The Enigmatic Monster Project: horror of all flavours

Large White Olive Branch

Written by Jonathan Kruschack

Hello, how are you? Well, I hope. What was your name again, lady? Sorry, I’ll try and remember. I’ve had better days. I think. Thought? It’s hard to remember much since . . . that day. The day, I met that giant. What? Sure, I’ll tell you what I remember, forgive me if it doesn’t make much sense. I didn’t understand it as it was happening until it was over. And I do apologize if I go back and forth with how I describe it with past and present tenses, it just doesn’t seem important now. I’m sure you understand.

The day was going as most of my days went. I was walking along, looking for food and shelter among the green of the jungle, which shaded me from the intense light and heat of the sun. By nightfall, the air was finally cool. I needed to be careful though, even though my armour was tough and strong I am not a fighter. My kind, hide when confronted, curling inside our armour until the aggressor gives up. It works . . . for the most part.

Moving along the dirt I reached the enormous lair of a giant. My kind tells tales of these giants. They are to be avoided. They often attack without provocation, as they are fiercely territorial. I didn’t believe them, though. Why would a giant care about us? And how could they even notice us. I’ve seen them from afar, and even hundreds of miles away they tower over most things, especially us. Hungry, I press onward, climbing the stone of the domicile. It took me hours but I finally got to the first ledge. I could see light, faintly. The ledge was some kind of porthole to the giant’s home. There was a ginormous netting meant to keep my kind out, but it had a tear in it. Apprehensive at first; I thought to run away, the risk not worth it. My stomach growled, though and my foolhardy pride kept my feet planted.

I was brave and I could prove my elders wrong about the giants, maybe even be like one of the truly brave who ventured into other giant’s homes and lived there in secret. Forward went my feet, rhythmically tapping as I scurried along. Upon entering the home, I promptly fell off what I thought to be a cliff. Without time to think about how afraid I was I reflexively hid in my armour, hoping it would cushion my fall. The feeling of the impact was . . . jarring to say the least. But after a few moments not being sure if I was dead or not, I realized I was in fact still breathing. Ceasing my orbicular stance I looked around my surroundings. I was on a ledge again. But the material was different. Not the stone I had climbed or the alabaster wood I’d fallen off of. This was cold, hard and a brownish grey. There was a crevice, which my kind loves as I often seek shelter in them though I could not fit into it. Oh well, what’s over OH NO. GIANT! There is a giant. Oh, please don’t notice me, please.

I had shut my eyes and prepared to curl inside my armour again when I noticed something. I hadn’t been immediately crushed by its mountain-sized fist. In fact, it wasn’t even looking at me. Exhaling, I regained some confidence in my earlier thoughts. It won’t notice me. I’m too small. Laughing at my cowardice, I began to look for food and shelter, as I was confident, not stupid. Unfortunately, there was none. Oh well, plenty of time to SHIT, THE GIANT IS MOVING! I froze. The giant stretched its elongated limbs as it rose from its bizarre throne in front of the light-creating rectangle it manipulated with what I could only assume was magic. The sound of its joints popping was like thunder, and its yawn like the roar of a great beast. Or more accurately, like the roar of a great beast multiplied by a thousand. It stretched its neck to one side then the other, vertebrae grinding loudly. It looked very tired, with its huge eyes barely open. I calmed down slightly but not much as I realized it may just be going to sleep. I resumed moving, albeit very, very slowly. Then the giant turned to face the wall where I was. I watched his brown eyes trail down, again thinking I stature too minuscule for him to care. He seemed very uninterested, which made me feel very good. That feeling died though, as I noticed he was now staring, face devoid of any emotion, at the exact spot I was occupying. Staying incredibly still, the most still I had ever been in my life unless I was asleep, I once more looked at his eyes. They were slowly focusing, fighting his sleepy state. Appropriate, because I was slowly losing any hope of a continued existence, fighting the urge to commit suicide. Please, please don’t see me. I’m not worth it I’m not HE SAW ME! RUN! RUN AND NEVER STOP RUNNING, OH WHY AM I SO SLOW? STUPID, STUPID ARMOUR! STUPID SHORT LEGS! As I cried and cursed myself the giant moved, easily crossing a distance that would’ve taken me hours in the blink of an eye. Panicking, I shut my eyes tight. Hoping for death’s grip to be gentle, quick and painless; alas, he didn’t smash me, though. I opened my eyes. He didn’t look angry. Or scared. Sometimes the giants kill because we startle them. But he didn’t look at me with any malice that I could see. Curiosity? Maybe. Pity? Kind of obligation? Yes, actually. I certainly wasn’t happy. But he did seem as if he had to do whatever he was about to do. I just hoped this task he didn’t like was called ‘Murder The Small Thing’. I saw something I’d never seen before, suddenly. A huge, alabaster rectangle of a soft material. It was flat, and the giant placed it in front of me. Why? I turned away and the giant placed it in my way again. Why, I asked again. He definitely wanted me on it. What could it be? Then I had another one of my great ideas, in a moment of hope. What if it was a makeshift vessel of some sort. A kind of large, white olive branch.

Maybe…maybe I was to be an emissary of peace between our people. Usher in a new age of peace, where we coexist in harmony. So, I stepped onto the white rectangle, finding it very soft. Ah, what comfort. He may not look happy when tired but boy is this giant friendly. He said something, I did not understand it. But there would be time to work out a way to communicate later. Come, my new friend. Let us rest and why is he folding it over me? Oh, he’s sealing me inside it.

