Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards Pt. 6: Print (Pt. 2: Category 22)

Category 22: Best Horror Comic

I read as many sample of the nominees as I could find for this category.  When the worlds of comic collector and monster kid cross, it can be a wonderful thing.  That’s probably why I give so much emphasis to the Best Horror Comic.  In fact, I can’t tell you for which one I’m going to vote until I complete this post.  Read to the end to learn what I decided…

The nominees are:

American Gods (Dark Horse) by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell, Scott Hampton

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“Shadow Moon just got out of jail, only to discover his wife is dead. Defeated, broke, and uncertain as to where to go from here, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who employs him to serve as his bodyguard—thrusting Shadow into a deadly world of the supernatural, where ghosts of the past come back from the dead, and a brewing war between old and new gods hits a boiling point.  The Hugo, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy, and Nebula award–winning novel and Starz television series by Neil Gaiman is adapted as a comic series for the first time!”

I don’t know if the TV show is as faithful to the original book as the comic book is to the TV show, but if it is, then the comic is a faithful adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s story.  It’s an ample substitute if you don’t have Starz to watch the series.

Anno Dracula (Titan) by Kim Newman, Paul McCaffrey

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“1895. Prince Dracula has ruled Great Britain for ten years, spreading vampirism through every level of society. On the eve of Dracula’s Jubilee, radical forces gather to oppose the tyrant. Kate Reed, vampire journalist and free-thinker, takes a seat on the revolutionary Council of Seven Days, though she learns that the anarchist group harbors a traitor in its midst. The Grey Men, Dracula’s dreaded secret police, have been ordered to quash all resistance to the rule of the arch-vampire. With intrigue on all sides, the scene is set for an explosive addition to the Anno Dracula series. An all-new comic series based on the best-selling Anno Dracula novels by Kim Newman! Comic series written by creator Kim Newman with art by Paul McCaffrey (The Third Doctor).”

The overall run was sometimes confusing, but the basic story was simple and exciting.  I feel like Titan comics are always just a little longer than they need to be, but you could edit this one down to a perfect over-sized one-shot.

Creeps (Warrant Publishing Company)

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“The Creeps accurately recreates the iconic Warren horror comic magazines popular in the 1970’s by emulating Warren’s early page layouts and by publishing new work created in the classic style by original Warren artists, writers and editors. Each issue of The Creeps is a highly collectible instant classic!”

Harrow County by Cullen Bunn, Tyler Crookharrow county“Emmy finally comes face-to-face with her evil counterpart. With everything that she’s learned from the Family, and the power of her friends’ support, Emmy knows that she’s strong enough to defeat this threat to her home. But is she willing to sacrifice her own integrity for victory in this fight?”

This was a nominee last year and reached its 28th issue in December of 2017.  I haven’t read the issues between #1 and #28, but #28 is exciting and makes me want to pick up a couple trade paperback collections of the series to catch up.

Haunted Horror (IDW Publishing)

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“Not for the squeamish, these Pre-Code creepy, eerie comics from the crypt will scare the spit out of you! Read if you dare: The Death Head! by Hy Fleishman, and The Web of the Spider by Joe Certa! These stories will give you fits: If The Noose Fits—Wear it” by Bill Fraccio and Lin Streeter draws The Cat Jumped Over The Corpse! and George Rousso’s pen and inks The Thing from the Dark!  Finally, cling to your mortal life and enter The Valley of the Scaly Monsters!”

Issue #31 features restored reprints from Mysterious Adventures #10 (Oct. 1952), Witches Tales #12 (July, 1952), Dark Mysteries #6 (May, 1952), Out of the Night #16 (Aug.-Sept. 1954), The Unseen#12 (Nov. 1954), The Beyond #2 (Jan. 1951), and Mysterious Adventures #4 (Oct. 1951).

Jughead: The Hunger (Archie Horror) by Frank Tieri, Pat Kennedy & Tim Kennedy

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“Jughead Jones is a werewolf, and Reggie Mantle has fallen victim to Jughead’s monstrous ways. Now Betty Cooper: Werewolf Hunter along with Archie Andrews are hot on the trail of Jughead. For TEEN+ readers.”

These Archie Horror comics are so good… they’re really scary!  Following Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (zombies and witches) comes Jughead the werewolf.  Next year, don’t be surprised to see Vampironica nominated.  (Yes, that’s a real thing.)

Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (Eibon Press)

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This reminds me of an old Avatar Press title: very adult and very graphic.  The entire package is fun to receive, from the “Eibon Sleeve” that houses each issue to the trading cards, bookmarks, and glossy flyers for other comics that come inside.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Fantagraphics) by Emil Ferris

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“Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography. Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold. When Karen’s investigation takes us back to Anka’s life in Nazi Germany, the reader discovers how the personal, the political, the past, and the present converge.”

