Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Ghastly Award Nominees
The Ghastly Award Judges are proud to announce the 2015 Ghastly Award Nominees. The Nominees, chosen by the Ghastly Award Judges, reflect the wide range of Horror material being published in Horror Comics today. All Nominees were selected from work that was submitted by Publishers and Creators throughout the calendar year for Ghastly Award consideration.
Named after acclaimed comic creator “Ghastly” Graham Ingels, the awards are now in their 5th year.
Fan and Creator Voting will be open from February 8, 2016 until February 21, 2016 at www.ghastlyawards.com. You may only vote once for the 2015 Nominees and Fans will decide the winner of the Best Horror Comic Cover Award. Winners will be announced on March 1, 2016.
We thank everyone who took the time to submit their work for this year's awards.
The 2015 Nominees are:
Best Ongoing Title:
Crossed: Badlands (Avatar Press)
Harrow County (Dark Horse Comics)
Nailbiter (Image Comics)
Rachel Rising (Abstract Studios)
Wytches (Image Comics)
Best Limited Series:
Archie vs. Predator (Dark Horse Comics)
Colder: The Bad Seed (Dark Horse Comics)
Dark Gods (Avatar Press)
Lady Demon (Dynamite Entertainment)
Strain: The Night Eternal (Dark Horse Comics)
‘68: Bad Sign (Image Comics)
The Goon: Theatre Bizarre (Dark Horse Comics)
Nailbiter / Hack/Slash (Image Comics)
Prolife (Duskbunnies Comics)
Puppet Master Annual #1: Halloween 1988 (Action Lab/Danger Zone)
Bloke’s Terrible Tomb Of Terror (Indy)
The Creeps (Warrant Publishing)
Horrere (Little O/Madius Comics)
John Carpenter’s Tales for a Halloween Night (Storm King Productions)
Then it was Dark (Peppermint Monster Press)
Best Short Story in an Anthology:
“Bunny Didn’t Tell Us” - John Carpenter’s Tales for a Halloween Night
“The Dance” - Creepy #21
“If You Go Down to the Woods Today” - Horrere Book 1
“The Jokes on You” - Bloke’s Terrible Tomb of Terror #12
“Monster” - The Creeps #3
Daomu (Magnetic Press)
Hellbound (Dark Horse Comics)
Junior Braves of the Apocalypse Book 1: A Brave is Brave (Oni Press)
Red Angel Dragnet (Eric Palicki)
Best Archival Collection:
Collection of previously released material / historical book on Horror Comics
The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics: Ghosts and Girls of Fiction House
(IDW Publishing/Yoe Books)
Creepy Presents: Alex Toth (Dark Horse Comics)
Grave Business and Other Stories (Fantagraphics Books)
The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Omnibus Edition (Dark Horse Comics)
Vampirella Archives Volume 11 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Cullen Bunn (Army of Darkness, Harrow County, Hellbreak, The Sixth Gun)
Mike Eshelman (Prolife)
Terry Moore (Rachel Rising)
Scott Snyder (Wytches)
Joshua Williamson (Ghosted, Nailbiter)
Mirka Andolfo (Lady Demon)
Raymund Bermudez (ExMortis)
Jorge Corona (Goners)
Tyler Crook (Harrow County)
Juan Ferreyra (Colder: The Bad Seed)
Gabriele Bagnoli (Lady Demon)
Gabriel Cassata (Goners)
Digikore Studios (Crossed: Badlands, Dark Gods)
Dan Jackson (Strain: The Night Eternal)
Luca Saponti (Hellbound)
Best Horror Comic Cover:
Fan voting will determine the Winner
Colder: Toss the Bones #1 by Juan Ferreyra
Dark Gods #5 by German Erramouspe
Godzilla in Hell #1 - Subscription by Jeff Zornow
Harrow County #1 by Tyler Crook
The School of the Damned #5 by Alex Ronald
Hall of Fame Inductees:
Stephen R. Bissette
Normanton Award Honoree:
Presented for a commitment to carrying on the
legacy of Horror Comics for generations to come.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
A band known as much for their talent onstage as their antics offstage, Mötley Crüe epitomized the drug-fueled, sex-riddled excess of 1980’s metal acts. In the process, they forged a rock dynasty few other bands have been able to achieve. Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, and Vince Neil became household names, the scourge of the Christian right, and the darlings of the Billboard charts. Out this week is the newest illustrated biography called ORBIT: MOTLEY CRUE.
