“If they knew what horrible things were available to them they would take comfort in their own suffering.”
-Dr. Spencer Black
I have been sitting here for long moments and I am still not sure where to start telling you about this.
It is art and science and masterful storytelling packaged and tied with a blood splattered ribbon. It is at once indescribably beautiful and nightmarishly horrifying. It is my latest obsession and my signed copy caused me to remove everything else from my coffee table to ensure no other object would detract from it.
It is The Resurrectionist, by EB Hudspeth.
Hudspeth is one of the people I couldn’t wait to introduce you to, whom I met at this year’s C2E2 event in Chicago. When Nicole at Quirk Books got in touch, she described EB (he said we could all call him Eric) as “author, artist and creator of ‘Frankenstein meets Gray’s Anatomy.’”
Couple this with Quirk’s charter of publishing only 25 strikingly unconventional books every year, and this amounted to an opportunity there was no way I was going to miss.
Eric Hudspeth came in out of the rain (literally) to sit down and talk about The Resurrectionist during his visit to Chicago – the 1893 version of which figures prominently in his tale.
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Last week the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2 for you cool kids) rolled into town with its usual juggernaut of the innovative, the unusual and the spandex’d.
Though this is my fourth year covering the show for Black Gate, I must say it is by far the worst place to send someone like me who has a problem with staring; especially when doing so is likely to seriously annoy a very big person in a very small costume.
But never let it be said that I shirked my obligation to a long-suffering readership. Therefore I bribed Black Gate photographer Chris Z to once again wade into a precarious situation with me, this time with the promise he could meet all the crew of the Black Pearl from Pirates of the Caribbean who were listed as special guests.
Plus, Chris would be a good deterrent if I did indeed seriously annoy someone; like Batman or Chewbacca.
Almost immediately I realized Chris Z was probably in as much trouble as I was.
The first indication was a sign instructing us to text a number if we saw anything “suspicious.” At which point Chris and I looked at each other and said in unison, “Define suspicious.”
When everywhere you look are adults dressed as super heroes, Star Wars characters and video game icons, determining exactly what constitutes “suspicious” is darn near impossible. Which makes you wonder what would cause someone to text the number as instructed.
Still, Chris and I did our very best to put on the mental blinders and run through a full-day lineup of interviews, meet-and-greets and 100 aisles of merchandise.
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Now that the seasonal Halloween fun is in full swing and the Goth Chick News interns have gone mad on Red Bull and candy corn, it’s down to me to sample the best-of-the-best of the “holiday” offerings and hand them over to you to fill up your two remaining October weekends.
Oh, and if you are under 16, I’m going to need to ask you to leave. All of the events I’m about to describe have a non-negotiable age limit.
The last thing we want is lawsuits to claim reimbursement for PTSD therapy sessions.
Youngsters firmly in front of Sesame Street? Pencils ready?
Then let’s break this down by location…
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Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
You’ve got to go a long way to adequately capture the creepiness that is the poetry of Edger Allen Poe.
And Hollywood has tried… a lot.
There have been 44 films to date dealing directly with Poe material, not to mention all the films with Poe “inspired” material, from the first Batman movie in 1966 to Saw V in 2008.
It started in 1909 when D.W. Griffith created the first Poe bio-pic in the form of a six-minute, one-reeler entitled Edgar Allen Poe commemorating the 50th anniversary of Poe’s passing. Even with all the wonders the turn of the century brought, including moving pictures, Edgar Allen Poe stood out as a mystery.
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Last weekend, Chicago’s McCormick Center played host to the annual Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2 for you cool kids), and once again I am reminded that not all the “interesting” people have pulled up stakes for California.
Amidst the oodles of Avengers merchandise, aisles of comic illustrators (many of whom appeared to have a near cult-like following) and celebrity autograph queues, mingled individuals who seemed to have ample expendable income for use on high-end costumes.
Yes, there was indeed a costume contest much later in the afternoon, but that didn’t explain why a very thin dude in a wig and fishnets was walking around posing as Lady Gaga.
It is sights like this which remind me that should I ever venture into the San Diego ComiCon; my head would likely explode.
Still, the popularity of C2E2 continues to grow year over year; so much so that in 2012 it was relocated to a larger venue in the building across the street from 2011’s location.
And though I could have easily grabbed a spot on the floor opposite the entrance and spent the day people-watching, Black Gate photog Chris Z and I waded in with the rest of the press just before the opening bell on Saturday.
