Kinky Komic Book Review: Army of Darkness Vs Re-Animator

(Submitted by Mr. Dr. Prince Adam of Themyscira…Thanks, Suoer Fiend! 🙂 xoxo)

“This Army of Darkness features the crossover no one ever expected to see: Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator! Ash Vs. West! The Ultimate Lovecraftian battle as Herbert West leaps from the literary page to fight Ash! Winner takes all! Ash finds himself committed to Arkham Asylum. It’s here that he runs afoul of a rather ghoulish and creepy Herbert West… and the battle of the century begins!” (Dynamite)

I’ll be honest, I’ve never read anything by H.P. Lovecraft, nor do I have any knowledge of his work on the Re-Animator. What I have gotten used to is this Army of Darkness comic book.  The Deadites get free, chaos ensues and Ash has to defeat them, often haphazardly and leaving destruction and a bloody wake in the aftermath. This book has been able to keep this formula from getting repetitive twice over and does so a third time in this story.  Both stories since the movie adaptation has rejoined our hero shortly after the events of the film,  This story takes place literally minutes after “Shop Til You Drop Dead.”  Once again, before any of the present day action gets underway, Ash gives us a recap of the previous stories. What I like about this is that Ash pokes fun and acknowledges how ridiculous  and crazy the events that happen to him are.  This is the first time the book gets meta on us, When we get to present day story telling, Ash is surrounded in the S-Mart, by dead bodies and Detroit Police.  Ash is arrested and dubbed “The S-Mart Slasher”.  It makes sense that the police would blame him.  There is no evidence of Deadite presence, only dead shoppers, Ash covered in blood, with the only survivor being his girlfriend Sheila. A judge and jury deem him insane, and remand Ash to a mental facility for rehabilitation.  Things get interesting when the book shifts to the mental facility, named Arkham Asylum. Now either there’s a real mental hospital named Arkham Asylum in Detroit, Arkham Asylum was first created for Re-Animator, or this is a clever reference to Batman.  I’m going to assume it’s a Batman reference, so it remains cool and extremely awesome, which is what I thought when I first saw the reference.

Editor’s Note: Arkham is a fictional city that appears in many works by H.P. Lovecraft. Batman’s Arkham Asylum is a reference to Lovecraft.

What’s great about the Asylum setting is that new readers checking this out, will wonder if Ash is really crazy, only to discover he’s not as the story goes along.  Meanwhile,  long time fans know that he’s not crazy, the monsters are  real and things will get a lot worse.  This is where the Re-Animator comes in.  Herbert West is the head doctor, and in his spare time has been using the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis to perfect his Re-Animator formula, in an effort to defeat death.  He makes a deal to release the Old Ones, aka the masters of the Deadites. In exchange for Eternal life and a mastery over death, he will free them.  In anticipation of the Old Ones arrival, Herbert West opens a portal, releasing Deadites into the world.  I loved this for two reasons. Herbert West in trying to reanimate the dead, is a fresh take on more recent takes of zombies, while being a throwback to Frankenstein.  Also, it was refreshing to see the Deadites brought to Earth on purpose, rather then Ash bumbling a spell again and accidentally releasing them again. Herbert West had a bit of a Hugo Strange flavor to him. It wouldn’t surprise me if Batman writers borrowed from H.P. Lovecraft, when creating Doctor Hugo Strange.

Like previous issues, Ash has some help in his battle with the Deadites and Herbert West’s Frankenstein creations. In past issues, Ash’s help came in the form of an ancient sorcerer, much wiser then him.  Often, this humorously made Ash look like an inexperienced buffoon,  Here though, Ash is aided by a fellow inmate/movie buff and a parapsychologist, who both believe him to be the chosen one to defeat the Deadites and prevent an apocalypse.  The tables are turned this time, as the inmate/film buff Deuce Bellcamp is the clueless simpleton, whereas Ash is the Deadite fighting veteran.  Ash pokes fun at the fact that Deuce is a bit on the rotund size and is casually dismissive of the parapsychologist nicknamed Sugarbaby.  Ash’s trademark snark and attitude are on display here, but he never becomes so obnoxious that you can’t stand him.  Good on writer Jim Kuhoric for finding that balance.  The book once again gets meta, when these two unlikely allies return Ash’s chainsaw and broomstick.  These aren’t the genuine article, but instead props from a movie called Army of Darkness based on him.  They also tell him “fictional novels”, and a Broadway play based on him exist.  Is this some kind of art imitating life, inside of art stuff happening here.  Someone call Christopher Nolan, there’s some Inception level shit happening here! As the trio tries to escape Arkham Asylum,  Ash notices Sheila’s reflection in a mirror and is pulled into a Mirror Dimension.  There he discovers the real Sheila, the real Dr. Herbert West and even H.P, Lovecraft.  Meanwhile, Deuce and Sugarbaby are captured by the evil version of Dr. West. I like that H.P. Lovecraft is put into the book. A great homage to the creator of the Re-Animator.  You can definitely see the reverence the writer has for Lovecraft, as he is the one who gives Ash a special magical necklace, which allows him, and only him to escape. Before Ash escapes, he tells Sheila he will reunite her spirit with her body, freeing her from the mirror dimension. Back in the “real world” Deuce has been experimented on and his body parts used as part of the Re-Animated Masterpiece, which is multiple body parts sewn together from different people.  This “Ultimate” Frankenstein includes parts of Sheila’s body. When Ash returns, he rescues Sugarbaby, defeats the Re-Animated Masterpiece monster and prevents the Deadite Doppelganger of Herbert West from finishing a spell that would bring the old ones to Earth.  The Supernatural energy from that disruption, causes Arkham Asylum to collapse. Ash, Sugarbaby and even Herbert West’s evil doppelganger, manage to escape, before the entire building collapses.  I love that this ended on a cliff-hanger.  I have so many questions? Did Sheila die because her body was part of the Re-Animated Masterpiece? Or is her spirit still trapped in the Mirror Dimension? There’s even more of a reason to read the next volume now, not that I wasn’t going to anyways.

