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