Archive for the ‘IDW’ Category

Vampire Puppets, two great tastes that go great together!

October 21st, 2010 by Susie

I have loved puppets since I was a little kid.  I blame Sesame Street. (Jim Henson, the Muppets, and Sesame Street were a huge influence on me.  I have fur and felt coming out my ears).  One of my cherished childhood toys was a very authentic Grover puppet.  I’m still a little sad that it disappeared around the time my family moved.

I haven’t loved vampires quite as long.  However considering I have spent a little over a year writing a very silly series of novels about vampires, it’s fair to say that I love them now.  I do not love every book, move, or tv show that feature vampires, there are just far too many.  I do love an awful lot of them though, including Buffy, the Dresden Files, True Blood, and the Vampire Diaries.

So it should come as little surprise that I love love love, vampire puppets!  It’s just a perfect intersection of my interests, (much like space circuses are for Marty).

There has surprisingly been a lot of bloodsucking puppets over the years.

The most famous, and earliest occurrence of the phenomena that I can think of, is of course, the Count von Count, from Sesame Street. (I think I also had a Count puppet around the same time I had the Grover, but it wasn’t quite as treasured, or as true to life).  The Count has all the trappings of the classic vampire lifestyle, the gothic castle, the snazzy duds, and excellent grooming habits, but without the bloodlust.  He just thirsts for numbers.

There was also Count Blah a character on the short lived Greg the Bunny TV show.  The conceit of the show was that puppets were another race, that lived alongside humans.  If they were lucky they could get work on kids shows.  Blah was clearly inspired by the Count.  He wore a similar costume, and used a Bela Lugosi style accent.  He was called Blah, because he said “blah” at every pause in his sentences.

Most recently another short lived comedy gave us a Vampire Puppet episode.  ABCfamily’s surprisingly clever scifi/action spoof the Middle Man, did an episode where the spirit of Vlad the Impaler, was awoken in a ventriloquist’s dummy version of him.

Perhaps my favorite vampire puppet incident, is the Smile Time episode of Angel.  It was written by Ben Edlund, the creator of the Tick, who had some experience with bizarre humor.  In it, our vampire detective hero, gets magically turned into a muppet style puppet, and hijinks ensue.  It is a fabulous episode, that really had fun with the premise.  He had a removable nose!  It became a big favorite among the show’s fans.

It even inspired IDW to do a follow up comics in miniseries.  In which Angel’s rival Spike, also got puppetized. (Hey look!  This post does have something to do with comics after all!  Go me!)

It wasn’t just tv that has embraced the vampire puppet movement.  In the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the main character (played by Jason Segel who also wrote the screenplay) writes and performs a Dracula opera starring puppets.  The puppets were made for him by the Henson workshop!  It’s a hilarious sequence in an already extremely funny movie.

There is even an webshop called Dopplefangers that will make a custom vampire puppet version of yourself!

And a few years ago, a friend of mine performed in a play inspired by Nosferatu, featuring many great puppets.

(My pal Emily and Lil Orlock)

It may not the biggest sub-trend in the vampire fad, but I think it’s my favorite.

Go pick up Love and Capes #13 …today!

May 1st, 2010 by Martin

Today is Free Comic Book Day, (as probably most of you know), and I was looking forward to all the free comics, but of course I have a special place in my heart for Love and Capes, and I have to say issue #13 absolutely did not disappoint. Author/creator Thom Zahler has just an amazing knack for making the lives of his characters feel incredibly real, and also incredibly funny. This is (in my opinion), the best kind of superhero story.

It just goes to show that free comic book day comics can be really good! Love and Capes has been one of my favorite comics since back in 2007, when I picked up issue #4 in a stack with all the other Free Comic Book Day comics. I’m not sure, but I think there may have been a L&C issue in every free comic book day since then. interviewed Zahler for our first — and so far only — creator interview. If you haven’t read any Love and Capes, I highly recommend picking up the first couple trade paperbacks. (You probably don’t have to read them from the beginning, but it is a continuous story, so not only would you be spoiled, but you’ll definitely enjoy them more if you do.)

