Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wulf & Batsy # 3

I'm a Wulf & Batsy fan. That being said, I probably would not have ever bought a Wulf & Batsy book off the rack, or even gave one a cursory glance at a Con or LCS, because I just never cared too much for horror comics with a "cartoony" style of art. I generally find the style opposed to the mood of the genre. I'm traditionally a "heavy inks" guy ala Ghastly & Wrightson when it comes to horror. Thankfully, creator Bryan Baugh was persistant in sending me material for review, and I've found I've turned a new leaf in horror art appreciation. Like I said, I'm a Wulf & Batsy fan.

This is the third offering from Viper Comics, and it begins a new story arc entitled "Bizarre Experiments." The cover is graced with an almost risque piece by Josh Howard, who has garnered quite a following of late. Inside, it is all Bryan Baugh. This guy's stuff has really grown on me; it has taken me back in time and I feel like a kid watching a new episode of "Groovie Goolies" when I peel back the cover. Baugh has hit an ecstatic mix of horror, humor, adventure, and detail that I don't think you can find in any other book.

Bryan's artwork, anchored in his animation roots, is a pleasure to view in b&w because he knows how to invoke horror-mood through clever combinations of my beloved heavy inks as well as intricate line work. While the plot itself could be considered straight horror, a plethora of "Easter Egg" inside/hidden jokes certainly puts a distinctive humorous edge to his Baugh's efforts. I caught myself laughing out on more than one instance.

Anyway, a short synopsis for this one is that W&B are fleeing from the massacre that took place in the first two books, and are now in need of a place to rest. They run across an old cemetery, which of course seems a logical spot for the couple. However, things are never easy for the pair, and as the plot unfolds we are introduced to a myriad of the walking undead, and a mysterious old house on a hill apparently occupied by a mad scientist. That's it, I go no further into detail. You should do yourself a favor and pick up an issue. Myself, I can't wait to sink my teeth into issue 4, which is on my desk waiting.... whoops, no it isn't! I'm looking at Bryan's sketch book called Crypt Logic. Looks like I will have to wait on #4, uurrggggghhh!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Review: Vincent Price Presents

I just finished this initial offering of Vincent Price Presents from Bluewater Comics, which promises to be an ongoing series. Cutting straight to the chase, I suggest that any horror comic fan should give this a try. This book has some of the best production values I've seen in a horror comic in quite some time with slick pages and full color art throughout. Impressive!

The book contains one story which is framed by a Vincent Price sequence. Joel Robinson is the artist responsible for this Price intro/outro, and I don't know if he achieved his results with computer imaging or straight freehand work, but it is simply beautiful stuff and represents Mr. Price quite accurately. Well done, Joel!

As for the story, "Welcome to the Family of the Night," you should be left satisfied as well. The art by Rey Armenteros is of the murky painting type, which sets a dreamlike tone for this short tale. One just rarely finds such professional looking work in an indy book these days! The writing itself, by Chad Helder, is not bad either. Chad's prose probably could have benefitted the reader with some beefing up via more narrative boxes, but overall one should be able to figure out quickly that vampires have seized control of the government. A very cool concept, and the reader is left with an open ending to leave to their imagination what transpires after the last panel.

Basically, I can't wait for issue # 2 if Bluewater continues to achieve this level of production. I'm looking forward to the success of this series!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Return of the Creature

...also titled "Where did I go?" You may I have noticed the blog went AWOL right before Halloween, of all times. What?!? That's like a Santa Claus blogger stopping just prior to Christmas, isn't it? Unexcusable! He,he...

What ended up happening was that the week before Halloween I packed up the family in a rental van and took off for a secluded cabin in the Smoky Mountains. Very "Evil Dead"-esque. This was the first time I had ever spent Halloween somewhere besides my home state of Ohio, so I was actually a tad nervous as to my ability to fully enjoy All Hallows Eve the ways I'm accustomed to. After all, it is the National Holiday for any horror-head, no?

