David’s Haunted Library: The Howling issue 2

The Howling is a horror franchise that doesn’t get a lot of respect. It started with a trilogy of novels by Gary Brandner which was made into a movie in 1981. From there the movie had seven sequels plus a reboot that is coming out soon. The Howling doesn’t get a lot of attention because some of the sequels weren’t very good but it has its fans and now The Howling has become a comic series distributed by Space Goat publishing.

I recently received a copy of issue 2 of The Howling written by Micky Neilson with art by Jason Johnson and Milen Parvanov. The story is simple enough, we have Chris Halloran who is seeking redemption but is threatened by a conspiracy of epic proportions and we have Marsha Quist who is on a blood soaked quest to find the mysterious Hand of Akkara. This comic series is a direct sequel of the first Howling movie and takes place a few weeks later with the same characters.

If you are a fan of the original movie, you will love this series. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie but the first issue of the comic gives you a recap and in this second issue we get into the conspiracy to keep Karen’s transformation into a wolf on live tv from getting any more attention than it has already gotten. This comic is like a trip down memory lane, being a fan of the first movie it was fun remembering it and seeing where this new story was going to go. The art here is excellent showing some great action scenes with a female werewolf doing battle with some armed gunmen. If you like werewolves, conspiracies and reliving a classic movie series then give The Howling series a try.

http://www.spacegoatpublishing.com/

https://merchgoat.com/product/howling-revenge-werewolf-queen-2/

David’s Haunted Library: Monster Smash-Ups and Pray For Darkness

David's Haunted Library

Monster-Smash-Ups-02I haven’t read a lot of comics over the last few years but recently I found myself wondering what good horror comics are out there? It didn’t take to long to find an indie horror comic publisher that’s putting out quality horror comics and graphic novels. Scary Tales Publishing is run by Kevin M. Glover and produces comic anthologies that are a throwback to the black and white horror comics of yesteryear, such as Tales From The Crypt and The Vault Of Horror.

The comic I read from Scary Tales Publishing was Monster Smash-Ups Issue 1.Monster-Smash-Ups-03This book contains 40 pages and 6 stories of monster mash-ups. Some of the things that you will see if you pick up this anthology is astronauts on a strange planet trying to escape a space monster, Dracula versus an Arthurian knight, a horde of mummies, a swamp monster fighting zombies and a diary written by Anne Frankenstein. If you love monsters then you can’t pass this up.

Every story in this book was good but the one story that really stood out for me was The Diary Of Anne Frankenstein. The year is 1887 and young Anne Frankenstein is hiding in an attic as the angry villagers are going through town killing all the creatures of the night and throwing them in a pit. Anne may be a child but she has skills and the villagers will be sorry they messed with her. This story is an obvious nod to  The Diary Of Anne Frank and looks at intolerance in a fun way. I would love to see a series based on this story.

Monster smash-Ups is a lot of fun and a must have for horror fans. It takes me back to a time when I liked to sit in my room with my friends looking through horror comics and saying how cool the monsters in it were. I got a great sense of nostalgia while reading this book. You can tell that the artists and writers who put Monster Smash-Ups together have a true love of the genre. Great art, a sense of humor and fun story-lines. This is everything a horror comic should be.

http://www.fracturedscarytales.com/

http://www.screamwriter4hire.com/

23791949Many explorers have died in the Amazon and their bodies were never found. The jungle has been called the Green Hell and its a vicious uncaring place full of predators of different shapes and sizes. But this fact doesn’t seem to stop thrill seekers and tourists from visiting the jungle. Ben and his friends are about to take the trip of their lifetime into the untamed jungle.

What starts off as a wondrous trip into a beautiful part of the world, quickly becomes a fight for survival. On their way to a campground their boat captain is murdered and the tourists are stuck in a remote location where no one can find them. Now they have to make their way back to lodge they came from while being stalked by something that wont let them leave the Amazon alive.

Pray For Darkness by James Michael Rice is a horror novel where the jungle itself is the main character. In the beginning its described as a beautiful place with exotic animals, luscious fruit and it has everything you would need to live off the land. Later in the book we see it as the ultimate killer that can end your life in a thousand different ways leaving your body where it will never be found.

The jungle is a living, breathing dangerous thing in Pray For Darkness and that’s what made this book great. One of my favorite scenes in this book didn’t include any people but instead focused on animals struggling to survive in the wild. The chapter starts with a family of capybaras being stalked by a jaguar. The author gets into the heads of the animals and you see how hard it is for them to thrive in this place. I found myself feeling emotion for the capybara trying to save its family and the starving jaguar just trying to survive.  Then the scene gets more horrifying when a group of bigger predators arrive.

The predators in question could be considered zombies but in my opinion they are faster, smarter and more vicious than zombies. There is one scene when one of the characters is turned into a zombie like creatures that is downright chilling. This is when the book changes from being about the beauty of the amazon to a horror novel. I also loved how we see the character’s personalities change when they are confronted with danger. You could say this book is two books in one.

