Title: Black Orchid #14 – “Glamour’s End” a.k.a. “Annis Get Your Gun!”
Writer: Dick Foreman
Penciller: Rebecca Guay
Inker: Stan Woch
Colorist: Digital Chameleon
Letterer: Clem Robbins
Editor: Lou Stathis
Assistant Editor: Alex Alonso
Cover Artist: Dave McKean
Summary: In England, Black Orchid encounters a formidable foe who ensares her with a powerful “glamour” spell.
So it feels like I’ve been on creative burnout for I don’t know how long and I’m freaking sick of it. It took me forever to finish a couple of other non-Point Horror related projects, and with this ear infection thing I’ve been dealing with I haven’t had any energy to do anything. I think I’m having a depressive episode and have to get in touch with my therapist.
I’m starting to believe my problem is I’m still expecting too much of myself with this website and am forcing obligation on myself to have stuff prepared for holidays and shit, even if I don’t have the energy or particularly care about a certain book.
That out of the way, I found it’s been easier to focus on minor stuff so I’m doing a recap of one of my favorite issues from one of my favorite titles about one of my favorite heroines.
Title: All Hallow’s Eve a.k.a. “Mighty Morphin’ Pumpkin Rangers”
Writer: Mitchell Perkins
Artist: John B. Lang
Letterer: Vickie Williams (R.I.P.)
Nesbitt’s Abbey towered over the tiny village of Wicklow, Ireland. Isolated, the abbey was occupied by a group of farming monks.
For years the villagers of Wicklow felt safe as they slumbered off to sleep — watching the monks’ late-night candles as they kept their nocturnal vigil over their precious books and scrolls.
Then, on a fog-shrouded night, something foul and nasty entered the abbey. One by one the old monks were driven from Nesbitt’s Abbey.
Now Nesbitt’s Abbey is haunted by Sam O’Hain and his evil hobgoblins. Will the evil goblins ever be driven from the old abbey?
John the McCormley children: Lauren, Trey, Ashley, and Rachel as they are told the story of the very first Jack O’lantern.
It’s a tale for…
All hallow’s eve.
Mainstream comics have been pretty awful lately. I still haven’t been able to reach my therapist to discuss how badly I reacted to DC’s “Heroes in Crisis” and Marvel’s currently a bunch of assholes for firing Chuck Wendig because he wasn’t “Civil” to those Comicsgate morons. So I felt like focusing on some obscure and independent stuff to try and take my mind off things.
The above was written last year when I started this draft and, honestly, things haven’t changed that much so I stand by my previous statements.
“All Hallow’s Eve” is another obscure gem I discovered back in the 2000s, created by Forest Light Productions through Innovation Comics. Innovation was a company that did a lot of interesting stuff like adaptations of Anne Rice’s books, the Child’s Play movies, comic tie-ins for Quantum Leap and Lost in Space, and they even did the phenomenal “Nightmares on Elm Street” miniseries. It was a six issue comic that bridged the gap between “The Dream Child” and “Freddy’s Dead.” That’s not even mentioning the gorgeous graphic novel they did of “Phantom of the Opera.”
When I purchased this, I had no idea what it was going to be about. I couldn’t find any information about the plot or any scans of the interior pages. Nothing! All I had to go on was the name and cover. This has a very 1980s animated movie vibe to it and offers a rather unique take on the jack o’lantern myth. It feels like the sort of thing Don Bluth would’ve worked on, of course I’m not an expert on his work.
I’ve tried to find out more about this graphic novel, but there’s virtually no information anywhere. I got in contact with former Innovation president, David Campiti, to see if he could direct me to the creative team. Unfortunately he said he lost touch with Mitchell Perkins and John Lang, and poor Vickie Williams died a few years ago. So once again it’s down to me to tell the world about stories like this, because God knows no one else will.
Title: Campfire Stories #1 – “An Evening With Ranger Bill,” a.k.a. “Ranger Bill Says ‘No Means No Or He’s Gonna FUCKING KILL YOU'”
Writer: Don Oriolo
Artist: Vincent Scarpelli
Get ready guys, because this introduction is gonna be a doozy. This comic has got to have the weirdest history of any individual comic I can think of.
