Can Dark Horse Comics See The Future? I Kind of Hope Not

PANIC 

Ha and double ha, Dark Horse Comics! Getting Volume 1 of PANIC ($49.99) out in this rather panicky election year that’s giving plenty of people the heebie-jeebies for any number of reasons. Yeah, yeah – it wasn’t planned to happen this way, but it’s still funny (to me at least). I’d only seen a few very ratty issues of the mag at a comic convention way back in the 80’s, so finally getting to read through the first six issues in a sturdy hardcover tome was a great exercise.

It’s interesting to see everything intact from the nicely recolored art to the editorial pages that note the climate of the time that was VERY anti-comics at the expense of killing of companies left and right that couldn’t or wouldn’t conform to the crazies. Great satire and parody hold up to even the most pointed of criticism, so despite some very dated references, there are still plenty of laughs to be had. So, remove that stick from where it’s lodged, have a nice seat with your feet up and prepare to exercise those smile muscles that of late have probably turned into a near-permanent scowl. Oh, and one more thing: consider a good moisturizer before reading as Dark Horse is not responsible for cracked faces from perusing what’s here.

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READS: More Scary As Hell Stuff From Dark Horse Comics

Harrow County Vol. 1‘Tis the season to still have some scary reads handy if one likes such stuff and thankfully, Dark Horse Comics has been delivering the goods all year long. I tend to wait until assorted trade paperbacks drop over buying single issues due to cost and space reasons, plus it ends up smarter reading stories in collected form (for me, at least).

One of the better horror comics I’ve read is Harrow County, a nice southern gothic tale from writer Cullen Bunn and artist Tyler Crook. In the first collection, Harrow County – Countless Haints ($14.99), the pair have concocted up a terrifying tale that from the very first page of the very first issue will have you hooked in and turning pages with wider eyes and a growing sense of  dread. The amazing thing is as great and chilling as the first issue is, the rest of the stories in this first volume only get better. If you’re prone to nightmares, don’t read the whole book in one shot unless you like sleeping with both eyeballs wide open looking for vengeful witches in the corners.

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Talk about killer openings, folks…

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READS: The Haunt of Fear Still Packs A Moldy Wallop

The Haunt of Fear DH
 

Sometimes a good old scare is all you need and with Halloween right around the corner (with a baseball bat in claw), you can stay safely indoors and get your fright on thanks to Dark Horse Comics. They’ve been reprinting a bunch of lovely volumes of classic EC Comics and the latest, The EC Archives: The Haunt of Fear Volume 2 comes highly recommended. Coming to a comic shop near you October 28, this 216-page full color hardcover collects The Haunt of Fear #7–#12 and features art from Johnny Craig, Graham Ingels, Jack Davis, Jack Kamen, George Roussos, Ed Smalle, and Joe Orlando. I’ll tease you with a page from the very first tale in the book, a real corker called Room For One More:

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I think that rather unbalanced Rodney needs to reconsider his greed for that last space in the family mausoleum before it’s too late, right? As usual, the book compiles the issues in their entirety including all the original ads, text pieces, and letter columns. Nope, you can’t order anything from those well-aged adverts, but reading the letters should get you smiling at how some took these illustrated tales of terror to heart back in the day. Feel free to also check out previous volumes in Dark Horse’s EC Archives for even more variety in classic horror, sci-fi, crime, humor and more stories from the pre-Comics Code days.

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Some Illustrated Reads For Almost All Your Needs!

IDW Mad Artist's Edition Variant Cover 

gift_guide_2014I should have done this post sooner, but I was busy catching up on a lot of reading. Ha and ha. Anyway, books galore came this way (most of them digital) and I still have a huge backlog of stuff to read into 2015 thanks to the crunch of reads of too many types. In case you’re stumped for a last minute gift idea or just want to know what I read when I’m not writing or reading about stuff to write about (it’s a damn vicious cycle, friends), here are a few titles you might want to sample in this somewhat hastily prepared guide… Continue reading

Two Reads From Dark Horse For The Scary Season…

TFTC_V4Yeah, yeah… I know for SOME of you every day is scary, but get up and out in the sunshine once in a while and you’ll see that people aren’t SO bad after all. Then again, Halloween most certainly seems like a more than good time to stay IN after a certain hour in some places, so you’ve hopefully stocked up on food and drink, have enough TP to last a while and maybe some nice and scary movies queued up on your favorite device. Yeah, I know you still use that Betamax, so I was purposefully being vague in that previous sentence…

Now, If you’re a reader and like your things with words a bit on the scary side, you may as well venture out before it gets too dark and boogie on over to your nearest comics emporium just to pick up these two finely illustrated fright-filled tomes from the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics. Tales From the Crypt: The EC Archives – Volume 4 is a chilling collection of classic 1950’s horror from some of the best in the business back then and despite their age, the pre-Comics Code tales of terror and that excellently detailed art will have your eyeballs dancing in their sockets as your brain tells them to calm down so it can process that scary stuff it’s trying to also see.

“Feh!” you say? Followed by “Aw, how can some old smelly comic that’s older than my granny be SCARY?” and a smug “They didn’t even HAVE horror back then!”. Well there, dear troll child… let me give you a taste of things to come… Continue reading

NYCC 2013: IDW’s 2014 Lineup: Kirby, Steranko, Gibbons. Your Wallet’s Gone (And They’re Not Done Yet)…

KIRBY_NEW_GODS_COVER WATCHMEN_cover steranko_fury_AGENT_OF_SHIELD steranko_fury_and_cap

Every time I get a press release from IDW Comics, I fear opening it just because I just KNOW that it’s going to be for one of their spectacular new classic comic collections and I’ll want to add it to my already too long want list. Nevertheless, I forge ahead, click and drool away, knowing I can’t afford any of them, but hoping I’ll actually get to get my grubby paws on a copy someone I know buys when they see it here on the site. Anyway, the company’s 2014 lineup is rolling out in the form of a few press releases (below the jump), so ogle those covers above for as long as you like and then pawn off a kidney (preferably not yours). These books will be in the usual limited run actual art size editions IDW is well known for. OK, put on your reading shoes – you’ve got some press releases to pore over!

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IDW’s Woodwork: If You Only Buy ONE Comic Collection This Year, Well Here You Go…

22_4Granted, with only 175 (or 150, depending on where you look on the order page) of these SUPER deluxe $125.00 tomes made, they’re most likely all gone by the time you’re reading this post. That said, IDW Publishing’s latest classic comic art collection and hardcover must-buy Woodwork: Wallace Wood 1927-1981 is an absolutely magnificent gathering of some of the best of Woody’s work (and a bunch of cool extras) and comes highly recommended. The man could do it all and did it all in terms of his comics work. Kid-friendly strips and parodies to classic EC Comics of all types to superhero books and far racier content for much more mature audiences, yep, Woody was there and ready to get it done.

As this one’s going to go fast (or is already gone), I figure I may as well run a few images from the official site below, as the chances of many of you seeing this one up close and personal are slim to zero. If anything, Woody’s work deserves to be scrutinized by more of today’s younger artists for a few really good reasons, as the man’s imagination and sense of wonder were seemingly limitless (although with such a massive output, not everything was as brilliant as the collected works here). He’s one of many influences on some of my older work, but I didn’t copy his style directly, instead thinking “What would Woody do?” when tackling certain projects.

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