Archive for creepy

Mother Knows Best (Short Story)

Posted in Short Story with tags , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2017 by Lilliandra Winters

cat-1690799_1920

By Lilliandra Winters

You know it sucks when your own parents don’t believe you.

I can’t even tell you when it started. That stir in sleep that would tempt me to roll over, opening my eyes for just a moment just before falling back asleep… was that movement? In my closet? No.. no no no, I’m just tired. It’s the cat. I grumble and pull that warm pillow to my face and my blanket up over my shoulders and I drift off.

***

As I stare out the window in class the next day, the memory sneaks up on me. I shake it off because it’s absurd. The cat wasn’t in my room… Isn’t ALLOWED in my room at night. Bastard always attacks my feet while I’m sleeping.

I mean, I love the cat but sleep is the most precious thing to me. It escapes me so often that when I do finally sleep… Sweet bliss.

Of course, if the cat bugs at my door long enough, Mom just let’s her in. I have no idea why she loves to sleep with me. Maybe she hates me, she causes my parents no trouble. Nope, it couldn’t have been the cat. It was probably just the remnants of whatever twisted dream I was having.

***

Again, I am stirred from sleep, but can’t tell you why.

I roll over to my left side, the side that makes it so easy to fall back asleep…

What the hell was that?

I’m startled. I spied it. There was more pronounced movement, but I couldn’t tell you what the hell moved.

I’m being stupid. I’ve thought about it several times today; I’m just feeding a tired mind. Nothing is there. You need to sleep. Go back to sleep. With that, I close my eyes and drift off, but it isn’t easy.

***

After a week of these nightly disturbances, I find myself somewhere between anger and fear. I’ve laid awake after catching that first glimpse, waiting to see another, but it’s only ever the one. I was awake for hours and saw nothing. The movement is always different, never in the same location, never the same thing. Not that I even know what IT is.

Saturday comes and I’m too tired for this bullshit. I’m so tired that it took me days come to the conclusion that I should just leave the light on. So simple. So that’s what I do; I leave the light on in my closet. Because simply closing the door at this point is no longer an option. If I close the door, that doesn’t mean the motion doesn’t happen, it just means I can’t see it and that seems far worse.

I don’t remember falling asleep, but I stir and hear the pop of my light bulb going out. I’m already facing the closet, I fell asleep on my left side this time.

THERE!

The movement! What the hell is that?! I want to get up and throw the lights on, but terror sets in and I can’t move. This movement was no more profound than the last but here I lay stuck in my bed. I have no idea why I am scared shitless. Maybe it’s just rats or some shit. Or how about an overactive imagination?

Teachers loved to write that on anything I added creativity to at school. “Shows promise, but let’s reign in that overactive imagination.” I could feel myself relax enough to actively eye roll at the thought. The distraction helped and soon I drifted off.

I’ve examined my closet every single day. Nothing is amiss or out of place. I bring it up to my parents at dinner one night. They don’t even look up from their plates.

“Can’t be rodents. Not in THIS house.” It must be my overactive imagination.

I roll my eyes again, not that they saw it. She drones on about how I’m so imaginative at school, at home, with the cat. She wishes she could direct it in a more productive way. I promise them it’s real, but mother knows best. Dad replaces the bulb in my closet and I’m expected to go back to sleep as if nothing was out of place.

I do one last check of the closet before I’m off to bed. I flip the lightswitch off and something cold and soft grasps my hand. I squeak in terror and spin on my heels to look in the closet only to see nothing different.

I know I felt it.. Something… someone grabbed my hand.

I look at my right hand and it appears just the same; however, I can feel the lingering sensation of whatever it was. The skin on the back of my neck is so tight it hurts. I can feel my back clenched as I step back from the closet door.

I shiver unintentionally and climb onto my bed backwards. I don’t even change into my pajamas, I just stare at the door, curled up at my pillows with my back against the wall. I am NOT crazy and I am NOT imagining it. SOMETHING is going on.

Of course, if I told any one of my friends, they’d just assume I’d finally lost it. It doesn’t matter. No sleep for me. It’s just me and that fucking closet. My body is weak with exhaustion but my heart is thumping in my chest. I’ve got this.

