Spooktoberfest Special: Chris vs. Tarot on ComicsAlliance



Chris Sims?! Writing about Tarot?! Believe it!

Yes, last week saw the release of the BroadSword Comics Falll 2009 promotional video, so today on ComicsAlliance, I provide minute-by-minute commentary for the announcements concerning everyone’s favorite witchity empowerment figure, who mysteriously can’t get through a swordfight to the death without becoming aroused by her far more skilled male counterpart.

Not to spoil it for anyone, but the biggest item in the video is the news that Balent is teaming up with Diamond select toys to bring Tarot into a third mind-boggling dimension, and I’ll be honest: The question here is not if I’m going to buy it, but how many.

So enjoy, and look for our annual delve into the Tarot archives later this month as Spooktoberfest rolls on!

Spooktoberfest Special: The Lovecraftian Horror of Bizarroween!

It’s October, and that means that the countdown to Halloween has begun! And while there are other more dedicated blogs that bring you the countdown every day of the month, our Spooktoberfest celebrations on the ISB are always a little more sporadic.

I do, however, try to make up for it by dedicating my terror-tinged Halloween posts to the most spine-chilling sights that comics can offer! And really, is there anything more chilling than The Children of Bizarro?



As it turns out, there is. But we’ll get to that in a moment, as the horrors to be found in Halloween Pranks of the Bizarro Supermen–handily reprinted in the immensely entertaining Superman in the Sixties–are many and varied, though despite the promise of the title, there’s not a lot of actual Halloween content. Instead, the story is mostly devoted to Bizarro Krypto trying to find a new master after Bizarro makes him eat hot dogs because, you know, the Silver Age.

What is there, though, is terrifying. I’m not going to lie, folks: Bizarro creeps me the hell out, and this story just piles one horror on top of another as it goes on.

To start with, right after the splash page of Bizarro raining ruined tennis rackets down onto his hideous spawn, we have what is quite possibly the angriest establishing shot of the entire decade:



“Planet of the stupid Bizarros. The stupid, worthless, jackass Bizarros I hate them so much I swear to God, Mort I would do a hundred Red Kryptonite stories before I wrote this again Jesus Christ.”

Once we get through Jerry Siegel’s rage at his own creation and the standard one-page descriptions of Bizarros and how they work (us am hate beauty, us am love ugliness, us think Glenn Beck have some good ideas, etc.), the story turns to Bizarro Halloween, and it becomes clear that I probably should’ve posted about this issue six months ago:



Yes, Halloween on Bizarro world is more about playing pranks than getting candy, but while the story eventually goes off the rails to the point where it includes the harrowing Bizarro Kltpzxym



this is the creepiest moment of the entire story, when Bizarro and his pals put on rubber masks of good-looking celebrities:



I am going to be totally real with you guys: That is horrifying. Seriously, imagine you’re Superman and you’re flying through space (as one does when one is Superman) and you decide to pay a visit to that kooky mixed-up Bizarro World to see what kind of shennangians they’re up to. Then you land, and this group of scaly chalk-white monstrosities turn around and they’re staring at you from behind the lifeless rubber masks of Marilyn Monroe and JFK and they’re just standing there and then you start to move and they all start screaming at once because they can’t stand the sight of something that isn’t deformed and before you can get away they’re clawing at you with their misshapen hands and this is the last thing you see before you die.

Suck it, HP Lovecraft. Jerry Siegel’s got you beat.

Spooktoberfest Special: This Costume Is “Techno-Active!”

Sure, Halloween might have been yesterday, but as anyone who’s seen me around Christmas and my birthday knows, I don’t see any reason to actually stop celebrating once the date has actually passed.

Yes, like Rachelle, my Spooktoberfest celebrations were extended by an extra day, but instead of a party, I had the far nerdier excuse of the After-Halloween sale at work. So, in order to keep the party going, I decided to dress up as the one and only Jack Kirby!



“Hey! I forgot to draw the senses-shattering cosmic thunder on this page!



“Ah, that’s better!”


It’s obviously a pretty simple costume, but I’ll admit to preferring stuff that can pass for normal clothes in the inevitable event that I’m the only person who bothers to dress up, which I was. But it was fun, and it gave me a chance to use the ideas some pals and I were batting around for Dr. K before he settled on Solomon Grundy.

For the record, here’s the original:



So what’d you guys do?

