Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Comics Catchup

I make no pretense of being caught up or well-informed about comics these days. There are too many great titles, and too many temptations for an eclectic like myself.

I bounce around among the titles that capture my interest. I've read some of the New 52, and bit of the Red Hulk and other Marvel goings on, and I'm a fan of Locke and Key and much more.

Lately a few other things have grabbed my attention, and a mention on a friend's Facebook timeline sparked some discussion last night. So, some things I've liked recently on my iPad via Comixology include:

Dark Shadows/Vampirella
Crossovers are inevitable in comics, and when characters from different corners of my youth converge, it's hard to pass up the adventure.

Barnabas Collins, the Maine blue blood vampire meets the girl from Draculon in this outing, that pits them against Elizabeth Bathory, she who bathed in the blood of virgins. Liz has enlisted the help of Jack the Ripper, and they're both alive in contemporary Manhattan.

They're responsible for some deaths, and they've kidnapped and caged several victims as well. One of those is the descendant of a woman Barnabas destroyed before he learned to control his vampirism, so he owes a debt.

Barnabas is portrayed as a bit unhip, having been penned up in a coffin for a few hundred years, so venturing from Maine into New York City is challenging. His werewolf cousin Quentin is happily on hand to help out, and then there Vampi.

The fight, as heroes, or even antiheroes must in crossovers, but then they team up and face off against the real evil. Dracula has a place in Vampi's world these days, but Bathory is so evil, he's not an obstacle as this five-issue arc builds to its climactic battle.

It's penned by Marc Andreyko who created Torso, based on the Cleveland's Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, and it really had me flipping through the frames.

Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator
Lovecraftian meets Lovecraft in more ways than one in this entry in this entry of the ongoing Army of Darkness crossover series, and it's a bit of a brilliant mix.

Ash from Army gets committed after his return to the S-Mart where shotgunning an ancient sorceress isn't viewed with the understanding film viewers might be willing to grant the one-armed stalwart. Who should be at work at the institution where he's housed but Lovecraft's Herbert West himself, the Herbert of the Re-Animator films at least.

He's still up to his efforts to thwart death with obstacles still plaguing him, but he's also assisting those bent on opening doorways to Lovecraft's Elder Gods.

Hideous, tentacled beings abound, and Ash must avert cataclysm in his usual style.

Sherlock Holmes and the Liverpool Demon
Who said Sherlock in his own time couldn't be successful today? Updatings Sherlock and Elementary get all the attention. Well, I suppose the Robert Downey Jr. movies are true to period, but this series gives us Holmes and Watson almost as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's readers know them.

Their challenge is sensational, a series of murders in which the victims are clawed by what many believe to be the Springheel Jack of legend.

But the series remains true to the spirit of Doyle's original stories  throughout. Holmes and Watson are in Liverpool wrapping up a case, and soon become involved in the murders. A homeless man's one of the victims, and he seems to have ties to other things afoot. Is the supernatural at play, or is a gangster's imported panther alone the culprit? The way things wrap up with various plot threads converging in the final issue makes this mystery mini-series enthralling.

These titles plus a news series from Marvel featuring Michael Morbius, who I used to read in black and white in the Vampire Tales days, have been keeping me busy.

I know some who dismiss the digital age of comics, but I find it handy. There's not a worry about missing an issue at the drug store when every title's just a download away.


Charles Gramlich said...

Army of Darkness versus reanimator. Now there is a title. I will have to have a look at that one.

Anonymous said...

While the state of Marvel and DC sales isn't that great, it is a great time to be a comic reader as there is so much variety available in the small press!

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