It was supposedly published in 1992 by a company called “Global Comics,” yet seems to be the only title the company released besides an adaption of “Thirteen Something” which included early artwork by famed “Archie” artist Dan Parent. The next time I see Dan I need to ask him about all this.
Yet the reason I ever heard of this comic was a low budget, direct to video horror movie from the early 2000s called “Campfire Stories.” Made about a decade after the comic was released, the plot involved two teenage boys, a female hitchhiker, and the creepy Forest Ranger Bill. Ranger Bill tells them three stories:
An escaped mental patient who found work as a school janitor, and then kills the group of boys who humiliate him
Three bikers who rob an elderly Native American man and are turned into old people because of his stash of weed
Two roommates who decide to pull a prank on their boyfriends that ends with one of the roommates possessed by her grandmother’s spirit
The movie ends with the three escaping from Ranger Bill and making their way to a nightclub, only to realize the people in said nightclub are the characters from the stories. The boys are murdered while the hitchhiker escapes and flags down another car asking for a ride the exact same way she approached the boys…
The third story’s the only one I ever held an interest in, but once I was able to watch the entire movie I saw the opening credits mention a “Campfire Stories” comic book. However, said comic that I’ll be reviewing has little to do with the movie. The setting’s totally different, it doesn’t feature the same stories, and instead of being a forest ranger, Ranger Bill is a camp counselor. Yet the end credits of the movie feature pages from the ACTUAL comic.
As a side note, there was a different movie called “Campfire Stories” that came out in 1991, a year before the comic was published. They don’t seem to be connected although except they both tell a standard urban legend (the same one in fact).
Compounding all this weirdness, the comic AND the movie were co-created by Don Oriolo. Don’s a writer and musician and apparently worked with both Bon Jovi AND discovered Meat Loaf. He’s also the son of Joe Oriolo, the creator of the “Felix the Cat” TV show and co-creator of “Casper the Friendly Ghost.” Don’s well known for producing the “Felix the Cat” movie of the 1980s, one of the most infamously bizarre animated films in existence. Of course it’s also got a great soundtrack.
Weird, right??? So much packed into one comic.
Because I’ll be reviewing “Scream Around the Campfire” this month I chose to do a recap on this title to go with the camp theme.
Title: The Witching Hour #1, a.k.a. “Anne, this isn’t about you”
Creators: Neal Adams, Pat Boyette, Dick Giordano, Dennis O’Neill, Alex Toth
Cover Artist: Nick Cardy
Summary: During DC’s latest foray into the horror / mystery arena, editor Dick Giordano conjured up a triumverate of witches to host an anthology series produced by some of comics’ biggest names. In this first issue, writer / artist Alex Toth provided a framing sequence (with an epilogue drawn by Neal Adams) that introduced readers to the cronish Mordred, motherly Mildred and beautiful Maiden Cynthia – as well as their bumbling pet zombie, Egor. Each witch then brewed a potent blend of horror and dark humor crafted by Toth, writer Denny O’Neil and artists Pat Boyette and Jack Sparling. It was an effective spell that would entrance a loyal audience long into the next decade.
Wow Jude’s actually writing about DC Comics and it’s NOT incoherent ranting, who’d have guessed?
As part of my attempt to start Year Three off strongly, I’m including a review of my favorite of DC’s old horror anthology comics from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Well, it’s up there alongside “Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love.”
DC had a whole slew of horror comics, “House of Mystery,” “House of Secrets,” “Tales of the Unexpected,” “Ghost Castle,” “Doorway Into Nightmare,” “Sinister House of Secret Love,” etc. “The Witching Hour” was first published way back in 1969 and ran for 85 issues before the main characters were transplanted to “The Unexpected” upon the book’s cancellation.
“The Witching Hour” stands among one of my favorites due solely to the hosts that narrated its stories. Every, well, most of the issues, had a framing device focusing on three witch sisters, Cynthia, Mildred, and Mordred. The issues would take place at midnight, where the sisters would welcome the reader and try to see which of the three had the most gruesome tale to tell.
