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Start Reading Now | New webcomic from Hans Rickheit

Hans Rickheit, who made Sean’s list of deeply creepy “alt-horror” cartoonists last Halloween, has just launched a new webcomic, Cochlea & Eustachea, which is even more surrealistic and deeply creepy than his slightly older (and much praised) Ectopiary.

On the About page, Rickheit notes that the lead characters have appeared in many of his other comics, starting with Chrome Fetus #5, but this is the first time they are getting their own comic. He only has two pages up right now, so it’s a good time to get on board.

(Via Scott McCloud.)


Rise again: Alexovich, Rausch on the return of Eldritch!

Eldritch #1

Back in April of 2010, writer Aaron Alexovich and artist Drew Rausch’s Eldritch! battled nine other webcomics to win the monthly competition held by DC Comics’ Zuda imprint. It was a hard-fought battle, and Eldritch! would ultimately earn the distinction of becoming the last Zuda winner, as DC shut down the competitions and ultimately the entire imprint soon after.

Eldritch! never had the opportunity to begin its run on the Zuda site, but that didn’t stop Rausch and Alexovich from pushing forward. A little more than a year after their victory, their comic is finally being released by the duo in various digital formats, including through Graphicly, comiXology and via the comic’s website.

The duo was kind enough to answer a few questions about and share some artwork from the new book. You can see even a longer preview on their site.

JK: Let’s start with a question about how this project initially came together. What made you guys decide to enter the monthly Zuda contest? And how did you guys know each other before all of this?

Drew: I was aware of Aaron’s existence from reading Serenity Rose way back when it was in single issues. I remember thinking “Man, this guy can write!” Seriously, each issue was a sequential novel. And I liked that. It had substance, wit and charm what with the “spooky” cute art. Eventually, I ended up asking Aaron to do a pin up for the second volume of my creator book Sullengrey. He and I just started chatting after that and found we both had a lot of similar tastes.

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John Rozum curates the Grim Gallery

"Nosferatu" by Dave McKean

John Rozum is known to comics fans primarily for his horror work, from the current Xombi and recent Hangman for DC Comics to creator-owned work like Midnight, Mass. and licensed comics like The X-Files and even Scooby-Doo. He’s also the World’s Biggest Halloween Fan. The holiday, not the movie. Though I supposed he likes the movie, too. I should ask him.

Anyway, Rozum’s started a new blog, The Grim Gallery in which he shares images from his extensive collection of horror photos and art. Like the Dave McKean piece above. It’s just getting started, so horror fans can catch up quickly, but Rozum’s updating daily, so there’ll be plenty to keep you coming back.

New soccer-horror hybrid plays for keeps

SCORE!

Ok, maybe that’s a bit stereotypical, but it gives me a chance to fill you in on this innovative new series that’s being previewed free online. Created by writer Geoffrey Wessel and artist Jeff Simpson, the soccer crime serial Keeper is a very strong piece of work with an very unique concept ripe for success.

The creators are serializing pages of the comic online every Wednesday while also building towards a full first issue for print release.The comic has gotten some good accolades from veteran comic creators like Phil Hester, Rob Williams and Jacen Burrows — with the latter describing it as a “sports horror hybrid”.

Both creators were on hand earlier this month at C2E2 showing off their book in the Web Pavilion. For more, you can visit their site keeper-comic.com


It’s hard out here for a cartoonist: Help two members of our Sinister Six!

art by Hans Rickheit and Tom Neely

Back around Halloween ’09, I whipped up a little list of “six deeply creepy alt-horror cartoonists,” a list of modern masters of the macabre that included The Blot‘s Tom Neely and Ectopiary‘s Hans Rickheit. Now both artists are dealing with something even scarier than their comics: the economy. And both are looking for financial help to keep their projects going.

First up is Hans Rickheit, whose latest graphic novel The Squirrel Machine was published by Fantagraphics, and whose webcomic Ectopiary has had its praises sung by my colleague Brigid Alverson (among many others). Rickheit announced the other day that the business where he worked has closed down, leaving him without a job or income and forcing him to suspend production of Ectopiary indefinitely. “If you’ve ever considered buying any artwork or books,” he writes, “this would really be a very helpful time to do so.” You can buy pages from his Xeric-winning erotic-horror graphic novel Chloe here, pages from his steampunk-by-way-of-David-Cronenberg book The Squirrel Machine here, many of his comics direct from Rickheit himself here, or simply donate what you will here.

