When someone dies…especially when they leave this plane of existence far too soon, it is always a reminder to live life more boldly, to strive harder to find a way across our insecurities and connect with the world at large more. It’s a reminder that our regrets, should we choose to have them, should be for the failure of things that we’ve attempted and not for the things that we were too scared to even contemplate doing.
I didn’t know Stevie Dismie well. But I have a feeling that is what he would want us to do in the wake of his passing. Dismie, one of the sassy, fun forces behind the original Comic Book Queers Podcast, lost his battle with cancer on August 16th, 2018 and the world of fandom now is lacking an alternative force of nature.
Thankfully, Dismie, who also hosted many events in Chicago celebrating the queer connection to the superhero universe, will always have a legacy as one of the important voices in helping the world realize that the LGBTQ community was invaluable to the world of geekdom. With that in mind, let’s vow to laugh a bit more, live a bit more fearlessly and, of course, read some more damn graphic novels already!
May his double page spread float on forever.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
Filled with sexy action and cinematic intrigue, Ruger, a new comic book created and written by genre goddess Sybil Danning, is a welcome treat for many reasons. The primary pleasure, though, is the lead character, herself. Strong, mysterious and enjoyably anti-authoritarian, Ruger is definitely deserving of becoming a well recognized feminist icon.
Based upon the character from the popular late ‘80s action flick L.A. Bounty, here our heroine is out to nab a payday by bringing in a charismatic Canadian diplomat. The only problem is that he is under the protection of the Federal Government of the United States. Naturally, flying bullets, explosions and epic car crashes are part of the journey that the primary focus takes to try to claim her mark.
Agreeably, the artistic team, including Scott Ethan Ambruson, G.W. Fisher and Dash Martin, have a natural affinity for the exploitation films that Danning is honoring here. They particularly capture Ruger’s chill, insolent nature as she toys with the soldiers and officials who are busy at work trying to neutralize her plans.
Nicely, this buoyant energy makes one truly excited for the future adventures that are sure unfold around this irreverent bounty hunter in the next two issues of the series.
If one needs evidence of the diversity of the horror fan, they have to look no further than the latest issue of Printsploitation magazine. A combination of a comic book, fine art publication and a more traditional genre magazine, this brain child of artist Scott Miller, features drawings from a number of influential indie genre artists devoted to various decades of terror cinema.
Nicely, in the third volume, the glorious black and white artwork is balanced out by a terrific article on the posters of ‘80s sexploitation flicks (and fun reviews of the films themselves) by Heavy Metal Moviesauthor Mike “McBeardo” McPadden and a celebration of acclaimed yet obscure VHS box artist CW Taylor by Dr. Jose.
The art, itself, is an amazing display of eclectic interests and themes. From Don England’s take on Peter Cushing to Putrid’s detailed reimagining of the (much maligned) 1979 monster film Prophecy, this volume has surprises on every page. Favorites here include Corrine Halbert’s darkly innocent take on Michael from the epically trashy Euro horror Burial Groundand the beautiful rendered power profiles of such icons as Susan Tyrell, Debbie Rochon and William Girdler by Klon J. Waldrip.
Capped off by Halbert’s hypnotically quirky take on 1962 indie masterpiece Carnival of Soulson the cover, this beautiful tribute is a must have in the collection of any serious fan of the scare scene.
Printsploitation Issue No. 3 is available for purchase from
Freddy, Jason and Michael may get the lion’s share of horror loving, but the thing that I have always loved about the terror genre is how it has given women such a fertile ground to explore multiple characters. Even when the odds are against them and extremely exploitative elements present themselves as hindrances, strong portrayals can emerge.