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The interns are between semesters, the temperatures in Chicago are sub-zero and most important, the Boss is in Belize.
Belize…? What’s in Belize? Anybody?
Well, no matter. What we have here is the perfect storm of opportunity to take the week off and get ready for Goth Chick News’ second busiest season besides Halloween.
In the coming weeks I’ll be road-tripping to St. Louis to cover the 2012 Halloween Costume and Party Show, chatting up the disturbing participants of C2E2 and joining my fellow Black Gate staffers at something called Capri-con (where I’ll appear incognito to see what all you Sci-Fi-er’s get up to when you get together).
Until then, it’s frozen blender drinks and days nights on the sand.
See you next week.
Are you hitting up any conventions this year? If so, which ones? Post a comment or drop a line to email@example.com.
Last Sunday I told you all about NIGHTMARE WORLD comics which I had the good fortune of discovering last month at the C2E2 show in Chicago.
I also learned from you that I wasn’t the only one scaring the crap out of myself as a kid by reading this sort of contraband content by flashlight; and from the emails I got, you lot have been sneaking around doing things you’ve been told not to for some time.
Which is why you are very welcome here.
And now, fortune pats me on the head for the third time this week in the form of an email from the man himself, NIGHTMARE WORLD creator Dirk Manning.
Moved by our mutual admiration of classic tales of terror and intrigued by the readers of Black Gate, to whom he had not previously been introduced, Mr. Manning agreed to brave the probing and in depth (insert lightning and thunder sound effects here) Thirteen Questions…
Are the restraints nice and snug? Then let’s begin.
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I don’t know about you, but I never got a really clear look at horror comics as a kid, which may be why they still intrigue me to this day.
Back then, the acquisition of such contraband was generally via my older male cousins who were smart enough, even at that tender young age, to secret them inside the cover of The Archies. The comic would then be stashed between my mattress and box springs to be removed only after I had heard my parents go to bed. At this magic time, the comic would be quietly pulled out (don’t crinkle the pages too much, parents can hear that from the other side of the house) and read under a mound of stifling covers by the glow of a dimming flashlight.
The upshot of reading banned material was that I would scare myself silly and fall asleep clutching the flickering flashlight until the batteries went dead. It always seemed that the shadows cast under the covers and against the pages muted the comic book colors and make the icky stuff inside come to life.
Thus the reason horror comics were verboten.
Which, I suspect, is how I gained a lifelong addiction to horror comics and likely also the cause of ever-increasingly strong contact lenses as an adult.
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It isn’t very often that I suffer from complete sensory overload, but the Haunted Attractions Show in St. Louis, immediately followed by the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo nearly did me in. It was therefore necessary to retire to the underground offices of Goth Chick News, barricade myself in with the espresso machine, the blender and a bottle of good tequila, and take a few quiet days to absorb everything I had seen.
Black Gate editor and big cheese John O’Neill graciously stood in for my post last Thursday, partially out of sympathy for my over-stimulated state; but mostly because he wanted the blender back.
Now rebooted with sufficient caffeine and marguerites, I am ready to begin telling you more of the amazing events of the last two weeks.
C2E2 takes place in Chicago’s largest convention center, McCormick Place and the event consumed all of one of the largest buildings. Focusing on all manner of artwork, collectibles, music, film and entertainment, it was… well, gi-normous.
Though it will take several weeks of posts to delve into detail on all of the fantastic things I saw, I start as always with a Best of Show overview.
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Yes, believe it or not, its time once again for the Halloween Costume and Party Show; the largest collection of Hollywood-style horror effects to be found in one place. Needless to say, this annual event causes just about as much activity in the underground offices of Goth Chick News as Halloween itself.
Generally held in Chicago, this year’s event has moved south to The America’s Center in St. Louis, meaning some well-thought-out preparation is in order. Having only rarely left my workspace unattended, sadly I know full well what has happened in the past when I’ve turned my back on the boys of Black Gate. Generally, it involves some manner of carnage being inflicted on my blender, my espresso machine or the barely acceptable unisex bathroom.
There was that one time when the espresso machine and the unisex bathroom ended up together, but I still can’t discuss that without needing a lie down afterwards.
So, with this in mind I will carefully remove all tempting objects out of the office to the trunk of my car (including the super glue), make a pass through the local coffee shop drive-thru, and then I’m off to my most favorite event of the year.
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