Sanford Greene and Nick Bradshaw share art duties for this story.  I have to give credit to Sanford Greene for his work on that recap page. It’s crammed with imagery from all 3 previous volumes but never feels like it’s overcrowded or too much to look at.  It looks as though it’s popping off the page, as if it were 3D! I loved the monsters that Ash first sees in Arkham Asylum.  They’re unique and look like a mix of a fruit on steroids, a Teletubby and a Pokémon.  We actually see drawn full pages of the Necromicon Ex-Mortis.  The imagery on the page was more muted, which was unique because the only other book I’ve seen with even less color, in black and white in fact, is The Walking Dead.  The other reason this is unique is because muted or black and white, usually denotes flashbacks but in this case, the book shows the events that are currently happening to Ash.  The Mirror Dimension looks like a dreary swamp. There is a cavernous underground bunker Here we see the real Herbert West, Sheila, and H.P. Lovecraft all in costume, as Alice in Wonderland characters. The Alice theme is here, as a nod to the portal that leads both Ash and Alice into another dimension being a mirror. It’s a nice bit of unplanned synergy, adding even more weirdness to this already strange story.   As soon as I saw these pages, I thought, if they turn this story into a film, either Guillermo Del Toro or Tim Burton should direct it.  The most gory and violent scene is the Arkham Asylum hallway scene.  Picture Wolverine during one of his berserker rages, now replace Wolverine and his claws, with Ash and his chainsaw and you get the picture.  The Re-Animator Masterpiece is almost a snake like looking collage of all different bodies stitched together, Frankenstein style. It’s quite uniquely grotesque.

Last volume had a few stumbles but was still enjoyable.  This book is a return to greatness, on par with the first few volumes. I still haven’t watched any of the Ash Vs. Evil Dead TV series, but this book led me to a resolution. After the next shortened season of Game of Thrones, I’m going to binge watch both seasons of Ash vs Evil Dead.  In the meantime, I’m going to read more Army of Darkness and so should you.

Kinky Komic Book Review: Grimm Tales of Terror Vol 1 #3

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Much appreciate your thoughts on this, Kinky Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

“When a college undergrad decides to stay in and study, she will find that another seemingly inconsequential decision she makes will have a lasting effect on her.”

I’m just going to come out and say it; this was the worst of the three issues I’ve read so far.  It’s kind of a mess narratively. It starts out with two girls in an algebra class discussing going to a frat party to score some hot college guys, in the hopes of getting laid. The scene then shifts to a student expressing her troubles with the class.  Her professor asks her to stay after class and essentially sexual propositions her in exchange for higher grades.  The student storms out of the class and literally runs into our mysterious Red Headed Lady of Death from the previous two issues, who dissuades the student from sexually engaging with the professor.  As I watched this unfold, I instantly thought the professor was going to either turn out to be a killer, or be killed. And if he was killed, it’d be at the hands of our “Lady of Death.” With that thought planted in my head, the book transitions to the dorm of the other two girls from the class, who were debating going to the frat party.  While one girl decides to  stay in and study, Ann goes out and parties the night away.  During that time, Ann’s studious roommate is approached in the hallway by the janitor, and a creepy conversation about an ongoing campus murder spree among female students occurs. Ann arrives back at her dorm room with a guy, but refuses his advances, because her roommate is inside sleeping,  When she arrives inside, she turns on the lights to find her roommates throat slashed and writing in blood on the walls.  Without question, I thought it was the janitor.  Instead of going further into solving this mystery, the book jumps forward several months. Once again Anne and her new roommate are dressed to impress and off to another frat house party. However, Ann insists on leaving shortly after getting there, as she is still struggling with the death of her first roommate. When they get back to the apartment, in an unexpected twist, it is revealed that Ann is the killer, as she slits her current roommates blood and begins writing on the wall with the blood. After the creepy janitor hears a commotion and catches her in the act,  the authorities are called in and Ann is locked in an insane asylum. As for our sexual predator college professor from the issues beginning of the book, he’s continually sexually propositioning female students in exchange for better grades.  So the “Red Headed Lady of Death” orchestrated a deadly wet floor fall to the ground for our perverted educator.

