This week we've got the following titles on tap for the Comics Creepshow:
FRANK FRAZETTA’S- DRACULA MEETS THE WOLFMAN
WELCOME TO HOXFORD
FRIDAY THE 13th - THE ABUSER AND THE ABUSED
What a great week to start a column reviewing horror comics. Since, I normally don’t go looking specifically for horror comics on the stands, I was shocked to see how many come out week by week. There was more than enough books to write about. I figured I would save some of the ones I bought today for next weeks column.
Modern Horror comics owe a tremendous debt to one book in particular, the original 30 DAYS OF NIGHT comic. Writer Steve Niles and Artist Ben Templesmith proved to comic readers that Horror comics could be both written well and creepy as hell. Since, obviously, there is no literal sound or true movement involved with the comics experience, there is no possibility for jump scares. As a result, comic writers have to fill their books with images and content to disturb reader, as well as give them chills. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT was the perfect example of this. This week, both Niles and Templesmith have new books on the stand.
Image comics recently began printing a series of single issue books that were based on the dark mythological paintings for Frank Frazetta. You might have seen Frazetta’s most famous painting, The Death Dealer, which is of a black knight with red eyes, holding a scythe, atop a dark horse. One of Frazetta’s other notable paintings is one called DRACULA MEETS THE WOLFMAN. Can you guess what is happening in that picture?
Steve Niles put together a story based on this painting, to which artist Francesco Francavilla produced some sweet black and white artwork. The story is very basic, with very little reading involved, for all of you who might just be looking for the pretty pictures. The wolfman, in this story is a young peasant boy named Ray Delgado, who is in love with a beautiful maiden named Martha. Martha’s parents, unfortunately, have set her up on blind date with a certain blood drinking count. Ray learns about this, wolfs out and comes to save his girlfriend from Dracula. Chaos ensues, followed by your typical Gothic romance ending. The book is a great stand alone read.
Next up is WELCOME TO HOXFORD which is part one of a new miniseries that Ben Templesmith has both written and produced the artwork for. Australian artist, Templesmith has a very unique style. There is hardly ever any scenery in his stories, save for gray mist or etched looking spires. His characters, as a whole are very basic, but they always have one feature, that stands out and makes them look depraved. Hoxford’s main character Ray Delgado is one of Templesmith’s most gruesome creations, an imprisoned serial killer who, when introduced is biting as well as breaking the body of his current cellmate.
Because of his behavior, Delgado is transferred to a top secret prison facility called Hoxford. The prison itself is filled with the most dangerous criminals that can be found, but as we can see by the end of the first issue, prisoners don’t end up filling out their life sentences. I am sort of spoiling it for you here, when I say this is story is very similar to the Simpson’s Tree House of Horror episode, where Bart and Lisa get stuck in detention. You know, the one where all the kids end up getting taken into a backroom near the cafeteria and turned into lunch meat.
Last, but not least is FRIDAY THE 13TH: ABUSER AND THE ABUSED. I threw this one on here as a sort of jump off point for you 80’s Slasher movie fans. This story, written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, with art by Andy B, is printed with a special kind of effect that makes the pictures in the panels look like they were filmed with that low quality, 80’s Slasher footage.
The story itself, unfortunately isn’t much more advanced. It follows a girl named Maggie who has been abused by basically every person in her life. One day, she can no longer take it, and kills her foster mother and father. She has her abusive boyfriend take her to Crystal Lake, where she makes him believe that she is finally going to give him her long held out virginity.
Guess who shows up as she is trying to kill the worthless bastard? I can tell you what happens next, but then why would you go buy the comic for yourself? For anyone interested in getting into horror comics. These three books are a great place to start.