I only own about a couple dozen or so issues ranging from most of the first ten to a few sporadic numbers throughout the run. From the handful I own I can clearly see the formulaic rot that set in, when the humorous framing stories were reduced to a one page joke opener that lacked the style and panache of the earliest comics.
The three witches were later incorporated as part of Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman,” alongside many of the other horror host characters like Lucien from “Ghost Castle” and the brothers Cain and Abel. Cynthia, Mildred and Mordred were introduced as aspects of the Fates/Furies dubbed “The Three-In-One.” Cynthia was established to be the Maiden of the trinity, while Mildred was the Mother and Mordred (who acknowledges her name’s wrong) is the Crone.
They repeatedly appeared at least once per story arc but in different forms before becoming the antagonistic Kindly Ones in the comic’s penultimate tale.
As of recently, they’ve been popping up in some newer DC works. Cynthia appeared in 2018’s Valentine’s Day anthology as a love interest for DC’s version of the Bride of Frankenstein. The three were later antagonists in a Catwoman/Sylvester and Tweety crossover by Gail Simone and have been bedeviling Harley Quinn in her solo series.
The witches are truly the only reason why “The Witching Hour” remains my top fave of the horror anthologies, and they’ve been especially prominent in some of my DC story ideas. Onto the recap!
Following up on my recap of the holiday story last month, here’s the obligatory Scary Godmother Valentine’s special. Because Vamlumtime’s is Serious Times!
This issue puts the spotlight on Count Max and Ruby, the King and Queen of the Night, as they have their first fight ever! Jill gives us a good look into what makes Max and Ruby tick and how their differing personalities actually compliment one another. I know they’re certainly my favorite characters after Skully Pettibone, but it helps Max and Skully share the same voice actor (Scott freaking McNeil) in the animated movies.
But don’t worry Wing, there’s plenty of Harry the Werewolf in this. But there ARE a couple of spider mentions (no photos though).
[Wing: As always, I appreciate that warning. And oh my god, that cover is delightful.]
Grimm Fairy Tales #1 – Red Riding Hood, a.k.a. “Little Red Abstinent Hood”
Writers: Joe Tyler & Ralph Tedesco
Pencils: Joe Dodd
Inks: Justin Holman
Colorist: Lisa Lubera
Designers: Jeffrey Ariola & Jason Sorrenti
Cover Artists: Al Rio (R.I.P.) and Tom Smith
Editor: J.C. Brusha
Exploring the connection between sex and violence, the
adaption of Little Red Riding hood confronts that line. The werewolf displays
the lust and animal nature of sexuality while Red symbolizes the innocence and
purity of love. The hunter is the balance between them both, taking you back
close to the original story of the brothers Grimm rather than the doused down
version we know today, the true moral behind the story is displayed.
A young girl with doubts about losing her virginity to her pushy boyfriend reads a story about Little Red Riding Hood in a book she finds beside her bed. The story of the fairy tale character parallels her own, and the ending of the updated story teaches her a lesson, which feels all too real.
[Wing: I mean, Little Red Riding Hood has always had sexual threat built into the story, but this will be interesting. That cover, though. Not feeling it.]
Happy birthday, Wing! For the fairy tale theme this month I’m doing a recap featuring your favorite thing, WEREWOLVES! [Wing: I’m scheduling this to go up after my birthday, because I was too busy around my birthday to comment, but I love this as a gift recap.]
[Wing: I’m scheduling this to go up after my birthday, because I was too busy around my birthday to comment, but I love this as a gift recap.]
Zenescope’s “Grimm Fairy Tales” is a prime example of a
sleeper hit. Back in 2005 when I was in high school, I found the first issue
buried within the small pile of independent comics at my store. Being a horror
comic and with my interest in fairy tales, I was immediately intrigued. Imagine
my surprise when, despite the sexy cover done by the late Al Rio, it was a
story about a girl being pressured into having sex by her boyfriend…
And she said no.
I missed the next two issues but attempted to support the
series regularly. Unfortunately there were a number of delays with the following
issues and I wasn’t sure when they were coming out, but I quickly got into
buying GFT on a monthly basis. It was starting to grow pretty big, and
spin-offs were being launched such as “Return to Wonderland.” Suffice it to
say, nearly 15 years later and Zenescope Comics is still going strong and has
created an entire world through their GFT series.