Illustrated by Jayfri Hashim and written by Hashim with assistance from Michael Frizell, “Orbit: Mötley Crüe: Livin’ the Fast Life” chroniclese band from their formation to present while highlighting some of the more fanciful aspects of their mythology.
Hashim, a native of Singapore, and Frizell, an educator at Missouri State University, have collaborated on several projects. “Jayfri has an enthusiasm for American rock bands unlike anyone I’ve ever met,” said Frizell of his collaborator. “He’s a walking encyclopedia of song lyrics and facts.”
Heavy Metal Magazine artist Stefano Cardoselli as well as covers by Jayfri Hashim and Vincenzo Sansone offers three different covers for print.
Hashim’s love the American music compelled him to visit the United States this year as he was drawing the book, visiting the famous Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Though Hashim is a lifelong Jon Bon Jovi fan, he recognizes the influence Mötley Crüe had on popular music in the 1980’s. “Their story is fascinating and powerful,” said Hashim. “I’m honored to chronicle their story for Storm Entertainment.”
Storm Entertainment is a multifaceted multimedia production company with the mission of delivering dynamic storytelling in a variety of forms by developing graphic and literary fiction and nonfiction, audio, film, and more. Biography comics are important to President and Publisher Darren G. Davis: “Comics can promote literacy,” said Davis. “Once, I was a reluctant reader, but comic books fired my imagination, the combination of striking visuals and succinct narration compelled me to learn to read. However, this particular comic book is aimed at adults.”
About “Orbit: Mötley Crüe: Livin’ the Fast Life,” Davis, states, “Storm has published well-received biographies of other musicians, such as Bono, Prince, Metallica, and even Miley Cyrus, so why not the iconic bad boys who make up Mötley Crüe?”
The “Orbit” series was launched in 2010 and serves as a pop culture companion to Storm Entertainment’s successful “Female Force,” “Political Power,” and “Fame” series.
“Orbit: Mötley Crüe: Livin’ the Fast Life” is available for $3.99 on your e-reader from iTunes, Kindle, Nook, ComiXology, DriveThru Comics, Google Play, My Digital Comics, Overdrive, Iverse, Biblioboard, ComicBin,Axis360, Blio, Entitle, Comicblender, Kobo and wherever eBooks are sol
About Storm Entertainment
Formerly known as Bluewater Comics, Storm delivers a multimedia experience unparalleled in the burgeoning graphic fiction and nonfiction marketplace. Dynamic storytelling coupled with groundbreaking art delivers an experience like no other. Stories are told through multiple platforms and genres, gracing the pages of graphic novels, novelizations, engaging audio dramas, cutting-edge film projects, and more. Diversity defines Storm’s offerings in the burgeoning pop culture marketplace, offering fresh voices and innovative storytellers.
As one of the top independent publishers of comic book and graphic novels, Storm Entertainment unites cutting-edge art and engaging stories produced by the publishing industry’s most exciting artists and writers. Its extensive catalog of comic book titles includes the bestsellers “10th Muse” and “The Legend of Isis,” complimented by a line of young adult books and audiobooks. Storm’s publishing partnerships include entertainment icon William Shatner (“TekWar Chronicles”), legendary filmmaker Ray Harryhausen (“Wrath of the Titans,” “Sinbad: Rogue of Mars,” “Jason and the Argonauts,” and more), novelists S.E. Hinton (“The Puppy Sister”) and William F. Nolan (“Logan’s Run”), and celebrated actors Vincent Price (“Vincent Price Presents”), Dirk Benedict of the original “Battlestar Galactica” (“Dirk Benedict in the 25th Century”), and Adam West of 1966’s “Batman” fame (“The Mis-Adventures of Adam West”). Storm also publishes a highly-successful line of biographical comics under the titles “Orbit,” “Fame,” “Beyond,” “Tribute,” “Female Force,” and “Political Power.”
Monday, February 1, 2016
from the official press release . . . . . .
