Paper Cuts: Tribute to Berni Wrightson

Papercuts: Bernie Wrightson Tribute

By Ryan “HB” Mount

Recently comics and especially horror comics lost one of the all-time greats in Bernie Wrightson.  If you ever read an old issue of Creepy or Eerie, or an older issue of Tales of the Crypt, you would have seen Bernie Wrightson’s work.  He and writer Len Wein also created Swamp Thing in the pages of DC Comics’ House of Secrets.

He had an incredible nearly 50-year long career in comics spanning from the late 1960’s until just this past year.

We decided to do some back-bin issue diving and celebrate and review some of Wrightson’s work.

Frankenstein Alive, Alive! #1 (IDW)

Wrightson published the definitive comics adaptation of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein back in 1983 for Marvel Comics.  This series, which began publishing in 2012, was billed as the sequel to Frankenstein.

Very often when sequels are so announced to classic years later, they tend to fall flat or feel uninspired.  Once you open to the first page of this book, this is one of those rare cases of being able to go home again.

While the story was well written by Steve Niles, the true masterwork is Wrightston’s beautiful and haunting black and white art work.  The art in here was meant to be looked and pondered over as each page is filled with incredible detail.  Although, there is plenty of black ink on the page, there are enough pencil lines showing through that make this book pop as much as any colored book on the stand of today.

The series only lasted 3 issues until Wrightston fell too ill to continue work on it.  It is hard to know the future of this without him, but these three issues are worth the read and should be added to any horror, Frankenstein, or even comics fan and collector.

Ratings: 5 out of 5

 

Bernie Wrightson: Master of the Macabre! #1 (Pacific Comics)

A perfect horror anthology.  One tale of Frankenstein.  One of a lake monster and the monster of a man who hunts him.  And a rendering of an Edgar Allen Poe’s Black Cat.

While these are all tales of horror, Wrightston again shows that his style can fit into anything from 1890’s horror to “modern times.” There is not a single wasted or rushed space in every panel.  While the coloring does seem to date the book a little, the artwork still really shines through the 1980’s coloring techniques.

Ratings: 5 out of 5

The Masterworks Series of Great Comic Book Artists: Berni Wrightson #3 (DC)

Out of all the Berni Wrightson books reviewed, this is the only one that seemed like a slight misstep.

While the artwork remained top notch, the writing of each story was bogged down in an overabundance of text boxes.  It a progressive build on text as well as each tale went on.  The first tale of the sculptor and his wife sits next to any great stories, but then once the next two stories got rolling, they had so much text on the page that it took away from even the brilliant artwork.

Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

 

Quick Cuts:

The Weird #1 (DC) – The title says it all.  Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Batman: The Cult Book One: Ordeal (DC) – An off the beaten path tale for Batman.  One of the scariest Joker renderings ever.   Ratings: 3 out of 5

Tales From the Crypt #2 (Super Genuis/Papercutz) –There is one Wrightson reprint and one lost tale. Two other short stories, one great, one not so much. The Wrightston work alone is worth picking this up. Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Bernie Wrightson: Master of the Macabre #2 (Pacific Comics) – Another classic.  Features a HP Lovecraft tale. Ratings: 4 out of 5

Bernie Wrightson: Master of the Macabre #3 (Pacific Comics) – Monsters under the bed. Monsters on space planets. And a cautionary and creepy tale made for the Twilight Zone. Ratings: 4 out of 5

 

Thank you for those who stuck with the column while I had to take a small break.  We are back with a regular schedule.

If you like what you read, please like and share this post.  If you have a favorite Berni Wrightson work, make sure to tweet @hebruise and tell us all about it!  When I am not writing for horror-writers.com you can also find some work I do over at twoheadednerd.com

31 Days of Horror Day 25: The Bride of Frankenstein

Bride of Frankenstein - Poster

I know I am not alone in saying that this is my favorite Universal Monster movie, and there’s not really a challenger for that title.  Sure, I like all of them, and, while the original Frankenstein is in second place, it’s a pretty distant second.

Bride of Frankenstein - Bride

It’s perfect.  The atmosphere is great (the scene of The Monster stumbling through the foggy graveyard is absolutely beautiful).  The story is heartbreaking.  The acting is superb (Boris Karloff turns in his best performance here, and using Elsa Lanchester to play both Mary Shelley and The Bride was absolutely inspired).  There’s a decent amount of humor mixed in, but it’s never goofy.  It’s a great-looking movie that delivers on all levels.

Bride of Frankenstein - Monster and Bride

There are some terrific quotes here, too.  Here are some of my favorites:
“The air itself is full of monsters.”
“This is no life for murderers.”
“We belong dead.”  (This is one of my all-time favorite movie lines.)

Bride of Frankenstein - Bride Screaming

I just bought this on Blu Ray and it looks amazing.  Let’s all fire it up and make tonight a Bride of Frankenstein night.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em
Smoke ’em if you got ’em

Penny Dreadful Episode 3: 10 Thoughts with Shawn

Before I get started on this allow me to proclaim my undying love for Eva Green. There. I said it.

 

1. -I was wrong – I mentioned last week that this is going to be a hit or miss show from episode to episode and if the quality keeps up, I’m going to look like a fool. This series may have started slow but it’s moving in a wonderful direction.

 

2.  – Holy References Non Trademarked Bat Hero – I could fill up this entire post just listing all of the literary references this show has made so far. They’re packed in with such vigor that I actually had to re-watch the first three episodes to spot the ones I missed.

 

3. – Eva Green – Seriously though, Eva Green.