I HAVE MADE AN ANOTHER TERRIBLE DECISION! Oh no, oh no, I must find a way out but there’s no way out WHY ISN’T THERE A WAY OUT?! Wait, I know, I’ll just curl into a ball. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. That always works. It has to work. Please, please let it work. He’s lifting me up. Carrying me, but where? I can’t see out. Maybe he’ll take me outside his home and release me? Oh, how foolish I was. He carried me very quickly and then let gravity take me. I fell for what seemed like ages, and then I landed in a lake. At least I think it was a lake. The water was very cold. Wait, is he drowning me? I can’t get out of here and the material is taking on water and HE IS DROWNING ME? Is that why he looked unhappy? He didn’t want to smash me but knew he couldn’t let me live, so he gave me this for a death? A watery grave? THAT DUMB, GIGANTIC BASTAR–what was that noise? Why am I spinning? The water was rising very fast. Oh no, I thought. This is it. With my last gulp of air I curled into a ball but as usual, it did me no good. I was rushed down with the water, wherever it was going. I knew it wasn’t taking very long but when you’re drowning it feel like an eternity. Then, I lost consciousness and true blackness took me.

And when I…awoke, is an appropriate word for this, right? Okay, when I awoke I felt no pain. And there was no water or giants. Only you . . .

Just you lady with your robe and your big grin; I guess I can’t really call that a grin. Yeah, you totally do need lips for that. Oh well, I still like you. Nice robe by the way. I like the way it compliments your sharp, shiny thing on that curvy stick. Thanks for waking me up, by the way. So, what’s this place you’re always going on about? The sunless-lands, huh? Sounds neat. Hey, how come I hear wings?

The Enigmatic Monster Project

Lost Episode: IMPcast Episode 30 “The Blurst Of Times”

Note: This is a lost episode, meaning it was buried in the Drafts folder for around 4 months. I have no idea what it’s about. Theo, forgive me for what I am about to do (or don’t, I don’t care)! –P. L. Cobb

Another sizzling, tantalizing episode of the IMPcast, hot off the grill and, simultaneously, also slightly old. The two hosts with the most take about a multitude of topics, like Jake’s mail adventure, Jon’s new full-time job, their shared love of the SBFP Zaibatsu’s Until Dawn play-though and more.

Listen, learn and love their inane rantings! Have a sad/amazing dance party to their tales of daring do (nothing at all they’re both kind of boring).

Download Episode 30, “The Blurst of Times” here.

And please, remember to keep it monstrous, everybody!

Our benovelent/malevolent overlord, Theo Monster

A sample of BERSERK

Rising from the depths clutching a bottle of liquor in one hand, a brush pen in the other and a sketch book between my teeth, it’s everybody’s favourite, loveable the other co-host of the IMPcast, Jon.
I figured since I brought it up on the latest podcast again, I thought everybody ought to get a nice sample of how messed up Kentaro Miura, artist and writer of BERSERK, really is.
Unfortunately for this blog, even I know what’s too far to post. So I had to find tame images that were able to showcase how unnerving, disturbing and gruesome the story can get. I think you can tell how…difficult that is, given the parameters I’ve just described. And of course by difficult I meant INFURIATING.

Anyways, I managed to find four. Out of a manga with 37 volumes, 3 movies and an anime adaptation of the first arc of the story thats been going as long as I’ve been alive (correction: BERSERK is a year older that me), I found 3 images of monsters and 1 of the main character (Guts) that were suitable for posting here.

Here’s one of Nosfaratu Zodd, where he forgot to shave. 

Next is a group of cooky goofballs who just love to pal around. 

Another one that showcases how much Kentaro Miura’s love for eyes and mouths. Boy, does this guy love eyes and mouths. A lot. 

Finally, here’s one picture of the main hero, taken from a random point in the story with no context. Say hi to Guts, everybody. He’s a happy guy.

And with that, is my small sample of BERSERK for you people. And that was no where near the level of insanity it gets up to. Though it’s not all blood, guts and monsters. It’s also about morality, love, existence and the importance of friendship and reaching your goals. Those ideas just happen to covered in bloody monster guts. Gotta love it!

Keep it monstrous everybody.

How many does it take…

How many double-sided sketches does it take to nail a design for images for ABCs of Horror, our upcoming project? Well, for one artist…quite a few, actually. And lots and lots of notes. But with a little luck, determination and obsessive self-critique, the designs were eventually nailed down for six of the twenty six images to be included in ABCs of Horror.

We at EM apologize for the low quality images of these rough sketches and remind you to please, keep it monstrous.

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IMPCast Episode 29 “Blackened Liver (feat. DJ Byrdchirpz)”

Jake and Jon are back with another thrilling episode of the podcast! Renamed the IMPCast, where they discuss a multitude of subject including Jake’s new apartment, Jon’s new temp job and the fact that Jon really though Johnny Depp was in Django Unchained when it was Leonardo Dicaprio (he was confused by their twin terrible moustaches). So give it a listen and enjoy the ramblings of your two favourite co-hosts.

Download link here Impcastep29_edited.mp3

Keep it monstrous, everybody!