Spooktoberfest Special: The Greatest Horror Comic Ever

Ever since the heyday of EC back in the fifties, comics have had a pretty solid relationship–Wertham aside–with the horror genre, and as we enter the final stretch to Halloween, my thoughts have fallen onto the high points of the genre.

Whether it’s the historically inspired chills of From Hell or Torso, the thrills of action-horror like Hellboy, the genuine creepiness of Japanese titles like Mail, or a dozen others, horror comics have given us some amazing reads. But there’s one thing that blows them all away.

I am referring, of course, to this:


Dr. McNinja #8: Revenge of the Hundred Dead Ninja


For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, I’ll sum up: The Adventures of Dr. McNinja is a webcomic about a doctor who is also a ninja, and is thus torn between his desire to heal and his need to kill. As you might expect from the title, he has adventures along with his gorilla receptionist, Judy, and his sidekick, a twelve year-old gunslinger named Gordito who grew a handlebar moustache through sheer force of will. It is also the greatest thing ever.

Seriously, at this point, words can’t really capture the way I feel about what Christopher Hastings, Kent Archer and Carly Monardo are doing over there, but rest assured that my heart has developed boners for it, mostly thanks to things like this:



King Radical. The most radical man in the radical land. I don’t think I’m overselling things here when I say that as far as achievements in sequential art go, The Adventures of Dr. McNinja makes Watchmen look like bullshit.

But anyway, back to “Revenge of the Hundred Dead Ninja.”

Under normal circumstances, I’d offer up a more detailed summary, but since you can just head over there to read the entire series for yourself, I’ll just hit the highlights. All you really need to know is that in the previous story–which has the amazing title of “D.A.R.E. to Resist Ninja Drugs and Ninja Violence”–Dr. McNinja ended up killing a bunch of guys who were jacked up on drugs that gave them artificial ninja abilities. And in this story, they come back from the dead.

With a zombie clone of Ben Franklin.

To breakdance.



Okay, so technically I think that’s actually popping and locking, and even more technically, that only happens in a dream sequence, but the part about the ninjas (and Ben Franklin’s clone) coming back from the dead?



Fortunately, Cumberland–under the direction of their ex-astronaut mayor–has a plan in place for just such an occurrence: Dr. McNinja will kill them all, a process that involves a gorilla ramping over a pile of flaming automobiles in a 2007 Honda Accord while the Doctor holds onto a grappling line.



Clearly, this is the single greatest use of the undead in modern fiction.

At least until #8, where Dr. McNinja fights Dracula.

On the moon.





BONUS FEATURE: Dr. McNinja Answers the Hard Questions



So awesome. So, so awesome.

Spooktoberfest Special: The World’s Finest Guide to the Supernatural

As anyone who’s ever picked up a comic book where someone is actually a skeleton knows, the border between the mortal world and the supernatural is at its thinnest on Halloween. So if you’re out this weekend at around, say, twelve o’clock–The Witching Hour–and find yourself faced with creatures out to terrorize y’all’s neighborhood, don’t panic! The ISB is here to offer simple safety tips from your pals in the Justice League.

Just follow the example of one of the following heroes, and you’ll be sure to have a frighteningly safe Spooktoberfest:


Superman Says:

When faced with a supernatural enemy, try to figure out its natural weakness! For example, many evil creatures cannot stand the light:




Thus, simply use your phenomenal powers of Super-Glass-Blowing and Super-Tungsten-Filament-Crafting to make a gigantic light bulb and scare the monsters away.


Batman Says:





More tips for safe living, including what to do when you need to fake your death and get your friend to pretend to be your ghost for a few days, can be found in Showcase Presents World’s Finest v.2.

Spooktoberfest Special: Comes the Fearful Cry…

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…




Yes, when this year’s trick or treaters arrive at Casa Del Sims for a handful of peanut butter cups and the Peanuts Halloween Ashcan, they’re going to be greeted by the Jack-o-Viper!

Long-time readers might recall that I’ve been trying to do something a little different with my pumpkin each year (usually with the aid of Homestar Runner stencils, which gave us last year’s Bear Shark O’Lantern), and for those of you who are way too interested in how I celebrate my holidays, this year marks the first time I’ve carved one without a stencil since I stopped doing the traditional face. Instead, I found a good image of the Cobra logo, copied it onto a legal pad, and then drew it freehand on the pumpkin before carving it out.

A pumpkin, incidentally, is not quite as easy to draw on as a legal pad, which probably explains a lot.

Still, I don’t think it turned out half bad, and if it helps in some small way to finally get that Charleston Chew Dominator up and running, it’ll all be worth it.