Friday, December 28, 2012

The 2012 Ghastly Award Nominees

The 2012 Ghastly Award Nominees

The Ghastly Award Judges are proud to announce the 2012 Ghastly Award Nominees. The nominees, which were chosen by the entire comic creating community, reflect the wide range of horror material being published in print and web comic form today.

Named after acclaimed comics creator “Ghastly” Graham Ingels, the awards are now in their 2nd year. Created to honor excellence in Horror Comics, every comic creator had a say in who the nominees were by nominating their favorites throughout the year.

Fan and Creator Voting will be open from January 1, 2013 until January 31, 2013. You may only vote once for the 2012 Nominees, and Fans will decide the winner of the Best New Series Award. 
Winners will be announced in February 2013.

We thank everyone who took the time to nominate in this years awards.

The 2012 Nominees are: 

Best Ongoing Title:
American Vampire (Vertigo)
Hack/Slash (Image)
Hellblazer (Vertigo)
Rachel Rising (Abstract Studios)
The Walking Dead (Image) 

Best Mini-Series:
Deadworld: War of the Dead (IDW)
Ragemoor (Dark Horse)
Rebel Blood (Image) 
Severed (Image) 
The Living Corpse: Exhumed (Dynamite) 

Best One-Shot: 
Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm (Dark Horse) 
Enormous (Image) 
Ghosts (Vertigo) 
Locke & Key: Grindhouse (IDW) 
Steamcraft (Antarctic Press)

Best New Series (Fans Will Decide the Winner):
 Bedlam (Image) 
Ferals (Avatar) 
Hoax Hunters (Image) 
Mars Attacks (IDW) 
The Strain (Dark Horse) 

Best Anthology:
Bela Lugosi’s Tales from the Grave (Monsterverse) 
Chillers (Transfuzion) 
Creepy (Dark Horse) 
Fubar: Summer Special (Alterna) 
Indie Comics Horror (Aazum) 

Best OGN:
Flesh and Blood Book 2 (Monsterverse) 
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Book 1 (Heavy Metal) 
Riven (Dark Horse) 
The Hive (Pantheon) 
Whispers in the Walls (Humanoids)
Best Archival Collection: 
Best of From the Tomb Magazine (Twomorrows)
 The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics: Zombies (IDW/Yoe Books)
 Creepy Presents Richard Corben (Dark Horse)
 Lenore Swirlies (Titan Books)
 Vampirella Archives Vol. 5 (Dynamite) 

Best Writer:  
David Hine (The Darkness, Night of the Living Dead: Aftermath)
 David Lapham (Ferals, Crossed Badlands, The Strain, Caligula)
 Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Justice League Dark)
 Steve Niles (Criminal Macabre, 30 Days of Night, Transfusion, Frankenstein Alive, Alive, Lot 13)
 Robert Tinnell (Flesh and Blood Book 2, Riven) 

Best Artist:
Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire)
 Simon Bisley (Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Hellblazer)
 Sami Makkonen (Deadworld: War of the Dead)
 Riley Rossmo (Bedlam, Green Wake, Rebel Blood)
 James Stokoe (Godzilla: Half Century War) 

Best Inker:
Richard Corben (Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm, Ragemoor)
 David Hutchison (Steamcraft)
 Terry Moore (Rachel Rising)
 Andrea Sorrentino (I, Vampire)
 Bernie Wrightson (Frankenstein Alive, Alive) 

Best Letterer:
Terry Moore (Rachel Rising)
 Nate Piekos (Creepy, The Goon, Ragemoor)
 Robbie Robbins (Locke & Key)
 James Stokoe (Godzilla: Half Century War)
 Kelly Tindall (Bedlam, Green Wake, Rebel Blood) 

Best Colorist:
Ulises Arreola (Justice League Dark)
 Chad Fidler (Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse)
 Jay Fotos (‘68, Locke & Key)
 Owen Gieni (Avengelyne)
 Dave Stewart (B.P.R.D.) 

Best Web Comic:
Crossed: Wish You Were Here (
 Disappointing Monsters (
 Halloween Man (
 Love Stories About Death (
 Monsterhood (
 The Manor ( 

Hall of Fame Inductees:
Al Feldstein & Bill Gaines
Bernie Wrightson

We congratulate all of the Nominees for what they bring to the comic reading community. To be nominated by your peers is a big honor and the Ghastly Awards are here to celebrate your achievements.

