Monday, 23 August 2010

A Pleasing 'Alterna-Vampire' Comic Strip...

Ah, vampires.

Once stinking cadaverous creatures-of-the-night, vampires are now sparkly-skinned day-walking sex symbols. Once evil and cruel, they’re now mopey and brooding at best or sensitive and 'misunderstood' at worst.

So who’s afraid of vampires anymore? I want you to be afraid again. Artist Matt Soffe and letterer Jim Campbell want you to be afraid again.

'A Pleasing Symmetry' is our offering.

The comic strip is placed in the proper Victorian setting (I say proper because, well, nothing beats the atmosphere of a Victorian Vampire story) and features characters that could very well find themselves right at home within the pages of Dracula. Be comforted, fans of Traditional Vampire stories: here you’ll find overgrown graveyards and dimly-lit alleyways, carriage chases and isolated towns nestled in the Carpathian Mountains.


While the strip might have dug its way out of the same graveyard that plotted other Traditional Vampire stories, it’s not exactly a Traditional Vampire story. And indeed though the strip’s skeleton is provided by the Traditional Vampire story, the flesh that clings to the bone is altogether something different…

The creature in ‘A Pleasing Symmetry’ is certainly vampiric, if not an actual vampire. It's a sort of 'unliving energy mist' that feeds on the vitality of its victims. ‘What manner of creature is this?’ asks an aged priest to whom our main character responds: ‘Evil, in its purest form.’

This creature was never a man. It never had a soul. And most importantly it has never moped or brooded, nor does it have sparkly skin or a sexy smile.

The proceedings in ‘A Pleasing Symmetry’ are grim and bloody, the finale unremittingly nihilistic. Matt Soffe’s beautifully atmospheric artwork creates a landscape stripped bare by fear, where every tree is twisted and every road leads to death.

A Pleasing Symmetry’ will appear in Something Wicked 6 this coming October. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

A Beast Alone on a Starlit Swim...

Artist Matt Soffe recently illustrated a scene from my short story 'The Stars Were Bright Over Siberia' (published last month in AlienSkin Magazine). The image is beautiful, serene, in a weird sort of way. No one ever imagines what evil tentacled creatures do when they're not eating people or destroying the world. Tlogeth, this particular beastie, enjoys lonely nights swimming beneath the cold Siberian stars.

More on 'The Stars Were Bright...' here (accompanied by a pair of Mr. Soffe's wonderful sketches).

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Journey to the Bowels of the Earth...

'Jikan: Cave of Death' finds the demon-hunting samurai hurled back to the dawn of time and captured by a tribe of demon-possessed apemen. Taken deep below the Earth through a vast network of catacombs, Jikan discovers he is to be offered as a sacrifice to appease the fire breathing monster that dwells within the 'Cave of Death'. My offering: 8 pages of devil-splitting, caveman-hacking, gore-soaked fury. 'Jikan: Cave of Death' features art by James Corcoran and will appear in an upcoming issue of Paragon Comics.

In addition to 'Cave of Death', I've written a pair of Jikan scripts for Paragon: 'Jikan: Witch Fires' (more on that here and on the blog of artist Filip Roncone) and 'Jikan and the Kappa King', a newspaper-style strip (which can be followed weekly here).