Come to think of it, I actually like the misdirection as to who the killer was going to be,  Toggling between the professor and the janitor in my head, kept me engaged in the story.  Even the twist that Ann was the killer, was unexpected and very intriguing. However, I thought the reveal happened in too much of an abrupt way. So much so, that I had a; “Huh, What the F**K” reaction, instead of a “Holy Shit! What an awesome twist” reaction.  It is assumed by the media in the story that Ann had Multiple Personality Disorder. That’s a believable reason as to why she’d kill her roommates and not remember doing it, however, the writer never bothers to explain what causes or triggers her personality changes. The only two things both murders have in common, is the writing on the wall and what each roommate says to her before the frat parties. On the wall after both murders, she writes; “aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the lights.” When Ann asks her roommates how she looks before each party, they respond with; “she looks like a cross between a hooker and a porn star.”  So either, Ann has a fear or averse reaction to turning on lights, or her murderous personality resents being compared to a hooker or a prostitute?  Damned if I know because Meredith Finch doesn’t give enough to clarify at all. What has become clear by the time you read this third issue, is that our mysterious red headed lady, only arranges it so that that vile deplorable people are killed.  If you look back, issue 1 she killed the dog hating bitchy lady, in issue 2 she kills the greedy, self-absorbed, duplicitous antique collector and in issue 3, she kills the professor. I love this distinction about her. As a reader, you actually cheer for her to take out these creeps.

The art is drawn by Milton Estevam.  The art is once again very similar in look to the other two issues.  That’s great for continuity’s sake and in that sense I like it.  On the other hand, that “sameness” prevents each artist from putting their own style or stamp on their work.  As I mentioned several times, the book mentions that Ann looks like a cross between a hooker and a porn star.  When you look at the art, that comparison is apt.  That shouldn’t be a negative. I see it as a positive. Porn stars take a lot of time and do a lot of work to make sure they always look fantastic and represent the ultimate dream girls. The creepy horny professor definitely looked like a grade A creep!  Come to think of it, he looks like a cross between Robert Knepper from “Prison Break” and “Heroes” and Kurtwood Smith from “That 70’s Show.”  The murder scenes are bloodthirsty and  the epitome of what great slasher films should strive for.  Credit goes to colorist Marcio Freire for balancing the drippy blood look and a splotchy blood look. I also loved that brief moment where the mysterious red haired lady’s eyes turned red, when she discovered what the professor was up to.  It hints that she could very well be otherworldly in nature, or at the very least has some magical/mystical properties to her.

Without question, this is my least favourite issue in this series.  Despite being my least favourite, I still enjoyed it.  If all of the not so good comics I’ve read could still be as enjoyable as this issue, comic books would never disappoint me.  Next issue teases the possibility of revealing more information about our “Mysterious Red Headed Lady.”  I hope they do, so I can call the character by her actual name, instead of this long winded place holder.

News Bleed: The “Twisty’s House of Horror” Edition

You can’t keep a bad clown down… Twisty returns to American Horror Story! 🙂 Deadline
Zenescope Comic-Con Exclusive Variants and gelato… this is probably the best story ever! PICK ME, ZENESCOPE!!!! 🙂 Bleeding Cool

Stranger Things are coming… premiere date and teaser revealed! Hollywood Reporter

DC will get spooky this Halloween with the new House of Horror anthology! 🙂 Nerdist

Speakin’ o’ Halloween, Spirit Halloween teases some new Tricks and Treats (and I’ve pre-ordered what is probably waaaaaaaaaaaay too many of them ;)). Bloody Disgusting

Groovy… The Daughter of Ash is coming to Ash vs. Evil Dead! 🙂 Screen Rant

The Umbrella Academy heads to Netflix! 🙂 io9

Michael Jackson gets animated in a new Halloween special! Rolling Stone

Comic Book Review – Vampirella #8-10: A murder of Crows

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks for the Vampi goodness, Superfriend! 🙂 xoxo)

“Vampirella’s back and on the hunt! Dynamite Entertainment’s acclaimed mistress of the dark continues her supernatural adventures, running a gauntlet of murder and despair across an increasingly imperiled globe. A trio of demoness assassins – the Kerasu Shimei (the ‘Crow Sisters’) – have clawed their into our world, and are intent on building a bloody monument to murder, sin and mayhem, and it will take all of Vampirella’s considerable skill to send them screaming back to Hell…” (Dynamite)

