Book Review – It Devours! by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

Summary

Welcome to Night Vale . . . a friendly desert community somewhere in the American Southwest, where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are parts of everyday life.

Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town. Nilanjana and Darryl must search for common ground between their very different world views as they are faced with the Congregation’s darkest and most terrible secret.

ItDevours!

It Devours!? Oh yeah, I’ve read that book. It’s the second novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor based on their popular serial fiction podcast Welcome to Night Vale. The book was released on October 17, 2017, and as a big fan of the podcast I had been eagerly awaiting it for a while. When the first novel came out — simply titled Welcome to Night Vale — I was cautiously excited. While I loved the audio show, its translation to the novel format was untested. The first book had a few hiccups, but I think it turned out quite well. With the debut book out of the way, proving their narrative world had legs in the medium, my expectations of a second book to do a little more with the setting grew.Read More »

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TV Series Review – Stranger Things 2

IMDB Summary

In a small town where everyone knows everyone, a peculiar incident starts a chain of events that leads to the disappearance of a child – which begins to tear at the fabric of an otherwise peaceful community. Dark government agencies and seemingly malevolent supernatural forces converge on the town while a few locals begin to understand that there’s more going on than meets the eye.

Set in Hawkins in the fall of 1984, the story continues as supernatural forces once again begin to affect the town.

StrangerThings2Poster

Stranger Things season two — or “Stranger Things 2” — is the second season of the supernatural drama series produced by Netflix, released on October 27, 2017. It came as a surprise to me that I didn’t actually review season one last year. I actually had to double check. Nevertheless, like many others, I was swept away by season one’s amazing cast, intriguing story, and nostalgic style. I was born in the 90s, so I’m not as emotionally attached to the 80s the way other people are, but a lot of it still resonated with me. Even if I wasn’t as into Stephen King books or Spielberg movies when I was a kid, the themes, concepts, and even just window dressing populated the media of my childhood.Read More »

Comic Book Review – Uzumaki by Junji Ito

Summary

Kurôzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It manifests itself in everything from seashells and whirlpools in water to the spiral marks on people’s bodies, the insane obsessions of Shuichi’s father and the voice from the cochlea in our inner ear. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurôzu-cho are pulled ever deeper into a whirlpool from which there is no return!

Uzumaki

Uzumaki is a horror manga (Japanese comic book) written and illustrated by Junji Ito. It was originally published serially in the weekly manga magazine Big Comic Spirits from 1998 to 1999. The book I am reviewing is a hardcover omnibus edition that was published in 2013. While I read comic books pretty regularly, lately I tend to avoid reviewing them. After completing Uzumaki, however, I knew I was going to make an exception. Most other comic books I read are beholden or connected to storylines that come before them, as well as others happening simultaneously. This book, however, is self-contained, telling a complete story.Read More »

Book Review – Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, edited by Christopher Golden

Summary

Sixteen of the biggest names in weird literature come together to pay tribute to Hellboy and the characters of Mike Mignola’s award-winning line of books! Assembled by Joe Golem and Baltimore co-writer Christopher Golden and featuring illustrations by Mike Mignola and Chris Priestley, the anthology boasts sixteen original stories by the best in horror, fantasy, and science fiction, including Seanan McGuire (October Daye series), Chelsea Cain (Heartsick), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger series), and more! The new writer of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., iZombie co-creator Chris Roberson, pitches in as well, and Chris Priestley (Tales of Terror) provides a story and an illustration!

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrors

Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, released on August 29, 2017, is the latest anthology of Hellboy short stories, once again edited by Christopher Golden. It’s funny the way things have turned out, with me having jumped to reading the newest one after having just gone through the first one back in August. When I read Odd Jobs the experience came as a great surprise. I picked it up as a novelty, wanting to see how a change in medium would feel for the character and the world, not expecting how much I’d love it. This precise experience is not something that could happen a second time. I’d been curious of how well a new collection would fare, considering it is now the fourth one produced and long after the first.Read More »

Movie Review – It (2017)

Summary

Seven young outcasts in Derry, Maine, are about to face their worst nightmare — an ancient, shape-shifting evil that emerges from the sewer every 27 years to prey on the town’s children. Banding together over the course of one horrifying summer, the friends must overcome their own personal fears to battle the murderous, bloodthirsty clown known as Pennywise.

