Thursday, October 31, 2019

Emma Frost bags out halfway through this one, she's not spending Halloween with kids.


It's August as I write this, and was brighter than the surface of the sun when I went out earlier, but we're still blogging as Halloween a comic as I could find! From 1998, Generation X/Dracula, "Children of the Night" Written by Joseph Harris, pencils by Tomm Coker, inks by Troy Hubbs. (I'm glad the GCD had that, those credits were nearly impossible to read there!)

The cover--an homage to X-Men Annual #6, and the back cover features Bill Sienkiewicz inks!--makes it look like this is going to be fairly straight-forward: Dracula attempting to sway Chamber, with the restoration of his ruined face. (I thought it should be just a glowing, ruined hole; or at least jawless; but Chamber's face is portrayed here as if merely wrapped. He seems less wrecked than Jonah Hex or Snake-Eyes, and that was kind of supposed to be his whole deal!) But the story is more impressionistic and a bit vague: there are multiple dream sequences, vampiric thralls that are magically restored to human in the end, and an ambiguous ending that's probably never followed up on.

Aside from the It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown trick-or-treaters, there are more callbacks to X-Men Annual #6 than I had thought: the 'D' emblazoned scarves Dracula gave to his special favorites, and a character stabbing Drac that probably should've finished him.
(From X-Men Annual #6, "Blood Feud!" Written by Chris Claremont, pencils by Bill Sienkiewicz, inks by Bob Wiacek.)

In this case, it's Husk finally realizing she could change into wood and stab him, but she misses the heart. Rrrrright. There is an interesting moment slightly earlier, when Dracula is about to bite her, and she sheds a ton of skin at him to get away. For Drac, I imagine that would be like trying to bite into an apple and finding nothing but multiple layers of skin: gross, and oddly unsettling. Overall this issue's not in the ballpark of its inspiration (partially because I'm not as attached to the Gen X kids) but it has a couple interesting visuals.

Yes, googum's not my real name...
Out of the 1999 annuals oddball pairings, we've blogged X-Men/Dr. Doom, Hulk/Sub-Mariner, X-Man/Hulk. I probably still have Machine Man/Bastion somewhere, but I think I actively skipped Alpha Flight/Inhumans recently. Maybe I might've coughed up for it, if I realized it maybe might have the Stan's Soapbox where he answers a question from me! Collect them all!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

"Host."


So the idea for this one came from that Avengers Halloween Special, but also came far too late to do more than this! It may also be cribbed from the Simpsons non-Treehouse of Horror episode Halloween of Horror, in which Homer tells Flanders they're doing the horror stories next week, and blasély rattles off three premises. None of which they actually did, come to think of it.
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Tuesday, October 29, 2019


Ok, my cover for this one is dinged a bit, but the stories beat the last issue of this title we saw! From 1974, Weird Mystery Tales #13, featuring "Come Share My Coffin" Written by Jack Oleck, art by Jess Jodloman; "His Master's Voice" Written by Jack Oleck, art by Alfredo Alcala, and "Search for a Werewolf" Written by George Kashdan, art by Alex Niño.

"Come Share My Coffin" could be titled, "When Gaslighting Goes Wrong." Since their father left everything to simple older brother Peter, John and his wife Myra hatch a scheme: first, John fakes his death. Then, he 'returns' as a vampire for his wife. Peter drives John away with a cross, but later Myra tells the cops he's crazy. Since John's body is back in the coffin by the time the cops check it, they don't do anything; and Peter doesn't bother to call them later when John returns. Dismayed that Peter isn't going insane fast enough, they decide to escalate their plan to murder; but when Myra goes to see if it's done, a very much alive Peter caves her skull in with a lamp! The confused Peter had no idea why Myra would be in his room in the middle of the night, thought she was a vampire, and pow. The cops, not buying Peter's story, take him down to John's coffin to show him the 'vampire' is still in there. And of course he is! Peter had nailed the coffin shut, and John had suffocated...Is there a name for when gaslighting blows up on you? I'm thinking about it.