For more information on the Ghastly Awards, or to submit your Horror Comics for consideration in the 2013 Awards, please go to

Friday, December 21, 2012

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Book 3 - Review

Issue: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Book 3 - End of Days
Creator: Michael Mendheim
Michael Mendheim, Mike Kennedy, Sean Jaffee
Artist: Simon Bisley
Chad Fidler
Publisher: Heavy Metal
Release Date: October 2012
Price: $14.95

"The End of Days is the third and the climatic finale in the highly anticipated trilogy from Heavy Metal, illustrated by Simon Bisley. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance as the armies of good and evil face-off in the final battle known as Armageddon."

Dying Breath: 5.0 out of 5
Sometimes it's sad to see things come to an end, and this amazing series is one of them. I can not commend the creative team enough for developing one Hell of a an exciting ride, pun intended. This books brings it all to a close, and it does it so beautifully. Of course I have to mention once again how GORE-Geous Bisley's artwork is. Every panel on every page was a masterpiece, from the fantastic settings to the highly detailed cast. I personally loved his interpretations of the Horsemen, with Famine being my personal favorite. Sadly in the past reviews I never touched on how amazing Fidler's colors were. His coloring is what adds that extra second to the face slap you receive staring at these pages. If you want to read more about me gushing on the artwork please take a look at my reviews for Book 1 & 2. The writing in Book 3 is amazing, it really brings home this fantastic story. With all of the story building taking place in the first 2 books, this one is non-stop action from start to finish. Of course we were left with a great cliff hanger from Book 2, and this picks up perfectly where that left off. The writing team of Mendheim, Kennedy and Jaffee delivered on all levels with great pacing and terrific dialogue. There was never a moment where things felt rushed or incomplete. This story was presented with a tremendous amount of detail, which had to have taken forever to research. Overall I can't say you need to pick up Book 3, because you have to pick up the other two first, and you need to do that now. The creative team blew me away, and all I can hope for is that more is going to come. To put it simply, this is horror comic perfection that you need to read.

Artwork: 5.0 out of 5 • Story: 5.0 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse you can find it at

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2

Issue: The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2
Writers: Various
Artist: Various
Publisher: SelfMade Hero
Release Date: October 2012
Price: $19.95

"A graphic anthology of tales from the renowned master of the eerie. Building on the success of the first volume, it showcases the talents of a new roster of adapters and artists. The anthology includes reflections on the terrible power of art in 'Pickman's Model' and 'The Picture in the House', the ghoulish grave robbing of 'The Hound' and the otherworldly monstrosities which come 'From Beyond'. This collection reveals the nightmare worlds of Lovecraft's imagination, exploring themes of forbidden knowledge and insanity in tale after tale of unsettling horror."

Dying Breath: 4.5 out of 5
I have row emit that I am enjoying more and more Lovecraft material these days. I do still consider myself to be a newbie though. This collection contains 9 amazing stories guarantee to give you the chills. Every single story has GORE-Geously stunning and unique artwork. No two stories really look alike. Of course I have to mention that two of my all time favorite artists can be found here, Steve Pugh and Bryan Baugh. I honestly feel that every artist was able to capture the horror of their stories. Speaking of the stories, these are some really creepy and out there tales. One thing that always scares me when reading a Lovecraft adaptation is that I might not get it right away. Yes that happened on two of these stories, but it didn't take anything away from the overall read. If anything it lends itself to how well they are written. With stories from the amazing Jamie Delano, Pat Mills and Dwight Macpherson, this book really seems to have it all. Okay, so I know you want to know which stories I liked the best, so my top thee are going to be "The Festival", "The Hound" and "Pickman's Model". Every story in the book is great. I think if you are looking to start reading some Lovecraft comics this is a safe pickup. I also think that if you are a Lovecraft fan then this is perfect for you as well. Needless to say this collection is fantastic, and it should be in your horror collection already. So now that you know, go buy it, you will not be disappointed.

Artwork: 4.5 out of 5 • Story: 4.5 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2 you can find it at

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mars Attacks: 50th Anniversary Collection

Issue: Mars Attacks: 50th Anniversary Collection
Writer: Len Brown (Introduction), Zina Saunders (Afterword)
Publisher: Abrams ComicArts
Release Date: October 2012
Price: $19.95

"In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mars Attacks, this comprehensive book is the first-ever compilation of the infamous science-fiction trading card series produced by Topps in 1962. Edgy, subversive, and darkly comedic, this over-the-top series depicting a Martian invasion of Earth has a loyal following and continues to win new generations of fans. For the first time, this book brings together high-quality reproductions of the entire original series, as well as the hard-to-find sequel from 1994, rare and never-before-seen sketches, concept art, and test market materials. Also included are an introduction by series co-creator Len Brown and an afterword by Zina Saunders, daughter of the original artist, providing an insider’s behind-the-scenes view of the bizarre and compelling world of Mars Attacks."

