Happy Holidays!

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Happy Holidays!

From Team Monster (and their Overlords) we would like to wish you all a happy holiday season!

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The Eve

This is not a time. It is a thing.

The Eve

Why is it always a thing? It’s as if there weren’t enough problems in the world for us to face. Why not add one more? Who’s going to care anyways? So I will shrug my shoulders, pull an apathetic face, and add another burden for you all to bear.

(Feel free to call me cruel.)

This is the burden of knowledge; knowledge is power they say, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Am I not right? Knowing is half the battle, but at the same time, the more you know about something the less wonderful it becomes. Sometimes. I learned a long time ago that there are more grey areas than countries. Sometimes.

When something new comes into being, it is always a perversion of what already is. I’m not speaking about ideas, things being made, or even the natural world. This touches upon the unnatural world. That is, I should say, the world that defies logic.

When something new comes into being, it is the Eve. The eve of something old, something new, something borrowed . . . Something skewed.

But something alive, something which exists against all odds!

Think of it: the first-born mother of the latest aberration. Just repeat that. The first-born mother of the latest aberration. It sounds like song lyrics, no?

(She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes!)

My point is that if you happen to come across one, catalogue it for me. You would make me a very happy creature!

With love,

Ashkenaz

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Winter Fog

Winter Fog

The air was bitter cold, it had the taste of ice in it. She took quick, panting breaths on her way up the slope. Snow surrounded her, colourless, cold; stark sunlight reflected off of it, blinding her. Her vision was pink around the edges. She chided herself for not wearing the sunglasses–they had been on the bench before she left the house. Oh well.

Too late now.

When she crested the slope she stopped. She felt a terrible thirst in her body, so she took a drink. The light was overwhelming her. With her hand she shielded her gaze. Before her the lake spread itself out. For miles it was just water as far as her eyes could see. Closer to the shore there were dead trees sticking out of the water, covered from top to bottom in gnarled icicles.

A thick fog rose up from the water, diffusing the sunlight, obscuring everything beyond the lake. She gasped as the vapours rolled towards her, engulfing her. It was a shift in the wind perhaps? A very light wind, she thought to herself. Everything went silent. No rustling in the tree branches, no birds or other wildlife–she was alone in this desolate scene.

She was a photographer. All she had wanted was to capture a muse, so to speak.

And here it was. Her fingers quickly became numb from the cold, but she continued to click away with her camera, capturing image after image after image.

By the time the fog rolled away the sun was beginning to sink below the horizon. How long had it been? She had only been there for twenty minutes. Not even that. Or at least that’s how it had seemed to her at the time. It was only natural to get carried away, she supposed. But this was ridiculous, unbelievable. She knew herself: she was not one to lose track of things. Her life consisted of deadlines. Time was precious, pre-measured, quantified.

A frown crinkled her brow, and that same thirst had returned. Now that the fog was gone she could see the entire lake. It was beautiful, vast, mysterious. The shoreline on the other side was faint, but it was there. Her numb hands raised the camera out of instinct.

She stopped herself. Something brought her attention back to the shoreline. A large, bird-like creature was resting on one of the dead trees.

It must have landed while the fog was rolling out. It seemed to be sleeping, its head was tucked under a wing. The only thing she could think was how big the creature was.

One step.

Two steps.

And she was ten feet away from the creature, her curiosity finally in check.

It wasn’t a bird.

That fact was so obvious she wanted to hit herself.

It wasn’t asleep either, A small voice within her called it for what it was. Before her was the definition of awful beauty. It was a seraph. A messenger of god.

The sun sank below the tree line.

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Red Like Blood

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Red Like Blood

–Which was spilled. Deep-reaching, half-dead roots (held under winter’s grasp) brought it up to the surface for her to see. Who spilled the blood and where had it spilled from, that was another riddle.

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A Banana For Your Thoughts

Because money is ridiculous.

A Banana For Your Thoughts

Because we repeat the title for search engine optimization. That’s probably not how those work, but this is a horror blog and the internet is filled with angry, cannibal trolls. So, today was supposed to be ‘Horror Quote Hump Day’ (yes, we’re still trying to make that a thing) and there was an awesome quote from The Wolves of God that I wanted to share, but unfortunately that never happened. So, apologies are due.

But, on the topic of Algernon Blackwood (who wrote The Wolves of God), I’ve still been keeping up with reading his works. So far I have to say that his strength lies in his short stories. So far the best ones I’ve read are still The Willows, and The Wendigo (which is my favourite of the two). Recently I started to read Chinese Magic (who knows how that will turn out). The worst book by him that I’ve read is (I literally forgot the name because it was not that great in my opinion, so bear with me) . . . . Da, na, na, na, banana, na, na, na . . . The Centaur.

Sorry, allow me to rephrase that.

THE CENTAUR!

(Why not?)

It was long-winded, and didn’t quite deliver on the psycholgical horror–which it is not. It’s not really horror. Maybe you could argue that parts of it are implied horror. Only from the perspectives of the secondary characters however. The story itself is more about the main character’s spiritual journey. At times the story would come on to a really good idea.

A good idea for an Algernon Blackwood horror story!

But then there would be a bout of description diahhrea so bad, that whatever spark of genius that was born would shrivel up in dissapointment, slinking away like a spanked monkey, then promptly dying in a moldy box out yonder. A much more poetic way to kill an idea, you will not find. Unless it’s a bad idea. Bad ideas don’t deserve anything.

But, long story short, I actually skipped pages. Lots of them. Just to get to the point.

Long story short: The Centaur is not one Algernon Blackwood’s best. (And if it is . . . Why I oughta!)

