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September 13, 2009

Decapitated Dan’s Dark Delights

deacpitateddan

Hey there Boils and Ghouls. HAHA. Oh come on you knew I was going to do it. So what’s this column all about? Well I happen to take on one too many books to review and this is a place where I will share them with you. The books are 98% Horror related but every now and then I will dip into other categories. Don’t expect to see many mainstream titles here. When I say mainstream I mean DC or Marvel. This is a place to showcase the little guys. The ones who are out there doing what they love and trying to share it with you. If you like what you read, cool – get in touch with me or the creators and grab a copy because you won’t find them in Diamond. Typically I will post 5-8 reviews. For a while you will get some older reviews as I catch this awesome, new site up with where I am currently at. Plus I may ramble a bit here or there about what’s going on with the horror scene. You can catch the reviews on the 13 and 26 of each month. If you see me in between, you’re lucky because there is something extra rotten that I have to share with you.

So enough stalling and let’s open the dungeon of reviews. This week we have Minister Sinister #1, When Drive-In’s Attack #4, Electric Frankenstein #1, Bane of the Werewolf #1, Book of Legion #1, American Sinner, GoreGoyles #1 and Betsy Mae Bite #1.

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Title and issue: Minister Sinister #1
Writer:
Mike Hoffman
Pencils:
Mike Hoffman
Colors:
Mike Hoffman
Letters:
Mike Hoffman
Publisher:
Eye Bank Comics
Release Date:
March 2009
Price:
$3.95
Pages:
22

Over on indyplanet.com you can find a lot of really decent and original horror and monster comics. Minister Sinister is one of those books that just has this vibe that screams old school. Just looking at the black and white pages makes me think of Tales From the Crypt and Creepy. Just a great overall look to the book.

Minister Sinister follows the story of a world like ours where love and kindness are running rampant, and a group of evil ministers have had it. Their top scientists have found a way to transport one of their own to our planet and find the worst of mankind, so they can be sent back and put on their planet to try and balance out the good. This is where our miscreant Minister Sinister comes into play.

Artwork: 4.5 out of 5
Like I mentioned before. This screams 70’s to me and love it. Some drawings were a little off but that’s minor when you compare it to the whole. I could really just look at the art and know I got what I paid for.

Story: 4 out of 5
The story follows a nice steady path on how Sinister looks for what he thinks is evil. It does flow well, very little confusion. As a first issue it does build up well. I will say some parts made me go back a few pages to make sure I understood what was going on, but by the end I was left on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was next.

Dying Breath: 4.5 out of 5
Mike Hoffman has been doing books for a while now. If you have not seen anything of his before, stop waiting and go check some out. Minister Sinister has 2 things going for it: Solid Artwork and a Solid Story. I just hope that you can take a chance and check this or one of his other books out.

Minister Sinister #1 is available for sale on www.indyplanet.com
For more on Mike Hoffman please go to www.mikehoffman.com

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Writer: Rich Stahnke
Pencils: Rich Stahnke, Chris Moreno, Brian Wisniewski, Douglas Draper Jr.
Letters: Kel Nuttall
Colors: Rich Stahnke
Publisher: Tin Star Studios
Release Date: May 2009

When Drive-Ins Attack! #4 kinda took me by surprise. The description of the title – “An anthology series featuring stories inspired by grindhouse cinema” – really didn’t sell to me what I was in for. Now if it said “great B-Movie in comic book form” I would have been more prepared. Now I should mention I have not read #’s 1-3 yet, but #4 was easily accessible. I was brought into a brand new story that just had me hooked from the first page.

Artwork: 4.5 out of 5
Starting with the main story “The Pack,” I think Stahnke did a good job. Very easy to follow. Nothing was confusing, I knew what was what. The only downside to me was I thought it was too bright, the colors didn’t bring me into the atmosphere of the story. The main standouts though for the art are the Vintage style posters (which should be for sale so I can get one). I mean from my graphic designer stand point they are just phenomenal. The best part is I don’t have a favorite. Each is great in it’s own way!

Story: 5 out of 5
Like I mentioned already. I was not expecting this type of story to come from this book. You would think writing like this should come from Marvel or DC. The interactions might not read to your average comic reader as good, but to someone who has seen way too many bad horror movies, this is nailed right on the head. Flat out great. The ending of the story was the definite selling point. Then on top of the story you get the humor of the Mock posters. A solid 5 out of 5.

