Tales from the Darkside is the more obscure Tales from the Crypt for those that don’t remember the mid to late 1980s. The horror anthology was created by George Romero in 1983 and ran until 1990, spawning Crypt and other impersonators and a feature film. A few years ago, a potential revival was pitched, and Joe Hill was brought in to work on the first five episodes. Hill’s work and family attachment to the project (His father contributed several stories to the show and to the film.) made him the obvious choice. While the project never got off the ground, IDW decided to partner with Hill again and bring those scripts to the still-passionate Locke & Key fans. Despite the best “graphic novel” treatment, it’s difficult for the story to not feel like you’re reading a half-baked film treatment.
I have a deeply personal connection to Wendy and Richard Pini’s ElfQuest series. Decades have passed since I was a young kid that discovered a collection at the library. Their version of elves was a breath of fresh air next to series like Dragonlance and Lord of the Rings. These elves are marginalized, forced to be nomadic, and more tribal rather than being an aloof and magical race. On top of the (at the time) unusual take on elves, the art was so impactful that I still have entire panels etched into my mind, even after all this time. The enduring nature of the series is understandable, and each new collection is a reminder of just how luminary the series really is.
Occasionally, a comic makes you step away from it for a bit. You turn the last page, set the book down, and have to walk away. Maybe sleep on it. Mull it over while you shower. And then, you pick it up again and read it cover to cover. Aleister & Adolf is one of those books. It’s impossible to read it to the end and not want to comb through it again to pick up the pieces you missed. There are moments of genuine horror, revelations, and simply strange moments that are difficult to contextualize. Whether that makes the book good or not will vary wildly, but unlike most books, Aleister & Adolf will foster an internal debate, something most comics simply can’t do.
Clive Barker’s contribution to horror is difficult to understate. His invention of Hellraiser alone puts him in the horror hall of fame. Sadly, most people aren’t familiar with his other work. Outside a few tepidly received films like Lord of Illusions and Midnight Meat Train, his work is generally more of an undercurrent - informing countless other works, but remaining slightly low key on its own. His books are typically massive tomes, which can scare off readers. The Great and Secret Show is a fantastic book, but it is dense at 670-odd pages. Using the word “overwrought” to describe his books wouldn’t gather many arguments. As it turns out, his voluminous novels might just be meant to transition into comics.
With the influx of comic properties hitting pop culture in earnest over the last decade and a half, finding a way to introduce a massive, new audience to the medium became essential. Enter the proliferation of the omnibus edition. What started as the equivalent of a 101 textbook to comics became a way to compile old series for long-time fans. Image Comics has begun to print out omnibus editions of most of their series, including current runs. While the wait can be arduous, they are well worth it. The seventh volume of Savage Dragon Archives holds nearly 600 pages of Erik Larsen’s Dragon, hearkening back all the way to 2009, is yet another example of how Image is catering to readers, and continuing to celebrate one of its most iconic (although somewhat obscure) characters.
Given the popularity of 1920s and 1930s-era America, due mostly to F. Scott Fitzgerald and flappers fashion, it’s no surprise that the interest in pulp novels has remained steady, if not somewhat overlooked at times. That is what made Titan Comics' announcement of their “Hard Case Crime” imprint so enticing. While most noir-style crime books now simply lift the aesthetic into a more modern era, the Walter Hill-inspired book, Triggerman, looked to be 1930s gangland in its purest form, and it absolutely delivered, although not always to its credit.