Chris Wildgoose and Benjamin Read of Improper Books generally produce comics – or are in the process of of producing comics – that are based heavily on the tropes and principles of Gothic Horror. One of my favourite graphic novels, Porcelain, contains blood and mystery from the first page, culminating in a bloody tragedy involving zombie-esque re-incarnations. Previews of Briar, Wildgoose and Read’s take on Sleeping Beauty, depict the wall of thorns the prince must fight through as a deadly spiders-web, with zombies-dripping-blood reaching out to grab the prince.
So you can imagine that I expected Butterfly Gate to be just as blood, despite its innocent premise: two young siblings, catching butterflies in the sun. It’s a quaint premise, and could lead to many adventures worthy of a comic book – except that this comic book is silent.
That in itself is sinister – the lack of words being quite mysterious, and all in all, spooky, especially with the powerful images the story must draw from.
It gets even creepier when the children are forced into committing a terrible act to get what they want – they have effectively been brainwashed. From then on out, the novel takes a darker, twisted path, made all the more scary because they are just children, and there’s blood every other page.
Butterfly Gate is beautiful as it is eerie. It’s a kind of story that can make you feel uncomfortable because of the simple horror there.
And I can’t wait for more.
The X-Files, while well known for its alien storylines, was also, as a TV series, a magnet for storylines on the bizarre and disturbing. Since making landfall as a comic book series, the comics have stayed pretty close to the more horror-esque elements of the series, which is why I’m recommending it to you. Joe Harris, series writer, really knows his X-Files lore and what made some of the series just so creepy in the first place.
Storylines in particular that are worth checking out for a horror fix include “Chitter”, “Hosts” and “Immaculate”. These are all standalone stories that have featured in the comics so far and help some devilishly irksome elements to them that are worth a read if you’re not worried about taking on the whole comic series.
“Hosts” and “Immaculate” are the stronger storylines. Hosts sees a return to a certain flukeworm inspired creature from the TV series, and Mulder really getting in over his head. Meanwhile, Immaculate is the creepiest of the lot and sees the return of someone very important from the Chris Carter TV universe, with heavy doses of eerie supernatural goings-on.
Okay, so if you’re an X-Files fan of sort or you’re looking for a comic book series that goes off the wall occasionally then The X-Files season 10 is probably it.
If you’re looking for an alternate universe featuring a huge array of your favorite Marvel superheroes turning into ravenous Zombies than Marvel Zombies is an ideal series for you, whilst mostly non superhumans get devoured by the super zombies, the heroes aren’t actually mindless, they are aware of what their doing though can’t help because of something they call ‘The Hunger’ which urges them to consume anything that is alive (they find out that they taste bad).
You also get see some of Marvel’s big names who end going off to other worlds where they begin to devour other alien races, but just like with humans on how we caused many spices to become either extinct or endangered.
The series interacts with both the Ultimate Universe and the Main Marvel universe, with the Ultimate Fantastic Four being the main encountering the zombie universe where they encounter their older undead counterparts and prevent them from spreading what Zombie Reed sees as more of a form of evolution into the Ultimate Universe.
When the main universe have an encounter with an infected from the same universe A.R.M.O.R. (Altered-Reality Monitoring and Operational Response) sends out Machine Man and Jocasta (both machines former being obvious) into the Zombie universe (as they cannot be infected) they come across some rather nasty sights during their investigation of the zombie dimension.
We then get to Morbius and Midnight Sons team who are hunting down a some rogue zombies who managed to slip into the Marvel Universe, the team pretty much consisting of figures of the supernatural variety who go out to track down and kill any undead and prevent any further spread.
With the series then going back to the original group of Marvel Zombies we’ve had the beginning they end up in a reality just like theirs before the infection even begun (but that doesn’t last long), and only some are able to no longer feel hungry but there also others that still wish to feast and continue onto other realities.
If you’re up for a Marvel Series with a horror theme, Marvel Zombies might be an ideal read for you, especially with it crossing over with other universes.
The series has Walking Dead Writer Robert Kirkman write some of the stories.
I’ve read the Complete Collection Volume One and Two with a Third Volume coming out this week.
The most intesting thing about Zombies, ironically, is that they’re not very interesting. Dead people get up and eat not-dead people until their brains get destroyed. That’s basically it. Sometimes they run, sometimes they don’t, sometimes people argue about it. They are, if we’re honest, kinda boring.
But what’s interesting, considering this, is the sheer number of stories about them. There’s only two or three ways that story can go, and yet it’s been retold thousands of times. Since George Romero famously came up with the basic rules, the zombie concept (fittingly enough) just won’t die. The reason for this is that, while the monsters themselves never change, the people facing them do – and it’s the people, and the dynamics between them, that give these stories variety.
Robert Kirkman understands that. In his Walking Dead comics, the zombies themselves actually take a back-seat for much of the story. Instead, the comics focus on the struggles of the survivors, as they search for safety and fight for resources. The horror in this horror comic, we soon learn, comes not from the shambling corpses; rather, it comes from the terrible things normal people will do when their backs
are against the wall.
With stark black-and-white visuals that emphasise its bleak and unforgiving tone, The Walking Dead (at least, the earlier parts – I’ve not gotten that far yet) is an effective tale of horror and violence. Just not for the reasons you’d expect.