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Quote of the Day | Alex de Campi on writing exploitation horror

Bee Vixens from Mars“There was a very fine line to walk, though. To create a book that Comic Book Guy could enjoy because wa-hey, boobies and gore … but that also as a female writer (and a feminist) I could be OK with. Most people won’t notice that the gaze in the book towards the female characters is not predatory — the women are complicit, and in fact usually in charge. It’s a gossamer thing, this manipulation of gaze, this slight change, this look awry — but it makes a huge difference to how the book feels when you read it. The book makes people really happy. And, you know, for the horror crowd, the little changes in having a woman write it so some of the invasive, penetrative horror happens to men — well, it makes for more effective and unexpected horror.”

– writer Alex de Campi, talking with ThinkProgress about her new series Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight, a gleefully trashy exploitation comic the describes “straight-up tits and gore, the way nature (and Russ Meyer) intended.”

Nonetheless, De Campi, whose work ranges from the action thriller Ashes to the all-ages Kat and Mouse and My Little Pony, approaches her work in a thoughtful way. In the same interview, she discusses how changing the point of view of a rape scene radically alters it. De Campi’s work illustrates the point that bringing diversity into comics can greatly improve the stories, by introducing fresh and original perspectives — and even surprising the reader.

Comics A.M. | Viz Media brings its manga library to iBooks

Viz Media

Viz Media

Digital comics | Viz Media announced Wednesday it has brought its entire library to iBooks. Viz manga are already available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo and its own app, so this pretty much completes the set. [ICv2]

Crime | Manga creator Takaaki Kubo was arrested Tuesday on charges of threatening a city councilor in the town of Amagasaki. Kubo, whose series Bakune Young was published in North America in the early 2000s by Viz Media, was arrested after police traced a threatening e-mail message to his home computer. [Anime News Network]

Creators | Art Spiegelman has been the subject of four retrospectives so far this year, the latest at the Jewish Museum in New York. Charles McGrath talks to him about what he calls “The Great Retrospection,” as well as his tobacco addiction and, oh yeah, comics. [The New York Times]

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Comics A.M. | What digital comics, industry need to do next

comiXology

comiXology

Digital comics | Declaring that “the mainstreaming of digital publishing is nearly complete,” veteran technology writer Andy Ihnatko outlines three major steps the industry still needs to take: a move by Dark Horse to comiXology; the adoption of ePUB as an industry standard; and the abandonment of digital rights management. “We should be grateful to DRM,” Ihnatko writes. “‘What about piracy?’ wasn’t Marvel or DC’s only qualm about digital publishing, but it was a question that needed to be addressed before the major publishers could go all-in. But now that comiXology is up and running, and people have been ‘trained’ to use the new infrastructure, DRM is becoming less and less valuable with each passing quarter.” [Chicago Grid]

Digital comics | For readers only now discovering digital comics, Jeffrey L. Wilson provides a guide that covers the basics, from what they are to where they can be found and how much they cost. [PC Mag]

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Comics A.M. | Wimpy Kid author spearheads Okla. library benefit

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel

Creators | Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, was traveling the day a tornado devastated Moore, Oklahoma, and he saw the damage on a news broadcast while waiting for a flight. The images stuck with him, so he rounded up fellow creators Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine, Timmy Failure) and Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants), all of whom he describes as “novelists whose DNA is in comics,” to hold a benefit to rebuild the town’s school libraries. The quartet will meet in Norman, Oklahoma, for a panel discussion and will raffle off original art and sell autographed copies of their books this weekend, with all proceeds going to the Moore Public Schools Foundation, earmarked for the school libraries. [Oklahoma Gazette]

Creators | Joe Sacco, author of Palestine, Footnotes in Gaza and, most recently, The Great War, talks about his work day, his process and the places he’s been. [The Telegraph]

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Comics A.M. | ComiXology surpasses 200 million downloads

comiXology

comiXology

Digital comics | It took three years for comiXology to reach 100 million downloads, but just one year for it to reach 200 million. Matthew Flamm profiles the company and its CEO, David Steinberger, who first saw a business opportunity in comics when he was trying to sell his collection and couldn’t find software to catalog it. The next big moment for comiXology is likely to come in October, when the fourth season of The Walking Dead premieres on television the same week the 10th-anniversary issue of the comic is released. Image Comics projects it will sell 300,000 print copies and another 45,000, or about 15 percent, as digital. [Crains New York]

Creators | Writer Mark Waid admits he didn’t think he’d be a good fit for Daredevil, because he doesn’t write in the darker style favored by his predecessors. “I’m better at swashbuckling ad­ven­ture,” he says. “When I was asked to take that tack, I was in.” [Comic Riffs]

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Comics A.M. | Marvel sues Jerusalem store over Spider-Man yarmulkes