This book continues shortly after the one shot from last issue, where Vampirella was recuperating from her wounds from the battle with Dracula and Le Fanu. The book picks up with Vampirella and Sofia on a stakeout, tracking a trio of gruesome murders where three people of shady character have been crucified, with Japanese Kanji drawn in their blood beside them.  Vampirella has been contracted by a mysterious benefactor, who she has yet to reveal to Sofia, Through Vampirella’s inner musing, she reveals that she is keeping her benefactor a secret from Sofia, to not bring her deeper into Vampirella’s world.  Vampirella reveals that as much as she enjoys having a human partner, she wants to get Sofia out of this life because the last time she had a human partner, it didn’t end well for either of them.  In these quieter introspective moments, we start getting a sense of how attached and how much Vampirella cares for Sofia.  As nice as that is, the best parts of these scenes are the insinuation of the mysterious benefactor’s and former human partner.  I’m assuming her ex-partner was Adam Van Helsing, who she had a nightmare about in the previous issues.  As for who her benefactor is, I have no idea.  However, writer Eric Trautmann has me hooked liked a caught fish, waiting to see how both those plot threads play out.  In the first seven issues, Sofia is thrust into this monstrous world. She’s intrigued and captivated by it all.  Now that she’s had time to process it a little more fully, as a reader, you can see her fear and so can Vampirella, even though Sofia tries to hide it.  I love how the writer hasn’t thrust her forward so quickly, to the point where she’s okay with all the weird crap she’s witnessing.  She tries to cope by referencing that everything Vampirella does in this volume fulfills every trope from the horror movie genre.  She uses smart ass commentary to mask her fears.  That’s something I would do.  I hope the writers keep using Sofia as a conduit for the audience.  The other reason I absolutely loved this volume of issues, is due to the fact that the villains of this issue spring directly out of the first volume.  The Three Crow Sisters are Hell-Spawn, who were able to escape hell, when Vampirella’s battle with the Yag-Ath Vermellus, softened the barrier between hell and Earth.  The reason why they have killed those 3 people is because they represent cowardice, the immoral and the deceitful.  This coupled with killing Vampirella, who represents insolence, dishonors her fellow Vampires and is disloyal to them, will serve as a monument to corruption. These acts will tether them firmly to Earth, preventing them from being dragged back to hell. We also learn that the masks they currently wear are temporary tethers to Earth and amplify their strength and speed.  They are very formidable opponents, but she ultimately kills them.  However, not before the big revelation that the Crow sisters know of Vampirella’s true origins, whereas, she herself does not.  She has memories from different origins, which in actuality are different incarnations of the character in the comics, through the years.  In the book continuity, she is not sure what her real past is.  This is similar to what Wonder Woman is experiencing post Rebirth. I like this story hook, as it allows new readers to familiarize themselves with multiple possibilities, without doing too much extra “homework.”

Fabiano Neves returns on art and once again does great work.  This is going to be odd to say of a Vampirella book but the car chase scene looked good.  The art really captures the close quarters and break neck speed of the chase.  Also, the exploded car flip diversion Vampirella creates with the car, looked straight out of a Fast & Furious movie, minus Vin Diesel’s monotone acting, while still keeping the beautiful women.  The female villains wearing Guy Fawkes, V for Vendetta esque masks, looked creepy as hell.  And because the masks aren’t literally V for Vendetta masks, it never feels derivative. Since we essentially had hot vampire vs hot vampire in volume 1, they had to change things up a bit.  This is definitely visually striking.  I loved the visual of the crucified murder victims being on one hand being a darkly colored page, with his blood being the most colored object, while the other two were shown in black and white.  It gave the crime scenes a more mysterious, cold and frightening look and feel to them.  The page where Vampirella and Sofia are scouring around the abandoned farmhouse which is pitch black, and their backs are facing the “camera”/reader, is a quintessential horror moment.  It leaves you expecting and waiting for something bad or scary to happen.  That’s hard for a comic book to pull off, but to be fair, I may have cheated by playing a horror soundtrack as I read this book,

The more I read of Vampirella, the more I like the character and this book.  If you thought the story blew its load too early by using Dracula write off the bat, you’d be wrong.  I’m constantly impressed with every scroll of the digital page.  This character is under appreciated in the comic book world. If you haven’t read this book, or given this character a try, you simply must.  If you don’t, you’re truly doing a disservice to yourself and the genre!

Creepy Comic Carnival: The “Sins of the Father” Edition AKA Happy Father’s Day!!

“Ladies and gentlemen, attention please!
Come in close, so everyone can see!
I got a tale to tell.
A listen don’t cost a dime..
..And if you believe that, we’re gonna get along just fine!”

Heh.. heh.. heh… Welcome back to my Fear Fair of Fear Fare, my abominable audience! Today’s  Father’s Day, so I’ve got a twisted exhibit that’ll make you cry for your daddy! It’s a putrid parental potboiler we call… Father’s Day!

Sound familiar, Fear Freaks? Well, it should! Father’s Day  was adapted from Creepshow, the clas-sick of sick sin-ema from professional sickos Stephen King and George A. Romero. The comic was written by King and illustrated by Bernie “Swamp Thing” Wrightson. Their chiller-diller is about the worst kind of deadbeat dad… the kind who won’t stay dead!
Remember, carnage carnies… father knows BEAST… even if he’s been living under a headstone!
For your amusement and DEADucation, Here’s Father’s Day:

Sorry, Folks! The Carnival is closed. All Out and Over, All Out, All Over!

