Archive for Demons

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/

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Tim from Last Week Reviews: The Discipline #1!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2016 by Tim from Last Week

Writer: Peter MilliganTheDiscipline_01-1
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: 3/2/2015

Peter Milligan has been working in comics since the early 1980s, starting on 2000 AD, a popular British anthology comic. In the late ’80s, Milligan was among the last members of the early “British Invasion” in American comics, working heavily in DC Comics’ Vertigo line (Shade, The Changing Man; Animal Man; and Enigma). Some of his later work at DC included Batman, Hellblazer, and Justice League Dark. Milligan has also done work at Marvel Comics (X-Statix, X-Men, and Moon Knight).

Leandro Fernandez started working in American comics in the late 1990s, working at Marvel Comics (X-Factor, Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, Punisher), Oni Press (Queen & Country), as well as work for DC Comics’ Vertigo and Wildstorm imprints.

We are introduced to Melissa just as she realizes that the demon sex she’s enjoying is changing her into something else, and she isn’t sure she’s happy about it. But, wait, that’s the future. It turns out that, just a little while back, Melissa was a mildly unhappy wife, sister, and daughter. Her ill mother lives with Melissa’s sister, Krystal, but Krystal is not the best for dear, old Mom. We also find out that Melissa’s marriage isn’t great, she rarely sees her husband, and her main confidante is her dog, Hemingway.

Enter Orlando. Orlando is mysterious. Orlando is hot. Orlando is strange. Orlando is European. So, she decides to bed him and finally enjoy herself, for a change. But, Orlando plays hard-to-get (as far as Melissa can tell), which, of course, makes her want him more. One phone call later, she meets him in an unexpected place to seal the deal. Unfortunately, Orlando has brought all kinds of other-worldly baggage with him, and soon Melissa is naked and targeted by some of that baggage! Orlando defends her, but is he really helping her? Or does he have deeper plans for Melissa?

I have to admit: this is a strange book. There is nudity and sex, but it’s not graphic (though, graphically suggestive?). I am pretty sure there is a deeper story, but, so far: there are possibly 2 factions of demon-y type groups, possibly some reference to Ancient Rome or Greece, and demon sex. Milligan describes this as possibly “…the edgiest story…” he’s written. Which is saying something, considering some of his work for Vertigo. That being said, demon sex is generally considered edgy. However, I’m not getting edgy when I read this issue. I’m curious where the story is going, so, hopefully, we can get more edge as we go along.

I have not been a huge fan of Leandro Fernandez in the past, as he often succeeded another artist that I enjoyed with his completely different style. Even with that, I find this work to be interesting. I am still not sure that his art is “right” for this comic, but I did not find it to be jarring or painful, and I could follow his story-telling. Some of the panels are beautifully constructed, using negative space and what ends up being almost spot-coloring (colorist: Cris Peter). If you are not sure you know what spot-coloring is, think of black-and-white art with just a single “pop” of color thrown in (see the movie Sin City as a good example outside of comics). I am still not sure I like Fernandez’ art, or that he is right for this book, but I will have to see what follows to decide yea or nay.

I am not sure I am hooked yet, but, these days, most comic book stories (or story arcs) are 6 issues long, so it may take 2-3 issues to find that hook. While I am not excited about Fernandez’ art, I am pretty sure Milligan will provide a real story to follow. The Discipline is published monthly, and is priced $2.99 per issue.

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

Tim from Last Week Reviews: Outcast vol. 1!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2016 by Tim from Last Week

Creator, Writer: Robert KirkmanOutcastVol1_Cover
Artist: Paul Azaceta
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: 1/28/2015 (Volume 2 released 10/7/2015)

Robert Kirkman holds a fairly significant place in comic book lore. As the creator of The Walking Dead, his legend will live on, forever. Robert is also unique in that he is an officer in Image Comics (Chief Operating Officer), and is the only member of that particular team that was not part of the founding of Image Comics, back in the 1990s. New boy does good. He has also written a ton of comics for Marvel Comics, but now does all of his work through Image (including his own imprint, Skybound Entertainment, a little corner of Image Comics for his creator-owned work to reside).