***

I jolt awake but there is so much fuzz, I can’t make my way through it. My senses are overrun. Too long with no sleep means I’m fighting to remain conscious. Something is happening. What is happening?

I look at the closet door and it looks fine, but I’m hearing a thudding noise coming from the door leading to the hallway. I shuffle my feet under the blankets. Damn it! Mom must have let the cat in my room. I can feel her pawing through the blankets. I kick at her a bit, trying to focus. What the hell is that noise?

I rub my face with my hand and it feels like it wipes some of the fuzz away. There’s a THUNK THUNK at the door. I slowly part my fingers and look in that general direction.

I know that sound.

It’s the cat; she claws at the bottom of the door when she wants to be let into my room. I feel it again. Tap tap at my feet. I freeze. My breath is caught hard and painful in my chest. I’m trembling and trying not to cry. I don’t want to look. Oh God, I don’t want to look.

My eyes move from the door to the end of my bed. I can’t tell what’s there, but it sure as hell isn’t a cat. Without thought, I yank my legs up against my body. There is a pause in the air before this dark thing reaches itself up onto my bed. It has short stubby arms. Its body is no longer than a large cat. Its dark matted hair hangs in front of its face and, as it climbs up my bed, the hair shifts, revealing glowing red eyes and an impossibly wide smile.

I try to suck in air to scream, but I can’t. I can only feel hot pain spread across my chest.

Mom was right. Mom told me the cat never bothered either of them when they slept.

It grabs my body, pulling itself up along my shivering useless form. I can smell the hot garbage of its breath before I can feel it brush across the skin of my face. The weight of it on top of me feels no heavier than a medium sized dog, but I can hear its mouth moving with wet sloppy noises. It lays pressed against me, breathing forever before it finally mutters in the most deep demonic tone I’ve ever heard.

Meow.”

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Review: The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2016 by Lilliandra Winters

Game by: Michael Lutz
Platform: PC

The Uncle who Works for Nintendo is a weird choose-your-own-adventure horror indie game. Unlike most games that I adore, this is visual novel. I avoid these like the plague since they’re not as interactive as I’d like video games to be.

What’s it about?
Diving into it, you are a kid sleeping over at your best friend’s house. You have dinner with his parents, play video games with your buddy and unravel the weirdest tale possible.

What did I think?
The artwork is sketched backgrounds, beautifully simple and effective, with a few sound effects and some creepy atmosphere that only intensifies the incredible story. A story about a night at your best friend’s house and their uncle who works at Nintendo.

I’m not going to go into the story, but it’s perfectly written and free, so I urge you to play. It has 5 endings and a hidden one that takes some work to get to, but I have faith in you. You’ll get it.

It’s incredibly creepy, completely worth your time and very, very creepy pasta.

Maybe I need to stop giving visual novels a bad wrap?

Do I recommend it?
Play it, thank me or yell at me. Tell me what you think.

WintersOver4

Review: Outlast & Outlast: Whistleblower DLC (Video Game)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2016 by Lilliandra Winters

Dev/Pub: Red Barrels
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS
Release Date: September 4, 2013 (DLC: May 6, 2014)

Outlast-Header

Outlast Original Game:

You are a journalist armed with a camcorder who is investigating an insane asylum after you were given leads that would indicate abuse and neglect of patients, among other possible atrocities. You wander into the hospital, only to find murderous scenes before you. Hoping for the best, you continue on and soon learn that the whole institution has become a bloody shit show, complete with viscera and entrails strung about the place. The threats are abundant and smarter than you’d think.

As you traverse this gruesome landscape, your senses are almost constantly assaulted with screams, yells, creeks, eerie music, drips and drops, grunts and groans or the blood, gore, body parts, destroyed hallways, random medical equipment, fires, notes written on the wall and all the disturbing information you read about in the files you pick up as you go. It’s dark, dirty and deeply disturbing. As if finding body parts or bodies in various stages of ripped up or dissected aren’t bad enough, sometimes they are still alive, which obviously indicates experiments on living inmates. There isn’t a single thing about this game that isn’t a true horror show.