Newcomer to the web comics scene, Blake Von Klausur recently put together a dream tea to bring you KITTAROU WITCH HUNTER, an ongoing online series where lightning ninja action meets supernatural Sherlock Holmes style mastery.
Enter Kittarou: a disgraced rogue Witch Hunter who roams a serious feudal Japanese countryside, solving supernatural mysteries, defeating witches and demons, hoping to clear his name while his Witch Hunter brethren seek his head for the alleged murder of Ichi, the emperor’s only heir.
KITTAROU WITCH HUNTER has brilliantly balanced genres like Japanese “chambara” sword fighting films, rugged spaghetti westerns, forensic crime mystery, and gothic supernatural fantasy to create an unforgettable take on the wandering swordsman hero.
Readers compare the book to popular titles such as Inuyasha, Ninja Scroll, Samurai Champloo, Blade of the Immortal, Bleach, and Lone Wolf and Cub.
Launched January 20, 2016 KITTAROU WITCH HUNTER is available for free online at wwwkittarouwitchhuntercom. The book updates twice weekly.
Friday, January 29, 2016
compiled from various press releases and web sites . . . . .
IDW’S RARITY REPORT
IDW Publishing continues to pioneer over-sized collector’s editions of original artwork, prints and special items of interest. Their latest offerings include a signed, limited-edition hardcover of NOS4A2, the recent novel by author Joe Hill with 26 new chapter illustrations by C. P. Wilson III, as well as a full-color dust jacket and an illustrated map of Christmasland, a debased cloth cover as well as the inclusion of the prequel comic, WRAITH, written by Hill and illustrated by Wilson.
Also available for order now is the latest entry in IDW’s Marvel Artist Select Series, an exclusive line of limited-edition books (999 copies only) featuring iconic issues from Marvel’s most legendary artists. Presented in an oversized 9” x 13” format, each book features issues hand-picked by the artists, beginning with Sal Buscemi’s favorite work on THE INCREDIBLE HULK. This volume is available in two versions, one signed and one featuring an original pen and ink illustration by Sal Buscema.
THE ONLY LIVING BOY ON TOUR and PAPERCUTZ NEWS
The popular web-comic THE ONLY LIVING BOY begins print editions in March from Papercutz Publishing. Erik Farrell is a 12-year-old who runs away from home only to wake up on a strange, patchwork planet The escape, he must team up with an insect princess and a mermaid warrior. The creators, Steve Ellis and David Gallaher, are touring to promote the series. In addition to signings, they will also offer workshops to teach kids how to create their own comic books. Here is the schedule so far: March 5 at Aw Yeah Comics in Harrison, NY; March 6 at Comic Book Jones in Staten Island NY; March 9 at Elk in Brooklyn, NY; March 18-20 at C2E2 convention in Chicago; April 2 at Brainstorm Comics in Frederick, MD; and April 3 at Victory Comics in Falls Church, VA.
Available next week in both a 56-page soft cover paperback and hardcover edition is SANJAY AND CRAIG VOL 2: NEW KID ON THE BLOCK containing six new stories. The boy and his best snake pal are chilling the only way they know how. SANJAY AND CRAIG, now in its third television season, has an all ages appeal. Kids love the fresh humor and adults can appreciate the similar style to Bob’s Burgers, a popular prime time animated series. Guest stars have included Snoop Dogg, Anthony Bourdain, and the 90’s hosts of Nickelodeon Guts.
THE SMURFS continue to be popular. From bookstores to mobile apps, everyone is Surfing up in timer their new feature film to be released next March. The new mobile game, Smurfs Epic Run, was featured in a USA Today article. Sony announced plans for an indoor theme park in Minnesota, set to open at the end of next year. Fellow Peyo creation BENNY BREAKIRON featured in last year’s SMURFS & FRIENDS VOL. 1 was recently honored with a mural in his native Belgium. Benoit Brisefer, as the super boy is known in French, was created by Peyo in 1960. Papercutz has published four volumes of his adventures and is now collecting Benny in the SMURFS & FRIENDS anthology series. The international visibility for the Peyo properties continues at Papercutz with a growing line of graphic novels. SMURFS VOL 20: DOCTOR SMURF will be in comic stores this March.
