Greetings ghosts and ghoulies and welcome to The Theatre of Terror the home of horror comic news, reviews, classic comic scans and creepy art from around the world. Just remember, it's not for the nervous!
The gorgeous beauty that is The Old Witch enjoys a good love story. Especially when things go horribly wrong like in our next tale Last Respects. Created by the dream team of Al Feldstein and Graham Ingels.
This monumental comic news first broke towards the end of May and new information has been slowly filtering through ever since. After complaints that their range was bogged down in fan-law, and unaccessible to new readers, D.C. Comics are rebooting their entire comic series. This means starting in September of this year D.C. will launch 52 new issue #1’s of all their latest and greatest characters and super teams.
“In addition, the new #1s will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character’s legend – but will relate to real world situations, interactions, tragedy and triumph.”
This will include the following horror comics:
“DC Comics embraces its dark side. On the 40th anniversary of the character’s creation, the New York Times bestselling writer of AMERICAN VAMPIRE, Scott Snyder, teams up with Yannick Paquette (BATMAN, INCORPORATED) to bring horror back to the DC Universe in SWAMP THING #1. For years, one man served against his will as the avatar of nature. And while he may have been freed of the monster, he’s about to learn the monster will never truly let go of him.”
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK
“John Constantine, Deadman, Shade the Changing Man and Madame Xanadu are Justice League Dark, a band of supernatural heroes united to stop the dark things the rest of the DCU does not see in JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1, by Peter Milligan and artist Mikel Janin.”
“Vampires threaten to bring ruin to the DC Universe in I, VAMPIRE #1 by rising star Josh Fialkov and artist Andrea Sorrentino. Tortured by his centuries-old love for the Queen of the Damned, Andrew Bennett must save humanity from the violent uprising of his fellow vampires, even if it means exterminating his own kind.”
“Set in the Middle Ages, the Demon leads an unlikely team to defend civilization and preserve the last vestiges of Camelot against the tide of history. Critically-acclaimed writer Paul Cornell and artists Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert combine sorcery, swords and superheroes in DEMON KNIGHTS #1.”
“Priscilla Kitaen has just found out she’s a monster. A half-alien hybrid, the woman known as Voodoo must confront the secrets of her past to make sense of the nightmare her life has suddenly become. VOODOO #1 will be written by Ron Marz with art by Sami Basri.”
FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF SHADE
“Frankenstein and his network of strange beings work for an even stranger government organization: The Super Human Advanced Defense Executive. It’s the breakout hero of Seven Soldiers as you’ve never seen him before in FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF SHADE #1, the first issue of a dark new series from acclaimed writer Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, The Nobody) and artist Alberto Ponticelli.”
“A cult favorite character returns in a new series written by his classic creative team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Joining them is JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST artist Fernando Dagnino. RESURRECTION MAN #1 is the story of a hero who wakes up with new powers each time he’s killed.”
“Buddy Baker has gone from “super” man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? Find out in ANIMAL MAN #1, the start of a dramatic new series by acclaimed writer Jeff Lemire and artists Travel Foreman and Dan Green.”
It’s a massive move from industry giant D.C. Comics which they are hoping will help to boost falling comic sales. While many fan-boys are horrified at the announcement others will also see it as a wise move, breathing fresh life back in the the D.C multiverse and reaching out to new readers. Some really hated the idea as you can see for yourself below…
Weird War Tales was a successful D.C publication that ran from 1971-1983. It was published as a monthly war based antholgy with a supernatural twist to many of its tales. Mans Best Enemy is a tragic story of how the bond between a man and his working hound can sometimes be their downfall. Story by George Kashdan, art by Steve Ditko, lettering by John Costanza, colouring by Adrienne Roy and editing by Len Wein.
We have another historical art post for you today horror fans. This time we take a look at Dutch artist Jeroen Anthoniszoon van Aken (1450-1516) more famously known as Hieronymus Bosch. Much of his work depicts religious scenes which scholars believe to be interpretations from biblical scenes used as guides to medieval morality. An abundance of hellish scenes and dancing devils would certainly make you think twice about sinning. He also has some great sketches of fantastical monsters which are creative fiction at its finest.
Bosch’s most famous work is probably The Garden of Earthly Delights which is the first picture in the gallery. Click on the thumbnail for a larger viewer. Some element included are somewhat bizarre.