I'm glad to say the whole thing was quite a fine experience. A couple days before the Big Night, our family carved more Jack O'Lanterns than ever before. We had to set them inside in front of the fireplace or out on the 3-story high back deck so as to not attract roving bears (which we saw plenty of) to our front porch. We had TV's in every room, and when we didn't have to have Dora the Explorer on for our children's sanity, we watched AMC or TCM with their continuous spook reels for our own. We roasted pumpkin seeds, made creepy cookies, and cut up little spooky arts & crafts projects. Our children (both under 3) got dressed up & went room to room for candy, & they loved every minute of it! So did I, it was a blast!

So let me suggest that next year, try mixing up your Halloween routine a bit. Adding something new to your traditions may just make for a more memorable holiday!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just another cover...

Well, it's another one of those long weekends that I have to work, so I'm going to squeeze a measley cover scan in, just so you guys have something new to look at. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Frighthouse # 1

Another "overdue review." Randall Wincek is the man resonsible for both the art & stories in this indy offering from Harrowing Productions. A one-man labor of love. This comic is done in b&w interior with color cover by Mr. Wincek, and the paper stock lends itself very well to the b&w medium. Good production values!

The color cover is only slightly indicative of Wincek's style, which I would best describe as "underground" inspired. The art loses a little something with the coloring, as the b&w work on the interior is much more stylish and detailed; using gray tones and washes to eerie effect.

The highlight for me is Randall's storytelling. He has a good command of the short story format (Did I mention this is a 3-story anthology with framing pieces? No? Shame on me...) and pace. His use of a horror host, Mr. Nightly, is witty & hearkens back to all those campy hosts of yesteryear. Randall's plot, narrative, and dialogue are all quite strong and reflect a well versed knowledge of the horror genre. What's icing on the cake is that the storytelling is never too serious, and often has humor in the right places at the correct dosage. Randall may be one of the better writers of this throwback horror style that you probably haven't heard of yet. I wish I had better contact info, but the best I can do is to steer you toward and look him up there. Good luck!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Graphic Classics: H.P. Lovecraft

This 2nd edition of GC:HPL contains 75 additional pages of new material, so even if you have the 1st, you ARE going to want to pick this up. Tom Pomplun's Graphic Classics series, for those not "in the know," is a graphic novel series which adapts stories from one author at a time, in a short story anthology format. High production values make these well worth your money.

So, what can I say about the writing? It's HPL, and it is pretty hard to adapt him poorly. You can't (and won't)go wrong here. "Shadow Over Innsmouth," "Dreams in the Witch-House," "Herbert West: Reanimator," "Cats of Ulthar," "Terrible Old Man," "Shadow Out of Time," and a couple others. Pick your favorite & enjoy. Myself, I got a warm, fuzzy feeling last night as the air finally began to get a good chill to it outside, and I settled in to read "Innsmouth." Good times.

As for artwork, there is something for all tastes within. Everything interior is in b&w, and you are treated from abstract and cartoonish illustration to creepily serious stuff. From Simon Gane to Matt Howarth to some cat named Richard Corben (Ever heard of him? Thought so!) you won't be let down.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wulf & Batsy

Here's one from the "insanely overdue" pile. Wulf and Batsy in "We Have No Home," written and illustrated by Bryan Baugh, and published by Chanting Monks Press. The latest print is available from Viper Comics.

Nice cover by Joe Chiodo (does he ever do a bad job? Note: scan is the back cover by Baugh). Inside, we are treated to a full length B&W story. Wulf & Batsy are, for the uninitiated, a werewolf & vampire who are apparently constantly on the move for survival purposes. This story depicts what I imagine would be a typical scenario for them if they are discovered by the locals. Bryan's plot & dialogue are apt & makes for a quick read, but don't expect any lengthy, mind-blowing prose. I don't think there was a single narrative box in the entire book, but inactuality it wasn't needed.

Baugh's art is in somewhat of a cartoonish style, which is not my normal cup of tea as often it indicates an artist who needs lots of developement. However, this is not the case for Bryan, as I find his style quite enjoyable & very well crafted. He makes great use of the b&w medium, providing excellent background detail to set a "horror mood" throughout the book. Lots of nice "surprises" placed in the art here & there for those who are looking, as well. Hat's off to Bryan, one of the few artists to have ever won me over completely with this style.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Unpublished HCR # 5 Cover!!!

