Ah, December. The season of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa; gift giving, love, family and friendship. How nice would it be to curl up beside the fire on a cold December evening with a hot cup of cocoa in one hand and a comic book whose theme matches the good-will of all mankind in the other? Sounds absolutely lovely, doesn’t it?
So, in the spirit of the season, of peace and pristine, white, softly falling snow, ladies and gentlemen, pop culture and comic book aficionados, I offer you…hell.
Well, to be more precise, I offer you the first issue of the new mini-series, To Hell You Ride, published to (probably not) tie in with the holiday season! It’s an enticing proposition, a horror comic written and illustrated by names you’re sure to recognize, some heavy-hitters in the pop-culture world, indeed!
Written by: Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey
Illustrated by: Tom Mandrake
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse is making some pretty fascinating and exciting choices in the comic books they’re currently publishing. We’ve talked about a number of them here, in this very column. To Hell You Ride is a horror themed western, a co-mingling of genres. Sacred burial ground, greed, revenge and a deadly curse makes for a compelling read. But the real draw here is in the comic’s creators.
Lance Henriksen, fan-favourite actor of the films Aliens, Near Dark and the television series Millennium is writing To Hell You Ride and I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the man. Not only do I think he’s a great actor, working memorable characters in some of my favourite films, but he seems a really likeable fellow, too, someone with reverence for the comic book art form. Henriksen is a regular attendee at conventions and I was lucky enough to briefly run into him at Fan Expo in Toronto a few years ago. He was wandering the event, smiling and enjoying his time by engaging others and myself as we were standing in a line up for a comic book artist. Here was a man enthused about the event and the people at the event – even people not necessarily there to specifically see him. That goes a long way in my books because it doesn’t happen as often as it should. It’s funny, the little things that make such a big impression, eh?
Joining Henriksen on the story is author and film historian, Joseph Maddrey. Maddrey has written Nightmares in Red White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film as well as the Lance Henriksen biography, Not Bad For a Human. Both books are available at Amazon.
There’s a definite kinship between the two writers who both share a fascination with the horror genre. The partnership should produce some truly terrifying (and enjoyable) results in the comic book medium.
To ensure this, Tom Mandrake lends his impressive talents in visual and cinematic storytelling with To Hell You Ride. Mandrake is another of my personal favourites, at his best when illustrating dark, chilling stories. He recently completed the 7-issue Night Force for DC Comics, but he’ll always be my favourite Spectre artist, guiding that well-regarded series for nearly six years during the mid nineties. He has an amazing (and foreboding) sense of design and his line work is loose and fluid with motion, reminiscent of the late great Gene Colon.
With all of these favourites attached alongside To Hell You Ride #1, a little genre horror couldn’t steer you wrong this holiday season. So grab that cup of cocoa and sit yourself by the fire. We’re going to hell – another great Dark Horse Comics story to experience!
Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!