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The Wednesday Club’s Comics Picks: Vault of Horror

The Wednesday Club’s Comics Picks: Vault of Horror

In memory of Bernie Wrightson, 1948-2017

This week on The Wednesday Club, hosts Amy Dallen, Taliesin Jaffe, and Matt Key talked about their favorite horror comics in a tribute to the incredible artist Bernie Wrightson. Wrightson’s work on books like Swamp Thing and Frankenstein made a lasting impression on the hosts. “His fingerprints are on every book I love of the genre,” said Taliesin.

The Wednesday Club: Vault of Horror

Here are just a few of our intrepid hosts’ favorite comics of the horror genre, all guaranteed to make you sleep with the lights on tonight.

Swamp Thing: Dark Genesis

Swamp Thing made his debut in House of Secrets #92. Amy shared the character’s history, both fictional and real-life, with a memorable anecdote about the title of the book. “In the process of working on it, he kept calling it ‘that swamp thing I’m working on,’ and that’s literally how they got the name,” said Amy.

Swamp Thing is the story of Alec Holland, a scientist working on a government project so secret they decided to relocate him. “So they put him in this barn in the middle of the swamp in Louisiana,” Amy said. “Unfortunately, some bad dudes found Dr. Alec Holland and his wife, Dr. Linda Holland, and things immediately went very, very wrong.”

Dark Genesis collects House of Secrets #92 and the first ten issues of Swamp Thing Volume 1.

(Vertigo Comics, Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson)

Swamp Thing

Saga of The Swamp Thing

The reins of Swamp Thing were later handed over to Alan Moore for his own memorable run. “The Alan Moore run on Swamp Thing with Stephen Bissette and John Totleben changed comics forever,” Amy said, and Taliesin agreed.

“It’s such an interesting take,” said Taliesin. “It changes the character forever, in a great way. It changes his relationship with his wife. This was the run that introduced a little character called John Constantine.”

(Vertigo Comics, Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben)

From Hell

Another Alan Moore book, From Hell, is among Taliesin’s favorites. This imagining of Jack the Ripper’s life pieced together historical details to make the era and setting as accurate and plausible as possible. “It was a painstakingly researched piece of historical fiction,” said Taliesin, “but then added on this psychedelic serial killer vibe to it. There’s no mystery as to who Jack the Ripper is. You find out in Chapter 2.

“It’s interesting, it’s dark, it’s weird, it’s sad, and it doesn’t make you feel good.”

(Top Shelf Productions, Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell)

Wasteland

This hard-to-find book (not to be confused with the current Oni Press title of the same name) is a un-hosted horror anthology with a Heavy Metal vibe. “This is one of the first horror books that I read and it had a huge impact on me,” said Taliesin. “The book had so much character.”

One story he recalled in particular told the tale of twelve people who pay exorbitant prices to eat a meal that will give them the greatest pleasure of their lives–and then kill them. “It’s so dark,” Taliesin said. “It’s so great.”

(DC Comics, Del Close, John Ostrander, Various Artists)

Harrow County

This horrific tale from Dark Horse Comics is one of Matt’s favorite of the genre. Harrow County follows Emmy, the reincarnation of a witch who lives in a village. “She leaves the village frustrated one day, and winds up being kind of followed by a dead boy’s skin,” said Matt. “And he becomes her best friend—just the skin—and it gets a little bit deeper.”

With a depiction of ghosts unlike any other, Matt was drawn to the series within just the first few issues. “It’s so creepy,” he said. “I love it.”

(Dark Horse Comics, Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook)

Manga

In addition to books from American masters like Wrightson, Amy, Taliesin, and Matt talked about a range of manga that left them just as wonderfully disturbed. Rumiko Takahashi, best known for Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha, also penned a series of horror stories. “She did a series of little horror stories that are terrifying, really good and really scary and really sad,” said Taliesin. “It’s called Rumic World and published by Viz.”

Other standout manga titles mentioned by the hosts included Junji Ito’s Uzumaki, Berserk, Attack on Titan, and Gegege no Kitarou.

Amy, Taliesin, and Matt obviously love horror comics, and touched on several other titles including Wrightson’s Frankenstein, The Sandman: Seasons of MistFatale, Locke & Key, Kid Eternity, Hellboy, and more.

Hang out on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel every Wednesday afternoon to catch the next amazing episode of The Wednesday Club. Next week the hosts chat about all things DC Comics.

What is your favorite horror comic? Tell us about it in the comments (but don’t scare us too much, okay?).

Images: Geek & Sundry,

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