On the other side of the bridge is Snowtown, a blighted urban area whose superstitious residents mark their territory with the Snowtown tag: “You put it up, you belong to Snowtown. If Snowtown knows who you are, it won’t come and get you.”
And who comes to get you? Most notable among the cast of villainous characters is a Richard Nixon masked nun seen buying a gun and handing out a knife. But Tricky Dick isn’t responsible for filling the Coroner’s Lair. Causes of death range from alcohol poisoning to attacks by packs of feral dogs. “I could learn to hate this town,” says Detective Richard Fell.
Transferred to Snowtown’s police force, Fell is one of three and a half detectives assigned to cover the entire city. Reading like a police procedural set in Silent Hill, Fell follows the detective’s cases – shocking crimes brutally resolved. But what sets this apart from other grim and gritty graphic novels is the fact Fell cares, “This is where I live now. None of you are nothing to me.”
Studying overseas, Anna Romano witnesses the brutal murder of her best friend Kit. Anna travels to Florida for the funeral, but upon returning to the cemetery at night she sees Kit walking through the graveyard. Kit vanishes into the surrounding swamp leading Anna to exhume the coffin to determine if her friend is truly dead.
Heathentown is a solid horror title amplified by the fact that it’s set in our backyard. Bechko invokes the discomfort of being an outsider in a small town while blending in Florida’s history and legends creating something which reads like a new genre: FL-horror, maybe?
The horror is realized by Hardman’s artwork. It feels like something is lurking in every panel, especially when the story moves to the Everglades. There the swamp is stifling and every shadow takes on a sinister shape.
Lovecraft and comics go hand-in-hand. Even if you haven’t read anything by H.P. Lovecraft, you’ve still been exposed to his works if you’ve read Hellboy, Uzumaki or countless other horror titles. Even the DC and Marvel Universes have been plagued by the Lovecraftian combination of cosmic horror and flesh and blood (and tentacle) creepiness.
Against this setting (which also includes many direct adaptations), it’s hard to bring something new, but that’s exactly what Richard Corben does with H.P. Lovecraft’s Haunt of Horror.
Corben digs deeper, presenting stories which don’t usually show up in collections. Even better, many entries draw inspiration from Lovecraft’s poetry. The two stanza “The Well,” blossoms into a 10-page Southern Gothic. Lines like, “Grey with a ground-mist that enfolds and chokes/The slinking shapes which madness has defiled,” provide a nightmarish backdrop for Corben’s black-and-white artwork.
Corben blurs the line between adapatation and interpretation, featuring characters and themes atypical of pure Lovecraft. But Lovecraft’s original text follows each story and, for me, Corben’s work rings true.
Dark Metro is an on-going horror anthology (we have the first 2 volumes) set in Tokyo’s subway. Ghosts, zombies, and other undead are waiting to punish humans who stray into their domain — and some of those humans have it coming.
But not all.
A guardian spirit named Seiya must protect the innocent, rescuing them from being pulled under trains — or worse. But he’s a tragic victim himself.
Dark Metro plays with the underground as underworld and pulls in familiar j-horror images and motifs (ghost children, scary hair), but familiar isn’t bad and Tokyo Calen knows how to make the subway setting work. And be warned, the art by Yoshiken is not for the squeamish.
Put a hold on Dark Metro here.