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!

Thank You, Bernie Wrightson.

The curtain always rings down on the stage at some point. Nothing lasts forever, but art comes close. Art can be a persistent force, if rendered properly. Beauty, no matter how unconventional, can linger on for a good many centuries and remain as it is. An artist’s voice stays loud and strong, even if the artist has left us. Bernie Wrightson has died, but he still exists in the works he gave us. Mr. Wrightson brought beauty to horror comics and gave humanity to monsters. Creatures have their own poetry, and Wrightson’s art made it known. He made his beasts majestically terrifying and brought out the soul behind every ghoul. We lost one of the greats.

The following obituary on the artist’s official website:

“It is with great sorrow that I must announce the passing of my beloved husband, Bernie. We thank you for all the years of love and support. His obituary is below:

After a long battle with brain cancer, legendary artist Bernie Wrightson has passed away.

Bernie “Berni” Wrightson (born October 27, 1948, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) was an American artist known for his horror illustrations and comic books. He received training in art from reading comics, particularly those of EC, as well as through a correspondence course from the Famous Artists School. In 1966, Wrightson began working for The Baltimore Sun newspaper as an illustrator. The following year, after meeting artist Frank Frazetta at a comic-book convention in New York City, he was inspired to produce his own stories. In 1968, he showed copies of his sequential art to DC Comics editor Dick Giordano and was given a freelance assignment. Wrightson began spelling his name “Berni” in his professional work to distinguish himself from an Olympic diver named Bernie Wrightson, but later restored the final E to his name.

His first professional comic work appeared in House of Mystery #179 in 1968. He continued to work on a variety of mystery and anthology titles for both DC and its principal rival, Marvel Comics. In 1971, with writer Len Wein, Wrightson co-created the muck creature Swamp Thing for DC. He also co-created Destiny, later to become famous in the work of Neil Gaiman. By 1974 he had left DC to work at Warren Publishing who were publishing black-and-white horror-comics magazines. There he produced a series of original work as well as adaptations of stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. In 1975, Wrightson joined with fellow artists Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta, and Barry Windsor-Smith to form “The Studio,” a shared loft in Manhattan where the group would pursue creative products outside the constraints of comic book commercialism. Though he continued to produce sequential art, Wrightson at this time began producing artwork for numerous posters, prints, calendars, and coloring books.

Wrightson spent seven years drawing approximately 50 detailed pen-and-ink illustrations to accompany an edition of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, which the artist considers among his most personal work. Wrightson drew the poster for the Stephen King-penned horror film Creepshow, as well as illustrating the comic book adaptation of the film. This led to several other collaborations with King, including illustrations for the novella “Cycle of the Werewolf,” the restored edition of King’s apocalyptic horror epic, “The Stand,” and art for the hardcover editions of “From a Buick 8” and “Dark Tower V.” Wrightson has contributed album covers for a number of bands, including Meat Loaf. The “Captain Sternn” segment of the animated film Heavy Metal is based on the character created by Wrightson for his award-winning short comic series of the same name.

Characters he worked on included Spiderman, Batman and The Punisher, and he provided painted covers for the DC comics Nevermore and Toe Tags, among many others. Recent works include Frankenstein Alive Alive, Dead She Said, the Ghoul and Doc Macabre (IDW Publishing), all co-created with esteemed horror author Steve Niles, and several print/poster/sketchbooks series produced by Nakatomi.

As a conceptual artist, Bernie worked on many movies, particularly in the horror genre: well-known films include Ghostbusters, The Faculty, Galaxy Quest, Spiderman, and George Romero’s Land of the Dead, and Frank Darabont’s Stephen King film The Mist.

Bernie lived in Austin, Texas with his wife Liz and two corgis – Mortimer and Maximillian. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, John and Jeffrey, one stepson, Thomas Adamson, and countless friends and fans. A celebration of his life is planned for later this year.”   

R.I.P. Mr. Wrightson