 

Scary Shorties: Swamp Thing – The Un-Men Unleashed

Ho-wdy, ho-rror ho-mies! It’s another Supernatural Saturday morning here in Horrorwood, so we got cartoon chiller to make your heart sing! See that figure lurching about the bog? The tall gentleman with the green thumb and the mossy hair? No, my freaky friend… that ain’t swamp gas. It’s…
That’s right, Kinky Kreeps! Ol’ Tall, Green, and Gruesome got his very scare-toon that aired from 1990 to 1991. Sure, it didn’t last long, but each episode is a slice of aged cheese that’s rich with all the radical ’90s flavor you krave.

Like Troma’s Toxic Crusaders, the Swamp Thing cartoon took a classic creature and Captain Planet-ed him up in a big, bad way! I  LOOOOOOVVVE super important environmental messages in cartoons, and this one certainly had one! Sure, like all programs of this nature (Ha!), Swamp Thing’s message probably wasn’t all that sincere… but these ‘toons always worked on me as a kid!  If Swamp Thing gives a hoot, than so do, muthafuckasI! 🙂

Despite only lasting 5 episodes, there was a plethora of glorious Swamp Thing mechandise swamping the shelves. This included a paint-by-number kit, a board game, T-shirts, children’s slippers, a bop bag, pencil sharpeners, and…wait for it… chalk! The line also had some kickass playsets that let you spread Swamp Thing’s message of environmental preservation… with violence! Check out these sweetazz commercials:

For your Saturday morning pleasure, we have the first episode of this swamp-tastic show! It’s exactly the kind of thing you should be watching with a bowl of Boo Berry and some monster pajamas. So, sit back and get swamped with Swamp Thing!

Like your wackily wonderful Wild Thing parody opening theme states, Swamp Thing… you are AMAZING! 🙂

#WCW: Drusilla, the Forgotten Hostess of the Vault of Horror

There have been many ho-sts by many publishers throughout the history of ho-rror comics, but the only GhouLunatics belong to EC Comics.

The GhouLunatics were the kings (and queens) of all illustrated ho-rror ho-sts, and they are known to those who tend to favor the gruesome side of comic books. Due to the popularity of both the Amicus and HBO takes on Tales from the Crypt, The Cryptkeeper is BY FAR the most well-remembered of the GhouLunatics. That’s not to say that the other two original ghost ho-sts (The Vault-keeper and The Old Witch) don’t get a fair amount of mad love, but they are still two halves of a whole Ringo. Ho-wever, if Old Vaulty and Witchypoo are Ringo, Drusilla is Jimmie Nicol, the man who was a Beatle for 13 days.

Even if you are a seasoned fright fan, you may have never heard of Drusilla. She made her debut in The Vault of Horror #37, the fourth-to-last issue of the series. In those four final issues, Drusilla co-hosted the comic with Old Vaulty, although she didn’t have much to say. Drusilla never had so much as a single speech balloon, but there was something fascinating about her… something profoundly peculiar. Her features were Hollywood gore-eous, but her eyes had a dark wisdom behind them. Was she human or vampire? Witch or ghoul? Nothing is known about her, but she must’ve been eXXXceptionally terrifying to be a GhouLunatic.

The Vault closed its door in December of 1954, so one can only speculate on what creator Johnny Craig had planned for the raven-haired ho-stess. She may have gotten her own tit-le, if the Comics Code Authority didn’t execute EC’s brand of ho-rror. Debuting only a few months after Vampira, one could argue that Drusilla was one of the original glamour ghouls. Perhaps if she had just a few more years, she could’ve joined Morticia, Lily Munster, Elvira, and the aforementioned Vampira as one of the great icons of dark beauty.



Drusilla may not have reached the iconic status of her fellow EC Creeps, but she has a special place in the cold, black hearts of us here at KH. With the recent return of EC’s Tales from the Crypt, perhaps Drusilla will get her night in the moon. Her time was brief, but wonderfully creepy. Here’s to Drusilla, the Mysterious Mistress of the Vault of Ho-ror!

#TerrorTuesday Comic Review: The Walking Dead Volume 3

(Submitted by our Superheroic Ho-mie, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Mr. A! 🙂 xoxo)

“This volume follows our band of survivors as they set up a permanent camp inside a prison. Relationships change, characters die, and our team of survivors learn there’s something far more deadly than zombies out there…each other.”


