Halloween Scene: The Trade Pile

wytches vol 1Even with all the Halloween-related work I had going on this season — which included healthy doses of Warren’s Eerie comics and Marvel scare books — I still had some time to read a few other things leading up to the big day. I’ll hit these up in a quick hits fashion, but still wanted to call out a few fun aspects of each book. I actually got Wytches by Scott Snyder and Jock at the same time that I got Coffin Hill from the library and they made pretty great companion comics to one another. While Coffin revolves around a young woman dealing with her known heritage as a witch, Wytches follows a young girl named Sailor who seems haunted by the gnarliest take on witches I’ve ever seen. In this case, she and her family have just moved to New Hampshire after a strange experience with a bully in the woods wound up with the mean girl dead.

Trouble continues to follow her, though because of an ancient agreement between humans and wytches going way back. The deeper we get into the story, the more we find out about Sail’s past as well as her dad’s mental instability. The two of them become the heroes of the book as he believes her when no one else will. As a father myself, I like to think that I would do the same thing he did to protect my kids. Snyder’s stories always deliver and Jock is one of those artists who can really turn up the creep factor with his mix of digital art and hand-created splatter effects. These two should always have a horror comic in the works as far as I’m concerned.

superman phantom zoneIt took me a while to get my head around Superman: Phantom Zone by Steve Gerber and Gene Colan (collecting the four issues of that miniseries, plus DC Comics Presents #97). After a few attempts, it finally clicked that this is a horror book, which I should have gotten given the fact that the creative team worked on Man-Thing and Tomb Of Dracula. At its heart Phantom Zone is a psychological thriller with huge implications as the criminals in the Zone manipulate one of their former members on Earth to build their way out. Once freed, they go about wreaking all manner of  havoc.

Superman, of course, stands against them, but the criminals send him into the Zone and he has to figure out a way out. It’s a pretty epic journey that feels mythological in more than a few ways. Gerber was such an amazing writer who could pull from multiple inspirations and still make his own unique things. He and Colan working together is just a treat, especially on DC characters like this. By the end of Phantom Zone, I was both thrilled and a bit exhausted. This one’s definitely worth checking out (even more so if you read the New Krypton stuff because just about all of the bad Kryptonians in that story feature prominently here).

universal monsters cavalcade of horrorWay back in 2009 I wrote about Art Adams’ Creature Feature and decided to pull it off my shelf and give it another look this season. Since then, I’ve actually seen Creature From The Black Lagoon a few times and could compare my memories of the film to the adaptation presented here in the collection. I’ll never not love looking at Adams’ artwork, but being more familiar with the source material made it more fun this time.

I also checked out Dark Horse’s Universal Monsters: Cavalcade Of Horror, a Dark Horse collection that brings together their adaptations of The Mummy, Frankenstein, Dracula and Creature. I’ll be honest, I didn’t read anything in this book. I’d already read the Creature book in the Adams collection, but I did look at the Mummy story panel-by-panel because it was drawn by Tony Harris in his Starman style. If you can check out either of these books (at your library like I did) give them a look!

izombie vol 4A few months ago I was delighted to find the fourth volume of iZombie at the flea market for a fiver! It took a while to get around to reading it, but Halloween seemed like the best time to go back and read the whole thing from beginning to end (if you’re curious, I’ve already reviewed volumes one, two and three). I’m a huge fan of the mythology Chris Roberson established in the first book especially as drawn by the amazing Mike Allred, so it was great to see how things all lead to their final conclusion.

I won’t spoil anything, but I really appreciate how this book seemed to start off with a big scope and then it just kept getting bigger and bigger as the story continued. In addition to the impressive build-up, I also appreciate that this is a really beautiful story with horror elements that doesn’t necessarily wallow in the darkness. Allred’s art is poppy and bright and awesome even when dealing with bloodsuckers and brain eaters. It’s not something you see pretty much ever, but Roberson and Allred absolutely kill with it.

fear itself hulk dracula 1I closed things out with a bit of an odd choice, the Fear Itself: Hulk Vs. Dracula tie-in series from a few years back written by Victor Gischler and drawn by Ryan Stegman. I own this book because I’m a big fan of the first half of the trade which includes Jeff Parker’s Red Hulk material. Since I wound up writing about more than a few Tomb Of Dracula comics for the Marvel Spooklights, I figured it would be interesting to read a more modern version of the character. Now he’s got red armor and a kingdom of vamps, but still seems to be the same character.

Hulk apparently featured prominently in the Fear Itself event, but this story takes place as he gets punched near Drac’s country and starts raging. Drac sends a bunch of his people plus a group called The Forgiven. I’m glad it’s part of this collection because it shows an awesome series of battles between this powered-up version of the Jade Giant with a hammer and a ton of rad monsters drawn by Stegman who has a bit of an Ed McGuinness quality in these pages. All-in-all, it’s a fun knock down drag out monster mash.

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