I haven’t read this, but it’s on my wish list, for sure.  It’s a little different from the other nominees in that it’s a single graphic novel, while the others are limited or ongoing series.  This has been personally recommended to me by a couple people, so I’m almost certain I’d like it.

Shadows On The Grave (Dark Horse) by Richard Corben

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“Horror legend and Eisner Hall of Famer Richard Corben’s classic anthology concludes with more grim tales from the Midwest and far, far beyond!  Four more chilling stories, including the final installment of the epic Denaeus.”

This was a nominee last year and reached its eighth and final issue in September of 2017.  Besides the final chapter of Denaeus, the one continuing story, #8 includes:  “The Maze”, “The Dare”, “A Hill of Husbands”, all written and drawn in ghoulish b&w by Richard Corben.

Son of Ugh by Peter von Sholly

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I participated in the Kickstarter campaign for Pete Von Sholly’s History of Monsters, a fantastic book of classic horror illustrations tracking the history through movies and television, and loved it.  It that’s any indication, his comic compilation would also be a must-have.

The Walking Dead (Image) by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard

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“The sad, sorry, solitary life of Negan. Face it, true believers, he deserves this.”

The description above is for #174 of the ongoing comic book.  I dropped the TV show a season-and-a-half ago, but stuck with the comic book, although I’m not sure why.  In 2017, I wouldn’t necessarily say that Rick and Negan became friends, but they at least started working together.

The Woods (Boom!) by James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas

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Spoiler Alert!  “Series finale! The students of Bay Point Preparatory High School spend their final days in the forests of the alien moon.”

When I read issue #1 last year because it was a nominee, I had no idea what was going on.  I missed a lot between then and October of 2017 when the series ended with #36.  Like almost all of the nominees, I want to eventually go back and fill in the details.

Write-Ins

Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (Titan) by Dan Abnett, Tom Mandrake

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“In the depths of Eastern Europe, the legendary vampire hunter, Captain Kronos and his two assistants, Grost and Carla, are called upon to help rid a town of its vampire plague. However, beneath the surface of the beleaguered town a malevolent force far more evil and deadly is awakening and it might just be the match of Kronos…”

Take what I said earlier about Titan titles and scratch it.  This is the way to do a British horror comic!  Better than both Anno Dracula and Titan’s initial Hammer Films effort, The Mummy: Palimpsest, this 5-issue mini-series begs for an ongoing series.  Plus, the variant covers featuring photos of Caroline Munro are collector must-haves.

Fractured Scary Tales (Scary Tales Publishing) by Kevin M. Glover

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“Do titles like ‘Planet of the Were-Apes’, ‘Snow White & the 7 Deadly Sins’, ‘Undead Poets Society’, and ‘Maltese Frankenstein’ make you chuckle with ghoulish delight?  Then it’s time to grab an issue or two of Fractured Scary Tales, the dementedly different horror anthology that’s been described as a cross between Robot Chicken and Tales from the Crypt.  Each 40-page comic mag is jam-packed with scary parodies of classic movies with an ironic twist.  Featuring the work of talented artists from around the world, this is one comic-mag you won’t want to miss! Rated PG- Pretty Gruesome, some content may be too intense for all readers.”

I’d add that Fractured Scary Tales is like Mad meets Svengoolie.  Each magazine-sized issue contains a half-dozen or so mashups… “reimagined movie (and TV) classics with a horror twist.”  Launched in Fall, 2015, issue #3 was available during nomination season.  Note: Next year, watch for Lady Frankenstein & the Mummy’s Brain to be nominated, a different kind of mashup.

The Verdict

You know, I’m going to write-in and vote for Fractured Scary Tales.  It’s been a common theme with my other votes that I want to reward the underdogs… the ones who have been able to accomplish a lot with very little.  Plus, this title perfectly captures the spirit of the Rondo Awards!  Please visit fracturedscarytales.com to order one of their comics right now…

Vote!

That’s it for today. Look for my recommendations on the remaining categories sometime next week.

Voting for the Rondo Awards is really easy! Simply send an email to taraco@aol.com by midnight on Sunday, April 8, 2018. You don’t have to vote in every category; however, you are limited to one vote.  (Visit http://rondoaward.com/rondoaward.com/blog/ for complete details.)

While you’re voting for these great comics, please consider voting for classichorrors.club in Category 17: Best Website or Blog of 2017… only if you like what you see here and believe that it deserves it.

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