Horror and Comics!

Comic and Horror lovers!!! Listen up!!!

There is this book called IN THE DARK. It’s a comic horror anthology. It’s brilliant and I do not say that lightly. You may notice it’s out through IDW, but it was originally a Kickstarter by the phenomenally talented Rachel Autumn Deering. A rising horror star in the comics community. Rachel put together this magnificent anthology with talent such as Steve Niles, Batman’s Scott Snyder, the brilliant Paul Tobin, Tim Seeley, Ed Brisson, Duane Swierczynski and so many more. This is a massive work of horror art and you’d be ridiculous not to get your hands on it.

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You can buy it online, sure. But you can also contact Rachel and buy directly from her. Which is what I highly recommend. Because this was a Kickstarter, she has a ton of copies. Running a successful Kickstarter campaign is not all fun and flowers. It’s extremely difficult and the cost on the creator is insane. If you’re going to order this book (which, have I mentioned already that you REALLY SHOULD?), order it directly from Rachel (drop her a message on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theironrachel).

Support artists who are taking chances, being bold, thinking outside of the box, and making a difference in the pulling industry.

Check out Bloody Disgusting’s 5 Skull review here! http://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3292704/5-skull-review-dark-horror-anthology/

‘A Box Story’ by Kenneth Kit Lamug: The Review

Kenneth Kit Lamug is a trend setter.

Sure, the habit of children playing with and/or in boxes has existed for ages. But if my 18 nieces and nephews have taught me anything, it’s the boxes that house their precious (and expensive) toys that they play with.

What Kenneth’s magnificent book proposes, is that a box can lead you down a rabbit hole of adventure, just as a box. Not as a box that held a 200$ tricycle or a beloved American Girl Doll. Just a box. A Box Story strips the box down to its skivvies and then the real fun begins.

Starting with the cover. I can’t tell you how much I love this cover. It’s as simplistic as a box itself, but holds a certain mystery about it. What could possibly be between the covers of a book called A Box Story, it asks the viewer. It’s so simple that it becomes completely eye-catching.

The first page on the inside features one of my all time favorite things: a This Book Belongs To space. As a child, there is nothing greater than being able to mark something as your very own. And then the adventure begins…

Something that I found incredibly remarkable about the illustrations is that the box stays in the same place on every single page, but becomes something new and exciting every time you flip to a new page. This gives the reader the impression that it is in fact, the same box being used for a myriad of adventures.

I first came across Kenneth’s illustrations while working on my children’s magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree for which Kenneth regularly contributes. He was asked to do one of our earliest covers because his art is so exceptional. While A Box Story keeps the illustrations somewhat simple, that classic Kenneth comes out and it’s downright stunning.

The words are simple but thought-provoking. They help build the imagination while simultaneously challenging the reader to find a purpose for their box. A purpose all of their own. Every child will want to build a life inside a box after reading this story.

I’ve been an avid proponent of children using their imaginations to entertain themselves, and I couldn’t be a bigger fan of this book.

I challenge you. Buy A Box Story for your child, read it with them, run to the store and pick up a brown cardboard moving box, tape the bottom together, and watch your child’s imagination grow. Join the revolution: www.aboxstory.com

Beautifully Macabre: The Beauty deep within the Macabre

“…only a real artist knows the actual anatomy of the terrible or the physiology of fear – the exact sort of lines and proportions that connect up with latent instincts or hereditary memories of fright, and the proper colour contrasts and lighting effects to stir the dormant sense of strangeness.” -H.P. Lovecraft

I have two very close friends. The macabre and beauty itself. They greet me every day, in my work, in my play, and in my sleep. The closeness we share has created a blissful trifecta. We have become so entangle that no boundaries remain. But often times, I find myself stepping back, observing the creations born out of the bond between macabre and beauty. For a long time, I had a great obsession for these creations, but I did not understand them or my obsession.

I philosophized for years over this matter. What is it about a splatter of blood that interests me? Why do I eat up literature on beheaded queens like it’s candy? Why do I envy ghosts? What is so beautiful about death? All questions I have asked myself for years and had recently given up trying to answer…

My whole life I’ve wished that there was a monster in my closet. I would friend him. Call him Frodile. He’d protect me. He’d read me scary stories and draw me pictures of the ghastly things from his world. Most importantly, he would understand me. Well unfortunately Frodile never came, he won’t exist in this lifetime. But I found his human equivalent. And no one will ever be as lucky as me.

About two years ago, my Frodile stepped out of my closet in the form of artist Rebekah Joy Plett. Rebekah and I became fast friends–I believe on a subconscious level because neither of us knew about our mutual love for the macabre–and today we partners in the dark arts. I am Rebekah’s literary agent, her art representative, and business partner in the macabre children’s literature and art magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree. Merging our sensibilities (she brings the macabre, I bring the horror) we’ve opened up a labyrinth that continues to amaze me and continues to answer the questions I’ve pondered for years.

Through conversations with Bex, and possibly even more importantly, through viewing her art, I’ve found my answers.

