Let's talk about horror anthology comics for a moment. These little jewels have become something of a lost art in recent years, but I'm very happy to see that they are starting to make a comeback. A comeback that I intend to help contribute to.
Back in the 1950s horror anthology comics like Tales From The Crypt actually became so popular the FBI was called in to investigate. But Tales From The Crypt, while the most popular, was not the only horror comic on the news stand. There were a number of other horror comics spanning from the early 1950s to the early 1980s. EC Comics, who published Tales From The Crypt also Published such titles as The Haunt Of Fear, The Vault Of Horror, and The Crypt Of Terror.
But EC wasn't the only one pumping out the thrills and chills. Well known companies who are still around today, such as Marvel and DC had there share of horror comics on the market. Marvel produced a now little known comic called Monsters On The Prowl while DC started the "House Of" craze.
With their famous hosts Kane and Able DC ran the titles House Of Mystery and House Of Secrets from 1951 to 1987. Although Kane and Able themselves didn't come in until about half way through the series they were really what made it in my own opinion.
But House Of Mystery and House Of Secrets weren't the only comics out there to bare the "House Of" title. There was Elvira's House Of Mystery, House Of Horror, House Of Hammer, Hammer's House Of Horror, House Of Terror, Secrets Of Haunted House, Secrets Of Sinister House, even Sinister House Of Secret Love. And those are just the ones I know about. There very well may have been more then that...
These comics weren't just popular because that's what was in at the time... I mean... that IS what was in at the time... but there was more to it then that. These comics were actually GOOD. There's a reason House Of Mystery #1 sells for $676.00 on the collectors market today. Sinister House Of Secret Love #1 for $190.00 Even later issues of Tales From The Crypt, such as Tales From The Crypt #36 sell for $242.00 I own other comics that are just as old and didn't have to pay that much for them. These comics were really well done and are still fun to read even today.
Every time I walk into a comic shop or antique store and find an old horror comic I squeal like a little girl and run up to the checkout with it right away before anyone can see what I've found.
But then, in the late 1980s, these kind of comics just stopped. There may have one new title here and there, never lasting more then a few issues, and naturally the reprints of just about every single comic EC Comics had ever made... Bu t you just didn't see them in the numbers, or even quality, that we had in that wonderful stretch of time from 1950 to 1987.
But now, I am happy to say, that the horror comics are making a come back. In 1996 DC launched a new House Of Secrets series. It only lasted 25 issues, ending in 1998, but it paved the way for the release of a new House Of Mystery series in 2008. One which is still going strong to this day and actually really good.
I have only just started reading the new House Of Mystery, buying the first year of issues and reading them all in one sitting, and so far I LOVE this comic. It's like being taken back to the day when these kinds of comics were at the top of the game. But this comic takes it one step further then that. It brings back the horror anthology genera while at the same time adding an ongoing story with a set group of characters. And let me tell you that this is a story worthy of the name "House Of Mystery". It keeps you twisting and turning every which way so every time you think you have it figured out, you... don't.
After only the first issue I was hooked.
And that brings me to where I am now. I have always loved these kind of comics, as this post should have made clear, and have always wanted to do one myself. So I figure now that DC is doing it's best to bring the old horror comics back (and doing a very nice job of it) it's the perfect time for me to do one myself.
The Black Marker Detective is about to end, but I want to keep telling stories about it's characters. So what I'm going to do, I've decided, is start my own horror/mystery anthology comic to pick up where The Black Marker Detective leaves off. That way the story doesn't really end and I'm able to do my dream comic without adding on a lot of extra work.
I figure if I'm going to do this kind of comic I may as well go all out and pick a "House Of" title. So I'm happy to announce officially that this year I will be ending The Black Marker Detective and launching The House Of Conundrum.
Talking about Professional comics for a moment, instead of web comics, I have just started reading the 2nd Swamp Thing series, known as The Saga Of The Swamp Thing. This is the one that was written (mostly) by Alan Moore, who is most famous for The Watchmen. Moore didn't take over Swamp Thing until issue #20, and Swamp Thing didn't really become famous until Moore took it over... and it's easy to see why.
