WLG #389: The Horror...The Horror

A column article by: Kyle Garret

I have to think that Bill Gaines would be pretty happy with what's happened in comics over the last year or two. Gaines was, of course, in charge of EC Comics when they were poisoning impressionable young minds with wonderful horror stories. It's a match made in heaven, really, between the medium and the genre. Comic books and horror are two peas in a pod.  Unfortunately, that bond seemed to fade after Dr. Wertham got involved.

But here we are, nearly 60 years later, and horror is having something of a renaissance. Indie comics were, as usual, the proving ground for horror comics to return, and DC has embraced them as a large part of their relaunch.

Walking Dead Volume 15

Yes, I'm one of those jerks who waits for the trade on this series, but at least give me credit from being on board since the first volume was released.

How much more can really be said for The Walking Dead? It was something of a phenomenon even before the television series. Friends of mine who don't read comics were reading the trades of this book long before it was turned into a show.

Imagine that, a comic that brought in new readers isn't a superhero book. Kind of makes you wonder why the industry keeps putting all of their eggs in that basket.

Anyway, diatribe aside, The Walking Dead deserves all the accolades it receives. Even after all these years, it's still surprising and unpredictable, still poignant.

Swamp Thing #4

The great part about the return of the Swamp Thing (aside from the fantastic art), is that it's a horror comic, just as it was always meant to be. It wasn’t a huge departure for DC to take it down this road and, really, not a huge departure for them to pull it off without a "Mature Readers" label slapped on it. 

It is actually one of the few instances where DC has managed to move forward by looking back, which runs contrary to how the Big Two normally operate.

Any problems I have with this book are overshadowed by its nicely developed connection to…

Animal Man #4

Yet another new DC title that's embracing the horror genre, although this one is coming at it from a traditional superhero character. DC has a few books that are going this route now, but Animal Man so far has done it the best.

Examinations of what makes superheroes work aren't new; there was a point where it seemed like every super power under the sun had to be explained in some "realistic" scientific way. 

That’s not the case in Animal Man

Jeff Lemire has inserted Buddy's powers in the supernatural. It will be interesting to see how he relates this to Animal Man's origin.

Action Comics #4

Okay, not really a horror comic, unless you're a corrupt business man or really love Krypto. But this is truly one of the best of the new DCU books and serves as a wonderful compliment to Batman and Wonder Woman. I’ve never read books featuring each of DC's "trinity" before in my life. So far it's been great.

DC’s also managed to find some great fill-in artists to help Rags Morales get ahead on the book.

Last of the Greats #3

Yes, fine, this isn't a horror comic, either (actually, that remains to be seen), but Joshua Hale Fialkov is one of those indie horror writers I mentioned earlier. 

Fialkov’s horror usually has some complexity to it, like the twisted romance in I, Vampire.  Given all the death and destruction we've already seen in Last of the Greats, I can only imagine how twisted it could get.

Well, no, I can't, but Fialkov can.

It's great to see horror making such a comeback.  Here's hoping that it’s the beginning, and we’ll not only see more horror comics, but more comics in other genres.




Kyle Garret is the author of I Pray Hardest When I'm Being Shot At, available now from Hellgate Press. His short fiction has been published in the Ginosko Literary Journal, Literary Town Hall, Children, Churches, & Daddies and Falling Into Place. He writes comic book reviews here at Comic Bulletin and blogs for PopMatters. He can be found at KyleGarret.com and on Twitter at @kylegarret.

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