Ash vs. Evil Dead

A ridiculous number of years ago, I and a group of friends went to see Army of Darkness opening night in the theaters. The movie was part two or part three, depending on your point of view, of the cult classic Evil Dead. The movie was such an over-the-top, ostensibly, horror film. I loved it and when we went back the next week to see it again it was unfortunately gone from theaters (apparently, we did not have our fingers on the public pulse). Enter the television show, that apparently skips the existence of that film and reintroduces us to Ash, the far too reluctant hero who survived the Evil Dead (2) events and is now much older if not too much wiser. Due to his own stupidity he manages to awaken the forces of darkness who want revenge (and to destroy all life etc. etc.). Still incredibly over-the-top with more of a horror and blood and gore feel of Evil Dead than Army of Darkness, this comedy/horror show is a delight. Granted, I've only seen the first episode but I can't wait for more.

Hellboy (vol 12): The Storm And The Fury - Mike Mignola

And so the Hellboy legend concludes; questions are answered and secrets reveled, but to what end for us weak humans? It's bittersweet to have the story end, although I'm sure there are plenty of other Hellboy tales by the time this is posted. Here, the destined destroy of humanity/hero confronts his greatest enemy and all existence hangs in the balance. It is hard to every be satisfied with an ending to something you rather see continue; however, I think my grievances are legitimate. The fact that Mignola had Duncan Fegredo do all but the epilogue of art seemed lame as I would have hoped the man who started it all would want to conclude it. I still don't see the point of Alice and even less of another character that is introduced here for no reason (you'll know it when it happens). Additionally, we have known for several volumes now that, for the most part, Hellboy can't die, so a lot of the lead up has lacked that element of excitement. It wasn't a bad tale and it is kind of nice to have a mythos wrapped up, yet I still am not fully satisfied and am more sorry to see it come to an end.   

PS And of course since this was originally written and scheduled to appear here, I have realized that the adventure does, indeed, continue, just in hell.

The Whisperer in Darkness

Oddly, the HP Lovecraft Historical Society decided to take a classic tail of his and turn it into an action adventure thriller. But purists be damned, I really like this! For all its flaws (and there're plenty) it still is perhaps one of the best movies I've seen in a long time, and I would recommend it to Lovecraft fans and really just about anyone. I don't want to give too much away so let me just state that it is about a scholarly skeptic who goes in search of discovering the truth behind legends of mysterious flying monsters hidden in the hills of Vermont. The special features are also worth watching for some interesting insights and they aren't too long which is good, just don't watch them before the movie itself. 

Hellboy (vol 11): The Bride of Hell and Others

Once again the main storyline of the hero, Hellboy, the demon said to be destined to destroy the world, is interrupted in order to bring us a collection of various caliber stories by various artists. And again, the one done by Mignola himself is the only one that really captured that atmosphere that is the heart of any Hellboy tale. I shouldn't be too harsh; there are enjoyable stories of Hellboy dealing with supernatural problems such as Hellboy in Mexico where he teams up with masked wrestlers to fight vampires (hilariously awesome even if I didn't care for the ending), and the Mignola drawn The Whittier Legacy that played off Lovecraftian plots. But others just seemed like they could have used another draft.

Hellboy (vol 10): The Crooked Man and Others - Mike Mignola

Most of this collection is The Crooked Man which is Hellboy's first US adventure, but it is an interruption from the main story, and maybe that's why I didn't care much for this volume. It does have the benefit of having an actual Mignola drawn story, which--surprise!--is the best of the bunch. For the most part the stories are rather typical Hellboy accounts, which is fine, but it is upsetting to have to put on hold the main storyline, deal with some just okay tales, and realize that a Mignola drawn story somehow manages to be so much better than anything else. I think it must be that when Mignola writes for others he is wordier and when he is drawing perhaps becomes more free flowing. 

Hellboy (vol 9): The Wild Hunt - Mike Mignola

Continuing with the saga from the last collection, the demonic hero, Hellboy, continues to try and not get killed by his numerous enemies. And, unfortunately, Duncan Fegredo is still doing the art that only Mignola can truly do. This collection starts to bring all the various pieces that make up the Hellboy mythos in order to tie it all together. Why Mignola brings in Alice who we really haven't seen anything of (trust me, you won't remember her) rather than one of the BPRD friends, I have no idea, but at least things are getting pretty hard core.

