Archive for Pigeons from Hell

The Lurking Horror


H.P. Lovecraft’s Haunt of Horror #2

More of Lovecraft’s stories and poetry re-imagined in comic format by brilliant horror illustrator Richard Corben. We open with “The Music of Erich Zann,” retold in a fairly straightforward fashion. After that, Lovecraft’s poem “The Canal” gets reinterpreted into a nightmarish saga of a horrible flood, and HPL’s poem “The Lamp” becomes a story about explorers in a defiled Egyptian tomb.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I didn’t start out liking this one as much as I liked the previous issue, but on slower re-reading, there’s more stuff I actually enjoy here. There’s the perfect decayed city architecture that Lovecraft preferred, there’s the creepy textual version of Zann’s music, the transcription of the modern nightmare of post-Katrina New Orleans, the invisible menace freed from the crypt. This is beautiful work, simultaneously subtle and gory. If you love horror, especially Lovecraftian cosmic horror, go get this comic.


Locke and Key #6

In the finale of this series, psychotic Sam Lesser has the upper hand, with Tyler Locke under the gun, his mother and cousin locked in the wine cellar, and sister Kinsey clubbed into unconsciousness. Sam is after a couple of mystical keys — the same keys the spirit in the well wants Bode Locke to find. Bode goes through the magic door that turns him into a ghost so he can find the keys — once he gives the “Anywhere Key” to the spirit, she takes it, walks out a door, and vanishes. Meanwhile, Tyler tries to get away from Sam, falls against the “ghost door” and, as far as Sam can tell, dies. Is there going to be any way to stop Sam before he kills the rest of the family, too?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A good mix of suspense, mundane chase/action sequences, and extremely creepy weirdness. I wish we’d seen a bit more about the family’s ancestral home, the Keyhouse, as it looked like it’d make for a wonderful haunted house. There’s also word that there’s a new series on the way toward the end of the year.


Pigeons from Hell #4

The Blassenville sisters and the sheriff return to the old plantation to do battle against the horror inside. After that, there’s a great deal of chaos.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I’ve been loving this series, but the final chapter just doesn’t measure up. And I gotta put the blame on the artwork. It’s just too dark, too muddy, too confusing. I read the original story, so I should have a pretty good idea about what’s going on here, but I just couldn’t keep track of what was going on.

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Fear Itself

It’s been too long since we looked at any horror comics, ain’t it?


Pigeons from Hell #3

Joe R. Lansdale’s adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s classic horror story continues, as the Blassenville sisters and the roaming sheriff make a narrow escape from the old haunted plantation mansion. Whatever’s inside doesn’t follow them, but they can’t simply leave — they have a friend who may still be trapped in the house. So they retreat to a nearby shack, where an ancient hoodoo man spins them the tales of the old house’s horrific history. Will knowing the house’s secrets help them fight the evil spirit inside? Or is it too strong for anyone to withstand?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good and creepy, and excellent suspense as well.


B.P.R.D.: The Ectoplasmic Man

This is essentially the origin story of Johann Kraus, the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense’s resident disembodied medium. Back in 2002, the story goes, he was leading a seance, assumed an ectoplasmic form to commune with the spirit world, and inadvertently became part of a global supernatural disaster that destroyed thousands of spirits — the psychic feedback killed Kraus’ body and the other participants in the seance, but left Kraus as a bodiless ectoplasmic spirit. But soon, he discovers a new menace in a nearby cemetery, a demon that feeds on the souls of the recently deceased. But how can an intangible ghost stop such a powerful demon?

Verdict: Another thumbs up. A wonderful done-in-one story that adds quite a bit to Kraus’ backstory. The demon is nicely monstrous, and Johann’s solution to the problem, while entirely predictable for anyone who knows the character now, is still done very well.

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Farewell to a Master


Countdown to Mystery #8

In our first story, Eclipso is defeated by the Spectre in a fairly neat fashion — Crispus Allen, the Spectre’s host, convinces Bruce Gordon, Eclipso’s host, to surrender. But listen, no one really cares about that one, nice though it is. The big news is the Dr. Fate story. The previous chapters were written by the late Steve Gerber. It looks like he didn’t finish the script, so instead, DC asked Mark Waid, Mark Evanier, Gail Simone, and Adam Beechen to each write the final chapter the way they thought Gerber would have finished it up. They’re all pretty good, but I think I prefer Simone’s ending.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Dr. Fate story really does end up being excellent, but I would’ve loved to see what Gerber had planned for the finale.


Pigeons from Hell #2

Second issue of this wonderfully creepy adaptation by Texan Joe R. Lansdale of a classic horror tale by Texan Robert E. Howard. I recommended y’all read the story last month, and I’m gonna go ahead and recommend it again — it’s good ghoulish fun. In this issue, the stranded friends have to spend the night in the creepy old mansion, but when one of them goes upstairs to check on some noises… Well, let’s just say when he comes back downstairs, he’s not right in the head. All that, plus creepy ghosts, a horrific murder, and more blood and gore than you’ll be able to believe.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A great writer adapting a story by a great writer. And the art, which I was a bit iffy on last month, is really hitting its stride now. I’m very enthusiastic about this comic now.

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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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