Review: The Panama Laugh

By Rebecca Stefoff

Roche, Thomas. The Panama Laugh. Night Shade Books (September 2011). 300 pp. $14.99.

Like the bastard offspring of a drug-spiked three-way between Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Clancy and Raymond Chandler, The Panama Laugh packs a gonzo attitude, a load of military-tech terminology, and a world-weary, wisecracking narrator into a hallucinatory, ultraviolent tour of the apocalypse, a journey that begins with a fistfight on a Panama beach and ends with a desperate assault on a San Francisco …

IFPReview: The Panama Laugh

Column: Comics Over Innsmouth: The Raven

By Lyndsey Holder

Reed, Lou (writer) and Mattotti, Lorenzo (artist). The Raven. Fantagraphics (July 2011).

Years ago, while spending a high school English class tearing apart E.E. Cummings’ “in Just-“, I started to wonder about the logic in dissecting art. It seems absurd to try to scientifically break down a work of art and say that yes, with this brush stroke or sequence of words or large metal piece, the artist was definitely intending to make this exact …

Lyndsey HolderColumn: Comics Over Innsmouth: The Raven

Column: Global Ghoul: Cthulhu #1

By Dale Carothers

Cthulhu #1. KettleDrummerBooks, in association with Diabolo Ediciones (June 2010). $9.95. ISBN: 978-0-9778066-4-5.

[spoilers ahead]

Cthulhu #1 is an anthology from KettleDrummer Books of Spanish writers and artists. There are several stories and I’ll give a quick review of each one. The book reminds me of those old EC Horror comics, or a series of two-minute Twilight Zone episodes with a Lovecraftian flavor.

The first two stories are by writer/artist Pepe Aviles. His work …

DaleColumn: Global Ghoul: Cthulhu #1

Review: Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears

By Amanda J. Spedding

Young, Marty and Challis, Angela, eds. Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears. Paperback. Brimstone Press (2010). ISBN: 9780980567748.

When I began reading Macabre, I didn’t set out to review it. As a current committee member of the Australian Horror Writers Association – and with one of the editors, Marty Young, being the outgoing president of the association – I figured there’d be a conflict of interest or cries of bias, but midway through …

AmandaReview: Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears

Column: Comics Over Innsmouth: Saucy Vampires

By Lyndsey Holder

Powell, Eric (creator) and Stewart, Dave (colourist). The Goon #34. Dark Horse (June 29 2011).

Busiak, Kurt; Gregory, Daryl (writers); and Godlewski, Scott (artist). Dracula: The Company of Monsters #11. Boom! Studios (June 22 2011).

Do you remember when you’d hear that a story had vampires in it and you’d think, “Wow, vampires! All vampire stories are totally awesome and not terrible at all!”

I don’t.

Maybe it’s just that I’m old and jaded, …

Lyndsey HolderColumn: Comics Over Innsmouth: Saucy Vampires

Column: Retronomicon: Creepy: The Limited Series

By J. Keith Haney

David, Peter; et al. Creepy: The Limited Series. Harris Comics/Dark Horse Comics, 1992.

When asked for a job description, Peter David calls himself a “Writer of Stuff”. That is a more-than-mild understatement. If you’re a regular reader of Star Trek novels (including David’s special novel series, “New Frontier”), comics (Star Trek comics, yes, but also longstanding runs on Marvel Comics’ Incredible Hulk, DC Comics’ Aquaman and Supergirl, and creator-owned series Sachss and

JHaneyColumn: Retronomicon: Creepy: The Limited Series

Review: The Gargoyle Prophecies, Part I, The Savior Rises

By Michael Griffiths

Payne, Christopher C. The Gargoyle Prophecies, Part I, The Savior Rises. Journalstone (October 1, 2010). 220pp. ISBN-13: 978-0982811962.

The Gargoyle Prophecies, a small-press urban fantasy, is the first in what promises to be a series that centres around a most improbable heroine: Stefani is a virgin topless dancer. As if that were not hard enough to believe, she is also the Chosen One (shades of Buffy) who will either lead the gargoyles …

Mike GriffithsReview: The Gargoyle Prophecies, Part I, The Savior Rises

Column: Comics Over Innsmouth: Drums #1: Let the Bataa Speak

By Lyndsey Holder

El Torres, writer. Drums #1: Let the Bataa Speak. Abe Hernando and Kraichang, artists. Image Comics (May 18, 2011).

Religion is in literature the way bindweed is in my garden. Its roots are thickly entangled deep within our culture and it sprouts up everywhere: sometimes in large amounts, sometimes so insidiously that it escapes notice unless you’re really hunting for it.

Mainstream comics with elements taken from the Christian religion are too numerous to count. There’s…

Lyndsey HolderColumn: Comics Over Innsmouth: Drums #1: Let the Bataa Speak

Column: Retronomicon: Nocturnals: Black Planet

By J. Keith Haney

Brereton, Dan. Nocturnals: Black Planet. Oni Press (January 5, 1999). USD $49.00. ISBN-13: 978-0966712704.

It is one of the unspoken rules of fantastic fiction that all such fiction must be categorized. This one here is fantasy, that one science fiction, and that guy over there MUST BE horror. You get the picture. Very few works, people, or genres have ever tried combining the genres in such a way that the results are downright impossible to …

JHaneyColumn: Retronomicon: Nocturnals: Black Planet

Review: Sha’Daa: Last Call

By Mike Griffiths

Edward McKeown, Edward, ed. Sha’Daa: Last Call. Altered Dimensions. Michael Hanson, series creator.

This is the second book in what I hope will be a very long series of Sha’Daa titles. In case you have been captured by aliens or the like (and didn’t read our review of the first title), the Sha’Daa is an event which takes place every 10,000 years. During the 48 hours of the Sha’Daa, the barrier between Hell and Earth is …

Mike GriffithsReview: Sha’Daa: Last Call

Review: I Wonder What Human Flesh Tastes Like

By Simon J. Berman

Isis, Justin. I Wonder What Human Flesh Tastes Like. Chomu Press (January 12, 2011). US $16.00. ISBN-13: 978-1907681011.

The debut collection of author Justin Isis, I Wonder What Human Flesh Tastes Like, is a meticulously crafted set of unsettling stories set in contemporary Japan. Isis is clearly fascinated with the alienation at the core of modern city life, the dulled sensations of the over-stimulated, and the sharp edges where those states meet.

The 10 …

IFPReview: I Wonder What Human Flesh Tastes Like

Review: The Abolisher of Roses

By Rebecca Stefoff

Fry, Gary. The Abolisher of Roses. Spectral Press (May 2011). 21 pp. Limited-edition chapbook, press run of 100.

Common sense answers the question – “What is art good for?”  – by exalting the cabbage and abolishing the rose. Or so says James Russell Lowell in the epigraph to Gary Fry’s The Abolisher of Roses, a story published as a slim chapbook by Spectral Press. The questioner in Fry’s story, a middle-aged and eminently commonsensical businessman …

IFPReview: The Abolisher of Roses