Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts

Friday, March 06, 2015

Carpe Noctem From Hashtag Comics [NSFW Previews]

Hashtag Comics is a new publisher who is sem-local to me. I met writer Martin Dunn last year at the Tampa Bay Comic-Con, and now we run into each other at local events and comic stores. After running into each other recently at Heroes Haven over in Tampa, he told me about a new publisher that he was involved with, and a book that he was writing for them. Pixel crossed the internet and I found myself with some previews to read. Hashtag Comics has an interesting approach as a publisher because they publish comics geared towards a more adult audience, as well as more family friendly titles as well.

Carpe Noctem is on the less family-friendly, more "adult" end of their publishing spectrum. The first issue was raw, and I found it very reminiscent of 90s Horror Comics, but in the hands of Dunn and artist Derrick Fish the story manages to rise above many of the cliches of this particularly genre/style of comic book story.

There is blood, and violence and sex. This is a story about vampires, werewolves and other things that go "bump" in the night, and telling stories about these sorts of creatures would be difficult without at least the blood and violence. I would be disappointed in a vampire comic that didn't have blood in it.

Carpe Noctem also has some intriguing concepts in it, ideas that elevate it about the average. The Auditors are ancient, eldritch beings that manage to avoid the Lovecraftian cliches that usually come with "Old Ones" and "Eldritch Beings" in comics, or a lot of horror for that matter. It is the task of the Auditors to keep the supernatural world a secret, often through dark means. In this first issue we are introduced to Chelsea, who is going to be the viewpoint character for the readers, the one through whom the supernatural world is revealed.

[Previews and more adult material after the jump]

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Delta Green RPG Beta Playtest Files

Since I've been asked a couple of times for information about this (and since it seems a playtest announcement kind of day), Arc Dream Publishing announced a couple of weeks ago that they were doing open beta playtesting for the upcoming, standalone Delta Green Roleplaying Game. I have looked (briefly) over the playtest files, and I like what I see. The game (at this point) is still backwards compatible with the previous Delta Green material, as well as with other Call of Cthulhu material.

The file does mention that the final product will have open gaming content, so that looks promising as well.

Interested parties should check out the Dropbox folder that Arc Dream Publishing has set up, play some games, and check in with them about your feedback.

As a long, long time Delta Green fan, I am looking forward to this game now a lot more than I was a year or so ago, when it was first announced.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

DeadWorld Monday: Mississipi Queen

The third issue of DeadWorld is called Mississippi Queen, after the song from Mountain. I'm going to assume that you haven't haven't heard it before.

In the beginning of the issue the characters are listening to the song on the bus (I'm assuming on a tape player, since there aren't radio stations anymore and now CDs will never be invented).

This issue picks up almost immediately after the last, with the characters on the run after getting out of Slaughter, and filling up the bus with gas again.

I think that we get more hints that there is more to what is going on in DeadWorld than just zombies. Like the scene from last issue (with the character who I said would be important), the cover hints at magical creatures who aren't zombies. These impish creatures are definitely something weird and different.

The reason that this issue is entitled Mississippi Queen has to do with the characters finding a riverboat. It makes sense to hide out on a boat, right? Zombies can't swim after all. Right? Obviously nothing will go wrong with this plan.

One of the things that happens, once the characters get onto the boat, is that we get reminded that despite everything that is happening, these are just kids. We get one of the rare glimpses into seeing them be kids, rather than zombie killers.

The respite is a short one because King Zombie has found them again. I need to look a bit more closely at the first two issue now, because I'm not sure if he has been called anything other than "the motorcycle riding geek" by the characters. We know his name, as readers, but that might have just been because he was answering the letter column. Silly, I know, but still fun.

Zombies don't have to be able to swim.

When Dan encounters King Zombie, this might be where the characters first discover that he can talk, as well. These talking zombies are also able to exert control over the less intelligent zombies as well, calling the zombies to them and forcing them to act. The shore is swarming with zombies as King Zombie forces the boat back to the shore, surprising the characters with an attack of zombies that they have to fight off.

We get another interlude in this issue as well, and this time the "crazy" character who might have been hallucinating those fantastic creatures is given a name. We're still not sure if what he sees are hallucinations or reality, but the continuation of the combined with this issues cover hints that these may not be hallucinations.

Once again I am amazed at what Vince Locke is able to convey with his art. Yes, it is very cartoony in places (particularly this part where he is trying to cast doubt on the reality of the scene), but his art is just as instrumental in creating the new reality of the DeadWorld as is the writing.

Something is growing with these interludes. Were the zombies somehow intentional? It appears that this Deake (and people he knew) is somehow behind the zombie influx...but this seems to be saying that he might have been manipulated by outside forces into doing whatever happened that brought the dead back.

We still have a lot to find out.

The issue ends with zombies swarming onto the riverboat, the characters trapped. Dan is unconscious, perhaps incapacitated, and the characters face overwhelming odds while down their best fighter. What is going to happen next?
Let's see what happens next Monday.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Howard Chaykin and David Tischman's Bite Club

It is probably easy to figure out, if you have been reading this blog for a while, that I am a fan of Howard Chaykin. Yes, he's done his share of clunkers, like pretty much any creator but when he is on, he is capable of telling some very cool stories. One of the times that he was on was 2004's Bite Club, through Vertigo. Chaykin and Tischman also collaborated on the American Century mini-series for Vertigo, but that one was not as interesting for me.

