Witch Doctor, Volume 2: Mal Practice by Brandon Seifert

51BSf43LI3L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Witch Doctor is a fun, engaging series, and is oft times hilarious in its delivery, but is unfortunately still something I just couldn’t get into on my first run through.

Granted, I had three children clamouring for my attention when I was reading it, constantly asking questions like “Why is she scratching him?” and “WHAT’S THAT!?” over my damned shoulder… but one would think the constant barrage of colour and charism that this book exudes would make me push my little ones aside for a moment.

Or maybe I’m just going to have to give it another read… I’ll be back.

Here, read the synopsis while I’m away.

Dr. Vincent Morrow, specialist in supernatural diseases, is back – but this time, he’s the patient! In the second collection of the hit medical horror series, Doc Morrow himself is targeted by shadowy supernatural forces. With his body betraying him, Morrow races against the clock to diagnose the threats he faces – and to punish those responsible!

– from Amazon

Witch Doctor, Volume Two collects Witch Doctor: The Resuscitation and Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1-6, and thoroughly, but unintentionally, confused me within its first few pages. I felt as if I’d lost something by not reading Volume 1, but not to worry! I have a solution! It’s called “buy volume one and read that first, smartypants!

Seifert writes his characters both wittily and with a very apparent respect for the classic heroes and villains of horror’s past. His comedic delivery is virtually flawless, and is maybe only hampered by the verbose nature of the dialogue that drives everything. This is something readers might really have to dig into a few times before it becomes easy reading fare. 

The art in this volume is beautiful, instantly filling a void between the more modern Gabriel Rodriguez and Bernie Wrightson’s old-school style. As a fan of the funnybooks, I would say Lukas Ketner has his shit together in a massively impressive way, and takes what could be something akin to a relatively tame Lovecraftian sci-fi/horror/fantasy tale, and breathes new life into it.

While I wouldn’t suggest this for younger readers, I would throw down with it a few more times before calling it quits on the Doc. There’s promise here, but for now it’s not my cup of tea.

Witch Doctor, Volume 2: Mal Practice is nominated for a Stoker in the Best Graphic Novel category, and is up against some heavy hitters. It stands a good chance, though, as it’s story driven, has a fantastic staying power, and is one of only two nominated pieces I can see that could easily continue its story and still provide a marked level of entertainment.



Fatale, Book Three: West of Hell by Ed Brubaker

51HS12RL94L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve been following Fatale for a while now. In fact, I can tell you the first time I saw a cover for this series. It was back sometime at the beginning of 2013, maybe the end of 2012, and it was nestled in beside a few copies of fellow new release Revival – a series I am absolutely IN LOVE with. (More on that at a later date)

I was immediately drawn to the cover – a thing of fantastic noir beauty, married with what looked like a Lovecraftian feel. This cover, in particular, made me think of a combination of Ralph Steadman and Ben Templesmith, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Now, anyone who knows me well will probably tell you how I feel about H.P. Lovecraft. I appreciate his work and completely understand his value in the genre… but he’s not for me. I’m more of a Poe guy – high drama and a lot of “woe is me.” I had to play the Argento/Fulci game here. Sorry.

That said, I usually find myself shying away from things like Edward Lee’s more recent HPL output, even though I’m a huge fan of the Lee. See what I’m getting at? I hope you’re still with me.

But Fatale, despite my initial judgements, had me intrigued for some reason. There are a few things about this title that I’m obviously not immediately a fan of, but there’s something else there – something I still haven’t nailed down, that just reels me in a keeps me fully connected. Is it the story of a beautiful woman embroiled in an eternal struggle? Is it the images that Sean Phillips and Dave Stewart splash so skillfully across the page? Is it Brubaker’s unquestionable expertise at crafting smooth, solid, engaging stories?

I have no fucking clue. What I DO know is I’m a fan, and I have no choice over the matter.

From the dark days of the depression, to the middle ages and the old west, these tales of horror and myth and the mystery of the Femme Fatale reveal secrets even our heroine doesn’t know about yet. Bold and experimental, this is pulp noir horror at it’s finest.

– from Amazon.com

While that’s not much of a synopsis, it’s still a hell of a teaser doncha think?!

Now.. what was I saying?
YES! Okay.

This is one hell of a book, folks! I hate to admit that I usually love my GNs a little more on the bloody, revealing side of the genre (Crossed, Locke and Key, Revival), but there’s definitely something to be said for the shadow-play and ethereal nature of the images and story herein.