Such is the case of Hard to Die which, if the world is fair, will one day be acknowledged as the Queen Mother of All B-Movies. Featuring a bevy of beauties who lit up the screens in a plethora of grindhouse projects, this Roger Corman produced quickie allows the (admittedly) scantily clad heroines to exert themselves in Amazonian manners. Here Deborah Dutch (Graduation Day, Sorority Babes and the Creature from Hell), Melissa Moore (Sorority House Massacre 2, Repossessed, The Invisible Maniac), Toni Naples (Death Stalker 2, Dinosaur Island), Karen Mayo Chandler (Stripped to Kill 2, Out of the Dark), Gail Harris (Curse of the Komodo, Forbidden Games), Monique Gabrielle (The Return of the Swamp Thing, Transylvania Twist) and Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet, Chopping Mall) are featured in tale about a group of hard working retail princesses whose late night inventory shift turns into a deadly game of survival. After opening up an ancient text, the beauties soon find themselves either being possessed by an evil spirit or finding Rambo-like sensibilities within themselves as they take down their out of control colleagues. This gives the actresses plenty of emotions to play with – fear, rage and, finally, exhausted triumph. Tying into Slumber Party Massacre, another Corman property, through flashback sequences and the reuse of the Sorority House Massacre 2 character of Orville Ketchum, a scary looking yet sympathetic foil played with beleaguered dignity by Peter Spellos, adds many levels of genre joy to the film, as well.
Nicely, Midwest residents will get to catch a free screening of this micro epic on Saturday, August 5th at AlleyCat Comics, 5304 N. Clark, in Chicago. Dutch, who will be in town filming scenes for the sequel to her beloved The Hollywood Warrioressproject, will be in attendance, talking about the film and taking photos and signing memorabilia for fans. Therefore, if you haven’t seen the film before, this will be a truly unique way to experience it for the first time.
Is there such a thing as domestic bliss? Well, when you are brilliant artist-cartoonist Corinne Halbert there is!
Honey, Halbert’s latest comic details the adventures of the world’s happiest couple. Who cares if one of them just happens to be dead? And…well…rotting?!? Often hilarious, completely twisted and surprisingly sweet, this work just might prove to be Halbert, known for the savagely cool Hate Baby, at her best.
Even if I could go home again…I wouldn’t want to. Although, expanding the population there from 600 to 601 might be quite the achievement.
Thankfully, for gore loving comic adventurers, the young and handsome Todd does return to Pure Springs, the place of his birth, after years of being locked away in a cosmetology prison, in Prime Cuts, a delightfully eccentric graphic event. Settling in behind a pizzeria filled with low life hoods and electric degenerates, Todd is determined to revenge himself and his family, a la Sweeney Todd. With an accidental murder setting the final tone for the first volume, the recently released second installment gives a bit more background to Electra, Todd’s calculating partner in crime, and proves, beyond a doubt, that gastronomy can truly be orgasmic.
Scripted with wicked verve and a true sense of fun by John Franklin and Tim Sulka, this arc finds Electra and Todd grinding up his first victim while dealing with a sexually ambiguous food inspector and the erotic eccentricities of Pure Springs’ motley residents. Of course, victim number one soon finds his way onto the pizzas as a very special topping and, in the story’s most satisfying comical sequence, sends everyone into a throes of unexpected pleasure. Such detailed outrageousness makes for a world that would have fit, perfectly, on the screens of New York City’s legendary grindhouse theaters and allows one to almost feel the denizens of the Bowery breathing on your skin.
Thankfully, artist Stan Maksun perfectly captures this world with a lean, punk energy. His artwork feels like graffiti warfare and he even throws in a fun nod to the film career of Franklin, a successful actor who embodied Cousin Itt in the early ‘90s The Addams Familyfilms, but is probably best known for his legendarily chilling work as Isaac in the Children of the Cornseries.
It’s not quite a comic book. It’s not exactly a graphic novel. Why, it’s a…graphic adventure!
Indeed, artist Corinne Halbert’s series of Hate Babybooks are graphic adventures! Full of images of stylized violence and sexual misadventure, all presented with a loony sense of joy, these DIY magazines are also representative of Halbert’s obvious love of the horror genre.
Nicely, with Hate Baby 5, this uncommonly fascinating creator truly indulges in her influences by drawing slasher style scenarios, 50s influenced bondage portraiture and a gallery spread of horror icons like Leatherface, Lucio Fulci and Stephen King!
Stephen King by Corinne Halbert
Topped off with a beautiful cover image that looks like it was clipped from the film stock of The Toolbox Murders, Hate Baby 5is a true art publication that should displayed on every terror connoisseur’s coffee table with pride.