Archive for Guest Post

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/

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Guest Post: Review of The Shining, by Stephen King

Posted in Guest Post with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2015 by Xander Woolf

Published in 1977 by Doubleday Publishing

Currently on Amazon’s Books from Hell: The 25 Best Horror Books Ever Written

Written by Bridget Cannon

Are you looking for a book to get you in the Halloween spirit? The Shining has always been one of my favorites. Perhaps because it was my first “grown up” horror experience. Since then, I have seen a lot of horror movies and read a lot of horror books. Stephen King has remained on the top of my list. I think it is because of the nature of his writing. He brilliantly weaves real life with the supernatural. This is a clever way to allow the reader to feel secure about reading things that normally might just hit a little too close to home. I happen to think that this layer of reality is what makes his books scary. It gives them some real teeth.

The Shining is no exception. In fact, I think it is one of the best books of his to start with because it showcases his early writing so well. We have an ordinary family, the Torrances, with very ordinary problems. They are then thrown into an extraordinary and dangerous situation; specifically, a haunted hotel called the Overlook. The extraordinary then pushes these people to the brink, forcing them to either battle their monsters or to become them.

These battles, in my humble opinion, are far scarier than whatever is in room 217 or the hedge monsters because these are the battles that people have to fight every day. It is a battle that can be lost at any time with very real consequences. The reader gets to see that early on with Jack Torrance. Yes, the ghosts are scary and, yes, we worry about Danny but it is the humanness of it all that is the scariest. That really makes us care about what is happening in the Overlook Hotel.

The Shining is one of my favorite books for these reasons. If you are looking to try the film, there are two versions. I like do the 1980 movie version despite it losing parts of the book, but Jack Nicholson is wonderful in it. The 1997 miniseries is a lot closer to the book and the version I prefer. I have found that to be true with a lot of King’s miniseries since they were able to keep more of the book without having to worry about a run time.

So, if you are looking for a good scare this Halloween, pick up a copy of The Shining! You won’t regret it. If you have read it, then perhaps you should give it a quick reread before picking up a copy of Doctor Sleep, which is the wonderful sequel.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!

Guest Post: Review of Stephen King’s “It”

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2015 by Xander Woolf

Written by Donna Hardy Johnston

#1 on Amazon’s “Books from Hell – The 25 Best Horror Books Ever Written”

It by Stephen King (who else) is in the top 50 of almost every ranked list of horror books. For those of you who are King fans, It was published between the Shining and Misery and, in the same time period, King was publishing under the name of Richard Bachman. At any rate, it is Stephan King horror at its best. If there is something/someone that scares the hell out of you, it is in this book: from werewolves to clowns to mummies. And it comes at you from every direction, including through the sewer and up the toilet!

As with all of King’s stories, It is a battle between good and evil. In this horror classic; it is the positive synergy of the 7 main characters that provides the shining, white strength of the good guys. While, it is the sewer odors and the creatures you fear most – those that hide under your bed or in your closet or under the grates in the sewers—that define the shifting image of evil that is It/Pennywise.

This story opens in 1957-1958 with the 7 as children, and closes in 1984-1985 with the 7 as adults. The timeline shifts back and forth between the two periods, as the adults return to Derry, Maine, to finish what they started as children: destroy It/Pennywise.

The 7 totally baffle, which results in It/Pennywise fearing them. It is a study in horror, fear and what King is best at, an accelerating spiral into madness. It/Pennywise brings out the worst in the not so good characters that surround the 7. He feeds the small kernel of evil in the bullies/antagonists and drives them until they are walking automata of hate. King is one of the best at twisting, turning, and growing evil to the point that it (It) becomes the single minded, demented drive of a character. There is no one better at describing the descent into hell.

In It, no one is safe from dismemberment and death in the most horrible manner. So, even if you follow the 15 Rules to Stay Alive, in a King story you could still die in a chance encounter.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you want a good scare. It is the stuff of good nightmares, of creeping claws from under the bed, and gooey monsters watching from the closet. I found it a good read… as long as the lights were on.

Mwwaaathaha.