Welcome to this week's Funny Book Splatter, where I give you my thoughts on this the week's horror comics.  I hope you like Dark Horse because damn, did they release a lot of books this week.


Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand #1

Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Illustrated by Tonci Zonjic
24 Pages, $3.50


Mike Mignola returns to Lobster Johnson in this new mini-series.  This is my first exposure to the character, but it looks like a lot of fun.  It's very pulpy, set in 1932 so it has a great cult look to it.  I'm not sure if it's going to have more of a horror angle.  There were ghosts but they were quickly Scooby-Dooed.  This could be more of a gangster comic despite it's tie-in to Hellboy.

Tonci Zonjic's art is fantastic.  It fits the book perfectly and if it was printed on yellowed paper, you'd think it was from an old comic strip like Dick Tracy.  I love the colors too.  Lobster Johnson's red mark really pops out.








The Strain #2

Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by David Lapham
Illustrated by Mike Huddleston
24 Pages, $3.50


While the first issue of Dark Horse's adaptation of the book by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan set up the premise, this issue gets things moving.  The mysterious coffin is opened and the survivors of the flight wake up but they don't feel the same. I haven't read the source material, but if this comic is any indication of the quality, I'm really looking forward to it.  Some more characters are introduced and are quickly moved around in this chessboard of a story.

Mike Huddleston continues to kick ass on the art for The Strain.  He really delivers the gore when the blood starts flying.  I can't wait to see how he depicts the vampires in the coming issues, especially given everything I've heard about how ugly del Toro likes his monsters.  If you've read the book, I'd really like to hear what you think of this adaptation so far.








Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #5

Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Andrew Chambliss
Illustrated by Karl Moline
24 Pages, $2.99


It looks like Season 9 is following the pattern of Season 8 with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  There was a 4 issue arc and now a stand alone issue.  This is far from a disposable one-and-done story though.  This has all the makings of a seminal issue and one that sets things in motion for the rest of the season.  Willow takes on a mission and Buffy's world is drastically changed.  This is the issue that you Buffy fans cannot miss, even if it's just for the HUGE cliffhanger that's on the final page.

My only letdown was the art.  I dug Karl Moline's work on Fray but didn't care for it here.  I think Moline really excels with action scenes and there weren't many of those in this issue.  This was a very character driven story focusing on that all important development of Buffy and her supporting cast without much of an emphasis on doing battle with the bad guys.








Dark Matter #1

Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Illustrated by Garry Brown
24 Pages, $3.50


A group of astronauts wake up in a spaceship right out of Alien with no memory of who they are or why they're there.  The premise of Dark Matter is a spooky one as the crew struggles to figure out what they're doing out in space while trying to stay alive in this huge ship.  Oh, and it looks like something's trying to kill them.  This is the first issue of a four issue mini-series and it manages to set everything up very well in this chapter.  Things move quickly and get right to the story.  There's no waiting around here.

Garry Brown's art left something to be desired though.  It has a rough, sketchy quality which can work in some comics but fell flat here.  It makes some of the panels look unfinished or rushed.  Some creative shadow work helps here and there to set the tone of the story but it's few and far between.








Orchid #4

Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Tom Morello
Illustrated by Scott Hepburn
26 Pages, $3.50


The first three issues of Orchid had built up a nice momentum, throwing the characters out into the world.  This one is bogged down with back story of a brand new character.  While it's a really cool origin story and it's nice to know, it took me out of the ongoing struggle of Orchid and her companions.  On the plus side, the other half of the book centers on them and it looks like Orchid's destiny is getting a little clearer.  At the very least, she has the motivation to kick some ass.  We're also given some more info on the state of the revolution as well as who everyone's revolting against.

Scott Hepburn's artwork is top notch here.  I love the depiction of the Fortress Penuel and the characters within.  He's able to inject some cartoonish qualities in a panel here and there that add a nice touch to the otherwise serious tone of the comic.  There's also a fierce looking beast that's prowling behind Don Gletkin throughout the first part of the book that's both terrifying and really interesting to look at.  It's like part dog, part machine, part oil spill.  Very cool.