Dying Breath: 5.0 out of 5
This book is perfection, I can not sum it up any better than that. Collecting the original trading card series, the second series and some more amazing artwork, this book preserves a fantastic piece of horror history. A huge plus on why this book is so good, is because not only do you get to read the original trading card set, but you also get some commentary about what was going on when the series was created. That commentary had to be my favorite part of this book. Learning about what was allowed to go on this GORE-Geous card set and what wasn't is often time silly to read by today's standards. As a designer myself I have to talk about the layout of this book as well. The interiors are clean and crisp. The cards, if scanned, are perfect. The dust jacket is possibly the coolest I have ever seen. Mimicking a pack of the cards, I honestly tried to open it from the back, I thought it was real. Also there is a secret surprise I won't ruin printed on the book itself under the dust jacket. Overall I can not recommend this book more. Collecting everything Topps put out with the original card set and more, this book has it all. So glad to have this in my collection, it is just what I needed.

Artwork: 5.0 out of 5 • Story: 5.0 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about Mars Attacks: 50th Anniversary Collection you can find it at

The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania – Review

Issue: The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania
Writer: Tracey Miller-Zarneke,  Genndy Tartakovsky
Artist: Various
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: October 2010
Price: $34.95

"The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania brings to (undead) life a fresh new spin on the classic horror monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, Werewolf, and the Invisible Man from Sony Pictures Animation and director Genndy Tartakovsky - creator of Samurai Jack and executive producer and director of Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series."

Dying Breath: 4.5 out of 5
Okay everyone, I need you to close your eyes, take a deep breath and prepare for what you are about to read. Yes that is right, it is not a horror comic book review, but a review of a book based on a horror themed movie. AHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! Hey I can read books, as long as they have pictures, and let me tell you, this book has some GORE-Geous visuals. basically what we have here is a breakdown on the art from the movie Hotel Transylvania. Each character in the movie has their own little section that includes some great commentary by Tracey Miller-Zarneke and Genndy Tartakovsky, as well as the designs, story boards and renderings of the cast. I have to say that my favorite part is seeing the whole process and how they went from concept to final design. On a design basis alone, this book is laid out beautifully. I think any fan of the movie would want to have this on their shelf, and I don't mean just the die-hard fans, I mean every fan. I also think that anyone wanting to get a great behind the scenes look at how much time and work go into an animated film would want to read this one. Some great in-depth coverage of how it all went down. Sadly this reviewer has yet to see this movie. You better believe that my interest was piqued when I saw the trailers, but now I am just dying to go see it. This is a fantastic resource that will make everyone say AHHHH!!!!!!

Artwork: 5.0 out of 5 • Story: 4.5 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania you can find it at

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Decapitated Dan's Best of 2012

Well it’s the end of the year, and what better way to recap it than by making a list! So check out what I liked best in 2012!


Writer of the Year: Robert Tinnell
If you want to talk about having a great year in writing, then look no further than Robert Tinnell. While his main comic writing really only took place in 2 fantastic OGN's, Riven and Flesh & Blood Book 2, he also contributed a story to Chillers from Transfuzion. I hope that in 2013 we can be treated to more of his fantastic stories.

Honorable Mentions: Terry Moore, Joe Hill

Artist of the Year: Riley Rossmo
He was an honorable mention last year, but this year Riley is my pick for the Best Artist of 2012. His work on Green Wake, Rebel Blood, Debris and Bedlam was beyond GORE-Geous. His layouts and panels showed growth through out the year, as he found new ways to present his pages. 2013 is looking very promising for him to make another return to this list.

Honorable Mentions: Sami Makkonen, Simon Bisley

Horror Publisher of the Year: Humanoids
Humanoids could do no wrong in 2012. With books like Koma, Whispers in the Walls, Pandemonium, Crusades and Zombies that Ate the World all coming out in 2012, it is easy to see why they are at the top of this category. Before you even say it, yes these are either reprints or imports. They are sitting in this spot because of the amazing work that they brought to the English reading comic market. 

Honorable Mentions:  Antarctic Press, IDW Publishing, Dark Horse

Best Ongoing: Hellblazer
I think this category might have a Madden Curse, because 28 Days Later ended after last years top honor and now Hellblazer is ending. Hellblazer has been a Horror Comic staple for years, and this year was no exception. Milligan wrote the living hell out of this series and it showed, with what I thought was some of the best Hellblazer in years. So sad to see it end. 