RAMON GIL PREVIEWS A NEW SCI-FI WEB COMIC
The prolific independent creator Ramon Gil has posted a new science-fiction themed web comic, THE HARD CODE, on his website. You can preview it and then subscribe if you like it at
“The Hard Code was a dream come true for me as I got to work with one of my favorite artists - - Trevor Von Eden. This is the story of two cops, one human, one android, and how they must prevent a coming war between man and machine while trying to figure out their true feelings for each other.”
FOR MATURE READERS ONLY. Colors by Macarena Cortes.
Thursday, January 28, 2016
compiled from various press releases, and web site bulletins . . . . . . .
LOOK INSIDE FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2016 COMICS
Free Comic Book Day 2016 takes place 100 days from now at your local comic shop. There is an advance look at 50 of the possible free choices you can get on May 7th. Go to this Free Comic Book Day site to see cover scans of the issues . . . . . . . . .
DC COMICS ANNOUNCE FREE COMIC BOOK DAY TITLES
In anticipation of the August 5 screen debut of SUICIDE SQUAD the movie, writer Adam Glass and artist Marco Rudy introduce the villains that take on the dirtiest jobs in the DC universe. The special edition of SUICIDE SQUAD #1 for Free Comic Book Day includes the first chapter of the graphic novel SUICIDE SQUAD VOL 1: KICKED IN THE TEETH.
The other FCBD title from DC is a sneak peek of the upcoming original graphic novel DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: FINAL CRISIS, courtesy of Shea Fontana and Yancey Labat.
MARVEL COMICS ANNOUNCES FREE COMIC BOOK DAY TITLES
With FCBD CIVIL WAR II #1fans can get their very first taste of the ensuing war this May. Before hero stands against hero, Brian Michael Bendis and Jim Cheung bring you a snapshot of the conflict that will split the Marvel Universe in two. In the second story, writer Mark Waid and artist Alan Davis introduce a mysterious new character with the All-New Wasp.
Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, returns to comics this May, with a special unveiling in FCBD CAPTAIN AMERICA #1, featuring the reinvigorated Steve Rogers as Captain America. Writer Nick Spencer and artist Jesus Saiz present one of Steve’s first adventures since his dramatic return in the pages of AVENGERS: STANDOFF. The second feature is a special prelude to DEAD NO MORE, with a first look at the storyline coming later this year. If you had a chance to bring back someone who died, would you? And how will “classified” deal when ones they thought long dead once again walk the earth?
FAITH #1 of 4 (Valiant Entertainment, March 2016) “Faith Begins, Part 1” Jody Houser, writer. Francis Portela, artist. Marguerite Sauvage, fantasy sequence art. Joe Quinones, re-cap art. Andrew Dalhousie, color art. Dave Sharpe, letterer.
Of all the current Valiant Universe characters, Faith Herbert a.k.a. Zephyr is one of the most beloved. It’s time for her to have her own book, and with any luck this four-issue limited series is just the beginning.
What makes her so likable is her ultra positive mental attitude and her approach to everyday life, loving and savoring every minute. She’s not another cut-out from the cookie cutter mold of heroine, physically and mentally endowed and brimming with confidence. She’s a full figure woman, a true heavyweight who’s not ashamed of her physical appearance. She’s still relatively new to the game, still learning and often uncomfortable with her abilities. Orphaned at an early age, she was raised by her grandmother and found comfort in a steady diet of comics, science fiction and fantasy. She’s a bonafide geek and wears that badge proudly, often dropping references to her favorites works and characters.
She’s one of the original Valiant Universe characters, created in the 1980’s by Jim Shooter. She stood apart from the rest of the crowd then, and she still does today. During Valiant’s rebirth in the 21st century, writer Joshua Dysart added more layers to her character, bringing additional depth and emotions. She possesses telekinetic abilities that give her the power of flight, as well as being able to mentally move objects or people. Her latent ‘psiot’ abilities were discovered early by the Harbinger Foundation and she mentored there until she realized the subversive nature of it’s founder, escaped, and became a member of The Renegades. When that group of high powered psiots broke up, she briefly joined Unity until realizing that she didn’t meet the requirements nor did she want to be part of their methodology. She also had a falling-out with Torque, her Renegade love interest.