This story picks right up where Volume 2 ended. Our weary group of humans have found an abandoned penitentiary. Well, save for a group of zombies sloshing around the front gate. After dispensing of the zombies, and a little cleanup, Rick and crew believe they have found their new home, the most spacious, and safest yet.  If this sounds at all familiar, it’s reminiscent of last volume when they found the estates.  Much like that story, they found other survivors who gave them food, before also encountering other zombies.  In that story, those people were Tyreese, his daughter and her boyfriend, who are now members of Rick’s zombie hatin’ posse.  In this story, the human survivors found are four inmates, locked safely in the cafeteria.  Sure, they’re convicts, one of which was falsely accused, the other a murderer, another was a drug addict. The final member, was a tax evader.  Still, they seemed very peaceful, reformed and best of all for Rick and company, they have a kitchen full of food, canned and otherwise; enough for a prison full of people. With that in mind, Rick heads to Hershel farm, to get Hershel and the remainder of his children to move into the penitentiary.  Despite the chaos that ensued previously between Hershel’s group and Rick’s survivors, coupled with the fact that Hershel almost shot Rick, I think this gesture is a sign of Rick’s hopefulness and positivity in the face of this hell on Earth.  For the first few issues of this volume, I fell for the false sense of security Rick and Tyreese were feeling.  This is the second volume in a row, where Robert Kirkman played me for a fool. In this case, it’s a mark of great storytelling, so I am not ashamed.

Things start turning sour when Lori begins to worry and express fear about having a murderer and drug addict in their midst.  Rick agrees they should be mindful of potential threats and be cautious, yet remains staunch and optimistic that this new status quo is best for everyone. Tensions are raised higher when Tyreese’s daughter and her boyfriend botch a simultaneous suicide after a night of passionate sex. They planned to shoot each other simultaneously, but Chris accidentally fired too quickly.  When Tyreese discovers what occurs he kills Chris in a fit of anger. I can see both sides of this scenario, On the one hand, the two young lovers know their chances of surviving this zombie apocalypse are slim, so why not go out of this world on their terms, together, and as the Joker says; “If you gotta go, go with a smile.”  It’s very Romeo and Juliet…but with zombies. I understand Tyreese’s actions too, because planned or not, Chris still killed his baby girl. I’d choke the bastard too! I can rationalize both acts from both parties, given the world they inhabit.  These scenes throw an added wrinkle into the story.  What was once human on zombie violence, now has taken on an element of human on human violence.  If that isn’t a twist enough for you, how about the fact that Tyrese’s daughter and her boyfriend turn into zombies after death….without having being bitten!? Holy Plot Twist Batman! I seriously didn’t see that coming.  It’s not explained, as to how it’s possible either. So I wonder, is the zombie gene within every human? Will this ever be answered? It better damn well be because I’m so curious. This plot point leads to a cameo from a character we haven’t seen since the first issue.  If that wasn’t enough proof of the unpredictability of this book, Hershel’s two daughters are murdered and beheaded.  Yes, in the midst of all this, Robert Kirkman had to throw a murder mystery into this story and at no point does this book feel overstuffed or bogged down by it.  Naturally, Team Grimes, specifically Lori, lays blame on either the murder suspect or the former drug addict.  Unsure, the group decides to lock them both in separate cells.  When Andrea is attacked by the criminal who was convicted for tax evasion and her earlobe cut off, Rick loses it, and nearly beats the man to death. Despite protests from his fellow survivors, Rick unilaterally decides that murder will not be tolerated and death will be met with death. So Rick has him thrown outside the gates of the penitentiary, where he is attacked and killed by zombies. The previous suspects are released, but stage a mutiny holding Rick and company at gunpoint, ordering them to leave the penitentiary. Rick finally snapped and the tipping point was Hershel’s daughters being killed. He blames himself for their deaths. However, you can see the events of each volume chipping away at Rick’s calm and sanity.  It continues to affect his relationship with Lori. She’s even getting more snappy with him, though part of that is self admittedly her pregnancy hormones.  One thing I love about this book is that every event counts and affects the next story. Nothing is written as filler. Even if I leave this books for weeks or even months, the preceding storyline stays in the back of my mind, racing to the forefront when I pick up another volume.

Charlie Adlard returns for his second stint on the title.  He definitely seems more comfortable in this world and with these characters. There seems to be more detail in his work.  Last volume, I said the lack of color detracted from the setting of winter.  This time though, it works for the setting.  Inside and outside, the penitentiary looks spacious. There’s a dichotomy with the art on the interior of the Penitentiary.  The kitchen looks plentifully, while the rest of the place looks baron and desolate.  The best two zombie images are the pov shot of Rick and Tyreese peering into the gym seeing a horde of zombies on the other side of the door.  The other standout is when Tyreese is attacked by the zombie horde and they all swarm on top of him.  .  The most gruesome images are the human vs human violence. Tyreese’s dead daughters lying beheaded was disturbing, but the details of Rick dolling out a beating on the murderer is intense.  You can see the welts and bruises on his knuckles, without the aid of coloring.  The best cover of this volume is the one with Rick riding his motorcycle. When in doubt, remember that riding a motorcycle always looks badass!

At this point, I’m not sure if I’m going to watch the TV show.  Too many friends of mine have said it deviates too much from the book and that the storyline has disappointed as the seasons have gone on. One thing is for sure, I’m sticking with the comic book because it keeps getting better and better. I have a long way to go but I’m excited to read more, It’s no wonder this book tops the charts every time a new issue is released each month.