The basic premise of the original issues followed Sela
Mathers, a mysterious woman with a book of fairy tales. Sela would present
herself to the “Main Character of the Week” and show them a fairy tale relating
to their current dilemma. Interestingly, Sela did not appear in the first
issue, only her book did. And in the second issue she was startlingly different
from every issue onward. It wasn’t long afterwards Sela became the main
character as her past was explored, followed by the introduction of her arch-enemy,
the redheaded Belinda. At that point an entire myth arc was constructed and I
began to lose track as the series moved away from its original, episodic
Unfortunately, I haven’t supported GFT in years. My comic
shop became rather erratic in ordering the current issues and I completely lost
track of the series by the time the 100th issue came around. Since I
hadn’t done anything with Zenescope for a long time, and I needed the space in
my boxes, I ended up selling my entire collection on eBay. However, I held on
to the first issue (and the 2nd print of the 2nd issue)
for sentimental reasons.
That being said, Zenescope and Grimm Fairy Tales will always be important to me because of one reason. It was by supporting “Return to Wonderland” that I befriended colorist Nei Ruffino on DeviantArt shortly after graduating from high school in 2008. Nei is the closest friend I’ve ever had, and the first real friend I made after getting out of the hell that was grade school. She’s been a part of my life for ten years, longer than any friend I’ve known. If it wasn’t for her presence in my life I genuinely doubt I’d be alive right now.
Title: Scary Godmother in “The Search For Mister Boogeylegs”
Writer/Artist: Jill Thompson
Last year I did a review of Jill Thompson’s “Dead Boys Detectives” manga from Vertigo, and decided to follow up with another work by the greatest comic creator of all time (Scott Snyder, eat your fucking heart out). Originally I planned to finish this last year but there simply wasn’t enough time.
I’ve been hyping up Scary Godmother for a while now in some of my other posts, so I figured now was the time to finally do a proper recap to share the magnificence of these stories with y’all.
[Wing: That cover is so much fun.]
But first, before we get into all that, let’s take a look at our intrepid cast.
Summary: A fan favorite holiday character returns! When Jing again breaks her parents rules, she is forced to spend Christmas Eve GROUNDED. But when Santa is also caught in a lie, he has to share the same punishment! Neither father nor daughter can leave the North Pole until they apologize, and with the contentious Kringles not speaking to each other, Christmas is doomed!
Last year I reviewed the “Santa Claus Vs Frankenstein” Jingle Belle one shot, and I promised to follow up by doing the Krampus story this year.
For those who don’t recall, Jingle Belle is Santa’s incorrigible teenage daughter (technically 151, which comes out to 16 in elf years). Jing often gets into a lot of ridiculous misadventures and finds herself put on the Naughty List, much to her father’s eternal frustration. Along for the ride is Jing’s best friend and fellow holiday icon Polly Green, the official Witch of Halloween.
Now last year, Wing got a bit peeved by how the complaints on the Santa Claus myth were brought up by a strawman political character whose arguments turned out to be part of a ploy to go after Santa because he’s an easy target. Well Wing, if you were disappointed over the resolution in last year’s comic, I’m certain you’ll be rather fond of what happens this time.
[Wing: Recap #200! It’s been a great time. Thank you all for reading and commenting and recapping. I love this snarky little book club.]
Title: The Upturned Stone, a.k.a. “The Haunted Pie”
Writer/Artist: Scott Hampton
Tagline: “Ghosts aren’t frightening, really.”
“What’s frightening is the thought of them.”
It’s like “Stand By Me” but with ghosts and sexual abuse.
I first discovered this tale a few years back when Comic Book Resources did a countdown of “Scariest Comics of All Time,” and being the sucker that I am for Halloween and pumpkin related horror tales, I immediately sought to hunt this book down and acquired one of the original print copies.
This story isn’t all plot, and while Halloween is what sets off the chain of events, the entire book doesn’t take place solely on the holiday itself. What starts off with a pumpkin growing on top of the grave of an unnamed child becomes a journey into adulthood and a quest for revenge.
