New comic book Wednesday has come and gone. The dust at your local comic shop has settled. An eerie silence descends as you finish reading your last superhero book of the week. Now it's time for something a little more sinister. Welcome to Bagged and Boarded: comic reviews of the sick, spooky, twisted and terrifying!
Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight No. 1
In a world were comics strive to be a higher form of literature, one comic dares to be pulp. Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight unabashedly revels in the B-Movie, late night, junked up genre. Each mini-arc will feature stories fit for flicks from the seventies, and they're starting it off with "Bee Vixens from Mars." The story follows a small town sheriff investigating a string of murders linked to bees. Is it the honey everyone seems to be enjoying so much? And why is everyone so sexed up lately?
Bag it or board it up? This is pure, unadulterated sleaze. There's brutal violence, nearly naked sexily drawn women, and corny plot contrivances. But… how can we resist it's scuzzy charm? Take, for instance, the protagonist. The lead of this comic, once the story gets going, is a one-eyed Latina police deputy with a motorcycle and a shotgun. Classic!
The Occultist No. 1
Rob Bailey is The Occultist. He's a college student in possession of a powerful book of magic called The Sword. With The Sword in tow, he's off to help keep up the fight against the realm of the undead. This issue, he jumps right into the action while trying to find out what's been gnawing on small animals in an abandoned hospital. Even with the help of a detective he's got his undergrad hands full.
Bag it or board it up? Another issue number one for this week's set of reviews. You can tell a lot from the first issue of a series. And this first issue says, "Hey! Read me until I'm cancelled." And that kind of gets to the heart of the problem with this comic. It's different, but not abundantly different. It's fun, but not crazy fun. It's clever, but not mind-blowing. It's a good read, and you should read it while it lasts, but in the end comics like Witch Doctor pull off the occultist-who's-just-like-us schtick way better.
Jack Cole's Deadly Horror
I'm going to spice things up this week. Instead of reviewing two more weekly issues that came out, I'm taking a look at Jack Cole's Deadly Horror, a 160+ page collection of comics from one of the grandfathers of horror comics. Cole, who was responsible for the infamous panel of a woman about to get a hypodermic needle in the eye, worked up to and through the "comics code" era and saw the rise and fall of horror comics.
Inside this lovingly detailed collection, you'll find gems like "Custodian of the Dead," about a corpse robber who's ghastly habit ends up costing him dearly. You'll also read, "The Corpse that Wouldn't Die," about… well, exactly what it sounds like. And then, naturally, you'll want to check out, "Orgy of Death," which follows a young couple who stumbles upon an ancient civilization that worships Moloch with human sacrifices. This is all classic horror stuff, and you'll find many more comics inside.
Bag it or board it up? This is definitely an item for those true fans of classic horror. Hardcover, MSRP at $24.99, it's not as easy an investment as a comic book. But if you're into vintage horror comics, if you enjoy yellowed pictures and ink-drop artwork, you'll love this collection. The introduction is interesting but a little bit overwrought, but there's nothing wrong with the comics inside.
One of my favorite comics is "The Killer from Saturn." It features an eight foot tall yellow creature with a giant sword and a penchant for death. It also features one of the most ridiculous twist endings I've ever read (and I read these comics every week). All in all you can't go wrong with a big ol' collection of weathered comics.