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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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    “THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE” (Comic Review)

    Few comics have left a cultural mark like SANDMAN. One of the first works to break out of the binds of “children’s entertainment,” this epic series helped re-define the possibilities of comic books. Following in the footsteps of the Alan Moore’s fantastic run on SWAMP THING, THE Sandman was released to an audience hungry for more esoteric and explorative tales of terror. Unlike earlier horror stories of schlocky monsters and ironic twists of fate, this new addition explored the darker side of humanity, delving into the depths of philosophy, magic, and madness, creating a tale that still resonates with readers almost 25 years later. To celebrate its upcoming silver anniversary in January, DC/Vertigo is giving the Sandman the reception of a lifetime, starting with a brand new, six-issue mini-series titled THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE.  

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    “DOCTOR SLEEP” (Book Review)

    In mid-career interviews, Stephen King was sometimes asked why he had never delivered a conventional sequel to any of his novels, outside of a few short stories and fleeting cross-referencing of characters and locations, like the fictional town of Castle Rock. King’s deflection at that time was to tease how he would often ponder the possibility of THE SHINING’s mini-medium Danny Torrance and FIRESTARTER sparkplug Charlie McGee growing up, getting married, and discovering just what sort of children might spring out of their union. King would then cut himself off and remark that his muse (or more properly, Fornit) was unlikely to lead him any further down that path, and so it stood for decades… until the release last month of DOCTOR SLEEP, a proper sequel to one of King’s best-loved properties, 1977’s THE SHINING.

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    “ARMY OF DARKNESS / REANIMATOR” (Comic Review)

    H.P. Lovecrafts HERBERT WEST—REANIMATOR has been adapted or referenced in a dozen different ways, from cartoons to video games to movies, and most famously being the basis for what is arguably one of the greatest horror flicks of the 80s, RE-ANIMATOR. With its shambling corpses and looming horror of the unknown, and an enigmatic, mysterious author to boot, it’s easy to understand why so many creators would be attracted to put their own spin on the classic tale. ARMY OF DARKNESS/REANMIATOR is the latest addition, this time putting EVIL DEAD’s smart-mouthed, chain-sawed leading man Ash in the shoes of the story’s anonymous narrator as he teams up with mad scientist Herbert West. Sticking close to the original Lovecraftian version, this comic is less of a re-telling and more of a garnish to the tale of terror.

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    “ON LOCATION IN BLAIRSTOWN: THE MAKING OF FRIDAY THE 13TH” (Book Review)

    Author David Grove is a FRIDAY THE 13th superfan who admits such with pride in the introduction to his latest effort, the hefty and illuminating ON LOCATION IN BLAIRSTOWN: THE MAKING OF FRIDAY THE 13th (available now from Author Mike/Dark Ink books). Grove has penned plenty of genre-oriented tomes in his day, including 2004’s well-received MAKING FRIDAY THE 13th: THE LEGEND OF CAMP BLOOD, and the existence of his latest poses the question as to how he could ever best the scope of that well-reviewed initial immersion into the Voorhees universe. the answer is that, instead of trying, Grove focuses here exclusively on producer/director Sean S. Cunningham’s first stab at the slasher franchise exclusively, and does so affectionately – yet objectively -  and even stops to muckrake a bit of choice gossip for those that care about such things.

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    “THE MEMORY COLLECTORS” (Comic Review)

    There are many ways to torture a person. While plenty of horror tends to focus on the physical torment, it’s the psychological scars that truly stay with the victim, threatening to resurface at the most awkward of times. MEMORY COLLECTORS takes full advantage of this unique human condition, creating a comic that is steeped in nightmares and the demons who feed off the subsequent misery. Written and illustrated by Menton3, the series has been a long time coming for fans of the artist’s distinct, fetishist goth art. Though this is the creator’s second attempt at a full comic series, he is usually found only contributing to cover art, making MEMORY COLLECTORS a unique addition to his repertoire.

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    Hans Rickheit’s “THE SQUIRREL MACHINE” (Comic Review)

    Cartoonist Hans Rickheit is somewhat of a mystery within the world of graphic novels. Elusive, unmistakably iconoclastic and producing works that obey their own, macabre, free-flowing logic, he has become better known for his web comics ECTOPIARY and COCHLEA & EUSTACHIA, as well as his 2001 graphic novel CHLOE.

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    “THE OTHER DEAD” (Comic Review)

    Animals have often been the harbingers of new disease. The Bubonic plague was credited to arriving on the back of rats, while the Bird Flu epidemic pretty much explains itself. With THE OTHER DEAD we are introduced to a brand of animal illness previously only seen in certain type of manipulative parasite: zombies. Instead of the shambling dead hoofing it with the humans, this particular series aims to explore the possibility of a four-legged terror threatening to destroy the known world.  Thick with blood and guts as it is with political and social commentary, THE OTHER DEAD heads in a new direction as it ties together human fear and frailty and its effect on the environment through the collective revolt of the world’s lesser evolved creatures.

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