Posts Tagged "horror"
A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends Low #1

The best science fiction is a measured balance of concept and idea.  The concept is the hook, it draws the reader in with its inventiveness.  The idea is what gives a good science fiction story resonance.  Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run and X-Men all have great sci-fi concepts: a future where apes have evolved beyond humans, a futuristic society that kills off anyone over the age of 30, a group of teenagers born with metahuman abilities.  No doubt these clever stories are what initially drew readers and viewers in, but these three concepts have strong ideas behind them that have continued to reverberate with readers for decades: a treatise on evolution and man’s inhumanity to man, an indictment of youth-obsessed culture, an allegory for racial prejudice.

Rick Remender's new comic, Low, has both concept and idea.  The concept is overflowing with imagination (would we expect anything less from the creator of Franke-Castle?): in the future, an expanding sun has doomed the human race and driven them underwater, where they live in an encapsulated city besieged by “Road Warrior”-esque pirates and scavengers.  The idea, meanwhile, is universal- how do we find hope in the face of the inevitability of death, in this case the knowledge that the sun will soon engulf the Earth?  Remender sets this heady existential question, one that’s plagued philosophers from Kirkegaard to Ernest Becker, within an exciting, colorful universe, a world replete with majestic fantasy landscapes and riotous underwater battle sequences.  It’s a perfect blend of concept and idea tied together with the vision of a true artist and highlighted with masterfully evocative artwork by Greg Tocchini. High-minded ideas and aristry aside, Remender really knows how to tell a story and this first issue left me genuinely excited, maybe even a little anxious, to find out what happens next.

[Read Low #1 on comiXology]

For fans of: horrorscience fiction

Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends Zombillenium #2

Zombillenium Vol. 2 is finally here!  When Vol. 1 came out last summer it totally charmed my socks off, so I was very excited to see Vol. 2 on our release slate for this week.

For the uninitiated, Zombillenium is an absolutely gorgeous graphic novel series from French cartoonist and graphic designer Arthur de Pins.  The story centers on a “spooky” themed amusement park, the eponymous Zombillenium, and its highly unusual staff.  Park guests are wowed by the zombie make-up, ghostly special-effects, and monster costumes; little do they know that everything in the park is real.  After all, why use make-up when you can employ the legitimately undead?

If the set-up sounds a bit hammy, trust me when I say that de Pins’s superb execution lets this book soar high above its premise.  The characters are delightful, the writing is snappy and very funny (though you may have to excuse the occasional awkward translation), and did I mention that the art is absolutely gorgeous?  Each page was created digitally using Adobe Illustrator and the result is a distinctive, crisp, cartoony style that looks like no other book out there.  The characters are all lively and dynamic, the colors all pop; really I could just stare at this book for hours.

Volume 1 introduced us to the characters and the park, while management dealt with declining sales and a labor dispute with the Zombies Union.  This new volume keeps the focus on the running of the park, which is now having some trouble with the locals.  Employing thousands of undead, while the nearby area suffers double-digit unemployment for the living, will tend to ruffle some feathers.  When a couple of local villagers enact a plan to infiltrate and sabotage the park, they’ll find more than they bargained for beneath the rides and cotton-candy machines.

I really can’t recommend this book highly enough.  It’s light-hearted with a distinctly dark edge; the characters are charming, the dialogue is witty, and the artwork is stunning.  Go check it out!

For fans of: comedy, horror, supernatural

[Read Zombillenium #2 Here!]

Mike Isenberg is an Associate Production Coordinator at comiXology, and the co-writer of FIRST LAW OF MAD SCIENCE.  He lives in Harlem with his cats, TESLA AND EDISON

A comiXologist Recommends:
Emily Forster recommends The Sleep of Reason

If you’ve been let down by supposedly scary stories that fail to scare, you must read The Sleep of Reason. If you want to read something “different” but nothing so far has been different enough, you must read The Sleep of Reason. If you’re an appreciator of the impressive range of style and vision in comics, you must read The Sleep of Reason. In short, you must read The Sleep of Reason - if you’re feeling brave enough.

This independent horror anthology boasts “No Zombies. No vampires. No werewolves. No familiar solutions… Let us give you something to be afraid of.” They mean it. Each of the 34 creators featured in this book has done their part to remind us that the genre of “horror” means more than just “containing monsters or spooky elements,” and should mean “actually horrifying.” The suspenseful, the gruesome, the psychological, the fantastical, and even the all too real - every flavor of creepiness you can think of has a place in this collection. Each short comic is so different from the next that it might seem odd for them to be in the same book at all, if it weren’t for the same pure relish in the eerie and sinister they all share.