Honorable Mentions: Rachel Rising, I,Vampire

Best Mini Series: Deadworld: War of the Dead

Oh my beloved Deadworld was back in 2012, and it was celebrated in August by IDW with Deadworld Month! Gary Reed and Sami Makkonen took this title into uncharted territory by adding in color, and it worked. I wish we could get more than just a mini series or an OGN, but for now this was all I needed in 2012. I LOVE DEADWORLD!

Honorable Mentions: Rebel Blood, Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, Locke & Key Clockworks

Best OGN: Riven
Did you read this? I mean seriously, did you read this? Comic books are drawings on paper, yet every time I try to recall Riven all I see in my head is a movie playing out. Tinnell and Hampton delivered a book that was so perfect, I really can not try to explain it with words. You will all just have to go read my review of the book. This is seriously Horror Comic Gold!

Honorable Mentions:  Whispers in the Walls, Pandemonium

Best Small Press Title: 86'd
Anthologies are a huge staple in horror comics and it really does seem like a lot of small press creators put them out. So for 86'd to be sitting at the top of this list, above 2 amazing comics, that are not anthologies, it must be pretty damn good. A GORE-Geous collection of art and stories, this over sized beauty is something you should be on the look out for. Matter of fact, find it online and buy a copy today! 

Honorable Mentions: Zombie Chuck, Careful

Best Book You Never Heard Of: White Devil
When I was asked to review White Devil the first thing I did was look at some of the pages, and man did my jaw drop to the floor. Nate Burns' art on this title is so amazing, that I was hoping the story by Matt Evans and Andrew Helinski could hold up, and it did. This first issue is actually free online, so you can go check it out for yourself. I really hope to see more of this one in 2013.

Honorable Mentions:  Risher, El Bigote

Best Comedy Title: Lenore
Did you know that every 4 months the world is treated to a little comic bundle of joy called Lenore? Celebrating her 20th birthday this year, the brain child of Roman Dirge will easily leave you in stitches. This year we saw the emergence of the Creepig, we watched Lenore make a sandwich and even travel through the portals of hell, all within the pages of the Funniest Comic of 2012.

Honorable Mentions:  Futurama, A-Babies vs. X-Babies #1


Best Non-Horror Title: Koma
1 word sums up Koma, PERFECTION! Humanoids traveled across the Atlantic and came back with Pierre Wazem, Frederik Peeters and Albertine Ralenti's masterpiece. This book reminded me of the movie Spirited Away, where the reader is transported to a dark world and where a girl has to find the beauty in it. Hands down this is by far the book of 2012, even over all Horror comics.

Honorable Mentions:  Saga, Crusades, Danger Club

Best Collected Book: Chilling Archives of Horror Comics: Zombies
When it comes to bringing old school Horror Comics to new readers eyes, none really do it better than the Chilling Archives series of books. This year we saw the release of this GORE-Geous collection, focusing on zombies. Yoe books and IDW are doing the word a great service, by not only collecting these stories, but in also presenting them in what I think is the best overall printing (paper choices for cover and interiors) of the year.

Honorable Mentions:  Lenore Swirlies, Zombies that Ate the World Book 2

Best Historical Book: The Best of From the Tomb Magazine
How could I go against anything that I am personally attached to. While the magazine might be gone for the moment, Twomorrows Publishing was still awesome enough to bring us some of the best material that was ever put together by Normanton and company. Every single person who has an interest in Horror Comic history needs to own this book.

Honorable Mentions: Mars Attacks 50th Anniversary

Best Mainstream Anthology: Haunted Horror
As I already stated with the Best Collected Book of 2012, the Chilling Archives series is great. Stepping away from the larger hardcover format, 2012 saw the introduction of reprints being done in regular comic size. The team behind this, Yoe Books and IDW, are not only offering some of the greatest Horror Comic material ever to be reprinted, but they are offering it at a STEAL of a price, so this also gets Best Comic Deal of 2012!

Honorable Mentions:
  Creepy, Heavy Metal

Best Small Press Anthology: Chillers
If you know the movie, you will know what to expect. However if you are like me, after reading this you will go and watch the movie. Crossing media might not be easy, but when it comes to Horror and Anthologies, Chillers does it right. This is a great collection of writers and artists working together to scare you to death, and raise some awareness to the film. Here is hoping that a sequel of both comic a movie are in the works for 2013.

