Thursday, July 26, 2007

Comics: News from the funny book front.

Hey Screamers and Screamettes, here's a quick one to fill you in on a couple of horror-related tidbits that have filtered out of Comic Con International.

First, if you're one of those cats who avoids buying single-issue comics and, instead, waits for the trade paperback collections (which you shouldn't do for a variety of reasons, but, hey, I'm not your mom – you want to be evil, be evil) then now is the time to pick up the first volume of Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt's excellent supernatural gangster comic Damned. The collection covers the entire first story arc, which stands as a complete tale. I reviewed the series earlier when it was in issues and I still recommend it.

If the collection weren't reason enough to make Damned appear a second time on And Now, word is that Dreamworks has bought up the rights. No news on any film details, but I'll be on the look out.

Second, Dark Horse Press – perhaps best known in horror circles for the Hellboy series and its spin off titles – announced that it is re-launching two classic horror anthology series: Creepy and Eerie.

Here's the official press release:

Dark Horse Is Getting Creepy . . . and Eerie

The magazines that gave a whole generation the shivers are back. Creepy and Eerie were the definitive horror and sci-fi comics of the 1960s and flourished up until the early 1980s. Dark Horse Comics has entered into an agreement with New Comic Company to create archive editions of this classic material, as well as launch new Creepy and Eerie comics for modern horror fans. The licensing deal will encompass publishing, select film and TV development, and merchandising. Many of today's brightest stars will lend their talents to the venture, including horror legend Bernie Wrightson (City of Others) and modern master Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre).

Creepy is best remembered for its classic horror and was hosted by Uncle Creepy, while Eerie often ventured into science fiction and featured Cousin Eerie as its host. The rest of the gang includes Hunter, Child, El Cid, Marvin the Dead Thing, and the newly developed Creepy Family. The magazines, originally published by Jim Warren are remembered as presenting some of the era's greatest genre comics work.

“Both Creepy andEerie are fondly remembered by comics fans as representing the best of science fiction and horror, and Dark Horse is proud and excited to relaunch these classic titles,” said Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson.

“Mike Richardson and Dark Horse have an impressive and deep understanding of what it will take to help us correctly re-launch Creepy and Eerie. It's a great fit for our brands,” said New Comic executive and Submarine Entertainment Co-President Dan Braun, who negotiated the deal in cooperation with CAA—who represents both New Comic and Dark Horse. Deals in TV and Film are expected to be announced shortly.

New Comic Company acquired all rights in all media to the Creepy and Eerie comic book series earlier this year and was formed by New York based Submarine Entertainment and Los Angeles based Grand Canal Film Works.

New efforts are expected to debut this fall with the classic tales being prepared for the hardcover Dark Horse Archive series.

New Comic and Grand Canal Film Works executive Craig Haffner added, “The depth of this library across the horror, sci-fi, and fantasy genres makes it truly tantalizing for a multitude of different platforms. Our association with Dark Horse will take us one step closer to realizing our goal of returning the Creepy and Eerie brands to their former stature and beyond.”

Dark Horse has set a tentative release date for the comics in early 2008.


Anonymous said...

Comicon.. Who cares about the comies, what about the BIG "Lost" news ? ;)

CRwM said...

Screamin' Sassy,

Though I've never seen the show, my understanding is that the tease without release he pulled at the press conference is basically the show's MO.

Anonymous said...

Well, that makes 2 of us that never saw the show. I looked up the summary on wiki after season 2 or 3, since it seemed the hip/trendy/'must watch' show.

Guess the premise is quite interesting from a sci/fi perspective, but I'm not a regular TV watcher and haven't seen an episode.

spacejack said...

Sometimes I wish I could put a title on blogger comments. This one would say "On Horror Comics..."

Anyway, I picked up that Doomed collection you mentioned a while back. It was a fun collection to read. I found the stories with Ashley Wood's art the most enjoyable. I also thought the "Pelts" story to be the most ambitious concept, but somehow wasn't executed as well as it should've been.

I think horror comics are a tricky thing, especially in the modern age. It's hard to come up with the kinds of scares you can get in the movies, and hard to beat the chills that can be done in a novel that uses your imagination. It's a bit like watching a horror movie with the sound muted.

That said, I do believe Creepy was my first introduction to the horror genre. My parents never much liked the idea of me reading horror comics and steered me away from them, so it was only through friends that I might get the occasional look at these stories, and they did manage to creep me out quite a bit. But I have my doubts a modern re-launch will manage to do the same to my aged and jaded horror sensibilities.

P.S., as someone who watched about 3/4 of the first season, I found Lost to be one of the only shows that's ever made me feel ripped off by just watching it - for free.

Anonymous said...

I grew up collecting comics in the late 60s and into the 70s.
So, I blundered by sheer luck into Marvel's Silver Age (I think that's the official classification, maybe...) but also was corrupted by the Warren publications, so for me, it was Spidey, FF, Daredevil, Creepy, Eerie, and more self-consciously, Vampirella (c'mon, a pre-teen trying to look non-chalant buying these comics with sexy babes on the cover...).

I can understand Spacejack's "problems" with horror comics, so it may be purely a subjective deal, but I really like these things.
Some of the stories can be badly done. LOTS of the stories can be badly done.
And it really can't compete with horror movies. But if you like them, you don't really compare the two.
And occasionally, you come across some cool stuff.
IDW's DOOMED books always fill me with great anticipation and nostalgia when I see a new issue on the stands. More often than not, my experience with the book is mostly mixed. But I'm still a sucker for it!
So this news from Dark Horse is very interesting.
I look forward to all the different permutations that are apparently up their sleeves (comics, movies, series, etc.).
Okay, the "Creepy family" makes me a little nervous.

Meanwhile, I've never watched LOST, but what little I've heard of it sounds intriguing. Although, these shows where there's a mystery behind the whole thing always seems to be ultimately a letdown.
Like, do the writers really know where they're going with all this?
Or are they just building up expectations with another unanswered mystery?
Mysteries are ALWAYS interesting I think. But we assume there's gonna be a cool solution to justify the expectation.
Sometimes I think that assumption is incorrect, the implication of a solution is really a hoax. Which is why "mysterious" series usually start dying after a season or two,
because the writers have to start leaking some solutions. and if they making it up as they go along, then most likely, the solutions are going to be lame.
I'm just surprised that Spacejack felt taken after only 3/4 of the FIRST season.
But having said all that... I'm still really curious to see the first season to find out what all the noise was about...

CRwM said...

Screamin' Spacey and Screamin' Works,

I get what Spacey is saying, but I'm going to second what Mr. Cattle says about the differences between the mediums really making them non-comparable categories.

Personally, I approach the comics with a very different set of expectations than the one I bring to film. I feel that most horror comics fall into two categories. Either they are action comics that happen to involve monsters - this is the Marvel Silver Age stuff like Tomb of Dracula - or they belong to a literary tradition of the "weird tale" - this includes the 1970s anthologies, the old EC comics, and things like DC's House of Mystery.

Neither is really scary in the way films are. The former is closer to superhero comics and focuses on unusual characters battling it out. The latter is more about dark humor, twist endings, and the sort of overdetermined storytelling you get in fables and tall tales. Each of these has a pleasure all its own, but it different than the shock and thrill pleasures of most modern horror films.

If you know this is what you're getting into, then the idea that they aren't delivering scares becomes less of an issue.