Outlast is by far one of the most terrifying video games I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The ambiance, the graphics, the twists and turns, the gore, and the dialog are all terrifying. Even for an older game, the graphics are haunting. I can’t tell you how many times I jumped, cried out and had issues sleeping. You can’t fight, you can only run, hide, or die. You’re equipped with just your camcorder, which you can use to zoom in and out. However, it is mostly used for the night vision (as long as you have batteries), helping you maneuver the maze of the nearly destroyed hospital which is mostly in pitch black.

If you are interested in playing this game, sit down because you have hours of gameplay to get through. This isn’t a quick game. It is a well thought out series of mind fucks, high tension, and not always random creepy music. The best part is that not everyone you run into is hostile, but good luck telling the good from the bad and holy crap are they creepy as fuck. You couldn’t pay me enough to do any of this crap.

This game has more elements than I could even do proper justice. It isn’t just about insanity, it is far more complicated. Initially, I went in thinking that insanity was all that was offered; however, there are parts of the story that dabble in the supernatural and scientific. Those lines felt blurred to me, though, and – please correct me if I am wrong – the ending felt weird. It was as if the story that you followed most of the way through was a strong misdirection and the actual story wasn’t explained until the very end of the game. The story made the beginning part of the game… moot, pointless.

I am torn about the ending. It wasn’t a bad ending by any means, but a little confusing. I think that it could have been integrated into the story better instead of being slapped on at the end. That being said, it is a phenomenal game that you have to play. It’s well put together with amazing game mechanics, interesting twists and turns, and enough terror and jump scares to give you some sleepless nights. Simply a wonderful and enjoyable game.

Whistleblower_promo

Outlast: Whistleblower DLC:

If you didn’t think that Outlast could get better or more grotesque, I have news for you. The Whistleblower DLC tells you the story behind Waylon Park, the gentleman who sent you the original email in the first place. You get to see everything that happened after that email was sent and is it an amazingly crazy ride. I won’t delve too much into it, but here is what I will tell you.

The story continues to be amazing and a treat to experience. You run into new and old characters throughout the gameplay. It is definately worth the price; it adds so much to the game, which is what you look for in a DLC. I actually walked away from this DLC with a sour stomach, which is so hard, but there are a few scenes that even made me cringe, and for good reason. Actually, I think not cringing says more about you than it does the game, but not as much as the person who thought it all up. My mind was blown on more than one occasion.

I cannot stress enough how much this DLC added to the game and could have almost been a stand alone game itself. If you played Outlast without the DLC, you are seriously missing out! Now I’m going to scrub my brain with bleach.

WintersOver4

Tim from Last Week Reviews: Nailbiter #1

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2016 by Tim from Last Week

Story: Joshua WilliamsonNailbiter_01-1
Art: Mike Henderson
Colors: Adam Guzowski
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: 5/7/2014 (collected 10/2014)

Joshua Williamson has been getting some high-profile projects lately, and his star is definitely rising. While writing his creator-owned titles, Birthright and Nailbiter (Image Comics), he has also written Haunted Mansion (Marvel/Disney), Predator: Fire and Stone and Captain Midnight (Dark Horse Comics), and Robocop (BOOM! Studios). And, now, Williamson is writing the new Flash series at DC Comics, following their Rebirth event.

Mike Henderson is known for his work on Robocop and Escape from New York (BOOM! Studios), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters (IDW Publishing), plus a handful of single issues for the “Big Two”, including Masters of the Universe (DC Comics), Carnage, Venom, Thor, Spider-Man, and Once Upon a Time (Marvel Comics). The late Gene Colan, one of Marvel Comics’ superstars from the 1960s and 1970s, had this to say about Henderson:

Michael Henderson has caught my imagination. There’s a drama there that is compelling. His linework is economical and sharp yet one sees all the curves. There’s magic in that!

The cover to Nailbiter #1 shows one of our main characters, Edward Warren, in the act of chewing a handful(!) of finger tips. The story opens with Elliot Carroll leading a SWAT team into a house in California. They find Edward Warren sitting on the floor, several bodies (and parts of bodies) around him, while he chews on one of his victims finger tips. “Wasn’t expecting visitors. But don’t worry. There’s enough for everyone.” A file card introduces us to Warren’s M.O.: kidnap people who chew their nails; wait for nails to grow back; chew their fingers down to the bone; kill the victim. Apparently, Warren was responsible for 46 murders in California. The press was responsible for his nickname: Nailbiter. The file card also identifies Warren as “Buckaroo Butcher #16.”