Honorable Mentions:  Strange Aeons Magazine, Indie Comics Horror

Best Comeback: Mongrel
Back in the 1994 a little known comic book by Ed Dunphy and Andrew Kudelka hit the stands, only to have 1 issue be released. After over 15 years of being lost in the shuffle, the creators got back together to finally finish this GORE-Geous werewolf series. Touching up the artwork and adding color, this Son of a Bitch came back with a vengeance. If you missed reading issue #1 in the 90's have no fear, because Mongrel is available for you to check out today!

Honorable Mentions:  Mars Attacks
So there you have it. My picks for the best of 2012!

• Note: It was not easy to make this list. There are so many great horror comics that come out each year, so I say to you, create your own list and let the world know what stood out to you. When it came to choosing the writer and artist of the year I specifically took into consideration people who worked on more than one book for the year.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Crusades OGN – Review

Issue: Crusades
Writer: Izu, Alex Nikolavitch
Artist: Zhang Xiaoyu
Publisher: Humanoids
Release Date: Oct. 2012
Price: $34.95

"An epic tale where history blends with fantasy to explosive and cinematic results. Follow the Knights Templar’s elite faction as they are sent on a secretive and perilous mission, a crusade to determine the true causes of the 'Plague of Damietta.'   An all new take on the time of the Crusades brought to you by top European writing talent and promising new Chinese artistic voice, Zhang Xiaoyu."

Dying Breath: 5.0 out of 5
I am starting to see a reoccurring theme when it comes to reviewing books from Humanoids, they are all freaking amazing! Crusades carries on this tradition by tackling a historical horror religious mystery story that left me wishing more was coming. The artwork by Xiaoyu is GORE-Geous. His panels flew off the pages and slapped me in the face on a continuous basis. With some of the cleanest, most detailed artwork I have seen in a while, this book is just visually stunning. Of course I have to mention his monsters and death scenes, because the made me weep with joy. The story crafted by Izu and Nikolavitch is not overpowered by the fantastic artwork either. Taking place during the time of the Crusades, a great mystery unravels through intense action scenes, legendary fights and some amazing character building. I honestly did not know what to expect from this book, but from what I read, I was as happy as a kid in a candy store. I never wanted to put the book down, and I was sad when it ended. While the story stakes place in the 13th century, it does leave its door open to a possible continuation in present day. I hope that day will come soon, because this book was beyond what I can even put into words. This book will appeal to horror, mystery, religion and history fans the most, but everyone should go check it out. Amazing, just flat-out amazing!

Artwork: 5.0 out of 5 • Story: 5.0 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about Crusades you can find it at

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Bedlam #1- Review

Issue: Bedlam #1
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Publisher: Image
Release Date: October 2012
Price: $3.50

"Fillmore Press was once Madder Red, a homicidal maniac and criminal overlord who terrorized the town of Bedlam for years. Then he got better. This is what happens next."

Dying Breath: 5.0 out of 5
OH... MY... (Insert deity of your choice here)!!! This book was everything I could have wanted, multiplied by 6,386,513.234 and then just keep adding on 10 more for every second for the rest of your life!!!!! I honestly can't even think of where to begin describing how great this issue was. First of all it is a steal for only $3.50 because it has 48 pages, so make sure to pack a lunch when you sit down to read this one, because it is going to take some time. The artwork by Rossmo is GORE-Geous. Isn't it funny how I ALWAYS say that about his artwork, I guess it is no surprise why he won a Ghastly Award for it in 2011. Every single page of this book looks great, but the opening scene had my eyes melting from their sockets, there was so much blood! He is so consistent  from panel to panel, and his design for Madder Red made me want to make a Halloween costume right away. The story by Spencer is a nonstop fist pounding to your face. It grabbed me right from the start, then made me giggle with excitement as things built even more and by the end I was screaming in terror because it was over. I rarely say this when I look back in my brain on comics but, I recall this issue as if I was watching it on TV. The pacing and way that Nick presented this story was pure perfection. As a writer if you want to know how to grab readers and have them hooked from page 1, look no further than this issue. I loved how he did the dialogue of Madder Red, he is such an interesting mysterious character. In #1 I had no idea what is coming, and I really didn't care because I knew it was going to be good. I will on this book like white on rice because the concept is great and the execution is even better. Lets all raise a glass and give 3 cheers to Riley and Nick for bringing this to our comic reading eyes! Go buy this book!

Artwork: 5.0 out of 5 • Story: 5.0 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about Bedlam #1 you can find it at

Friday, December 14, 2012

Transfusion #1 – Review

Issue: Transfusion #1
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Menton3
Publisher: IDW
Release Date: October 2012
Price: $3.99

"In a future overrun by out-of-control machines and monsters, a handful of human survivors try to fight their way back to a normal life. But what is normal in a world where both monsters and machines need human blood? And which are the real bad guys?"

