24 Hours of Halloween: The X-Files

The X-Files

We’ve been engaged in a rewatching of The X-Files here at Stately Beat Manor for the last few months and wow, does it hold up. Not only does it hold up, but it totally points the way forward to today’s golden age of television with superior acting, writing and production that strove to look different and not homogeneous. As great as a show like The Rockford Files or Cheers was, they were based on a template of how a TV show should act and move. The X-Files made its own template and changed the way everything would be done afterwards. Although Twin Peaks may have been the first show that truly broke the mold, it was also a victim of its own success. Chris Carter—and his crew of future show runners including Vince Gilligan—was able to stand out while keeping an audience on the always panicky fledgling Fox Network.

Aside from a few shoulder pads here and there and the lack of cel phones, The X-Files is as fresh and immediate as the day it aired. Many of the real life dangers it wove into conspiracies are just as  threatening now; many of the mysteries just as unsolved. The writing is brilliant (okay we’re only up to season three) and the characters of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are new archetypes of the internet world to come. Dialed in, sometimes detached by the sheer flood of information, armed with information along with a gun.

The X-Files grew up with the internet, with rabid fan groups on usenet, and the birth of serious “shipping” that not only matched the obvious ones—Scully and Mudler— but alternates like Krycek and Mulder. The Lone Gunmen—three oddballs who knew how to surf on UNIX— were the first internet nerds, and the show adopted as its signature color the acid green of the flashing cursors of the first home computer screen.

As for Scully and Mulder, while it was obvious that someday they would hook up, they also stood for the most egalitarian duo in pop culture since…The African Queen? Each with quirks and backstory, Mulder revelled in his weirdness and Scully, instead of running away from her giant trenchcoat and perfect red lipstick, made it the sign of a competent, inquisitive FBI agent who could take care of herself and those around her in scores of crazy situations.

The X-Files is truly in the Halloween and the TV hall of fame.

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24 Hours of Halloween: Study Group Halloween Haunting

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As they did last year, the Study Group cartoonist have rolled out a whole week of seasonal comics including:

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The Gemini Three – Part 1 – by T Edward Bak

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Flash Forward – by Sean T. Collins and Jonny Negron

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October 31st – by Will Dinski

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Final Meal – by Christopher Sebela and Zack Soto

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Internet Girlfriend – by Ross Jackson

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River of Tears – by Julia Gfrörer

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A Dance With Death – Part 1 – by Greg Khmara and Jason Fischer

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Tales of Inconvenience – by Steve Aylett

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King Blood – Part 2 – by Rich Tommaso

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Guts Nice – by Chris Cilla

…and many more. Enjoy!

24 Hours of Halloween: Charles Burns

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No one is better than Charles Burns, and his unnamed trilogy—X’ed Out, The Hive and the new Sugar Skull—may be an even greater achievement in horror than his masterful Black Hole. The horror is on the page—talking maggots, ruined faces, a grim grey land of cannibals and humanoid insects—but the true terror is the most fearful thing of all: learning to love and understand another human being.

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Tim Hodler interviews Burns at the Comics Journal in a piece called “I’m Not on This Planet Forever”: that talks about the autobiographical roots of his work—although experienced first hand, Burn’s imagination transforms them into the universal.

That particular character, that was a conversation with my girlfriend’s roommates. I just never heard — we knew a lot of bands and I just remember her saying like, “Huh, we could do a band, but everybody’s doing a band.” It was like, “Everyone’s doing that. I’m going to do something different.” So it really was from that. When I went to school, I studied fine arts. I didn’t go to comics school or learn graphics or anything like that. Anything useful.

But I really did have a chance to kind of explore a lot of different mediums. I did painting, and sculpture, and I did a lot of photography. That part comes out in the book a little bit — that aspect of being a photographer. I felt like I was able to kind of allow different things into my work. But also it did come down to me just liking the accessibility of comics and wanting to tell stories. I think early on I never really kind of settled down enough to tell real stories. There were little fragments of things, or a page of something, or it might be some kind of more visual narrative. But I hadn’t really sat down and worked through the whole storytelling part of it. Which is a hard thing. Something I had to teach myself.

24 Hours of Halloween: OUTCAST by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta

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Few comics are as suitable for Halloween reading as Robert Kirkman’s Outcast, which opens with a gruesome, intense demonic possession, and continues with an exploration of a great central character,  Kyle Barnes, who has to deal with his own connection to possession and the demonic world. We all know Kirkman is a horror master, but Azaceta’s art on the book is sleek and controlled, aided by top notch colors.

The first collection of Outcast comes out in December.
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24 Hours of Halloween: Hansel and Gretel by Mattotti and Gaiman—with events!

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This extraordinary book—surely one of the most beautiful picture books of the year— has a complicated history. It began with Mattotti’s phenomenal illustrations, originally commissioned for the Metropolitan Opera’s 2007 production of Engelbert Humperdink’s opera Hansel and Gretel. Later French publisher Gallimand commissioned Jean-Claude Mourlevat to write text to go with it. And now Neil Gaiman has done an all new adaptation of the story. I was lucky enough to hear Gaiman read this at Carnegie Hall earlier in the year and it’s a stunning version of the tale…but it’s Mattotti’s claustrophobic, world building art that makes this one of the books of the year. In his world. the unlucky children are mere black blobs with a thin armor of white space protecting them from a tangled web of darkness.