David Hahn's art brings a lot to the table with this comic, and it was as much of a selling point when I bought it as was Chaykin's name on the cover. Hahn has a clean, illustrative style that is almost a counterpoint to the noirish crime story that Chaykin and Tischman are telling in this comic. His art is very reminiscent of Jamie McKelvie's art, of which I am also a big fan (as readers of this blog will also probably know). Hahn has also done art for arcs of Fables and Lucifer for Vertigo.

Bite Club is a story about vampires, family, organized crime and Miami. Any of those are enough to make any story complicated. The story starts with the murder of Eduardo Del Toro, and his being thrown from a Miami high-rise. This brings prodigal son Leto, America's first ordained vampire Catholic priest, back home to deal with the death and his family. Conflicts start almost immediately with Leto's sister Risa and mother Arabella. Leto is given control over the family's businesses by his father's will, setting the conflict against his life as a priest with that of the head of a criminal organization.

One of the primary money makers for the Del Toro family is a drug called Phantasmagoria, a synthetic drug that is like crystal meth for vampires.

A lot goes on in this six issue mini-series, without the book coming across as cluttered. It sold well enough to spawn a second mini-series, so I must not have been the only fan. Chaykin and Tischman bring a lot of plot threads together in this: from the murder of Eduardo to the return of Leto's last girl friend before the priesthood to the conflicting loyalties of family and church in Leto's head to Risa's jealousies and less that pure feelings towards her younger brother. All of these balls, and a few others, are kept in the air with a deft touch by the writers. This story is so much more than the buzz words of saying this comic is True Blood meets The Sopranos. Despite their being vampires and murderous criminals, Chaykin and Tischman create a cast of characters that you care about and are interested in seeing what they do next.

The ending is a bit of a shocker. I won't give it away but I will say that just as Leto figures out who he wants to be and what he wants to do with his "life," it is taken away from him, in proper noir style. This isn't a comic for the faint of heart, or those who are easily offended. It is not an all ages comic. There is murder, gratuitous bloodshed, violence, interesting and unique sexual activities (to those who have mainstream attitudes towards sex), a touch of an incestuous relationship between the brother and sister, a lot of nudity and drug use. Like I said, not for everyone. Of course, I would probably be disappointed with a vampire story that didn't have at least some of the items off of that list in it.

Is it worth picking up for yourself? Definitely. This is a vampire story that does not revel in the cliches of the genre, nor does it try to be "ground breaking" by violating those cliches in a stupid way. The characters of the story are well-realized and have motivations that drive themselves and the plot of the story. I own this in a smaller than comic-sized format that packaged all six issues for $10. It is worth that price, and more. This is a comic that I find myself re-reading whenever it happens to catch my eye on the book shelf.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New From Pagan Publishing - Delta Green: Strange Authorities



Arc Dream Publishing Presents a Collection of the Award-Winning Cthulhu Mythos Horror Fiction of John Scott Tynes

April 18,  2012 — John Scott Tynes merges Lovecraftian cosmic horror with techno-thriller espionage in “Delta Green: Strange Authorities,” now available from Arc Dream Publishing.  Cvr

“Delta Green: Strange Authorities” is a 388-page collection of award-winning Cthulhu Mythos horror fiction. It includes the short stories “The Corn King,” “Final Report,” “My Father’s Son,” and “The Dark Above,” and the Origins Award-winning novel “The Rules of Engagement.”

“Delta Green: Strange Authorities” is available in trade paperback from, Ingram Book Company, and Arc Dream Publishing, and in ebook for Kindle, Nook, iBooks and other devices.

Shane Ivey, editor and president of Arc Dream Publishing, says: “John Scott Tynes’ stories of ‘Delta Green’ are obsidian splinters of fear and beauty. John brings a sense of humanity, of its love and confusion and despair, to the mind-bending terror of the Cthulhu Mythos. These stories have been too hard to find for far too long and I am thrilled to make them available to new readers.”

The sequel to “Strange Authorities,” Dennis Detwiller’s “Delta Green: Through a Glass, Darkly,” is also available in trade paperback and ebook from Arc Dream Publishing.

ABOUT JOHN SCOTT TYNES: John Scott Tynes is a game designer and writer in Seattle. He currently designs Xbox 360 videogames for Microsoft Studios. He was the founder and editor-in-chief of Pagan Publishing and Armitage House and his best-known projects include “Unknown Armies,” “Puppetland,” “Delta Green,” “The Unspeakable Oath,” and “Call of Cthulhu D20.” His film “The Yellow Sign” is available on DVD from Lurker Films.

ABOUT ARC DREAM PUBLISHING: Arc Dream Publishing produces novels and tabletop roleplaying games that have won awards and wide acclaim. Its product lines include “Delta Green,” “The Unspeakable Oath,” “Monsters and Other Childish Things,” “Wild Talents,” and “Godlike.” In 2011 Arc Dream Publishing released the novel “Delta Green: Through a Glass, Darkly,” which continues the tale that began with the stories in “Delta Green: Strange Authorities.”

ABOUT DELTA GREEN: “Delta Green” is a modern setting for H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Delta Green itself is a conspiracy of federal agents, soldiers, intelligence officers, and “friendlies” who secretly and without sanction use the resources of the U.S. government to thwart supernatural horrors that no legitimate agency could face. Delta Green agents slip through the system, manipulating the federal bureaucracy while pushing the darkness back for another day — but often at a shattering personal cost.