Fatale has a long extended arc revolving around the Femme Fatale character and her unrelenting desire to uncover more knowledge into her past, present, and future. She’s been plagued by nightmares, denied answers, and endangered her whole life – and in this issue she’s only that little bit closer to finding out exactly what’s going on.

The readers are treated to a generous smattering of stories detailing Fatale’s interesting past, and brought into a world that reads like a unique piece of work, but pays a good deal of homage to the authors of yore – the aforementioned HPL, and extending all the way to carry hints of Louis L’Amour’s western flair.

Brubaker’s engrossing story, coupled with Phillips and Stewarts’ noir infused images, makes Fatale a definite must-have for anyone who appreciates their horror GNs to be more than pages and pages of flashy gore and relentless Big Bads.

Fatale, Book Three: West of Hell, is available at Amazon, Image Comics, and other retailers.

Colder by Paul Tobin

9781621158622_p0_v1_s260x420Jesus Christ. Just when you thought it was safe to be insane… then in walks Paul Tobin with characters like Nimble Jack and his “dinner” dates Declan and Reece, ruining the whole notion that crazy is fun, and making me want to talk to a mental health specialist. Or not. No, if this is Tobin’s world, it would be safer to be completely sane a boring. Insanity ain’t what it used to be, folks.

Seriously… where do people come up with this stuff? Colder is the stuff of loony-bin nightmares, tempered with a generous amount of armchair psychology and a healthy sense of humour that borders on, er, well… insane, itself.

Declan Thomas is an ex-inmate of an insane asylum that was destroyed in a fire, he has the strange ability to step inside a person’s madness—and sometimes cure it. He hopes to one day cure his own, but time is running out, as a demonic predator pursues him.

– Amazon.com

First off, I have to say that every review I’ve read about this book has been shouting volumes about the visuals of this mean little beast, and while I don’t disagree, I have to say that the story is definitely the showstopper here. Let it be said that Ferreyra certainly does have a way with the pencils and colours, but it’s the power behind the idea of a sort of mental-inter-dimentional travel, and the proposed ability of actually visiting the terrifying worlds that unstable minds create within their own noggins, and are subsequently tortured by, that held my attention.

Crazy is as crazy does?
Moving on…

I thought I was in for something completely different when I snatched the book up and took a gander at the cover. It’s nothing like what I assumed I would be in for at all.

The story itself is completely engrossing, showcasing this author’s ability to create empathy for the mad, and still hand the reader a healthy dose of sheer terror at the aforementioned Nimble Jack. Seriously, he’s one scary-ass mutha’. I haven’t come across a villain so honestly spooky in a long while, and I sincerely hope I don’t for some time to come. I mean, this dude feeds on fear, but I sincerely doubt he intends to be nearly as damned scary as he is.

While the story does take about half an issue to actually get into gear, and then another chapter or two to hit its stride, it doesn’t relent when it finally gets there. Tobin does a fantastic job of explaining Declan’s current mental state, as well as the goings-on of the currently unravelling solution (come book Issue 5) but there are definitely some issues left trussed up but uncooked in the end.

The question as to how, exactly, Declan got to the clink, as well as – if he was in a looney bin for a good reason (i.e.: if he was actually loony) – how did he go from crooked brained to straight in the 5 issue run? I may have missed something integral in the telling, but to me this felt like a big hole that needed some expert filling.

Shut up. That wasn’t meant to be dirty. Jesus… I don’t know what to do with you people sometimes.

Regardless, Colder is a stellar contribution to the genre and definitely a must have for anyone who likes their horror to be both James Wan disturbing, and psychologically terrifying as well.

Shit, if the idea of a bad guy killing you in your dreams was scary as hell to you back in the 80s, you can definitely consider this somewhat of an homage to the NOES of yore, but with a modern, goth visual aesthetic somewhat like a highly polished, more refined, bigger brother of Johnny The Homicidal Maniac.


Dreadful Tales Book Club – February 2014 Edition

Hello, you delicious and dreadfully dangerous Dreadites! I hope you enjoyed last month’s read and are ready for some more!

Now, I’m not your familiar emcee for these monthly little shindigs, but Meli and I did have a wee little chat,  and we ultimately decided we should do something special, not only for Women in Horror Month, but also to celebrate our 2014 Bram Stoker Award Challenge!

I’ve been brutalizing my eyeballs for a few days now, reading everything on the Prelim Ballot and wondering why the hell I do things like this to myself all the time. Now it’s YOUR TURN to join me! And, lookie lookie, what do we have here? What ditty have I chosen for y’all to dance to? Why it’s A Necessary End by Sarah Pinborough and F. Paul Wilson.Ness_zps3a6b12c2

Yeah… I know – Wilson is the opposite of a Woman in Horror, but Pinborough ain’t. And honestly, it’s worth it to read anything by these two stellar authors, regardless of what month it is.