"His Master's Voice" has a dog mourning his dead boy, and is too sad to even go into. I didn't come here to get my heart broken, comic! In "Search for a Werewolf" a movie director goes to great lengths to make his movie as authentic as possible, and said werewolf dies what might be the lamest werewolf death I've ever seen, but at least I hadn't seen it before.
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Monday, October 28, 2019


My Cowboys just lost again, which doesn't narrow down when I wrote this, but we might as well squeeze in another issue of this one: From 1973, Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #50.

"Legend of the Totem" is a fun enough yarn: a vacationing family visit an Indian Native American tourist trap and hear a legend of a lizard god versus a bear one. The language may be a bit dated, but it felt like it was trying: "Zaqui Zeke," the proprietor of the tourist trap, was an authentic native but had gone to Wharton business school. Back when that meant something...Art by Jack Sparling.

"Taking Care of Business" is of a line of horror/suspense stories that's largely defunct with the advent of cell phones: a couple on vacation, lost, stumbles into trouble. In this one, the couple find shelter in a secluded house, but keep seeing glimpses of a too-tall face. Still, don't always assume the worst. (Art by George Roussos.) In "The Raging Sands," a prospector finds a potentially valuable statue, but it seems to be getting heavier and heavier as he tries to take it through the desert. (Art by John Celardo.)

Finally, in "Live Bait," two men are left on an island surrounded by piranhas and with a giant man-eating lizard. They have a knockout powder that could maybe take out the lizard, but one of them would have to be the bait. (They had plenty of powder: both men could've loaded up on it, split up, and at least they would both have a chance.) As usual for this style of story, somebody has to try and cheat; but that usually insures they'll get theirs. (Art by Jose Delbo.)

A random selection of old Gold Keys, and I feel like I've typed the names Delbo and Celardo more than a few times. And probably will again!
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The cover promises "3 Mind-Mangling Tales of the Mysterious!" but there are four inside? Maybe one isn't mind-mangling, it's up to you...From 1975, Where Monsters Dwell #37, featuring a bunch of stories reprinted from somewhere else!

I swore I had read the opener, "Behold--the Monster!" before; it's a Stan Lee/Steve Ditko one. As an alien invasion heads towards earth, a hype man builds a giant paper-mache monster to advertise a new movie. Although it seems like a success--and he takes the statue on tour!--the hype man's boss comes down on him like a sack of bricks. The cops are claiming its blocking traffic, parent groups are writing in, and how much did you spend on that thing? Still, he might feel better if he knew the statue foiled that invasion.

"The Strange Prison!" is from Sub-Mariner creator Bill Everett, and in it a scuba diver finds an undersea kingdom and a beautiful princess. So of course he's gonna rob it. "The World Beyond" is Lee and Ditko again, as a scientist refuses to let his colleagues stop his experiments, and shrinks himself and his dog into a familiar looking sub-atomic world. No, not the one with the Micronauts on it. (Well, kind of?)

It's Lee and Don Heck for the last story, "Fangs of the Monster," in which a man begs passersby to believe his story about a sea monster that was more than it seemed. You won't believe it either! Which was kind of the point? Ah, it's late, I'm tired.
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Friday, October 25, 2019


We shouldn't let a month of horror comics go by without a Vertigo book, should we? And yet it's another limited series I have three of the four issues of, except that sting is lessened for an anthology title. From 2000, Strange Adventures #3, cover by Edvin Biukovic.

Joe R. Lansdale and Richard Corben open with "The Split," in which a clock-loving worksman in the bell tower is nearly struck by lightning, which splits off his shadow, which aims to fulfill a repressed desire. Doselle Young writes and Pat McEown draws "Driving Miss 134," a torrid confessional break-up postcard from a guy stricken by a new girl, in multiple senses of the word. But the best of this issue is "Metal Fatigue," written by Mark Schultz, art by John Totleben. An obsessed geologist leads an expedition of three robots to previously unknown depths of the earth. Treasures and danger await the geologist...but what do the robots want, if you asked them?

We saw the first issue of this series years back, but I've still never seen the fourth. Something to keep an eye out for.
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I'm pretty sure I'm doing that thing where I have a ton of posts scheduled yet still fall behind; but we're still doubling-down on Halloween posts as much as we can. Today, a ludicrously beat-up copy of 1974's Red Circle Sorcery #6, cover by Gray Morrow. I think mine actually has a cigarette burn on it, but we'll see what we can!