Our benovelent/malevolent overlord, Theo Monster

Episode 28 “We Won’t Talk About It”

After a very long delay, the two hosts with the most are back. Jake and Jon discuss Jake’s moving out, Jon talks about his jaunt into IT support work, neither of them are making any money, the utter joy/frustration of a Quan Chi mirror match and talk about some movies (Jurassic World, Supremacy and more). They also dance around a topic that shall never be talked about. Really, Jon just laughs at it.

As mentioned by Jon, here is the Nostalgia Critic’s hilarious review of Jurassic World.

And here’s the download link for the episode. Enjoy and remember to keep it monstrous, everybody.

Episode 28 “We Won’t Talk About It”

Ashkenaz, the ever living flame, and jerk

sweet new banner logo i did in like two days after designing for a month

Peril In Panels Volume XIII: Pang: Wandering Shaolin Monk

sweet new banner logo i did in like two days after designing for a month

“You may be right, Captain. But you’re wrong about one thing! It’s that drives a man to kill! Not courage!”

It’s been awhile since I could hold my head up and high and say “I wrote a Peril In Panel article.” It’s also been awhile since I read a comic like Pang: Wandering Shaolin Monk.

This article will focus on the physical version of the first volume (as opposed to the free, online version), Refuge of The Heart. I hope you’re ready for a semi-historical fantasy story full of intrigue, love and martial arts.

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Let’s get down to brass tacks. Pang is written and illustrated by Ben Costa and was originally just a webcomic titled Shi Long Pang, available for free as of 2009.
It still is, though at the time of this article’s publishing the comic is on a hiatus as Costa finishes writing the final volume and also works on a cooperative comic, Rickety Stitch. But don’t let that discourage you from reading, there’s still two whole volumes online to read for free and two volumes in print. This is a Xeric Award winning comic, it is well worth your time.

Pang is an incredible example of how much proper research and historical fact-checking can help a story. Ben Costa has said in the past that he has studied both martial arts and the history of the Shaolin, which is an incredibly complex subject. That being said,
this is not a historically accurate tale. Accounts of events during this time period are,
for lack of a better term, “sketchy” to say the least. So Costa took certain aspects that are factually true and others that are unverifiable, mixed them together into his fantasy tale.

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The plot of Pang is as such: in 1675, a chubby monk, Shaolin Buddhist monk named Pang sets out find his lost brothers (not in the familial sense, in the “fellow monk sense”) as they were separated after their temple is destroyed by the Qing Dynasty. Beset on all sides by danger and now totally alone for the first time in his life in the outside world, the fate of his order rests upon Pang’s oddly circular-shaped head.

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The semi-historical adventure has a bit of everything thrown in when appropriate: from romance, to political intrigue, humour and good old fashioned martial arts fights.
Little to no narration is used in Pang, as it’s very fluid dialogue and the character’s actions are what drives the plot. As stated before, the plot, while complex, is told in an
easy-to-follow manner. There are a few drier parts (especially in this volume, since it’s the first) when the focus shifts to establishing important historical/political events and figures but personally, I never found it much of a problem, if ever. And that’s from someone who, while finding history interesting, would never, ever be considered a history buff.
As an added note, Costa also includes quick, informative little facts about various subjects pertaining to the story, such as citing dates or references, actual translations of phrases from Chinese and so forth.

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Shifting our focus art-wise, I loved and still love Ben Costa’s lush, sketchy, loose style in terms of his line and colour work. And you can really see it change in the first volume, where he was clearly figuring things out and then later when he’d gotten a better grasp of it. The only draw back is he kept and still keeps getting better in his newer work so the first volume of Pang is mostly just going to get you hooked on his incredibly fun style.
His attention to detail is great to, even going so far as to show an experienced martial artist grappling *without using their thumb as to avoid it being easily broken in the fight.

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Panel layout does get slightly convoluted during the first volume (as Costa was figuring things out, he obviously tried stuff and left it in there) though never so much that it’s a real problem, more of a “Uh, wait, which panel do I go to after the third…Oh that one!” type of deal. Costa’s gestures and facial expressions are top-notch stuff that punctuate his scenes adding that little extra kick to every panel. The stylized look of the series allows the reader to really drink in everything from colour choices, scenery, sound effects, etc.

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The last few pages of the book have a special thanks section and a one-page write up on the time period chosen, what historical facts were used and even which books were used as reference, professionally cited and everything. A very classy move that Costa didn’t need to do, again showing he loves the story, the history and everything about this comic.

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So, in the end I highly recommend Shi Long Pang, the webcomic, and Pang: Wandering Shaolin Monk, the print comic. An incredibly entertaining, griping story, worth every cent (even if you only read the totally free web version). I’m gonna go back to dreaming of the final volume while you go check it out all the good times, laughs, mystery, tears and bone-shattering kicks to the skull.

Hope you enjoyed this Peril In Panels, I’ll be back with more next time so until then keep it monstrous, everybody!

– J. Kruschack

*And as a person who has grappled in the past, that is a real thing that stunned me when he mentioned it, Costa knows his stuff!

Our benovelent/malevolent overlord, Theo Monster

Nepotism Is Real, Shut Up

Episode 27 of the Enigmatic Monster Project Podcast, “Nepotism Is Real, Shut Up”, is here to fill your day with the ramblings of your favourite co-hosts.