Once again, I have decided to do something different today rather than reviewing something from the "long overdue" pile. I present to you the cover art that was slated to grace Horror Comics Review # 5. Fantastic contribution from Pete Von Sholly. It is titled "He is Born," and features a certain Lovecraftian creation. Enjoy!

Monday, October 6, 2008

WHY do you like horror comics???

OK, so there I was last night at work, and had just enough free time to read one of the final issues of DC's "Witching Hour." I couldn't help but think as I waded through the thick George Kashdan dialogue/plot of near every story: "This is crap. I could write this. Why the hell am I reading this stuff??!!" Don't get me wrong, the art was great, & I'd like to add that I think DC was superior to Marvel in production quality at the time, but the actual "story" just came across as hack. Still, even though I could figure out where everything was going after the first page of script, I still got some (albeit at times small) sense of gratification from the comic.

So, why do you read/collect horror (especially 1970's DC) comics?? I suppose my final answer is that I love horror in all time periods, and even the most passable plot gives me some sort of inner rush when combined with decent enough artwork. Horror is a combined visual & visceral experience that no other genre can duplicate. - Keith

Sunday, October 5, 2008

One more before the road...

Here I am, getting up & getting ready to go grind out another night shift. I'll leave you with another cover scan from my collection, & promise to actually write something tomorrow.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

No time to ramble, Dr. Jones!

This is my three day weekend to work, so I don't have time to prattle on the way I have the last couple days. 13 hour night shifts with 1 hr. each way commute time will do that to a blogger, I suppose. Guess I better invest in a laptop soon, eh? However, I leave you with a scan of one pf my pre-codes. Enjoy!

Friday, October 3, 2008

How Could I Forget My Grandpa!!??

Yesterday I rambled briefly about the roots of my horror comic obsession. Somehow, someway, I completely forgot to mention my first pre-code horror comic! Curses!

I wish I could remember the date precisely, I estimate it was around 1993. My grandfather drove me to a used bookstore on the west side of Hamilton, Ohio. "Pop" had no interest in reading, but he was always more than happy to go to such places with me. I stumbled across a small selection of books that I purchased simply because they "looked old," with no regard to cover or content. They turned out to be a stack of ACG's, all post-code with one exception: Adventures into the Unknown # 30. As I was looking in my Overstreet for info on the book, I began to notice & wonder about the references to this "code." Thus, a pre-code junkie was born.

So thanks, "Pop." I'm sure it was you who humored me as a kid & bought that oversized DC treasury, and that Unexpected #202. Thanks for driving me to grocery stores, used book stores, comic shops, flea markets, and those traveling "antique shows" so that I could scrounge for comic books. Thanks for the great memories.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Stoking the Halloween Spirit

Yesterday I briefly spoke of "stoking the Halloween spirit" this month, and it got me to thinking about this hobby of horror comics. Sure, I could just review another book tonight from my "overdue" pile, that wouldn't be very hard. I'm WAY behind in that department. Trust me, the adjustment from doing a print fanzine to a web blog has been a slow transition for me, and when you suddenly multiply job, wife, and two little girls into the equation the den0minator for the the horror hobby suddenly doesn't carry the clout it once had. Shame.

Still, I continue to carry a torch for this genre, albeit it sometimes merely a pale speck in the dark distance. Thing is, I just can't let it go out, no matter what life throws at me. So I asked myself, how did this flame of mine that gets "stoked" every Autumn get ignited in the first place? As I lay in bed alone last night, my wife on the couch trying to console our cranky 4 month old, & a couple beers in me to lubricate the gears of my mind, the memories gently & warmly swept over my brain like an incoming tide.

The memories came clearly, but in brief spurts. At first I was a skateboarding 19 year old seeking shade & other unmentionables in the garage of my underage girlfriend's house during a humid summer afternoon, but I digress as that has nothing to do with this hobby. Going much further back, I then remembered sitting on the gold shag carpet of my bedroom, reading a story from DC titled "The Demon Within." It was in a large treasury sized edition, perfect for a youngester such as myself. The underlying theme of one being susceptible to harm by those who should be most trusted REALLY struck a chord with me. I remember each panel now some 30 years later still.

