Since the 80’s, the independent (and mainstream for that matter) horror comic has been hit or miss at best… either a sorry plotline, or sad art or possibly a combination of both. In most fan’s minds, no one has captured the pre-comic-code terror that we saw from E.C. Comics way back in the day. This last weekend at Wizard World Chicago, I saw what I would hesitate to call a resurgence of the horror comic. I would hesitate only because the word resurgence would imply that companies were bringing about the same old-same old again. What I saw were fresh ideas, good art, terrifying stories and a completely new approach to the horror comic. It’s not a rehash or resurgence, it is a renaissance. Fangoria, which has been a mainstay name in the horror scene for decades, has not only joined the horror comic game… but they are showing everyone how to play it right and they are bringing a new standard. Check out a few of the new titles Fangoria has to offer
Bump (Fangoria – Kidwell) – Issues #1,2,3 are out of this 4 part series which is a prelude to the upcoming Robert Kurtman film (From Dusk Til Dawn). Bump is a traditional horror storyline, random thrown together victims are trapped by an evil soul – undead serial killer Edgar Dill and his army of tree ghoul-girls. This book made me jump, cringe and check my closet before I went to bed. Mark Kidwell as a writer and artist does a surperb job of keeping you on the edge of your seat, not wanting to turn the page, but knowing you must.
Robert Kurtzman’s Beneath the Valley of the Rage (Fangoria – Kurtzman / Bisson / Thompson) – Once again this series is a prequel to an upcoming film, The Rage. This book is much more story driven than Bump was. We follow the plight of a genius from his vision of being a savior of humanity to, for lack of a better word, mad scientist. John Bisson who wrote the comic based on the story in Kurtzman’s script, gives great character development and pulls no punches… everytime I thought I was standing on solid ground with some assumption about the plot or character Bisson ripped it out from under me. Fantastic! Stephen Thompson’s artwork was topnotch… giving enough detail in both character interaction and action that it felt like a film not a comic based on a film.
Jefferey Nodelman’s The Fourth Horseman (Fangoria – Nodelman / Castillo) – Like I said before, Fangoria is taking horror comics in a whole new direction, and once again, this series is a prelude to an upcoming animated film coming from Fangoria Films. Out of all the of the great Fangoria comics I read, this was far and away my favorite. This was less of a classic story narrative and more of a tale that would be told to you by a master storyteller around a fire late at night describing a great epic. Jefferey Nodelman has re-visioned the Biblical horsemen of the Apocalypse, and issue one tells of the Rider on a Pale Horse. Nodelman’s vision is a fresh and unexpected one… a Native American powerhouse of a warrior who is evil incarnete and whose whole purpose is not just destruction, but being the false prophet and having people bring themselves to their own destruction. Incredibly thoughtful and well told! I cannot wait for the next issues to come out.
Given the amalgamation that is coming of the comic world fanboys and the horror-terror fans, it is needed that horror comics step up their game and move onto the path of both a thought-provoking story and art worth looking at… Fangoria is showing the way
Also – Watch for our interview with Vamp production on their upcoming documentary “Vampira”