This book is the center of several events this weekend. Neil Gaiman is speaking at the NYPL this evening, and it’s being live streamed.

And Mattotti himself appears tomorrow morning at McNAlly Jackson Books in Soho. He will have books re-signed by Gaiman on hand but Gaiman will not be appearing…however, if you are very lucky maybe the great Mattotti will doodle something in your copy of this masterpiece.

WHEN:
November 1, 2014 at 11:30AM

WHERE:
McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street
(between Lafayette & Mulberry)
New York City, NY 10012

WHAT:
Come hear Lorenzo talk about his art and share more about the making of Hansel & Gretel.  After the event, copies of Hansel & Gretel, presigned by Neil Gaiman, can be signed and personalized by Lorenzo.

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24 Hours of Halloween: The Last Halloween by Abby Howard

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The long running The Last Halloween is an engrossing tale about a girl and some monsters.

The Last Halloween is the story of Mona and her unusual friends, who must work together to defend humanity from countless horrific monstrosities! Perhaps they will succeed, and humanity will prevail as it always has. Or perhaps this will be… The Last Halloween

It’s all in the execution!

Howard came up with the idea after participating on Strip Search.

24 Hours of Halloween: Yet More Spooky Comics on Sale from Monsterverse and Humanoids

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Monsterverse is having a sale!

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And so is Humanoids with a 25% sale off on Pandemonium, Loving Dead, I Am Legion, Sanctum, Dominion, Whispers in the Walls, Crusades, Zombies That Ate The World (Book 1 and 2) both digital and physical. Just enter the word Halloween at check out. Runs through tomorrow and again some great books there.

24 Hours of Halloween: The Blobby Boys’ Treehouse of Horror

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Alex Schubert’s Blobby Boys go on a rampage of referencing Ben Jones and Charles Burns in this episode. And check out the rest of Vice’s comics—many Halloween themed ones this week!

24 Hours of Halloween: Emily Caroll’s When The Darkness Presses

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F YEAH!!!!!! If there is one Halloween tradition in comics that must be kept is a new digital comic by Emily Caroll! Her previous uses of the digital palette to create horror has made her one of the few true autuers of “future comics”—and the print iteration, Through the Woods is one of the best graphic novels of the year. Her previous horror comics like His Face All Red, Margot’s Room, Out of Skin and The Hole the Fox Did Make are all classics of terror and digital storytelling.

And here she is this year with When The Darkness Presses, which …..Oh I’m not going to say a word. JUST CLICK IT. When I saw she had a new horror comic out I just about yelled for joy. And that was before I even opened the door. Drop whatever you are doing and do the same.

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24 Hours of Halloween: Read David Hine’s STRANGE EMBRACE for free

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David Hine’s Strange Embrace has quietly become a classic horror comic. The eerie tale of a delivery whose weekly trip to a house full of dysfunctional shut ins reveals secret after secret and descends into madness, sexual obssession and death, it’s been published in various editions from Tundra, Image, Active Images and more since it first came out in 1993. And now you can get the ULTIMATE version of the story via Sequential, the graphic novel app for iPads. This version is in the original black and white (at one point it was colored and though it looked great B&W fits the mood better). It also includes an intro by Paul Gravett, back matter and even AN AUDIO COMMENTARY FOR EACH PAGE. YOU heard that right. Sequential is aiming to make the “criterion collection” of digital graphic novels and they are doing a fine job of it. Extras include:

* audio commentary on each and every page
* a gallery of original covers
* the first panel breakdowns and dialog, synced with the pages they became
* an interview with comics historian Paul Gravett
* an academic piece, Visualizising the Fantastic in Strange Embrace – by Marcus Oppolzer
* the original Strange Embraces
+ additional artwork and characters sketches.

Sequential is making 666 copies of the book available for free this Halloween. Just head over to the store and get ready to download. .

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24 Hours of Halloween: Happy Halloween from Valiant by Val Mayerik

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Art by Val Mayerik.

Valaint wanted me to remind you that The (mis)adventures of Quantum and Woody and Archer and Armstrong continue in THE DELINQUENTS #4(of 4) – in stores November 26th.

24 Hours of Halloween: Francesco Francavilla’s 31 Days of Horror

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If there’s one person who loves Halloween and scary monsters more than us it’s artist Francesco Francavilla who has been running his own 31 Days of Horror event on his twitter feed with daily art and process posts. You can more or less follow along at the hashtag #fffear but here’s a sample:

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24 hours of Halloween: J.O. Applegate

JO Applegate is an illustrator who has appeared in The Classical, ESPN Playbook, SI Extra Mustard, Buzzfeed Sports and Dime Magazine among others and he passed along some art he did for a Halloween art show:

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Monster Meet Cute

 

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Curse of the Lover’s Tree

 

BTW it’s not Halloween, but if you go to his site or Tumblr there’s some really neat stuff, much of it sports themed,. We especially liked the mock pulp paperback covers done for the Classical with a basketball draft theme.