Anyway, after I got back home from braving the lines of comic book fanatics at The Source this morning, I devoured issue #13, laughing out loud every other page, and biting my tongue so as not to read every punchline out loud to Florence and Susie. When I finished the comic, I was excited to read in the back of this issue that Zahler is finally getting a chance to give Love and Capes the dedication and regular attention that it deserves (13 issues in how many years?) with the announcement that IDW will be picking up L&C for a monthly five-part miniseries! But that announcement also came with some bad news, as apparently Zahler is going to “take a break” from L&C for a bit after that. I hope to be reading L&C long into the future, at least until Mark and Abby become empty-nesters. Here’s to another fantastic issue of Love and Capes.

Locke & Key, Issues 2-5

June 13th, 2008 by Martin

Along with many of the comics I’m collecting now in individual issues, this one has just sat on the shelf awaiting my inevitable catch-up reading. I don’t know why I chose them tonight, likely it was just because they were the near the top of the stack as issue #5 just came out.

After how good the first one was, I really dreaded reading the rest. You see, I don’t like thrillers. I don’t watch them in the theater, and I don’t read Stephen King. This story is solidly of the “thriller” variety, as my stomach gets all clenched up and knotted while reading it. But it didn’t have to be this way! There was a slim glimmer of hope after that first issue that the worst of it was behind us, and now we were just going to explore this neat old house and find out what it could do. But no. The guy who killed this family’s father is still out there, and there’s other freaky stuff happening besides.

Several of these issues end in cliffhangers (including #5), and even though I didn’t really want to keep reading, I did really have to know what happens. Wish I’d known this before I picked these up today, but apparently issue #6 ends the arc. I have some predictions about what’s going to happen, but I guess I don’t want to spoil it for you by talking too much about the plot.

I did just find out something pretty interesting that I didn’t know when I reviewed the first Locke & Key earlier this year: the author is one “Joe Hill”, a pseudonym used by Joseph Hillstrom King, the son of Stephen King. So this guy pretty much follows in his father’s footsteps, I guess. Apparently he’s already won some awards and had a book on the best seller list and everything.

Unfortunately, knowing that gives me some further expectations about where this story is going… or rather, what the story is not going to get into, and that is details about the supernatural events that take place in this book. I would absolutely love to be pleasantly surprised here, but we’ve got exactly one comic book issue to wrap up a pretty tangled story and conclude this thing. I have little hope that we’re going to find out why the house has a key that can take you anywhere you want, or what gives the youngest son the ability to turn himself into a ghost and float around as a spirit. Instead, we’ll wrap up the “serial killer kid traps the family and has everyone but the youngest son helpless in the basement” plot line, and we might get some details about the evil woman-spirit trapped in the well-house, but chances are good that there is going to be a lot left up to the imagination at the end of next issue.

Not to say that I have anything against imagination, but seriously, I read comics to experience other people’s imaginations, not as a launching ground for my own. And definitely not when it’s a horror comic. I’d just as soon not think about psychotic maniac killers, thankyouverymuch.

Locke & Key #1

April 14th, 2008 by Martin

I guess I caught the re-print on this one, and judging by the announcement over on artist Gabriel Rodriguez’s blog that Locke & Key #2 has sold out too, I’d better try and remember to find a copy of the second issue next time I’m in the source, before they’re all gone.

Anyway, this an interesting story about a seemingly fairly normal kid who ends up in a really fucked up situation. It’s more or less told from his perspective, but his younger sister and brother are also around at the time, and lets just say there is murder and most likely rape. It’s brutal in a way that feels pretty real, and somehow the overtones that there may be more to the story than we are already shown are borderline disappointing because they pull us away from that feeling, and into the more detached realm of fantasy-based horror. We get a jumble of these “clues” toward the end of the book, and then there is this text at the bottom of the last page of the book: “WeLCoMe To LoVeCRaFT ~Chapter One~”.

The story is told in a jump-cut kind of way that had me a little confused the first time I noticed it, but once I realized we were getting “before and after” scenes, it was no problem, and it definitely enhanced the rest of the story telling.

I will look for the next in this series and report back. The well crafted art, and quite excellent story have me hooked and wanting more.