The thing I didn’t like about Pray For Darkness was that it took a long time to get into the action. The first half of the story focuses on the characters which I didn’t find interesting. The book picks up in the second half though when we find out about the wild humanoids that are stalking the campers. My favorite part of this book was the descriptions of the jungle and I would have liked this book even if it didn’t have any characters. This book brings to life an exotic location that I have never experienced and that was what made it worth reading.

Black Creators in Horror Comics

Black Creators in Horror Comics by  Lori Titus

    Horror comics strive to accomplish much in a small space. Smart dialogue, breathtaking art and storytelling flow that is simple enough to convey ideas in a few frames but compelling enough to draw the reader in for more takes patience, talent, and collaborators worthy of the task. For Black History Month, I wanted to spotlight some of the rising  comic book creators of African/Black decent who breathe life into the complex  worlds that combine horror and ethnicity.

Eating Vampires by Regine Sawyer.

Set in Africa during the 1900’s, this tale follows a caravan of women making a trek across the desert. Imbued with mysterious powers, they are led by Regil Alexa. She is an “eater,” a shapeshifting apex predator that is the worst nightmare of any vampire. Regil has been tasked with protecting a little girl named Evelyn, the last link of a dying breed. Despite the fact that saving the child means risks to her own safety, she will endure what she has to in order to uphold her duty.

Evelyn is no slouch either. The little girl wears afro puffs, wields a knife, and keeps company with a cheetah named Madix who can change form into an even larger cat when needed.

Check out this and Sawyer’s other comic creations at www.lockettdown.com .

Shadowclub Karma by Rocbottom

Shadowclub is composed of a team of classic monsters who have been resurrected to save the world. The story goes into detail with back stories for each. Readers will thrill at the new take on stories including Dracula, The Wolfman, and more. A world so messed up that only the most reviled creatures can save it proves to be an intriguing premise. And don’t let the classic monsters here make you think otherwise; the dark underpinnings of this story and graphic violence make it a solidly adult read.

Part 1-3 are available at www.Truthfulcomics.com.

Offset by Delvin Howell

Someone – or more aptly, something– is stalking Kyle Harding.

Set on an imaginary island based on Barbados, the young hero of this story begins to notice odd things happening after the death of his mother. Lights glow on his evening walk home, flute music sounds in the air, and one night, he sees a specter in the darkness. Can he save himself and his family from what awaits him in the unknown? Luscious art, beautifully done suspense and the unexpected locale give the story true life and texture.

Check out the comic book at www.beyondpublishingcarribbean.com  .

Malice in Ovenland by Micheline Hess

Hess creates a fairy tale/horror comic about Lily, who gets more than she expected from her mother’s simple request. She’s an imaginative little girl who is upset that she didn’t go to camp for the summer. Among other things that she needs to do, one of her chores is to clean the oven. What Lily doesn’t know is that inside the oven is a portal into another realm,  ruled by the evil Queen of Oven Frites. She will be forced to fight for her freedom and learns some important lessons along the way. Think of this story as a cross between a Grimm fairytale and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

1-3 are available at www.comixology.com/Malice-in-Ovenland .

R.R.H by Orlando Harding

What if the old tale of Red Riding Hood was true, with a few nasty details omitted?  What if the werewolf was a powerful Alpha, whose bloodline has survived to this day?

This is the premise behind R.R.H. The story opens with Sydney Woodman’s seventeenth birthday, and she is doing normal things, celebrating with her girlfriends. She even gets the gift of a new car from her parents. What she didn’t expect was to be told that she is one in a line of descendants who have fought against wolves throughout history. And at seventeen, she is now ripe for the picking. It’s an inventive story with a plucky, quick witted heroine.

For more of the R.R.H universe, go to www.rrhcomic.com .

 

**********

Lori TiLori Titus Headshot.jpgtus is a Californian with an affinity for dark fiction. Her work explores mysticism and reality, treading the blurred line between man and monster. She thrives on coffee and daydreams when she isn’t writing or plotting out her next story. Her latest novel is The Bell House. She is also the author of Hunting in Closed Spaces (The Marradith Ryder Series) and co-author of two novels with Crystal Connor under the name Connor Titus.

David’s Haunted Library: Two from 01Publishing

Arkham_coverIt was the mid 1940’s and things weren’t going well for Private eye Hank Flynn. He just got out of the war and moved to the mean streets of Arkham. Or out of the frying pan and into the fryer.   Hank has seen terror in the war but that doesn’t compare to what he sees when he is hired by a wealthy socialite to find an artist named Pickman.  Hank’s search leads him into a world of witches, ghouls, black magic and straight into the hands of the Innsmouth  mafia. Hank is up against an evil that he has never experienced and he is the only one that can stop the darkness that threatens Arkham.