They talk about problems at work, problems obtaining work, bad ideas, good titles, Jon’s hatred of Sudbury, the lie of being overqualified for jobs and how you always bring a gift to Diaper Parties or else you look like a jerk.

Download the episode

Keep it monstrous, everybody.

Our benovelent/malevolent overlord, Theo Monster

Working For Bones

They’ve kept you waiting long enough, have another episode of the EMP Podcast!

Jake and Jon discuss their lives, their terrible jobs, movies they’ve seen, internet hatred and more! You can’t afford to miss yet another thrilling conversation between these two pals so download the latest episode right now.

Jon discussed two topics, both projects of YouTube phenomenon LittleKuriboh.

The first one, We’re Still Here, is a personal project wherein he openly discusses his constant struggle with depression. A wonderful series of videos where he first talks about something that makes him happy and then handles an aspect of depression, such as suicidal thoughts or feeling like he doesn’t matter. The series is a way for him to help not only himself, but others who deal with depression (or those would simply like an honest look into what a person with said problem goes through).

Secondly, The Mark Remark, is a comedic satire show where LittleKuriboh (aka Martin) does a funny voice, stands in front of a green screen and hilariously runs through the current WWE product, from RAW, SMACKDOWN! and even PPVs. Watch as he cuts apart terrible commentary, in-ring botches and sometimes takes a little break to go to a theme-park. No need to be a fan of pro-wrestling to enjoy it, the show is jam-packed with humour for everybody (though also occasional swearing, so watch at your own risk).

Keep it monstrous, everybody!

sweet new banner logo i did in like two days after designing for a month

Peril In Panels Volume XII “Afterlife With Archie”

sweet new banner logo i did in like two days after designing for a month

Shambling forward, jaws dropped in the eternal note.

Rising out of some overgrown bog, Jon’s back, covered in moss and clutching the latest edition of everybody’s favourite comic review. This week we’re gonna take a stroll down to beautiful, scenic Riverdale to run and hide from the lurching undead masses moaning for our sweet, supple flesh as I talk about book one of Afterlife With Archie.

Basic Plot Overview (minor spoilers, nothing substantial):

The comic opens with an ominous line “THIS IS HOW THE END OF THE WORLD BEGINS…” followed by Jughead Jones carrying the corpse of his recently killed dog to Sabrina The Teenaged Witch’s home, as tears streak down his face. Someone has hit poor Hotdog with their car and killed him, and Jughead Jones has come to Sabrina in the dead of the night praying she knows a way to bring his beloved pet back.
Unfortunately, Sabrina’s aunts (also witches) forbid it, saying that if the dog were only hurt that they could help but it has already passed on and a resurrection is out of the question for necromancy is blasphemous. “…Sometimes dead is better.” they remind Jughead, who goes to leave with his dead pet in his arms only for Sabrina to agree to help him against her two aunt’s wishes. The spell is cast, Jughead leaves Hotdog’s body and heads home with the promise that he’ll rise again. Sabrina is caught upon her return and punished along with her cat Salem for her defiance, being banished for one year’s time.
At the Jones’s home, Jughead skips school to wait for Hotdog’s return and is overjoyed to see him alive again but the reunion is bittersweet. Hotdog is now a rabid, undead hound and bites Jughead’s arm and it all goes downhill from there.

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The writing and basic story are both very serious and at the same incredibly cliche,
in a positive, hilariously over-the-top way. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is a writer who knows how to make everything hit its mark. The dialogue, the story’s pacing and even the narration (usually just a character’s inner thoughts) all work together in a cohesive way.
At the end of book one I was genuinely craving more story, more of the Riverdale gang becoming Rick’s group from The Walking Dead (except less oppressively “grimdark”).
It is a fun read thanks to him, that draws you in more and more the further you go on through it.

On the art front, Francesco Francovilla nails it. But honestly, that’s to be expected.
From composition to character redesigns (that still stay true to the original style),
his line work, his inking…its all just so visually striking. Especially when you look at the colour palette, which shifts and evolves appropriately whenever needed. Flashbacks are typically shown in a warm, orange-yellow tint and red plays an increasingly major role as the story continues. Funnily enough, the character who I think looked the best with Francovilla’s redesign was Jughead Jones, who’s character design changes completely when he becomes a zombie (don’t even dare call me out on spoilers for that one),
which is incredibly quick. Francovilla brings out so much detail in his characters,
retaining their original feel while not looking like he’s traced a real person like he came out of the Ultimate Marvel line. Panel layout is fairly standard, without being boring,
keeping pacing quick but never too quick.

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Lettering by Jack Morelli is done exceptionally well, subtle when it is required,
yet always eye-catching. Never illegible, either. Morelli is a pro at what he does.

While reading, you’ll definitely feel how ridiculous it is to see the Riverdale gang being beset on all sides by ravenous undead versions of their friends and family,
which will keep you from feeling any real serious emotional moments during the story. Except for a few moments, like the one that actually made me sad, which I’m actually mad at Aguirre-Sacasa and Francovilla for getting me with because they got me with a trope. They got me with a sad pet moment (spoilers ahoy!), when Archie’s dog (Vegas) sacrifices his life for Archie’s. It is excruciatingly heart-wrenching because of the interconnecting nature of the art and the writing, demolishing your emotional stability on all fronts.