FAITH the series finds her latest adventures being handled by a new creative team. It will be interesting to see how writer Jody Houser and artist Francis Portela handle the character. (Please don’t break her.) They wisely utilize first-person narration in the captions to bring us up to date on Faith’s new circumstances. It also allows her personality and beliefs to come to the surface.
FAITH finds Ms. Herbert striking out on her own, moving to a new city (Van Nuys, California) and setting up a new life. It’s no surprise to see her taking inspiration from one of her favorite characters and respectfully adopting (not pure imitation) some familiar tropes: working for a news organization (an entertainment blog site), and adopting a secret identity (Summer Smith) complete with wig and glasses. The supporting cast at the offices of Zipline are intriguing and could provide further engagement once we learn more about them in future issues.
Like anyone raised in isolation who finds solace in a dream world, Faith still mentally has moments of escape to her fantasies, allowing for more of her character to be revealed. Wisely, these fantasy moments are illustrated by a different artist (Marguerite Sauvage) whose whimsical style is perfectly suited for these interludes. Portela’s art style on the rest of the book is very fluid and appealing, especially in the action sequences and scenes of flight.
Issue #1 begins with action, and foreshadows the conflict awaiting Faith / Zephyr. In a brief, unexplained chase scene, two shaven-head, uniformed captives flee through a wooded area from menacing pursuers. Zephyr will quickly transition from apprehending small-time criminals to become immersed in the search for these two missing teens. Things develop quickly; and this one ends in a cliff-hanger.
FAITH #1 is our choice to pick up and try from the new releases for Wednesday, January 27.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
from the official press release . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Ghastly Awards are Proud to Introduce You to the New Ghastly Award Trophy
Thanks to our amazing sponsors and a very successful fund raising campaign this year, the Ghastly Awards were able to have an official trophy created. Showcasing the master craftsmanship of Artist Gus Clark, these trophies are something to behold. The Ghastly Awards are proud to be able to offer these to this year's Winners.
The Ghastly Awards are Proud to Announce Celebrity Judge John Everson
Starting in 2016 the Ghastly Award Judges will be joined by a Celebrity Horror Judge to help in determining the Ghastly Award Winners. The Celebrity Judge will have a Horror background in media other than Comics. We are happy to announce our first Celebrity Judge, John Everson.
John Everson is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of eight novels of horror and the macabre, including his latest, the Fountain of Youth thriller THE FAMILY TREE, as well as the Bram Stoker Award-nominated tour de force NIGHTWHERE, the Bram Stoker Award-winner COVENANT, its sequel SACRIFICE and the standalone novels THE 13TH, SIREN, THE PUMPKIN MAN, VIOLET EYES. Learn more about John on his site, www.johneverson.com
The 2016 Ghastly Award Nominees will be announced February 1, 2016 at www.GhastlyAwards.com
Decapitated Dan, Mike Howlett, Denise Dutton, Daniel Viney and James Ferguson.
Sunday, January 24, 2016
EDITOR’S NOTE: The SCUTTLEBUTT column returns with our first installment for 2016. This is meant to be a quick summary of recent events in the comics world (and other pop culture genres from time to time) pulled from various press releases, websites and blogs. According to Wikipedia “Scuttlebutt” in slang usage means rumor or gossip, deriving from the nautical term for the cask used to serve water. The term corresponds to the colloquial concept of a water cooler in an office setting, which at times becomes the focus of congregation and canal discussion. Water for immediate consumption on a s sailing ship was conventionally store in a scuttled butt: a butt (cask) which had been scuttled by making a hole in it so the water could be withdrawn. Since sailors exchanged gossip when they gathered at the scuttlebutt for a drink of water, scuttlebutt became Navy slang for gossip or rumors. Thanks, Wikipedia for that detailed explanation! We plan to focus on what we perceive as pure news versus gossip or rumors, but from time to time . . . . . .
PREVIEWS CATALOG ARRIVES IN COMIC STORES THIS WEEK.
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the new PREVIEWS catalog from your comic store this Wednesday, January 27. Each month, PREVIEWS showcases what products are being released in April 2016. It’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss anything. Comic shops rely on their regular customers to pre-order books. This helps the comic shop make sure they don’t run out of items that their customers want, and helps them avoid over-ordering books. Support your local comic shop and use this valuable resource on a monthly basis.
