October is here, and with it the Halloween season. While I enjoy science fiction, fantasy and the related genres I am first and foremost a horror nerd. So much so I have even dabbled in writing horror fiction and managed to get a few pieces published. From an early age I was drawn to these stories, even before I even understood the ‘horror’ label. A long ago time, Halloween was the easiest season to seek out these stories. Horror films were on TV nearly every night. I remember setting the VCR in the living room to record these intense features I knew my parents would not want me to watch and finding time later to view them. Two that stick out vividly were IT and the original Nightmare on Elm Street. IT was a TV movie and Nightmare on Elm Street was censored for TV, but as a lad in elementary school these were intense features. Many of these early horror icons, still surive and many take their purest forms in comics.
This limited series comic is a bitter sweet little treat. The script is based upon the film treatment that was bounced around after the success of Freddy vs. Jason. The events begin with the survivors of Freddy vs. Jason, using them to introduce Ash (quite cleverly) and a new cast of kids. The story revolves around Freddy using Jason to retrieve the Necronomicon to live again. Ash is also in search of the book. Carnage ensues.
If this film had come to fruition it would have had great potential. The respective franchises are respected, without delving into accidental parody. In interest of complete disclosure I was never a fan of Jason and was only lukewarm on Freddy’s films. The Ash portrayed here is more akin to Evil Dead 2, rather than Army of Darkness. He is a clear hero, but takes incredibly abuse.
The artwork by Jason Craig is effective. He balances the gritty real world elements well with the absurdity of the extreme levels of violence. The action is brisk and clear, If these had been story boards this could have been amazing.
What could have been but never will be. For fans of either franchise I recommend this read to see how the series could have ended, before the inevitably reboots. For those less or unfamiliar with the franchises you will probably have your interest piqued. Also of note, avoid Freddy vs Jason vs Ash 2 Nightmare warriors. You have been warned.
Tim Seely’s Hack/Slash series in the definitive horror homage comic period. Using the world and conventions of early horror films Tim Seely then created the characters of Cassie Hack and Vlad. This unlikely duo move across the country in a Scoobie Dooesque van hunting down ‘slashers.’ Slasher is the term for the reanimated killers that populate Seely’s world. Hack/Slash’s greatest strength lies in the characters of Vlad and Cassie. Seely’s Cassie and Vlad are fully formed characters that grow over the course of the series, working toward a definitive end to their adventure together. I’d recommend starting at the beginning of the series, but if you just need a Halloween fix, you should pick up the Friday the 31st and Reanimation Games collections. These trade feature Cassie and Vlad facing off against Chucky and Herbert West from the Re-Animator series. While this may smell of cheesy crossover sales bait, these stories are great, because Cassie and Vlad already belong in these worlds. Herbert West’s guest shot is once of the strongest stories in the series entire run. My one and only beef with this series is the over sexual images of Cassie. This is especially problematic as she is a teeen when the story begins. In fact I resisted this book for years, because the covers made it look like cheesy T n’ A and little else.
Last on our list is Zenescope’s Grimm Tales of Terror. This is another book that I initially dismissed as junky T n’ A, but on a fluke I picked it up and found a very cool anthology series with a feel similar to the old Tales From the Crypt books. This is the only book on our list that is still running and you should definitely pick it up on your next trip to your local comic shop. The book is a clear homage to traditional horror conventions, but much like the Tales From the Crypt tv show finds ways to subvert our expectations while never trashing the source material. This is a tricky feet to accomplish, but one that is pulled off with much gusto here.
So what do you think? What are your favorite Halloween Horror Comics? Let me know below.
Coming Soon The Fanboy’s Halloween Guide; Part Three Less Violent Films