The Strange Adventures of H. P. Lovecraft #2 (May – 2009 – Image)

The Strange Adventures of H. P. Lovecraft #2

After waking up from a dream that he plans on converting to a Weird Tale H.P. Lovecraft discovers that the dream is in fact reality. That the sailors that mugged him, took his watch, and his money were in fact attacked in the night and brutally murdered.  Unfortunately his watch was found at the crime scene and he is instantly suspected of being the murderer.  After all both of his parents succumbed to insanity and his spinster aunts, though dotting, fear him just a little bit.

HPL isn’t going to let a little suspected criminal activity prevent him from going back to the library to visit the love of his life and find out the news that she was eager to give him the day before.  Before he can talk to her though a dark and foreboding book that sits in the middle of the library calls out to him.  It knows that he is the key to some kind of gate, and begins to reveal itself to him when the book is interrupted by Sylvia’s new fiance.

Fiance is a bit of the jock bully type and leaves no question in HPL’s mind that he wants him to never be around Sylvia again.  The dejected, and some what weak willed Lovecraft just sulks home.  Unable to even bring himself to write he falls asleep, only to awake from a dream where fiance dies a horrible death at the hands of something unknowable and evil.

HPL is on his way to rescue the fiance of the woman he loves.  Arriving at the home crazy things are afoot.  Rooms falling apart into landscapes of outer space.  Creatures that seem to have no beginning and no end with beautiful nude women for hair, and infants tumbling from tentacle and fanged mouths.   All the while HPL attempting to defend a man that he calls his friend, but that took his woman.  The creature has a message for Lovecraft too, a dire message of warning.  Lovecraft is single minded in his focus to get his friend out of the mad house though, and somehow he manages it to do it, with some of his sanity intact (doesn’t seem like all of it though).

I wasn’t super impressed with the art in this title until about half way though this issue.  As soon as the creature springing from the pages of Lovecraft’s actual tales appears this issue makes a drastic turn for the amazing.  You could just sit and try and pick apart the craziness that is the Shoggoth that attacks this home, there is so much detail and conflicting imagery that it is stunning, a real tribute to the skill of Tony Salmons.

Mac Carter puts together a great story as well.  This is a great mixture of crime and Mythos fiction that honestly probably deserves a little more recognition than the title gets.  I wish they would have turned this into an ongoing series, it could have been stunning.

Next Time: Darkhold #4


The Walking Dead #1 (October – 2003 – Image)

The Walking Dead #1

At this point everything about this comic book is basically iconic.  Almost everyone has either read these comics or they have been watching the wildly popular show (when my fellow chef’s are asking me week to week if I have watched the newest episode, you know it has hit the main stream).  I’m trying to come into reviews of the comic clean though.  Trying my best to not put Andrew Lincoln’s face over the comic book version of Rick Grimes.  Trying really hard to not hear the actor’s voices.

With that in mind here is Rick Grimes in a shoot out on the highway.  Rick is shot.  Rick wakes up in the hospital, post zombie apocalypse.  As he stumbles through the wasteland of Harrison Memorial Hospital he has his first encounter with the walkers.  A cafeteria full of them attack and through dumb luck Rick survives, only to escape into a world gone horribly wrong.

Making his way back home he encounters more of the dead.  His mind seems unable to wrap its way around what is going on.  Because of the information  overload he doesn’t notice when  Morgan and Duane Jones sneak up behind him and knock him on the head with a shovel.  He awakes in a strange place again, but surrounded by much friendlier faces.  Morgan and Duane give him a meal and a place to stay for the night, so Rick repays them with guns and weapons, but he is moving on in the hopes of finding his family in Atlanta.

