Monday, March 28, 2011

Spellbound by Sturges and Kaluta


Originally Published: “House of Mystery" (2008 series) issue 20, DC Comics, Vertigo imprint Feb 2010

Script: Matthew Sturges

Pencils: Michael Wm. Kaluta

Inks: Michael Wm. Kaluta

Colors: Lee Loughridge

Letters: Todd Klein

Editor: Angela Rufino

Cover Art to ‘House of Mystery (2008)’ #20: Esao Andrews

Greater Comics Database Link:

Submitted by: Harris Smith (Negative Pleasure Blog)

I have W.W. Jacobs monkey's paw under my bed.

Not the infamous short story that warns us to be careful what we wish for.

No, I have the actual genie-in-a-dead-simians-claw wrapped up in an old copy of 'House of Mystery' issue 267.

I had two wishes. It heard me.

Wish number one was that I could find a Kaluta-illustrated story that I would be comfortable plopping into my list of 'Best Horror Comic Stories Ever'.

Wish number two was that I could find a really good recent horror comic story that I would be comfortable plopping into my list of 'Best Horror Comic Stories Ever'.

And wish number three... well, we'll get to that in awhile...

I'm a HUGE 'House of Mystery' fan. When the new series came out in 2008, I ventured back into the old comic shop and happily picked up the first five issues. It was good, but well...

It wasn't as good as 'Hellblazer' (but then again, what is?). Those were the last issues I bought.

The blogosphere is a pretty cool place. I couldn't find a story that featured M.W. Kaluta to feature in my 'Best Horror Comic Stories' but maybe I could honor him with a cover. Kaluta's highly intricate and detailed style made for pretty amazing covers. It was during this search that I happened across "Spellbound" in Harris Smith's 'Negative Pleasure' blog.

I love thralls.

There, I said it. Mr. Sturges has made a great new monster archetype. That's what horror stories are y'know? An archetype with a morality lesson tossed in. A ghost story is the consequence of murder. 'Frankenstein' is scientific hubris. 'The Monkey's Paw' is being careful what you wish for. 'Little Red Riding Hood' is don't wander off into the woods with wolfish boys.

And thralls? Thralls are the siren lure to lose yourself, forget your troubles and just let go. But when you pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile, don't get too close to the Abyss. When you run too far from your worldly concerns, you enter the 'other' world. And they can make it all go away... After all, wasn't that what you wanted?

Oh, and my third wish?

Make this a movie.

I've got a monkey's paw with two fingers down, Hollywood.

Don't make me use it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

All Hallows

“All Hallows”

Originally Published: “Twisted Tales” issue 1, Pacific Comics, Nov 1982

Script: Bruce Jones

Pencils: Tim Conrad

Inks: Tim Conrad

Colors: Steve Oliff

Letters: Carrie McCarthy

Cover Art to ‘Twisted Tales’ #1: Richard Corben

Greater Comics Database Link:

All Hallows Image

It wasn't supposed to be like this...

11 submissions and 3 scripted by Bruce Jones. When I started this examination of the best horror comics, I knew 'Jenifer' would be there. 'Yellow Heat' made a lot of other lists, so I felt obliged to include it for shock value alone. But "All Hallows"?

Jones does something amazing with 'All Hallows'. Oh sure, there's the 'Big Payoff' that you see coming from a mile off. No, the devil here is in the details. It's the treatment of the classic supernatural revenge tale. In 1982 Bruce Jones knew the youth of America were being desensitized to violence and pointed towards shopping malls.

God was now spelled GDP.

I'm extrapolating, but there is an eerie detachment from reality that 30 years haven't seem to fix. Maybe as Mr. Jones postulated, we are ALL HALLOW after all...