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Terry Moore announces new series

Kachoo raises a glass to Rachel in a C2E2 commission by Terry Moore

Big news over at CBR, where Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise, Echo) has announced his newest project, Rachel Rising, about a woman who has recently died but isn’t finished with life yet. Kiel Phegley zoomed in and got some details:

“This one will be ongoing because I’m developing a character and a whole world that I want a lot of open possibilities with,” Moore told CBR News. “I’m going for another genre that I love a lot. What I’m doing is that I’m still doing what I do with my character work, but like I’ve added a touch of sci-fi or what have you [to past projects], this one leans towards horror. And it’s not like gory horror or splatter. It’s more like, ‘This is not a town where you want to be on the streets at night.’”

I like it: The sort of horror that makes you uneasy, not grossed out. There’s more at the link, including a brief rundown of the premise of the story.

ACT-I-VATE celebrates fifth birthday with new horror anthology

Everywhere

The webcomics collective ACT-I-VATE celebrates its fifth birthday today — congrats, guys! — by launching a new “tongue-in-cheek” horror comics anthology called Everywhere. The strip, created and written by Chris Miskiewicz, will feature artwork by Dennis Calero, Rodney Ramos, Bobby Timony, Nathan Schreiber, Seth Kushner and many more. The first strip, “Horses Everywhere,” is up now and features artwork by Andrew Wendel.

“Five years ago, eight independent cartoonists allied and presented personal signature works, online for free, and ACT-I-VATE was born,” said Dean Haspiel, creator of Billy Dogma and co-founder of ACT-I-VATE, in a press release. “Five years later, ACT-I-VATE expanded its roster, created a PRIMER graphic novel, and helped confirm publishing options between print and web. A bold example of how a curated destination point for new stories and ideas can sustain, ACT-I-VATE continues to break ground as the industry transitions to the Digital Age.”


Exclusive Preview | Possessions Vol. 2 by Ray Fawkes

Possessions, Book Two

Let’s get started with the first of many exclusive previews we’ll have for you today. Courtesy of our friends at Oni Press, we’re pleased to bring you a 15-page preview of the second volume of Possessions by Ray Fawkes. You might know Fawkes from such works as Spookshow, The Apocalipstix, Mnemovore and, of course, the first volume of Possessions.

The second Possessions features the return of Gurgazon the Unclean, a pit demon who looks like a five-year-old girl and is trapped in the Llewellyn-Vane House for Captured Spirits and Ghostly Curiosities. In this second volume, subtitled “The Ghost Table,” Ms. Llewellyn-Vane hosts a rival spirit collector and her collection of ghosts for dinner, and Gurgazon’s the main attraction.

You can find the preview and more information on the book after the jump; please note that the preview is an uncorrected proof. It’s scheduled to come out in March.

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Clive Barker and BOOM! to raise Hell in March

Hellraiser #1 cover by Nick Percival

BOOM! Studios announced this morning that they’ve picked up the license to make comics based on horror writer Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. The new ongoing series will be co-written by Barker and Christopher Monfette and drawn by Leonardo Manco of Hellblazer fame.

In addition, they also plan to release Hellraiser: Masterworks Vol. 1, which will reprint stories from the Hellraiser anthology published under Marvel’s Epic banner. The first volume will include stories by Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Mike Mignola and Alex Ross, among others.

The complete press release can be fund after the jump.

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“Two roads diverged…”: Conor Stechschulte’s creepy Two Broken Branches

Now here’s a novel idea for a horror comic. In Closed Caption Comics collective member Conor Stechschulte’s webcomic Two Broken Branches, a guy and a girl strolling through the dark woods one night have a choice to make: Stay on the road and plow on to their destination even though it might take them all night, or see if they can find some warmth and companionship at a nearby campfire even though it’ll take them off course. Stechschulte’s solution? Show the stories that emerge from both possible decisions, right next to each other — sticking to the road on the left-hand side, investigating the fire on the right-hand side. Suffice it to say that the tales diverge wildly and neither ends pleasantly, although you’ll have to read them to find out for whom. And both are drawn in Stechschulte’s sinister, shadowy, scratchy style. Check it out.