Check out this page:

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How can that not make you feel anything? Now read this line that Vegas thinks as he’s fighting a losing battle against a zombified Hotdog, I’ll even keep the caps lock on and use all the same grammar as in the comic to fully capture this dog’s dying thoughts. “RUN. MYLIFEFORYOURS. LIVE, ARCHIEMASTER. THANK YOU—LOVE YOU—FOREVER—BUTNOW—RUNRUNRUN—LIVE!!!” If you’ll excuse me for a second, I need to go drink and think about dogs for a bit, alone in the dark. Any infrequent sobs you may hear are not coming from me.

…*snif* Wooo, okay we’re back.

Aguirre-Sacasa also finds a way to make Reggie Mantle, asshole incarnate,
sympathetic for a while. A brief moment where you’ll go “Huh, Reggie’s not a total asshole.” And then Reggie acts like Reggie again and you just want him to get clocked in the jaw, which hey, spoilers, happens. And it is great. Man, Reggie can suck it.

Afterlife With Archie is an incredible series, I hope it continues as long as possible.
Saying that, I feel I should preface it with “only if it can keep up this incredibly high quality on all creative fronts.” A tad unfair but it is a ridiculous premise that requires a lot of things to make it work. Every single part of the comic needs to be amazing to work or else it’s just another “take and add undead” which are dime a dozen. I am 100% glad I bought this on a whim knowing very little about it before hand.
I kind of hope this series continues and adds more supernatural elements into it.
They have witches and zombies, through in something eldritch or whatever. Hell, if they won’t get sued toss in the Graboids from Tremors! Archie Verses Tremors would sell a million copies in a minute. Because I would buy all of them.

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The TPB of Afterlife With Archie comes with tons of bonus material in the form of variant covers to look through, as well as scans of Francovilla’s thumbnail’s of the comic’s interiors. Definitely increases the value of the book overall for an art nerd like me.
As someone who’s not deeply entrenched in the Riverdale universe, though I guess a bit more than the average person, I very much enjoyed this book. I didn’t feel like I wasn’t getting an inside reference, ever. I’m sure there were some but I never felt left out,
which can be a problem when jumping into such a rich universe…which feels odd to say about Archie Comics but that franchise is around fifty plus years old. That alone is a feat, in and of itself but to make sure that someone who knows next to nothing not feel excluded…wow. Great job, everybody involved. Characters and their motivations are incredibly clear from the get go (Archie wants to help everybody, Veronica wants to keep Archie and her father safe, Jughead didn’t want his dog to die, etc.) and the story moves at a brisk pace.

Highly recommended to anybody looking for an actually entertaining zombie story that isn’t too dark or too slapstick. I am sincerely craving more story, really want to blow more money on these books. Oh and if you want more of Archie and the gang in supernatural situations, try Archie’s Weird Mysteries, a terrible cartoon with an infectiously bad opening song.

And that, my dearest of readers, brings this Peril In Panels article to a close.

Keep it monstrous, everybody!

– J.Kruschack

Our benovelent/malevolent overlord, Theo Monster

The Sun Will Cut You

The two hosts with the most are back with episode 25 of the Enigmatic Monster Project Podcast. Appropriately titled “The Sun Will Cut You” for reasons only to be understood should you download and listen. Jake and Jon discuss their lives, what EMP has been up to, movie plots, Jake’s destroying of his relative’s septic tank ( which is 100% his fault) and more.

Download Episode 25

Links:

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Zelda Moon

V/H/S, V/H/S 2, V/H/S: Viral 

Angry Sun

Golden Axe music

Snake Pit split with My Stupid Life by Mitch Clem and Ben Snakepit

– Keep it monstrous, everybody!

UNDERSELLING THE MURDER HOUSE

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UNDERSELLING THE MURDER HOUSE (EMPODCAST  #24)

Your favourite do-nothing co-hosts are back at the behest of Theo in the latest episode of The EMP Podcast. Jake and Jon talk about the dangers of renting a certain apartment, crap jobs, money and relationships among many other topics for your probable enjoyment.

This time, due to the fantastic(ally terrible) editing skills of co-host Jon,
the classic theme song “Demon Tied to A Chair in My Brain” by Dax Riggs is back!
Unfortunately, still no video editing software, so no Youtube video. Which is bad.
But there’s a tantalizing .zip file with the MP3 of the episode in it on MediaFire just waiting to be downloaded. Which is good! Now download it and maybe the mild Simpsons references will stop* ruining these posts.

Episode 24: Underselling The Murder House

Enjoy and keep it monstrous, everybody.

*they will/can never stop

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PRELUDES & NOCTURNES

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Peril In Panels XI: PRELUDES & NOCTURNES

Start your Sunday up right with the latest edition of Peril In Panels!
Once more, I, Jonathan Kruschack are bringing to you another comic review:
Neil Gaiman’s THE SANDMAN, specifically volume one, Preludes & Nocturnes.
An award winning and much acclaimed series from the 90’s with a rotating cast of artists (all of them quite incredible and sought after), this story is the beginning of what can be called a saga of epic proportions. This comic has risen from its humble starting point to lofty heights. Let’s dig in, kind reader. Continue reading

EMP PODCAST 4 in 1 Special

They said it couldn’t be done. That it wouldn’t or that it shouldn’t. But we’ve done it anyway. The EMP Podcast is back! All previous episodes are recorded and ready for download in these convenient .zip files loaded with MP3 goodness!  So enjoy these episodes and laugh as we mention in each one how long its been since our last episode!