Morrow also does art for Steve and Mary Skrenes' "Warriors Dream" and a one-page werewolf piece. Not bad, but I was surprised to find a Howard Chaykin story in here, "The Patience of a Cat," written by C. (Carole) Seuling. When her lovesick swain won't take 'get lost' for an answer, the witch Linnet turns him into a cat! (She may have taken him for a chump, but he was kind of asking for it.) She keeps the jealous "Tomkin" as a pet, ignoring how jealous he is of her other lovers; but that cat may be playing the long game.

Most of this--and a ton of Gray Morrow work--was reprinted in something called Chilling Adventures in Sorcery from Archie. Which is more horror reprinting than Marvel or DC have done in a while.

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

80-Page Thursdays: DC House of Horror #1!


Ah, I bought this a little bit ago, but am so disorganized I'm not sure I've read this before now? From 2017, DC House of Horror #1, featuring stories by Keith Giffen and others, pencils by Kyle Baker, Howard Porter, Bilquis Evely, Rags Morales, and others.

How often does DC do these now, quarterly? This one's got eight horror spins on classic characters, all plotted by Giffen. I'm guessing a zombie one by chapter six! Let's see: "Look! Up in the Sky!" is a slasher story with baby Superman as the unstoppable killing machine. In "Man's World" Ouija board hijinks lead to a girl becoming possessed by the spirit of Wonder Woman...in this case, a man-killing harpy.

"Crazy for You" has a former Arkham worker turned serial killer by the ghost of Harley Quinn, which may or may not be all in his head. There's a lot in "Batman's" head in "Last Laugh," then yes! Zombies, in "Blackest Night" as Green Lantern has to deal with the fastest zombie dead.

"Stray Arrow" features a vigilante-turned-serial killer Green Arrow and his pretty bird prisoner; while "Unmasked" has another serial killer stealing faces, the beast Leviathan, and a district attorney trying to make sense of it all. And finally, Howard Chaykin draws "The Possession of Billy Batson," in which a 50's greaser-looking Billy is repeatedly cajoled to say the name.

No spoilers, but there is not a happy ending in this lot. I know some prefer their horror stories that way, but I prefer the monster get got and the final girl get away at least on occasion.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

"Prom."


This strip (and the next one, if I'm honest!) runs pretty squarely against "show, don't tell" as we hit a wall in what I can do with action figures. It's not like I have a young Nightcrawler figure...wait, I do, all those X-Men Evolution figures. Well, it's not like I have a young Elsa Bloodstone figure. Although...do I still have that Baby Bonnie Hood from Darkstalkers? Well, it's not like I have costumes for them! Although...

Actually, since I'm getting ready to move next month, I shouldn't even have the stuff I do have out. And I shouldn't be buying more figures to have to move as well. And I almost certainly should be packing instead of trying to plot out another strip, so you can easily guess what I'm up to.

Nightcrawler pretty memorably threatens a guy with neck-biting in the classic Marvel Graphic Novel #5- X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills. His potential victim panics and spill his (figurative) guts; but I wonder if Kurt's ever had his bluff called. Or started giggling midway through, after a bad Bela Lugosi-styled 'Blah!' "I vant to su-- Ach, sorry; let me try that again..."
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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Satana should get to properly host a horror comic.


Today's book was not what I thought it was going to be: From 2018, Avengers Halloween Special #1, featuring "The Eyes Have It" Written Rob Fee, art by Eoin Marron, color art by Mike Spicer; "Whatever Happened to the Richards Family?" Written by Gerry Duggan, art by Laura Braga, color art by Arif Prianto; "The Thing From Another Time" Written by Jen and Sylvia Soska, art by Jonas Scharf, color art by Jordan Boyd; "Punisher of the Opera" Written by Jay Baruchel, art by Luca Pizzari, color art by Michael Garland; and "Haunted Mansion" Written by Robbie Thompson, art by Bob Quinn, color art by Cris Peter.