Robert Kirkman has a handle on the tone of people in an impossible situation.  Rick is filled with hope and promise.  He expects to just make his way to Atlanta, find the police or the Army there protecting it, and his family safe and sound.  Morgan and Duane feel the same way, that if they hole up in the house they have taken over that they will be just fine when the Army comes and wipes out all the zombies.  They are still ignorant to the world that they find themselves in, and unfortunately I can no longer divorce myself from what I know of the story.  Their hope is sad, because they live in a fairly hopeless world.

A world rendered in glorious black and white detail by Tony Moore.  Moore doesn’t need color to convey the rot and decay of the zombie horde.  They are nasty and frightening looking.  There is so much focus on how viscerally disgusting they are that sometimes the living get lost in the mix, and that is a good thing.  The Walking Dead at this point is all about the zombies.  The people are just there to be fodder for now.

We all know about the TV show, and how amazing this comic is, but revisiting it I can see why all over again.  This is just the beginning and unlike so many first issues, I know that I’m already re-hooked.

Next Time: Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance #3


East of West #1 (March – 2013 – Image)

East of West #1

There is a certain level of genre bending that I love.  The heart of this blog is all about horror comics.  The creatures that go bump in the night, the evil that lurks deep within, and on and on.  Sometimes though, there needs to be the kind of comic in here that makes us all think, “What the hell just happened there?”

East of West is that title.  What Hickman has presented for us is just short of insane, verging on brilliance.  With Nick Dragotta bringing it all to life with his art, it is truly one of the best books I have had a chance to read in a while (and I’ve been reading a lot of books lately).

This book basically has it all.  There are the four (or at this point three) horsemen of the apocalypse.  All of it takes place in a dystopian sci-fi alternate reality where the US is made up of several nations.  It has a western flare for pistols, cowboy hats, and indians.  It has piles of bodies and gore.

It is just unclassifiable, and that makes it perfect.  The story seems interesting (but like all first issues it is just a framework for the rest of the issues).  The art is phenomenal, Dragotta has an style that is almost manga in style.

This is just the kind of title that I want to read until its done.  I really hope that this is an ongoing series with no end in sight.  It excites me, confounds me, and refuses to be classified   This is everything that comic books can be, and should be, and though my excitement about the title in general may cloud my judgement in this review, reading it didn’t let me down at all.  I am so excited to get my hands on the next issue.

Next Time: Hellraiser: The Dark Watch #1


Revival #2 (September – 2012 – Image)

Revival #2

The second of Tim Selley and Mike Norton’s rural noir picks up right where issue one left off.  Dr. Ramin of the R.C.A.T. team is doing the post-mortem on Arlene Dittman the old lady who Martha had killed in the previous issue.  But to the surprise of the coroner and Dr. Ramin, Mrs. Dittman still isn’t dead yet.  There is something more to the Revivers than just your simple zombie outbreak.

Meanwhile Dana Cypress has been reprimanded by her father, and kicked off of the R.C.A.T. team because her sister Martha was on the crime scene with her.  What her father doesn’t know is that Martha is one of the Revivers too.  That secret weighs heavy.  The sisters both have their own ways of dealing with the secret though.  Dana heads to a bar and hooks up with a guy, Martha heads to the bar, and tests the limits of her new abilities and picks a fight.

Enter Mr. Abel (the only name that he has been called by so far though), a demonologist and exorcist who is having a boom in business.  His claim to the parents of a possessed girl that the revival of the dead brought a lot of other darkness along with it.  So as an exorcist he also knows how to spot a fake, and the woman that is trapped in a room with him has no idea that he is about to call her out on her bullshit.

This comic is dark.  The characters are flawed and human, but engaging.  But this title is serious business.  It pulls no punches and just doesn’t let up on its relentless nature.  I am really enjoying this title and can’t wait to read on.  Mr. Abel can only be a great character and the conflict brewing within the Cypress family can only get really messy.  It is starting to feel less like a noir and more like a gothic.