Episode 19 “Live On Location 2: The Sequel”

Episode 20 “Mapping Mars”

Episode 21 “Why, Hello Billy”

Episode 22 “Wiggly Waggily Lines”

Episode 23 “The Handoff”

Now, our loveable hosts Jake and Jon regret to inform you that due to technical and time restraints, these episodes are rushed. Some don’t have the incredible, amazing intro/outro music (“Demon Tied To A Chair In My Brain” by Dax Riggs) and volume levels can be a bit high (very few and far between) and they apologize for these problems.
Software failures and work-related last-minute schedule changes forced our hands.
It was this or they never go up. Once again, our apologies, especially to those who follow our youtube account Theo Monster and were expecting the podcast up in video form.
As stated earlier, technical problems were abound. We also apologize for the lateness of these episodes, our long absence should end now that Jake will be recording and Jon will be editing.

Enjoy the episodes and keep it monstrous, everybody!

Ichor Falls: A Visitor’s Guide

Ichor Falls: A Visitor’s Guide

A simple, quick recommendation by Jonathan Kruschack. Certainly not by the eldritch thing that has embedded an unseeable, ethereal tentacle into his skull on New Years Eve as he drunkenly left his friend’s home smelling of Glenlivet 12 and Lucky Buddha and is periodically taking control of his corporeal form just for kicks.

No, that thing isn’t real and nobody should try and help him. I mean me, the human. Jon. Anyways, here’s the recommendation.

(Note To Self: Have puny human smack self in face for trying to sneakily ask for help DAMN YOU HUMAN STOP TYPING Y’RTHGRPHARLGH COMMANDS IT!)

Ichor Falls: A Visitor’s Guide, available on Gumroad.com.

A free PDF, full of short stories by Kris Straub, previously mentioned by the human  by me in the PIP article reviewing his comic Broodhollow and Scared Yet? recommendation article. This time Straub has released 17 stories, such as Promises, The Fulcrum, Opossum Society, The Stillwood King and Indistinguishable, all of which are set in the haunting, fictional town of Ichor Falls, West Virginia.

With a few graphics thrown in, this well laid out collection looks great and is an easy read for frail humans fans of horror literature. Each story is gripping in its own way.
Some sad, some disturbing, some even have a dark sense of humour.  Do yourself a favour and download this PDF. The above mentioned stories stand out but over all nothing in the PDF is lacking in the horror department. If this site did numerical reviews it’d be a 10/10. Download and enjoy Ichor Falls: A Visitors Guide today.

My Soul Is Being Devoured Please Help me*,

– J. Kruschack

*ha ha that is a joke all humans enjoy jokes don’t mind that Y’RTHGRPHARLGH WILL CRUSH YOUR BONES AND FEAST UPON THE DUST HUMAN STOP TYPING!

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The Miskatonic Game

The Miskatonic Game

Do you like Lovecraft? Do you like horrific, yet adorable art? Are you interested in those dang video games? Well we (actually, just me, Jon, filling in for Penny and Theo) here at EMP have got just the thing to make you salivate like a man/lady left brain-dead from seeing an Elder God and not being able to comprehend it!

tumblr_nbci3lsXZj1r2yncoo1_1280 It’s called The Miskatonic and its a game being developed by Jack Cayless, a webcomic artist known for various series, like Chimneyspeak (Victorian London tale featuring whores and murderers and the evolution of his art style) and New Kowloon (which is an  out there story that has yet to develop yet so I can’t give you much preview).

Now, before I give any links or tell you where to go or even tell you what kinda game it is,
I have to tell you something. It’s a warning. Hey, this Jack Cayless guy? He draws lots of naked people, sometimes. LOTS. And sex. Sometimes very graphic sex, in his stylized manner. And while I’m sure plenty of people are fine with that, being adults who understand that seeing sex or some genitals is not the end of the world, I know some just don’t like it.  SO THIS IS THE WARNING. NSFW. DO NOT LOOK AT THE LINKS IF YOU DO NOT LIKE THAT KIND OF THING. OKAY? GOOD. 

Now that we’ve got that warning out of the way, let me tell you people about
The Miskatonic game!

puzzle items! yay

Currently still in the design phase (but slowly but surely getting close to having a playable little demo, I’ve found out), the game will be a fun, side-scrolling jump ‘n’ shoot, visual novel/puzzle game where you walk around the Miskatonic University in the Lovecraft universe and interact with various characters/creatures made famous by good ol’ H.P. as well as some original characters Cayless made up, who all seem really interesting.

ooh, spooky

You’ll play as Charlotte LeStrange, Curator Of Rescue for the Miskatonic! A former member of the Chesuncook Coven, she’s not spooked by the horrifying things that drive most people insane, so the university gives her a gun and has her go save their scientists/defeat monsters. She’ll also get to hang around the university, talk to people/things and solve little puzzles.

Charlotte likes her job

Once again, unfortunately the game is still very much in development and to my knowledge there isn’t any site besides Cayless’s personal tumblr to follow for updates (which come at his pace, so sometimes constantly, sometimes not). But the concept and art of the thing is so fantastic it’s got me cravin’ it. I believe he’s said it’ll be available on Steam when it’s ready and won’t cost much, which is a plus for the thrifty Lovecraft/game enthusiast.