Paul Azaceta has worked on Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain Marvel, and Captain America (Marvel Comics), Hellboy and Conan (Dark Horse Comics), plus a bunch of stuff with BOOM! Studios.

I had heard great things about this book, and it has been received well enough that it is currently in production as a new show for Cinemax. However, I was not super excited by this book. Some of my issue comes directly from the art. Well, not the art, exactly, but the panel layouts. Much of the action is told through big panels interlaced with small panels. Unfortunately, there were several times where my eye did not follow the action, correctly, and a few times where the panel layout simply threw me out of the story (I needed to stop and think about the panel layout, as opposed to thinking about the actual story). I also had difficulty following some of the movements of the “demons,” so I am unsure if I even have all of the story, at this point.

I feel so distracted by my concerns about the visual storytelling, that I am less intrigued by Kyle’s story, which I think I really do want to know. This is the first full story of Kirkman’s that I have read, so I do want to give him a chance to hook me. While I am curious about the demons, Kyle’s past, and how they connect, I am more interested in the “little things” – a hint of a relationship for one character (which, if it happens, will, of course, somehow end badly) – Kyle’s sister’s own marriage. Mostly small, character things that could impact the bigger story, but that just seem interesting on a character development level.

Even with all of these concerns, I intend to read volume 2. I suspect I will not find all of the answers within just these 2 parts, but if some of my needs are fed, I might find this to be a really deep ride. Outcast is published monthly (#14 was released on 12/23/2015), and is priced $2.99 per issue. Volume 1 of the trade paperback collections (“A Darkness Surrounds Him”, #1-6 of the monthly issues) is priced $9.99, and volume 2 (“A Vast and Unending Ruin”, #7-12 of the monthly issues) is priced at $14.99.

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

Horror Movies to Review

Posted in Other with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2016 by Xander Woolf

In keeping with this week’s theme of asking you what you want from us, I’d like to know what horror movies you’re interested in.

Do you have a favorite horror movie that you want to see us talk about?

Is there one coming out that you want to know more about, but don’t want to spend money on it yet?

Are there indie horror films you’re not sure about that you want us to watch and report back?

Let us know in the comments below, though our Contact Us link or on Facebook!

wolfout

Urban Legends

Posted in Urban Legend with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2016 by Xander Woolf

Hey Horror Fans!

As you may know, I have dubbed Sunday “Urban Legend Day!”

Today, instead of picking a legend and boring you with it, I’m asking you to let us know what your favorite urban legends are.

Is there a local scary story you love? Is there a monster you’d like to learn more about, but don’t have the time to research it?

Now is your chance to let us know the stories you want us to tell!

Leave a comment below, message us on Facebook, Tweet at us (@9thcirclehorror) or take advantage of the Contact Us page to let us know!

wolfout

The Legend of The Rake

Posted in Urban Legend with tags , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2015 by Xander Woolf

The Rake is a humanoid creature with canine movements who supposedly stalks and tortures its prey. It has been described as hairless with hollow eyes. He has strange and unnatural movements, as if he’d been hit by a car. This creature is associated heavily with Slenderman.

What’s the story?
According to The Slender Man Wikia and Creepypasta, The Rake was first written of in the 12th Century. However, the oldest written account found is from 1691 from a Mariner’s Log:

He came to me in my sleep. From the foot of my bed I felt a sensation. He took everything. We must return to England. We shall not return here again at the request of the Rake.

In 1880, a Spanish journal entry was translated, describing the Rake as having “hollow eyes” and “wet hands.”

The next written account found was from 1964. It is a suicide note:

As I prepare to take my life, I feel it necessary to assuage any guilt or pain I have introduced through this act. It is not the fault of anyone other than him. For once I awoke and felt his presence. And once I awoke and saw his form. Once again I awoke and heard his voice, and looked into his eyes. I cannot sleep without fear of what I might next awake to experience. I cannot ever wake. Goodbye.

Along with this note was a personal letter to a woman named Linnie:

Dearest Linnie,
I have prayed for you. He spoke your name.