A few years after that I would somehow come across DC's UNEXPECTED 202, which featured "Hopping Down the Bunny Trail," a tale with a "twist" ending right up there with the best of them. My psyche was shattered. The seeds were planted. Although it wouldn't be until another couple years later that I would start to collect comics "seriously" (and CONAN titles at that), my love for the horror genre was ingrained, & with the occassional fertilization from such great offerings as TWISTED TALES, it would firmly take root in the early 1990's, eventually leading to the HCR print fanzine & now to this internet endeavor. Wilting at times in the face of adverse conditions, but (much like some horror subject matter) never dying.

So I ask you, how did your horror homefire get to burning, and what keeps it stoked this Halloween season??? Let me know!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Review: Evil Inside # 5

Hello again, fiends! I tell you what, having two little girls under the age of three sure keeps one from udating their blog frequently!! My goal for October will be to update daily, stoking the spirit of the Halloween season. Here's hoping it works out!

I just read EVIL INSIDE # 5, and this is a book that is growing on me. Shame that it is only going to be a 6 issue series. I'd really like to see writer/publisher Bart Thompson continue on with this most enjoyable anthology. Bart does promise a TPB of all 6 issues, so that is something to look forward to. One suggestion: get a good cover artist, PLEASE! Throughout the series we've been treated to a cover with simply the "Evil Inside" logo with various coloring schemes. This book deserves a decent cover piece, IMO.

Here's the skinny on this issue: "One Night at Pheromones" is the initial offering about two guys in a strip club. It has just enough humor to maintain an entertaining balance, and has a traditional "twist" ending. A decent enough plot & dialogue, but nothing spectacular. Still, you can see that Bart has talent & it is interesting to watch his skill develope throughout the series. Art by Kevin Richardson looks inspired by 70's undergrounds, but is not quite my cup of tea.

Art on the second story, "The Jade Horse," is much the opposite. Ignacio Krichman not only lays down the best illustrations of the issue, but IMO the best the title has seen to date. Kudos! Bart's story is not bad, but it's the old played out "three wishes" type of tale that, while palatable enough in the short term, won't stick to your ribs at the end of the day.

Rounding out the issue is "Zombie Invasion," in which Bart toys with the idea of a practical joke gone awry. Very nice! Art Steven Yarbrough reminds me of Jaime Hernandez for some reason. Not bad! Pick a copy up & see what my buzz is all about: $3.50, b&w

Monday, June 9, 2008


Hey Creeps! I've been away for a couple months because I was getting ready for the birth of our second child, daughter Hannah! She's here now, and I'm back, back, back in action!

First up is a delightful offering in graphic novel format titled Strangeways: Murder Moon from Highway 62 Press. Let me say right away that the packaging for this B&W effort is first rate, with quality binding and a slick cover with art by Steve Lieber.

Thankfully, the quality does not stop at the production level. Murder Moon is a western horror, written by Matt Maxwell & illustrated by Luis Guaragna. Maxwell not only does an excellent job with plot & dialgoue, but he nails the historic western feel right on the head from the get-go. I tore through the first 50+ pages in a matter of minutes I was so captivated. Excellent material, Mr. Maxwell!! If you want a balanced mix of werewolves, cowboys, and all around action-suspense, you won't be let down with this one.

The art from Luis was a pleasant surprise. There are a lot of artists working in indy comics who simply are not ready, but Luis is not one of them. His work is not too blocky or cartoonish, and the b&w illos capture a nice creepy vibe. Hats off!

The second section of the novel is a back story to Murder Moon entitled Rale: Lone. Maxwell provides an entertaining and informative ride with this one, which describes the origins of the Silver Branch werewolf. (No, I'm not giving anything away. There's a werewolf on the cover... ) The art for this one is by Gervasio & Jok, and while completely apt, it does not have the heavy inks of Murder Moon which helped provide horror atmosphere.