Three years later, we are introduced to Nicholas Finch, sitting on a bed holding a gun to his head. Nothing is happening, so when Carroll calls, Finch reluctantly answers the phone. Finch assumes Carroll is in trouble, and we learn that Finch can always identify a liar. Carroll tells Finch that he has figured out the mystery, and he needs Finch’s help in Buckaroo, Oregon. Carroll thinks he has cracked the secret of the Buckaroo Butchers, and needs Finch’s specific skills to help get the proof he needs.

Finch arrives in Buckaroo one day later, only to find Carroll missing. We also see a flashback to Finch’s past, including what appears to be an interrogation-gone-wrong, with a now-dead prisoner in custody. Finch is awaiting trial, but we aren’t given any real detail about the incident. However, it weighs on Finch. We are also introduced to Buckaroo’s strange townsfolk. Some are fairly normal, and found in every town, and some are products of Buckaroo. Among them, Raleigh Woods, who runs “The Murder Store”, the “…world’s first serial killer souvenir shop,” who informs Finch that 16 serial killers have come from Buckaroo, and he is looking to make some money off that fact.

We meet a few other strange characters, and we learn that Finch has a temper problem. That’s how he meets Sheriff Crane. Finch flashes his badge and identifies himself as Army Intelligence, and she lets him know that there might be a problem with his friend, Carroll. It seems Crane and Carroll met regularly to chat, and he hadn’t shown up, that morning. They check out Carroll’s room, which had been ransacked, and find all of his research. Carroll thought there had to be a link between the 16 serial killers from Buckaroo, and was trying find that connection. Crane could only think of one person in town who might have had a problem with Carroll: Edward Warren. Turns out Warren was acquitted of his alleged crimes, and he returned home to Buckaroo. When they arrive to question him, Warren has meat cooking on the stove, and blood all over his hands. When he answers the door, he says, “Wasn’t expecting visitors. But don’t worry… There’s enough for everyone.”

This book can be gross. Sure, serial killers are nasty. They kill people, and that’s generally fairly ugly. But, I have to say that chewing your victims’ fingers down to the bone, then killing them, is pretty gross. But, it is also interesting. And, slowly, we find out that more of the killers from Buckaroo also have interesting M.O.s. And, every character we meet is interesting. Not everyone is unique, but they are all interesting, and seem to fill a role that makes you wonder how they fit in to the larger story. This is my first Joshua Williamson book, and I feel his character work is great, so far. While I am not so interested in seeing more murders (I’m so sensitive!), I am interested in seeing more characters, including more of the Buckaroo Butchers.

This is also my first look at Mike Henderson. I have to say that it is a mix, for me. I’m currently having trouble identifying what his style looks like. It can be creepy; it can be deceptively “nice” (think not-creepy); it can be powerful; it can be delicate. I am thrilled with some pages, and turned off by others. I was trying to determine what other artists’ influence I could see in his work, but struggled with that. I feel that I can see something like Frank Miller (artist and/or writer on comics such as Daredevil, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Wolverine, and Sin City, and one of the industry’s most well-known and (in)famous creators) in Henderson’s art, sometimes. I can also see hints of Mike Oeming (artist on Hammer of the Gods, Bulletproof Monk, Powers, Mice Templar) in some of Henderson’s faces. It is hard to pin down, which makes it a fun experience. And, oh, yeah, he can make this shit look gross.

Nailbiter #26 was released on 7/6/2016. It also has 4 collections, so far, covering the first 20 issues of the comic series. Individual issues are priced at $2.99. Volume 1 of the collected editions costs $9.99, volume 2 costs $13.99, and volumes 3 & 4 cost $14.99.