ItPoster

It is a 2017 supernatural horror film directed by Andy Muschietti, adapting the well-known Stephen King novel of the same name. While It could be an intimidating tome to even an avid reader, the book was also adapted back in 1990 into a miniseries starring Tim Curry as the titular creature, which cemented the story further into popular culture. The 2017 film is the first time I’ve actually experienced any version of the story for myself, yet going in I had a firm understanding of it through osmosis. It’s a tale that’s hung around the periphery of my life ever since I noticed the massive hardcover on my dad’s bookshelf when I was a child.Read More »

Book Review – Hellboy: Odd Jobs edited by Christopher Golden

Summary

In 1994, Mike Mignola created one of the most unique and visually arresting comics series to ever see print: Hellboy. Tens of thousands have followed the exploits of “the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator” in comics form, and in the novel, Hellboy: The Lost Army, written by Christopher Golden. Now, fans of the comic can enjoy the world of Hellboy as seen through the eyes of some of today’s best writers.

HellboyOddJobs

Hellboy: Odd Jobs is a 1999 anthology of Hellboy short stories edited by Christopher Golden. It gathers noted horror writers of the time to tell their own stories about the character, including a story by the duo of Golden and creator Mike Mignola, as well as a special cartoon by Gahan Wilson. The book presented a new opportunity for me: I haven’t ever read a book of prose adapting a comic book character before. Novel and comic book spin-off of movies and TV series are quite common, but novels and short stories supplementing comic book series doesn’t seem nearly as prominent. It felt a little risky. Hellboy is strongly defined by Mignola’s iconic art style. With that absent, save for a single illustration at the start of each story, I wondered how well these authors could capture the spirit of the character.Read More »

Book Review – Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Summary

Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, twenty-two-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George—publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide—and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite—heir to the estate that owned Atticus’s great grandmother—they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.

LovecraftCountryCover

Lovecraft Country is a 2016 horror novel by Matt Ruff, which I have been looking forward to reading for quite some time. I enjoy otherworldly forces and eldritch beings, but what especially drew me in was how this book appeared to be marrying these ideas with a real-world source of fear and suffering (as most good horror does). In this case, it is the world of Jim Crow America from the perspective on an ensemble cast of characters from two Black American families.Read More »

Movie Review – It Comes At Night

IMDB Summary

Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son, but this will soon be put to test when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.

ItComesAtNightPoster

It Comes At Night is a 2017 psychological horror film written and directed by Trey Edward Shults. It was a movie I’d heard little about going in, other than a trailer and the look of the poster. It was the title along with the poster (above) that particularly enticed me. What I got from the movie wasn’t what I expected.Read More »

A Brief Retrospective on Hellboy

This contains major spoilers for the main Hellboy series

Late last week I finally accomplished what I’d set out to do about six months ago: I finished reading all twelve volumes of Hellboy by Mike Mignola. It’s a series I’d been slogging through for the past six years, barely acquiring and reading a volume each year, if that. I started over again with volume one, Seed of Destruction, back in October and went from there. This isn’t a review of the series, but a personal look back on and it sharing some feelings I have about it as a whole, having read them all as close together as I could manage.Read More »

Mighty Thursday #21: House of Penance

House of Penance

By Peter J. Tomasi (Story & Words), Ian Bertram (Art), Dave Stewart (Colours); Dark Horse Comics; 2017

houseofpenancescan

Summary

A horrific story of a haunted house and one woman’s mission to wash away the blood curse of her husband’s invention from claiming her own life and soul.

This is a tale about guilt, ghosts, and guns…of how fortune brings misfortune, as a grim and determined woman oversees the construction of a house twenty-four hours a day for twenty years with the simple motto of keep busy building or get busy dying.Read More »