Special Halloween Edition!
Is there one book that is a “must have” collected edition that came out this week? My friends Andy Tom (@AndrewJTom), Chris Campbell (@ChrisCampbell8), Marc Diefenderfer (@Dief88), Shane Hannafey, Adam Besenyodi (@adambesenyodi), Joey Nazzari (@CaptDS9E), Wallace Ryan (@ReverendLove) Chris Partin (@ChrisPartin) and I (@ChrisCCL) are sharing some comic book collected editions, reprints and/or graphic novels released this week that you may be interested in.
Picked by @adambesenyodi
Distributed by United Artists
Starring Sissy Spacek and John Travolta
A conversation with friends at the beginning of the summer prompted me to go back and rewatch as many Stephen King movie adaptations as I could. I tackled them in chronological order, based on the year they were released, and sat through Carrie, The Shining, Cujo, The Dead Zone, Christine, Children of the Corn, Firestarter, and Cat’s Eye before running out of gas. Firestarter was unquestionably the worst of the bunch, not holding up in any way – acting, story, special effects. At the other end of the spectrum lie Carrie and The Shining. Although based on a Stephen King novel, I have always thought of The Shining as more of a Stanley Kuberick movie than a Stephen King adaptation. That leaves Carrie at the top of the list… And rightly so. Based on King’s first published novel in 1974, it’s also the first King adaptation to the big screen.
Sissy Spacek fully owns the title character, embodying the socially awkward Carrie White. The repressed daughter of a fundamentalist religious fanatic, played by a scenery-chewing Piper Laurie in a career-reviving role, the movie opens with Carrie’s torment at the hands of her peers in the school locker room. The scene introduces Chris Hargensen, played by Nancy Allen, who married director Brian DePalma and went on to star in the RoboCop franchise, as Carrie’s main antagonist. Barely recognizable in their youth as followers behind Nancy Allen’s character are P.J. Soles, later Bill Murray’s love interest in Stripes, and Edie McClurg, who became one of John Hughes’ most reliable actors. The rest of the cast is no less notable, with a who’s who of future stars of the ’70s and ’80s… Amy Irving (whose real life mom plays her mother in the film) as the lone classmate who tries to befriend Carrie; William Katt, who would make his name as the lead in Greatest American Hero, plays the popular guy trying to do good; John Travolta plays Nancy Allen’s repulsive boyfriend; and Betty Buckley debuted as Miss Collins, Carrie’s sympathetic gym teacher, before going on to star in Eight Is Enough.
Spacek and Laurie both earned the Academy Award nominations they received for their work in the film for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Beyond the recognizable faces, though, is where the movie truly shines. The story has heart, manipulating the audience in all the right ways despite any dating of the clothes or scenery. Capturing the angst of high school, Carrie is a movie that is more than the sum of its parts, ultimately settling as a mashup of the original X-Men outcast themes and John Hughes’ mid-’80s output filtered through a horror lens.
Picked by @CaptDS9E
Afterlife With Archie #1
Published by Archie Comics
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art by the fantastic Francesco Francavilla.
Retail $2.99 (Read on for Halloween Deal)
When Jughead’s pet has a horrific accident, he goes to Sabrina the Teenage Witch for help. However the spell she casts, unleashes evil into the world, and starts bringing Riverdales dead back to life. A zombie apocalypse has begun in the world of archie. I have not read a regular archie book since I was 10, but the mix of Zombies, and Francavilla on art made me pick up this issue, and it was fantastic. And it is only a first issue, as this is an ongoing series that hopefully has a long Afterlife Also if you read this before the end of Halloween night go tocomixology.com and use the coupon code ArchieZombie99 to get the issue for .99. It’s a steal. (Also a quick 2nd pick is Rachael Rising by Terry Moore which is must read as well)
World War Z
Paramount and Skydance Pictures
Featuring Brad Pitt and Mireille Enos
My second pick is a recent movie, also with zombies called World War Z (loosely based on the book by Max Brooks). Gerry Lane is a former UN investigator who left his job to spend more time with his family. One normal morning in Philadelphia, while in the car with his wife and two kids (stuck in traffic like any major city) something goes horribly wrong.There are car accidents, explosions, and something is headed towards them. We soon learn that a virus has started turning people into Zombies at an alarming rate. And these are not slow zombies, these are fast moving killers like in the game series Left 4 Dead. As we move along, the UN once again asks Gerry to help them figure out what is going on. He agrees to help, as long as they give his family a safe place to stay. That sets Gerry off on a globe trotting adventure from the US, to Asia, to the Middle East, to Europe and back again as Gerry pieces together how this epidemic may have started. I have to say that I was very surprised by this movie. I never read the original book, but hearing stories of some of the problems during production lowered my expectations. However Brad Pitt put’s in a terrific performance, andI really felt danger for his character in more then one instance. The fact that we see what is going on all over the world is another plus. I love the walking dead, but I always wish we would see more of the big picture of things. This movie gives that to us in a fun way.
Picked by @Dief88
Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson
Published by Dark Horse
Over the last few years, Dark Horse has managed to pump out nearly twenty volumes (each!) of its Creepy Archives and Eerie Archives hardcover series, collecting the 1970s’ two most legendary horror magazines. But if you’re looking for the very best of the best (or if you don’t have the hundreds of dollars you would need to complete your Creepy and Eerie collections), look no further than Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson. This incredibly-low-priced hardcover collects nearly 150 pages of stories illustrated by the incomparable Bernie Wrightson, one of the artists whose style is most associated with the two magazines. Wrightson’s work here is a whole different ball of wax from his more mainstream work in titles like Swamp Thing (the original series) – presented in stunning black and white at the original magazines’ full size, this is truly the stuff that nightmares are made of. He’s at his best in this collection in his work with writer Bruce Jones and in his adaptations of classic stories by H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, but everything here delivers. The book ends with a fully-colored story, as well as a color collection of Wrightson’s amazing covers and frontispieces from both Creepy and Eerie. Whether you’re looking for a veritable artistic portfolio from a great artist or just some scary comics to read on All Hallow’s Eve, you really can’t go wrong with this book.
