Unrequited Death – 1870

To celebrate the occasion of the day I present the following short horro story.

Last year this was turned into an audio reading by Jessica Burkhart and my podcasting partner David Tavolier for our podcast TRIO SIMPATICO but I realized I never posted the actual text anywhere.  So here you are, I present to you in full Unrequited Death – 1870 by me, Joshua Scott Witsaman.

If you’d like to listen to the podcast featuring the reading simply go HERE!

Happy Halloween!

Continue reading

Advertisements

Friday Funny Pages: Halloween Night Special Edition


Tonight you get 3 comic goodies for the price of one, think of it as a Trick or Treat bonus!  I was planning on having this posted earlier today but as luck would have it the wife had the computer with her for most of the day and our evening was tied up in further Halloween festivities.  So now as I sit here watching the Hammer Films Classic The Curse of Frankenstein and Peter Cushing’s wicked portrayal of the villainous Baron Frankenstein I finally have some time to attend to my blog duties!

Capping off this month of Halloween related comic panels I give you this horror ridden trifecta of images from very different origins.  First off I show to you a brief series of panels from Eric Powell’s The Goon.  This excerpt comes from a short story featuring some of my favorite Goon characters, the filthy gang of street urchins known as the Little Unholy Bastards.  Here we see the LUB’s making their break from the orphanage in order sneak out to do some Trick or Treating.  If you don’t know anything about the Goon, these panels give you some idea what the book is like.  If you find horrid old ladies being beaten by unruly youths to be amusing, then you might want to look into reading more of Eric Powell’s work!

Next up is an image that comes from a comic I’ve had in my possession for over 20 years!  Count Duckula #3, written by Michael Gallagher with art by Warren Kremer this book was one of the first comics I ever purchased.  It was read countless times, became a permanent part of my childhood library, and survived a move.  Surprisingly it is still in decent shape.  I was a big fan of Danger Mouse and Count Duckula as a kid, although there never seemed to be even amounts of airings of Count Duckula to Danger Mouse, so it was always nice to be able to find the count in other media.  This panel exemplifies a bit of Count Duckula’s goofiness as well as hinting at the duck vampires vegetarian diet.  Being that it’s Halloween I thought it appropriate to bust out this old favorite of mine.

Finally we have a recent comic book horror crossover and perhaps several of you out there will already recognize it as being a panel from Marvel Zombies VS Army of Darkness.  Issue #4 to be precise, with words by John Layman and an army of artists including Fabiano Neves, Fernando Blanco, and Sean Phillips.  Here we see Ash, the main protagonist from the Evil Dead series, in the grip of one of Marvel comics baddest baddies, Dr. Doom!  In the story Ash has joined up with one of my favorites, Dazzler, in search of a way to reclaim the accursed Necronomicon and halt the zombie outbreak that has spread throughout the Marvel universe.  Long story short they run into an undead Howard the Duck, travel to Latveria, and meet up with Dr. Doom who of course is something of an expert in the dark arts.  Although the Marvel Zombies run of series has been rather played out as of late, this epic crossover was one of the last truly enjoyable takes on the superhero/zombie genre.

So there you have it, although there is little left now of Halloween keep your thoughts dark and your nerves sharp for you never can tell what lurks around the next shadowy corner!  Happy Halloween!

That is all!

I Wish Every Day Was Halloween!

Halloween is approaching hopefully all of you boils and ghouls out there have your houses decorated, your candy bowls filled, and your costumes prepped.  Halloween is my favorite of the major holidays.  When October rolls around I try to bust out the skulls and pumpkin decorations as soon as possible, and the wife and I often disagree on how horrific the decorations should be.  Personally I don’t believe that any type of decorations should be blown out of proportion whether it’s a ridiculously involved Christmas light display, or a sprawling Halloween cemetery scene in your front yard with animatronic vampires, contrary to popular belief it is possible to over do it (and frankly your neighbors probably don’t want to look at your gaudy shit for a month anyway!)

I firmly believe that less is more, and that you can have some memorable decorations without going the Clark Griswold route.  The contention between my wife and I is how scary the decorations should be.  If it were up to me I would pass out the Trick or Treat candy between two poles decorated with mannequins made to look like impaled child clowns, along with a few skulls trickling blood from their eye sockets.  You know, nothing extravagant but enough to really hit home and creep the hell out of the kids that approach my doorstep.  If you want the candy, you’ve got to be brave enough to get it.  Lauren however is more inclined to do the whole family friendly schtick.  Some jack O’ lanterns, a Halloween sign on the door, and maybe we dress the puggles in goofy costumes (which is always a good time.)  Our decoration plans are seemingly in constant negotiation.

However despite my love for Halloween, and my enthusiasm for it, I generally hate this last week right before the big day.

It always seems like when October starts the world comes out guns blazing with Halloween excitement.  The weekends are chock full of horror movie marathons, costumes are on display every where you go, and the Reese’s pumpkins are seemingly around ever corner beckoning you to devour them.  As the weeks go on though, and we come to this last week before Halloween the ghoulish spectacle wanes.  It seems like there aren’t any good horror movies left on the upcoming television lineup, and the Halloween decor has already been put on clearance, torn apart, and decimated like a cabin full of virginal teenage victims who’ve fallen prey to a supernatural serial killer.  With retailers quietly displaying Christmas merchandise earlier and earlier each season, it has gotten so that when we’ve reached Halloween people are already bracing themselves for the X-Mas rush!  It seems like every year around this time I’m forced to summon forth my inner demonologist and take it upon myself to keep the spirit of Halloween bright and alive (or at least undead.)  Thankfully through my experience I’ve come up with a regular routine of grotesque activities that help me keep my thoughts dark and my nights sleepless!  Allow me to go over a few of them for you now.

