Interview: James Aquilone on Shakespeare Unleashed

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cover of Shakespeare UnleashedShakespeare Unleashed, edited by James Aquilone, is the follow-up to Classic Monsters Unleashed and is currently being funded on Kickstarter. While the word “horror” might not be initially associated with Shakespeare, a quick read through his plays shows many horrific incidents. Aquilone spoke to Cemetery Dance on turning The Bard’s work into a horror anthology, how it will take on Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, and what stories are already lined up. Continue Reading

Interview: Editor James Aquilone Kickstarts Kolchak

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Moonstone Books and editor James Aquilone recently took to Kickstarter to launch Kolchak: The Night Stalker 50th Anniversary Graphic Novel, featuring 11 original stories based on the series featuring monster-hunting report Carl Kolchak. Participating authors include Jonathan Maberry, Kim Newman, Peter David, and more.

While the initial Kickstarter campaign has finished after reaching its goal, the creators are still accepting late pledges.

Danica Davidson recently sat down with Aquilone to discuss the project for Cemetery Dance.Continue Reading

Review: Ibitsu by Haruto Ryo

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Ibitsu by Haruto Ryo
Yen Press (July 2018)
416 pages; $20 hardcover, $9.99 ebook
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

Ibitsu comes from the Japanese word for “twisted,” and it follows a creepy urban legend. The main character Kazuki is walking along at night when he sees someone dressed in Gothic Lolita style sitting in the garbage. Lolita is a fashion style in Japan with lots of frills and Victorian influences that has multiple substyles. One of those substyles is Gothic Lolita, where the frills and little girl look is also strongly influenced by gothic, morbid and dark imagery.

Kazuki thinks she’s creepy, especially because it looks as if blood might be seeping from her, and it looks as if her arm had been ripped open and then sewn back together. She asks him, “Would you . . . have a little sister?”Continue Reading

Review: TKO Presents: Tales of Terror edited by Sebastian Girner

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cover of TKO Presents: Tales of TerrorTKO Presents: Tales of Terror edited by Sebastian Girner
TKO Studios (November 2021)
180 pages; $19.99
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

TKO Presents: Tales of Terror is a comic book anthology with nine different short stories. It’s in the vein of Tales from the Crypt in that each story is self-contained, each story has a twist, and they’re all snippets of horror in bite-sized pieces.Continue Reading

Review: Gyo by Junji Ito

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cover of gyo by junji itoGyo by Junji Ito
Viz Media (October 2018)
400 pages; $22.99 hardcover, $15.99 ebook
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

Tadashi and Kaori are taking a vacation at Tadashi’s uncle’s beach house in Okinawa, but things quickly turn into a nightmare. Tadashi is peeved by how close some sharks get to him while he’s out scuba diving, yet when they return to the beach house, Kaori can’t stop complaining about an awful death smell. Tadashi tracks the stench to a very strange creature he finds in the house — a fish with mechanical, buglike legs. He kills it and puts it into a plastic bag, although it keeps moving and keeps trying to come after them.Continue Reading

Review: John Carpenter’s Tales for a HalloweeNight Vol. 6

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cover of Tales for a HalloweeNight Volume 6

John Carpenter’s Tales for a HalloweeNight Vol. 6
Storm King Comics (October 2020)

184 pages; $25 paperback
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

John Carpenter’s Tales for a HalloweeNight Vol. 6 offers up thirteen tales of terror in a solid graphic novel horror anthology. It’s the type of graphic novel many people would enjoy curling up with at Halloween time. Or, if you’re a Cemetery Dance reader, it’s the type of graphic novel you could enjoy curling up with any time of the year.Continue Reading

Review: King of Eden by Takashi Nagasaki and Ignito

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King of Eden by Takashi Nagasaki and Ignito
Yen Press (September 2020)
384 pages; $24 paperback
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

In Spain, some police officers find a mountain of grotesque bodies that no longer look quite human. One man, a Korean archeologist named Teze Yoo, is there to burn the bodies. He’s taken into police headquarters for questioning, where he tells police they must evacuate the area, because it’s a virus that attacked all those people, and then he starts talking about the world’s first murder. He asks the police if they’ve ever heard of the neuri, because all this began with them. Some sort of human-turned-beast attacks the police department and Teze walks off into the night.Continue Reading

Review: Daphne Byrne by Laura Marks, Kelley Jones and Michelle Madsen

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cover of the graphic novel Daphne ByrneDaphne Byrne by Laura Marks, Kelley Jones and Michelle Madsen
DC Comics (November 2020)
160 pages; $24.99 hardcover
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

