CLOWN IN A CORNFIELD up for PRE-ORDER! And DARK CRYSTAL Comics!

First things first, I mean, have you seen this cover? WOW!

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Yes. I lost my mind when my editor at HarperTeen shared the cover for Clown in a Cornfield for the first time. That illustration is by Matt Ryan Tobin. If that name sounds familiar, Tobin’s a slasher phenom who’s done work for Mondo and Death Waltz. Cover design by Jenna Stempel-Lobell, who’s done a ton of iconic covers.

Then there’s the matter of that Clive Barker cover blurb… which, if the cover itself didn’t plunge me deep into madness, those words certainly did. Beyond honored to have someone who’s so heavily shaped who I am as a horror fan (and a person) say such kind things after reading my book.

A few more incredible authors (and filmmakers!) have read early copies of Clown and have been nice enough to share words and I want to share them with you now, but… we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

The book’s not out until August 2020.

But it has recently been made available for pre-order.

And if you just balked at the idea of buying a book months out from release… believe me, I understand, but pre-orders are a huge help to authors. No matter where you choose to shop, pre-orders help build analytic leverage at online retailers, can increase the size of initial orders at big stores, and can help your local brick-and-mortar indie bookstore know what’s something they should be keeping in stock.

So, as August approaches and I get to talk even more about Clown in a Cornfield (don’t forget, it’s already being developed as a feature film by Temple Hill Entertainment), the most valuable thing you can do to help me spread the word is to pre-order your copy and encourage your friends to do the same.

I’m intensely proud of this… slice… of slasher madness. Pre-order is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and through your local indie bookstore using Indiebound. HarperCollins also has a directory of additional retailers and links on their website.

Thank you. And wherever you pre-order, keep your receipt and keep your eyes here on this blog or my Twitter, because I’m working out a special way to reward the folks who’ve pre-ordered.

Okay. Thanks for listening to that sales pitch! Now: more news!

Yes, you may heard me talk about it (like on this great episode of the Cinepunx podcast), but I’m getting the opportunity to work on one of my favorite properties of all time: Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal!

BOOM! Studios has officially announced that, with issue #5 of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, artist French Carlomagno and I start a 4-issue arc focusing on fan-favorite character: Hup. This arc is from a story by Netflix showrunners Jeffery Addis and Will Matthews, so it’s super legit. We’re not going to have podlings wielding chainsaws or anything!

DarkCrystal_AgeResistance_005_Cover_Main_PROMO.jpg  Issue #5 drops in January, #6 in February (etc.) and they’re already listed in Previews and can be requested at your local comic shop or ordered from your favorite online retailers, or direct from the publisher. Like novels, pre-ordering comics is a super nice thing to do for creators.

If you’re a fan of my horror novels and don’t think this is for you: believe me, you will still find something to enjoy in this arc! French’s art is incredible and we’re getting to tell a story that feels intimate and funny but still *very* Dark Crystal.

That’s it. That’s all the news I’ve got. How are you?

All-Hallows Cesare

It’s been over a month since I last updated the ol’ blog, but I’ve been far from sedentary.

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Leatherface really wants that Video Night shirt I’m wearing. He could just order his own…

Took a road trip up to Rock and Shock in Worcester, MA earlier in the month and it was just as great as always, even better because Black T-Shirt Books had a huge table with all of our authors in attendance.

The Adventure Time Spoooktacular 2017 hit comic shops and seems to have been well-received with both critics and fans of the show (Paste Magazine called it “wildly entertaining” and Nerdist says it’s a “fantastic anthology that Adventure Time fans can’t miss”). If you still haven’t grabbed your copy you can call your local comic store or order direct from BOOM! Studios.

And on top of all that (and some top-secret stuff it’s too early to talk about), I’ve been a busy, stammering, bee on YouTube with my Project: Black T-Shirt channel. If you’ve missed me giving a tour of my movie shelves, discussing Chucky’s latest massacre, paging through Grady Hendrix new book Paperbacks from Hell, or wanted the festival-circuit heads up on Tragedy Girls, please click over there and binge-watch. Also hit those “like” and “subscribe” buttons if you don’t mind.

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Raiding the Racks for Horror

Greetings all, I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading and watching, but a woeful amount of blogging. Nothing’s really struck my fancy in a big enough way to get me typing. That is, until I went to my local comic book store this Wednesday and was struck by a pretty good idea for a post.

Here’s three things you can and should pick up at your own comic-slinging establishments.

I wrote up Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows’ limited series Crossed a while back. Color me surprised to see Crossed: Family Ties #1 on shelves this shortly after the original series came to a definitive close. But fear not! Just because Ennis has handed the reigns over to another writer for this sequel/spin-off, does not mean that Family Ties is a knockoff/money grab. No, this is grade-A all the way baby. It’s written by the supremely talented David Lapham (Stray Bullets, Young Liars) and illustrated with a wonderful sense of motion by Javier Barreno.

Family Values focuses on a whole new group of survivors (a large Mid-Western family) and pits them against the “crossed” a deranged horde infected by an unexplained virus. Ennis had some scummy survivor characters in his original roster, but Lapham takes this idea of “humans are the real monsters” one step further by making the patriarch of the Pratt family just as despicable as the crossed themselves. The first issue was just as twisted and disturbing as Ennis’ original series and, luckily, never suffers from the much feared “been there, done that” feeling of most sequels.

Area 10 is a hardcover graphic novel that is part of Vertigo’s new “Vertigo Crime” imprint, and boy is it fun. Written by Christos Gage, Area 10 is part police procedural and part Seven-style thriller (or MPD Psycho, come to think of it) with an added psyche-out/supernatural element to spice things up. Despite the large page-count he has to fill (nearly 200), artist Chris Samnee (who has an awesome sketchbook/blog here) is more than up to the task, and turns in some truly terrific black and white compositions.

What Vertigo is trying to do with this series is admirable: bringing back crime comics in a high quality, one-and-done format. I’ve heard mixed reviews of some of the other titles in the series, but if Area 10 is any indication I will be picking up a few more as soon as I can spare the cash.

I could probably have spent a whole post talking about how cool this book is, but that would spoil the fun for you, and make me have to write more. So there.

There’s been a lot of Stephen King work in comics lately, but they’ve been adaptations (The Stand, Dark Tower) and none of them (I believe) have been written by the man himself. Enter Scott Snyder and artist Rafael Albuquerque’s new ongoing series American Vampire. In the series’s first five issues Snyder splits each page count with King and they both write stories taking place in a separate time period. In the first issue released last month, this worked absolutely flawlessly. Snyder’s half of the issue deals with a young actress dealing with the pitfalls (and fangs) of 1920s Hollywood while King’s half details the origins of a mysterious cowboy in the 1880s.

If #2 has a major flaw, it’s that it’s no #1. There are some growing pains and quite a few pages are taken up with clunkily delivered exposition. Despite this shortcoming the art remains top-notch and there are some interesting twists in vampire lore introduced.

It’s too early to tell how it will fair in the long run, but American Vampire is off to a very promising start. I wonder how King got involved with the project, but I imagine that Vertigo is seeing sales boosted immensely by his name. That said, I also suspect readers may prefer Snyder’s half of the story to King’s, which good news for Vertigo as is a strong reason for them to stick around once King’s tenure is over.

Joe Hill’s Locke & Key Brings The Horror and The Heart


“Joe Hill is some kinda genius.” That was the thought I had after closing issue six of Locke & Key: Head Games. Hill, the author of the excellent novel Heart Shaped Box and the even-better collection 20th Century Ghosts, is fast becoming a juggernaut in the horror field. He could stick exclusively with prose and still make a big splash in the genre, but it is his most accomplished work to date is in the much-maligned field of comics.

The unique structure of Locke & Key is almost as revolutionary as the content. Hill has constructed each six issue mini-series to represent half of an “Act,” with the entire story being told in three acts. After each mini-series Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez take a little time off, preparing the next series. This allows the story to be told smoothly without the months of waiting that usually accompanies a monthly comic that falls behind schedule. The first collected edition Welcome To Lovecraft acts as a prologue to the story proper and will have you hooked in the first few pages.

There is a sense of whimsy and magic found in Locke & Key that might draw comparisons to lighter works but it is Hill’s reluctance to sugar-coat that places the series with more mature works like Pan’s Labyrinth or The Stand. There are some rough and chilling sequences here but the book’s supernatural elements coupled with Gabriel Rodriguez’s perfect “never-too-dark,” borderline “cartoony” art keep (at least in my opinion) the work accessible to even squeamish audiences.

There are great characters, creepy villains and even some touching moments but I think what I love most about the book is just the feeling of sheer “freshness.” There may have been stories (kind of) like this one before, but none of them were ever told in this way. The comic book format allows for a much bigger story, and gives Hill time to linger on smaller characters and plot lines that really allow the story to “pop.” Aside from being “some kinda genius” Hill must also be one hell of a juggler because the sprawling nature of the story never undercuts the overall feeling of suspense that nags at the reader on every page. This synthesis of great writing and art makes Locke & Key a totally unique and rewarding experience.

If you’ve never stepped foot in a comic book store in your life, that is no excuse. If you like horror or have any interest in a story well-told you should run down to your local comic shop and stock up on either the collected editions or the single issues. Oh and while you’re there get the first volume of Scalped…and The Boys….and Ex Machina…..okay, I’ll stop now.

It Snikt Snikt Stinks: Three Alternatives to X-men Origins: Wolverine

It’s finals, I have papers to write and studying to do. I don’t have time to waste my breath on the new Wolverine movie. The theater I saw it in was packed, and they all seemed to like it, so my apologies if my headline offends you. There were a few things I did like about the film, but overall I think my headline is enough of an indicator where I fall “thumbs up/thumbs down”-wise. So here are three things that feature everyone’s favorite “Canuck with a stabbing addiction” that don’t blow:


1. Jason Aaron’s Wolverine: This one is technically more than one thing. Jason Aaron, writer of Scalped (hands down the best comic out now) has taken multiple stabs (ZING!) at the character. Aaron’s way with tough guy dialogue and hardboiled violence coupled with his certifiable genius plotting makes him the perfect candidate to write for Marvel’s biggest badass.

The best thing to come out of the new movie is Marvel’s push to promote the character, giving Aaron his own ongoing series entitled Wolverine: Weapon X. It’s only one issue in but it’s already bloody good fun.

If you don’t read comics and just want to grab a trade paperback the best of his stories is Get Mystique. One of the single bloodiest Wolvie stories ever told.

*As a Bonus for people who suffered through the new movie Get Mystique holds the “actual” (and satisfying) answer to the question: “What happens when you shoot him in the brain?”

2. Hulk vs Wolverine: Not the miniseries by Lost writer David Lindelof (but that’s good too) Hulk vs. Wolverine is a 45 minute straight-to-DVD animated movie. Possibly the first straight-to-video tie-in to be leagues BETTER than the movie it’s promoting. This short movie is Wolverine the way he should be: a violent, angry, morally questionable character. The animation is slick and the voice acting is top-notch.

The smackdowns of Hulk verses Wolverine are great, but the real star of this show is Deadpool. Deadpool appears briefly in the new movie as a severely altered version of the comic book character. He is played by Ryan Reynolds and just when it appears that the “Merc with a mouth” might save this movie, he disappears for an hour, then comes back and doesn’t talk. The Deadpool in the animated film is exactly the way fans want to see him, a hyperactive, schizoid with an itchy trigger finger.

The movie is available on DVD alongside Hulk vs. Thor.

3. Logan by Brain K. Vaughn: If you went to the new movie looking to see Logan in some WWII action, you left sorely disappointed (In all likelihood this happened anyway). Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina writer Brian K. Vaughn has you covered though. A story that flashes between the present day and 1940s Japan, Logan is a bloody and tragic story. It has plenty of moments for fans to revel in the “cool factor” of it all, but also brings some much needed pathos to the character. Here we see a lovelorn Logan far better than we do in the soap-opera-twist-filled mess that is the film. Logan features drop-dead gorgeous artwork by Eduardo Risso.

There you go: three viable alternatives to ease the pain.

Apologies to the horror fan’s finding the site through The Haunt… I’ll have some new horror stuff for you next post, promise.