Sign an exclusive deal with Count Chocula:

Like Peeps at Easter, and Candy Canes at Christmas, Count Chocula is a Halloween staple for me.  There was once a time when the Count and his buddies, Boo Berry, and Frankenberry could be found on the cereal shelves all year round, but those days are gone.  Now Count Chocula is a seasonal delicacy and I make sure to get as much of it as possible throughout the month of October.  There’s just something about chowing down on ghost and bat shaped cereal bits first thing in the morning that really helps keep the feeling of Halloween going!  Whether you’re a fan of the fumbling Frankenberry or the beatnik Boo Berry or the coco count himself, make sure to keep your shelf stocked with one of these, the scariest of the breakfast cereals.

I'm almost 100% sure this record won a grammy.

Blast the scary music:

While on my way to work I make sure to set my iPod up to thrill me with some of the best of my Halloween related music.  Things like the theme from Halloween and Night on Bald Mountain are good for creeping yourself out in the early morning darkness.   If you need a little lighter fair, but still want to hit your Halloween groove you can try bands like the Cramps, or classics like the Monster Mash, and Thriller.  A couple of groups that deal almost exclusively with Halloween type themes and who I’ve come to appreciate all year around are Zombina and the Skeletones and Paul Roland.  Musically they’re very different but they both have their own unique darkness that ranges from bizarre and humorous to just plain creepy.  If you’d like to learn more about them click on their links.

Are they a cool band? Yes, they are a cool band.

Horror Movies:

This one really needs no explanation.  Watch. Horror. Movies.  Everyone has their favorites with varying ratios of gore to scare as well as classic to modern.  So I’ll leave the choices up to you.  Oh, and Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas is a must as well, just be ready to watch it again in a few months when X-Mas rolls around!  AND There is a bonus this year (and hopefully for many more years to come) with the television series’ The Walking Dead and American Horror Story!  Two great ongoing dramas that have thus far been filled with plenty of great storytelling as well as well crafted horror elements.  With the modern wonders of DVR you could conceivably save up your recordings of these shows for the end of the week and have a horror drama double feature!  Both shows are unique and will give you varying degrees of “the willies.”

Only on episode 3, and I can already say this show is a favorite of mine.

Other Things:

Take Halloween into your own hands!  If you wait for this last week to carve your pumpkins it can really help to keep those nostalgic Halloween feelings going, and helps ensure that your pumpkins don’t look like the Crypt Keeper by the time Halloween actually rolls around (unless of course you carved it to look like the Crypt Keeper.)  Personally around this time I also like to delve into some fine demented literature.  It’s always a good time to revisit my favorite paranormal superhero, Dr. Strange and his supernaturally macabre adventures.  Also this year I’m working on completing the entire collected works of H.P. Lovecraft which happens to coincide nicely with the holiday.  Finally look back at some other media that fits the themes of Halloween, for instance I plan on  rewatching the episode of the Star Wars Clone Wars cartoon entitled  Legacy of Terror, which features zombie Geonosians.  There’s even an episode of Babylon 5 called Day of the Dead which features a strange occurrence aboard the station where the dead return to the world of the living for a single night.

Undead Geonosians prowling the catacombs in search of clone brains.

Basically when others aren’t getting psyched for Halloween, sometimes you’ve gotta psyche yourself up.  Remember that Halloween is more than just bad movies, girls dressed like sluts, and tooth rotting candy.  Halloween is a holiday that allows us to briefly acknowledge the darkness of the world, and of ourselves.  Halloween expresses death and allows us to come to terms with the fear of all of our inevitable destinies, and Halloween allows us to revel in the mysteries and instinctive imagination of the human psyche!

Happy Halloween everyone, make sure to scare the piss out of someone special this year!

That is all!

Friday Funny Pages: Stake ‘Em With Mjolnir!

If you’re going to drive a stake into a vampire’s heart what better tool to use than the hammer of the Norse God of thunder, am I right?

Today starts a month of spooky themed Friday Funny Pages in honor of my favorite holiday, Halloween.  I was out doing yard work this morning in preparation for putting out my Halloween decorations.  I dragged everything up out of the basement and began the process of turning my domicile into a haunted house.  Afterwards I sat down and finally watched Francis Ford Coppola’s Dementia 13, a horror movie of some renown which up until this point has eluded me.  Needless to say when I sat down to write this blog I was in a very eerie Halloween-ish kind of mood.  As I briefly pondered on which image to use for today I came across this one and immediately ceased my search.  With a quick look at some of the others I have lined up I decided it’s going to be a Halloween themed month of Friday Funny Pages!  Hurray!

Ok so this image obviously comes to us from Thor #333 with art by good ol’ Bill Sienkiewicz.  Thor VS Dracula.  What more needs said?  I love Dracula in the Marvel universe he’s really established himself in the comics and has made appearances across the spectrum of big name Marvel titles.  Sadly I have never actually had the pleasure of reading this particular issue and if anyone sees it out there in the quarter bin pick one up for me!  I’m purely a fan of the concept of various heroes doing battle with the lord of the undead himself, Count Dracula.  I’ve always enjoyed the supernatural elements in comics and one of my favorite heroes, Dr. Strange, has had several encounters with Vlad Dracul, each of which have been an enjoyable read.

Hmmmm that gives me an idea about what I’m going to write about next week . . . . until then . . . .

That is all!