Dying Breath: 4.8 out of 5
The only reason I am not giving this the full 5 out of 5 is because I wanted more. When I say that, I mean when I here anthology I typically think 2 or more stories. But the writing is solid, the art is spectacular, and the whole package is worth every penny. Now I have to go and get my hands on #’s 1-3. Well done guys. I will be coming back to the Drive In.

All four issues are on sale at www.indyplanet.com
For more info on When Drive-In’s Attack please go to http://tinstarstudios.blogspot.com/

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Writer: Mike Hoffman
Pencils: Mike Hoffman
Letters: Mike Hoffman
Colors: Mike Hoffman
Publisher: Eye Bank Comics

Release Date: March 2009

Electric Frankenstein is a fun Monster/Humor comic. It follows our man Frank as he deals with the crisis of his bride wanting to have…CHILDREN! The only way to solve the problem is to find the Doctor and have him create them the same way he made Frank. What lies within these pages is a nice fun read that reminds me of the Elvira style books Claypool put out.

Artwork: 4.5 out of 5
Now it might be because I am becoming a big Mike Hoffman fan, but his artwork just makes me want to read his books. This one is no exception. The story flows nicely. Facial expressions tend to be a bit obscure here and there, but the scene in general reads right. Not to mention the eye candy presented with his renditions of the Bride. Overall, great art.

Story: 4 out of 5
While the story follows a steady path, I wanted more. A book like this makes me want a collection of funny Frank stories, rather than just one. But it is solid overall. I went with a 4 on it only because it’s not thought provoking, but it left me just satisfied and I would read more if it were offered.

Dying Breath: 4 out of 5
Mike Hoffman tells a solid story here with artwork that matches the style. Adams Family and Munsters fans, a book like this is right up your alley. It takes a step aside from the normal “Frankenstein is going to kill you” routine and delivers. So if you’re looking for that fun book that not everyone else is creating, this one is worth taking a look at.

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Writer: Rob E. Brown
Pencils: Rob E. Brown
Letters: Rob E. Brown
Colors: Rob E. Brown
Publisher: Silver Phoenix Entertainment
Release Date: April 2009

Wow! That was so much more than the preview pages could even make it appear to be. Welcome to the world created by horror aficionado, Rob E. Brown. He explains on the back inside cover of the book his love of the genre and what he has attempted to create with Bane of the Werewolf. A love of Creepy and Eerie can easily be seen here.

A nice first issue introduces you to the world of Eliphas Moreau, a Roma (gypsy) who was born into a world of privilege until he was taken by Gypsies and raised in their world of mystical wonder. I won’t give anything away here, but from the first few pages I was hooked. This book was meant to convey that old style of horror and it does a marvelous job.

Artwork: 3.5 out of 5
The artwork is beautiful from page to page, but it is not what stands out here. While the emotions of the scenes are depicted well, I feel the inking was overdone. I did have to really look at some panels to know what was going on. But by no means did it take away from the whole atmosphere of the book.

Story: 5 out of 5
This is what you buy it for, 22 pages of this book is like a mini novel. I think it took me around 30+ minutes to read it and I was sad when it was over. Why do I have to wait for more? Rob really knows the genre well and is able to convey it so perfectly. Full of the great monster elements that I love to read about (the black arts, wired sci-fi experiments). Nice touches really sell it as a whole package that you cannot be disappointed about; I know I wasn’t.

Dying Breath: 4.25 out of 5
Overall you’re getting more than what you paid for with this book. If you ask me, anything you pay under $4 for that gives you that much story is worth it. Fans of the older horror books who didn’t get this, go now! It’s right up your alley. Those of you who know little to nothing about the older magazines, grab this and see what you missed out on. It’s better than paying $30 for that early issue of Creepy. Decent art and a solid story makes me wish it didn’t end. At least Haven picked up this gem and it will still be distributed, so go and tell your comic shops and dealers to get your copy ordered today. You will not be disappointed (unless you like more pictures in your comics than words, I guess.)

For more information on Bane of the Werewolf go to http://www.baneofthewerewolf.com/ and http://www.silverphoenix.net/
Don’t forget to have your comic dealer get you copies through Haven Distribution. If you need a guy please let me know.

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Writers: Ryan Mojica, Freebird Hayes, Reverend Thomas Thorn
Pencils: Ryan Mojica, James Helkowski
Letters: Michelle Kruse
Colors: Michelle Kruse, Ryan Mojica
Publisher: Legion Studios
Release Date: July 2007
Review by: Decapitated Dan Royer (puyaybusto)

The Book of Legion #1 is an anthology book unlike any I have ever read before. Within these pages were three stories that, in my opinion, were not told from a scary/horror sense but instead a more satanic point of view. Now, there is nothing wrong with that at all. Just something I personally had never encountered in a horror style comic book. While it was a different angle, I want to read more (good thing there is a #2 already out).

