Horror on the 13th: April 2011

Published on April 13th, 2011

It’s the 13th and you should all know what that means (you know, since we established this would be happening once a month last month). It’s time for the monthly dose of HORROR! Muahahaha! Ok, so that doesn’t work as well when I type it, but I can assure you that I have an excellent evil laugh. Just wait until you have to see me do this on video!

I gave a lot of amazingly scary suggestions as to what to read last month in the horror department. This month is no different, but I am not here to summarize. I feel that skimming over some of these books simply does not do them justice. I would rather give you some background and history into the frightening field of horror that I feature. We all know that the best ghost stories told are rich and full of meaning. I want to treat this horror column the same way.

badkidsgotohell1Let’s get to it then, shall we?

First up this month is an oldie, but goodie. I had the pleasure of meeting the creators of this book back in 2009. It was a warm day in late July. The city was San Diego, and by now, I think everyone knows where I met Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick. Their book is appropriately titled, Bad Kids Go to Hell. I love any story that has creative people behind it giving an old story a new spin. We have all seen horror take place in a school. Spradlin and Wernick trap their students at Crestview Academy in a detention hall – with a curse. One by one, it seems that these six students need to atone for their terrible behavior, or else. Here’s the thing I love about Bad Kids, nothing is really as simple as the story sounds. As in, the characters are complex and unpredictable. It’s a fresh look at the genre. I am sick of archetypes in horror, and these guys trick the audience into thinking that’s what they’re getting. The reality of their book is the opposite. I think my favorite example of that is Megan. Look at how she is drawn, but remember that this book is called Bad Kids Go to Hell. She looks out of place. The art alone should make anybody want to take a second look. Luckily for Spradlin and Wernick, producers did take a second look, and according to their site, there’s a movie in the works. Congratulations, boys!

For those looking for another series to pick up, I would go with the Eisner nominated, Locke and Key. The recently ended storyline, “Keys to the Kingdom” is a continuation of the Locke family’s adventures. They have been getting progressively darker, which impressed me. I have to admit, when horror is serialized, it loses a lot of its fear factors. Locke and Key has lost none of the elements that will inevitably make it classic horror. Published by IDW, Joe Hill writes these siblings with all the bitterness and resentment that comes with real siblings. Each one wants what the other has and they all want to unlock the secrets of Keyhouse. Now, a darkness longs to be unlocked and there are people who want to do exactly that. The family is charged with the task of defending their beloved Keyhouse. Fighting, blood, and magic ensue. Gabriel Rodriguez knows how to draw gore. I love seeing a wolf rip out a throat as much as I love seeing a boy do it! He draws them both in parallel, displaying that when dark forces are involved, we are no different from an animal.

lockkey undyinglove1

Lastly, I want to talk about the best new horror book out there. Undying Love, by Tomm Coker and Daniel Freedman, is stunning in both story and appearance. I can guarantee that I have never read anything like it – and neither have you. We have all seen vampire tales from all over the world that range from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Vampire Hunter D. This story takes all the good things and throws away all the bad. John and Mei are star-crossed lovers. He is human. She is, well…what do you think? He wants to save the life of the woman he loves. In doing so, he is upsetting an ancient balance. A balance that was told to him by spirits in a graveyard and that John immediately defied by talking to another old man trapped in the body of a young boy (see how this get complicated). John now must fight and defeat the vampire that created Mei in order to restore her life. Now, I imagine the spirits will try and stop him, but he will take them out. I guarantee it. John is a bad-ass ex-soldier. Nothing is a match for him, except for Mei. She holds his heart and he will do anything for his undying love. This includes injecting his own blood into her arm in the most touching and disturbing panel I’ve seen in comics in a long time. I cannot wait to see where this series goes.

That is your horror fix for now. I would love to have you all come meet me and talk horror at the Comic Impact booth during Wizard World Anaheim (April 29, 30 and May 1). Again, if there’s any book you’d like me to feature next month, let me know. May 13th is a Friday, so I have something special in store. Happy Hauntings!