Where evil twins and friends come together to lovingly snark Point Horror and other teen genre fiction
 

Recap #219: The Witching Hour #1

Witching Hour #1 Cover

The Witching Hour #1 Cover by Nick Cardy

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.

Initial Thoughts

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 In Sandman

Cynthia, Mildred and Mordred in The Sandman

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!

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Recap #211: Scary Godmother: Bloody Valentine Special by Jill Thompson

Oops wrong movie
No miners were harmed in the making of this comic

Title: Scary Godmother – My Bloody Valentine

Writer/Artist: Jill Thompson

Summary: N/A

Initial Thoughts

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!

Long live the King and Queen!
Max and Ruby by Toril Orlesky – One of my favorite fictional couples of all 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.]

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Recap #208: Grimm Fairy Tales #1: Red Riding Hood by Joe Tyler and Ralph Tedesco

No Means No Hood
The cover that started it all

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

Summary:

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.]

Initial Thoughts

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 nature.

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.

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Recap #206: Scary Godmother: Holiday Spooktakular by Jill Thompson

Santa who?

Merry Solstice from the Fright Side

Title: Scary Godmother in “The Search For Mister Boogeylegs”

Writer/Artist: Jill Thompson

Summary: N/A

Initial Thoughts

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.

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Recap #200: Jingle Belle: Grounded by Paul Dini and Stephanie Gladden

Title: Jingle Belle – Grounded

Writer: Paul Dini

Line Art and Cover: Stephanie Gladden

Colors: Felix Serrano

Letterer: Troy Peteri

Editor: Rob Levin

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!

Initial Thoughts

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.]

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Recap #195: The Upturned Stone by Scott Hampton

It’s the Haunted Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

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.”

Initial Thoughts

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.

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Recap #192: Confessions of a Teenage Vampire: Zombie Saturday Night by West and Ellis

All that money and she couldn’t buy a lock on the door?

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…

Initial Thoughts

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.

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Halloween Extravaganza: Jude’s NYCC 2018 Sketch Collection

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.]

Now on to the art!

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Recap #186: Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror #17

Title: The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #17

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.

Initial Thoughts

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

YOU GO, KANGFRIEND

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.

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Recap #185: Mermaid Saga Part 12: The Ash Princess by Rumiko Takahashi

Title: Mermaid Saga Part 12 – The Ash Princess

Creator: Rumiko Takahashi

Initial Thoughts

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.]

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