Review! IN THE DARK a Horror Anthology

Drawn from a wide range of inspirations, stories reminiscent of childhood campfire tales, or Lovecraft-esque, or teenage action influenced and featuring creepy kids, self-sacrifice, monster hunters, petty revenge or something more existential, good people going bad, and bad kids going good from the tampering of horrific entities. What if the reason that jerk always checks his phone so much is that he needs to know when he’s going to change into a horrific beast? Nothing is as it seems here IN THE DARK.

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Among my faves:

The Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley penned story Guilloteens a punk rock Buffy homage with a Scooby gang monsterhunters and on one night they find a house being used by were-wizards for nefarious reasons. Were-wizards. So cool. Cute characters and extra blood spatters made awesome by artist Christian Wildgoose.

All Things Through Me by Mike Oliveri, artist Mike Henderson follows the son of a fallen priest who can communicate with the dead and has a knack for possession on a house call in a small town and stumbles on something local law enforcement would rather he hadn’t.

When the Rain Comes by Steve Niles is a creepfest about repercussions of fearing what you don’t understand. Damien Worm’s super creepy art is killer here, cloudy scratches, scribbled silhouettes capture the essence of the mysterious creatures that come forth to a farmhouse after a flood.

The Body by Tim Seeley, art by Stephen Green, mixes urban violence with a supernatural avenger.

Final Meal by Christopher Sebela and Zack Soto makes me glad to be vegan after reading this eerie tale about feeling like a God on the top of the food chain following a sad character who can’t get enough of sucking life from between his teeth.

The One That Got Away, written by Scott Snyder (who, y’know, writes both metropolis and Gotham’s heroic dudes) plays off our expectations when a young boy is approached by a knife wielding character.

Brian Keene’s The Lost Valley of the Dead is set in a wild West zombie plague. Tadd Galusha brings it with well drawn zombie animals sporting dripping fangs and exposed ribs. In trying to escape the disease they find a hidden entrance to a world of dinosaurs ..things get even crazier when the T-Rex ingests the zombie coyotes. Zombie freaking dinosaurs.

Swan Song by Rachel Deering takes a break from the plethora of werewolves and features a gorgeous vampire and the dashing would be hero who unknowingly unleashes a monster.

Extra treats- faux vintage ads and page 185’s horror trivia crossword! I’m thinking about sending $3.25 to get my “Creature in a Crate”.

Whether you like your villains internal, supernatural or humanly homicidal and your main characters twisted, teenaged, tragic or triumphant and your settings futuristic, realistic or rustic IN THE DARK has something for you. If you didn’t get in on the ground floor for this one order one from your local comic shop, IDW is printing and shipping this rad compilation soon.

X-Men #8

X-Men #8

The eighth issue of “Brian Wood’s X-Men”/”The All-Girl X-Men” keeps it low on the Y chromosomes with All-Girl enemies! Post- BoTA the in-fighting hits a low for this team as they unite to stop Lady Deathstrike!

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(My HBD tweet from Brian Wood, so huge.)

An intruder alert goes off at the Jean Grey School, the first to respond is Psylocke. It’s Typhoid Mary. She’s grabbed all the medical info on Karima, Shogo and Arkea. 

Mary escapes but Psylocke is on her trail (after getting dressed in the yard, much to Quentin Quire’s pervy amusement). Rachel (who sleeps in her full X-Men uniform) calls John Sublime to tell him the bad news. Except he’s already at the Cortes Compound, home of the new incarnation of Lady Deathstrike. 

Ms. Cortes, ahem… Yuriko is excited about the prospect of injecting Arkea. Treating alien bacteria hellbent on taking over the world/his sister as a body modification just not amuse John Sublime. 

But he believes that the X-Men will stop her (after all, they have stopped him and Arkea before).

Typhoid Mary shows up, believing she’s lost her tail. She’s psyched to learn that the Arkea live sample is a contagion. Lady Deathstrike cracks open the biohazard bag. John Sublime struggles to get the sample from her. When he does, he finds that the sample is inert. He shows off his big brain, telling the villainesses how he would find other samples that could potentially be alive. But he says he won’t. And they can’t kill him because they need the information! Ha ha ha, John Sublime will have the last laugh.

Or not. Typhoid Mary scrambles his brains and gets the info. She takes off with Lady Deathstrike and leaves John drooling on the carpet. Betsy steps in, scoops John up off the floor and they head back to the Jean Grey School. 

The bad girls land in Norway. Enchantress fights them with a stick and gives Typhoid Mary a thrashing. Enchantress has been stuck there 2 months. Thor exiled her and stripped her of her powers. Enchantress saw the meteorite strike nearby, Lady Deathstrike says that if she shows her the meteor that she can make Enchantress more powerful than Odin himself. 

Bling! and Jubilee are having their Degrassi Junior High moment. Bling! points out the hypocrisy of the “inclusive” X-Men before planting a kiss on a somehow surprised Jubilee. 