In addition to upcoming April comics and graphic novels, each issue features new magazines, toys and merchandise (cards, gaming, clothing, videos and more) that can also be ordered directly through your local comics store. It’s an indispensable tool that we at BC Refugees use on a regular basis. It’s the foundation for our Pre-Order Picks columns that began this month, where we focus on a new title that can be pre-ordered through the current PREVIEWS catalog. It will be dedicated to titles that probably won’t find their way to many comic shop shelves, but will really depend on pre-orders from interested readers.
HIGHLIGHTS OF BOOKS BEING RELEASED WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27 2016.
Here are the books we recommend you check out this week: HELLBOY WINTER SPECIAL from Dark Horse Comics; FAITH #1 of 4 from Valiant Entertainment; INVADER ZIM TP VOL 1 from Oni Press; BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #17 from DC Comics; and STRAYER #1 from AfterShock Comics.
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Alan Tudyk Covers the Whole ‘Spectrum’ of Free Comic Book Day Details in a New Video
From The Official Press Release . . . . . . .
(BALTIMORE, MD) – (January 22, 2016)- With slightly more than 100 days left until Free Comic Book Day 2016, it’s time for comic fans to start planning how they will be spending the first Saturday in May. Thankfully, actor Alan Tudyk has provided a video with information to get people excited about this 15th annual nationwide event!
Tudyk, perhaps best known for his role as Hoban 'Wash' Washburne in the cult sci-fi Western series Firefly, has teamed up with co-star Nathan Fillion to present the first Spectrum comic from their highly successful webseries, Con Man! Tudyk will pen with comic with novelist/producer PJ Haarsma (The Softwire Series) and artist Sarah Stone (Transformers).
Fans can learn more about the title, as well as general information about Free Comic Book Day, in a new video and interview starring Tudyk on the Free Comic Book Day website and Facebook page: http://bit.ly/SpectrumTudyk2016
You can get your own copy of Con Man’s Spectrum FCBD 2016 Edition and 49 other titles for free (absolutely free, for real!) at select comic shops nationwide only on May 7th.
For more FCBD news and updates, visit www.freecomicbookday.com and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/freecomicbook and follow on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/freecomicbook or Instagram at freecomicbookday.
ABOUT FREE COMIC BOOK DAY—Celebrating its 15th year, Free Comic Book Day is the comic book specialty market’s annual event where participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their comic shops. The event is held the first Saturday in May and is the perfect opportunity to introduce friends and family to the many worlds of wonder available at local comic book shops. From super-heroes to slice-of-life to action/adventure and beyond, Free Comic Book Day has a comic book for everyone!
EDITOR’S NOTE: We continue a new monthly feature where we recommend some upcoming titles from the current PREVIEWS catalog. These are not going to be Marvel or DC titles, as every self-respecting comic book store will have every single issue available on their shelves. This has more to do with current comic shop economics. Since retailers cannot return unsold books, titles from lesser known publishers are not as well-represented. Sometimes stores can’t afford to take a chance on a new book, so they order few or no copies. By highlighting some titles worthy of attention, we hope to take a step to correct that mis-representation. The rest is up to you, the reader. If you are interested in a book you learned about on our site, then you need to pre-order it through your local comic shop. That’s the best way to make sure you will get a copy. GHOST WOLF: BORN IN SNOW AND BLOOD TP (STK698045) is offered through Amigo Comics and can be found on Page 282 of the current January 2016 issue of PREVIEWS. A review copy of the trade paperback was provided to us courtesy of Amigo Comics.
The message is reinforced throughout the stories, enhancing it with a legendary, mythical feel: ‘This is the story told one thousand times.” The trade paperback reprints the GHOST WOLF four issue mini-series from 2014 offered through Amigo Comics in Spain. It’s a welcome blend of new mythology, horror themes, and barbaric action.