The book wraps up with a gallery featuring work from Guy Davis, Fabio Moon, and Gabriel Ba. A very good way to end this excellent read. If I were you, I'd go get this one.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Review: The Evil Inside # 1

Here's another one I've had around for a little while to review, mostly waiting for the changeover to the new website. Long time HCR readers will know that I am a huge fan of the anthology format in horror comics. The anthology was my first exposure to horror in the comic medium, and the style remains an addiction which I cannot shake. So, let's dive in to this b&w offering, shall we?!

The first tale is "Southern Hospitality" and is written by Bart A. Thompson (in fact, he penned all three installments) and illustrated by Paul Schultz. I usually don't give away anthology story endings, and I won't start now. Quick summary: travelers cross paths with what looks like an inbred country clan, but all is not as it would initially appear. Decent enough stuff. Bart describes this as his best horror story, but I'm not sure I'd agree with that statement. Don't get me wrong, it is not bad writing, but after reading the entire issue I think that at least the second story stacks up equally.

That second story is "Word is Bond," is illustrated by Jake Sumbing, and revolves around the play on spelling between the words Santa and Satan. After reading this one, you'll think twice about telling Santa Claus what you really want for Christmas! Nice!

The third and final chapter is "Fox in the Henhouse" and sports art by Giovanni P. Timpano. It's the shortest of all three stories, and is about a convenience store robbery gone supernaturally awry. There is a little confusion with the flow of the tale, but it is adequately clarified in the last couple panels.

All in all, the writing is good enough and gives the anthology addict like myself three quick, satisfying hits. The weakness of this issue certainly lies in the artwork. Schultz and Sumbing have a much too cartoonish style for my taste, and with Schultz there is a muddiness which causes problems with character differentiation and leads to overall flow problems. Timpano gives hands down the best, cleanest overall art job. However, he would have been better to have taken advantage of the b&w medium and applied more detail to his work in order to showcase his sharp lines. Anyway, I look forward to future issues of this title!

$3.50 from

Monday, January 14, 2008

Review: Coffin Kids # 1

This one is a recent favorite of mine. Billed as a throwback to campy 1980's horror movies and inspired by young teen flicks like Stand by Me and The Goonies, this book revolves around a young boy named Reaper who is living alone and supporting himself as a thief. Reaper's burglar skills are aided by a strange skin disease which prevents him from going into the light, but consequently provides him the ability to "disappear." Things begin to snowball one night when upon breaking into a house, he discovers a coffin in the basement with a young boy tied up inside of it. Towards the end of the issue we are introduced to the orphan Smoke, who is searching for his missing brother who may be the kid Reaper had seen earlier. I won't give away the end of the first issue, suffice to say it is somewhat shocking and leaves the door wide open for the rest of the series. I can't wait for the second issue!

The art and story is by Roslyn T. Amparo, with co-writing and editing credits going to Previn Wong. If you like B&W wash tones, you will like this book. The washes are expertly executed and create a nice atmosphere which suites the storyline. Eerie!

$2.95 US from:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Review: WEIRDLING graphic Novel

Hey! Our first review since starting the new format! Please forgive us if we have to work out some kinks.

Anyway, Mike Dubisch illustrates & writes this excellent effort about a female soldier aboard a space warship who has recurring all -too -real dreams that whisk her back in time to Earth & the infamous Miskatonic University. Sound far out? It is, & in a good way!

Mike's linework is unbelievable! The B&W format clearly brings out the detail of his illustrations, which will make any fan of the old Warren mags drool. Mike is a true horror artist, his work is able to evoke mood & atmosphere, & is never cartoony. I think this guy is one of the better horror illustrators working in the medium today!

The pleasant surprise is that Mike's writing is some of the most intelligent material I've read in the genre in awhile. Obviously, there are HPL roots, but there is much more to Mike's writing. The plot will keep you turning the pages feverishly, and is layered with entertaining sub-plots. I liked the Van Hise character; I wonder how many out there will get it. My only beef with the story is that I was kind of scratching my head at the end, going "so what really happened?" Regardless, this is well worth the price of admission.

Strange Fear publications, $15.95

Horror Comics Review

Horror Comics Review will be changing from a print fanzine to a strictly web based publication. We will also no longer be updating the Angelfire website, as all updates will be done in this blog format. Stay tuned!