Artwork: 3.8 out of 5
It’s hard to judge artwork on an anthology. One story can be great while the next one makes you say to yourself “What the Hell is that?” Luckily in this case I felt it was all very solid work. The cartoonish style by Mojica was very pleasing and easy to follow. I did enjoy the breakup of the art styles though with Helkowski contributing to The Battle story. Overall, very nice complimenting styles. Then on He Who Laughs Last, it’s a nice breakup from the typical comic style to a paragraph story with pictures to accompany the scene.

Story: 4 out of 5
The Book of Legion contained 3 stories. The Battle, The Smell and He Who Laughs Last. One thing that stood out to me was the way the stories flowed together. We have one main storyteller reading from the Book of Legion, but when one story ends it flows back to the story teller and then into the next story. It’s really seamless and different, there is no start and stop and it works so well. The stories are well written and original. The Smell to me pulled itself away from the other two as it progressed, by diving deeper and deeper into a man’s thoughts as he tries to recall a certain aroma that keeps eluding him. Just the way it was told from his internal monologue as it drove him into madness. Very nice.

Dying Breath: 4 out of 5
Overall The Book of Legion was original and different from the other anthologies I have read. The points of view and the main direction the stories came from make it stand out from the pack of similar books. I think you get more than your money’s worth here, but I don’t think it appeals to everyone and that is kind of the drawback to it. Bottom line is, if you like a good Horror Anthology book, and who really doesn’t, give it a chance. These guys know what they are doing and I was not disappointed at all.

For more info on The Book of Legion please go to http://www.legionsden.com/. You can also order copies on www.indyplanet.com

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Writer: Glenn Møane
Pencils: Edson Alves
Cover: Edson Alves, Alzir Aves
Inks: Marcelo Dantas, Ebson Alves
Publisher: Glenn Møane
Release Date: April 2009
Review by: Decapitated Dan Royer (puyaybusto)

Before I start I want to mention that this book deals with some very adult material.

American Sinner takes the subject of a serial killer and shows it in a very real, disturbing light. Sure there are books out there that dive into the mind of a killer, but this one explores the mind of a Snuff Film creator. Where you might typically see a guy being angry or demented and killing people, here you meet a character named Frank who only sees killing as a way to make money. He has no conscience telling him right from wrong in what he is doing other than how to make some cash and get away with it. He also has to deal with a moron for a partner as he makes sure that he can keep him on track when things start to go wrong.

Artwork: 3.5 out of 5
I felt that at times the panels were very nice. For the more intense fighting and action scenes, I felt things kinda started to get more abstract looking. The tone of all the scenes though stayed consistent with the whole of the story, and overall it was a good job.

Story: 4.5 out of 5
I will openly admit that when I read a description on the book I didn’t have high hopes for it. But I felt the storytelling here was great. It honestly read like I was watching a movie. I think Møane did a nice job of making you actually care about the antagonist. Especially towards the end of the story I was torn on who to root for. The interactions between characters were nice and the story flowed very well.

Dying Breath: 4 out of 5
I think that this story will only appeal to some, which I kinda feel is a shame. But this is, in a way, a slasher style story just with a different agenda for the killing. I think that covering the medium that he did was risky, but in the end rewarding, and I have to say that if there is a sequel you better believe that I am signing up for it. This was a definite diamond in the rough.

For more info on American Sinner please go to http://www.glennmoane.blogspot.com/
You can order copies of American Sinner on www.indyplanet.com

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Writers: Tom Mandrake, Alexandre Michaud
Pencils: Tom Mandrake, Luis Guaragna, Sherman McLain
Cover: Tom Mandrake
Inks: Tom Mandrake, Luis Guaragna, Sherman McLain
Publisher: 13 Publications
Release Date: June 2009
Pages: 32
Price: $2.99

GoreGoyles is the first horror anthology from 13 Publications. Within these 32 pages are three unique stories to put the scare back into your hearts (Bloody Ground, Jack Stone and Black Sheep). For those of you who don’t know, GoreGoyles is actually an independent horror film series. So here it is for your enjoyment, translated into comic book form.

Artwork: 4 out of 5
The first story, Bloody Ground, stood out to me as the best drawn. Very nice details in the work, and it was easy to follow with great shading and nice inks. With Jack Stone, to me it switched to more of a noir type feel with just black and whites, but still very nice. Then with Black sheep the artwork seemed to take on more of a Frank Miller style using more line work. Overall they were all very well done.

