Review: Cthulhurotica

By J. Keith Haney

Cuinn, Carrie, ed. Cthulhurotica, Dagan Books (2010). $16.99 USD (print), $3.99 USD (Kindle). 344 pp. ISBN 978-0-98313-730-6.

It took me a long time to understand the difference between erotica and porn. Blame it on being raised in the conservative Bible Belt, where porn flourishes in the shadows of the hypocrites’ crosses. My first inkling of what erotica is in contrast to porn came from an essay I read in college by (I think) Gloria Steinem. …

IFPReview: Cthulhurotica

Review: Never Knew Another

By Jesse Bullington

McDermott, J.M. Never Knew Another. Night Shade Books (January 18, 2011). US$14.99. ISBN-10: 9781597802154.

I have a weakness for badasses wearing animal skins as hoods. This weakness has led me down many paths, most of them utterly terrible, and yet still I follow the siren song of the badass-with-an-animal-skin-hood…and now, at last, I have found my reward. Yet, rest assured – even if you don’t give half a puma pelt for the cover art and the …

IFPReview: Never Knew Another

Review: The Bloodlight Chronicles: Reconciliation

By Mike Griffiths

Stanton, Steve. The Bloodlight Chronicles: Reconciliation. Ecw Press (September 1, 2010). US $14.95/CAN $16.96. ISBN-13: 978-1550229547.

A few cyberpunk novels crossed through my door over the last year, The Bloodlight Chronicles being one of them. Stanton sets out to weave an epic tale set in a future where cyberspace is nearly as real as the grim life of the accepted reality. And when humankind has embraced the stars and even lives on other worlds, who is …

IFPReview: The Bloodlight Chronicles: Reconciliation

Review: Shadows Over Baker Street

By Danielle DeLisle

Reaves, Michael and Pelan, John, eds. Shadows Over Baker Street. Del Rey, 2003. 464pp. ISBN-13: 978-0345455284.

Ever wondered what it might be like if Sherlock Holmes contended with the Great Old Ones? If you have, then you need to check out this book. Shadows Over Baker Street is a collection of 20 short stories by authors like Neil Gaiman, Barbara Hambly, Caitlin Kiernan, and Poppy Z. Brite. Each tale has a link with the world of …

IFPReview: Shadows Over Baker Street

Review: The Enterprise of Death

By Orrin Grey

Bullington, Jesse. The Enterprise of Death. Orbit, 2011. US $14.99. ISBN 9780316087346.

Back when I reviewed Jesse Bullington’s debut novel, The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, I said that it was going to “divide a lot of people, and get a lot of much-deserved attention,” and I’d say the same for his sophomore effort. But The Enterprise of Death is at least as different from The Brothers Grossbart as the two books are similar.…

IFPReview: The Enterprise of Death

Column: Retronomicon: Doom Patrol, Book 1: Crawling From the Wreckage

By J. Keith Haney

Doom Patrol, Book 1: Crawling From the Wreckage. Morrison, Grant; Case, Richard; Garzon, Carlos; Braithwaite, Doug; Hanna, Scott. DC/Vertigo (April 17, 2000). US $13.59. 192 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1563890345.

[spoilers ahead]

This month, we’ll be examining the second-biggest cliché in comics (the first being the rock-jawed, Boy Scout superhero): super teams. They essentially come in three flavours: professional organizations (Justice League of America, Avengers), family units (Fantastic Four, First Family in Kurt Busiek’s Astro City

IFPColumn: Retronomicon: Doom Patrol, Book 1: Crawling From the Wreckage

Column: Comics Over Innsmouth: The Calling

By Lyndsey Holder

Michael Alan Nelson (Author), Christopher Posseni (Illustrator) The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles BOOM! Studios; Original edition (March 1, 2011) ISBN-13: 978-1608860517

H.P. Lovecraft. Every aspiring writer of weird fiction pays homage to him at some point or another – Lovecraft is the author’s author; he’s like the Pixies of the written word.

Comics are no exception to this. There have been some excellent Lovecraftian comics: Hellboy, for instance, is at times very obviously influenced by Lovecraft’s works. …

Lyndsey HolderColumn: Comics Over Innsmouth: The Calling

Review: The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales

By Harry Markov

Samuels, Mark. The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales. Chomu Press (March 16 2011). 178pp. US $12.50 ISBN-13: 978-1907681059.

I had no prior knowledge of Mark Samuels or his work. Picking his collection, The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales, was the result of Samuels’ comparison to Howard P. Lovecraft, as promoted in his bio, and a very bizarre title. I admit to being frivolous in how I choose my reading …

IFPReview: The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales

Column: Retronomicon: Terror Inc.

By J. Keith Haney

Chichester, D. G.; Zaffino, Jorge; Buccellato, Steve; and Felix, Phil. The Terror. Marvel Comics (1992).

This comic is a peculiar artifact of the early 1990s, one I first ran into when I saw its last, unlucky #13 issue. What I saw intrigued me enough to get the rest of the series. There is much to like about it, in spite of several missteps, which I will outline. First, a small history lesson is in order …

IFPColumn: Retronomicon: Terror Inc.

Review: Roanoke: Lost Colony: The Legend of Roanoke

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Lost Colony: The Legend of Roanoke (2007). Director: Matt Codd. Starring: Adrian Paul.

What can you expect from a SyFy Channel movie, from the makers of giant octopus and shark flicks? Not much. But I’m an optimist and the idea of using Roanoke, that early American settlement from which everyone vanished several centuries ago, does have potential. As I’ve said before, mysterious vanishings are always a great source of inspiration because they tackle our deepest fear: …

IFPReview: Roanoke: Lost Colony: The Legend of Roanoke

Review: The Broken Man

By Rebecca Stefoff

Byers, Michael. The Broken Man. PS Publishing Ltd. (October 2010). £12.00. 58 pp. ISBN 978-1-84863-106-9.

Emptiness can be terrible. Art historians speak of the horror vacui, the fear of empty spaces that makes some artists cover every square millimeter of their canvases with detailed images to blot out the glaring white blankness that lies beneath. In his novella The Broken Man, Michael Byers exposes the blankness beneath the surface of 63-year-old filmmaker Gary Rivoli’s life.…

IFPReview: The Broken Man

Column: Retronomicon: Kelley Jones’ “The Hammer: One Big Lie”

By J. Keith Haney

Jones, Kelley; Lewis, Dana; Smith, Toren. The Hammer: One Big Lie. Dark Horse Comics (November 18, 1998). 120 pp. USD $6.67. ISBN-10: 1569713405; ISBN-13: 978-1569713402.

Greetings, fellow lovers of comics of old! Welcome to the inaugural column of the Retronomicon, a look back at forgotten classics and misplaced issues of the 20th Century’s most underappreciated literary form. When possible, I will be covering Lovecraft-derived works, but the broader focus will be on horror comics in …

IFPColumn: Retronomicon: Kelley Jones’ “The Hammer: One Big Lie”