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Six, Six, Sickness: Carnifex Singer Scott Ian Lewis Announces Death Dreamer Graphic Novel

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Carnifex vocalist Scott Lewis, announces Death Dealer, his first graphic novel, via IndieGoGo campaign.

City of Night, City of Fright…

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Stand Back Sabrina, Buffy and Bella! Zoey Redbird Enters the “House of Night”

Jenny Frison's Cover for House of Night #1

(Guest Editor Adriana “Andy” Melendez returns with her look at the premiere issue of a new graphic novel series.)

House of Night
On Wednesday, November 9th, Dark Horse Comics brings you the first installment in their adaptation of “House of Night,” based on the series of books penned by mother/daughter writing duo P.C. and Kristin Cast.

What It Is…
Ever since Joss Whedon gave us “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” teen angst and the supernatural have become inextricably entwined in the land of young adult fiction.

Enter Zoey Redbird, a 16-year-old, like Buffy, reluctant to answer her own calling. In a world where Vampyres (yes, spelled with a Y), Witches and Goddesses all exist, she must learn to embrace and develop her powers, all the while navigating the usual drama of school, bullies, friends, and a budding romance. However, Zoey’s school is a bit different from most; she attends a “Potter-esque” Vampyre Academy, where she must learn to hone her craft, as she begins her transformation into a “creature of the night” herself. As Joss would say, it’s another allegory for adolescence and the horrors of High School.

Been there, done that. But what sets “House of Night” apart from the others, and that which piqued my curiosity, is the way authors P.C. and Kristin Cast (joined by Kent Dalian for the graphic novel) manage to weave in elements of mysticism, mythology and lessons on spiritual growth throughout the plot. It will be interesting to see how these elements develop in further issues.

Musings…
The allure of the supernatural, the idea of a realm “beyond the veil,” fascinates most of us. Of course, like the world of comic book heroes, we find that hidden world (a world beautifully illustrated by artists Joëlle Jones, Karl Kerschl and Jenny Frison) and the promise of power difficult to resist. Sadly, what I notice in popular teen fiction, is how it often discards the concept of consequences and finding balance when it comes to power. In my humble opinion, there should be more lessons on growth and spirituality and “be careful what you wish for.” I’d be curious to see if “House of Night” continues down this path.

Andy Says…
I get what “House of Night” is going for, but never having read the books, I found the first issue, although interesting and definitely able to hook a teen audience, a bit disjointed. However, if you’re a fan of L.J. Smith’s “Vampire Diaries” or the “Secret Circle” series, as well as “Twilight,” there may be something for you here.

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OH MY! Hermes Press Releases All New “Lions, Tigers and Bears” Graphic Novel

Mike Ploog's Cover For Lions, Tigers and Bears Volume 3

Hermes Press takes a dip into the world of original content with the publication of “Lions,Tigers And Bears – Volume 3”, a completely new story in the award winning series by author Mike Bullock. Hermes, primarily known for its selection of library edition reprints of comic strips (The Phantom, Buck Rogers, Steve Canyon, Dark Shadows) and popular culture books (007, Supermarionation), is actively preparing to expand into the original graphic novel and comics market and even did a series of talent search interviews with aspiring artists and inkers at the recent San Diego Comic Con.

What It Is….

LT&B follows the adventures of Joey Price & Courtney Donlolley through a dreamworld where their collection of stuffed animals come to life to guide and protect them against creepy things that lurk under the bed or live in the closet. In this newest story Joey learns a serious lesson about being careful what you wish for. Joey’s ire at Courtney’s cousin, the taunting Beth, finds him wishing the Beasties would get her. When they do, he finds himself responsible for her rescue. Over course of the story the children, aided by their nocturnal companions including Ares the white tiger and Minerva the leopardess, come head to head with the toothsome monster Grillus and a group of evil pirates led by Scurvy. They also encounter the ghost of Captain Greybeard and his skeleton crew. The volume is rounded out by two Bullock scripted stories illustrated by Dan Hipp and Adam Van Wyck, which give shorter peeks into Joey’s night world of beasties and guardians.

Heralded by a dramatic Mike Ploog cover, the four chapter book is not so scary that children around 6 years of age can’t join the fun. Consider it the equivalent of a good old Disney style bump in the night. It’s no spoiler to say the good guys win, at least for now. The writing is much more literate than the standard cartoon fare found on cable TV these days and a nice introduction to the concept of graphic novels for the early reader. Parents and grandparents who may have previously suffered through some cringe-worthy juvenalia will appreciate this read-along as Bullock manages to infuse a layer of adult themes into the story as well.

The interior panel art by Michael Metcalf is beautifully rendered and scrumptiously colored. A favorite panel of mine casts Grillus and his beasties in a tableaux that approximates Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s iconic “Washington Crossing the Delaware”. I love sly little touches like that.

SkeletonPete Says…

For those who want to catch up with the L,T & B mythos, Hermes Press also offers the previous stories in two equally nice volumes. Along the way Bullock’s stories deal with life lessons of self confidence, taking responsibility for your actions, and even the loss of loved ones. These books are keepers that I believe will find a place in the “life libraries” of the young people they should be gifted to.