Halloween month hurls toward its conclusion as Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at another vintage superhero ideal for the season.
Secret Identity: Gary Kennedy, dead policeman
First Appearance: Mystery Men # 27 (October 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942.
Origin: When police officer Gary Kennedy and his brother are shot to death by Silky Weaver and his subordinate gangsters, Gary dies swearing by Heaven above to avenge his and his brother’s deaths. He returns from the grave several nights later and makes good on his vow.
Afterward, the newly-christened Wraith continues to rise from his grave to deal out justice to evildoers on behalf of their dead victims, whose souls beg him to take action.
Halloween Month continues with this neglected femme fatale from Nathaniel Hawthorne. FOR THE OTHER CREATURES IN THIS MONSTER RALLY CLICK HERE
First Appearance: Rappaccini’s Daughter (1844)
Cryptid Category: Human-plant hybrid.
Lore: Beatrice Rappaccini, also called the Poison Woman, had been experimented on by her mad scientist father since infancy. Some dark rumors even held that the father – Doctor Giacomo Rappaccini – had spawned her from a seed-pod and that his tales of a wife were lies.
Beatrice was so toxic that she was the only one alive who could come into contact with the monstrous and deadly plants in her father’s courtyard garden. The Poison Woman’s beauty drove men wild, tempting many admirers to brave the dangers of her father’s mutated plant life.
The dark beauty’s flesh was a toxic poison and her breath could kill insects, snakes, rats and small children. Dead creatures made the ideal fertilizer for the creations of Beatrice’s father. It was hinted that Beatrice fed on the vermin killed by her breath, just like Venus Flytraps and other carnivorous plant-life. Continue reading →
PSYCHO GOTHIC LOLITA (2010) – Also available under the title Gothic & Lolita Psycho, this ultra-violent and blood-soaked movie was Japanese filmmaker Go Ohara’s follow-up to Geisha Assassin from 2008.
Rina Akiyama stars as Yuki, the black-clad title character whose fashion sense combines two Japanese fetish looks in one. The film begins with Yuki already enacting her revenge quest against a bizarre quintet of villainous supernatural figures. Disjointed flashbacks provide background details as the story unfolds, with the most crucial secret being withheld for last. Continue reading →
Halloween month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with a look at the first two volumes of Graveyard Shift, the “monsters as superheroes” sensation drawn by THE Jon Malin and written by Mark Poulton.
The introductory Graveyard Shift graphic novel presented the team’s “senses-shattering origin.” To quote the creators: “Scientists Vladimir Blud, Lillith Mayhew and her husband, head of security Mick Mayhew are working on advance human regeneration for the mysterious ATLANTIS CORPORATION. Betrayed, murdered and put into their own experiments they are reborn with super human abilities, they are the GRAVEYARD SHIFT and they are all that can stop a rising supernatural evil from taking over the world!”
Graveyard Shift Volume Two featured the team taking on the reborn menace of Dracula himself and his legions. The first two installments raised six figures each on Indiegogo and it is presumed that the third volume, expected in 2020, will continue that trend.
Malin is one of the comic book “Outlaws” going their own way to pursue their vision free of the corporate influence of the Big Two publishers. He has also worked with fellow Outlaw Richard Meyer on his indy superhero team called Jawbreakers. Continue reading →
Just one week left until Halloween! Balladeer’s Blog continues its month-long celebration.
NOUGHTS AND CROSSES: COLLECTED SHORT STORIES (1891) – Written by “Q” aka Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch, this was a collection of his short stories. Those stories:
DOUBLES AND QUITS – This tale dealt with a feuding husband and wife who take their bitterness beyond the grave. After burial their ghosts continue their hate-filled struggle.
THE HAUNTED DRAGOON – A sergeant in the dragoons helps his mistress murder her husband, then sells her out so that she gets all the blame. Her ghost and the ghost of her child begin haunting the man.
THE LADY OF THE SHIP – Lady Alicia of Bohemia is a beautiful witch. Despite the evidence of her dark nature a well-to-do man marries her, convinced he can save her. The tale nears its climax when the Devil arrives in human form to claim the witch’s soul. Continue reading →
Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues with this look at Canadian werewolf lore.