 

4. – Victor Frankenstein – I’m not normally a fan of rewriting literary characters but the people in charge of this show really seem to know what they’re doing with this. I haven’t been this invested in his character since he was played by Kenneth Branaugh.

 

5. – Eva Green – Ok, so maybe 10 thoughts was a little too much so expect every third or fourth line to include Eva Green.

 

6. – Josh Hartnett- I’ve always been a fan of his and this may be his best performance. I’m hoping for a second season of this show already just to see more of him.

 

7. – Ginette Reno – Ok, so this isn’t related to the show in any way shape or form but how heart warming is it to see Ginette Reno performing Oh Canada at Habs games. I may not be cheering for them but I wish her all the best, she’s a Canadian treasure.

 

– Such Beauty – From the set design to the costuming, this is one of the most visually impressive shows currently on tv. I’m almost more enthralled with how the show looks than I am with the story being presented…and I am very much into the story being presented.

 

9 – Eva Green – 

 

10 – The big finale- This show has been heading in a wonderful direction since it started. The writing is top notch and episode 3 treated us to a wonderful retelling of the origin of Victor Frankenstein. They’ve succeeded in making him a character that shines brighter than his monster.

 

I,Frankenstein

I Frankenstein Movie

Alright, I know everyone is really riled up about a “new” Frankenstein movie. I was neither here nor there about it. Although raised on classic films, to me, Frankenstein’s monster will always be the one that Mary Shelley gave me. In 1818, at the age of 18, a young woman named Mary Shelley was traveling with her future husband, Percey Shelley, along with Lord Byron, and JohnPolidori. The four of them decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. The story of Frankenstein and his monster are the result of one of Mrs. Shelley’s dreams and a friendly writing competition. The original Universal film deals mostly with the monster’s conception, if you will, and rejection by his maker. With a slew of sequels behind it, “Frankenstein” is still regarded as one of the best movies of the 1930’s and beyond.

Written and directed by Stuart Beattie (30 Days Of Night and a few of the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies) “I,Frankenstein” brings us the story of Frankenstein’s monster but also adds gargoyles and demons to the mx. Stay with me here; Frankenstein’s monster is a body without a soul and Naberius, the Demon Prince, wants him. While burying Dr. Frankenstein, the demons try to capture the monster, but are stopped by two gargoyles. Gargoyles are Arc Angel Michaels’s warriors who protect humans from demons. Naberius wants to know the secret recipe of Frankenstein’s monster in the hopes of animating tons of corpses and taking over the human race. Got that?

O.K. Well, the gargoyles take the monster to their home and it is decided by the queen, that the monster shall be named Adam and kept alive. This was a nice tip of the hat to the novel:in the novel, the monster refers to himself as “the Adam of your labors” while speaking to Dr. Frankenstein. Well, this Adam has a real chip on his shoulder and all he wants is to be left alone, so, he tries to find solitude. For 200 years. Those pesky demons find him, though, and Adam decides to return to the world and start hunting demons.

I-frankenstein-eckhart-badass

In the present world, Adam has a nice haircut to showcase his chiseled features and he really has a very nice “hobo chic” outfit that compliments his athletic frame. Seriously, where do I find these jeans and overcoat; they’re very sharp looking. Adam has a few severe scars on his face, but he still looks like …….Aaron Eckhart. You can’t cover up handsome with a few facial scars. My first introduction to Mr. Eckhart was in a little film titled, “In The Company Of Men”. Such a talented actor, he’s clearly only being used for his size and “menacing” appearance. The thing is, his character, Chad, in “In The Company Of Men” is a thousand times scarier than Adam. Hell, have you seen Adam with his shirt off? Um, I’m not running away from that.

i-frankenstein-hi-res

So, Adam broods around while Naberius searches for him. Played by Billy Nighy, Naberius is really just Billy Mack from “Love Actually” pretending to be a demon. It’s really very amusing, but I’m sure, unintentional. All of the gargoyles are ethereally beautiful and they even look good when they die. The fight scenes between Adam and, well, everyone else, are super fun. They’re big and loud and really cool looking. Everyone has super cool weapons and can jump around and fly everywhere; it’s ridiculous/awesome. Outside of that, the movie is just another generic, bland, gigantic “popcorn” movie. Clearly being set up for a potential franchise, the story really pushes the limits of acceptance with the last five minutes.

Is it a terrible movie? No. Is it a good movie? No. Is it a decent way to spend some time if you enjoy over the top and completely unrealistic fight scenes? Yup. Is it a good way to spend 93 minutes with Billy Mack as a demon prince? Yeah, it really is; Bill Nighy is undeniably charming. Is it a good way to spend some quality time with Aaron Eckhart, despite the fact that he forgot how to act? Sure is, honey! Look, it’s not the gigantic crap fest that everyone wants it to be. In fact, the three exuberant fanboys that sat behind me would adamantly promote this movie. “I know the critics hated it, but I don’t listen to critics, anyway! This movie was awesome!” These three were having a real “I,Frankenstein” love fest while the credits were rolling. (In the interest of fairness, two people walked out of the movie in the middle of it and never came back.)

So, if you’re looking for something that lives up to the intelligence of the novel, or the classic charm of the Universal film staring Boris Karloff, avoid this movie at all costs. If you enjoy action movies that allow you to “check out” mentally and have lots of cool stuff to look at, this is your new favorite “film”. If you’re an extreme Aaron Eckhart fan,well, he looks really good. It’s a shame he spent more time working out ( you can see him on the cover of this month’s Muscle and Fitness) than he did acting. Or is it? Good acting was never going to save this movie, anyway.