I’m into horror movies. No – strike that – I LOVE a good horror movie! There’s something incredibly potent about the essence of fear and when a movie is good enough to bring you into an environment and envelope you in it, it’s pure bliss! Especially with loads of gratuitous violence and gore – the more innovative the kill, the better (sorry Nana!)! But strangely enough, that’s NEVER carried over into my love of comics.
To be honest, for a long time, there weren’t many titles of note outside of the small press to prominently feature horror as a theme. But that all changed when Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith released their vampire-opus, “30 Days of Night.” While a short read (I don’t think it’s even 50pgs, is it?), its concept is brutally brilliant, so much so that entire generations of horror writers before and after slapped themselves for not coming up with it! The legend of its worth only magnified, when the movie rights were sold for a purported, one MILLION dollars – a rare occurrence for comic properties at the time. Still, it didn’t QUITE hook me enough to grab the follow up series or any of the other horror/suspense titles Niles churned out in the years after.
Not even the award-winning and currently applauded, “Walking Dead” could fly my fancy – the first trade paperback, while solid, just didn’t appeal to me. No, it was another Image Comics alum, hailing from the Shadowline side of the family (the house that Jim built) that was my first sincere jump on to the horror comic train! With Dirk Manning’s “Nightmare World,” I found something big, sprawling, epic and just creepy enough to justify the melding of my comic and movie ideals. The vignettes were rich enough to draw you in, but short enough to leave you panting for more – the art teams, though plentiful, suited the stories they were attached to and it all worked to weave this larger tapestry. Simply put, I loved it. And the allure it created made me appreciate what I had once forsaken, drawing me first to the Walking Dead Compendium and soon, back to the world of Barrow, AK and beyond.
The EC Comic’s horror line could use their particular brand of terror-ific innovation! With Niles and Kirkman acting as co-editors, they could corral some of THE BEST talent and stories, hopefully, even taking some time to craft a few entries of their own, into one of the best horror anthologies EVER. They could bring in voices old and new, from comics and beyond (Dirk is in my top 10 of regular contributors, so is Stephen King and Wes Craven!!) – all in an attempt to scare the socks off of each and every one of us! And on the visual side, we’d get the tag-team power of Templesmith and Arthur Suydam, concocting images just shy of PURE EVIL to adorn covers, setting the bar ever so high for the art spectacle inside!