The Sandman: Overture

The Sandman: OvertureThe Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I would give this 100 stars if I could! Gaiman’s six-part story, a direct prequel to his classic SANDMAN series, is nothing short of mind-blowing. In addition, Williams’s art is heart-stopping, Stewart’s coloring is breathtaking, and Klein’s lettering, including dozens of different, unique fonts for dozens of different characters, is nothing short of an astonishing labor of love. All this, and a giant, talking cat! I can’t recommend this trade collection highly enough. I loved Gaiman’s SANDMAN comics, but sometimes when you love something you read a long time ago you forget why you loved it so much. THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE reminded me exactly why, and in some way even surpasses the original’s brilliance. If you loved SANDMAN too, you’re going to eat this up with a spoon!

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Fatale: Death Chases Me

Fatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases MeFatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases Me by Ed Brubaker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great characters, great writing, a combination of noir and supernatural horror that should be right up my alley — so why didn’t this resonate with me more? I wish I knew. All I can say is that it didn’t feel fresh to me, that there was a sense of having seen it all before. Admittedly, these comics were published four years ago, in 2012, when the idea of mixing classic noir tropes with the supernatural might have seemed newer, and to judge them with 2016 eyes is perhaps unfair. After all, I did enjoy it. Brubaker’s writing is very good, the story is well plotted, and Sean Phillips’ art perfectly complemented the narrative. But it just didn’t grab me, and unfortunately I don’t find myself eager to read the rest of the trades in this series.

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Hellboy In Hell, Vol. 1: The Descent

Hellboy in Hell, Vol. 1: The DescentHellboy in Hell, Vol. 1: The Descent by Mike Mignola
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This latest collection in Mignola’s ongoing HELLBOY saga is essentially a tour of Hell by way of Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL. There’s not a lot of drama to be witnessed, it’s more spectacle than story in these five issues, but Hellboy is such a great character and Mignola’s concept of Hell as a place is so compelling that I kept turning the pages with mounting interest. The art is some of Mignola’s most evocative, especially in Hell’s capitol city of Pandemonium, and each panel succeeds in offering something spooky or beautifully rendered (or both). I look forward to more adventures of Hellboy while he’s in Hell, although I hope future issues will be less episodic and offer stronger, more definitive storylines.

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Kindle Spree!

I went on a Kindle e-book-buying spree with the last of my Amazon gift certificates from the holidays! Here’s what I bought:

Best Horror 7

The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Seven edited by Ellen Datlow. The latest in the long-running and always high-quality annual anthology series. I read these not just as a fan of horror fiction but as a writer who’s always looking to learn from the best.

Cold to the Touch

Cold To the Touch by Simon Strantzas. This is the only collection I didn’t already own by the weird fiction maestro, good friend, and frequent convention roommate. (Yes, I called you a maestro, Simon! Deal with it!)

X's for Eyes

X’s For Eyes by Laird Barron. The new novella from another favorite author and friend. Actually, maybe Laird is the weird fiction maestro. Sorry, Simon!

Glider

The Girl on the Glider by Brian Keene. An acclaimed novella from the award-winning horror author that’s reputed to be a departure from his usual fare, more M.R. James than Richard Laymon. He’s also a friend of mine. God, I have a lot of friends in this business, don’t I?

 

 

News & Updates

  • 06/12/2019 — Rat Queens, Vol. 6: The Infernal PathRat Queens, Vol. 6: The Infernal Path by Kurtis J. Wiebe My rating: 4 of 5 stars THE INFERNAL PATH is very welcome return to form after a confusing vol.…Read more »
  • 06/09/2019 — X’s For EyesX’s For Eyes by Laird Barron My rating: 4 of 5 stars This highly enjoyable novella starts off almost as a twisted, satirical take on THE VENTURE BROS., drawing from the same source material — THE HARDY BOYS, JOHNNY QUEST, DOC SAVAGE — before diving into the cosmic weirdness and ecumenically cursed families we’ve come to expect from Laird Barron.…Read more »
  • 06/02/2019 — Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your BonesScary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz My rating: 4 of 5 stars The stories in this third volume of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series are definitely a step up from the second volume, and include a handful of stories that are on par with the first.…Read more »
  • 05/31/2019 — More Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkMore Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz My rating: 3 of 5 stars I found the stories in this second volume of Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories series to be less memorable or interesting than the stories in the first.…Read more »
  • 05/29/2019 — Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkScary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz My rating: 4 of 5 stars I was surprised to find that SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK was a collection of folk tales and campfire tales from around the world rather than the original stories I was expecting, but that turned out to add to my enjoyment whenever I recognized a story.…Read more »

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