In 1954 a serious crime was committed against horror! The Comics Magazine Association of America unleashed The Comics Code Authority a governing body set up to corrupt the minds of young children by preventing them reading horror and crime comics! This truly despicable act banned graphic depictions of violence and gore in crime and horror comics. Torture, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism were all outlawed. Even vampires, werewolves and zombies were declared illegal! Dark times indeed.
These horrific laws are listed below. Tremble in terror at the wonderful things that were no longer allowed to grace the pages of comics. Cower in fear as you imagine the sickening world these laws could lead to. Children with nothing to read but comics about puppies and (shudder) talking bears.
CODE OF THE COMICS MAGAZINE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, INC.
Adopted October 26, 1954
The comic-book medium, having come of age on the American cultural scene, must measure up to its responsibilities.
Constantly improving techniques and higher standards go hand in hand with these responsibilities.
To make a positive contribution to contemporary life, the industry must seek new areas for developing sound, wholesome entertainment. The people responsible for writing, drawing, printing, publishing, and selling comic books have done a commendable job in the past, and have been striving toward this goal.
Their record of progress and continuing improvement compares favorably with other media in the communications industry. An outstanding example is the development of comic books as a unique and effective tool for instruction and education. Comic books have also made their contribution in the field of letters and criticism of contemporary life.
In keeping with the American tradition, the members of this industry will and must continue to work together in the future.
In the same tradition, members of the industry must see to it that gains made in this medium are not lost and that violations of standards of good taste, which might tend toward corruption of the comic book as an instructive and wholesome form of entertainment, will be eliminated.
Therefore, the Comics Magazine Association of America, Inc. has adopted this code, and placed strong powers of enforcement in the hands of an independent code authority.
Further, members of the association have endorsed the purpose and spirit of this code as a vital instrument to the growth of the industry.
To this end, they have pledged themselves to conscientiously adhere to its principles and to abide by all decisions based on the code made by the administrator.
They are confident that this positive and forthright statement will provide an effective bulwark for the protection and enhancement of the American reading public, and that it will become a landmark in the history of self-regulation for the entire communications industry.
CODE FOR EDITORIAL MATTER
General standards—Part A
Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.
No comics shall explicitly present the unique details and methods of a crime.
Policemen, judges, Government officials and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.
If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity.
Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates a desire for emulation.
In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.
Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gunplay, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated.
No unique or unusual methods of concealing weapons shall be shown.
Instances of law-enforcement officers dying as a result of a criminal’s activities should be discouraged.
The crime of kidnapping shall never be portrayed in any detail, nor shall any profit accrue to the abductor or kidnaper. The criminal or the kidnaper must be punished in every case.
The letters of the word “crime” on a comics-magazine cover shall never be appreciably greater in dimension than the other words contained in the title. The word “crime” shall never appear alone on a cover.
Restraint in the use of the word “crime” in titles or subtitles shall be exercised.
General standards—Part B
No comic magazine shall use the word horror or terror in its title.
All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted.
All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated.
Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly, nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.
Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.
General standards—Part C
All elements or techniques not specifically mentioned herein, but which are contrary to the spirit and intent of the code, and are considered violations of good taste or decency, shall be prohibited.
Profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity, or words or symbols which have acquired undesirable meanings are forbidden.
Special precautions to avoid references to physical afflictions or deformities shall be taken.
Although slang and colloquialisms are acceptable, excessive use should be discouraged and, wherever possible, good grammar shall be employed.
Ridicule or attack on any religious or racial group is never permissible.
Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure.
Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable.
All characters shall be depicted in dress reasonably acceptable to society.
Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities.
NOTE.—It should be recognized that all prohibitions dealing with costume, dialog, or artwork applies as specifically to the cover of a comic magazine as they do to the contents.
Marriage and sex
Divorce shall not be treated humorously nor represented as desirable.
Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at nor portrayed. Violent love scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.
Respect for parents, the moral code, and for honorable behavior shall be fostered. A sympathetic understanding of the problems of love is not a license for morbid distortion.
The treatment of live-romance stories shall emphasize the value of the home and the sanctity of marriage.
Passion or romantic interest shall never be treated in such a way as to stimulate the lower and baser emotions.
Seduction and rape shall never be shown or suggested.
Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.