Comic Book Review – The Lost Boys

(Submited by our Heroic Ho-mie, Mr. Prince Adam…Thank you, Super Sir! 🙂 xoxo)

“Santa Carla, California is on edge. The eccentric coastal town and haven for the undead was finally returning to “normal” after its last supernatural scuffle left the local coven’s head vampire dead and gave newcomers Michael and Sam Emerson a housewarming both violent and bizarre. Now the brothers must once again team up with militant vampire hunters Edgar and Allan Frog when a new gang of ruthless, stunning, life-sucking nightcrawlers known as the Blood Belles emerges from the aftermath to collect Michael’s love interest and their lost sister, Star.” (Vertigo)

It’s confession time; I have never seen The Lost Boys. I know, shame on me! The only reason I knew of it was because Kiefer Sutherland was in it. I really became intrigued by it, when Ms. Diana Prince got all excited over The CW developing a TV series based on the film property. So I tracked down the film, before hitting another stumbling block. That stumbling block was the film being directed by Joel Schumacher. Ever since Batman & Robin, my movie viewing has consisted of a “Sans Schumacher” rule. So I thought me and this film ever crossing paths was a no go! Then DC Entertainment, through the Vertigo imprint announced a comic book miniseries. So this was my compromise. Having read the book, and thoroughly enjoying it, as well as for reviewing purposes for this site; I will break my “Sans Schumacher” rule and watch The Lost Boys! See how much I love this site! Aside from liking this book, another reason I must watch the movie is because this book is a sequel to the film! I simply have to watch the events that led to this story unfold. Having said that, if you’re like me and have never seen the film, this book is not confusing. It tells you the basics. Brothers Sam and Michael move to Santa Carla. Michael falls for a girl he meets on the boardwalk named Star. However, Star has ties to a guy named David, a Vampire. Michael is lured into and seduced by the world of the Vampire’s. That leaves Sam, his grandfather James, and two other Vampire Hunters known as the Frog Brothers to save Michael. Our story picks up with the David and his gang of Vampire’s seemingly dead. Sam works at the local comic book shop (bonus points), Michael works at a retirement home, but is also making a life with Star, who’s trying to live amongst us as a human with his family. Meanwhile, his grandfather operates a flailing vampire hunters group out of a Veterans Center known as the Santa Carla Hunters Union. What I loved about this early portion of the book was that writer Tim Seeley catches the reader up to speed with the film just enough, yet works some other spoilery pertinent information about the film for later, when it serve his new story. I enjoyed the Frog Brothers. They kind of remind me of a younger version of Bill and Ted, mixed with the Stranger Thing kids. My one problem is that they seem to be too young for any responsible adult to train and allow go out & hunt Vampires. This is the same problem I have with Bruce Wayne allowing and training 9 year old Dick Grayson to fight crime and be his partner. Both cases are socially and morally irresponsible. Maybe it’ll play out differently when I watch the film, but right now, as they are presented in the book, it bugs me a little. I like that Sam works at a comic book store and in said store, there is a book that mirrors the events of the film. I like when comics and movies have that cool Meta aspect to them.

The peaceful status quo is interrupted when a fire erupts at SCHU headquarters. This lures the remaining few hunter left outside and the vampires kill them, including Michael and Sam’s grandfather. This action causes Star to flee and Michael to chase after her. Meanwhile, the Frog brothers are on the case, trying to figure out what the vampires are up to. Armed with wooden stakes, crosses, holy water and garlic, they find themselves at the Santa Carla Sea Caves, where they discover an underground female gang of vampires known as the blood belles, who revived David and secretly used an unknowing Star, to lure Michael and the Frog Brothers to their caves. Their ultimate goal; to resurrect the lost Vampire City of Xibalba, which had been lost under these caves thanks to earthquakes for six thousand years. Along with the city, their inhabitants, the Mothers of Vampires will be resurrected. To do this, they need to drain the blood of a half human/vampire of his blood, which is why they have Michael, as well as sacrifice a virgin, which is why they kidnapped the Frog brothers. This aspect of the story offers so much to like. First, is the classic method to kill a vampire. I’m a sucker for the tried and true techniques of killing a vampire and it’s nice to not see a story try and reinvent the wheel just to be different. I love that the new vampire threat in town is a gang of women, better still that they are revving an ancient civilization’s group of vampire’s. With rare exceptions like Buffy, Vampirella and Van Helsing, the vampire genre’s history is to position women in the roles of damsel’s in distress. It’s good to see them take the lead here and to be villainesses power houses too! Even David, the lead Vampire is working FOR them. He is their minion and that is a bold statement by our writer. As for how David survived death from the film? He was given an injection of blood from the Mother’s in stasis, which heals his wounds. I like the idea that their blood can save fellow vampires, as well as the conceit that a mere injection of vampire blood can turn humans into vampires. Typically, a human injected with vampire blood has to die before turning but here the change can happen amongst the living, which is unique. At least to me it is. Star’s Sire and chief member of the Blood Belle’s, Billy was the daughter of a master and a slave. While she was freed, she was chased by a witch hunter who branded her with the mark of a witch. As a result, her townspeople attempted to burn her. However, she was saved by a vampire, one of the original Blood Belle’s. Ultimately, she dies in the third act of this book, by watching sunrise, one last time. I was entranced by her origin but feel as though it was glossed over. They could do her origin story and early history justice with a comic book miniseries. Her death served to tell the reader that in this books mythology, when a sire dies, their offspring return to being human. This presents Star with a dilemma at the end of the story. Does she take the injection of blood from the mothers of vampires, or does she live out her days as a human, waiting to succumb to her pre-vampire disease of cystic fibrosis? Oh btw I am so not spoiling the end. Read it and see for yourself.

