As All Hallow’s Eve Night nears, I have three Dark Horse Comics must reads for the season. When I first looked at them, I was entranced until my window shutter blasted open, a bird flew in, and cawed, “Nevermore! Nevermore!” I screamed, threw the book up in the air, and hid under the bed covers.
Okay, that didn’t happen, but with plenty of seasonal offerings happening nearly one atop another, it’s easy to not finish reading in one night. The vibes from Leonide the Vampyr, Miracle at the Crow’s Head certainly got my imagination running wild. This work, written by Mike Mignola, certainly takes a few cues from Bram Stoker’s seminal Dracula if I’m to assume he’s paying tribute to more than one source material.
For the seminal work about the lord of darkness landing on the UK, The Demeter ran aground, and its cargo–a coffin–was found intact. The only difference, if I remember that moment right, is that nobody wanted to dare open it. But in this work, the villagers do. Who they find is not a corpse. The young redhead girl is very much alive. She eventually awakens, and the township can live happily–so it seems. What nobody realises is that she is a supernatural creature.
Rachele Aragno‘s artwork is spellbinding. Her comic strip style approach meshes well with the period backdrop. Dave Stewart provides the colours and Clem Robins offers a progression of words to tie each panel together. He shows time is of the essence. I’m rather surprised this work fits well as a YA novella, and for kids wanting a soft scare, this work fits the bill.
As a bonus for the Yuletide season, a second book is coming! (Amazon link)
Christopher Golden‘s Festival is a narrative set somewhere in the quiet countryside of the UK. A music festival is being held near Valhalla Hill and nobody seems to care about its history.
However, Kev and Pippa take an interest, and when the concert begins, chaos soon erupts. People are disappearing, and the bands are performing songs not on the set list! They are possessed! And these two individuals get into the heat of the action. I don’t want to say too much about the details, as it’s nonstop, and it reaches one of those satisfactory conclusions to which I’ll rock with forever.
I’m loving this novella because of the Viking and rock and roll mash-up. It’s an easy read since it’s only 72 pages, and the illustrations by Peter Bergting really help give the story an extra life. His ink drawings deliver a classic eeriness. Sometimes, a single stylus is all one needs to illustrate a story.
One release that deserves special mention in my list of top Dark Horse Comics must reads is Night of the Ghoul. The first issue is out and it’s rare for me to simply look at one item over an entire series run. That’s because this work has everything a classic films enthusiast will love. This is one series that I knew I have to follow as each issue is released instead of waiting for the trade paperback.
Here, the tale neatly brings an all new story which loosely connects to the said horror movie, shot in 1936 but sadly lost to time. From the official synopsis, “A mysterious studio fire destroyed the footage and killed the cast and crew celebrating at the wrap party. When Forest Inman finds a reel from the film, he wants answers. Where he does next is to someone who remembers the night.
Comic book scribe Scott Snyder keeps readers at the edge of your seat, and what he develops in his story about Forest Innman and son visiting Mr. Patrick at a rest home. This octogenarian made me think of the events from Bubba Ho Tep, and thankfully it doesn’t go down that trajectory. Instead, I’m vaguely reminded of The Keep.
Artist Francesco Francavilla is a master. He presents some very cool transitions detailing a silver age movie as it unfolds and offering a depressed 50s colour palette for the present day. The latter is very autumn flavoured, and is perfect for the season. As for the story, there’s a touch of Lovecraft to be found, or should that be Penny Dreadful?