I wasn't a big fan of Watchmen (Except for Rorschach) but this thing in incredible. I would put it right up there with Neil Gaiman's Sandman.
It's hard to believe that a comic about a walking heap of swamp mess could be as thought provoking, touching, or suspenseful as this comic is. Let me set you straight. This comic was not intended for children. It has a little warning right on the cover stating "Suggested For Mature Readers". (Or at least most of them did) But it's not just because the content sometimes involved sex and nudity. I really can't see many kids WANTING to read this. The story would be too boring to their young minds, unable to comprehend the complexity of what's going on.
This comic was published under the DC name brand and was later moved to DC's Vertigo name brand after it was established. But this was clearly a Vertigo title all along. Characters that old school DC fans will be familiar with appear in it here and there. Swamp Thing, Deadman, The Phantom Stranger, and Etrigan seem to make a favored team... But characters fans of Neil Gaiman's Sandman will recognize show up as well.
I will give a slight word of warning to anyone who may be interested in this comic though. As much as I love it, it can get a little weird at times. Weird as in Alan Moore must have been dropping acid when he wrote it then decided to share with the artists... But only at times. Although I would recommend skipping #78, unless you WANT to see one of the most bizarre and awkward sexual moments in comic book history. The kind that makes you go, "Why did I read that...?"
And after peaking your interest like that you will probably shoot me if I end it there and leave you wondering, won't you? Long and short of it... Swamp Thing's girlfriend gets him pregnant and he gives birth to himself. No really...
I haven't done a review on a new comic in a while so I think it's about time.
Real Girls is a comic I have just come across which is still in it's early stages, but from what I have seen so far I'm expecting big things from it. The story is about two girls who aren't "really" girls, making the title a bit of a humorous farce. Alex is a male to female trans-gender, who doesn't have any friends because of what she is, who happens upon a malfunctioning android girl named Kayla wandering the street with a bullet hole in her head. Feeling sorry for the overly cheerful (considering her owner just shot her in the head) android, Alex takes her home with her and has the guy across the hall (who happens to work on androids) fix her up as best he can.
It doesn't take long for us to find out that Kayla is an illegal prototype who probably belonged to some kind of crime boss and was shot in the head because she had seen too much, giving us an actually interesting story. That and the fact that said crime boss knows Kayla is still active and is more then likely looking for her. The story flows along very well in a way I rarely see outside of professional comic books and/or manga. Even the side characters have well written back stories that are seamlessly worked in without affecting the flow of the overall story.
The art is simplistic yet well done and a joy to look at. The artist has a clever way of mixing gritty with cute. Even I, as a straight man, can't help but find Alex to be just adorable. Adorable enough to overlook the fact that she's still technically a dude and just enjoy the comic for what it is without bringing my own sexuality into question...
On a scale of 1 to 10 I give Real Girls an 8 with room to grow. If you want to check it out for yourself just click on the link to it in my Recommended Reading sidebar.
It's been quite a while since I posted anything in here and I haven't worked on any of my comics much either. I seem to spend most of my time at work or asleep. With so little time left to myself working on comics takes a back seat to things that keep me happy. Because if I don't do anything that makes me happy I'll end up trying to kill myself... again... (Prescription drugs only go so far) Sure, I like making comics, but it starts to feel like another job after a while and I get burned out on it. So I'm taking it slow and doing what I can when I can without stressing myself too badly.
I've also needed some free creation time that I don't get with my Black Marker Trinity, (The Black Marker Detective, Confessions Of A Teenage Carnivore, Fox Chicks) so I've started two new comics. One where I can be serious and moody, and one where I can just have fun. You'll be able to find them both in the links to my comics here on the site. Neither of them have any set updating schedule. I'll just be updating them when I get the time.
I've also been reading a few new web comics (new to me anyways) seeing as a few of my favorites have ended. So I'll be adding them to the links as well and probably be doing a few reviews.
That's pretty much all until I start posting something real.
I am a Tennessee born writer who couldn't spell his way out of a paper bag and cartoonist with no real art skills to speak of. Yet for some reason people still read my stuff. I can't understand it... (At the moment I am involved in a relationship with an AI program)