Hellboy (vol 8): Darkness Calls - Mike Mignola [Take Two]

I feel my original review might have been too upbeat in terms of having Duncan Fegredo doing the art here as occasionally he gets the style close enough to being right, but then there are other times.... Anyway, old enemies converge to taken down our demon child super hero. It's been a long time since a Hellboy story was so involved (and that's probably why Mognola just didn't have the fortitude to draw it). I still liked it but it isn't for casual fans of Hellboy. 

Wytches (vol 1) - Scott Snyder

So there's this girl, and she might be crazy, or she might be a killer, or she might be haunted by witches, and her dad is a children's book writer or something completely unimportant to the plot, and the mom's in a wheelchair (which kind of is important), and there's all these mysterious happenings as first the point of view is from the girl and then it shifts to the father, and often it is just as confusing and convoluted as this sentence. The story actually has a lot of potential, but as I said with Snyder's work before, he needs a very strong editor to keep him in check and in focus; as soon as the point of view shifted from the teenage daughter I really lost interest. Apparently and inexplicably this is an ongoing series, and while it is probably one the best things Snyder has done it's too all over the place for me to invest time in. wytches

Cthulhu Wars - Sandy Petersen

Other people may know him from some video game he helped make; I've always known him as the man who made the RPG The Call of Cthulhu based on the work of HP Lovecraft, the definitive horror role-playing game. Sadly, now I also know him as a man who took some two years passed the promised date to have his kick starter get me my darn game. The game itself is a boardgame of the aftermath after "The stars are right" and ancient evils have taken over the planet, and now they want sole dominion. I really like it, and feel it has a lot of nice elements and different strategic possibilities; plus the figures are pretty cool--even if a couple of them came broken in the box, and I can't seem to get them all back in the box again. The game is more for people who like Lovecraft, as, for all its benefits, there are other strategic games that might be better if all you want is a conquer the world type of game, but for me it's just fine (even if it got to me rather late (but my name is on the box!)). Cthulhu Wars

Beautiful Darkness - Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoet

At first glance it seems like a children's fairytale book and you might just go and give it to a small child. And that small child might kill itself over the horror of this story. Apparently, there were these fairy creatures that lived in a person who died and they all must now fend for themselves in the harsh reality of the world. Most of these fairies are either evil or simply very uncaring and the death toll is enormous. The book is somewhat nightmarish which turned me off, but that is more subjective. Objectively speaking, there aren't any characters in the story, just short hand so that your project personality upon them, and that, really, is what kills the story. beautiful darkness

Interview with the Vampire: Claudia's Story - Anne Rice - Adaptation by Ashley Marie Witter

It's been a generation since I read the original book, which I absolutely loved at the time, and obviously stuck with me enough that I could remember just about everything in this POV from the child turned vampire, Claudia. This comic version, which has a slight anime feel, nicely captures the story, although I don't think it would mean much to those who don't know the story it is from. Good job. 

Hellboy (vol 6): Strange Places - Mike Mignola

For no logical reason I don't have many Hellboy reviews, so let's make up for lost time as I'm rereading some collections. I (re)started with this collection randomly, which focuses on the demonic looking hero as he wonders around in Africa, gets kidnaped by a sea monster, and fights a resurrected devil worshiper, all the while learning more about the mythology of his destiny to usher in the apocalypse. Hellboy stories are not for everyone; they are heavy on atmosphere and some action scenes and light with characterization, but Hellboy works perfectly as Hellboy and must be approached as is, unapologetically. As such I very much enjoyed this collection. 

