I’ve spilled a lot of digital ink this season talking about how much I love Kelley Jones’ work, especially on Batman (in posts here and here), but there’s another artist whose work is synonymous with horror in my mind: Mike Mignola. The genius behind Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. has done all sorts of work in the comics world and this post will give some love to a few of his other works that are lots of spooky fun! Here are some interesting comics you might want to check out if you don’t want to dive too deeply into those sprawling epics.
I can’t really understate how important Wizard magazine was to me during my formative comic-buying years in the 90s. I’d already become a die-hard DC fan before I discovered the magazine, but it became this window into a much larger comic landscape of companies ranging from Marvel and Dark Horse to those guys doing crazy things at Image (though this was admittedly a year or two after the initial boom). I still remember how much they hyped certain books, though, and The Darkness from Top Cow is one such example! I recently borrowed the first and second volumes of the Darkness Origins trades from Hoopla and had a fun time with them!enter, if you dare…
Going through Vincent Price Toy Commercials last week was a lot of fun, so let’s check out a trio of wild horror-inspired toy spots!
I have no memory of these Gruesome, Rude, Obnoxious, Silly Scarfers from Tiger, but this might be one of the most delightful ads I’ve seen in a long time. From the iconic kids at the mall to a toy that keeps topping itself, this one’s a ton of fun. I mean, you had me at “a gross puppet that makes sounds,” but then you add in the see-through stomach and this is an easy home run. If you had a G.R.O.S.S. puppet, please let me know in the comments!
It still shocks me that Troma’s Toxic Avenger made the jump to cartoons, toys and comics in the early 90s. It’s weird that Rambo had a cartoon given his big screen body count, but it’s mind-boggling to anyone who saw the classic Troma film that Toxie made the same transition! Because of this cartoon, I watched The Toxic Avenger WAY sooner than I should have and actually turned it off because I was so scandalized! I now own it on DVD and have this Toxie figure thanks to one magical flea market trip. I don’t have that rad slime-dripping mop thought, what a cool accessory!
Speaking of slime, it’s crazy how popular this stuff is right now. I’ve got two kids under 10 and they are all about making their own slime and even know of like 30 different types with different recipes and whatnot. I’m personally not a fan, but I do love a toy line like Oozers which really captures the gross-out nature of many an 80s toy line. I also really dig the line-up of characters, most of whom seem to take their cues from Universal Monsters and classic mythology, but check out the Jason Voorhees analog in there who’s rocking that tank top! These are very cool, but I wonder how well they’ve held up over the years what with all the squeezing and oozing and whatnot.
As you can tell, I’m in the full Halloween swing here UnitedMonkee headquarters and have been for awhile. With It’s All Connected, I’ve been on quite the Vincent Price kick, so it seemed like the perfect time to dust off an old favorite Toy Commercial Tuesday in the master’s honor!
First up we have a spot for the Milton Bradley board game Stay Alive. I can’t say I’ve heard of this game, but it was a stroke of marketing genius to take this title and run with it by hiring a master of horror to be the face. I mean, otherwise, it’s just a game where marbles fall down holes. That being said, I’d still love to play!
After watching this commercial I sat back and simply said, “Huh,” out loud to no one in particular. On one hand, this Hangman spot features Price showing off how funny he can be without also being creepy (or surrounded by creepiness). On the other…what was the point of any of this? I get that Hangman implies the wild west and the game makers probably didn’t want to go too dark, but what about Price and a lady playing the game near a gallows. Yeah, that probably wouldn’t have been okay, but it’s playing great in my mind right now.
Finally, at least for this week, we have Price doing a jovial voice over for a double-bagger. This commercial not only extols the virtues of Simon, but of Super Simon, which I’ve never seen before! It makes me chuckle that they seemingly aimed this extra long commercial more at adults than kids.
Lately, I’ve been writing a lot about older horror discovers. There’s all of the Paperbacks From Hell books and my never-ending love of Stephen King‘s work, but there are also a lot of great current horror writers whose work I enjoy. After checking out Riley Sager’s Final Girls a few years back, I’ve been keeping an eye out for his other works in either digital or analog formats. Somewhere along the way, I found a discounted version of his 2018 book The Last Time I Lied and immediately added it to my Kindle library. When Scare Season came around, it jumped to the top of my To Read list!
A few years back, I wrote for the Blumhouse website. It had been a while since I’d actually been paid to write about horror. I’d snuck as much of the genre into ToyFare when I had that kind of sway and done a few things for CBR before it turned into a soulless machine, but that was a minute ago, as the kids say. So, writing for Blumouse — which covered the whole genre, not just the films of that particular company — was a lot of fun. I did a piece on cool Predator merch and another on great Alien comics to check out.
I was even in the process of pitching a story about great horror-super hero crossovers when the whole site went sideways. Around then, I bought DC Comics/Dark Horse Comics: Justice League Volume 1. This was part of a series of books DC and DH were putting out at the time collecting their various crossovers over the years. Now, I’m going through them for the spooky season!
Like I said last time, I’m going to keep it relatively simple with It’s All Connected for a bit and just mainline Vincent Price movies. Some will be from the re-issued Vincent Price Collection Blu-ray set from Scream Factory while others will be find their way to me from darker corners of my collection and various streaming services. Today, though, there are several connections as, like Usher, Pit And The Pendulum is another Roger Corman-directed, Richard Matheson-adapted, Vincent Price-starring, Les Baxter-scored American International Pictures-produced Edgar Allan Poe flick starring Price!
Last week, I showed you all a detailed view of half of the mostly-monsters toys I lined up in my office this year to get into the Halloween spirit. The first batch included a Masters Of The Universe Classics giant, one of Jack Kirby’s hottest creations, Buffy, a trio of Stranger Things characters, my guy Beetlejuice, a pair of Hellboys and horror icons like Frankenstein’s Monster, Freddy Krueger and Pinhead! Want to see who else made the cut [cue cleaver chopping sound effect]?Enter, if you dare…
I’m sure like me, a lot of my fellow comic fans out there love stumbling across a book you’ve never heard of, but that feels right up your alley. I had that when I saw a book from 1998-1999 called The Supernaturals. From the cover I could see that this four issue mini included some of Marvel’s great mystical characters like Brother Voodoo, Ghost Rider and Satana. Cool. I love those guys and gals. I’m in! So, on the MyComicShop wish list it went and recently I grabbed them. How’d it go? Hmm…let’s find out.
I feel like, by this point, my love of all things Paperbacks From Hell and Valancourt Books is well-established. If you follow that first link you’ll see my review for the book that started me down this path as well as the first installment in Valancourt’s PFH series, The Nest. I’ve also written about the imprint’s Stage Fright as well Manhattan Ghost Story, which I first found out about through the original book. Now I’m getting back to the original series with the second installment in Valancourt’s Paperbacks From Hell line, When Darkness Loves Us by Elizabeth Engstrom. Wow, it was good.