“I think beauty in horror — or horror in beauty — is such a successful match because beauty itself is not enough; it’s great to look at but eventually the brain becomes bored. It’s with the combination of the two that something truly interesting is created. We want to look, but we don’t; we want to enjoy the piece but something is horribly wrong about it. The beauty tells us ‘It’s okay to look at me’, while the horror says, ‘What is wrong with you?’ I think this is why many people are drawn to the Shakespeare character Ophelia, or Waterhouse’s nymphs, or Girl, Interrupted. When you combine beauty and horror, the result becomes unpredictable and irresistibly desirable.” -Rebekah Joy Plett

I remember the first time Bex showed me this image:

Rebekah has always had a penchant for unique, pop-surrealist, ghastly, and creepy art. If not straight horrifying art (Read: Rebekah’s Human Nature art series that is yet to be completely unveiled but involes a lot of blood and death).

Yet when she showed me the above art, I was stricken with an overwhelming sense of belonging. Rebekah’s previous invisible or obscure monsters were now blatant monsters. Real life monsters. This quickly became a series for Rebekah because the monsters and the beautiful girls did exactly what we had both been dreaming of for years. They married the macabre and beauty… equally.

It was at this point that I described Rebekah and her art as being “Innocent yet sexual, macabre yet beautiful, horrifying yet earthy, and completely organic.”

One of Rebekah’s greatest qualities is that she doesn’t fetter her creativity.

Creativity — like monsters — never sleeps. It only waits.” -Rebekah Joy Plett

And when her creativity is done waiting, it just blooms and blooms and blooms until it’s a wild monster’s tongue reaching out from the painting, trussing you up in its sickly slime, yanking you back into the painting with it. Rebekah is the Lewis Carroll of art, she’ll push you down the rabbit hole.

While discussing the marriage of beauty and the macabre with Rebekah, we both agreed that the majority of adults have lost the ability to still see monsters. They’ve grown too old to think that there may be something underneath their bed. The only thing adults think might be lurking under their covers is a spider or two. Horrifying art like that of Stephen Gammell makes the average adult shrug or say Why would anyone want to look at that?

(Well that’s a subject for another time, because I do love me some Gammell.)

But what Rebekah (and other artists like her: Mark Ryden, Nicoletta Ceccoli, Camilla D’Errico, Elizabeth McGrath, Matthew J. Price) has done is made deeply morbid and disturbing art beautiful and more accessible to those who might have lost their ability to dream darkly.

While Rebakah and I strive to open the imaginations of children with our children’s magazine, Rebekah’s art strives to do the same but for those adults who subconsciously want to feel scared, want to be intrigued, want to feel shock and delight simultaneously.

The girls? Lovely. The monsters? Devilish down to the tips of their tongue and claws. Like Rebekah says, Blood is in the details.” 

Death, monsters, blood, insanity… it’s not always about evil. It can often times be about creativity, love, imagination, and yes… still insanity.

a work in progress by RJP

“Something beautiful alone, or something only macabre doesn’t say much, but once you put them together a conversation is started. Why is there a pretty girl laying in the grass? Why is that bird making off with her entrails? A story has begun.” -Rebekah Joy Plett

I want to thank Rebekah for the interview, the images, and the friendship. She’s the monster in my closet, the darkness that takes over when the candle flame dies.

 

 

Why ‘Cap ou pas Cap’ inspires me…

‘Cap ou pas Cap’ is a very inspiration phrase to begin with. Literally translated to ‘Are you capable or are you not capable?’ Semi literally translated to “are you game or not”. Non-literally translated to are you up for it? Can you do what it takes to make your dreams come true?

It’s a beautiful notion, an inspiring phrase. Can we do it? Can we overcome all the obstacles set in our way to be the person we want to be? You tell me? I’m game. Cap?

When you add in the incredibly artistic and motivating film that this phrase comes from, you cannot deny its inspiration.

Your Workspace.

Speaking of inspiration. Your workspace can be a huge inspiration to you as you… well… work in it. Let’s say, create in it. Recently I posted a picture of my workspace: Studio Ginger: The Ginger’s Revenge (otherwise known as Studio Ginger America) on facebook and a few days later I was transported into the workspaces of some of my most creative friends. What’s in your workspace? Does it inspire you? Does it bore you? Are you jazzed every time you look around? Inspire yourself with your workspace. The messier the better.

(Evan Heasman’s studio http://sojushots.blogspot.com/)
(Studio Ginger: The Ginger’s Revenge http://agentbree.wordpress.com/)
(Evan Heasman’s studio http://sojushots.blogspot.com/)
(Studio Ginger: The Ginger’s Revenge http://agentbree.wordpress.com/)
(Evan Heasman’s studio http://sojushots.blogspot.com/)
(Studio Ginger: The Ginger’s Revenge http://agentbree.wordpress.com/)

But MOST importantly,

Studio Ginger: The Ginger’s Revenge…

is ALWAYS accompanied by music.

Why ‘Spirit in the Sky’ inspires me…

While listening to Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit in the Sky you feel as if you should be in a smoky, shady, dark, grimy pool hall. Dancing as if in slow motion, one hand on the jukebox and the other running through your hot-mess hair. You’re in old jean cutoffs, swaying to the best guitar riff you’ve heard in ages while licking blood off your teeth. I don’t know about that last part. It just seemed fitting. 

The thing about Spirit in the Sky is that it’s one of the most simplistic, sultry, nonsensical (all of which are inspirational attributes) rock songs alive. The FUNNY thing about Spirit in the Sky is that it actually has no intended religious meaning at all. This is a case of “following-the-trends-gone-good.” There is always something oddly inspirational about irony, especially when it’s backed up with the sexiest rock music ever.