CODE FOR ADVERTISING MATTER
These regulations are applicable to all magazines published by members of the Comics Magazine Association of America, Inc. Good taste shall be the guiding principle in the acceptance of advertising.
Liquor and tobacco advertising is not acceptable.
Advertisement of sex or sex instruction books are unacceptable.
The sale of picture postcards, “pinups,” “art studies,” or any other reproduction of nude or seminude figures is prohibited.
Advertising for the sale of knives or realistic gun facsimiles is prohibited.
Advertising for the sale of fireworks is prohibited.
Advertising dealing with the sale of gambling equipment or printed matter dealing with gambling shall not be accepted.
Nudity with meretricious purpose and salacious postures shall not be permitted in the advertising of any product; clothed figures shall never be presented in such a way as to be offensive or contrary to good taste or morals.
To the best of his ability, each publisher shall ascertain that all statements made in advertisements conform to fact and avoid misrepresentation.
Advertisement of medical, health, or toiletry products of questionable nature are to be rejected. Advertisements for medical, health, or toiletry products endorsed by the American Medical Association, or the American Dental Association, shall be deemed acceptable if they conform with all other conditions of the Advertising Code.
Amazingly enough it was not until January 2011 that the last surviving members of the original pact, DC Comics and Archie Comics, decided to drop the Comics Code from their products. Thankfully, the code is now officially dead!
Ghosts and ghouls, this is a call to arms. The boundaries that prevented the spread of evil through comics have been lifted. The young are no longer protected by these terrible laws. It’s our duty as horror comic readers, writers, artists, and fans to create even more evil on an grander scale. If horror comics are to remain an important outlet for gruesome terror we must infect new readers and corrupt young minds. To find out more and to join me on this imperative mission visit Hallowscream.net
Fantaco’s Gore Shriek delighted in grossing-out its readers and this story is no exception
! Story and art by Greg Capullo, scripted by Bill Townsend, The Need for Speed tells the tale of a young impatient driver who gets a lesson in learning how to slow down…to a snails pace.
Hideshi Hino is a well respected manga artist who burst on to the scene during the 70’s. As well as writing novels and directing movies he is best known for his horror manga including such delights as Hell Baby & The Bug Boy along with over 400 books! Often referred to as the ‘Master of Horror’ Hideshi’s artistic style deliberately side steps the standardized manga visuals, which many have come to love/hate, where it wallows in his own unique and twisted version of manga that perfectly suit the disturbing stories he has to tell.
Lullabies from Hell is an excellent place to start if you’re looking to delve into the deranged world of Hideshi Hino. The novel comprises of 4 short stories beginning with the semi-autobiographical ‘Lullabies from Hell’ in which the author introduces himself to the reader and to his psychotic imagination. In this fantastically dark story we meet a young Hideshi, neglected and abused by his family, his sick childhood fantasies are laid bare on the pages inviting us to understand just how low the human imagination can stoop when a person is unloved and uncared for. If some of the elements in this story are true it’s no wonder the author has such a twisted imagination. It really makes you feel for the poor kid.
The cutely drawn panels suit the childish nature of the story and the grotesque sweet little bug-eyed Hideshi is freakishly likeable/pitiable. At the end of the story we catch up with the adult Hideshi Hino who has grown to become a master of horror and a ruthless killer. He addresses the reader directly and informs us that after reading the story we are destined to die in 3 days. It’s a classy end to a brilliant story and quite chilling, especially as the panel in which we see him threaten us directly is the one used on the cover of the book. For the next few days I had the author pointing at me whenever I looked at where the book was lying!
In the second story, entitled Unusual Fetus: My Baby the author takes on a story that most parents would avoid even thinking about; what if your unborn child turned out to be a monster? It’s a bold move to go where few other authors would dare to go and solidifies your belief that this guy really is a fruitcake!
The remaining 2 stories retain the themes of solitude, alienation and terror that this small collection of stories wears on its sleeve, although none as powerful as the first story we were treated to. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent work of horror manga and would be more than happy to see what else the author has to offer.
An extremely popular story straight from IPC’s Scream! Issue 7. Scripted by James Nicholas with terrifiying art from B.McCarthy & lettering by Jay Cobb. The show goes on for a wicked puppeteer after he brutally murders the man sent to stop him. However, he gets more than he bargained for as we find out who’s really pulling the strings. Ghosts and ghoulies, now showing for your pleasure, The Punch & Just Horror Show
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