Great introduction to what I'm sure will be another nice addition to the columns here on Project Fanboy.
With the Zombie genre in full swing, I think that we would be remiss not to discuss Kirkman's work on The Walking Dead. What say you? BRAINS!!!
Horror! The genre that is damned by most and loved by few, but who doesn’t love a good scary story? Let’s be honest. I‘d like to think of this column as a circus, a circus from hell of course, but still a circus. Where, you can find the clowns, creeping on children. Or maybe the trapeze artist is more your thing, well what’s more fun than watching a trapeze artist, him falling to his death of course. What about the Lions that are caged up? Oh wait, they're out, and in the crowd, better run. All of these take place in the horror realm where normal everyday events turn horribly wrong. And that folks, is what we’ll be discussing every week.
This first week will be more of an introductory to this column, of what will be discussed and looked over here every week. The horror genre is a fascinating one that transcends many mediums of art, including TV, Film, Comics, Video Games, Novels, Radio Theatre and many, many more.
The Genre’s early roots have ancient origins, but start with Gothic Horror Literature. This came to light in the 18th century. Supernatural horror has its roots in folklore and religion. Their views on death, evil, the afterlife, and the devil. Early embodiments of these took form in vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches and revenants etc. These are still used today and rather heavily used, even outside of the horror genre.
The three most influential books would be Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, my personal favorite, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Three of the most influential books ever, all Horror. So when someone says that Horror isn’t an art form, tell them to turn off the SAW movie and read Frankenstein. Other influential writers include H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, and most recently, Stephen King.
Gothic Horror has to be credited with the first Horror genre. For a general view, if it takes place in Europe and there’s a giant creepy castle, it’s Gothic Horror, right? Well yes and most definitely no. Gothic Horror is associated with the Gothic Revival architecture and the way they rejected clarity and rationalism during that time period. They embody the joys of extreme emotion, the creation of something. Much like Frankenstein created his monster, to bring back life must be extraordinary. Yet it seems it’s not as fated as the monster destroys everything in Frankenstein’s life. The ruins of gothic buildings gave rise to multiple linked emotions by representing the inevitable decay and collapse of human creations. English Gothic writers often associated medieval buildings with what they saw as a dark and terrifying period, characterized by harsh laws enforced by torture, and with mysterious, fantastic, and superstitious rituals. This, to me, is amazing. There are so many factors that take place during this time period, and without one of them, horror as we know it may never have existed.
The jump from novel to comic book occurred during the Second World War, but later came to a screeching halt during the 1954 congressional hearings. They would later make resurgence after the 1971 relaxation of the comic’s code. Paul Levitz, publisher and president of DC comics has a unique perspective on "Horror Comics.” I think horror comics are in their third phase, the first being the EC period (early 50’s), which seemed defined by the oh henry snap endings and visual, visceral horror ‘money shots’ (Tales From the Crypt style horror). Then the tamer mystery comics which supplanted them in the market place, were served mainly by irony and monsters which didn’t get to do anything too monstrous. And now concept driven horror, drawing on mythology, society and the world of ideas (30 Days of Night, the vertigo ouevre from Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing through Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and Hellblazer).
In this column we’ll discuss all that and everything in between, from modern Horror comics, and their popularity, through the early Eerie comics (1947).
This is where I’d like to get the reader involved, if there’s anything you want discussed here, such as an author, a comic, a sub genre etc. Anything that has anything to do with horror comics, just post it below and I’ll promise you we’ll get to it.
The Walking Dead. It sounds like a plan.
i grew up reading horror comics and magazines like creepy and eerie. looking forward to this thread.