Title: Confessions of a Teenage Vampire – Zombie Saturday Night
Writer: Terry M. West
Penciller: Steven A. Ellis
Inkers: Richard Perrota and Ravil Lopez
Letterer: Fred Van Lente
Colorists: Kent Marquart, Ryan Dunlavey, Leon Allen, Michelle Wulfson
Cover Art: Steve Ellis and Stew Noack
Editor: Bonnie Bader
Summary: My life has really changed since I became a teenage vampire. I can’t stand bright lights and bad smells. I’m so strong I’ve got to be careful not to hurt anyone in gym class. And I’m on a strict diet of Serum V – a special protein product that was invented so vampires don’t have to kill to eat.
But my biggest worries are Sang and Rosie – two vampires who think that all vampires should prey on humans. I haven’t heard from them lately, but I know they’re out there somewhere. I need to be ready when they come…
This past summer I reviewed the first entry in this two book series, and I promised Wing I’d review the second for Halloween this year. Luckily for Wing, it’s got werewolves! Unluckily for the rest of us, while it sheds more light on the vampire mythology of this world, the ending is pretty rushed and there was no third entry.
Still, I hope you enjoy this piece of 90s comic cheese as an early Halloween treat instead of a trick.
For the Halloween Extravaganza I’ve done another sketch collection post. I was having some trouble deciding what to get from what artist since I planned to do a post for here and for Legion of Super-Bloggers…
But then I decided I needed a break from DC Comics because of their latest “Epic crossover” and the week-long depressive episode it instigated.
I wish that was a joke.
So every sketch this year is horror themed.
Last year I only showed you guys the Goosebumps and YA horror related sketches I bought, but this time I’m sharing everything. Not just YA stuff, but movies, TV shows, video games, and non-DC horror comics.
I only did three out of four days at NYCC this year, and I’m probably going to regret how much money I spent. Right now I’ve got the post-con blues and I feel bad I didn’t spend as much time with my friends as I could have. I do, however, have a fun Point Horror-related experience to share with you all.
I got to met Nola Thacker! Or as you guys might know her, D.E. Athkins/Tom B. Stone. She was speaking at a panel on queer YA comics during the first day of the con. I was SO relieved to confirm she really was the author of the “Graveyard School” series because I couldn’t find anything to verify those websites. I gave her a print out of my Jordie Flanders commission (which she loved), I got her to sign my copy of “Boo Year’s Eve,” my Ginger commission by Levy (which she also loved), and my copy of “Thirteen.” She signed the Graveyard School stuff as Tom B. Stone but “Thirteen” as D.E. Athkins. She said she had a lot of fun writing “Blood Kiss.”
I told her I was reviewing “Graveyard School” for Point Horror and she thought it was genuinely sweet someone remembered those books. I told her about how much everyone was loving the reviews, but don’t worry Dade I didn’t mention anything about her “Nightmare Hall” books. When I said I loved the Christmas books, she asked if I picked up how she wasn’t fond of the holiday. This has led me to believe “The Fright Before Christmas” was supposed to be satire. Oh, and apparently “Goosebumps” killed the series when the publisher was bought by Scholastic since they didn’t want “Graveyard School” taking attention away from “Goosebumps” or something.
I was sure to tell her I genuinely believe, for as much a Goosebumps fan as I am, I think her books are better. Because unlike the Goosebumps kids, Park, Stacey, and the rest are legit more likable and interesting as protagonists. She seemed really touched by the compliment. I hope to see her again next year to show her more of my commissions.
[Wing: I am so envious of this meeting! It sounds like she was a delight to talk to, and I love that she was speaking about queer YA comics. We may have some issues with her Nightmare Hall books, but the Graveyard School books are always a delight. As much as I love Goosebumps, I’m sad that it killed Graveyard School, because I could have read a billion recaps of those books.]
Summary: Prepare for a trilogy of Halloween treats in this year’s terrifying Treehouse of Horror! First, punk rock pixie and Go-Gos founding member Jane Wieldlin (Lady Robotika) leads Marge down the path of the walking dead; then, Zander Cannon and Gene Ha (Top Ten) offer up a remake, Simpsons-style, of the classic horror flick Nosferatu; and finally, indie artist Jim Woodring (Jim) helps Bart uncover the truth behind the biggest mystery in the history of horror comics.