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Stare Deep Into the Ever-Widening Eyes

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Stare Deep Into the Ever-Widening Eyes

–Of the hare. Wet, still as death. What does it see in those tear-drop eyes, those maddening eyes that grow wider and wider, as the hare crouches lower and lower?

Those eyes are so full you feel as if they could burst. If they were to simply implode, the weight of that hare’s own personal, mounting horror would be released.

And then what?

If there is no fear for the creature, what would be left for it? Those unsettling eyes–what would they be filled with then? If the fear were to dry up like the rain, what next?

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Monday Night With Theo

There is a rather daunting lack of interest in my life. 

Monday Night With Theo

Just kidding, I’m a monster. What’s there to know?

No, instead I am here to address a very serious issue: closets.

They are not inter-dimensional portals. Stop cramming your junk into them because I am not going to take it anymore. Coopid is not going to take it either, and that’s not just because he doesn’t exist.

Someone told me a story about how four mortal children walked into a wardrobe, and ended up in another world altogether. That is just a story.

Narnia is not real.

Neither is Middle Earth (which has little to do with closets).

For your own safety, barricade your closet from the outside. Do it. Do it now. And don’t ask any questions.

And for the love of spaghetti, stop hiding your old shoes in there. They stink to the high heavens.

With love,

Theo Monster

Note: We would like it to be known that the views and opinions expressed by our overlord are not necessarily our own. We’ll probably be devoured for speaking this truth.

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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.

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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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Questions Of Life

In which Ashkenaz has no idea.

Questions Of Life

I’ve heard that there was a proposed blog post about something–something about book reviews, or something of the ilk, but this thing called laundry came up.

What is this laundry that you mortals do? And why can’t you ever make it go away? Can you not just get rid of said laundry?

And why is Thursday called Thursday?

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Write Me a Creature, Mr. Piano Man

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Write Me a Creature, Mr. Piano Man

Write me a creature that thinks as well as a man or better than a man, but not like a man.
― John W. Campbell Jr.

(Hey, what is that doing here?) Maybe one that scares mice away, because they make a mess.

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A Most Humble Apology

Ashkenaz is an A$#h@!3, and Theo would like to apologize for his misbehaviour.

A Most Humble Apology

That is correct. Ashkenaz is a trial at the best of times. Clever he can be, but insufferable he can be tenfold. Don’t pay any mind to him.

It is true that the minions are busy with their lives. I assure you that they are still working hard to keep me from devouring your world. They do a very good job at it. It is also true that they work and read. It could be worse. At least they’re not spectral gas-beings.

Also, I would like to apologize for any name calling. He thinks he knows everything. Dump a bucket of water on him if you ever see him, and then we shall see what he knows.

Another point of interest: Ashkenaz made mention of a Coopid. In fact, he’s popped up several times in the past. This messenger does not exist. And it did not fall off of my backside.

That’s just too poetic for me to even stomach.

Yours truly,

Theo Monster

P.S: Anything that is slightly arcane, I would appreciate that you promptly forget it.

P.P.S: To the man wearing the purple sweater: well done!

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Oh My, Life is Being Intrusive

A message from Ashkenaz, the Living Flame:

Oh My, Life is Being Intrusive

It’s come to my attention that our minions have not posted to the blog for around four days. On behalf of the management, I would like to apologize. Apparently these worms have lives–ridiculous, I know, but they insist that it is the truth. Penny claims to be reading, and working; Jon is working, and reading; Jake is reading, and working; Rhonda and Dave are working, and reading; even Brad is busy. I suppose he’s working and reading too.

I must say, you creatures are boring. However, the fact that you are boring is what makes you so interesting–you all know that you’re very boring, and yet don’t at the same time. It’s like you’re all idiot geniuses (if you don’t mind me saying).

Ah well, lucky for us that you’re a boring species, I suppose.

I was speaking to the Messenger, Coopid, the other day. He had little to say of course. Or she had little to say. Even I, Ashkenaz the Wizard, have no idea what gender Coopid is. It will likely mean nothing in the aeons to come. I’m pretty sure Coopid is just a parasite that fell from Cthu–er–Theo’s backside.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the least bit true.

Well, it’s been really mundane talking with you finite beings. Have a nice night? And enjoy your pumpkins I suppose.

ashkenaz

Nemesis

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Nemesis

I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim,
Where they roll in their horror unheeded,
Without knowledge, or lustre, or name.
― H.P. Lovecraft, Nemesis

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The Anatomy of the Absence of Light

The Anatomy of the Absence of Light

Episode 3 of The Voice.

(In which things continue to make sense.)

Background noise, and the sound of the Voice (me, myself, and the silence) here to tell you about the anatomy of the absence of light (also known as darkness, evening, midnight, etcetera–take your pick).

Make no mistake, this is not what you would like to think.

Of course, we could be wrong, right?

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I Bought a Book

I Bought a Book

Luigi Sarafini’s Codex Saraphinianus. Christmas in December, again. Needless to say, you’ll be seeing a few snippets from it. No word of a lie, it’s pretty cool. If you’re the type to just feel textured paper, you’d love this book. There are ‘words’, of a sort–unintelligible, but very pretty to look at, if they mean anything at all. And the pictures make me wish I drew more. 

(And, Christmas shopping on a Canadian Black Friday still made me mad. That reminds me of the time Jake and Jon held an hour long debate with a ghost hobo. Case in point, Amazon is my friend, because I don’t have to deal with ghosts.)

There’s nothing new, but I suppose we’ll have to make a handy, new age guide to the monsters we see day to day . . .

(Cue cliff hanger ending.)

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