Make sure you shimmy on by and chat with about the book here at The Mortuary, the official meeting place for the Dreadful Tales Book Club.

We’ve never had a chance to look at a Maelstrom title for the Book Club before, so this is an exciting first for us! If you’ve ever read the above two authors, you should already know what you’re in for. If not, take a look at the synopsis:


But now it’s death’s turn….

It spreads like a plague but it’s not a disease. Medical science is helpless against the deadly autoimmune reaction caused by the bite of the swarming African flies. Billions are dead, more are dying. Across the world, governments are falling, civilization is crumbling, and everywhere those still alive fear the death carried in the skies.

Some say the flies are a freak mutation, others say they’re man made, but as hope of beating them fades, most turn to the only comfort left and see the plague as God’s will. He sent a deadly deluge the last time He was upset with mankind. This time He has darkened the sky with deadly flies. And perhaps that is true, for so many of the afflicted speak with their dying breaths of seeing God coming for them.

But not everyone dies. A very few seem immune. They call themselves mungus and preach acceptance of the plague, encouraging people to allow themselves to be bitten by “the flies of the Lord” so that they may join Him in the afterlife.

Nigel, an investigative reporter, searches the apocalyptic landscape of plague-ravaged England in search of Bandora, a kidnapped African boy. On a quest for personal redemption as well as the truth, his search takes him away from the troubles he can no longer face at home, and into the world of the head mungu, a man who speaks truth in riddles and has no fear of the African flies.

A Necessary End is about apocalypse, about love, about the fragile bonds that hold marriages and civilizations together. But mostly it’s about truth – how we find it, how we embrace or reject it, and how we must face the truths within ourselves.

Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed award-winning author of horror, crime and YA fiction. She has also written for ‘New Tricks’ on the BBC, and has a horror film and an original TV series in development. She lives in London.

F. Paul Wilson is an award-winning, NY Times bestselling author of over 50 novels in many genres and numerous short stories translated into twenty-four languages. He is best known as creator of the urban mercenary Repairman Jack.

You can pick up a copy of A Necessary End in paperback format or for Kindle then come on over to The Mortuary to chat with us about the book! In the past, we have had a lot of success engaging the authors on the message board in discussions of their stories, so it should be a good time.

Find out more about Maelstrom and keep up with all things Thunderstorm Books at their website here.



All Hallow’s Read 2013 (Day 3)


Today’s suggestion is for all of the newbies to the genre. No doubt you came to our dark neck of the woods from Mystery, Thriller, Crime, or some other sort of speculative fiction genre, but have you ever faced a piece of writing that combines pretty much all of the above?

Thirty Miles South of Dry County is not only a brilliant foray into Kealan Patrick Burke’s unique style of storytelling, but it’s also an amazingly fun romp through a crazy, far-out-there, dystopian world that, well, isn’t actually too far-out-there. 

One of the greatest things about helping new readers along the path of finding great stories is that I get to throw my absolute favorite reads at them. I read this novella when I was looking at the 2013 Stokers Finalists and, in all honesty, I think it should have won.

While Gene O’Neill’s winning novella, The Blue Heron, is a phenomenal piece of speculative fiction, Burke’s entry is so instantly memorable it would easily make incredible viewing as a TV show, a la The Walking Dead or The Killing. Easily. (Burke, if you’re reading, you need to pitch this, man. Pitch it!)

It also helps that Burke is a looker, and a good face to have at the forefront of the genre, right ladies? (Yeah. I went there)



2012 Stoker Awards DT Podcast

Meli did an absolutely kickass wrap up of the Stoker Awards, which you totally should read. Go ahead, I’ll wait. The staff decided to go into literary overdrive and tackle our first ever podcast/Skype chat immediately following the festivities. Be warned, there is cursing, drunkenness, opinionated conversation, and much to my chagrin, a few instances of technical difficulty. Podcasting is something that we plan to continue, and thus plan to get better at.

That said, join Meli, Colum, Pat and myself as we opine on the event that was the 2012 Bram Stoker Award Ceremony.

EDIT: We apologize for any inconvenience, but the file has been deleted to make room for other media. Rest assured, it was epic.

For more on the Bram Stoker Awards, please visit the HWA webpage. If you’d like to keep up with each of us, follow us on Twitter: Meli, Pat, Colum, and Jason. Don’t forget to bookmark Dreadful Tales, follow our Twitter, and “like” us on Facebook.