 

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24 Hours of Halloween: The Return of Split Lip

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Split Lip is a long running—and critically acclaimed— horror comics anthology (ANOTHER)began online in 2006 and ventured into print in 2009. It’s the creation of writer Sam Costello, who enlisted artists including Kyle Strahm (Spread), John Bivens (Dark Engine), Sami Makkonen (Deadworld: Slaughterhouse), T.J. Kirsch (Amy Devlin Mysteries), Christine Larsen (Valentine), David Hitchcock (Springheel Jack), and Felipe Sobreiro (The Strange Talent of Luther Strode) to do the drawing. A new series of stories just relaunched on Wednesday, after having been retired  in 2012 by Costello. But “even though I tried to move on to other things,” he writes. “I kept having ideas for new short horror stories. As I wrote them, I realized that these stories—in their tone, style, and approach—were Split Lip stories and that I had to relaunch the series.”

The relaunch includes five months worth of comics already completed and an additional four stories underway.

The new stories begin with “Victims,” a story of missing memories, twisted families, and emotional trauma written by Costello and drawn by Steven Perkins. 

Upcoming stories include “Lone and Level,” a meditation of materialism and mortality, with art by Max Temescu, and “8 Days Alone,” drawn by Matthew Goik, in which a man believes that his girlfriend has come back from vacation a different person.

To celebrate the relaunch of Split Lip, all 5 Split Lip trade paperbacks are 30% off through Halloween at http://store.splitlipcomic.com.

The relaunch of the series will be followed in November by a new design for the Split Lip website. The improved design will offer a better reading experience, less clutter, and a tablet-friendly size. The new stories are also optimized for display on high-resolution screens like Apple’s Retina Display, delivering the art and lettering in super-crisp detail.

“As every horror and comics fan knows, nothing really stays dead. I’m thrilled that Split Lip, whether undead, zombified, or simply relaunched, has risen from the grave and is back among the living,” said Costello.

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24 Hours of Halloween: Another Kickstarter horror anthology: Canaan Cult Revival

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And yet another crowdfunded Horror anthology, this time led by Christian Sager who explains it thusly:

CANAAN CULT REVIVAL is an explicit and graphic compilation of horror, designed to distress its readers. In fact, some creators who originally participated in the magazine had to withdraw when they were exposed to its subject matter. This isn’t yet another retelling of the same witchcrafted demon possession you’ve come to know. 

Story Synopses

“The Flagellant:” (Art by Drew Rausch.) Kushiel the Wayfarer has punished Purgatory’s residents for eternity. When a coven of wealthy socialites tries to bind him, it becomes Kushiel’s turn to punish himself.

“Trial By Cauldron:” (Story & Art by EC Steiner.) Dissension in a coven of witches leads to one young woman to seek the terrible embrace of the demon Andras.

“Beestings:” (Art by Anthony Hightower.) Two young men are seduced and punished after they beat up a witch’s son. 

“By Proxy:” (Art by Eraklis Petmezas.) Frank Delaney decides to scare his son away from the occult by turning their home into a “hell house.” 

“The Never Event:” (Art by Henry Eudy.) As part of her initiation as a demon hunter, Luanne’s father forces her to exorcise another teenage girl… or kill her trying.

“The Bully Pulpit:” (Art by Rich Barrett.) The deacon of a small religious school warns his students that one of their peers is possessed by a demon. To further his cause, he turns to diabolism and domestic abuse.

“Snow Blind:” (Art by Rafer Roberts.) Young Alia Siskin temporarily loses her vision. But the demon Beleth has plans for her… and her new puppy.

“The Resident:” (Art by Kelly Williams.) Joe checks out the same rare books from the local library everyday. When the head archivist confronts him, she learns a dark, demonic secret.

 

And some art:

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“Trial By Cauldron.” Written and drawn by EC Steiner.

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“The Flagellant.” Art by Drew Rausch.

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Kelly Williams – “The Resident”

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“Beestings.” Art by Anthony Hightower.

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Rafer Roberts – “Snow Blind”

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“The Bully Pulpit.” Art by Rich Barrett.

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“By Proxy.” Art by Eraklis Petmezas.

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Henry Eudy – “The Never Event”

24 Hours of Halloween: Night Post

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If you thought the post office was scary, wait until you see Night Post by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder. It’s about a midnight postal service that delivers mail to the creatures of the night. And what happens when they find out it’s just junk mail? You don’t want to find out.

‘Night Post started from my longstanding childhood belief that midnight is a special hour, and strange things can happen as it strikes,’ Read tells us. The story of our beleaguered Postie has offered a wonderful chance for me and Laura to explore our mutual love of the spookier side of things, whilst having a great deal of fun at the same time. Building the world of the Night Post and then watching Laura bring it to life or, in some cases, death, and layer it with the most painstaking details – watch out for the Infinitesimal Animals – has been brilliant.’

The book will be released in the UK by Improper Books on November 12 via supporting independent retailers, such as Gosh! (London), Orbital Comics (London), and Page 45 (Nottingham).

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