comic books

[Editorial] Hear me out on this, Toxie is an honorary member of The Avengers.

[Editorial] Hear me out on this, Toxie is an honorary member of The Avengers.

Growing up I loved comics, and I loved watching Troma movies back in the days we didn’t have a whole lot of superhero movies or shows and the ones we did have…well they were suitable for that time being. In the old days, we had cartoons such as Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, and even Batman.

Now and then we had some decent comic movies where given some of the films weren’t perfect, but we had no idea what the future will hold for us, so we just took it all in and were grateful for the movies which some of them still stand the test of time. One character in question is the Toxic Avenger. The plot is pretty simple if you never saw the movie “Tromaville has a monstrous new hero. The Toxic Avenger is born when meek mop boy Melvin falls into a vat of toxic waste. Now evildoers will have a lot to lose”

However the movie is even simpler. Gore, blood, boobs, language and humor For some, this is disgusting, vile. For gore hounds and comic fans, this was perfect. So let’s breakdown why Toxie is an honorary member.

In my opinion! There’s some stuff that may say true.

1: Marvel released the comics for Toxic Avenger 91-92 ( but still it happened)

2: The Avengers primarily work out of New York which isn’t far from New Jersey. Plus a lot of the Avengers do work in areas of NY that need their help or even other states and countries “West Coast Avengers” “Alpha Flight” The Canadian Avengers, Big Hero 6 (yes it’s Disney but they’re still connected, Japan’s Avengers) Winter Guard (Russia’s AvengersLockjaw and the pet avengers (Believe it or not great comic. Plus they actually fight Thanos)

3: Stan Lee and Lloyd Kaufman are friends. Stan did the voice over for Toxic Avenger 4. So given a lot of the Marvel characters who are Avengers defend their turf and situations that need their help. Plus in some instances, many characters from Marvel had helped the Avengers in battle when the case called for it. So, why not Toxie? He watches over New Jersey and their first super hero! Given the chance he would go into battle if called upon. Plus for all, we know he probably helped cleaned up all the ashes from the decimation in Infinity War.

Posted by Jai Alexis in Categories, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HORROR COMEDIES, HORROR HEROES, HORROR HISTORY, HORROR NEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, NATURE STRIKES BACK, OPINION, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, STAFF PICKS, TRIBUTE, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, 0 comments
COMIC REVIEW: The Other Dead

COMIC REVIEW: The Other Dead

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By Nick Durham

Zombies are fucking everywhere. Movies, books, comics, video games, TV...they are literally everyfuckingwhere that you can think of. Saying that the zombie genre is super oversaturated is saying it lightly, but every now and then, we get a little something special within the genre that breathes just a little bit of life back into it. The Other Dead does just that. Published by IDW Publishing (responsible for numerous comic adaptations of Clive Barker works among others), The Other Dead is a unique and interesting take on the zombie apocalypse.

Based on an unused film treatment by Digger T. Mesch and scripted by Joshua Ortega (along with crediting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman as a consultant for some reason); The Other Dead revolves around a zombie outbreak...except these zombies are of the animal variety. That's right, dead animals are returning from the dead and wrecking havoc on the human race. In the midst of all this, a Katrina-sized hurricane is about to hit (the story takes place in Louisiana), just as President Obama is getting ready to make a visit (yes, you read that right).

It should be noted that among the many characters featured in The Other Dead, Barack Obama plays a prominent role alongside a dickhead redneck and some annoying teenagers. Hell, even Dick Cheney makes in appearance in the book's hilarious opening pages. Make of all that whatever you will.

Anyway, there's a lot going on within the pages of The Other Dead. Interesting premise aside, it's really easy to lose track of what's going on in terms of plot points, etc. In fact, most of the characters are so blankly-written that we care little about them. Add to that some inane dialogue, and we get what should be a relative snoozefest...yet somehow it isn't necessarily. This is mainly due to the fact that the artwork from Qing Ping Mui is simply amazing. The linework and detail are beautiful and wonderfully flowing and worth the price of admission here alone. No seriously, check this out just for the artwork if nothing else.

