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    Are You Reading “HAUNTED HORROR”?

    As their numbers dwindle, pre-code horror comics have become a staple of the comic collectors’ market. From swarming the industry with ghoulish monsters and vengeful spirits in the late 1940s to mass comic burnings less than a decade later, the Comics Code Authority changed everything about what was acceptable to read. Thanks to their determination to protect America’s children, swarms of horror titles have been lost to modern readers, until recently. Publishers such as Dark Horse and Fantagraphics have been snatching up long forgotten titles and re-printing them in hardcover collections, beautifully recreating the original feel of the work. Following their success, IDW and partner Yoe Books! hopped aboard the terror train as well, re-publishing stories from the contraband comics in HAUNTED HORROR for easy reading. Unlike its predecessors though, these tales are being released in a single issue format, recalling that classic feeling of picking up your favorite, lurid title at the local dime store.

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    “EVIL ERNIE VOL. 1: ORIGIN OF EVIL” (Comic Review)

    When Chaos! Comics bankrupted in 2002, the fate of their most popular characters went up on the auction block to be picked over and sold. Luckily, the majority of the licenses were bought up by Devils Due Publishing and when they folded, were handed over to Dynamite Press, where they sat waiting for another chance. In 2012, Chaos’ most prolific character, Evil Ernie, finally got re-released in a brand new adventure: a six issue mini-series leading to a collected graphic novel that hit shelves last month. A re-telling of Ernie’s tragic origins, Dynamite attempts to continue what Chaos! Comics started: pure, unadulterated Armageddon. 

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    “AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE” #3 (Comic Review)

    If you’re of the mind that AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE is akin to those Double Digests haunting supermarket checkout aisles across the nation, let’s just nip that thought in the bud. This is not your daddy’s Archie comic. Sure, we have good old Riverdale High, ginger-coiffed Archie Andrews and his gal pals Veronica and Betty, Pop Tate, Moose, Jughead…

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    Eric Red’s “THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE” (Book Review)

    Rugged people, sprawling plains and an undercurrent of superstition and mysticism; to some, the western is an almost perfect fit for tales of terror. However, there’s also risk of awkward translation by melding genres. Somehow, both of these points can be attested to in Eric Red’s latest horror offering, a werewolf-infested western entitled THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE, available now from Samhain Publishing.

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    “GHOST” #1 (Comic Review)

    The multi-faceted Dark Horse Comics has had a low-flying hero universe for over twenty years. From strange, one time characters such as The Moth and The Escapist to the largely popular Hellboy (who’s even crossed paths with Batman and Robin at one point), the company has been slowly building its stable of do-gooders through solid storylines and dedicated readers. One of the most well-known characters is Ghost, a woman not quite living but not quite in the grave, whose mission it is to stop the hordes of hungry demons eager to nibble at our tender souls. Forever trapped in a semi-corporal state, she attempts to keep the gates of Hell from opening on our world while searching for answers to her own forgotten past. After making semi-regular appearances throughout the Dark Horse-verse, Ghost is once again the star of her own series, creating a launching pad for new and old readers alike.

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    “BLACK SCIENCE” #1 (Comic Review)

    If horror has taught us anything, it’s that playing with science is a good way to ruin your day. Unchecked experiments can lead to creatures, zombies, killer plants and human/fly cross-breeds of insane proportions. Unless you’re Velma, it is generally regarded that if you spend a disproportionate amount of your time messing with the fabric of the universe, you will be killed, or at least, very miserable. With BLACK SCIENCE, this is exactly what happens to a poor group of stranded dimension travelers as they desperately search for a way home. Facing alien monsters in an unknown landscape, this new title from Image Comics mixes sci-fi nostalgia with the uncertainty of “what lies beyond,” creating the perfect storm of 70s throwback and modern horror aesthetics.

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    “HYSTERIA” by Stephanie Wytovich (Book Review)

    The photographs—rendered in stark, blown out black and white—are striking: There stands dark poetess extraordinaire Stephanie Wytovich in the basement of the purportedly haunted abandoned hospital Hill View Manor, an oppressive blackness and who-knows-what-else closing in. All of it, held at bay only by this beacon of fearlessness, beauty, and joie de vivre smiling out at the camera.

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    “DRUMHELLAR” #1 (Comic Review)

    Psychic detectives are a dime a dozen. Every coma patient with a bump on his noggin has a story to tell about your dead grandmother’s will, your love life, and “do you know someone whose name starts with a B?” Even comic books are overrun with spiritual mediums, from the classic Dr. Strange, to the more modern John Constantine and Cal McDonald, and even pushing to the future with Judge Dredd’s mind-reading police associates. So why in the world would Image Comics introduce yet another trench-coat toting, cigarette-chomping, down-on-his-luck investigator of the weird into the already clogged cake-hole of entertainment? Because it’s actually pretty good. While the initial idea of DRUMHELLAR might sound like another rehash, the Alex Link and Riley Rossmo-created series manages to set itself apart with a dynamic art style and hungry passion from the latter.

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    “CINEMA DETOURS” (Book Review)

    If I may graphically illustrate, I read Mike White’s CINEMA DETOURS in the bath. In the grind of my life, the sanctity of hot water and suds is the only place my eyeballs can peacefully absorb any written word not penned by myself or a Fango freelancer, and I value this time greatly. It’s sacred. I use the visual of yours truly nude and immersed in a tub because while digging into DETOURS, I stayed in till the bitter end, until the water was a tepid stew of body broth and I was as wrinkled as one of the LIFEFORCE cadavers. I finished the damn thing in one session. I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s that good.

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