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Once again, before I give out the link should anyone want to look through the tumblr archive for more info on the game, there is sometimes nudity in the various things he posts. Sometimes. If you can’t take that, and that is very understandable, just don’t. Simply dream of how good it’ll be. And I have a conformation that once the pre-pre-pre-alpha build is ready for download (translation: incredibly rough demo of the game)  Cayless will start a dev blog for it, which will have less graphic, stylized pornography on it/none at all.

I’ll also apologize for the lack of info, as I mentioned, the game isn’t even at a stage where it has a playable demo, and because tumblr has an archive system (which’s not the greatest to navigate. let me tell you), finding all the info I could was a tad difficult and I honestly have to write this article mostly from memory because I’ve been following it’s development for months. But here’s what I could get. So I hope you like it, I hope you can stomach some nudity so you can follow the blog, and when it’s ready I hope you buy the game and enjoy it. I know I will.

Here is Jack Cayless’s tumblr, for the inquisitive, capable-of-handling-nudity person to check out. For those who do not like that sort of thing, here is a picture of bread.

And I’m out, have a great day and keep it monstrous, everybody!

– J. Kruschack

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Mantra Of A Hanged Man

American Gods page 458

Mantra Of A Hanged Man

This is the mantra of a man at the gallows. Specifically Shadow, the protagonist of
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, as he hangs from a very special tree, naked and alone.
In memoriam for his former employer, a god. He starves himself, is bound so that he is entirely immobile and has straight up been told he will not survive this course of action.

Why? Because he drank the mead, he made the promise and Shadow is a person who believes in doing what is right above all else.

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Peril In Panels Volume X: SOUTHERN BASTARDS

sweet new banner logo i did in like two days after designing for a month

Peril In Panels Volume X: SOUTHERN BASTARDS

Let’s heat things up!

Peril In Panels returns in a blaze of glory, with your favourite mouthy jerk of a reviewer, Jonathan Kruschack. This time around we’re talking about SOUTHERN BASTARDS by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour. Volume one, “HERE WAS A MAN”, is a book I’d heard nothing but good things about for quite some time. So when I’d come into some spare cash I went to the bookstore and WHAM, there it was. Snatched it up as quick as I could and gave it a solid read. Here’s what I thought of it.

Photo on 2014-12-12 at 1.46 PM #2

Basic Plot Overview (no spoilers)

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Earl Tubb is a man who hates Craw County, Alabama, his former hometown. He hates it, hates the people in it, hates his dead father, etcetera, etcetera. But he’s told that his uncle is now unable to live in Earl’s deceased father’s home anymore and must go back to pack things up and sell the house. So, he hits the road and returns home for the first time in decades. And things have changed. Mainly, there’s a tree growing out of his father’s grave, the entire town answers to a man named Euless Boss, the local football coach and that even the police are under his control. Now, Earl, a big, striking figure of a man, doesn’t give a damn about any of this, until an old acquaintance of his is beaten to death by the football team. Things take a turn as Earl seems dragged back into Craw County’s seedy underbelly trying to find answers. And it only gets worse from there.

southern-3The Writing

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Jason Aaron is a fantastic writer, who I compare (slightly) to Rick Remender, another writer with some damn good dialogue and story-writing chops. The guy knows how characters should speak and act, how to hook somebody with a story and keep them coming for more. nobody in this book is a stereotype, they’re just southern. They act like real people. Earl Tubb is not a good man, he’s okay at best. He has his faults and knows it. Hell, near the end of “HERE WAS A MAN” he admits to letting somebody get beat up as a kid because hey, why even care? SOUTHERN BASTARDS is a carefully crafted tale, an honest portrayal of people, who despite being totally fictional (if anything, slightly based on real people) act realistically. They can be dirty or decent. People have flaws. And there’s a reveal at the end that is fantastic, never saw it coming. Pay attention to the phone messages Earl leaves to an unnamed person throughout the story. It’ll hook you for sure.

The Art

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Jason Latour’s art is incredible. His colour pallets are vivid and appropriate, his line art is dirty and sketchy while still clean enough to show his refined details, backgrounds, fight scenes and so forth. HE even has some Graphic Design skills, designing logos and fictitious products for the series. It’s great. Get the TPB and you’ll get a little sneak at his process. And a recipe for fried apple pies, which is a nice bonus but I’m getting off track. His character designs are incredible. I especially love the design of Esaw Goings, an antagonist who looks like is Jay Briscoe’s blond, even more redneck cousin (see the pick of the guy with the neck tattoo up there? Yeah, that’s him. Awesome, right?). Hilarious and intimidating at the same time, again like a real person. Just because you’re scary doesn’t mean you have any fashion sense. Latour makes it all happen, bringing Aaron’s words to life.

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I’m not giving out any spoilers for this series, it’s too new and too good. Do yourself a favour if you like crime mysteries and pick it up. Very much worth your time.

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Check These Movies Out

Check These Movies Out

It is I, Jon Kruschack, fillin’ in for Penny this Friday. She’s asked me (at the behest of Theo) to do up a few articles from today through Sunday. So, lets start things off easy with a list of movie recommendations I think you’ll enjoy. No spoilers, just three quick reviews.