So yeah, while The Other Dead has an intriguing premise, it isn't anything too special in the least. That aside, the artwork provided by Qing Ping Mui is so damn good that it's worth tracking this down for alone. As for the rest of what this book has to offer...well, it isn't much, but for die hard zombie fans looking for something a little different, this might be worth a look.

Rating: 3/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
COMIC REVIEW: Clive Barker’s Next Testament

COMIC REVIEW: Clive Barker’s Next Testament

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By Nick Durham

As I had mentioned before in my review for IDW's Clive Barker Omnibus, Barker has dabbled in comic books for quite some time. While there were some original titles for Marvel in the 90s that didn't last long, a majority of Barker's previous works have been adapted into comic book form like Hellraiser, Nightbreed, The Thief of Always, etc. Next Testament is something different entirely. What happens when you find out that God is in fact real? And when I say God, I don't mean the nice and kind and forgiving God that Christians believe in, I mean the nasty, unforgiving, and vengeful God of the Old Testament.

Yes folks, the God in Clive Barker's Next Testament is a bit of a prick to say it lightly.

The story of Next Testament revolves around an entity called Wick, who claims himself to be the one, true God. After being found by a wealthy nutjob named Julian, Wick declares that he is not happy with how humanity has developed in his absence. In fact, he's kind of bored by everything and everyone, and comes to the conclusion that he wants to shake things up a bit...and that is saying it lightly.  What follows are events of cataclysmic proportions, with Julian's son Tristan and his girlfriend Elspeth are caught in the middle as the whole world around them literally plunges into pure hell. That's all I want to spill about the story, just trust me when I say that you really do have to see what unfolds here to really believe it and appreciate it.

In case you haven't realized it just yet, Next Testament is fucking crazy. Co-authored by Barker and Mark Alan Miller, there are events and scenarios depicted here that are unlike almost anything else you'll see in a comic book. The artwork by Haemi Jang is brilliant and vibrant and a sight to behold, especially as the series reaches its conclusion. If there's any drawbacks, it's that supporting characters come and go with little impact or reason, and the aftermath from the final showdown is a little underwhelming, but other than that, Next Testament is a treat.

So yeah, it goes without saying that you should give Clive Barker's Next Testament a look. Whether you're a fan of Barker or a fan of horror comics in general, you're bound to get plenty of enjoyment out of this. All twelve issues are collected across three trade paperbacks, so get out there and pick these up.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Clive Barker’s Omnibus

GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Clive Barker’s Omnibus

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By Nick Durham

Clive Barker and comics go back an awful long way. Back in the 90s (yes, that dreaded decade of comic book misery), Barker lent his name to Marvel to oversee a few various comic titles that focused on horror and fantasy elements as opposed to Marvel's typical superhero fare. None of those titles lasted too long however, but it wasn't the last Clive would dip his fingers into the comic book world. In the years to follow, many of Barker's works would find themselves adapted into the comic medium. Everything from Hellraiser, to Nightbreed, to some original work like the recent Next Testament series (which is excellent by the way) would have varying degrees of success, as well as be pretty well received by critics. Thanks to the folks at IDW Publishing, we get three of Barker's stories told in comic book form collected in this nice Omnibus. The Thief of Always, The Great and Secret Show, and Seduth make up this book, and they are simply wonderful.

The Thief of Always is based on a novel Barker had written in the early 90s, and is adapted by Kris Oprisko. Unlike just about the rest of his blood-drenched horror stories, this is actually more of a story tailored for younger readers, or a fable as it was marketed as when it was first originally published. That aside, the fact that it's aimed towards a younger audience isn't a bad thing at all, as it is plenty enjoyable for adults as well. The story revolves around a pre-teen boy that has become bored with the tedium of everyday life, and is whisked away to the mystical Holiday House, where everyday life is simply amazing. It soon becomes apparent that things aren't at all what they seem, and Harvey seeks to return home, only to discover that years and years have passed. He struggles to return things back to normal, making for a very entertaining conclusion. The stark artwork by Gabriel Hernandez is very moody, and quite wonderful as well.