But Monet struts by and tells Jubilee that they’ve got a mission.

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…That’s not from this issue, it’s a #throwbackthursday to their Generation X days. 

The THREE villainesses find the meteorite and make a pact, a sisterhood, to stand against the X-Men!

This issue was really enjoyable. A ton going on. Jubes is getting all the afterschool special plotlines… isn’t she a vampire?! Jubes, do vampire stuff! On the art front: I’m enjoying Terry Dodson’s take on the girls and since he and Wood go back with Monet, Jubilee and the crew to Generation X I have high hopes for the rest of this story arc!

+ You know we’ve discussed KP Vampire Slayer before- Including how the now Professor K was the inspiration for Buffy Summers. But did you know:

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Circa 2000- Monet St. Croix faces off against Vampire DeLaCorte …completely unrelated to Jubilee being covered in vampire blood in a terrorist attack/being bitten by Xarus, son of Dracula in 2010.

interestingly enough Dodson drew this comic up to this issue and Wood started writing the one right after. 

All New X-Men #18

I got sucked in after the crossover. I’m following Kitty Pryde. My fave X-Men book is next week, but I figured I’d see what the basis for Buffy was up to.

Nostaligia or newsflash from the past:

 

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Kitty Vampire Slayer, Mutant X #13

Anyway, they head to the new Xavier School, in the location of the Weapon-X facility that they have re-appropriated. Of course, the original X-Men have not yet heard of Weapon X. Eva Bell shows Bobby to his room where he starts having a crisis thinking about what he’ll become (and Ice Wizard AND an Ice Hulk), or if now he won’t become that because he knows too much. As he’s baring his soul, Eva walks out. 

Jeannie and the Cuckoos don’t get along (makes sense since momma Emma Frost and the grown-up Jean were rivals). Phoebe Cuckoo debates a Ginger ‘do. 

Jeannie runs off to find Beast and complain but Beast is getting his passive aggressive on. They shared a kiss and then she ran off with Scott Summers (they stole a motorcycle and ran for their lives so they didn’t have to go back in time). She says she had to leave, that the Beast and Jean from the future were bad guys and they had to go (she started a brawl by hijacking Wolverine), she was right, of course. But Beast isn’t mad that she left, he’s mad she left with him. Jeannie starts losing her cool (do men do anything but fight over her?) until they are interrupted by Cyclops and summoned outside by Professor K.

No one shows up and Kitty send Cyclops off. The interactions between Kitty and Illyana are the best part. They’re so glad to be friends again.

41 hours later they get their team meeting. And new outfits. While Kitty is telling them all to train so they can make a better tomorrow… Jeannie is reading the minds of her male suitors. -they both decide to move on from her. And she freaks and starts levitating herself… which she has never done before. Angel swoops in and scoops her up… much to the dismay of Cyclops and Beast. 

Then, finally we step out of Dawson’s Creek when the portable cerebro device that Beast linked to the one Magneto built goes off. Big trouble in Florida.

Honestly wasn’t loving this issue. I was digging Kitty and Illyana, but frankly, too many crushes all centered around Jean and her acting holier than thou to the Cuckoos. Yeah, yeah, Jean, you’re so great and powerful. Also the cover is ludicrously misleading. 

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That did not happen! What happened here was a superpowered episode of One Tree Hill!!!

My Blog is 3 Months Old!

The best book I read this month: Parasite by Mira Grant, out for consumption on October 29th, get ready for this sci-fi tale to eat your brain! In the not so distant future, human bodies are regulated with “intestinal bodyguards.” Sally Mitchell is the first to have her tapeworm save her life after a near deadly accident leaving her an amnesiac lab rat for SymboGen. It’s not all bad for Sal, she gets along better with her sister, has a gig at an animal shelter and a doctor boyfriend. But when people start getting a “sleepwalking sickness” she finds herself in the heart of a SymboGen cover-up. Who’s good, who’s bad? Twist turns and gray areas ensue.

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I was going to squick you out with some tapeworm photos, but opted for this gem: an ad for a tapeworm diet!

Top Posts this month:

Rachel Deering’s Anathema Vol. 1

Movie Review for Elysium

Discussion: The Slut Shaming of Buffy Summers

That’s it for August! What will September bring?

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The Slut Shaming of Buffy Summers

It’s my day off! Gourmet breakfast and a Buffy minimarathon ensues! This show is jam packed with problematic nonsense. I know, I like this show, too, but it’s true. Don’t get so defensive.

Before we begin: What is a “slut”?

No one seems to actually come up with one cohesive definition of what is and is not “a slut” factors can vary because of age, social circles, class, religious belief, the season, the fashion. Whatever. A slut is someone who “sleeps around” but how many people is required to be considered “sleeping around”? Is it based on relationship status? People will call a female “slut” not only because of real, perceived or rumored sexual prowess but because of how they look in leggings, what color shoes they have on or if they are wearing “too much eye make up” or the size of her breasts.