Spider-Kippah

Legal | Marvel has sued a Jerusalem retailer for $25,000, claiming the well-known Kippa Man store is infringing on its trademarks by selling unlicensed yarmulkes bearing Spider-Man’s likeness. “A reasonable consumer could be fooled into thinking that the infringing product is manufactured and/or sold by the plaintiff with the knowledge and/or approval of the defendant,” Marvel said in its complaint. Kippa Man owner Avi Binyamin notes the yarmulkes are manufactured in China, and that he only sells them. “There are 20 stores on this street, they all sell the same thing,” he told The Jerusalem Post, theorizing that he’s being targeted because his store is well known. The Times of Israel characterized the lawsuit as “the first move by Marvel against what it perceives as widespread copyright infringement in Israel, where products featuring its copyrighted superheros are commonly sold.” [The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel]

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Simon Gane’s mummy cover for Halloween Classics

Simon Gane  (NelsonGodzilla Legends: Rodan) has posted his cover to Eureka’s upcoming Halloween Classics, volume 23 of their Graphic Classics line. It’s from Arthur Conan Doyle’s mummy short story, “Lot No. 249,” which Gane is also helping to adapt for the anthology. Gane’s also shared some amazing, intricately detailed pages from that.

Halloween Classics goes on sale in August and also features adaptations of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” HP Lovecraft’s “Cool Air,”  Mark Twain’s “A Curious Dream,” and the German Expressionist silent film classic, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

(via The Comics Reporter)

Emily Carroll’s His Face All Red and Other Stories headed to boookstores via Simon & Schuster

Webcomics wunderkind Emily Carroll is taking her deliciously dark comics to dead tree. According to Publishers Weekly, Simon & Schuster’s Margaret K. McElderry Books will be publishing His Face All Red and Other Stories, a book-length collection from the celebrated (mostly) horror-comic creator. The book will also be released in the UK through Faber & Faber and in Italy through Stile Libro.

As a big fan of Carroll’s vibrant colors, exquisite pacing, and genuinely creepy, genuinely bleak stories of murder and monstrousness, I’m really looking forward to this one. I’m doubly curious to see how her existing stories, which frequently make use of the “infinite canvas” of the web in terms of layout, translate to the printed page.

Carroll, might I remind you, had never drawn a comic prior to May 2010. So, y’know, holy smokes.

Happy Halloween from Emily Carroll

Never let it be said that webcomics wunderkind Emily Carroll is not a woman of her word. When she began her latest horror comic “Margot’s Room” at the beginning of October, she promised there would be blood. Well, she’s posted the fifth and final chapter just in time for Halloween. The title? “BLOOD.” And yes, the climax of Carroll’s dark domestic nightmare lives up to the name.

Read the whole thing by visiting the opening page and clicking on the objects mentioned in Carroll’s poem, in the order she mentions them. And don’t miss her earlier stunner of a horror comic “His Face All Red” while you’re at it.

Prepare to get freaked the eff out by Emily Carroll again

It’s hard to believe it’s been less than a year since Emily Carroll burst into comicdom’s consciousness with her miniature masterpiece of a horror webcomic “His Face All Red.” In that time she won a Joe Shuster Award for Outstanding Web Comic Creator — quite a feat for someone who’d literally never drawn a comic before May 2010. Now that it’s October, the spooky season is upon us again, and what better way to celebrate than “Margot’s Room,” Carroll’s new webcomic? Once again it’s an innovatively structured affair: The landing page is a picture of the titular room, and every week a new line will be added to a poem at the top of the page, hinting at the objects in the room you need to click on to read the next few pages. (Hint: Start by clicking on the flowers.) So far, so creepy, but what exactly are we in for? “There Will Be (More) Blood,” Carroll promises. I can’t wait.

Sam Costello brings back the weird old days

One of the weirdest books I ever ran across was Wisconsin Death Trip, a compilation of old photographs and newspaper articles that put the lie to the notion that things were better in olden times. It read like a fin-de-siecle version of the New York Post, with clippings about murders, abductions, all manner of craziness, juxtaposed with period photographs. What was interesting about the book, at least to me, was that it showed there is a hidden side of human nature that is universal — yes, there were murders and sex crimes in the 1890s — yet at the same time so far removed from our current existence that it seems unreal.

A similar spirit seems to underlie Sam Costello’s upcoming graphic novel Labor & Love: A Garland of American Folk Ballads, which is set to debut in October at SPX. Costello is best known as the writer of the horror comic Split Lip, and this comic, illustrated by Neal Von Flue, features comics based on four folk songs about craziness and death that all have a surrealistic feel.

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Good God, this is a scary webcomic [UPDATED AGAIN with translation and creator credit]

[UPDATE: Big thanks to commenter SKFK, who tells us that the story is called “Bongcheon-Dong Ghost” (Bongcheon-Dong was the name of a poor area of Seoul, since renamed to avoid past negative associations), and was written and illustrated by Horang (the pen name of 25-year-old cartoonist Jong-Ho Choi).]