You’ve all heard of “Treehouse of Horror” the annual Halloween themed episodes done yearly on “The Simpsons.” What you probably don’t know is Bongo Comics, alongside the regular Simpsons Comics, releases a “Treehouse of Horror” issue every year. Or at least they did.
I own nearly all the issues in either trade paperback form or as individual issues. Some of my favorites include:
The one where the Simpsons buy an alien Christmas tree that plans to take over the world
The one by Jill Thompson that starts off as a Carrie parody before Lisa goes full on Dark Phoenix [Wing: Well that sounds amazing.]
The Death Note parody by Nina Matsumoto
Oh, and this one ad
I wanted to talk about #17 from 2011, an issue I missed when it first came out and tracked down a couple of years ago. And friends, it’s one of the most legitimately fucked up Halloween-related Simpsons media I’ve seen so far, mainly for its first and last stories.
Wow, so we’ve reached the final “Mermaid Saga” story to recap. My first completion of an entire series for Devil’s Elbow.
Unfortunately this last chapter is devoid of Mana, so Wing I hope you enjoyed her presence in the last recap. We’re looking at another exploration into Yuta’s past, this time a couple of hundred years after “The Village of the Fighting Fish.” It’s here Yuta has an encounter with a different kind of immortal, but without any romantic overtones. It’s still pretty heartbreaking though.
[Wing: I can’t believe that we’re already done with this series. I’m going to miss it, and Mana, quite a bit.]
Title: Goosebumps #25 – Attack of the Mutant, a.k.a. “Crisis of Infinite Mutants”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus (U.S.), ???? (U.K.)
Tagline: He’s no superhero. He’s a supervillain!
Summary: Read at your own risk…
Skipper Matthews has an awesome comic book collection. His favorite one is called The Masked Mutant. It’s about an evil supervillain who’s out to rule the universe.
Skipper can’t get enough of The Mutant. Until one day he gets lost in a strange part of town. And finds a building that looks exactly like The Mutant’s secret headquarters. A building that appears and disappears.
Has Skipper read one too many comic books? Or does The Masked Mutant really live in Riverview Falls?
Guys, again I have to apologize for screwing up the schedule. That virus I contracted at the beginning of July completely threw off my schedule for writing alongside all the hours I’ve put in at work. This was supposed to cap off July’s “Comic Con” theme with my recaps, and I hope the lateness doesn’t mess up my recaps for August.
“Attack of the Mutant” is one of the most popular of the first 62 books. During the original run it got a two-episode adaptation (featuring the legendary Adam West) plus a computer game that delved more into the Masked Mutant’s fictional realm. Unfortunately, the character’s been totally neglected ever since the “Goosebumps Horrorland” reboot and has been replaced by two other “Comic villain come to life” characters, the annoying Dr. Maniac (whose first appearance wasn’t so bad but the way he got overused pissed me off) and the Ooze (who only had one appearance).
Skipper, the main character, pisses me off because he is SUCH a 90s comic snob, and it is people like him who ruined comics for everybody. However, I will say the TV show did such a good job at capturing his character it’s impossible not to imagine him wearing a baseball hat even if it’s not mentioned in the book. Watch as I pepper the recap with as many of comic references as I can.
Oh and apparently Stine hates “Archie” comics for some reason.
It’s a good thing I chose this chapter for July because I’ve been incredibly backlogged the last couple of weeks ever since I got sick around Independence Day.
Dream’s End is another oddity in the series because it provides more world building, even though it’s the shortest story at only 22 pages not counting the splash title page. It’s the only time the series explores the concept of the Lost Souls beyond their typical usage as a plot device and warning against consuming mermaid’s flesh. It also has a bit of a “Beauty and the Beast” vibe.
Title: Confessions of a Teenage Vampire #1 – The Turning
Writer: Terry West
Penciller: Steve Ellis
Inkers: Rich Perrota and Ravil Lopez
Letterer: Fred Van Lente
Colorist: Michelle Wulf and Ryan Dunlavey
Summary: I used to be a pretty average teenager. True, I didn’t haprves tons of friends, and I liked studying history, but I was basically not very unusual.
