For those of you who are not familiar with Haunted Horror, it’s a cool publication that reprints graphic horror comics from the 1950s, usually centered around a general theme, which in the case of this issue is “love.”
My little shriveling worms, welcome to these rotten pages I have the disgrace to host. You are here for an unlikely lesson in the revolting feeling many call “love.”
Significant others: Sometimes you want to let rats eat them, some others you worship their decaying corpses. Love is strange, indeed?
The stories within are my horrible homage to you. I sincerely hope that one day you will find the omega to your alpha, the nadir to your zenith, the zombie to your graveyard robber.
In total, the publication includes eight twisted tales:
- Date with a Corpse—originally published in The Unseen #15, July 1954
- Death Writes the Horoscope—originally published in The Beyond #26, April 1954
- The Hand of Glory—originally published in Chilling Tales #13, December 1952
- Horror Blown in Glass—originally published in The Beyond #9, March 1952
- Kiss and Kill—originally published in Witches Tales #20, August 1952
- Mark of Violence—originally published in The Thing #10, September 1953
- The Rat Man—originally published in The Unseen #9, March 1953
- The House—originally published in Chamber of Chills Magazine #18, July 1953
I really enjoyed reading this, because it brought back memories of when I was a kid. Growing up, I loved horror comics and magazines, and would regularly read stuff like Creepy, Eerie, Weird Worlds, Vampirella, and Famous Monsters of Filmland. While these publications were not high literature by any stretch, they did foster a love of reading which has lasted my entire life.
There is a local comic convention here in town in November. I think I may have to see if there are any of the vintage horror mags that I grew up reading. I’ll let you know if I find any. Happy reading!
It’s no surprise that Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite writers. There is no one who taps into the darker realms of the subconscious quite like he does. For this reason, I was mesmerized when I read an article from Brain Pickings talking about Gaiman’s reimagining of Hansel and Gretel. It is a dark tale, to say the least, and in the video clip that is embedded into the post (which I encourage you to watch), Gaiman points out that reading the story as a kid was the first time he realized that people are meat and that some people could eat you. It was a terrifying realization which I believe influenced his artistic direction.
Gaiman points out that being exposed to the darkness is important for young people, because ultimately it will empower them to face the darker aspects of life when confronted by them.
I think if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up. I think it is really important to show dark things to kids — and, in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power. Tell them you can fight back, tell them you can win. Because you can — but you have to know that.
I recently watched “Alien” with my daughter, and while she was scared, she saw that people can be resourceful when confronted with something terrifying, and if they remain calm and keep their wits, they can overcome that which terrifies them. It is an important lesson. My wife questioned why we would watch something that was so scary. Gaiman answers the question much more eloquently than I ever could.
I encourage you to read the article on Brain Pickings. It is short and also includes stunning illustrations from the book, done by Italian graphic artist Lorenzo Mattotti. Also watch the short video that is near the end of the article, which has Gaiman and Art Spiegleman discussing the importance of dark tales.
My reading list just got one book longer!
Yesterday I went with my daughter to the Halloween ComicFest at our local comic store. They advertised free comics and treats, so we couldn’t pass it up. We were each allowed to choose three free comics from a table of available issue. One of the ones I selected was this Afterlife with Archie comic. WHOA!! This is nothing like the Archie comics I remember from when I was a kid.
This is some pretty dark stuff. Basically, Reggie hit’s Jughead’s dog, Hot Dog, while driving and kills it. Jughead, in distress, takes Hot Dog to Sabrina and her aunts to see if they can use magick to bring the dog back. The aunts say that since the animal’s spirit has passed to the next realm, there is nothing that they can do. Sabrina decides to use the Necronomicon to bring Hot Dog back from the dead. But bringing back the dead has negative consequences and the story turns very dark and graphic.
I have to say that I have always viewed Archie as kind of fluffy, mainstream stuff. This is anything but. It draws on the horror genre from film, books, and comics. It also makes references to the darker occult practices and beliefs which are pretty accurate. And the illustrations, all in black and white, are about as nightmarish as they come. In fact, I found this to be more graphic and scary than other horror comics I’ve read recently, such as Creepy and Eerie. In fact, this is so well-done and scary, I’m seriously considering reading the rest of this series. I’m not sure how many will be in the series, but I am going to look into it.
If you are into graphic horror, you should give this a read. I say without hesitation that, with the exception of Wytches, it is the best horror comic I have read in a long time.