…and that’s about all I can say about it, really: This is a very scary webcomic. The text of the strip and the site on which it’s found is in Korean, which I cannot read, and Google Translate doesn’t clearly indicate an author or title, nor translate the text in the comic itself. But the content is crystal-clear even despite the language barrier. As Batman Incorporated artist Chris Burnham (through whom I found the comic) put it, “The pictures tell the story.” And the story, about a girl walking on a deserted city street who sees a strange-looking passerby in the distance, is scary as hell. Like Emily Carroll’s “His Face All Red” before it, this comic uses the unique properties of the web (albeit in a totally different way — you’ll see when you read it) to deliver an intensely uncomfortable experience. Read it yourself, preferably with your speakers on and nothing you can’t afford to drop in your hands.

Meanwhile, if any Korean readers or manhwa fans out there can help us out with the creator, title, and translation of the comic, please let us know in the comments below.

UPDATE: Commenter GlassThorne directs us to this translation of the comic on Tumblr. Still no word on the creator, though.

SDCC ’11 | Brian Ralph, D&Q reach Daybreak

Daybreak

For the last few years, when not busy with his day job teaching sequential art at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Brian Ralph has been busy working on his latest graphic novel, Daybreak. The book is a slight departure of sorts for Ralph — best known for his early work as part of the highly influential Fort Thunder collective and for books like Cave-In —  in that it delves into the horror genre. Yes, it’s another zombie book, but it’s a zombie book with a unique twist, with everything viewed from the perspective of an unnamed survivor (i.e. the reader), as he explores a foreboding landscape and finds a potential friend amidst all the devastation.

Daybreak makes it debut at Comic-Con this year, and Ralph will be on a panel at 5 p.m. (Pacific time) 14today with Anders Nilsen and Jeff Smith on the subject of “Epic Literary Adventures” (in Room 9).

I talked with Ralph over email about the panel, the new book, and the adventures of teaching comics to college students.

Daybreak is a horror story told from a unique, first-person perspective. Which came first for you, the desire to do a horror tale or the unique way of telling it?

I don’t play video games, but I felt there was something exciting about how a person could be immersed in the world of a video game. With comics the reader isn’t an active participant in the storytelling. I wanted to make a comic that, in it’s own way, achieve some feeling of participation and immersion. I was looking for interactivity of some kind.

I had not seen a “first-person shooter” style of comic before. It turned out to be very exciting approach to storytelling. I was constantly trying to figure out new ways for the reader to feel like they were interacting with the characters and become characters in the story as well. I made some decisions along the way; to never show the reader’s “character” such as in a mirror. I didn’t want the reader to talk with a word balloon. I felt those things would break the illusion. It was tricky to work with those constraints, but such a fun challenge.

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Last Zuda winner comes back to life

Eldritch #1

Last year Drew Rausch and Aaron Alexovich’s Eldritch! was the winner of the final Zuda webcomics competition, but before the strip could begin its run, DC Comics shut down the site and imprint.

That might have slowed Rausch and Alexovich down, but it certainly didn’t stop them, as they plan to release Eldritch! “to every digital device known to God, Man, and Shoggoth alike, including your desktop, iPad/iPod/iPhone, Android, Nook, Kindle, and eNecronomicon (pending).” That includes Graphicly and comiXology, as well as directly from their website as a PDF.

The comic will debut on June 15 for 99 cents, and the first nine pages are available to preview now ontheir website.

You can find the press release, which is kind of a fun one as far as press releases go, after the jump.

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Grab yourself a horror-comic bargain from Xeric winner Lane Milburn

from Death Trap by Lane Milburn

from Death Trap by Lane Milburn

Wanna get your hands on some pulpy, creepy, weird, funny and, at times, genuinely harrowing horror comics? Allow me to introduce you to Lane Milburn, who’s got the deal for you. Milburn, a member of the Baltimore-based Closed Caption Comics collective, is offering two of his collections, the Xeric Grant-winning Death Trap and the screen-printed “mini”comic The Mage’s Tower, now on sale for the low low price of $12 total.

The cool thing about Milburn’s comics is that you can never quite tell where they’re headed. The title story in Death Trap seems like your typical slasher/Texas Chain Saw set-up, with a quartet of drunk teens stumbling into some bad craziness in the woods one night, but the killers they encounter are far, far stranger than the ones in the midnight movies of yore. Meanwhile, the other collection’s quasi-title story “The Mage’s Tour” (tour, not tower) starts like a fantasy novel about a pair of monks sent to liberate a tower from the clutches of an evil overlord, takes a left turn into comedy when it’s revealed that said overlord has turned said tower into a modern-day tourist trap complete with middle-aged moms who can’t work a cameraphone, and then shifts yet again into a stunningly dark depiction of violence. Milburn’s muscular, crosshatched art style can have you laughing one moment, cheering through an action sequence the next moment, and leave you shaken and disturbed when all is said and done. Highly recommended.

The Late March Mayhem sale only lasts until April 1, so order now!

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