Any anthology of works by so many different contributors tends to have a few great comics mixed in with some not-so-great ones, so I was surprised and delighted to find that every one of these 26 stories is exceptional in its own right. A few of my favorites are “Old Echoes” by Lety R-Z and Stevan Zivadinovic, a classicly creepy tale with a fantastic payoff, “Growth” by Melanie Gillman, which legitimately made me lose my appetite, and “Artifacts” by Evan Dahm, which might be one of the most brilliantly imaginative comics I’ve read all year. Of course, many more than just these stuck with me… including some I kind of wish I could forget.

If your hunger for the weird and the wicked can’t be satisfied by just one book, check out dark fantasy series Locke and Key and collection of Jack Davis’ classics ‘Taint the Meat… It’s the Humanity!  But before you rush off to read The Sleep of Reason, take note that it does contain some pretty disturbing content - whether that’s a warning or an encouragement is up to you.

[Read The Sleep of Reason on comiXology]

For fans of: horror, anthologies, supernatural

Emily Forster is a Digital Editor at ComiXology and a cartoonist. She likes comics about food and fights to the death.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends Spread #1

The end of the world, or rather what happens after the end of the world, is big in the cultural consciousness right now.  In the past month, The Leftovers and The Last Ship have debuted on television and Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer has opened in cinemas.  Recent comics have presented a diverse array of post-apocalyptic scenarios as diverse as The Wake, Kranburn, Crossed: Badlands and The New 52: Futures End.  The latest among these is Spread, which proposes a particularly treacherous landscape replete with disease, roving bands of marauders and deadly tentacled monsters straight out of John Carpenter’s The Thing.

At the center of this chaos is a lone wanderer known only as No.  Speaking very little and wielding a pair of hatchets with deadly skill, No recalls the antiheroes of classic Spaghetti westerns or Samurai films.  In fact, as No finds himself caring for an infant in this debut story, Spread specifically recalls the classic Manga and film series, Lone Wolf and Cub.

Whatever the reason for this current spate of end-of-days narratives, Spread is a welcome addition.  It’s good, gory fun for fans of horror and action.  The monsters, bright red and dripping with goo, are some of the best I’ve seen in comics since the X-Men first encountered the Brood.  No makes for a compelling central figure.  He’s tough but not ostentatious, grim yet compassionate.  I’m looking forward to seeing where Spread goes.  Issue one is enthralling and shows the potential for an exciting, unpredictable new comic.

[Read Spread #1 on comiXology]

For fans of: horrorscience fiction

Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Jen Keith recommends Chicacabra

Isabel Sanchez, also known as Izzy, loves beetles and her Uncle and smoking with her friends. She doesn’t love pretending that everything is okay at her high school when her life and family were torn asunder only a short time ago. Still lost in a haze of getting along day by day while her own mother serves as a painful reminder of her loss, Izzy’s life is upturned once again as one lost girl becomes two when a chupacabra makes her its host body in Chicacabra.

Tom Beland's cartooning is simple yet so very expressive. With a few lines he's able to pull and engage you into a folklore of his own creating. The poignant scenes of familial bonding balance wonderfully with the comical moments of Izzy hulking out into a bloodthirsty creature that, despite being the stuff of horror legends, is just as endearing and clueless as the teen girl it inhabits. Chupacabras aren't just goat-sucking creatures; their myth is revived into something new and heart-wrenching.

On top of the folklore of the less-explored chupacabra and vejigante (which had a fascinating interpretation and I’d love to see a book just exploring Beland’s vejigante retelling), we’re brought to a new environment not as common in comics: Puerto Rico. The culture is as lush as the cast is emotive through Beland’s detail and specific locales, and it’s refreshing to see a different city from the usual set.

For lovers of expressive black and white comics, mythology, and finding your strength in times of loss, check out I Kill Giants for more young heroes finding their strength to conquer and, in time, accept what life throws at them. Until then, bring your love of folklore and a box of tissues with you for reading Chicacabra.

[Read Chicacabra Here!]