Next Time:  Hellboy: In Hell #2


Morbius: The Living Vampire #2 (April – 2013 – Marvel)

Morbius: The Living Vampire #2

I was none to kind to the inaugural issue of this Morbius reboot. I probably won’t be to kind to this one either.   In general this just isn’t the best thing that you could be picking up month to month, but I’m hoping against hope that this will turn into the kind of awesome title that it was when I was a kid.  Last issue was left with a cliffhanger.

Morbius shotgun blast to the chest, laying on the ground in the throes of death, this is going to be the shortest run of a comic book ever.  But he has super healing powers (like we didn’t know that), so he “dies all the time.”  In his ressurection, because if he dies all the time he ressurects all the time too, he meets a young homeless woman who offers to take him in after watching him take a swing at Noah St. Germain, the bad guy.

I would like to take a moment to thank the writer of Morbius for acknowledging that St. Germain looks like, “An 80’s punk fever dream reject.”  I get that he is a bag guy, and that he is supposed to be the head gangster in charge of the shittiest suburb of New York City ever, but really?  I just don’t get why he had to look like the punk on the bus in Star Trek IV.

Naturally the issue moves towards another fight with Noah St. Germain, when the homeless girl tells Morbius that her friend’s little boy is hanging out with St. Germain.  Morbius goes to get him back, and the gang of thugs and punks tries to attack.  So Morbius goes fangs out on St. Germain, pretty ending the issue in a wash of blood and teeth.

This title just isn’t satisfying at this point.  Part of it is the silliness of the characters.  Part of it is the idea that this is going to just build up into tougher and tougher crime bosses.  Part of it is that all of the supernatural elements have been taken out.  Part of it is that Morbius is literally just some bum in a movie theater.  Part of it is that the art just doesn’t have that dark feel, it feels just like any other super hero book at this point.

A letter in the second issue illustrates this point perfectly, albeit with a very different opinion on the results:  “I really enjoyed the art in this issue.  Elson seems to have done this in such a way that it is dark and moody but, at the same time, is not completely depressing due to the drab environment ”  It is dark and moody, but not too dark and moody, exactly the problem.  I’m not asking for it to be depressing, but it is a title about a man who has to drink blood to survive because of a disease.  It is horrific, it is dark, it is serious business.  As a writer I understand the need for levity to make the dark moments darker, but this is something else.  This is horror lite.  I love the Morbius character and I really want this title to turn around.

Next Time:  R.I.P.D.: City of the Damned #1


The Strange Adventures of H. P. Lovecraft (April – 2009 – Image)

The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft #1

What better foil for a Lovecraftian adventure, that good ole HPL himself.  That is exactly what The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft aims to do, and to a certain extent it works.  One part biography and two parts fiction, this casts HPL in the role of quiet writer, suffering from serious writers block, woman woes, and to top it all off a mugging.  He confronts all of this with a resigned and grudging acceptance.

First he visits the woman that he loves, at the university that she works at.  While passing a book it seems to speak at his mind, indicating that he is some kind of conduit.  The woman that he loves gives him the brush off, so in a dejected state he heads to the pier to collect his thoughts.  While there he is mugged by two sailors.  When he gets home after being mugged, Lovecraft continues to struggle with his writers block.  Musing over the evils that beset him at all sides until he falls into dejected sleep.

When he awakes he tells his spinster aunts that he lives with that he has had a dream about the men that mugged him being attacked by other worldly forces of vengeance.  They tell him that is exactly what has happened and that it is in the paper.  So starts the adventure.

I have a pretty good idea of where this little tale is going to go over then next three issues, but I’m excited to see where it goes anyway.  Mac Carter (the writer) seems to have a very good grasp on the mythos and how it feels, without having to just jump right into the story of the elder gods. The art from Tony Salmons, is vivid and really catches the feel of the 20’s in pretty lurid detail as well making this book a hit for me.

The best part of this series is that I picked them all up at my local comic book store in the dollar comics box.  So for four dollars you really can’t go wrong with this title.  If you have a chance to pick them up, do!

Next Time: Darkhold #3