The most recent sighting is from 2006. It is the most thorough account of an encounter with this mysterious being. A woman and her husband wake up in the middle of the night to find a strange creature sitting at the end of their bed. Once it’s seen, it rushes to the side of the bed to stare at the husband, then runs out of the room. It attacks their daughter and runs out of the house. The daughter’s last words were, “It is the Rake.” That same night, the husband and daughter die after he drives into a lake while rushing to the hospital.

The woman found others in the area who had encountered the Rake. She came to understand that this creature visits its prey many times. Under this realization, she set up a digital recorder to record while she slept. For the first two weeks, she only heard the sounds of her sleeping. In the third week, however, she heard a shrill voice. This was evidence enough that the Rake still visits her and sits at the end of her bed at night.

Though nobody knows who the Rake is or how he came about, he is heavily associated with Slenderman. Many believe that he is a proxy created by Slenderman from a human being. Others believe that, through his own self-loathing and self-harm, he mutated into the creature he is today.

What’s it based on?
The legend of the Rake comes from Creepypasta, which openly claims that the stories found on the site are fictional. There is not much information available on this creature, only a few written eyewitness accounts.

How’s it used today?
The Rake is the center of a horror video game called Rake. He is featured in online horror stories on sites such as Creepypasta and The Slenderman Wikia. He also appears in a web series by a YouTube channel called EverymanHYBRID.

What do you know about The Rake? Let us know in the comments!

Is there an Urban Legend you’d like to read about? A ghost story you’re dying for others to read? Now is your chance to let us know what you want us to write about! Leave a comment below and tell us what you would like us to cover!

wolfout

The Legend of The Haunted Forest/Cobb Estate (VIDEO)

Posted in Urban Legend with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2015 by Xander Woolf

Tucked into the mountains of Pasadena, California is the Sam Merrill trail, lovingly referred to as “The Haunted Forest” trail. This trail, which starts as an old, crumbling driveway, is the site of the former Cobb Estate.

History
Cobb Estate was built in 1918 by Charles and Carrie Cobb. In 1939, Cobb died and left the estate to the Scottish Right Temple Freemasons, who sold the estate just a few years later. The home was also used by the Sisters of St Joseph as a retreat. In 1956, the property was purchased by the Marx family, but by 1959, all that was left of the mansion was ruins. The estate was put up for auction in 1971 and was converted into a state park. All that’s left of Cobb’s estate are the steps that led up to the door and the water reservoir.

Hauntings
The ghost stories associated with Cobb Estate are wide-spread, but vague in nature. There have been reports of hikers feeling like they’re being watched or touched, sounds of footsteps, laughter and screams. Many hikers have claimed to see strange lights, but finding no one to whom to attach the lights.

I have heard rumors that many people have encountered demonic activity on this trail, but I cannot find any written recollection. I have also heard rumors that a nun was raped and killed in this forest and that her ghost still hangs around, but, again, I cannot find anything written on the subject.

Personal Experience
On Friday, October 9, 2015, I went with a group of friends for a midnight hike in The Haunted Forest to check it out for myself. There were several different groups there, so we were definitely not alone.

Gate

The entrance to the trail is marked by a large gate. Many have likened this gate to the Gates of Hell, but it was a typical Southern California entrance, if you ask me. We ventured upward and came across a small set of stairs, which I have now found out were the stairs that once led to the main house.

Unfortunately, we did not experience anything supernatural or out of the ordinary. I can say that there were points where I felt as though we were being watched, but I can’t give any more detail than that. We still made the most out of our hike, though, by telling scary stories and enjoying the expansive view of Los Angeles.

Around 2am, the group split into two. Four of us made our way down the mountain because it was passed our bedtimes. The other six continued up the narrow path, determined to reach the end of the trail. As we were descending, we could hear laughter echoing in the mountains. This laughter belonged to my sister, who happens to have a very distinguishable laugh. Because of this, I’ve determined that the laughter and screams that people have heard come from groups who are much further ahead on the trail, as sound travels very easily down a canyon.

Video
This time around, I decided to capture some footage. While I got quite a few pictures, the footage I got was actually pretty entertaining. It helps that I went with a group of fun people. Take a look at the video below and hear some of our scary stories. (Please don’t judge the quality of the footage. I took the video on my phone and it’s my first time editing. Feedback appreciated).

Photo Gallery

wolfout