The Great and Secret Show is also based on a well-known novel by Barker, is adapted by Chris Ryall, and this takes up the bulk of the Omnibus. At its core, the story revolves around an age-old struggle between two somewhat otherworldly men, and whose conflict has caused varying degrees of misery on mankind. There's also a cameo from my favorite Barker character ever, the paranormal detective Harry D'Amour. The story itself I've never been that big a fan of. While I love Clive Barker with all my heart, The Great and Secret Show has never managed to grab me by the throat like so many of his other works have done. The comic adaptation doesn't do much to change this feeling either. The artwork by Gabriel Rodriguez is pretty good though, so I guess there's that.

The Clive Barker Omnibus closes with Seduth, which is co-written by Barker and Chris Monfette. This is by and far the shortest story in here, as well as the most confusing. A perfect and demonic diamond takes control over a man named Harold, which results in some very grisly murders, retribution, and eventual total overall insanity before everything comes full circle. This story makes little sense in complete honesty, and isn't as engaging as one would hope, but Gabriel Rodriguez returns with art duties, and his work here is very detailed and seems much more polished than his work did with The Great and Secret Show.

So yeah, The Clive Barker Omnibus isn't a total home run, but it is fairly enjoyable regardless. The good definitely outweighs the bad here, and the artwork throughout this book is wonderful, despite the varying qualities of the stories here. All in all, if you love Clive Barker and you love comic books, you should give this a look at the very least.

Rating: 3.5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
COMIC REVIEW: Aliens: Salvation (2015)

COMIC REVIEW: Aliens: Salvation (2015)

By Nick Durham

Aliens: Salvations

The Alien franchise has always been ripe for the picking for the comic book medium. Over the decades, the Xenomorph's have had numerous series of their own, many tussles with the Predator race, and have had crossovers with everyone from Superman, Batman, Judge Dredd, Terminator, Stormwatch, and nearly everything else you could probably think of. Many of them have ranged from being pretty good to being downright awful, but there's a very damn few that turn out to be truly great. Aliens: Salvation is one of them.

Originally published by Dark Horse Comics in the early 90s, Aliens: Salvation tells the tale of a deeply religious cook named Selkirk, who works aboard a Company ship. He, along with his insane captain, find themselves stranded on a strange alien planet after said loony tune captain forcibly makes them both abandon the ship. However, Selkirk and the captain aren't the only ones that made it planet-side alive, as the truth of their ship's cargo rears its very ugly head.

While it begins as anything but a typical Alien-flavored story, by the time it comes to a conclusion, Aliens: Salvation is every bit an Alien story; and perhaps even more so than Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection, and Prometheus put together (along with those Aliens VS Predator abortions, too). Written by industry icon Dave Gibbons (Alan Moore's artist for the legendary Watchmen) and drawn by the just as iconic creator of Hellboy Mike Mignola, this comic is an absolute treat. Mignola's gothic artwork surprisingly suits the story well, and his renditions of the Xenomorphs is wonderful. Gibbons' script may lack in terms of character development, etc., but it delivers in terms of visceral thrills and entertainment.

If there's any drawbacks to Aliens: Salvation, it's that it is too short. Seriously, you could go through this thing in probably fifteen minutes at the most. When it comes to an end, you'll be wishing there was so much more to keep on reading, and more of Mignola's beautiful artwork to ogle over as well. Dark Horse's reprint of this twenty year-plus old story features some great embossed pages and a nice hardcover wraparound. It's dirt cheap to pick up too, which makes it all the more appealing.

All in all, if you've been turned off by Alien comics in the past and have never read Aliens: Salvation, do yourself a favor and pick this up. You won't regret it one bit. You may be wishing for more by the time you reach the last page, but hey, you'll have a great time getting there, so that's only a minor flaw at best.

Rating: 4.5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
COMIC REVIEW: Trick ‘r Treat: Days Of The Dead

COMIC REVIEW: Trick ‘r Treat: Days Of The Dead

By Nick Durham

Trick or Treat Days of the dead

No one loves Trick 'r Treat more than I do. The best horror anthology to see the light of day in well over a decade (and still is), Trick 'r Treat is one of my all time favorite films of any genre in the history of ever. That's right, I said it.