Dying Breath: 5.0 out of 5
Well I wasn't expecting that! This issue just knocked my socks off, put them back on and then knocked them off again. The artwork by Menton3 is just GORE-Geous. I will admit that I love it when a page comes across as fully painted, more than when it does look a little more comic book like, but it is all amazing. I really enjoyed his bloody death scenes in this issue, and his characters are above and beyond what I could have wanted to see. The real win though goes to his color work. This is a drab, dark future and he nails that on every single page. The story by Niles was so unexpected. Sure I read the solicit, and had an idea about what I was about to get myself into, but I didn't see this coming. I loved the double cross. Steve was able to give a great amount of build, and still leave enough mystery to make me have to come back for more. The pacing is great throughout the issue. I loved it so much I had to read it twice! I could make the easy pitch and say that anyone who is into robots and vampires needs to check this book out, but I would be lying. Everyone needs to check this book out. This was an amazing start and all I want to do is tell the world on how great this issue was. Thank you sirs, now give me another!

Artwork: 5.0 out of 5 • Story: 5.0 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about Transfusion you can find it at

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tara Normal #1 – Review

Issue: Tara Normal #1
Writer: Howie Noel
Artist: Howie Noel
Release Date: October 2012
Price: $4.99

"Tara Normal is a beautiful female ghost hunter who was born with the ability to see and speak to ghosts. She’s also trained to fight them, if necessary. All of her skills and training will be tested when the stars of TV’s hot, new paranormal reality show, Ghost Soldiers, investigate the most haunted asylum in history, St. Catherine’s of Siena. The ghosts in this asylum aren’t looking to just scare Tara and the Ghost Soldiers, they’re looking to destroy them and steal their souls. She’ll prove the existence of spirits and change the world forever."

Dying Breath: 4.0 out of 5
"Oh S#*@! That dudes face just melted off!" The was one of the few times I found myself just yelling in excitement at what I was reading in this awesome first issue of Tara Normal. The opening scene introduces us to Tara, as she shows off her abilities to see and talk to the dead. This is a great introduction to readers on what the series is going to be based on, because of what will come next in the story. Following a reality TV crew as they enter into a haunted Asylum, things quickly go wrong.  I really enjoyed the dialogue and buildup of the events, but I did think at times it came off a little to B-Movie. However, the read was still really enjoyable. I think that artwork really lends itself nicely to the playfulness of the story. Noel does a GORE-Geous job of showing a few deaths, one of which is totally a horrific moment. A great use of colors just makes these pages pop, but again I go back to how great it made the death scenes look. This issue does a great job of setting things up for what is to come. It has some great humor, just wait for the van scene, but also does a fantastic job of capturing the some great horror comic moments. If you are lucky enough to be at New York Comic Con this year go grab this one. If you can't make the show go to the website and order one, because this book is only going to get better and better. This was an awesome start to this series.

Artwork: 4.5 out of 5 • Story: 4.0 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about Tara Normal you can find it at

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Strain Vol.1

Issue: The Strain Vol. 1
Story By: Guillermo Del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Script By: David Lapham
Artist: Mike Huddleston
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: Jan 2012
Pages: 152
Price: $19.99

"When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Centers for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event—an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness. Collects issues #1-#6 of the ongoing series."

Dying Breath: 5.0 out of 5
There was a point in my life, oh lets say about a year ago, when I was sick of vampire comics. The typical blood sucker story seems to just get played out when done over and over again. Sure there is some good horror and gore in those books, but the stories are so blah and easily passable. Then I get this little catalog sent to my house called Previews, and I see the cover to The Strain #1 listed in it. I'm instantly thinking, "Great, here we go again." Being a horror nut though, I check out issue #1, and wouldn't you know it, my head fell off. That first issue had something new, something fresh and something I needed to enjoy a vampire comic again (seriously, the last one I really enjoyed was Devil from Dark Horse). The artwork in this series is just drop dead GORE-Geous. I love the look of these creatures, and the way that they consume their meals. Huddleston never seems to miss a beat, as each and every panel shines! Of course some of that praise needs to be given to the amazing coloring work of Dan Jackson. I personally think that the "flatness" of the colored art is what makes it stand out to me. Sure there is some shadow work put in, but for the most part it is just flat and drab. This makes the cast stand out more, because they are not buried by layers of depth, and it also lends a hand to giving the book a good horror edge. The dullness of the colors plays creates the dark atmosphere that is needed to keep the reader terrified.The story, which is also in prose form, I wish I had time to read it, is fun, horrific and original. There is a really great mystery to what is going on in these pages. I think that adds a lot to the horror aspects, and almost makes this book come off as much more cinematic as to how it plays out. I will say that this volume really showcases how to build a horror story. You start off with a great introduction to the most of the cast, but you have to wait a few issues to really know who the main vampire is. The back story on the vampire and his main rival is epic and tragic. I love how it plays out as a folk tale told by a grandmother come true. Lapham's writing took hold of my mind from the very start and it has still not let go. The dialogue is great and the story is even greater. Luckily for you, these first few issues are now in trade form, because I hated waiting for what was to come next. The Strain is a balls to the wall horror mystery that has no signs of slowing down. The creative is delivering issue after issue, and incase you missed those issues, this collection is what you need. If you are looking for something new and different in vampire comics, this book is it. This is a must have for your horror comic shelf.

