Tag Archives: ghoul

Haunted Horror Tribute #22

hauntedhorror_22

I picked this up recently, figuring it would be fun to read and get me in the Halloween mood. It looked like something that was inspired by the old horror comics I read as a kid, but I was surprised to discover that it is actually a compilation of vignettes scanned and reprinted from the classic 1950’s horror comics. So this is NOT just an attempt to recapture the essence of the genre, this contains actual reprints of the original 1950’s tales. It’s all here—the vintage artwork, the cheesy narration, everything that I remember about these publications.

The collection is a nice size, containing eight tales of terror.

  • Robot Woman: The opening tale reminded me of “The Stepford Wives.” It explores the dark side of our culture’s obsession with physical beauty, while at the same time offering a critique of the 1950’s view of what a “perfect woman” is supposed to be.
  • Chef’s Delight: This is a story that addresses domestic violence, an issue that sadly still plagues our society today. In the end, though, the wife gets her revenge on her abusive husband.
  • Shadows of the Tomb: This is a story about a man who murders his wife to claim her inheritance. But in a twist reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, the wife is not really dead and exacts her revenge.
  • Guest of the Ghouls: This tale uses ghouls as a metaphor for individuals who violate the dead, who are like vultures feeding off the losses of the deceased. There is a great quote that warrants sharing: “We unburied the dead while we were living and stole what we wanted! You have robbed the dead of their only identity after death — their tombstones!”
  • I Killed Mary: Interesting vignette about a nerdy, dorky outcast. There was a scene about what was considered to be appropriate dinner table talk which I found to be a critique of the overly structured family life of the 50’s.
  • The Haunter: A piece about a greedy man who tries to scare his uncle to death in order to get his money.
  • The Choker: Probably my favorite in the collection. This is a very creative tale about a con job where a woman marries a man to get his money, then she and her lover kill the husband and stage it as a suicide. The brilliance of this piece is that it is written from the perspective of a necklace that the husband had given to the wife.
  • Night of Terror: The final story is about a man who stages a scenario intended to scare his wife so that he can prove himself to be brave in the face of danger, but as you can imagine, things go awry.

I really enjoyed this collection, and I am seriously considering getting more issues in the future. It is more than just a nostalgia piece; it’s a preservation of an artistic and literary genre that was a reflection of the anxiety, fear, and growing social tension that would later erupt into revolution in the 1960s. Highly recommended, even if you are not a horror buff.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Literature

Hellboy: 20th Anniversary Sampler

Hellboy20AnivSampler

I picked this comic up on Free Comic Book Day a couple months ago and have just now gotten around to reading it. I have to say that I really liked it. If I didn’t have so much to read and was not invested in following several comics, I would start reading Hellboy on a regular basis.

The issue is comprised of three vignettes and also includes a section of “funny pages,” which are a tribute to the short comic strips published in newspapers. The short strips are adaptations of classic newspaper comics such as Popeye, Dilbert, Peanuts, and so forth. But the characters are morphed to represent those from Hellboy. I loved them! They are very creative and witty, and they brought back memories of reading the comics in the newspaper when I was a kid.

The three vignettes are short and well-written. The first one, “The Coffin Man,” is about a brujo who digs up fresh cadavers to use for dark magical purposes. The second, “The Ghoul,” was my favorite of the three. It was about a ghoul who feasts on the flesh of the deceased. What I loved about this is that the text and dialog is all constructed from the 18th-century poems “The Pleasures of Melancholy” by Thomas Warton and “The Grave” by Robert Blair, as well as from Hamlet. It works magnificently. The third vignette, “Another Day at the Office,” is about a resurrected tyrant who raises an army of zombies. They are all very good and definitely worth the read.

I usually say how each time I read something, my list of things to read increases exponentially. Certainly, I now feel I must read the poems referenced in “The Ghoul.” If I had the time, I would start reading deeper into Hellboy also, but that may have to wait until I retire.

Cheers, and enjoy your reading!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized