I was never a huge fan of the 3rd film, probably because they refused to release it as The Medieval Dead (how can you turn down a name like that?!).
10 .Zombie World: Champion of the Worms (published by Dark Horse Comics, this was a lovely light zombie comedy by Mike Mignola and Pat McKeown) This was just pure, unbridled fun - a mixture of exploring characters who inadvertently stumble across zombie spirits. It reminded me a bit of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in its tone, although, I am sure it came first. Pat McKeown has a style which reminds me of Bob Fingerman. I think the two have worked together, so this might be the reason. It's heavily cartoony, almost as if animation, in style.
The rest of the mini-series that were released were, unfortunately, not a patch on this. After seeing the Hellboy film, I am almost tempted to read the comics, as Mr Mignola ain’t bad (I just don’t like his artwork). Shame the TPBs are overpriced, no doubt to cash in!
9 .Skull Comics issues 4 and 5 (A Horror Anthology - these issues published by Last Gasp comics were devoted to Lovecraft stories.) I remember seeing some of these adaptations in other comics. I think Tales of a Leather Nun has one or two of them. It is Jack Jackson (or Jaxxon as he was known) that really impressed me here. He has gone on to draw period history books on Texans and Indians and stuff I think, but he really shines in these comics. As I am writing this away from the comics themselves I can’t really talk about their content, but I remember them being worth every penny I spent to get them.
I believe it had some early Richard Corben in here, if memory serves me correctly. It was an Italian edition of a book about Lovecraft and comics which helped me seek these out, and very indebted I am to it. By the way, the Lovecraft Heavy Metal issue, is a fine piece of work too, if a little bit mixed in its content.
8 .Haunter of the Dark (John Coulthart, published by Oneiros Books) John Coulthart also worked on projects for Savoy Books, known for their Meng and Ecker comics and Reverbstorm. I originally read one of his Lovecraft tales in a Creation Books anthology celebration. It was called Starry Wisdom, which also had prose from Grant Morrison and Alan Moore, amongst others. I actually only bought it for Alan Moore’s contribution, having sat in a room with less than 50 others whilst he read The Courtyard to us all, literally mesmerised (but that is another story). The Courtyard, by the way, was put into comic form by Avatar Press, don’t waste your money. Read the prose, it is far more effective in your own mind!
Anyway, sorry Mr Coulthart, this should be about you. His linework is so fine and detailed you would have thought he wrote for a Victorian periodical. Fascinating. I found it really captured the essence of Lovecraft. Seek his compilation out as it has a good selection of tales in it.
7 .From Hell (superb Jack The Ripper comic by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. Originally published in SpiderBaby Graphix/Tundra/Kitchen Sink Press editions of Taboo, a horror anthology, until each went bust) Not everyone will like Campbell's scratchy style, but I think it adds to the flavour. Alan Moore tried to release it separately under his company Mad Love, till that went defunct and Kitchen Sink as above released the whole story in Prestige Format. Seems to have been a jinxed project. Now collected together, I hope this version keeps all of Alan's Appendices because they are fascinating. Published by Knockabout Comics over here, it is a MUST BUY. I wasn't impressed by the film with Johnny Depp.
This story is so in depth, you will believe it to be true, even though this is just a supposition on Moore’s part. You will feel that you were there; in the grimey streets, in the smoke-filled pubs with the festering clientele.
6 .Faust: Love of the Damned (incredibly violent and sexually violent comic, first few issues originally published by North Star, then re-published and finished by Rebel Studios, by Quinn and Vigil) This was probably the first ultra-violent comic I ever bought. Naked bodies being riddled with bullets. People being torn in half by a nutter with claves, Wolverine-style. Sex-Fuelled Orgies to summon evil Snake Spirits and WereWolf Demons who proceeded to rape the female sacrifices.