Artwork: 5.0 out of 5 • Story: 5.0 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about The Strain you can find it at

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Black Mass #1 – Review

Issue: Black Mass #1
Writers: David Sandoval, Adriana Mendoza
Artist: Stefano Cardoselli
Publisher: N.A.S. Studios
Release Date: September 2012
Price: $4.00

"Set in 1690 America before the Salem Witch Trails, Black Mass is a thrilling adventure about a young woman named Scarlett who is born with gifts considered by many to be a curse. During the course of 4 issues the reader will discover Scarlett's powers as she unexpectedly wills it herself. The innocence is taken from her as death follows everywhere and more die. It begins to take its toll and leaves her with only one option, to take revenge . . ."

Dying Breath: 3.5 out of 5
Something strange is happening around these parts, and it is up to David Sandoval, Adriana Mendoza and Stefano Cardoselli to help me as a reader figure out what that is. The concept of what is happening here is really intriguing, but I did find a few things that stood in the way of the overall execution. The artwork by Stefano looks great throughout the book, but I did find a panel or two where things came off as muddled a little confusing. I really liked that there were no graytones used here, because I think that the use of just black and white showcased his artwork that much more. The story has a really great horror mystery to it, but the dialogue did have a few choppy moments. Overall though it didn't take away anything from the story, it just took a little more deciphering on my part. Sandoval and Mendoza were able to give this issue a great solid ending that will easily have me coming back for more. I really think this story has something good going for it, but there are a few things that could use a little touching up in future issues. So I expect that when issue #2 comes out, this one will jump up to at least a Dying Breath of 4.5.

Artwork: 4.0 out of 5 • Story: 3.5 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about Black Mass you can find it at

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Risher #1 - Review

Issue: Risher #1
Writer: P.H. Dillard
Artist: Tamas Szalkai
Release Date: October 2012
Price: $x.xx

"This first part of the saga is guaranteed to suck you in and not let go. You will be introduced to our lead character and a couple of his previous alter egos. Ever wonder what happened to Jack the Ripper or the Axeman of New Orleans? Find out in this issue. You will also meet Karvos, the man hellbent on stopping the murderous Demetrius Risher, and a few other interesting characters the likes of which you will not find anywhere else.  BONUS-this issue features an exclusive statement from none other than the Son of Sam himself, David Berkowitz. What more could you want from a serial killer comic?"

Dying Breath: 4.5 out of 5
Now there are two things that are always missing from horror comics that I am always calling out for, Mummies and Serial Killers. With that being said, they are also two of the hardest things to write. P.H. Dillard took this challenge and wrote Risher, a comic about a serial killer that has lasted throughout the years. I will not go into spoiling anything when it comes to the story, but I will say this, damn that was refreshing! The artwork by Szalkai, is GORE-Geous. Matter of fact, I will admit that I joined on to the Kickstarter campaign just to see it in person. He does a great job on consistency and tone. This is a black and white book that just shines. The story by Dillard is really interesting. Again I am not going to go into detail, but I will say that I love the concept about the killer being around for a long time. The dialogue was good, but there was one or two rough spots. For a first time comic writer he seems to have a good grasp on how to deliver a solid story to the reader. I was interested before starting it, and by the end I was just hooked and wanting more. When it seems that most Horror Comics these days are only really covering the same zombie survival story, or a vampire love tale, it is so great to see something come out and be so against the grain. I highly enjoyed this book, and can not wait to see how far it can go. If you are looking to stray away from the horror norms these days, then look no further.

