Topic: Comic Books - New
TODAY'S FEATURE - Blog #3275:
I have been watching the progress of this 1st Issue of 'Bela Lugosi's Tales From The Grave' for a while...
I was at the Monsterverse panel at the July 2010 San Diego Comic Con International, where several aspects of this comic book were unveiled.
Also, I've 'Liked' the Facebook Fan Page for 'Comics From The Monsterverse', (YOU can also do so by clicking this link!), and watched the updated wall posts as they were uploaded there about the comic book in progress.
The release party signing event for the 1st issue was held in the LA Metro Area at the end of October. We were unable to attend that event, but did see Sam F Park and Kerry Gammill at the recent Long Beach Comic Con during the Halloween Weekend. What a fitting arena to additionally 'premiere' this 1st issue!
Here is what this comic book series is about per Monsterverse's promo. Please note there is a variant John Cassady cover that is NOT pictured here, as well as the Basil Gogos cover shown at the top right of this post:
BELA LUGOSI'S TALES FROM THE GRAVE will be in comic shops during the coming Halloween season. The comic will be a double-sized 48-page color quarterly comic retailing for $4.99. Besides the variant cover, John Cassaday also provided the script and art for one of the stories in the first issue. Other stories feature work by such notables as Kerry Gammill, (SPIDER-MAN and SUPERMAN) James Farr (whose XOMBIE online animated and comic book series is being brought to theater screens by Dreamworks in a live-action production by top writer/producers Orchi and Kurtzman), Chris Moreno (WORLD WAR HULK), Rob Brown (named last year's horror artist of the year in an online vote for his comic BANE OF THE WEREWOLF), Derek MacCaw, Rafael Navarro (creator of the Xeric Award winning series SONAMBULO), Martin Powell, Eisner Award- winning artist Terry Beatty (THE BATMAN STRIKES), Brian Denham (IRON MAN, ANGEL), Bruce Timm (designer for Warner Bros animated BATMAN series) and more. The book also features an article by leading Lugosi researcher and author Gary D. Rhodes.
Upcoming issues will feature work by some top names in movies and comic books. Directors John Landis and Joe Dante, make-up genius Rick Baker and others will be bringing their talent for horror from movies to the illustrated page for the first time. Other contributors will include Steve Niles, Benton Jew, Neil Vokes, Jack Herman, Mike Hoffman, Brian Denham, Hank Mayo, James Groman, and Joe and John Lansdale
Okay...So what is 'My Take' on this 1st Issue?
Front Cover: A truly fitting front cover for this premiere issue! A painting of Bela Lugosi as Dracula by Basil Gogos! (Note: there is a variant cover by John Cassaday also!)
Inside Front Cover: The 'Welcome' Page by Kerry Gammill, who besides being the artist of this page, is also the Publisher / Editor In Chief as seen on the Table of Contents Page.
Note: Kerry Gammill is shown to the left at the Monsterverse table during the LBCC, where he was very busy sketching! Sam F Park is shown behind him holding the 1st issue.
Table of Contents Page (in lieu of a Splash Page): No wonder it took a while to put this together! Just the numbers of comics creators listed must have taken a while to type! Plus this is definitely an 'anthology series', as seen by the nine (9) features presented in this Table of Contents.
Intro Page: Great 1 page introduction of Bela Lugosi and Nosferina, (the hosts),to the readers!
1st Story: 'Unpleasant Side Effects' - Just the right story to start off this issue! Story & art by Kerry Gammill with script by Sam F Park.
2nd Story: 'A Strangely Isolated Place' - Story by James Farr. Art by Chris Moreno. I see Chris at a LOT of comic cons we attend, where he is drawing commission works. So it was nice to see this story illustrated by him. The darker colors really are opposite of the previous story, which makes a startling change in reading the stories in order. But I liked it!
3rd Story: 'The Mark of the Zombie' - Yet another different style in storytelling presented here. The story teller / artist / writer is Rob E Brown. This story is really 'text heavy'. However, the 'parchment' color used for this story really places this story in the right genre. Zombies! Not bad at all! And trust me, I've seen a LOT of Zombie stories to read in the last year!
The next story, #4, 'Eyes of the Prairie' - Is written by Derek McCaw. I recently received a couple of artist Rafael Navarro's works, (click here for the reviews), and was wondering how his style would work for this genre? It worked well, IMO, especially with the colors by Kerry Gammill!
The 5th feature was: 'The Good Doctor' - Which reminded me of a writing style once seen in the Twilight Zone series. Good four page story! Story & art by John Cassaday.
The 6th feature was the 'Lugosi Gallery' - Which was an array of artistic interpretations of the master of horror. A three page section with contributions by Paul Garner, Frank Dietz, Jeff Preston, and Kim Loh. Interesting choices selected for this art section.
The 7th feature was a two page section, titled 'Dr. Vornoff & Lobo' - A Fumetti like style presentation. Again, another visual style presented for the reader's pleasure. I happen to like 'fumetti' style presentations, which have never caught on big here in the 'States'.
'The Midnight Museum' was the 8th Feature. Which was 'introduced' by Nosferina in the one page prior to the start of this story. I happen to like the HoRRoR hosts that introduce movies, (like Elvira), so this was a nice bonus for me! The screenplay by Martin Powell was written well, and the art by Terry Beatty fit in this genre of storytelling in a filmatic setting.
The 9th and Final Feature was 'Lugosi And Dracula' - How They Re-Created Each Other, by Gary D. Rhodes. This was a two page text section, with three photos, which reminded of the old comic books that would run two pages section like this to obtain special postal mailing privileges. A fitting end to this 1st issue!
The Inside Back Cover: Is titled 'Bela Is Back', which is actually a note from the Publisher, Kerry Gammill, PLUS additional credits to the contributors to this 1st issue, with THEIR websites for YOU to see more about them. That's a NICE touch. And like Stan Lee's old 'Stan's Soapbox' feature on the old Marvel Bullpen Bulletins page, there is also a small 'House Ad' for the reader to buy an 18 x 24 Inch Poster illustrated by Kerry!
Back Cover: A one page pinup by Bruce Timm! Of Bela and Nosferina! A fitting end to this 1st issue!
I found that this issue was unlike most anthologies that I have read recently. Usually anthologies are hard to review, because if there are three features in the comic book, I usually love one story, the 2nd is OK, and the third is kind of like...Why was this chosen for inclusion?!
Not so in this 1st issue of Bela Lugosi's Tales From The Grave! From start to finish, I really enjoyed all of the features selected for inclusion. No wonder it seemed to take so long for this 1st issue to be published!
The fact that it is a double-sized 48 pager probably had something to do with my liking this issue so much! I'm not for sure what size the next issue is, but I am looking forward to seeing it, based on the results of THIS 1st Issue!
My 'comic book grade' for this publication is a NEAR MINT (NM) 9.4 on a 10.0 comic book grading scale. Which is the highest grade that I 'award' to a publication that I review blog here.
My thanks to Sam for continuing to bring updates of this 1st issue of the series to my attention at the SDCC, on Facebook, and at the recent Long Beach Comic Con. Plus my thanks to him for introducing me to Kerry Gammill, whose works I've enjoyed reading.
PLUS: My thanks again to all of YOU reading this blog and our archived blog posts, now over 3,270 total posts in number! I do appreciate your continued reading and support of this Blog!
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~ Michael D Hamersky @ ComicBookCollectorsBlog.com
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