I love to get a hold of the forbidden, so I guess that is why I was so driven towards this material. I admit it. Why else did I seek out Video Nasties, live through the Video Recordings Act of 1984, research it for a dissertation and sniff out all that is strictly VERBOTEN? Hey, it’s okay if it is integral to the storyline. Yeah, right…
5 .Deadworld (Vince Locke artwork, saga of troubled times for a bunch of survivors within a Zombie world. Good character development and nasty munchin' zombies. Published by Caliber, now defunct) How the hell did I find this? I think it was the odd issue of the original series from Caliber, in a back issue bin which piqued my interest. Then one day I saw the trade paperback. Shit, why weren’t there more? I know the later issues were sadly remedial (The Zombie king ones) but this was shit kicking stuff. When I first read ‘em, it was believable. A bunch of survivors getting together and travelling across states trying to find some sort of meaning to their lives… oh and trying to STAY alive.
The scratchy artwork just seemed right and if you love this, Tundra (also Defunct) did a Sketchbook of his called Visions. I own it and would never sell it for the world. Beautifully twisted contents. This was at the height of my Zombie interest, refuelled now by the Shaun of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead Remake.
4 .Black Hole (Charles Burns' take on 70's set schoolkids with mutation diseases. Beautiful inkwork. Published by Drawn and Quarterly) This man can draw. He is also obsessed with the era, no doubt coz he grew up in it. What makes a horror story great is to take something normal and twist it. Not in the ‘TWIST ENDING’ way, but to just make it so slightly skewed that it makes you squirm. Mr Burns has that knowledge. To give his schoolkids certain anomalies, mutations and afflictions so as to creep you out, gives his story an edge. I can’t even remember if it is ever explained. Why should it be?
Have you ever felt an erotic urge over a young woman with a nubby tail sticking out from her behind? This story could change that.
3 .Battle Royale (currently being published by Tokyo Pop) To coin a phrase I used to use alot after reading the Dark Knight Returns: Balls Nasty. I read the novel on Holiday last year on a Greek Island in the sun. The island these schoolchildren are on is not so pleasant. I discovered this comic in Thailand when I stayed there for a Month, including Christmas and New Year. The Good News was, the comic books were cheap, the Bad News was I didn’t read THAI!
Thank Someone that Tokyo Pop decided to translate them (Good ol’ Keith Giffen) and give them to America. Whilst extremely long-winded which is a trait in Manga, to ensure they screw you for moolah, the story is detailed, bringing in backstories which add to your understanding of the characters. The violence, when it hits, which is often, is extremely graphic, for the gorehounds out there. The Sex, when intimated, can be quite… wet.
I love this comic. It has everything that you would want from a horror comic. Luckily it is based on a good story. Get this on your Christmas list if you haven’t got it already.
2 .Anne Rice comics (only the fully painted/pastels ones published by Innovation: Interview with a Vampire, Vampire L'Estat, Queen of the Damned and The Mummy) Daerick Gross was a beautiful painter. What the hell happened to him? A loss to comics and a gain for advertising, no doubt! The Innovation books were lush, rich and intelligent. I can understand the company going under, as this was hardly mainstream, homoerotic characters sucking blood in the 18th century or whatever. I prefer this to the films…
The Mummy was a real gem. Drawn in pastels, it had an old-worldy feel to it and should have been collected into a TPB. Those good old English (I think they were and not American) fucking things up again, bringing back the ancient evil. But Anne Rice’s novels were always about love within all this decay. Stunning. You don’t normally see a full set too often, so buy it if you find it but don’t complain to me if you don’t like gothic romance!
1 .Army of Darkness (original, fully painted John Bolton art from Sam Raimi story, published by Dark Horse Comics) When this was announced in Previews (trade magazine, more like phone book, released monthly advising of comics due in 3 months’ time), I couldn’t believe it. My first real horror experiences of my own, i.e. not Alien on TV sitting with my family, were Nightmare on Elm Street and Evil Dead. Both seen on video, underage, from a local video store.
Sam Raimi soon became someone to admire, I devoured all the Fango articles on his films. John Bolton, on the other hand, wowed me with his work on Someplace Strange and I only got bored of him recently when I realised he was mainly doing splash-page artwork (very stiff and cardboardy).
Putting the two of them together seemed like genius. I was never a huge fan of the 3rd film, probably because they refused to release it as The Medieval Dead (how can you turn down a name like that?!). It was over-slapstick, but I preferred the long cut I got on bootleg to the released cut. I also preferred the original Armageddon ending to the store ending, which seemed a cop-out. Anyhoo… a great little comic.