Books & Graphic Novels

Fin de Cycle: Marvel Announces Secret Wars Finale

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Marvel Comics “Secret Wars” #9 brings the universe shattering story to a conclusion.

Cover by ALEX ROSS
Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
On-Sale – 01/13/16
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Krampus, Your Style: Santa’s Henchman Grabs the Spotlight

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I’d OBEY if I were you! “Contemporary Krampus” runs a campaign of terror. Art: Copyright Stannis Abdulo

Getting Kramped in Here…
Hey, whaddaya call a group of shepherds in Brooklyn? …Ewes guys. Ok – umm, how ‘bout a ram wearing galoshes? …A goat in Totes. “Hey Pete,” you say, “who’s got your goat?” In a word… Krampus, and it ain’t no joke. The nordic/germanic folk character acts as the malevolent sidekick to Ol’ Saint Nicholas and is more than happy to beat the bejesus outta ya with a batch of birch branches.

A likely remnant of the old world veneration of the Great God Pan, American audiences may be largely unaware of Krampus. The admonishment to “be good” lest you find a lump of coal in your stocking appears to be the closest kids in the US get to the dark-side of yule tide. That will soon be remedied as Santa’s satanic enforcer gets his due this coming holiday season. Yep, things get heavier than a little coal as the real nightmare before Christmas is the focus of an upcoming film and a brand new book.
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True Gris: Grimly IIlustrated Bradbury Classic

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Gris Grimly’s Dust Jacket for Knopf’s new “The Halloween Tree” edition.

I’d like to kick off October with a look at a book I ordered as a birthday gift for myself last month.

Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree remains my favorite autumn tome since I first purchased the Ballantine paperback edition back in 1972 and read it in one sitting. It is a wonderful rumination on the origins of the witching season wrapped in a quintessential Bradbury “boy’s tale” (or what we now call young adult fiction). Originally conceived as a screen treatment for an un-produced Chuck Jones cartoon, each of its characters learns the history and significance of their respective costume as they travel through the Samhain night on a quest to save a friend.
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Early Peek @ Dark Horse Comics’ “Harrow ‘een” Treats

harrow county, dark horse comics, cullen bunn, tyler crook
Well, I’ve already seen Halloween decorations displayed at Lowes Home Center, so I guess an October surprise preview from the folks at Dark Horse Comics isn’t too early to report.

If you are a horror fan and haven’t been following their Harrow County series it’s time to get on board. I think you’ll fall in love with it, and I tell you why in this post reviewing Harrow County #1.
harrow county, dark horse comics, cullen bunn, tyler crook
TeeVee Geebies…
Dark Horse recently announced that the ongoing graphic novel is one of several of the company’s titles being developed by Universal Cable Productions for episodic television, “with direct involvement from the comics creators.” That’s good news because writer Cullen Bunn and artist Tyler Crook‘s work is top notch and I would love to see their aesthetic translated to the screen.

Here’s a sneak peek at what autumn has in store with Harrow County issue #6.
harrow county, dark horse comics, cullen bunn, tyler crook

harrow county, dark horse comics, cullen bunn, tyler crook

Alas, Poor Hellboy: Dark Horse & Mignola Turn Up the Heat

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Hellboy In Hell #7
Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Mike Mignola
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Scott Allie
Cover Artist: Mignola with Stewart

Release Date: August 26, 2015

I Took a Dog’s Paw, A Hog Jaw, and Tied ’em in a Knot…
There is no rest for the expired when you happen to be Hellboy. He’s dead. He’s in Hell. He’s all messed up. Yet even in death he’s going to have to face a world of deadly problems, possibly the expunging of his eternal soul thereby becoming a hollow howling haunter of hell. He is not without benefactors but their needs are reciprocal and large.

Written and rendered for the printed page by HellBoy creator Mike Mignola and his trusty wingman, colorist Dave Stewart, issue #7 of Dark Horse ComicsHellboy In Hell presents us with the first of the two-part story “The Hounds of Pluto.”

hellboy, mike mignola, dave stewart, dark horse comics, bellboy in hell

Hellboy writer and artist Mike Mignola ponders his creation’s next adventure. (photo by Christine Mignola/Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics)

I Took a Black Cat, A Cave Bat, and Threw ’em in a Pot…
Inspiration can come in the strangest forms, and editor Scott Allie informs us that Mignola found his muse for a key story element in a skeletal feline Halloween ornament. That item is elevated to star status on the cover of HBiH #8 (September 2015).

Mignola brews his stories in a cauldron of classic motifs that often suggest the frames of a silent era film. Caligariesque street-scapes, post grave grudges, glitchy golems and Shakespearean incantations are all part of the mix here. To heighten the effect, colorist Stewart juxtaposes the hard lines and stark tones of Hell’s very active memento mori against subtle watercolor washes depicting Hellboy’s verdant reveries of Alice and the rebirth of existence in the wake of what was once England.

What role must HB play in the rise of the new Albion? Not even those intrinsically involved know for sure, but you can begin your own deductions when this issue hits the bookstore shelves.
hellboy, mike mignola, dave stewart, dark horse comics, bellboy in hell
SkeletonPete Says…
If you want to catch up with just how our hero got to this place in time and space before HBiH #7 is released, check out Dark Horse’s The Storm and The Fury: HellBoy Volume 12 compilation which pulls together the two story arcs you need under one cover.

BTW, if you’re wondering where my lyrical paragraph headers come from give Johnny Otis‘s “Castin’ My Spell” a listen. I particularly dig the version done by Johnny Kid and the Pirates in 1964.

hellboy, mike mignola, dave stewart, dark horse comics, bellboy in hell

Preview of “Hellboy In Hell” #8