Archive for Joe R. Lansdale

Goin’ Down to Dunwich

The Dunwich Horror #1

This adaptation of one of H.P. Lovecraft’s most popular stories is written by horror writer Joe R. Lansdale, which is definitely a step in the right direction. It’s a fairly loose adaptation of the story — for one thing, it’s set in 2011, not in the 1930s. We’re focused on a group of friends getting back together after another friend has been killed and beheaded by persons unknown. But the friends know who the culprit is — an otherworldly, invisible horror who they all summoned in a ritual a long time ago. It’s loose now and stalking them, and the only way to avoid being eventually torn apart by the monster is to find it and send it back where it came from. They’ve probably got quite a task in front of them — a local barn has been blown apart by the thing, and it’s stacked up a gigantic pile of dead, bloody animals that it’s partially eaten. And since it’s invisible, they have no idea if it’s far away, or if it’s getting closer and closer…

There’s also a backup feature — an adaptation of Lovecraft’s “The Hound” by Robert Weinberg and a guy called menton3. I couldn’t actually make heads nor tails of it, primarily because the lettering was tiny and crabbed and just plain too much trouble to read.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yeah, I didn’t get much out of “The Hound,” and it’s a bit odd to see an adaptation of “The Dunwich Horror” that doesn’t start out with Wilbur Whateley and his awful, awful family, but I’m still enjoying what I see. There are enough elements from the original story for me to recognize, and I’ve got enough faith in Joe Lansdale that I expect he won’t steer the story wrong.

Wonder Woman #2

We get to meet Hera — queenly, haughty, hates Zeus, hates his consorts worse — and Strife — skinny, gothy, devious, chaos-loving — before we move to Wonder Woman, arriving on Paradise island with Hermes and Zola. They meet Hippolyta and engage in a tournament — but when Strife herself pays a visit to the island, all bets are off. What secret is the goddess of chaos and discord hiding?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The whole thing is quite nicely done, with great writing, great art, lots of action, intrigue, suspense, and weird stuff. I’m digging this quite a bit.

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Lone Star Horror


Pigeons from Hell #1

Right here, we got a horror comic with a Texas pedigree.

It’s based on a classic and extremely creepy story by Robert E. Howard. He’s best known as the creator of fantasy heroes like Conan the Barbarian, Kull the Conqueror, and Solomon Kane, but Howard wrote a lot of horror, too. He corresponded with horror legend H.P. Lovecraft and wrote quite a few stories in the Cthulhu Mythos. He was a Texan, too — the guy who created Conan the Barbarian lived in a little town called Cross Plains, down in Callahan County.

And this comic is written by another Texan with tons of experience writing horror — Joe R. Lansdale. He lives in Nacogdoches, and he’s written some of the weirdest, creepiest stories I’ve read. He helped create the splatterpunk genre, and he’s penned a bunch of horror/Western combos. He’s already written his fair share of comics, including a Conan miniseries and several series about Jonah Hex. I discovered his stuff back when I first hit the post-Stephen-King period of my horror-readin’, right about the same time as I stumbled across Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood” and the classic zombie anthology “The Book of the Dead.” So seeing Howard’s and Lansdale’s names on the cover promises me some classic pulp horror and modern pulp horror all wrapped up into one gory knot.

So aaaaanyway… This comic isn’t a direct adaptation of Howard’s “Pigeons from Hell” — it’s updated to the present day, starring a couple of sisters, Claire and Janet Blassenville, descendants of slaves and new inheritors of an old Louisiana plantation. They’ve brought along three friends to check out their new property, and what they find is a filthy, decaying wreck of a mansion, infested with thousands of pigeons. What were the stories the Blassenville sisters used to hear about pigeons as the souls of the damned escaping Hell? Probably nothing, right?

Well, one of their friends gets injured, and when they try to get him to a hospital, they lose control of the car and drive it into a lake. Nowhere else to turn, so they go back to the mansion. Did they see someone inside the house? Why is it so ice-cold when it’s the middle of summer? What’s stirring out in the local graveyard?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I am loving this one.

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