Author: Allison O'Toole

Halloween Mini-Reviews Bonanza: Haunted Chunks to Chew On

It’s Halloween on Tuesday! Woah, scary! Want some comics with that? Yes you do! Try these. Coady and the Creepies Liz Prince (writer) and Amanda Kirk (artist) BOOM! Box October 11, 2017 Coady and the Creepies stars horror pop punk band The Creepies made up of triplet siblings Coady, Cory, and Criss. The band and their roadie are traveling the country playing kick ass punk shows and getting mixed up in some hair-raising hijinks. This series is SO MUCH SPOOKY FUN, and there’s a great ghostly twist to this story! It’s full of spectres, meddlesome demons, fashionably dressed skeletons,...

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“It’s better to be lonely together” – Isolation in Courtney Crumrin

Courtney Crumrin Written, Drawn, and Lettered by Ted Naifeh Colored by Warren Wucinich Collected Hardcovers, Oni Press, 2012-2015 Courtney Crumrin is, in a lot of ways, a typical protagonist for YA literature. She’s an outcast who hates the “phonies” who populate her school, and while not quite an archetypal Chosen One, her magic seems more powerful than the magic of all of the other witches in her town (except, perhaps, her uncle Aloysius). Like a lot of similar stories, hers appeals to young adults who feel alone and weird while they try to navigate the uncomfortable, liminal space that is...

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Grey Morality in Black and White: Guy Davis’ The Marquis

The Marquis: Inferno TPB Written, Drawn, and Lettered by: Guy Davis Colored by: Dave Stewart Dark Horse Books (originally Oni Press), 2009 I love horror films in black and white. Directors like Argento and Raimi can use colour masterfully, and Hammer Horror wouldn’t be what it is without buckets of too-bright red blood. Even so, early black and white horror stories are some of the most effectively atmospheric. Look no further than silent Expressionist horror films to see how effectively black and white film can evoke fear, loneliness, depression, and all without the use of sound. Horror films from...

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“Sisterhood is Powerful”: Subverting Tropes in VAMPS

VAMPS Written by: Elaine Lee Art by: William Simpson Colours by: Stuart Chaifetz Lettering by: Clem Robins Vertigo Comics, 1994 Vampires have always been about sex. You’ll see articles popping up from time to time questioning this fact, or trying to blame the phenomenon on Twilight, or Buffy, or Anne Rice, and the list goes on. But the fact is that since they captured the popular imagination, they’ve been closely tied to sex. Looking back at modern vampires’ fictional origins, from Polidori’s mysterious but alluring Lord Ruthven, to Le Fanu’s dangerously queer Carmilla, to the granddaddy of them all,...

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A World of Gods and Monsters: Science vs Superstition in Sub-Mariner: The Depths

Superhero comics have traditionally relied upon a clear denotation of right and wrong, a binary of good versus bad, that is easy for children to comprehend. In recent decades, we’ve increasingly seen fans calling for “realism” in superhero narratives, with grittier and morally fallible heroes. Look no further than Batman v Superman and the fact that Marvel’s Civil War made it to big screen to see the evidence. Putting super-powered figures (especially otherworldly beings) in a world like ours removes a lot of the potential for allegorical storytelling when it forces the story to ask what superheroes would be...

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