Anyway, in an effort to sate us Trick 'r Treat fans until we finally get the long-awaited sequel, we get this comic which offers up four separate stories that revolve around different points in Halloween history. The stories themselves come from creator Michael Dougherty, as well as his Krampus cohorts Todd Casey and Zach Shields, along with some additional input from comic veteran Marc Andreyko. Opening tale Seed revolves around witches and magic in Ireland in the 1600s, Corn Maiden revolves around betrayal on the frontier between the evil white-man and Native Americans (and kind of, sort of gives a maybe-kind of origin to Sam), Echoes is a 1950s noir-style detective story, and the closing Monster Mash finds a closed-minded small town get their comeuppance when monsters attack on Halloween night.

The stories are basic, but mostly effective, even though they range in terms of quality. Seed is interesting, Corn Maiden is the best of the bunch, Echoes is a near-unintelligible mess, and Monster Mash is fun. The various artwork, featuring contributions from Saga's Fiona Staples, along with Stephen Byrne, and Zid is all well and great, but Stuart Sayger's work on Echoes left me perplexed as to what the fuck is happening from panel to panel. I don't mean to shit on the guy's work so please don't think I'm knocking him, I just think his style isn't all that well-suited. That aside, the story itself didn't make a lick of sense, so it's not like the art hurts it that much to begin with.

So yeah, Trick 'r Treat: Days of the Dead is a quick and relatively fun read. It's contents are a mixed bag but it features enough interesting moments to whet your appetite until we finally get the sequel to Trick 'r Treat that we're still fucking waiting for. That being said, check it out and give it a whirl. It isn't anything special in the least, but you can always do a lot worse in terms of horror comics than what this offers.

Rating: 3/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

COMIC REVIEW: Bloodfellas (2015)

By Nick Durham

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What do you get when you mix a mafia-style narrative with zombies, the afterlife, angels, demons, voodoo, and all of Hell itself? You get something like Bloodfellas. Written by Jasper Bark and illustrated by Mick Trimble, Bloodfellas is a mix of mafia/crime-noir and the aforementioned horror elements that somehow manages to end up being better than the sum of its parts. Well, mostly anyway that is.

Revolving around a handful of different characters and shifting the time frame of events as well (which is a storytelling tactic in comics I often hate, but here it manages to work), Bloodfellas takes place in a world where organized crime is populated by various members of the undead, or zombioso, and there're drugs around that can literally make you visit Heaven...or even Hell. We meet a variety of characters: including an undead enforcer named Slackjaw and the human Samantha whom he has a definite interest in, as well as crime boss Papa Sang (whose backstory is by far the best element of the overall story), and a pair of brothers on two different sides of the law...and seemingly everything else as well.

The story in itself is interesting, and Bloodfellas is entertaining for what it is. There are some genuinely good ideas peppered throughout the story that keeps the reader enthralled...for the most part. The only major drawback of all those ideas is that there is so much fucking exposition in nearly every bubble of dialogue and every thought caption that it becomes exhausting to read through. Seriously, there are times that you'll just start speed reading because you've just stopped caring about all the explanation thrown at you, instead of just letting it all unfold naturally. It really bogs the story down, so much so that by the end of it you've stopped caring about all the aforementioned characters, and this isn't helped by the fact that all that exposition pretty much already tells you how this whole thing is going to end anyway.

The artwork of Bloodfellas, however, ranges from being pretty good to being pretty fucking wonderful. While it doesn't look like anything too special upon first glance, there're a lot of little details spread throughout the panels and various scenes. It isn't anything spectacular mind you, but it's the artwork of Bloodfellas that really makes it worth checking out. The character designs are pretty damn good, from the noir-ish clothing designs to the looks of the undead and the angels alike. Pretty good stuff in that regard.

To wrap things up, Bloodfellas is a fairly unique mish-mash of noir comics with horror elements that is worth a look at the very least. There's nothing too special to be found here, and it comes close to beating you in the head with it's story, backstory, and shit-ton of exposition on top of all that, but it's unique enough and holds your interest as well. Give it a look if you can. You can do a lot worse than what Bloodfellas has to offer.

Rating: 3/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
COMIC REVIEW: Creepy Presents Richard Corben (2012)

COMIC REVIEW: Creepy Presents Richard Corben (2012)

By Nick Durham

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Richard Corben is a living legend. Just saying or hearing his name conjures up images of his dynamic and horrifying artwork that has helped earn him the status of being a truly iconic figure in the medium. This collection published by Dark Horse Comics, who has also assembled wonderful collections focused on other comic legends like Bernie Wrightson, Alex Toth, and Steve Ditko, celebrates the legacy of a beloved industry superstar.