The Occultist #3

Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Victor Drujiniu
24 Pages, $3.50


The Occultist mini-series comes to a close with this issue.  I had a blast reading this.  My only real complaint was that it was so short so they had to cram the entire story into just three issues.  The book would have really benefited from an extra issue or two.  Rob gets a bit more control over the Sword, the mystical book that's merged with his body.  Just in time too as the mysterious and very ugly creature, the Sword Breaker is looking to destroy him.  

The art by Victor Drujiniu is very polished.  Characters are all well defined and the Sword Breaker looks awesome and thoroughly menacing.  The Sword effects were really cool too.

I would have given this a higher score had it been fleshed out a bit more.  The story is definitely rushed and things are glossed over pretty quickly to make it fit into the issue.  It reminded me a lot of the previous run of DC's Blue Beetle and even a bit of Brian K. Vaughn's Escapist mini-series.  Fortunately the Occultist is continuing somewhat in upcoming issues of Dark Horse Presents so be on the lookout for that.








House of Night #3

Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Kent Dalian
Illustrated by Joelle Jones and Daniel Krall
24 Pages, $2.99


Delving deeper into the things that James hasn't read is House of Night.  I've never flipped through the pages of the series of novels but that's probably because I'm not their target demographic which appears to be teenage girls.  That being said, I was still able to enjoy this comic for what it is and see how it would mean a lot to both fans of the book and the all important, but always forgotten female reader when it comes to funny books.  This is a chick comic but it's also a young adult book with a focus on acceptance and tolerance.  It's an important message, especially to kids.

The artwork is also pretty great so that helps.  It's split between two artists, with Joelle Jones handling the main tale and Daniel Krall taking care of the story within the story.  Jones' pencils are light but they're able to hold down the serious nature of some of the themes.  Meanwhile, Krall's is a little cartoony and reminds me of the look of Clone High and Samurai Jack.  It fits the portion of the comic that's a history lesson of sorts and was my favorite part of the book.








The Dunwich Horror #4

Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Joe R. Lansdale and Robert Weinberg
Illustrated by Peter Bergting and Menton3
32 Pages, $3.99


The dual stories of The Dunwich Horror comic come to a close here.  First up is the title story written by Joe R. Lansdale.  The group of friends that is responsible for summoning a huge beast from another dimension finally goes head-to-head with it in an epic, but very quick battle.  As this story consisted of half a comic for the past four months, I was hoping for a bit more to the final fight, but Peter Bergting's art makes up for it.  He manages to make things both terrifying and comical as the giant creature looms amongst a barnyard filled with beheaded animals and garden gnomes.

After that rushing battle, it was tough to get through the conclusion of The Hound.  It came across very dry and it's presented as beautiful full page artwork by Menton3 with the text written out in fancy script.  It has a very different flow than The Dunwich Horror and despite the fantastic art, fell flat.  With such a great lead in, it was disappointing to sift through this story.







In other horror related funny book news, the following comics were also released but not reviewed at the time of this post:


  • Frankenstein Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. #5 (DC Comics)
  • Deadlands: Hopeless Roads One Shot (Image Comics)
  • Reed Gunther #7 (Image Comics)
  • Severed #6 (Image Comics)
  • Whispers #1 (Image Comics)
  • Spawn #215 (Image Comics) - This book is still around?
  • The Darkness #97 (Top Cow Productions)
  • Dark Tower: Gunslinger Way Station #2 (Marvel Comics)
  • Ghost Rider: Cycle of Vengeance #1 (Marvel Comics)
  • The Stand: Night has Come #6 (Marvel Comics)
  • Disturbingly Perverted Diary Of Doktormentor Jail Babe Surgeon #4 (Shh Productions) - This is a real thing but I can't find any info on the publisher online.  If anyone can help, let me know. THhis book looks crazy!


And in graphic novel news, there are quite a few books to bulk up your spooky library out this week.  Look for reviews on some of these in the coming weeks.



That's it for this week's edition of Funny Book Splatter.  I told you what I thought of the horror comics that I could get my hands on, but I want to know what you think.  Sound off in the comments!







Want to comment on this review? You can leave one below or head over to the HorrorTalk Review Forum.


About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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