Casefile: Arkham is written by Josh Finney and Illustrated by Patrick McEvoy and is an original take on the works of H.P. Lovecraft with a nod to Raymond Chandler. While reading this I felt like I was watching an old 1940’s mystery movie. The dialogue, the way the characters acted and the fact that everyone smoked and wore a hat, made this book feel like an old movie.

Josh Finney’s writing style is excellent, and Patrick McEvoy’s art adds to the creepiness factor. When this book begins there is a sense of dread, The city of Arkham is a dark place and Hank’s knows this but he is hoping for a new start. Right there the reader is invested in the story because you instantly like Hank but wonder in a place where monsters dwell (and we see in the beginning that there are real monsters here)how can you find something to be happy about? 

I love the character of Hank Flynn. There is a scene where his client sends him to a fortune-teller and we hear a commentary of him questioning god. Hank is a catholic but after fighting in the war he is angry with god. He questions religion but he still wants to believe.  Before seeing the fortune-teller he has a great speech where he mentions whether it’s a crystal ball or a bible, the name of the game is to get rubes to part with their hard-earned cash. I love how Hank feels, he is a man looking for answers for his clients and for himself. Later we meet a woman named Glynda, a Wiccan who runs a book store and is one of the few people who Hank seems to trust. I loved how Hank has feelings for her but because he is  Catholic he feels that being with her would be blasphemy. Hank is a man at conflict with himself and Arkham is a place where evil dwels. I found myself rooting for him to get a happy ending despite the world being against him

I can’t say enough good things about this book. The story is good, the characters are deep and realistic and the art is beautiful. Casefile: Arkham is a work of art and a good example of how art and great storytelling can be combined to make the perfect graphic novel. You could tell this book was a labor of love. I hope this book gets enough support where 01 Publishing can turn it into a series because it made me want to seek out more horror comics to read.

1871264301 publishing has more than one book that is inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Whispers From The Abyss is an anthology edited by Kat Rocha that contains 33 stories that were influenced by Lovecraft. I have to admit that I haven’t read a lot of Lovecraft but being a horror fan I still enjoyed a lot of the stories in this book. What really surprised me was how different all the stories were.

Not all the stories here were gems but there was some good ones including Death Wore Greasepaint by Josh Finney. This one is about a down on his luck man named Charlie who runs a cable tv station and a clown named Wilbur who has found his life’s purpose.  I love how this story uses a kids show set in the  present and ties it into Lovecraft’s mythos. Who would have guessed a clown could start the apocalypse. I love how this story describes intestines coming out of a body and then a character says: “I’ll never eat pasta again.” The best thing about this story is that The Octopus King has shown me how to be happy. Read the book and you will understand.

Another good one in this collection is Fear and Loathing in Innsmouth: Richard Nixon’s Revenge by Jason Andrew. This one is set in the seventies and follows a man who is trying to find proof that Richard Nixon is evil. This is an original story that combines a little humor with a little bit of horror. I love the references to Easy Rider, Ron Jeremy and the two quotes that open the story. Anything goes in this one and it has a good twist at the end.

Also getting points for originality is My Friend Fishfinger by Daisy, Age 7 written by David Tallerman. I love that this is written from the perspective of a girl whose parents follow a god that’s different from the one she believes in. If you know Lovecraft’s work you probably know who the god is. I love how this story is told, its like seeing evil through the eyes of an innocent child who doesn’t know what she is in for. The title is deceptive and the story is short and creepy. If you like the works of Lovecraft and Weird Tales in general pick up Whispers From The Abyss and if you like this one Whispers From The Abyss 2 is also available.

The Wrong House

Imagine a gang of three teen misfits out to have a good time and raise some havoc on Halloween night. Nothing could possibly go wrong, everyone makes a little mischief on Halloween. Trouble is what you find though, when you knock on the wrong door and mess with the wrong people.

I can’t tell you to much about the story line behind The Wrong House because that would spoil the fun. This is a short independent Horror comic, its written by Curtis Lawson and illustrated by Kay. The comic was published by Broken Soul Press which was started by Curtis Lawson so he could publish his own comics. Some of Curtis Lawson’s other titles include: Curse Of The Black Terror, Kincaid and Gallows Of Hell. If You like independent underground comics that have great art and are very dark, you should check out Broken Soul Press.

The Wrong House is beautifully done and reminded me of the EC horror comics of the past.  The story is told out of order which was a nice touch,  because if it was told in a linear fashion it would not have worked. The Wrong House has the feel of an old slasher film but there is a moral to the story and there is a lot more to it then just blood and guts. For it only being 25 pages long there is some good storytelling and some excellent dark and moody art here. The Wrong House is what a good horror comic should be: it has a dark mood to it, good characters and a shocking twist.

You can find out more about The Wrong House at Brokensoulpress.com and theblackterror.com and you can find The Wrong House for 99 cents at graphicly.com. Know of any good horror comics out there, leave a comment on the blog and let us know.