GHOST WOLF: BORN IN SNOW AND BLOOD TP (Amigo Comics, March 2016 release date) Writer El Torres. Artists Angel Hernandez, Luis Czerniawski, Siku, Loren Lorente. Colors: Sandra Molina, Esther Sanz. Cover Artist: Angel Hernandez. Soft cover 7 x 10 trade paperback. 116 pages. Full color. $14.99
Pick this one up for the amazing art. Return for the story. It rewards on both levels. If you enjoy CONAN THE BARBARIAN and horror tales featuring werewolf-like creatures, this will appeal to you. While each artist employed has a distinct style, they mesh and blend together very well and it’s hard to tell where one artist ends and the other begins unless you are seriously studying the panels. (Which we did on repeated readings.) Each impresses in their own way. I was reminded of the works of Barry Windsor Smith, P. Craig Russell, Cary Nord and Ernie Colan while reading the trade paperback.
Writer El Torre begins with the re-telling of a legend (purely his own fabrication, we assume) to set the tone for the remainder of the book, and reinforces it throughout the story. His ability to lend a mythic quality and feel to what transpires here rivals the abilities of Roy Thomas and Walt Simonson to do the same.
Chapter One, “The Story Told One Thousand Times” reveals that prior to the beginning of recorded time, men were like gods and humans and beasts spoke the same language. Man and wolf fought each other ferociously for days, until the wolf weakened. Instead of killing him, man shared meals with wolf and tended to his wounds. When the Hungry Ones arrived, zombie-like demons that thirst for the blood of the newborn earth, man and wolf forged a bond and fought together against their common foe. Wolf eventually died of his new wounds, and man vowed to wear the wolf’s skin and seal the pact.
After one thousand years of passing the tale from generation to generation, man suddenly forgot about the Ghost Wolf legend and the mission: “to fight, to protect, to survive, to avenge.” This provided an opportunity for the Banath a cannibalistic tribe, to strike at the ancestors of the first men. The Shaman was forced to call on his grandson, to make a sacrifice that would bring back the Ghost Wolf to protect his people.
The transition from artist Czerniawski to Siku occurs as the ancient story ends and the later tale begins. The two styles compliment well and help to make the transition. I suspect there is a change in the colorist at this point as well, as the second part of Chapter One is illustrated in much more vivid colors and more hues. If you like barbarian art as done by John Buscemi, Walt Simonson and Barry Windsor Smith, you will love the first part of this story. When Siku takes over, the art style reminds me in different places of Barry Windsor Smith again, plus Mike Mignola and the early Daredevil period of Frank Miller (all good company, but neither of these artists are imitators. This is just what their art reminds us of.)
Chapter One ends with the emergence of a massive brutal leader for the Banath, a god-like man wearing animal furs and an elk’s horns by the name of Kerunnos.
In Chapter Two, “Kerunnos”, the Banath enslave the first tribe and the gigantic stealer of souls grows weary of their futile resistance until he learns of the legend of the Ghost Wolf. He then challenges their avatar to battle, and of course the legend returns to wreak havoc amongst the Banath, including a huge number of decapitations.
The art transition here from Siku, who details a short section in the front part of the book, to new artist Lorente is smoother than the previous chapter but breathtaking as well. Lorente excels at scenes of battle of which there are plenty in this chapter.
In the second half of the book, both chapters (“Mara” and “We Are Stories”) deal with events that occur several generations after the coming of the Banath. It’s a time of relative peace, and people no longer need the services of the Ghost Wolf and most have forgotten the legend. Only a few continue to pass the memory on through stories taught to their children. This makes it possible for the remaining Hungry Ones, defeated and banished by the first man-wolf alliance in Chapter One, to be revived again by the deceiving Crow-Witch.
It takes another alliance of mankind and wolf, this time with a combat-skilled warrior woman by name of Mara, to revive the Ghost Wolf to once again fight, protect, survive and avenge.
The final two chapters are illustrated by Angel Hernandez, perhaps saving the best for last (although all the illustrators are dynamic, so there’s no need to chose). There is even more Mignola influence to be seen in the work of Hernandez. He also excels at barbaric battle scenes and there are some very effective splash panels and two-page spreads.
We were trying to avoid giving too much of the story away here, but wanted to indicate how much depth there is to this work, far more than is typically seen in stories of this type. We needed to spoil a little bit in order to get the idea across. GHOST WOLF is definitely worth your investment. Recommended.