Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Comic Book Man speaks...

This week on BK on the Radio, we covered four of the best scary and horrific graphic novels that you need to read. 

And here they are...



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Harpe
by Chad Crawford Kinkle and Adam Shaw
Published by Cave in Rock


Based on the story of the USA's first serial killers, this historical graphic novel is as long on the story as it is on action and violence.







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Children of the Grave
by Tom Waltz and Casey Maloney
Published by IDW Publishing


I almost took this off the list because I'm a good friend of Tom Waltz, but in the end I just couldn't. It's that good, a fantastically creepy ghost story about military incursions, terrorism, and parental issues. And Maloney's art sets the mood perfectly.

Waltz's time as a soldier really lends a realistic tone to what would otherwise be a merely supernatural tale. Not only that, he has a way of pegging both the protagonists and antagonists (I dare not say good guys and bad guys for this one) with believable stories and motives and drives.

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I Am Legend
by Richard Matheson, adapted by Steven Niles and Elman Brown
Published by IDW Publishing


At the risk of being self-indulgent, Steve Niles adaptation of I Am Legend is the stuff of legend. It's a near perfect pairing of prose and illustration. And yes, I did say "prose" not "script."

More akin to Prince Valiant than to modern comics, this version runs the text of the sci-tinged vampire tale around Brown's amazing artwork, using one to bring the other to life and back again. Even with so many words on a page, the book never becomes "heavy." Easily one of my favorite horror graphic novels ever.

However, this one is not a light, fast read, so be warned. You'll  need to carve out some quality time for this one.

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Sandman: A Doll's House
by Neil Gaiman and various artists
Published by Vertigo Comics


Ah. I've been waiting to get to this one. This is the quintessential Neil Gaiman volume for me. Coming of age tale, a girl on the run, serial killers, misnomers, dry and dark wit, humorous violence, serious violence, all wrapped up in the mystery-enigma two-sided paper from the nice wrapping paper store, not the cheap stuff you'd find at the local dollar store.

This is Gaiman hitting on all the cylinders he really nails perfectly. It's the literary equivalent of a Gypsy Rose Lee dance number -- mesmerizing, embarrassing, titillating, vulgar, and undeniably compelling.

A Doll's House is Gaiman at his best, at his most at ease with himself as a storyteller.

To say more would be to spoil it, so I'll add just this: So many of the favorite Sandman characters to come appear in this volume, so it should not be missed -- yet it stands by itself beautifully even if you've never read any other Sandman volume.