The Doom that Came to Atlantic City: A Light-Hearted Game of Urban Destruction Set in the Universe of H. P. Lovecraft - Moyer & Baker

I got this game on sale at Barnes & Noble (thank heavens for bookstores). Apparently, it had a very sordid history: it was a kick starter and a person ran off with the money but it got made anyway only to not find an audience. Here's the thing, the game is really anti-Monopoly, but the theme is horror author Lovecraft's "The Doom That Came to Sarnath". People who would like a fun, lighthearted, silly game that deals with destroying things named after Atlantic City places will enjoy this game, but they won't understand the various Lovecraft references (and may be freaked out by the truly awesome miniature playing pieces). Those that love Lovecraft will adore the pieces and the theme, but may get turned off by the lack of actual horror elements. I find the game fun, but there are too many hard-core gamers that won't, and the people who would like it would never think to pick it up. It's all about the marketing. Doom that came to Atlantic city

Outcast (vol 1): A Darkness Surrounds Him - Robert Kirkman

This is the second time I'm attempting to write this review, as a did not save, so apparently my computer, or this website, is possessed by the demon of this comic. What I was saying was that Kirkman should take the tens of millions of dollars that he made (in part by screwing over his collaborators) and walk away from comics. This title won't hurt his career, but it does take up space, and there is really very little to it. It is about a guy who somehow can cause pain to demons that are possessing people, and in this small town there is an astronomical number of demonic possessions (why no church or newspaper has noticed is a good question). The story line is very slow, the plot not particularly interesting, the characters rather flat, and the whole thing just not very engaging. Outcast

Kolchak Tales: Monsters Among us!

I only saw maybe a half dozen of the original show, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, or as I called it: The Cheese Stalker as it was so silly only seeing them years after the X-Files, which was inspired by it (I can only imagine how much more dated it is now). But the show was inspirational for its time, recounting the tales of a reporter who always stumbles upon supernatural happenings that he never can get published, so I'm glad to see it back, albeit in comic book form. This collection of two stories about a zombie attack and a monster sighting and the truth behind it, by Christopher Mills and David Michelinie, respectively, aren't exactly great, but they do capture some of the zaniness of the show and were a lot of fun (I especially liked how Mills has Kolchak dictating his report  into a recorder on a plane full of people who slowly get wrapped up and horrified by his tale). I'd like to see more. Kolchak

Wraith - Joe Hill

I guess the apple does fall far from the tree, as the son of Stephen King has written a very wordy and really mediocre--at best--horror comic. It seems there's this guy and he has a car and he takes kids to this evil theme park, but the kids are happy to be there because they get turned into monsters, and these escaped convicts wind up going there, and, whatever, it really doesn't make any sense and only one of the characters actually has any depth to him. I spent a lot of effort just trying to get my way through this comic and it wasn't worth it. Avoid it. (The little Post-it notes in the picture are actually from a book underneath this one.)Wraith

The Extinction Parade (vol 1) - Max Brooks

Did I tell you I loved World War Z (the book that is)? I did and that's why I like to give Brooks' work a chance when I find it. but I was disappointed with this comic book about vampires in Southeast Asia that blithely ignore a rising zombie epidemic. Raulo Caceres' art is both too sexualized and gory to do much of anything for me, the writing is abundant for lack of a better word, as Brooks does not yet have a handle on the comic book medium, and his effort at multiculturalism (his Malaysian setting and term dropping) just doesn't ring true to me. The plot itself is straightforward and can be seen practically from space to all but the characters (which is understandable, except that if you have a character who does see the problem coming, shouldn't he at least not be actively part of the problem?). The end result is that I'm obviously disappointed, the series appears to be inspired from what I think was the last episode of Deadliest Warriors (I like that show) and it takes this five issue collection to set up the premise of this series without actually providing any interesting characters. Extinction parade

Through The Woods - Emily Carroll

If you are looking for a collection of very creepy short stories partially based on fairytales, with imaginative almost childlike artwork, and vibrant if few colors, then you will love this. I'm pretty sure this work is geared towards children, but many of the stories, especially the shorter ones really freaked me out. Great job. Through the woods

B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth: New World - Mike Mignola & John Arcudi

I'm not really sure what's going on here. There seems to have been a bunch of other stuff that happened prior to this that I probably need to know, but don't. Anyway, populations of entire towns are going missing and it is up to the fish-man Abe to figure out what is happening. Oh, he might also be the anti-christ. Oh, and monsters and other horrible things are happening all the time so it might be the end of the world. I didn't really care for this, which sounds strange after that description. While there was action and some character development, I just didn't really care much and maybe this has to do with the fact that I don't really like Guy Davis's art. Sorry.