Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a veteran entertainment journalist whose writing and live photography has been featured in Blabbermouth.net, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Fangoria.com, Horror News.net, About.com Heavy Metal, MetalManiacs, New Noise, Music Dish, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained,Noisecreep, Impose, Pit, The Big Takeover.com, Rough Edge.com, Pitriff and others. His blog The Metal Minute won a “Best Personal Blog” award in 2009 from Metal Hammer magazine and he wrote and produced his own hard rock e-zine, Retaliate.

He has contributed essays to UK author Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies. Ray’s fiction has been published in various periodicals and anthologies, including his flash fiction piece “Off the Record” for Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” noir series. His recent short stories “Before the Ball” and “Widow” were featured in subsequent editions of Alex S. Johnson’s Axes of Evil anthologies. Ray wrote serialized original superhero fiction for Cyber Age Adventures and five of those stories appear in the anthology Playing Solitaire. He was the winner of Quantum Muse’s fiction contest in 1999.

Ray is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut and one-time host of the forum “Comic Books” at ReadWave. He has done beat reporting, photography and lifestyle articles for Metromix, an affiliate of The Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine, The Northern News and The Emmitsburg Dispatch.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cool Comic 'o the Week: Creepshow

One of my absolute treasures aside an original fine grade copy of Tales From the Crypt # 44 is the Plume graphic novella for Creepshow. 

Obviously a cult film favorite, Stephen King's loving nod to EC horror comics was right on the mark in merging noir, camp and bloody mayhem with these five gruesome shorts.  They appear in the film by George A. Romero and of course, this comic adaptation that was drawn by the immortal Berni Wrightson.

You know the stories, or you damned well oughtta if you're a horror fan:  "Father's Day," "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill," "Something to Tide You Over," "The Crate" and "They're Creeping Up On You."  I won't rehash each plot-for-plot, but this comic edition from 1982 is a mandatory grab if you can score it on the collectors' market.  Berni Wrightson alone sells this thing, but of course, Stephen King's creature features are the reason for the season and Creepshow the book transcends the film.

This comic version is gorier than the movie and Romero and King hardly slouched, especially with "Father's Day," "The Crate" and of course, the gonzo bug burst from E.G. Marshall that crowns the film as its most over-the-top gross-out.  Wrightson's graphic slaughter of Adrienne Barbeau's bitchy character (you know, "just tell it to call you 'Billie'") in "The Crate" will satiate any gore hound.  The film would've had to go unrated (or, actually an "X" in those days) in order to live up to Wrightson's visceral carnage in this book.  Then I've still yet to decide which gives me the shivers more, the comic or the film depiction of "Something to Tide You Over."   Each pricks my skin as the most plausible revenge-on-revenge scenario of the five stories in Creepshow.

The film sequel Creepshow 2 was decent and effective at times, if a bit hurried, though I can't chime in on the third movie since I've yet to catch up to it.  Kinda hard to make the effort when you crack open King and Wrightson's masterpiece of comic schlock and it's all you need.  Their take on The Crypt Keeper, The Creep, is a pretty nasty bugger himself and he's a convincing homage.  It would be cool of Mr. King to take another shot at a horror comic since both genres are red-hot right now.  A little penance for the atrocity that is CBS' criminal bastardization of Under the Dome.

Suffice it to say, you should dig this up, pun intended.

                       Listenin' to:  Deftones - Koi No Yokan

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