I do have some problems with the finale of the book. For one, Michael, Star and the Frog Brothers are rescued by Sam and an underdeveloped character known as The Believer. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy this guy as a vampire hunter. He has more in common with Ashton Kutcher in Dude Where’s My Car, than he does with Abraham van Helsing. Not to mention, we’ve already chronicled Sam’s non experience as a vampire hunter. The Mothers of Vampire’s were built up as such a threat, with their blood holding so much power, yet, they are given so little time to showcase their true levels of badassery. In the end, they are felled by a Vampire bomb thrown into the cave by Sam, which causes the cave to crumble on top of them. I think that was a waste of great setup for these characters. Also a waste, was the subplot of the residents of the Hughes Retirement Home being turned into vampires. First off, the turn was done off page, so you didn’t know it happened until you see them. Add to that, the fact that they are confronted and killed within half an issue. This book suffers from pacing problems, and could have easily been an 8 or 12 issue maxi series. All is not lost though. These problems could be fixed in a follow-up comic, which I believe is likely, since the ending suggests that original Lost Boy, David, once again escapes eternal death in this story.

Steve Godlewski is the artist for this book and provides great work. While his art is nowhere near as realistic looking as Alex Ross, I think the characters bare a strong resemblance to their film actor counter parts. This is especially true of David. You can definitely see a young Kiefer Sutherland in the rendering. One panel that is particularly beautiful is the shot of the Santa Carla boardwalk all lit up during a night setting. Also, in terms of picturesque beauty, the final image of Michael and Star kissing on the bluff as the sun sets, looks like something you’d see in and old school film like Gone With the Wind. Let’s get to the vampires shall we. I loved the look and wardrobe of the Mothers of Vampires. The Ancient Egyptian look really gave weight to their distinction as the mothers of vampires. One extremely striking image was the pages featuring the residence of the old age home as vampires. It’s striking because recent movies, television and books don’t depict elderly people as vampires. It’s typically reserved for the “young and beautiful.” The most gruesome images of the book go to the flashback of Billy being burned at the stake and David being skewered in the head/eye. I have to give special mention to the early pages of Sam working in the comic book store. On the walls, you can spot actual comic books from the 80’s including John Byrne Superman and John Ostrander Suicide Squad issues.

This was a really good book. I’m glad I decided to read it. Sure, I had some issues with it but overall it was fun and I got invested into most of the characters. This book is so good it has me eagerly looking forward to watching a Joel Schumacher film. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the highest amount of praise I could give to a comic book.

Creepy Comic Carnival: The “Pranks for Nothing!” Edition

(Submitted by that Interdimensional Man of Mystery known only as…The Talker. Thanks for this festive fiXXX, Ho-rror Ho-mie! :)) xoxo

“Ladies and gentlemen, attention please!
Come in close, so everyone can see!
I got a tale to tell.
A listen don’t cost a dime..
..And if you believe that, we’re gonna get along just fine!”

Step right up, my foolish friends! To-day is indeed a rare one: April Fools’ Day. What a truly glorious howl-iday this! Ghouls and boils are encouraged to commit as many horrible, nasty acts to their “friends” and “loved ones” as possible, and the victims are just supposed to laugh it off ’cause tradition! Heck, lyin’ is grinned upon, if you do it well enough! It’s cruel! It’s mean! It’s a gas! Even your old boney Talker likes to gag around on this day! Why, about an hour ago, I gave a fellow a peanut can full of snakes… Cobras, that is!

If there’s any group of creeps who appreciate a sick joke, it’s the fine fiends over at EC Comics! Their joke concerns two doctors and a corpse that’s not quite dead. Puzzled, my abominable audience? See, I’m not the sort to spoil a good punchline, so I’ll let the comic tell this twisted joke. Chickens need not read on! With sickening artwork by Jack Davis, this one will surely knock ya dead! From the putrid pages of Tales from the Crypt #37, it’s Dead Right!

Still craving some jolting japes, folks? Well, good ol’ Horrorwood’s got ya covered! See, when HBO’s Tales from the Crypt was still hauntin’ the airwaves, they adapted just about every EC chiller-diller they could get their slimy claws on, including Dead Right! Under the new title of Abra Cadaver, the HBO skeleton crew made the men brothers and added some good ol’ fashioned nudity and a tinge o’ gore! For your amusement and education, I present Citizen Kane

APRIL GHOULS’!

Sorry, Folks! The Carnival is closed. All Out and Over, All Out, All Over!