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!
The Raven and the Red Death
The last time I reviewed a Richard Corben adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe it was the two-part Fall of the House of Usher. This time the comic luminary tackles "The Raven" and "The Masque of the Red Death." The two tales, told in lush detail, play out to their frightful conclusions in this wonderful one-shot.
Bag it or board it up? Corben draws people like a madman dreaming. Everyone is gnawing, gnashing, struggling and straining. It's wonderful, full-bodied, contorted, and perfectly suits stories from the master of the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe. This is a wonderful comic, a must-have for Corben or Poe fans.
The Sandman: Overture No. 1
Twenty-five years after the original publication of The Sandman, Neil Gaiman returns to tell the origin story of how Morpheus got captured. In it we see the Dream King, his siblings, fan favorites that return to the scene, and more information about The Endless. This six-part mini-series starts here, and it's a wild ride.
Bag it or board it up? New Sandman. I shouldn't need to write anything else. But… I will! Go buy this comic. If you haven't read much of the original comic, at least read the first run. This is a beautiful comic with huge, page-spanning illustrations. And it's just as weird, dreamlike, and wonderful as you'd imagine.
Boo! No. 4
Horror television and print hosts are stuck in a reality show. The winner wins it all. The losers die. The host with the best scary story makes it out alive. That's the framework for lots of wonderful short stories in this anthology series. This week we see a witchy tale, the hunt for a goat-man, and the terrors of torchlight.
Bag it or board it up? Even though the through-line story of competing horror hosts is ridiculous this is still a great comic. The short stories in this anthology series are fun, move quickly, have great scares in them, and are well drawn by their respective artists. So I ask: why frame it with the lame reality show? Just scrap it and give us a fourth awesome story!
Robert Bloch's Pumpkin
Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) adapts a short story by Robert Bloch (author of Psycho) about a farm, a haunting neighbor, and a kid who gets in too much trouble. This is a classic horror story. It has a clever ending, it builds on a bit of terror, and there are plenty of stops and starts. It has an ancient feel, but this is a beautifully told and drawn story.
Bag it or board it up? Steve Niles and Robert Bloch. Dreams really do come true. As I mentioned above: this story is not a modern story. But that's not such a bad thing, really. This is a fun, spooky one-shot. It's definitely worth picking up and checking out.