For fans of: female leads, POC leads, horror

Jen Keith is a Digital Editor at comiXology, comic artist, music addict, and kind of wants a chupacabra of her own now.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Kate Kasenow recommends The Woods #3

In the first two issues, new and original BOOM! Studios’ series The Woods established itself as the perfect storm of apocalyptic high school adventures in sci-fi horror. If that phrasing alone seems a bit intense for you, then you’d better fasten your seatbelts, because issue #3 is one wild ride.

Despite what the faculty and staff seem to think, things are looking grim for the students of Bay Point Prepartory Academy. After getting mysteriously transported to another world, the principal is daydreaming while the athletics department is turning the school into the dystopian setting of 1984. Meanwhile, Adrian Roth is fighting over control of a ragtag group of students with Sanami Ota. Both have powerful ideas about what needs to be done, but, unfortunately, so does everyone else.

Underneath the fantastic setting and lurking horrors of the plot, the story is essentially a diverse set of character studies. Writer James Tynion IV (jamesthefourth) has done a brilliant job of delving into each character’s personality and initiatives while still leaving a lot of mystery for readers to contemplate. Not to be discounted in the least, Michael Dialynas’ (thewoodencrown) artwork gives a unique look and feel to the multitude of genres represented. I’ve long been a fan of Dialynas’ work and seeing him tackle both endearing character moments as well as monstrous acts of violence is both refreshing and invigorating. Like a bright cherry atop this cake of terror, Jose Gonzalez’s colors add vibrance and surreality to this mysterious new world and its newest residents.

By now you might be asking yourself, “Why high school students? How will they survive? Who’s behind all this?”

Jump into The Woods now and find out!

[Read The Woods #3 on comiXology!]

For fans of: actionscience fictionhorror

Kate Kasenow is a comics artist from Indiana currently living in Manhattan. She works at ComiXology as a Lead Digital Editor and spends most of her spare time re-reading J. R. R. Tolkien.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends Judgment Day

The impression one walks away with after reading Judgment Day, a collection of science-fiction stories drawn by Joe Orlando, as well as the other recently released volumes in fantagraphics' EC Comics Library is that, had the 1954 Senate Subcommittee Hearings on Juvenile Delinquency not led to the formation of the Comics Code Authority, effectively rendering EC unable to continue publishing their forward-thinking but hard-edged line of crime, horror and sci-fi comics, the medium of comics as a whole would have been viewed much earlier with the kind of legitimacy it has garnered today.  EC is known today for producing gory, controversial horror comics like Tales From the Crypt and Vault of Horror, these titles and others they published contained superior art and writing to anything else being published at the time (one notable exception being Will Eisner’s The Spirit.  In addition to the high quality of their comics, EC brought an intelligence to their work, with literary adaptations of Ray Bradbury stories, satirical humor in , and comics dealing with important issues of the day, such as racism and anti-semitism.

The title story in “Judgement Day,” written (like many of EC’s best stories) by Al Feldstein and drawn by the legendary, influential Orlando, is one of such story, dealing slyly yet poignantly with racial prejudice.  It was the censoring of this comic by the Comics Code, in fact, that inspired EC Publisher William Gaines to turn his focus from comic books to Mad Magazine, of which Orlando would eventually become associate publisher.

History and controversy aside, pick up Judgment Day for, if nothing else, the wonderful stories and beautiful draftsmanship by Orlando, presented in crisp, detailed black and white.  Whether your interest is in what could have been or just what was, you are in for an experience.

[Read Judgment Day on comiXology]

For fans of: horror, classics, science fiction

Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.

A comiXologist Recommends - MANGA EDITION:
Harris Smith recommends Death Note

Manga is hitting comiXology in a big way this week with the addition of Viz to our slate of publishers.  Among the first wave of titles are several popular favorites (Dragon Ball Z, Naruto) and cult classics (Nana, One-Punch Man).  Falling squarely in the middle is Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s Death Note.  Originally published from 2003 to 2006, Death Note became something of a media phenomenon in Japan, inspiring a novel, a video game, an Anime series and three live action feature films.

Odd but eminently readable, Death Note tells the story of Light, a bored teenager who discovers a book that allows him to cause the death of anyone whose name and face he knows.   The book belongs to Ryuk, one of the most remarkably designed demons in comics history, a hulking gothic-glam monstrosity who looks like a cross between Liberatore’s Ranx and Steve Ditko’s The Creeper.  Rather than try to get his Death book back, Ryuk views Light’s murderous schemes with a kind of bemused ambivalence.