THE WERWOLVES (sic) (1898) – Written by Honore Beaugrand, this story features fairly unique werewolf lore. The tale is not structured in a traditional way but instead expands upon accounts of lycanthropy in campfire tales as if they really, truly happened.
A modern comparison might be with those far-fetched tales of the supernatural from supermarket tabloids or online Creepypastas. The pretense of reality adds to the fun.
Set in the very early 1700s The Werwolves treats readers to a pack of Iroquois lycanthropes rampaging around Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. These werewolves are much more intelligent and gregarious than many other such monsters.
They operate in a pack to steal away victims and even dance around a fire in their wolfmen forms howling and chanting before devouring their victims.
These Canadian variations also look much different than readers might expect: they have the heads of wolves and the tails of wolves but the rest of their bodies remain human after their nocturnal transformation. Continue reading →
Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues! There are plenty of Marvel Comics authorities who could give you the story of the in-depth evolution of horror comics in the 1970s, from the relaxing of the Comics Code around 1970 onward. I’ll spare all of us a trip down that particular alley and cut to the chase. Marvel Comics is THE comic book publishing house in pop culture right now with nearly every movie that ever gets made being based on a superhero figure from The House of Ideas.
The 1970s saw Stan Lee and company churn out countless horror comics to cash in on the new flexibility in four-color storytelling. Some were long-lasting successes, like Tomb of Dracula, and others weren’t, like The Frankenstein Monster. When Marvel ventured outside established works by Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and others they actually produced some very intriguing characters who had more potential than many actual horror films from the 70s. Excluding the overworked Drac and Frank here are five of Marvel’s most intriguing horror figures from that experimental decade.
1. SATANA THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER
Comment: How has this character NOT been the subject of multiple movies by this point? You’d think that Marvel would have learned long ago not to let its strong female horror figures lie unused. For decades Stan and friends let their character Rachel Van Helsing, the young blonde descendant of a long line of vampire slayers go unexploited only to watch potential millions of dollars fly away as Buffymania took hold in the 90s.
Satana Hellstrom was the half-sister of Damian Hellstrom, Marvel’s Son of Satan character. Like Damian she was the offspring of Satan and a mortal woman. Unlike Damian, who went goody-goody to spite his infernal father, Satana was a loyal Daddy’s Girl who was happy to try to spread her father’s ways in the human world.
When she wasn’t battling her half-brother or serving as the Earthly object of worship for a Satanic Cult or facing down covens of demons conspiring to overthrow her father’s rule of Hell Satana was a very successful succubus, and it’s easy to see why.
Even the more “adult” black and white horror comics of the 1970s couldn’t show what a succubus REALLY does, so Satana set about harvesting souls by simply kissing her victims, despite occassional dialogue panels indicating that something a little more … involved … might be going on. Mortal souls would emerge as black butterflies from the mouths of the dead, shriveled bodies of Satana’s prey and our sultry protagonist would then crush those butterflies between her fingers, proud to send another soul to her father’s domain.
A cinematic Satana could be given full-blown horror treatment and be a female franchise-spawner to compete with Freddy Krueger and the like. Continue reading →
THE LOST STRADIVARIUS (1895) by John Meade Falkner – More than a century before Anne Rice’s violin-oriented ghost story Violin came The Lost Stradivarius. Halloween month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with a look at this neglected gem of horror fiction.
The main story is set in the 1840s. John Maltravers, a young man from the British gentry, is attending Magdalen College at Oxford University. Stumbling across an anonymous piece of lost music the talented Maltravers plays the piece on a violin.
This spontaneous recital summons up – among other horrors – the ghost of Adrian Temple, the violinist who composed the eerie piece of music when he was a student at Oxford in the 1750s. That ghost leads John to the hidden location of his (Temple’s) Stradivarius violin. Continue reading →
Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! It’s hard to believe there are still 1970s Marvel Comics characters who have NOT been adapted for the big or small screen yet. Simon Garth, former plantation owner cursed to return from the grave as a zombie is one. Here is the cover to one of his battles with the vile Mister Six.
FOR MY FULL-LENGTH REVIEW OF THIS SERIES CLICK HERE