Story: 3.5 out of 5
With Bloody Ground you get a complete story. I thought the writing was solid; nice interactions and a cool Civil War voodoo deal. I did feel that the ending was a bit rushed though. I would have liked to see it play out a bit more. In Jack Stone, which will have multiple parts, I liked the build up; but once again I think the ending was a bit rushed, but it left me wanting to know what will happen next, so a nice dramatic conclusion. Black Sheep wasn’t able to capture my interest like the other two. I got kind of a Punisher vibe from it, but in the end it had a nice twist. This story will also have more to come in upcoming issues, but I will have to see how it unfolds to know if I like it.

Dying Breath: 3.8 out of 5
GoreGoyles overall is a nice entry into the Horror Anthology family of comics. I know that there is a good deal out there to choose from, but I really think that this once will be able to stand out from some of the others; it just needs to find it’s audience first. I recommend checking it out; it’s got a good cover price of $2.99 so it won’t break the bank. The artwork is solid and the stories look to be going somewhere good. I know I’m a subscriber.

For more info on GoreGoyles please go to http://www.helltimate.com or http://myspace.com/13publications

To order your copy of GorGoyles #1 you can place your order with your Local Comic Shop or you can order with the COMICS! Catalog or HavenDistro.com

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Writers: Edward Pun
Pencils: Edward Pun
Cover: Edward Pun
Inks: Edward Pun
Publisher: Edward Pun
Release Date: June 2009
Pages: 24
Price: $3.00

So what do you get when you mix X-Files, Buffy and The Beverly Hillbillies? No idea? You get Betsy Mae Bite. This is a nice original series by Creator/Writer/Illustrator Edward Pun. I was curious what I was in for based on the cover, and I was pleasantly surprised when I was done because it left me in a good mood, and it was a fun ride to the finish.

Artwork: 4 out of 5
The artwork is very manga-like on some panels, but also nice and cartoonish. It really helps build the fun atmosphere that lies within the pages. I personally think the cover art is fantastic. Just a nice overall good feel; nothing gets lost in the shading.

Story: 3.5 out of 5
I am going 3.5 on this because it was over too quickly. The story is nicely written and fun, but I wanted to know more about our Vampy vixen than what was offered. Apparently she loves her cow, that’s for sure. But from start to finish I was excited to read the next panel and see where the book was taking me.

Dying Breath: 3.8 out of 5
Betsy Mae Bite is one of those stories that removes you from the world of gritty vampire books. It has great artwork and a good fun story. While that might not appeal to everyone, it does to me. I like to see a story take a step outside of the box and present things in a new light. I do recommend this book to those looking to do the same; it kinda has that feel of a book by Ape Entertainment. However I didn’t want the issue to end so fast. So Mr. Pun, don’t think you can stop now with only 2 issues out, this reader is demanding more!

For more info on Betsy Mae Bite and Edward Pun please go to http://edwardpun.com/ To order your copy of Betsy Mae Bite head on over to indyplanet.com

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Now wasn’t that spine chilling! Don’t forget that if you want to check out any of these titles you can just follow the links. Any questions you have for me, shoot me an email. I will do my best to help you out. And of course if you have a horror comic that needs to be shared with the world, let me know and we can review it right here!

Decapitated Dan
decapitateddan@comicattack.net

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7 Comments


  1. billy

    Awesome stuff Dan! I can comment about Bane of the Werewolf. I have issue #1 and it is great. The art is a little busy at times as Dan said but it’s a great read. Keep up with the Indie(horror) reviews bro.



  2. I really like the fact that you have given the various aspects of the comic ratings…nice touch!



  3. WOW Dan you have been busy!, You always find some great indy titles! Minister Sinister looks pretty cool.


  4. DecapitatedDan

    Haha you think that is busy. I got 60 more to go until I can get up to where I am at right now! Thanks for the comments guys


  5. Casey

    Looks like I’m a little late to the party, oh well. I love horror as a genre and I’m really excited to see what these indie books are bringing to the table. There’s so much out there that I’m not seeing at my LCS. I’m looking forward to seeing your recs so I can hunt them down online.


  6. Kelly

    Wow Dan! I’m totally impressed with the depth you take with your reviews. And what you’ve managed to dig up is great. I’m not really a horror gal, but you’ve got me intrigued with a few of these books. Thanks!


  7. The Movie Lady

    I’m definitely not as big a horror fan as you are Dan but I do enjoy it. Thanks for reminding me of the range of styles in the genre!



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