Artwork: 4.5 out of 5 • Story: 4.5 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about Risher you can find it at

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Haunted Horror #1 - Review

Issue: Haunted Horror #1
Creators: Various
Editors: Craig Yoe, Steve Banes, Clizia Gussoni
Publisher: IDW
Release Date: October 2012
Price: $3.99

"A comic so good it's…SCARY! Imagine you were a kid in the 1950s reading contraband horror comics under the bed covers by flashlight! You were devouring the very comic books you parents, your teachers and anti-comics crusader Dr. Fredric Wertham were trying to keep out of your hands! Now you can recreate that same experience, because the comics that were banned are back in actual comic-book format! The people that brought you Dick Briefer's Frankenstein, Bob Powell's Terror and Zombies are now producing a comic book series filled with the best of worst vintage horror comics that will rot your mind! Don't dare miss the first issue of Scary from the Chilling Archives of Horror Comics fiends!"

Dying Breath: 5.0 out of 5
Are you new to horror comics? Have you ever wondered why most people who like horror comics always say the books of the past were better or had a different feel to them? Haunted Horrors #1, which is brought to us by the same great editing team as Chilling Archives Zombies, is the perfect way to find out why people say such great things about old school horror comics. Now keep in mind there is really nothing new in this book, other than the amazing Horror Host, Forelock the Warlock, who has a slight resemblance to editor Craig Yoe. The talent in this collection is amazing, with work from Jack Kirby, C.A. Winters, Bernard Baily, Mike Sekowsky, Bill Walton, Joe Simon, Jack Cole, and the man who seriously stole the show, Jay Disbrow. With 52 pages in this book, you could estimate it taking 30 or so minutes to read, but you would be wrong. We are talking old school horror here, so these stories are wordy, and packed with a punch. 'The Constant Eye' is a story that just creeped me out. The fact that he was always being watched, just left this uneasy feeling lingering over me. I always thought that older horror stories had a moral limit, meaning they ended with a finger waving at yhe audience, that was until i read 'Slaughter-house!' Simon and Kirby delivered on this story, it could easily scare the crap out of someone today, and the ending was so unexpected and yet so real. The final thing I really have to touch on is creator Jay Disbrow. His story 'Ultimate Destiny' was the perfect choice to have end this book. All you have to do is look at the final page and you will buy this just to find out what is going on, on that page. Typically if you want to get reprints of Pre-code Horror you need to pay $35 - $50 for a hardcover collection. IDW and Yoe Books say screw that, here are 52 GORE-Geous pages for only $3.99. Put down that crossover book that won't mean anything tomorrow and spend your hard earned money on something that is a timeless classic. I praise these guys for collecting these stories for preservation and to bring them to a new generation. Do not miss this series!

Artwork: 5.0 out of 5 • Story: 5.0 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about Haunted Horror you can find it at

Friday, December 7, 2012

Rebel Blood TPB - Review

Issue: Rebel Blood TPB
Writer: Alex Link, Riley Rossmo
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: September 2012
Pages: 128
Price: $14.99

"A virus has created a wilderness of blood-thirsty creatures standing between you and your family. You don't know if you can save them in time, or if you've even got the strength to try. But you're about to find out.  In a world of ravenous creatures it doesn't matter who you used to be. Today you're lunch."

Dying Breath: 5.0 out of 5
Nope, no way. There is absolutely no way I could have seen that coming, and that is why this book is getting a perfect score. Rebel Blood seemed to be heading down a nice little path of typical horror storytelling and then it took a right at the light. When this series was coming out as single issues I always found myself saying "I have to re-read the last issue to see how this plays into what is going on." So sure this was fun as a mini, but it is Killer as a collected. As usual I am going to do some gushing about Rossmo's GORE-Geous artwork. His characters designs are solid and consistent, his monsters/zombies are ahh-mazing, but there was something very special that made what he did in this book stand out. Riley was able to really capture cartoon-like animation on a comic book page a few times in this series. He did this by not breaking up panels with gutters, but instead continued visually telling the story in the same panel. He was able to instruct my eyes where to go next, without the typical comic breaks, and that is why this was so well done. The story I have already kind of touched on, but I want to come back to it. The idea really did seem to be straight forward, survive the zombie madness and everything will be okay. However throughout the book, there are these little sneak peaks into the main characters brain. As the story progresses you really begin to wonder about his sanity, and then BAM, in your face plot twist that makes this book a solid 5. I loved this book, there is no way around that. I think what Rossmo and Link were able to do here will be talked about for years to come. When the horror genre is filled with some typical zombie survival stories, which are great, it is always nice to see a team bring something new and fresh to the table. At $14.99 this book is a steal, so make sure to add it to your collection, you will be glad you did.

Artwork: 5.0 out of 5 • Story: 5.0 out of 5

If you would like to buy or know more about Rebel Blood you can find it at