Nailbiter, and other great comics, can be found at Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex located at 4456 Main Street, Manayunk, PA 19127. Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jdsherocomplex/

Tim from Last Week Reviews: Locke & Key #1!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2016 by Tim from Last Week

Writer: Joe Hilllockekey#1
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Colors: Jay Fotos
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Released: 2/20/2008 (collected in 10/2008)

Joe Hill has published both comic books and novels, and has received a fair amount of acclaim for his writing. Hill originally published his work under this pen name (a modified version of his real name) to avoid connecting him to his extremely popular father, who is known worldwide for his own writing. About a year before Lock & Key was published, Hill admitted that his father was Stephen King. However, after writing several books (20th Century Ghosts, Heart-Shaped Box, Horns, NOS4A2, and The Fireman), several comic books (Lock & Key, The Cape, and the new Tales from the Darkside series), and receiving several awards (World Fantasy Award, Bradbury Fellowship, Bram Stoker Award, British Fantasy Award, and International Horror Guild Award, among others…), it seems clear that Hill has been accepted into the writing community on his own merits.

Chilean-born artist Gabriel Rodriguez has a Master of Architecture, which he used to “pay the bills” while he waited for his chance to draw comic books. His first comic work was on the IDW published companion series to the popular CSI television series. He co-created Lock & Key with Joe Hill, then worked on Adventures of Superman (DC Comics) and Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland (IDW), the latter earning Rodriguez and co-creator Nelson Daniel an Eisner Award in 2015.

Lock & Key is a supernatural story focused on a house in Lovecraft, Massachusetts, and the family (and others) who have resided in the house. The comic begins with the Locke family, initially near San Francisco, working on their summer home. While Mr. and Mrs. Locke are inside, and the Locke children are outside, Sam and Al, former students of Mr. Locke’s, show up with plans to kill. The kids hear the gunshot that kills their father, and accidentally alert the killers to their presence. While Kinsey and Bode hide, the oldest Locke kid, Tyler, makes his way into the house, hoping to avert disaster. In the process, he disables Sam, and Mrs. Locke kills Al. Following the funeral, the remaining family travels back east to the family home, Keyhouse, and Uncle Duncan. As the kids explore their new home (they haven’t seen the house in years), we get to see that this house has a ton of history of its own, though, since most of it is shown to us by Bode, the youngest Locke, it doesn’t form a complete picture; just cool things every place he looks. Meanwhile, back in juvenile detention, it seems Sam is able to communicate with someone, or something, in the reflection of the water in his sink. It promises Sam that he’ll get the chance to try again to complete his mission. Back at Keyhouse, one of Bode’s discoveries is a key (featured on the comic cover). He finds a door with a similar look as the key, and opens it. We see Bode from the other side of the door, and, for a moment, his body collapses, and a wispy ghost form passes through the door. Quickly, he notices the change, and dives back into his body. Moments later, he wakes up. Terrified, he looks at the door. As it slams shut.

This series is a favorite of JD (of JD’s Hero Complex), and he has been suggesting it to customers for years. He was worried that I wouldn’t like it, since it’s not really my thing. However, I’m at least curious about what is going on at Keyhouse. Obviously, there is something about doors. And, keys (duh). I’m not sure if the doors steal your soul, or if the key is the key, but something is happening. And, why does the “whatever-it-is-in-Sam’s-sink” want Sam to make another attempt on the Lockes? Is Sam just a crazy killer? Or, is there some connection to Keyhouse, there, too?

As my first entry into Joe Hill, I have to say the story was interesting. There is obviously a lot going on that we don’t know, yet, and I want some answers. However, the issue feels a little jumbled, to me. There are a lot of flashbacks (or flash forwards, depending on your perspective, I guess). The story opens with Sam and Al at the door, and the Locke kids down the hill. Then, we move to the funeral, which includes a flashback to when Tyler was young. Then, back to the kids approaching the house during the attack, and some of Sam’s attempts to find the kids. Then, in the car on the way to Massachusetts, and their arrival at Keyhouse. Then, back to the house, as Sam finds Tyler and the whole sordid affair resolves. Then, back to Massachusetts. Although there are visual ways to track the story, I found the technique to be a little overused, and found myself getting tired, by the end. Hopefully, the storytelling will become a little easier on the brain in future parts.

This was also my first exposure to Gabriel Rodriguez’ art, and I’m intrigued. It has a blocky style, but it is also very detailed. Although I would not call it mainstream super-hero art, I almost have to say that his style could find a home in the new mainstream landscape at Marvel or DC, with their attempts to bring new styles and ideas into their current lineups. I’m looking forward to seeing where he ends up next.