Rather than veer into familiar teen horror, nerd revenge territory, Death Note is fairly epic in scope, as Light, mad with his newfound power, uses the book to attempt to rid the world of evil, not out of altruism, but in order to recreate the world as a Utopia with himself as “the god of the new world.”  This imaginative grandiosity is a big part of Death Note’s appeal.  The story is daring and unpredictable, sometimes absurd and humorous, other times stark and frightening.  Death Note is a fast-paced, fascinating example of the heights of creativity Manga has to offer.

[Read Death Note on comiXology]

For fans of: horror, supernatural

Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio


A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends Nightbreed #1

Not too long ago a co-worker of mine, knowing my taste for weird horror flicks, recommended that I check out Clive Barker's 1990 film Nightbreed. Having enjoyed Barker’s other creations (Hellraiser, Lord of Illusions, and Candyman), I promptly put it on my “to watch” list and then forgot about it.

Fast forward a few months, I notice that BOOM! is soliciting Nightbreed as an upcoming comic series.  Reminded of my co-worker’s recommendation, I finally tracked down the film and gave it a watch.

It’s pretty great.  Supernatural horror clearly stamped with Clive Barker’s particular strain of wonderful weirdness.  Without giving too much away, the story features a secret, subterranean city called Midian, populated by supernatural freaks and outcasts known as the Nightbreed, all of whom have sworn off any contact with the natural world.  The film is filled with colorful characters, imaginative designs, and a relatable underdog story.

Like Hellraiser before it, Nightbreed presents the surface of a vibrant mythology.  But whereas Hellraiser has had numerous sequels to explore the nature of the Cenobites and their puzzle box, the Nightbreed have only the one film to tell their story.

Enter writer Marc Andreyko and artist Piotr Kowalski, to continue the story in comic book form, with assistance from Barker himself. 

Issue #1 starts off the new series with a peek into present-day Midian, before delving into the Nightbreed’s past.  In the swamps of 1857 Louisiana a couple flees a lynch-mob only to have one of the Nightbreed intervene, though perhaps not in a way they would have liked.  And in 1945 Boston a senator visits a house of ill-repute that caters to some very particular tastes.

The story being told is all new, so you don’t have to have seen the movie, although some knowledge of the basic premise (i.e. Midian is a secret city, home to outcast monsters known as Nightbreed) does help.  The book is tense and mysterious, and definitely worth checking out.  For fans of the movie, fans of Clive Barker, or fans of weird horror in general, I can absolutely recommend this book.

[Pick up Nightbreed #1 here!]

For fans of: horror

Mike Isenberg is an Associate Production Coordinator at comiXology, and the co-writer of First Law Of Mad Science.  He lives in Harlem with his cats, Tesla and Edison

A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends Afterlife With Archie #5

Afterlife With Archie isn’t just good for what it is, a comic about the Riverdale gang facing off (and, at times, turning into) zombies, it’s one of the best comics out there right now.  The brilliance (and I don’t think it’s hyperbole to call this series brilliant) of creators Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla (francavillarts) is that they take a high-concept idea, one that easily could have degenerated into an in-jokey zombie parody, and play it totally straight.  Rather than play off the familiar, superficial traits of the well-established Archie pantheon (Jughead likes food, Moose is dumb, Reggie’s a jerk), Aguirre-Sacasa and Francavilla delve deep into the inner lives of Archie and the gang, not just placing these characters out of a comedy context and into the horror genre, but giving vivid, thoughtful depictions of their emotional responses to seeing their friends and loved ones turned into shambling ghouls. 

Many of the characters here (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, for instance) have never been portrayed with such depth before (though the dramatic Life With Archie often comes close) and it is a credit to Aguirre-Sacasa as a writer that he manages to do so with great knowledge and affection for the established characteristics of Archie and company.  There’s an air of gothic horror here, and also a touch of Stephen King in the rich characterizations and small-town ambiance (Augirre-Sacasa previously adapted King’s The Stand). 

Francavilla’s (again, without hyperbole, I’m going to call him one of the best artists working in comics today) artwork perfectly compliments the moodiness of Aguirre-Saca’s writing.  Making excellent use of shadow and color, his work recalls the eerieness of Bernie Wrightson’s Swamp Thing, with a touch of the atmosphere of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson’s noirish early 80s run on Daredevil.

[Pick up Afterlife With Archie #5here!]

For fans of: zombieshorrorparody 

Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Negative Pleasure on Newtown Radio.