The title page is a repurposed Vicente Alcazar Satana, warning the reader the heroes are gone, and monsters are in their place. I kinda thought the whole thing was going to be reprints, but no; the rest is new. Sort of. These are mostly versions of classic horror stories, repurposed with Avengers. Or other heroes, as in the opening "The Eyes Have It," where Matt Murdock finally gets new eyes. It's strictly in horror movie territory, so I don't think it's a spoiler to tell you he's not going to like what he sees. That could be a riff on anything from Dead Man's Eyes to the Eye; it's fairly well-trod ground, but still nicely done, especially since I wasn't expecting it right off the bat.

Next, in "Whatever Happened to the Richards Family?" Doctor Doom attacks the FF, not for his usual vengeance, but because only he has realized the horrifying truth about them. There may or may not be a direct horror analog for that one (or if it's the first one that occurs to me, it'd be a spoiler) but "The Thing From Another Time" wears its influence on its sleeve: it's John Carpenter's the Thing with Iron Man versus another thing from the ice, Captain America! Guest-starring (briefly!) Colossus and Deadpool! It's an interesting homage; but I'm not sure if it needed a few more pages to play out, or if the bit would've worn too thin if pressed further.

"Punisher of the Opera" is an odd mashup spin on two stories you know, as a French Francis Castiglione avenges his wife, a murdered opera singer. I liked that one better than "Haunted Mansion," where some kids explore the spooky, abandoned Xavier's School for the Gifted, and find some literal and figurative ghosts.

DC seems to do this type of story more often (as we'll see Thursday!) so I wonder if this was Marvel testing the market. I don't know if all of DC's stories are as um, directly inspired, as this one was. I wouldn't mind if Marvel tried this again, though: you could pretty easily get a few issues out of Spider-Man horror.
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Before Christmas or before Halloween? Flip a coin...


I personally don't, but I imagine some people get as sick of Halloween crap in the stores at the end of August as others do of Christmas stuff in October. Today's book could go either way! From 1987, Elvira's House of Mystery Special #1.

The first story is probably the best, even if it is a standard: "Elvira's Christmas Carol" Written by Joey Cavalieri, art by Frank Springer. An exhausted Elvira has nothing but snark for Christmas, so of course she gets the three spirits treatment; in this case portrayed by former House of Mystery hosts Cain, Abel, and Destiny. While she has a perfectly reasonable reason for disliking how "the holiday forces you to pay attention to it!" her Christmas future with a silent Destiny suggests maybe that's not the worst thing in the world.

"Oh, What Fun to Laugh and Sing a Slaying Song Tonight!" from Michael Fleisher and Jack Sparling is a fairly standard crook on the run dresses up as Santa number; then Barbara Randall and Stephen Destefano's "O Christmas Tree" is a cartoony, fun romp about the perfect tree...for murder. "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" from Ed Hannigan is a post-apocalyptic shaggy dog story; and a bit cheerless. I don't necessarily know that Elvira's stories were supposed to be more cheery than DC's usual horror fare, but I always expect more jokes.

Y'know, I think Netflix recently passed on some kind of Elvira show; and I gotta say I would've watched it. Hope she turns up somewhere!
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Monday, October 21, 2019


The cover promises a bit more sci-fi horror than the interior delivers, but there's still a smidge: from 1984, Alien Worlds #8, cover by John Pound.

"...And Miles to Go Before I Sleep" is a sentimental story by William F. Nolan and the great Al Williamson: a rocket captain contracts an alien disease, and is told he would die long before making it home to see his parents. Unwilling to break his promise to return, the captain sends a robot duplicate to visit his parents, then dies. But he may not be the only one considerate of others.

"Soft Boiled" is a private detective story where the clues don't add up, but there's a reason for that. (Written by Bruce Jones, art by Paul Rivoche.) It was okay, but I liked "Collector's Item" better: written by Bruce Jones, art by Ken Steacy. A young boy is bound and determined to complete his familiar-looking collection of "Venus Invades" trading cards, but the last card he needs may be an unpleasant surprise. (I'm 90% sure I still have the Mars Attacks novel Steacy did the cover for.)

"Stoney End" has a Wally Wood/Weird Science homage going, as another rocket captain reads his Wonderful Planet Stories comic to take his mind off of the mess his ship was in. It ends sadly, but with acceptance, possibly in more than one sense of the word.

Pretty sure I have another issue of this lying around, lets see if he can cram that into the month!

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