(via Noel Freibert)

One last taste of Robot 666: Emily Carroll’s ‘His Face All Red’

This quietly sinister webcomic has been tearing up the comics Internet over the past few Halloween-dominated days, and for good reason. Presenting “His Face All Red” by Emily Carroll — a beautifully colored little nightmare with an ending as black as the background. When I finished it, I actually muttered “whooo” out loud, I was so impressed. Enjoy, if that’s the word for it.

(Via Tom Spurgeon)

Robot 666 | I Remember When the Monsters Started Coming for the Cars

To wrap up our Halloween treats today, our own Sean T. Collins and artist Isaac Moylan share a comic called “I Remember When the Monsters Started Coming for the Cars.” Check out the complete story after the jump.

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Robot 666 | What comic scared the $#!@% out of you?

Orb

Happy Halloween! We round out our series of posts on what comics from the past or present left various creators shivering under the blanket until the sun came up. To see the previous posts, go here and here.

Fred Van Lente

I had the oversized MARVEL TREASURY EDITION of MARVEL TEAM-UP when I was a kid. The panel in the Spider-Man & Ghost Rider story in which the Orb removes his helmet and shows how hideously scarred he is scared me so bad I actually cut out a square of black construction paper big enough to tape over the panel to cover it so I could read the rest of the comic without looking at it. I couldn’t have been much older than seven.

Fred Van Lente is the co-writer of Marvel’s current event series Chaos War. He’s also written Action Philosophers!, Iron Man: Legacy and Shadowland: Power Man, among other titles. If you’re looking for something in the spirit of the season, check out his Marvel Zombies work.

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Robot 666 | The Best Costumes Are Homemade By Cullen Bunn

Cullen Bunn

It’s Halloween, which means Robot 666 Week will soon draw to a close. But before we put the skeletons back in the closet and the bats back in the belfry, we’re pleased to bring you the debut of Cullen Bunn‘s latest short story, ‘The Best Costumes Are Homemade,’ starring, once again, Mrs. Friedly.

Bunn’s previous Mrs. Friedly tales:

The Best Costumes Are Homemade
By Cullen Bunn

Mrs. Friedly had been feeling quite festive, but the children were raising such a fuss that she was growing cross. She took a deep breath, though, and reminded herself that it was, after all, her favorite holiday. She refused to let it be spoiled. She picked a piece of candy from the bowl on the kitchen table and plopped it into her mouth. She instantly felt better.

But the children still whined and mewled.

“Now, now, my sweet ones,” Mrs. Friedly said, “I’m afraid this really is a necessity. I know you love the costumes we’ve made, but it is simply too cold out, and you must wear your jackets.”

The children moaned and sighed, whimpered and cried. Mrs. Friedly clucked her tongue as she gathered their jackets.

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Robot 666 | What comic scared the $#!@% out of you?

Like I said yesterday, we reached out to several comic creators this year to see what comics from the past or present left them with nightmares. Check some more responses out below, and check back tomorrow for another round.

John Rozum

When I was a child the comic books I bought came in four varieties; Disney comics, Turok: Son of Stone, Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth and what passed for horror comics in the early 1970s. These consisted mostly of the Marvel giant monster titles like Where Monsters Dwell, but also extended to anything that was the least bit spooky looking such as a copy of Marvel Team-Up that featured Brother Voodoo alongside Spider-Man, or pretty much any copy of Batman, or Mighty Samson.

I also read other horror titles such as Tomb of Dracula and lots of the anthology comics. No single story really leaps out to me as scaring me in particular, but some of the covers were things I had a hard enough time looking at during the day, let alone at bedtime. The covers were far stronger to me than anything inside the comic books. I think buying some of these comics was almost like a dare, to prove to myself that I could handle it, that I wasn’t too scared to take this image home with me. having it in my bedroom was like inviting the monster out from the closet, or under the bed where you could see it, and it could see you as well.

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