cocktail. Just when the trail heats up to catch Miami’s Skid Row Slasher, one suspect turns up stone cold dead Dexter catches a break by doing some stealthy ‘breaking and entering’ but he may be the one who ends being caught.
I don’t know why Marvel continues to punish me. In my previous life I must have been fond of beating puppies to death with sledge hammers. How else could I be deserving of such castigation in this one. Here is what I witnessed as I stared into the abyss. This book is still awful. Having two ridiculous issues under my belt, has only served to increase my justifiable aversion to this book. There is one silver lining lurking in the depths of this putrid fart cloud, thank God. This is only a five issue series. I have been the victim of terrible curse wrought by this abhorrent publication. I am compelled to read the last three issues in order to behold the magnitude of mind numbing suckiness brought about by this aberration. Marvel comics has regurgitated this vile spew, scraped up the puddle, and used it to print this loathsome result. I now find myself running to my thesaurus. My vocabulary being insufficient to describe exactly how much this comic eats shit. You may not hear from me for a while. After I read this one, for I will probably have to be put in restraints and heavily medicated for at least some period of time .
Hiya, Georgie! Wanna read an awful comic book?
I will conclude this week’s Pull List with with this. As I gaze upon the evening’s first and brightest star, I fervently wish with all my being. Please universe, let the line up for next week be at least a little more exciting. With so many new titles, one has got to be decent, right? Remember, every time a baby shits that in their diaper, Marvel releases a new comic book.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of last week, the day we have anxiously awaited has been reborn. Continue on to see the nasty, noxious, nerve tingling, New Comic Book Day narratives that Wednesday has in store for us. Don’t miss any of these titillating tales of torturous terror in stores today! Holy fuck, I think my spidey sense is tingling.
Normally it is rare to find two or more horror comics written exclusively for children in the same month. I have included these because I find it refreshing. As a kid, I grew up reading books like “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” right along with my Spiderman and Incredible Hulk. It never occurred to me that I could get both my fixes combined into one. I loved the creepy illustrations in both “Scary Stories” and Shel Silverstien’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”. My point is, that we have here, an opportunity to inspire a whole new generation of comic book and horror lovers. With video games destroying the imaginations of millions of children across the country, don’t we owe them at least the chance to do something other than to stare mindlessly at a screen (yes, I appreciate the irony of internet columns and my own computer addiction) and develop carpal tunnel? Ranting aside, I feel there are some very solid books out this week. To those young people lucky enough to retain their freedom, remember to use a condom even if you happen to be drunk or/and high. Duct tape one to your nipple or something.