Picked by @ReverendLove
EC Archives – Tales from the Crypt Vol. 4 HC
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Collects Tales from the Crypt #35-40
216 pages, $49.99
It was a roller coaster of a ride for the EC Comics Archives over the past few years as the collection lurched from Gemstone to GC Press and finally came to rest at the hallowed halls of Dark Horse Comics where at last, they seem to have found a safe and happy home. EC Comics was owned and operated by the one of the nicest men in comics, William Gaines who’d inherited the company from his father Max, the creator of the comic book format. Gaines created, along with many others, a grotesque and violent line of horror comics that terrified the parents of the 50′s and yet, delighted their kids.
I was one of many who bemoaned the troubles the Archives have been having as they tried to find a publisher who could guarantee their continued existence and was as happy as one could be when I heard that Dark Horse had taken up the torch. I enjoyed the first few incarnations and was a bit worried about how Dark Horse would be presenting these classic comics until I picked up “Tales of the Crypt” volume 4, the first book from the latest guardians of these treasured pieces of graphic literature at it’s height! But I was pleasantly surprised at their slight redesign on the spine and elated to see that they repositioned the “the EC Archives” text below the original title logos of the comics instead of ghosting them over the logos. Thank you ever so much for that design improvement and for the beautiful job done on the design of the inside text pages. This is how I like my archive editions to look!
This volume contains 6 issues of EC’s best known horror title, Tales from the Crypt and are a treat with their unseemly and lurid violence with a casual smattering of campy horror. The stories are all written by William Gaines and Al Feldstein and feature a wide range of classic horror stories from your usual vampire tales to werewolves and cannibalistic ghouls. I always loved the surprise endings common to all the EC titles and this baby is no different.
The art is handled by an all star roster of some of EC’s best graphic storytellers including Jack Davis, Joe Orlando, Jack Kamen, George Evans, Reed Crandell, Graham Ingels, Bill Elder and Bernie Krigstein. The pages are all based on a simple panel system and yet all these diverse artists were able to adapt and flourish in that environment. I love all their work from the cartoony Davis to the slightly disturbing Ghastly Graham Ingels to the sleek design master, Bernie Krigstein. Some may find some of these stories dated in some aspects but you can’t deny the graphic jubilation that these men brought to these tales of sheer terror and teeth grinding suspense.
I will continue to collect any and all EC Comics Archives that Dark Horse Comics cares to bring to life and I recommend that you do the same. Boo!
Picked by @andrewjtom
Batman Volume 3: Death of the Family HC
Published by DC Comics
Collects Batman #13-17
If you listened to the Collected Comics Library episode from a couple of months ago you’ll know what a tremendous Batman fan I am. So; is it any surprise that I chose Snyder and Capullo’s Death of the Family hardcover for this week’s pick? Regardless of how big of a Batman fan I am, I can recommend this book as a tome that needs to be read by not only Batman fans, but fans of the comic medium in general. This book craft’s one of the best Joker stories I’ve ever read. Let’s face it… we know that at the end of any Batman story, the status quo will always end with Batman defeating the bad guy, and the core characters of the Batman mythos will be completely in tact and ready to take that next leap into another adventure with the Dark Knight. But this time; Snyder and Capullo actually had me believing that Batman and his sidekicks were in serious jeopardy of not only letting the Joker get away, but not surviving this story. I’m not gonna’ ramble on about this tale, but it’s the type of Batman story that will end up being an “evergreen” title in the future (a comic that never goes out of print and stands the test of time). Do yourself a favor and pick up two of these from Instocktrades or Forbidden Planet International. You’ll need one for yourself, and one to loan out to your friends.
The Monster Club
Starring Vincent Price and John Carradine
By Amicus Productions.
There is no shortage of good horror comics or movies to enjoy this Halloween. I decided to review a film near and dear to my heart since first seeing it at a young age. The Monster Club has been long out of print on DVD, but was recently released in a beautiful new Blu-Ray edition thanks to the folks at Scorpion Releasing. I have never seen this 1980 film look so beautiful. What we have is a trilogy of stories made for your Halloween viewing. The stories are framed by a fun, yet cheesy wraparound at the “famous” Monster Club, where no humans are usually welcome. The incredible cast of famous horror personalities alone will have you wanting to grab this release. The film stars Vincent Price, John Carradine, Donald Pleasance and Britt Ekland to name just a few. Vincent Price stars as a vampire who feeds off of famous horror writer R. Chetwynd-Haynes played by John Carradine. In order to pay him back for his “kindness”, the vampire invites the author to the Monster Club where he can find new stories to write. The wraparound segment of the club is very cheesy. There are musical numbers, animated sequences and other forms of craziness, but it all adds to the charm of the film. The three tales are what are worth the price of admission. The first one, being the best and most memorable is about a Shadmock, a creature who packs a deadly whistle. The other two stories are fun as well, one being a comical take on vampires and the last being a tale of a film director looking for a location for his latest film. Of course, the small village he finds is not exactly what he is expecting! The film is a blast and very fun to watch on Halloween. It is also relatively tame and safe for at least ages ten and above. Definitely pick this up and make it part of your Halloween viewing.