14-year-old Daphne Byrne lives in a world where she doesn’t belong. Her father was the only person who understood her, but he died in a disgraceful way, a way that gives gossips plenty to talk about. This is 1886 in New York, and Daphne’s morbid, literate, precocious personality doesn’t fit well in a time and place where women are expected to be docile and obedient. The other girls at school all make fun of her, so she doesn’t fit in anywhere.Continue Reading

Review: Shiver by Junji Ito

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Shiver by Junji Ito
VIZ Media (December 2017)
400 pages; $22.99 hardcover, $15.99 ebook
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

Junji Ito is one of Japan’s top horror manga creators. His short story collection Shiver — which at almost 400 pages of length is longer than average for manga — gives a glimpses into what makes him so popular.Continue Reading

Review: Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #1

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cover of Edgar Allan Poe's Snifter of Blood 1Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #1
Ahoy! Comics (October 2020)
32 pages; $4.99
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

Following their Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror line of comics, Ahoy Comics is releasing Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood. These are all anthology comics, so people can start reading them anywhere in the series.

The first issue of Snifter of Blood contains the stories “The Black Dog,” “Atlas Shrugged,” “Werewolf Hangover,” “Finally,” and “Deep Cover.” The first two are comics with sequential art, and the last three are flash fiction with an introductory illustration. While each story has something of its own tone, they all similarly have twist endings and moments of humor in the midst of horror. Edgar Allan Poe, like the Crypt Keeper for Tales from the Crypt, gives some commentary and introductions to stories.Continue Reading

Review: Remina by Junji Ito

cover of Remina by Junji Ito

Remina by Junji Ito
VIZ Media (December 15, 2020)
256 pages; $19.99 hardcover, $15.99 ebook
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

At first it looks as if everything is working out for 16-year-old Remina. Her father, a scientist, won the Nobel Prize for discovering a wormhole. When an unknown planet from a different dimension comes through the wormhole, it makes her father even more famous and celebrated, and he names the planet Remina after his daughter. Buoyed by this fame, Remina the girl uses it to get into the entertainment industry and became a celebrity in her own right.

But then the planet Remina keeps heading toward earth, moving faster than should be possible. Moving faster than the speed of light, even. As it goes, it destroys the planets on its path. It appears to have eyes that look out, and giant tongues that can attack planets. It doesn’t take people long to figure that the planet Remina will destroy earth as well.Continue Reading

Review: Mieruko-chan by Tomoki Izumi

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Mieruko-chan by Tomoki Izumi
Yen Press (November 17, 2020)
146 pages; $13 paperback, $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

Mieruko seems like an average high school girl, but she keeps seeing hideous monsters wherever she goes. She’ll be standing out in the rain waiting for the bus when she’s joined by a monster with socket-less eyes, a gaping gut, and faces staring out from its insides.

“Hey, can you see me?” it asks her. “You can see. Can you see?”Continue Reading

Review: Sadako at the End of the World by Koma Natsumi and Koji Suzuki

cover of Sadako at the End of the WorldSadako at the End of the World by Koma Natsumi and Koji Suzuki
Yen Press (November 17, 2020)
146 pages; $15 paperback, $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

Sadako, the vengeful ghost villain from The Ring franchise, gets a new twist to her story in the manga Sadako at the End of the World.

The Ring started out as a 1991 novel written by Koji Suzuki (and is available in America from the publisher Vertical), and that spawned off into more books and then movies. Japan made two movie adaptations and South Korea made one before the franchise made its way to America with a 2002 Hollywood movie adaptation starring Naomi Watts. In America, “Sadako” was changed to “Samara Morgan.” The obsession with Sadako and The Ring franchise continues in Japan, where their most recent movie in the franchise (called Sadako) came out in 2019.Continue Reading

Review: The Witch and the Beast by Kousuke Satake

cover of the witch and the beastThe Witch and the Beast by Kousuke Satake
Kodansha Comics (October 27, 2020)
192 pages; $12.99 paperback, $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

The Witch and the Beast opens with a question: “Do you know how to break a witch’s curse?” It gives two answers: “Method 1: A loving kiss from a prince on a white horse. Method 2: Hope the wrathful witch has a change of heart.”

But the manga is quick to assure us that these methods are nearly impossible to work out.Continue Reading

Mark McKenna on the EC-style Horror of ‘Combat Jacks’

Mark McKenna got his professional start in the graphic novel world in the mid-’80s and has since worked on almost 600 comics. Drawing and inking for DC and Marvel kept him in the world of household-name superheroes, but McKenna has also published creator-owned horror comics for both adults and children. With Halloween just around the corner, Cemetery Dance caught up with McKenna to talk about his creations, how he approaches horror comics, and how he was influenced by early horror tales from EC.Continue Reading