Flesh and Blood
Publisher/ Kerry Gammill - covers on the Superman books for DC, Power Man and Iron Fist, covers on the Fallen Angels mini, Further Adventures of Indiana Jones, Marvel Fanfare, Marvel Team-Up. OHOTMU entries, Uncanny, etc. Wiki page mentions that he co-created Frog-Man, White Rabbit, and other characters. Storyboard artist, special effects concept artist, character designer on TV shows and feature films like Species II, the Tremors TV series, Virus, Outer Limits, and others.
Written by Robert Tinnell
Illustrated by Neil Vokes
Color by Matt Webb
Who here likes the great Hammer films?
If you have a soft spot for The Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire, Twins of Evil (featuring the disgustingly sexy Collinson twins), any of their many movies featuring horror stalwarts Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and the ravishing and recently-departed Ingrid Pitt, then you must get your claws on FLESH AND BLOOD Book 1 from Monsterverse Entertainment. 104 pages (roughly), full color, squarebound, Hammer horror inspired monster-mash masterwork.
In the eye and pants-popping opening scene, sexy vampire seductress, Carmilla Karnstein (a name that no doubt rings a bell with Hammer horror fans), is caught in the act of seducing young Laura, daughter of Sir Lawrence Ward-Baker (ding). Her late-night snack rudely interrupted, Carmilla flees to Karnstein Castle where Sir Larry and his friend General Spielsdorf lie in wait. They extinguish the undead life from the beautiful vampire but it isn't enough. The General, whose family has also felt the devastating effects of the vampire plague, concocts a plan to hopefully rid the word of the foul taint of vampirism, but he needs a mind far greater than his own to achieve it, one currently incarcerated in an asylum for the Criminally Insane.
Hmmmmm, who could it be? None other than Baron Frankenstein, himself, lovingly rendered by Neil Vokes in the mold of the late, great Peter Cushing! Vokes hits the nail smack dab on the head, perfectly capturing the physical appearance and more subtle mannerisms of the accomplished actor. It's uncanny! However, the neer-do-wells the General and Ward-Baker paid to spring the Baron, feel the need to snag a little insurance and take a medical student supervising the Baron hostage, as well. A young man named... Abraham Van Helsing (a character, to my eyes, modeled after Horst Janson from Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter). The group manage to capture a female vampire for the Baron's experiments -- and it all goes relatively well, Frankenstein attempts to synthesize a garlic-based anasthetic/toxin -- until spies placed in the area report the progress to their master...
...the king of the undead, himself, none other than Vlad Dracul, aka Dracula, Lord of the Vampires and his female accomplice, Erzebet!
Can it get any better? Why, yes it can! Ward-Baker seeks the help of his estranged brother, Horst, remember that name? The same name of the actor who played Captain Kronos, the inspiration for the character, by way of Solomon Kane. He's a rough-and-tumble monster hunter who, unknown to everyone but his bespeckled Mole-Man-ish sidekick, had recently been bitten by one of his prey, a creature who, when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright, becomes... a werewolf!
It's a monsterpalooza!
There is a resolution, of sorts, at the end of the 80-some pages, but this is but the first chapter in an ongoing saga.
Basil Wolverton's Planet of Terror
Published by Dark Horse in 1987. Cover price $1.75
I know I have a lot of favorite artists, but in the big ol' pantheon of all-time greats, this guy is surely very close the top. His idiosyncratic style speaks of spaghetti and meatballs, melting monstrosities, crazy creatures and creepy things that go PLOP! I am, of course, talking about the great Basil Wolverton.
Planet of Terror - 1987
Gateway to Horror - 1988
Basil Wolverton's Space Funnies - 1990
the two-issue Fantastic Fables in 1993
Basil Wolverton in Space TPB in 1997
Simultaneously compelling and repulsive. Because of the high strangeness of his style, Wolverton simultaneously attracts and repels. Pull and push. Compels the viewer because of the flat out weirdness.
PLANET OF TERROR (SIX PAGES - Journey into Unknown Worlds #7 - October, 1951; published by Marvel)
The narrator, a man known only as Greg, and his buddy, Biff Houston, head on out to the planet Saturn to hunt horned bears. While searching for the elusive beasts, the pair are warned by the bald, big-eared natives that their great god Mokog is a vain and vengeful deity, one that demands proper tribute or their lives are forfeit. Passing off the creatures claims as mere superstition, the buddies head to higher ground where they are accosted by horrific images of a giant floating head -- demanding they bear gifts unto Mokog -- and a gallery of airborne grotesqueries. To make a short story even shorter, much to the shock of the natives, Mokog demands an audience with the earthmen … blank, expressionless stare…that's because it's not a face at all but a mask!
It's an odd little piece, especially considering the time during which it was produced when most stories of this type -- be they horror or sci-fi -- relied on the old tried and true O Henry turn of the table-type ending. Planet of Terror features a more subdued, more introspective resolution. The humans run roughshod over the customs and beliefs of the indigenous peoples, fueled by an arrogance borne of their assumption that because of their technological superiority, they somehow know more about the strange planet than the creatures who were born on it. In the end, it's the humans that are at the root of the terror, both the visitors and stranded space explorer, Leo Gorman, who survived through duplicity, exploiting the cultural fears of the natives, and slavery. Leo's tactic could be applied to many of our present-day institutions, no? Leo's end is a fitting one, for his comeuppance was not delivered at the hands of a strange alien beastie but by one of his own. Roughly 750 million miles away from Earth and the scientist was not killed by the creatures he subjugated but by a fellow human, and by a bullet, no less, a crude projectile. Might as well have been a rock thrown by a caveman. In a nutshell: human beings are a pox on the universe. Avoid at all costs.
Like Lovecraft, Wolverton was a visionary, one who granted his audience glimpses into strange worlds the likes of which had not been seen before or since.
Issue contains three other stories:
Planet of Terror http://grantbridgestreet.blogspot.com/2011/01/jings-soon-comes-round.html
The End of the World http://grantbridgestreet.blogspot.com/2010/07/end-of-world-by-basil-wolverton.html
The Devil Birds http://grantbridgestreet.blogspot.com/2010/10/devil-birds-by-basil-wolverton.html?zx=23becf3a790d41e2
The Monster on Mars http://grantbridgestreet.blogspot.com/2011/03/monster-on-mars-by-basil-wolverton.html
Look into Wolverton's career by Bill Spicer.
Full-page illo of Wolverton and some of his creations drawn by his son, Monte Wolverton.
If you see this book in a cheapie bin, do pick it up. It's very much worth your time and attention.