But that all changed when I met Phillip Lemachard. You see, Phillip is not like the rest of the kids in my high school. He’s not like anyone I know, in fact. When Phillip tells stories about history, it sounds as if he was really there. And he has this skin condition that keeps him indoors during daylight.
Now I’m beginning to change, too. And these changes are, well, really unusual.
Here’s a special little treat from a story I haven’t read since middle school. This is the first of a two-part, stillborn series of YA horror graphic novels published by Scholastic in the late 90s. It definitely shows in both the setting (the characters mention “Surfing the net”) and the artwork (it’s got that high-waisted, long thigh Rob Liefeld/Art Adams look to it).
I thought it’d be fun to pull up this old jewel for Comic Con month, and I’m planning on reviewing the second book in October for Halloweenus.
Summary: “…One must choose that victim who contains the greatest and purest force.
The Holy Fool.
The Hanged Man.
The King of the Lonely.
Thus shall the demon Archon arise and bathe the Earth in blood.”
— The Book of Shadows
Back in the 1990s, one of the semi-big things in the comics industry were prestige format one shot stories. They were bound with glossy covers like trade paperbacks, but small enough to be individual issues. Their placement in the continuity of ongoing comics was debatable at best, since they were so rarely every mentioned in the main titles published by DC and Marvel. What was great about them is they were often self-contained stories which featured original antagonists and supporting casts beyond the main characters, but like I said the characters would hardly ever appear in the regular comics if they were lucky.
I own, well, I wouldn’t say a HUGE number of Batman prestige format books, but the entirety of my Batman collection of trade paperback issues and similarly printed stories takes up most of one shelf in my collection. “Batman: The Book of Shadows” was a story I stumbled into blindly, having never heard of it before my purchase and the action taken solely because the title intrigued me. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything else written by Pat Mills and Debbie Gallagher, but from what I’ve determined the two are frequently published under 2000 A.D.. Likewise, I’ve only fond Duke Mighten’s artwork in an early 90s Marvel series called “Wild Thing.” “Book of Shadows” is a pleasant, creepy little story using tarot card themes and a group of monstrous villains whose designs are reminiscent of the Xenomorphs from the “Alien” franchise.
Title: Ghosts of Fear Street #31 – Escape of the He-Beast, a.k.a. “Hecula the He-Beast #32 – Death by Dying”
Author: Page McBrier
Cover Artist: Happy Boy Pat (Published), Mark Garro (Original)
Tagline: This Monster Is Real – Real Hungry!
Summary: He’s hairy. He’s scary. He’s escaped.
He is Hecula the He-Beast – the coolest monster in comic book history. And Jamie Kolker is his number-one fan. Jamie loves the He-Beast’s horns. His teeth. His claws. And especially the way he hunts his prey.
Then one day Jamie manages to get his hands on the computer program of the artist who draws Hecula. Somehow the program releases his comic book hero into the real world.
Suddenly Jamie isn’t a fan anymore. He’s monster chow!
It’s Comic Con International time, so for this month I decided to do some recaps focusing on comic related horror (except for Graveyard School, which sadly never had a comic-based book). Comics are as important to me as the books I read for Point Horror, but they are a never-ending source of stress for me because it seems like the two major companies are run by complete morons. Word of warning: When you make statements about wanting your favorite character back or for a current writer to stop writing your favorite title, BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE THE WORLD OF COMICS IS LIKE A LIVING MONKEY’S PAW AND YOU WILL GET FUCKED OVER.
So, funny story. “Escape of the He-Beast” was originally going to be book #28 in the Ghosts of Fear Street series, following “Parents from the 13th Dimension.” There was even a preview for it and, as you can see, Mark Garro completed a cover for the original release. For whatever reason, the book must’ve been pushed back when the Fear Street series was transferred over to Gold Key, with the published #28 being “Hide and Shriek II.” I own all of the Gold Key-published books and they’re my favorite of this series because I LOVE the early 90s CGI cover artwork.
[Wing: Awww, fear of technology setting things free into the world goes back for ages, and I love it.]