Mar 6, 2014

Good Reads

For anyone who's been keeping track, The Horror World of Junji Ito collection has almost been completed. Only a few chapters left to translate. So what next?

There are actually some really good western comics out right now, many of which contain some great horror/psychological elements. Here are a few of my personal favorites and why you might want to give them a shot! 

All of these are fairly new titles, so they should be easy to find at your local comic shop or on Amazon/Ebay/etc!

(The new 52) Batman

Fair warning that I'm a little biased on the side of DC as opposed to Marvel. But regardless, the first arc of the new Batman title is fantastic. Scott Snyder is one of  my favorite comic authors, and Capullo's art is beautiful and dark. The "Court of Owls" arc runs from issues 1-7. Batman is the protector of Gotham city. As far as he is concerned, he is Gotham. But the secret society know as the "Court of Owls" disagrees. Who and what are they, and where did they even come from?
"Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time, ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime. They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed, speak not a whispered word about them, or they'll send The Talon for your head."

(The new 52) Swamp Thing
 Another example of Snyder's great writing. The first arc, "Rot World", pits Swamp Thing against his age-old nemesis, Arcane, who is obsessed with bringing destruction to the world through his elemental power known as "the rot". Scientist Alec Holland must decide to what lengths he's willing to go to in order to stop Arcane. It's got creatures and monsters galore and a fair amount of gruesome imagery. As a long-time Swamp Thing fan, this is right up there with Alan Moore's run on the title. This arc runs 18 issues and is covered in the first 3 trade paperbacks. 
The truth is, there is no getting back to my old life. Because I didn't come back as Alec Holland from before. I came back as someone else.

(All-New Marvel Now) Moon Knight
Laugh all you want at Marvel's ridiculously long naming device. I do.
There's not too much I can say about this yet since issue 1 only just came out yesterday, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Take Batman, add a (gratuitous) pinch of mental instability and some ancient beings from beyond space-time, and you've pretty  much got Moon Knight.  And the art? Amazing. What you see on the cover is what you get.
"I got a question. Why would you wear white, and a giant cape that looks like a moon, if you're fighting crime and hunting faces at night?"
"Easy. He likes people to see him coming. Because he's crazy."

- Onto some of the independent publishers - 

The Wake

Queue Scott Snyder. Again. But really, he's such a great writer. I can't help myself.
The Wake is a 10-part series that is currently on issue 6. A marine biologist is approached and asked to assist in a super secret project regarding some mysterious sounds that were recorded far beneath the surface of the ocean. It's unidentifiable, no whale makes that sound, but it's something she's heard before.

I'm going out on a limb to say that if you like Junji Ito's style of illustration, you'll probably like Sean Murphy's. You can actually see some of his work on his Deviantart page!

Morning Glories

If you're looking for something convoluted and confusing look no further. You might have to re-read it, but you'll never dread having to do so. Start out with a prestigious prep school, accepting only the best and brightest students to prepare them for equally-as-prestigious jobs. But it doesn't take long for these straight A students to realize something is up. They all share the same birthday, and when they try to call home their parents act like they have no idea who they are. And what kind of hazing, done by the school administrators no less, puts the students' lives in danger?  Top-notch story and characters. It's an ongoing series, and issue 38 is coming out later this month.

Afterlife with Archie
Many of us probably grew up seeing Archie comics in the checkout lines of grocery stores. But this isn't that. This story takes the classic characters people grew up with and violently throws them into a world with violence and -you guessed it- zombies. Pretty self-explanatory, but very entertaining. It's currently on issue 4.

Rover Red Charlie
Probably not strictly speaking horror, but it's an apocalypse story, it's really damn good, and this is my damn blog so I'll post what I want (kidding mostly!)  Follow the story of three dogs (Rover, Red, and Charlie) as the world around them crumbles and leaves these poor domesticated animals confused and alone surrounded by chaos. Beware if you're a dog person- it might bring a tear to your eye.

- And this last one is for you gorehounds out there (NSFW) -

Crossed (and Crossed: Badlands) are about as gory as you can get in comics. If you're familiar with Garth Ennis this should come as no surprise. Apparently the series started off because he said to himself "you people like violence and gore? Well I'll give you violence and gore". Or something like that. Imagine if zombies, instead of becoming slow and stupid, just wanted to run around and rape, torture, and kill you instead. That's Crossed in a nutshell. Just google "crossed covers" and you'll get the gist. But again, it's NSFW so probably don't do it on a work computer or around kids unless you like the idea of being sent to a mental institution. The main series is finished, and Badlands is ongoing.
(A personal opinion: Avoid one called "Crossed: Wish You Were Here". It's a webcomic side story by a different artistic team and in my opinion not nearly as good as the others.)

And that's all for now!
There are tons of good comics out now, but I tried to narrow it down to good horror ones that would be easy to find. If people are interested I might just make another list of older silver/bronze age horror comics that have reprints available. On a final note, if you're interested in any and are having trouble finding them, I work at a comic store and would be happy to help you out!

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