Stung

Ever since these two became a part of Channel Awesome I’ve been watching them from time to time. If you want a good horror flick, or a good-bad horror flick to watch I would recommend watching their videos (they also have their own shows too, but they work together so well).

Cheers!

Ashkenaz, the ever living flame, and jerk

More Machen

Please, by all means . . . If I were to swim in a sea of words, let his be among many. I don’t get how someone can inspire so many people to pick up a pen and spell out something terrifying, when the man himself never truly wrote about horrors outright. His is the quiet shout. Contemplative, tempting, but not always out right. Maybe that’s why I enjoy his work; to me it doesn’t seem like it’s always trying to be terrifying. Sometimes it doesn’t try hard enough*. Somehow I always find myself coming back for me–in fact I would read his work over Algernon Blackwood (who has provided me with much reading material).

Today I finished reading The White People. Title aside, the book is more along the lines of The Great God Pan . . . Somewhat. It was a surprisingly short read, and at the end turned into a cautionary tale. The writing was good, and once again the characters were very well written. I don’t have any major nit picks, except the length (it could have gone on forever, because it ended just when it was starting to get really interesting).

So, do I recommend this book? Yes, even if it’s only to pass the time. It also has some interesting ideas.

*Sometimes it varies from trying to hard to getting it right. Nobody’s perfect.

ashkenaz

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.

afterlife-with-archie-start

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.

Afterlife01

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:

AfterlifeWithArchie_04-8

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.

afterlife-with-archie-jughead

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

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!)

coopid

Scared Yet: A Recommendation

Scared Yet: A Recommendation

The Jon human has prepared this recommendation article for you before he left for his day-job as the Penny human is also preoccupied with things like “work” and “responsibilities.” Theo cares not for these things but shall allow their lives to continue…for now. Look upon this article, ye mortals, and despair. – Theo Monster

Are you a fan of honest, fairly put opinions on literature? Yes? That’s great. Do you enjoy Creepypasta stories? No? Never heard of ’em? Well, that’s an easy fix, weary internet traveller.  Here’s a quick definition from the wiki:

Creepypasta are essentially internet horror stories, passed around on forums and other sites to disturb and frighten readers. The name “Creepypasta” comes from the word “copypasta”, an internet slang term for a block of text that gets copied and pasted over and over again from website to website. Creepypastas are sometimes supplemented with pictures, audio and/or video footage related to the story, typically with gory, distorted, or otherwise shocking content.

Now that you know what they are, you’re probably wondering “So what should I read first?” Well, I’d recomened checking out Kris Straub’s review series Scared Yet? which is a video review series featuring the author/cartoonist himself. Kris Straub, who wrote the amazing and frightening Candle Cove as well as the fantastic Broodhollow (which was reviewed on this very website) is doing this as a reward for his Kickstarter campaign raising enough money.

Kris Straub is an amazingly talented creative person and loves horror stories, particularly  of the more subtle, Lovecraftian type.  His reviews are honest, safe for work (as far as I can tell), straight to the point and fun. He even reads little snippets of certain stories and lists what they did right or wrong in his opinion. All in all a fair review even if he doesn’t enjoy the story/stories he’s encountered. I do not know how many he’ll be doing (hopefully lots) and the upload schedule is also unknown to me (hopefully more soon) but it’s still worth a look and listen.

If you’re a horror fan, a Creepypasta fan or simply looking for a good review then check out Scared Yet? by Kris Straub.

– J “the Human” Kruschack

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.

2012-10-08-Broodhollow-crop

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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