Horror Manga: Like I Need Another Hobby

Since I stumbled onto Hell Yeah Horror Manga a few days ago, I can’t stop thinking about Japanese horror. North America has nothing on the Japanese in terms of visual horror impact.

To illustrate my point:

“Fushigi no Tatari-chan”

“Corpse Party Blood Covered”

“I Am a Hero”

Even taken completely out of context, as these are, they’re immediately effective. (Tell me at least one of these won’t show up in your dreams tonight…)

I read horror comics when I was a kid, and “normal” comics when I got older. It’s been a while, but I’m getting the urge to pick up the habit again.

Any recommendations?

Love Comics? Love Horror? Brace Yourself…

Did you have plans for this long weekend?

Yeah, those might be about to change.

Enter The Horrors of it All. This is easily one of my favourite blogs, and has been for years. It’s probably the best source of Pre-Code horror comic scans.

What does Pre-Code mean?
Horror comics of the 1940s and early 1950s are often called ‘pre-Code’ horror in reference to the Comics Code Authority, a censoring board that was created in response to Dr. Fredric Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent and the subsequent public outcry against crime and horror comics. Since violent, gory and lurid content were what made pre-Code horror comics great, the stifling effect of censorship resulted in bland comics that didn’t sell. The horror comic market was dead, killed by the Code.” (from samuelsdesign.com)

Pre-Code is the good stuff. Monsters, murderers and the macabre await you in these pages. And The Horrors of it All actually provides full-page, full-story panels in all their delicious retro glory.

If you’re anything like me, you hated the chipper wholesomeness of Archie and gang, and thrived on comic blood and guts instead. This impeccably-maintained blog is worth a visit.

Disappointing Monsters

You like horror.

You like comics.

You’ll like Disappointing Monsters. Why? Because it’s fucking awesome.

Created by my buddy Owen Mackinder and my new pal Daniel Bradford, this comic has everything your dark little heart could want. Cthulhu. Pennywise the Dancing Clown. A snow fort with murder holes.

As my husband says, it’s a lot like Calvin and Hobbes…if Hobbes was a zombie.

(click for big)

New comics on Mondays, click here to read from the start.

Judge a Book By Its Cover

I love, love, love pulp covers. Whether they were for comics or cheap paperback novels, the lurid covers spoke of dread and danger. Monsters and shadowy villains lurking around corners hinted at impending doom. I remember reading horror comics that looked like these, and they heavily influenced my tastes in horror.

I mean really, how great are these?

Side note: I specifically remember reading a comic featuring Death menacing a man in his dreams, and it culminated in him waking to find a miniature Death digging a grave in the man’s own chest. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

For countless more vintage and pulp covers, check out Cover Browser, the best website I’d never heard of.

Movie Monday: Some Guy Who Kills People

I started watching this one thinking it would be easy enough to pick apart. I mean, seriously. Some Guy Who Kills People?

But I found myself just watching, entranced. I loved it. In fact, I absolutely adored it.

The dialogue is perfect: concise, punchy, subtly funny:
(Sheriff and Deputy, upon discovering a decapitated victim)
“This thing has no head, Ernie.”
“I know, Sir.”
“Most bodies have heads.”
“Where’s this thing’s head?”
“Not sure yet, Sir.”
“Well we should find his head.”
“Good idea, Sir.”

It has the same candy-coloured, cute-horror, slightly-fifties aesthetic as Fido. The main actor (Kevin Corrigan) reminds me of a dark, damaged Mark Ruffalo (in fact, this movie is just like The Kids Are All Right, except it has less lesbianism and way more brutal violence). It has everything I love: comics, over-the-top violence, dark humour, a diner, a smart-ass sheriff, a foam ice-cream costume, crushing social awkwardness…

Are you watching it yet? You should be.

Not Just a Word Nerd

I find so much inspiration in art. In filmmaking, in special effects, in design. In the artists themselves, in people who are RIGHT NOW making and writing and drawing and painting. Isn’t that exciting? I see so many successes and so much potential in my artistic peers that I can’t help wanting to join them in making something fantastic.

I didn’t go to an art school (though I wanted to), and I don’t have a ton of artsy friends (though those that I do know are remarkable). I have next to zero visual-art ability. But it tickles my creativity to peek into the lives of artists who are as we speak creating amazing and wonderful things.

So, check out A Studio Visit with Allison Sommers at hifructose.com. Her art is impressively detailed and instantly recognizable. I want to live in her studio.

I also love Nikki Burch’s illustrations and cartoons; she’s been a favourite of mine for quite a while. Her stuff is dark, but silly and fun at the same time. She uses teeny tiny little pen and brush strokes that make me glad I don’t have to print out my stories by hand.

And although I only get some of the references, I’m 200 pages in on Art Student Owl and it’s made me smile and laugh more times than I can count. Underneath the smart-assed jokes, though, it’s genuinely nice to think of all these artists out there giving up so much to maybe, someday, get somewhere doing what they love. I admire that, because I’m working toward a future where I can put my writing first.

(I just realized it is in fact Monday and this should have been a Movie Monday post. I’m sure the world at large will cope.)