 What is “slut shaming”?

Harassing, insulting or judging a woman, labeled a “slut” by the afore mentioned waffling definition.

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 The whole plot of Buffy Season 2 is an anti-teen-sex PSA. Let’s just get that out in the open, in case some how you didn’t get that. The episode where Buffy has sex with Angel (Season 2 Episodes 13 and 14), he loses his soul, and becomes a whole different person. Literally “men treat women differently after they have sex.” Then her mother says she seems “different” just by looking at her.

The virginal Willow repeatedly calls Cordelia a “skank.” Because let’s face it, when a woman goes after what she wants, and what she wants is a man, even if he’s without relationship status, she must be a skanky slut whore. But that’s not who I’m here to talk about. While Cordelia may or may not have even slept with anyone, Buffy slept with exactly one person before she was slut shamed, judged negatively, deemed inferior and deemed unable to make competent decisions.

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In Season 2 Episode 17

This is the most egregious of the examples. Angel is breaking into Buffy’s house at night and drawing creepy pictures of her while she sleeps, petting her hair and leaving notes on her pillow. Creepy stalker abusive exboyfriend behavior x4. When Buffy discusses with the Scooby Gang how to revoke her invitation and keep him out, Xander says, “That’s what you get for inviting strange men in.” Then later, after Angel creeps out her mom and tells her that he and Buffy ‘made love’ her mother says “He’s too old for you, and obviously unstable. I expect you to make better choices.” Really? Are 16 year olds well known for good choices? A teenage girl should obviously realize that men turn into stalkers and psychopaths as soon as they let the man “get the milk for free,” it’s clearly her own fault. Yikes. This is what girls are told. Buffy’s friends and her mother blame her for getting stalked. They blame her for getting stalked! And no one points out how effed up this is!

And I would like to point out also, not that I needed to, but Angel was a creepy stalker when he still had a soul. He stalked Buffy before she even came to Sunnydale. And then he pops out of the shadows throughout the first two seasons. He follows her because “she’s going to need help.” Yeah… help to get away from you, creep.

 In Season 2 Episode 18

This one’s light on the meta plot, Buffy’s in the hospital with the flu. Xander stands watch to make sure Angel doesn’t come by, being a public place he needs no invitation. Angel calls Xander out on still being in love with her. Xander tells him, “You’re going to die and I’m going to be there.” Angel calls Xander “Buffy’s white knight.” Xander, even though he’s with Cordelia, is still mad he got “relegated to the friendzone” and incessantly stakes his claim on Buffy. Xander, who last episode blamed her for getting stalked is now her protector. Because he’s such a “nice guy.”

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No. Fuck you, Xander Harris. 

In Season 2 Episode 19

Buffy dates a guy on the swim team, he gets pushy with her and she bashes his head into the steering wheel. The school officials are all “poor this guy” and then when Buffy says he deserved it, and it was just a sprained wrist and a bloody nose. Everyone gives her the side eye and then she says “granted there’s not a scratch on me, that doesn’t help my case.” So Buffy should have allowed a man to force himself on her and leave marks before she defended herself? This reeks reminiscently of “forcible rape” dialogue and victims being interrogated when they bring abuse/rape charges against someone, which happens in the real world too damn often.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer- S2 Ep6

Just watched the Season 2 Halloween episode of Buffy in which everyone becomes what ever they dressed up as for Halloween. 

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Buffy becomes a helpless 18th century noble woman, Xander is a brave soldier

And Willow:

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becomes a ghost. Luckily under that sheet, she looked totally fierce

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Anyway, various towns people turn into demons and apemen and vampires. After watching this episode about 15 years ago, it really impacted what I chose to wear for Halloween. If my costume came from a spellbound costume shop would I want to spend who knows how long as a French maid, or sexy pirate #4 or PocaHOTness? No way!

The past few years my costumes have slanted toward the superhero/super-villain variety. I know it’s a little early to start picking out your costumes (though, you can never really start too early).. But what do you go for? The scary, the sexy, the funny, the grotesque? Pop culture references? Celebrities? Classic monsters? 

The sheer number of sexy demons and ancient goddesses at most parties I’ve attended would mean havoc if this Sunnydale occurrence happened for real. 

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I would have loved to see Cordelia as a wereleopard, for the record.

 

Update!

Firstly, I’m going to be playing to win some fabulous books tomorrow.
Details are here: Blind Date Book Bash Giveaway! I’m reading Breaking the Nexus by Lindsay Avalon who is one of the Ink Slingers. I’m about 1/3 of the way in. It’s delightful and creative thus far.

I’m also reading Moon Called by Patricia Briggs AND Game of Thrones. AND I’ve been over here watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, just for you. And entering free book giveaways. It’s a little hectic. Nah, not really.

Anyway, here’s a song for the shapeshifter crowd.

 

Oh, and I got a Bloglovin’ button and you can follow me that way if it suits you!