A large, hardbound collection, Creepy Presents Richard Corben features a shitload of Tales from the Crypt-esque tales illustrated by Corben that are written by a variety of industry stalwarts, most notably including Bruce Jones, Doug Moench, Gerry Conway, and Rich Margopoulos among others. This also includes a couple of Corben's Edgar Allan Poe adaptations (most notably "The Raven"); all of which are lovingly remastered and restored. Whether the stories are in black and white or in color, every line is crisp and clean and just plain fucking stunning to look at. Industry veteran colorist Jose Villarrubia restored the color elements (and also wrote the loving introduction) while Ryan Jorgensen handled the restoration of the black and white illustrations. Both of whom have done amazing work here. When I call this book a labor of love, I'm not overselling it one fucking bit.

As for the stories themselves, some of them are a mixed bag. Some are standard and predictable ("Bowser"), some are boring ("Bookworm"), and some are just plain fucking brilliant ("A Woman Scorned", "Bless Us, Father"). The qualities of the stories themselves do not detract from the artwork at all, so these are honestly only minor flaws at best. Corben's artwork is so intricately detailed and loaded with atmosphere and imagination that it takes on a life of its own when you look at it. This is what I'm talking about when I say what kind of icon Richard Corben is. Not every illustrator can pull that off, especially in the era where Corben began making a name for himself, even though his contemporaries were no slouches either.

So yeah, in case you haven't realized it yet, you should definitely check out this book, and the work of Richard Corben in general as well. Though he's done a lot of work for Marvel and such over the past few years, it was in titles like Creepy, Eerie, Heavy Metal, and more besides where he really made a name for himself, and what he's the most revered for, and with good reason. You need to check out this book, and Corben's work as a whole. You won't regret it.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

COMIC REVIEW: Simon & Kirby Library

By Nick Durham

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Whether you really know it or not, you know who Jack Kirby is. That name may not have that instant resonance in your brain that say, Stan Lee does, but you've seen Kirby's work and probably never realized it. The medium of the comic book would not be what it is without Jack Kirby. Hell, it may not even exist at all to be totally honest. Jack Kirby co-created most of the Marvel Universe as we know it. Stan Lee gets most, if not all, of the credit for that, but Jack Kirby is as much a part of that is Stan is. His art style was like nothing anyone had ever seen before, and it inspired countless artists in the industry for generations to come.

Joe Simon may not ring a bell at first either, but he is the man that co-created Captain America with Kirby. Besides superheroes, the duo dabbled in many other comic book genres at the time; ranging from war comics, to science fiction, to even fucking romance (minus the fucking of course). They also played around with horror, to some really great effect as well. That's what we get here with this edition of The Simon & Kirby Library, which focuses on the duo's horror work during the Golden Age of comics.

1950s pre-code horror comics would get shit on quite a bit and were somehow attributed to "the delinquency of juveniles" according to a then Senate Committee which believed comic books were more evil than Hitler. The work of Simon and Kirby in the horror realm was no different, as what is collected here was, believe it or not, once considered evil and pornographic. Collecting their run on Black Magic, as well as some selected stories from their The Strange World of Your Dreams, this handsome hardcover collection is lovingly bound and features restored artwork, making Kirby's pencils look clean, crisp, and just plain beautiful. The restoration done on Kirby's art is worth the price of admission alone for this book.

The quality of the stories featured here varies, but Joe Simon's scripts were ahead of their time and provided some wonderful chills back in the day. Granted I believe the duo's best work was with the science fiction genre more so than horror, but their work here is just so damn ahead of its time that you can't help but admire it so damn much. The weirdness of the stories isn't anything you haven't seen already, but it set the stage for horror comics to come as the years would go by, and they have their place in history because of that.

All in all, if horror comics are your thing, particularly vintage ones, this needs to be in your collection. I wholeheartedly recommend every book from The Simon & Kirby Library regardless, but this horror edition deserves to be seen by your eyes. You won't be able to get enough of it, or of the legacy of Simon and Kirby.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments