On this special 31 Days of Horror edition of Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres and companies. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Clive Barker’s Hellraiser Omnibus, Volume One, Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Splice and Dice, Eugenic #1, Slots #1, Cannibal #8, and more… be warned, there may be spoilers…
I have talked about Clive Barker before, he is a god of horror, and yet, like other kings of the genre like Stephen King, adaptations have not been kind to him. Fortunately this is a project who actually had a guiding hand in. Pinhead and the Cenobites present quite a deviation in the horror genre when they first appeared. On the playground back in my day one could always argue who was the better monster – King Kong or Godzilla? Dracula or Frankenstein? And later Freddy or Jason? But when the Cenobites came along, game over, there was no comparison. There monsters were hardcore, merging horror and gore, and pure Clive Barker, they could rarely be stopped, and would haunt one’s nightmares in a way no previous monster could.
Here, in this 500+ page volume, which collects Clive Barker’s Hellraiser #1-20 and the Annual as well, tells tales of soul-ripping terror by the likes of Mark Alan Miller, Leonardo Manco, Stephen Thompson, Ibraim Roberson, Jordie Bellaire, Juan Manuel Tumburus, and Clive Barker himself. Stellar storytelling in the canon continuity along with the franchise’s trademark hellish horrors make this a must for every horror fan’s bookshelf.
As long as we’re discussing long-running horror franchises, here are two intertwined with one of the wildest comic book anti-heroes ever. I talked about this one before, specifically issue #4, but here is the trade collection of that series. How can you can get better than a series that pits Predators against Judge Dredd against Aliens? The four-issue series is all here as Judges take on Predators with Aliens waiting in the wings. Great stuff for the horror/scifi fans out there.
We’ve talked movie and comic franchises, but the real horror of this week’s column came from a very unexpected place. Each week I tend to choose a few titles at random to review, usually first issues of course go to the front of the line, and that’s where I came upon Euegenic from BOOM! Studios, easily the most horrific comic of the week, and tale of true mad science, and mind-boggling terror.
This is the third installment of something called The Apocalyptic Trilogy, after Memetic and Cognetic we have Eugenic. In the near future, a super-virus wipes out millions, and continues to do so until one scientist, years into this plague that has divided the planet, develops a vaccine. Seeking a perfect world, he builds certain genetics into the vaccine, and nine months later when babies begin to be born, the real horror begins. This is madness, this is horror, and this is a must buy for the season. Not for the squeamish.
This comic, a tour de force by writer/artist Dan Panosian, is another one of Image’s cinematic comics. Panosian, who has worked in advertising, gaming, and at Marvel and Image Comics, has a keen eye and a flair for comics storytelling. This particular tale is different from other Image Comics I’ve tagged as cinematic in that the others should be films, but Slots, this one made me feel like I was in already in a film. And Stanley Dance feels like a guy we all know. At the end of this comic, I felt like a reel broke in the movie I was watching, and I had the urge to run up to the projectionist and complain, personally. That’s how good this is, cuz ya know, usually you wait for someone else to do that. I didn’t want this to end, and can’t wait for the next issue. I’m in love with this noir masterpiece, dammit. Slots is that good. Get it, read it, repeat.
This comic kicks it back to the more traditional 31 Days of Horror genre, as it is aptly named Cannibal. Like Eugenic above, it posits an alternate history, one that allows the existence of zombies who aren’t really zombies. These infected folks act and speak and feel just like us, they just have an insatiable hunger for human flesh. In issue #8, we find a tiny Florida town strangled with the dilemma of what to do with their loved ones who have become infected. Here in the aftermath of the first story arc where said loved ones have been wiped out, the townspeople try to recover. This is an emotional tale of horror and paranoia, approaching a common monster with a new twist, recommended.
Fellow Biff Bam Popper JP Fallavollita talked about this one in his The Wednesday Run column here, but trust me, folks will be talking about Marvel Legacy for a long time. My podcast partner Ray Cornwall and I talk about it for the majority of our latest episode of The GAR! Podcast right here. Also out this week are the start of another Batman/Shadow team-up from Dynamite and the continuing adventures of Robyn Hood from Zenescope. And look for two great new adult coloring books this week of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, good stuff!