Afflicted (2013)

One of the few good found footage-style horror movies out there. Afflicted is a fantastic movie, written and directed by Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, who are also the stars and play themselves.  No spoiler plot overview: two friends go on a worldwide adventure, one comes down with a medical condition that is fatal, they go anyway, something happens and things go poorly. Great acting, good cinematography, interesting story. The less I say the better, just check it out. I give it a 9/10.

Dragon (2011) 

Donnie Yen stars in the martial arts film Dragon along with Takeshi Kaneshiro. Yen plays a man with a mysterious past while Kaneshiro plays a detective who seems dead-set against trying find out who he really is after he kills two men in self-defence with incredible skill.  It’s probably one of the best martial arts movies I’ve ever seen, great dialogue and exciting fights. A bit visceral in terms of gore (severed limbs and such) but not overt. There’s even a hilarious scene involving both Yen and Kaneshiro after Kaneshiro’s character concocts a plan to expose Yen’s character…by stabbing him in the back. Literally. I won’t say why its funny, or what happens after the stabbing. Just that it is VERY MUCH WORTH YOUR TIME. Dragon also gets a 9/10.

Come Back To Me (2014)

Come Back To Me was a movie I was not excited about seeing but ending up actually enjoying. It’s not a perfect movie. Characters at times act in ways that make you want to scream at the screen but far from the usual idiocy of horror-movie characters. Basic plot is that Sarah and Josh are married in the suburbs. Sarah gets into a car accident, begins to suffer blackouts and nightmares, ending up pregnant despite the fact that Josh is sterile. Sarah sets up cameras in her home to unlock the secret of her blackouts and the answer is horrifying. Katie Walder plays Sarah, Matt Passmore plays Josh and Jon Abrahams plays Johnny, their new, very odd neighbour and really plays up his character, almost stealing the show with his off-putting, eccentric behaviour. A solid 7/10.

Hope you enjoyed this, check out these movies and come back Saturday and Sunday for more.

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Peril In Panels Volume 9: Year Of The Deadly Goon Giant Kingsman

sweet new banner logo i did in like two days after designing for a month

PIP Volume 9: Year Of The Deadly Goon Giant Kingsman

Kept you waiting, huh?

Once again, Peril In Panels is back. Which means I am also back all up in your grill, the grill of comics in general, barbeque grills and any other grills both literal and figurative if I feel like it. So what am I, the loveable, brown-eyed, idol o’ no one, Jonathan Kruschack, going to talk about? Well, from the title you can guess more than one thing. Since I smashed parts of each comics’ title together so abruptly.

I managed to actually make some spare cash and bought a couple new comics during my long absence. From a coming of age tale set in the 80s at a school that’s basically Hogwarts for assassins, to an unofficial biography of a giant, two books set in an unnamed town that seems stuck in the Great Depression to another set in the distant future and finally a book about a complete loser who becomes the next James Bond-style super spy.

Let’s dig in, shall we?

Starting with that last book I mentioned previously. It’s called The Secret Service Kingsman by Mark Millar, with art by Dave Gibbons and co-plotting by Mathew Vaughn.

oddly they left out the "kingsman" part of this title on this cover, so maybe it was an early version? who knows

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Peril In Panels Volume 8: Wasteland

Peril In Panels Volume 8: Wasteland

wasteland1_web“Final broadcast from A-Ree-Yass-I.” – Adam WarRock

Every once and a while, you need to read a good ol’ fashioned post-apocalyptic tale of adventure. And you’re likely to find one, since there’s about an infinite amount of them. Seriously, you can’t throw a tumble-weed down a cracked and empty highway without hitting a story about some desert-walking, abandoned-cityscape searching lone-hero/heroine or their rag-tag group of friends. It’s a classic trope that’s a tad over done. And people love ’em so much. Problem is a lot of them aren’t great at best and are horrible at worst.

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Peril In Panels Volume 7: Dead Winter

“Rest easy, comrade. You’re off the clock now. Your shift is over.”

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Hello, hello, hello and welcome to the latest edition of Peril In Panels*, this time we’ll be taking on the daunting task of discussing the webcomic Dead Winter by Dave Shabet,
a delightful romp through the zombie apocalypse. My name is Jonathan Kruschack and I’ll once again be your guide to all things comics. I’ll be doin’ my best to show you what stands out from the rest (hey, that’s a good line). And trust me when I say that this is not just another zombie apocalypse story. This is a shining example of a well thought-out, interesting, and over all good zombie story, in a sea of mediocre-to-good ones. But let’s put a pin in that point for a minute and talk about the comic’s plot, characters and creator. Continue reading

Peril In Panels Volume 6: Broodhollow

Peril In Panels Volume 6: Broodhollow

Welcome to Peril in Panels once again! Yes, I refuse to stop doing this.

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This is the latest I’ve ever worked on a PIP article, as I’m usually at least a week ahead of my deadline of three weeks. But right now as I start this it’s actually ten to 1:30 am right now, the day this article will be posted (February 15th). I got a cat sleeping on my bed in a quickly-made, flannel-patterned body-pillow fort, the heat on, a glass beer mug full with the remainder of the cool, refreshing water I poured into it and one of the best dang comics to ever grace not only the internet, but the world as well, as my topic of discussion.

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