Locke & Key turned out to be quite a story, taking 5 years to complete. Told over the course of 3 acts, each act told in two 6-issue mini-series, plus 2 book-end issues, plus a handful of short-story-type stories, Locke & Key is a story that spans generations and dimensions. This is an epic, and has a beginning, middle, and an end. The series was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2009, it won the British Fantasy Award for Best Comic or Graphic Novel in 2009, it won an Eisner Award for Best Writer (Joe Hill) in 2011 (and was also nominated for Best Single Issue, Best Continuing Series, and Best Penciller that same year), and it won the British Fantasy Award (again!) in 2012. A television pilot was filmed in 2011, though Fox decided not to pick up the series (even though Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks were involved…). A film trilogy was announced in 2014, but fell through, as well. In 2015, Joe Hill said that he was going back to the television series plan, and would shop it around to networks, acting as writer and executive producer. There is a 13-hour audio drama adapting all 6 mini-series, released in 2015, including voice work from such pop culture actors as Tatiana Maslany and Kate Mulgrew. And, yes, there is even a card game based on Locke & Key. Seriously, I think this little story might get some attention…

I read Locke & Key #1 as part of the first trade paperback collection, Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft. Locke & Key is available in 6 trade paperbacks, as well as hardcover editions.

Locke & Key, and other great comics, can be found at Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex located at 4456 Main Street, Manayunk, PA 19127. Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jdsherocomplex/

Tim from Last Week Reviews: House of Penance #1!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2016 by Tim from Last Week

Writer: Peter TomasiHouse of Penance #1
Artist: Ian Bertram
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Released: 4/13/2016

Peter Tomasi was an editor at DC Comics for almost 15 years, where he guided Batman, Green Lantern, and Aquaman, as well as one of the most interesting books I’ve read, The Light Brigade. In 2007, he left editorial to write comics. His writing included several small works related to bigger projects (i.e. Requiem, connected to DC Comics’ huge Final Crisis story), as well as several issues within the Batman family of books. He created another great series, The Mighty, with artist/co-writer Keith Champagne. He wrote Green Lantern Corps through DC Comics’ Blackest Night storyline, as well as the follow-up series, Brightest Day (with current DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns). After DC Comics “rebooted” their universe as the “New 52”, Tomasi wrote Green Lantern Corps and Batman and Robin.

Ian Bertram has worked for DC Comics (Detective Comics, Batman Eternal), Marvel Comics (Wolverine and the X-Men), and Image Comics (Zero), as well as cover work for both Marvel and DC.

The cover of this book is creepy as fuck. Look at it. That is just freaky. A lot of blood red (including some blood), plus some weird tendril things (tentacles?). And, a hammer. The hammer reference will come back…

We start with the disinterment of 2 coffins in the east, as they start their long journey to the west. Murcer is returning the husband and daughter of Sarah Winchester, who is not handling their deaths well. Sarah’s husband was part of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, and the family is concerned about her state. Sarah has hired many men, mostly criminals, to work on her home, with the family’s money. Somehow, she is able to see the criminals’ pasts in her mind, but she is more concerned about the work being completed. They work most of the day, and sometimes at night. The sound of hammers is present throughout most of the book. She also requires everyone to give up any guns before they enter her home. She’s doing something with all of the collected guns, but we don’t know what or why, yet. She sleeps with her family’s clothing, and talks to them as though they were still filled with her loved ones. Although her mental state may be shredded, I have a feeling she is on a mission that will only become more clear with time.

We also meet Warren Peck, who has an interesting job. He kills 5 (6) Native Americans, with the intent of filling the bullet holes with arrows. It does make sense, but, again, that’s just creepy. As it turns out, his assignment doesn’t go to plan, and he takes a nasty wound, and possibly a curse, to Mrs. Winchester’s home.

Though it seems obvious that we haven’t even seen the real creepiness, this book is just creepy. All of the visuals, all of the characters, every scene, has something that oozes creepy. On top of that, Dave Stewart’s color work highlights the creepy drawings. The palette changes from scene to scene, highlighting different color groups, but always focused on making things just a little uncomfortable (and, yes, creepy). And, again, there has to be more coming.

This comic is just smartly written, which is what I’ve come to expect from Tomasi. Really, very few secrets are given up in this issue, but enough tease is laced through the whole thing that you are likely trying to put things together into a cohesive, if uninformed, whole. Though, I think there is so much going on that we haven’t seen, or haven’t had explained, that we couldn’t really come up with the endgame. But it might involve guns. And tentacles. Maybe.

House of Penance, and other great comics, can be found at Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex located at 4456 Main Street, Manayunk, PA 19127. Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jdsherocomplex/

Tim from Last Week Reviews: Five Ghosts #1!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2016 by Tim from Last Week

Writer: Frank J. BarbiereFive Ghosts v1
Artist: Chris Mooneyham
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: 3/20/2013

This is my first experience with Frank Barbiere, but he has been making the rounds of the top comic publishers for the past few years. Barbiere has worked on Solar: Man of the Atom (Dynamite), The Broken World (BOOM!), Blackout (Dark Horse), Lobo (DC), Avengers World (Marvel), and White Suits, also published by Image.

This is also my first experience with Chris Mooneyham. Although his list of comic titles is shorter than Barbiere’s, it does seem his work on Predator: Fire and Stone (Dark Horse) has garnered him some great press. He also did work in Anathema (Tiny Behemoth Press).

Five Ghosts is the story of Fabian Gray, a 1930s era “treasure hunter.” Think Indiana Jones, and you’re probably close. Using Indy as reference also works for the feel of the story and premise. This is an adventure book, similar to the “men’s adventure books” from decades ago. Although I haven’t read far enough into the series, yet, I expect to find many of the tropes from pulp adventures (I’m expecting to see a “damsel in distress,” very soon…). However, our treasure hunter has a secret power (curse?): he is possessed by 5 ghosts. Specifically, 5 “literary” ghosts: the “detective”, the “wizard”, the “archer”, the “samurai”, and the “vampire” (they are not named in the 1st issue, but I think we can feel free to think of them as Sherlock Holmes, Merlin, Robin Hood, Miyamoto Musashi, and Dracula). Through some incident in his past, Gray was possessed by the ghosts, and he is able to draw upon their abilities to assist in his adventures. Sometimes. When trying to cross from one mountain to a castle on another mountain, Gray uses the archer’s skills to traverse the chasm. However, when fighting tribal warriors in Africa, the wizard’s powers fail Gray, and is taken prisoner. Gray’s motivation comes from his efforts to save his sister, who seems cursed, as well. He will need all of his treasure hunting skills (and his ghosts’ powers, too!) to find a way to save his sister (and possibly himself!).

The first issue was a quick read, but it was enjoyable. I find a certain enjoyment in this kind of story. Yes, the plot is not deep; find things, save people (maybe the world, too??). I enjoy the adventure of it. Yes, we do see him fight Nazis. Yes, we do see him fight African tribesman (are they simply tribesman, though?). Yes, there is a bi-plane involved. And, yes, there is a real bad guy (who answers to even badder bad guys). And, the occult/mysticism seems to touch every player in the story. While I am not a fan of all of the original elements of pulp adventures (i.e. “damsel-in-distress,” noted above…), done well with a modern feel, these stories can be great fun.

What really stood out, for me, though, was Chris Mooneyham’s art. It is an interesting combination of very detailed and very simple, all at the same time; which seems perfect for adventure, but I suspect it could work well for just about any kind of story. He has this moody, eery feel, but everything still seems real. Which, really, does sound like the right look for a book combining old-fashioned adventure and the occult. I find Mooneyham’s art similar to Lee Weeks, a veteran artist who has worked extensively for Dark Horse, DC, and Marvel, but is most well-known for his work on Marvel’s Daredevil (which has also been known to mix adventure and mysticism).

I read issue #1 as part of the first collection of Five Ghosts (“The Haunting of Fabian Gray”). Since I am a notoriously slow reader, I had to stop at one issue, so I could complete this review. However, I fully intend to read the remainder of this collection. Just for fun. Five Ghosts ran for 17 issues, plus a special, and has been collected into 3 trade paperback collections (vol 1 contains issues 1-5, vol 2 contains issues 6-12, and vol 3 contains issues 13-17 and the special), each priced between $9.99 and $14.99.

Five Ghosts, and other great comics, can be found at Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex. located at:

Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex
4456 Main Street
Manayunk, PA 19127

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