House of Horror 13 - A Frightening Valentine (2/4-2/16)

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Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

This topic has a lot of books but most of them should be quick reads. Before I get ahead of myself, I would like to welcome @LeonardoMyst to the House of Horror, and may your stay be a frightening one.

Due to popular demand, we are going to read Basketful of Heads 1-7! This book is a Hill House title so that means this one is NOT for the kiddos! This is the entire series but after reading Plunge, I am really excited to read a full story from Hill House. A quick note regarding Plunge, books are popping in that series and we will be reading them VERY soon. Next up is Teen Titans Go! this is a cute little story and can be read by everyone! This is a little different than our normal fare but I think you horror hounds will dig it. To wrap up this reading list is Young Monsters in Love. I am a huge fan of DC’s seasonal specials and am really excited to read this one. I am hoping for a fun blend of horror and romance but I doubt we will get much romance.

Basketful of Heads 1-7 (2019)(rated 17+)







Teen Titans Go! 13 (2004) (rated 0+)

Young Monsters in Love 1 (rated 15+)

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There are a few new horror comics hitting comic store shelves this week! We might not be reading the books right away and some of them might even be discussed in other clubs upon release. Think of this as a preview of what might be lurking in the dark corners of House of Horror.

Released 2/9
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Graphic Novels
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Released 2/16
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Under normal circumstances there’s zero chance I would read a comic book about heads in a basket. Based on Plunge alone, I’m diving into these books

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I should also point out that Basketful of Heads is written by Joe Hill. Considering he wrote Plunge, I am very hopeful for this title.

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That’s why I’m in, guess even if it wasn’t J Hill I’d give a try just off quality of Plunge

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That is very fair. I believe this will be the last Joe Hill book for us, at least for now.

If you are interested in his other writings, I suggest Horns and Heart-Shaped Box. He also had a tv show based on his book NOS4A2. I haven’t watched it yet but it is on the short list of horror shows I am interested in.

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Thank you, @darkstarz
Glad to be here!

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Issue 1, completely different tone and look from Plunge. More humor. Reads like the best of his dad’s work. It’s fantastic, can’t wait to dig in more this weekend

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I was planning on reading the series this morning then I slept all day thanks to Tylenol Severe Cold & Flu. I am happy to hear good things though as I usually dig the same stuff that you do.

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His book from IDW “Locke & Key” was excellent. I don’t think you will be disappointed with “basketful of heads”. It is nice that the whole series is on DCUI.

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Hope you are feeling better!

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Well I sure the heck wasn’t. Great series. Funny, nice mystery, cute art that still worked for this horror/crime book. Hill House is 2 for 2 for me.

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I have just read Basketful of Heads and absolutely dug it. I did get a laugh out of the blatant Stephen King reference. I wonder if that was the artist or writer’s idea.

In the middle of my reading, I took a quick break to see if I could more information about this book regarding any other Stephen King Easter eggs. I found this interesting read instead: (possible spoilers in the link also please be advised this deals with decapitation and may not be suitable for everyone)

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Very cool. Remember studying the Judith Beheading Holenfernes in art history class. Couple of nice story elements from the series are the shifting views of Liam and what would ultimately prove true and June’s acceptance of not only heads in a basket but her increasing willingness to add to them.

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Finished with Basketful of Heads today and it was really fun. It was interesting reading this after the bit of Plunge I’ve read to notice the different vibes and subgenres of horror Hill was doing. With Plunge, that was more of an 80s sci-fi horror book, along the lines of The Thing. This feels more like 70s Grindhouse style films – I could totally see Robert Rodriguez doing the film adaptation.

There’s a lot of great stuff here. I loved how the first issue was really set up, and not just for the overall premise, for the character of June and her boyfriend. We get to appreciate both characters as regular people before they get thrust in this horrible situation and that helps us root for June for more than just the standard horror premise.

And the plot of this is really unique – it’s not a traditional slasher where she’s chased after a big scary monster guy. Really, because of the axe, June is the most powerful person in the story, so the horror and intrigue comes not from the immediate physical danger, but more psychological, her dealing with what she’s done and realizing that she’s in a web of conspiracy that upends everything she knows.

Plus there’s such great inherent humor from this. I was already surprised at some of the witty banter from Plunge, but I loved the dark and twisted humor this book had. It’s also oddly humanizing – you almost feel sorry for the terrible people June cleaved their heads off because of the horrible situation it’s put them in.

(This also reminded me of a similarly over the top, grindhouse style video game called Lollipop Chainsaw, which was about a cheerleader, accompanied by the somehow-living severed head of her boyfriend when her high school is invaded by a zombie horde. Fun stuff.)

So overall great stuff. I can’t really rank things yet since I haven’t finished Plunge, but I think unless Plunge really pulls something big, I might like Heads more

Oh man, I remember seeing someone talk about “Shawshank,” but I thought they were saying it as a pop culture reference, I didn’t realize that was the actual name of the prison!

What I noticed when I was reading was at the very beginning and thought “Of course it’s freaking set in Maine.” I’m just surprised there wasn’t an alcoholic writer thrown in there to complete the trifecta of the Stephen King starter kit. :laughing:

Not only was there Shawshank Prison but Derry, Maine all in the same picture! Derry is where IT took place as well as a few scenes from 11/22/63 (my personal favorite King book).

:rofl: :laughing: :rofl:

On a serious note, I can safely say that I have a lot of hope for the other Hill House books that we will get to in due time. I think Plunge and Basketful of Heads are the only two he wrote but I would assume that he handpicked the other writers. You have hit everything I could say about this title. I did really enjoy the witty banter as it was almost needed to keep true to the vibe of the book.

I do wonder if he was influenced by the movie Basket Case. While the contents of the basket were different I couldn’t help but think of that movie while reading this book.

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I have just finished Young Monsters in Love and thought it was okay. I think the standout story was the Man-Bat story. Sadly, I think this is my least favorite of the seasonal anthology books that we have read. Nothing really seemed to grab me as the first story did.

Teen Titans Go! 13 was a cute story. I have never read a Teen Titans Go! Comic before and it has a different vibe than the cartoon. Humor was still a focus but the story felt more serious. I did find it odd that Mr. Wolf didn’t tell the Teen Titans what would happen or why he needed them to watch him. I was also pleasantly surprised by the Shazam back-up story. This was a lot of fun. I think I will be returning to this series as I had a lot of fun with it. It was also a very quick read which I should have expected considering this is aimed at younger children.

I just read Basketful of Heads and what a fun horror comic that was. that was the first thing that I read in HoH so far. It was a thrilling ride and I am excited to read some more stuff in this group!

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Glad you liked it! We have read Basketful of Heads and Plunge, both are written by Joe Hill. I think Plunge was a little darker and maybe even a little better but Basketful of Heads was excellent. The premise is very reminiscent of 70s grindhouse flicks and I can get behind that.

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Yeah it felt like a great B horror movie

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Forgot about Young Monsters in Love! My thoughts:

Man-Bat in "Nocturnal Animal"

Interesting story, not exactly the kind you would expect for an anthology like this. There’s some of the idea of romantic love, with Kirk trying to regain the love of Francine, but in the end it’s more about self-love, and doing something that’s good for you, even if it hurts. It’s a decent metaphor for the battle addicts face every day.

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E in "Pieces of Me"

I think one of the things I love about Frankenstein is that while he’s different from the classic creature from the story in some ways, he is steeped in the Gothic/romantic tropes of that time, and this is highlighted in his heartfelt and yearning letter.

The only critique I can say from this is that while the letter as an idea feels right, it seems a little off in terms of their history. In the past, Frank and Lady Frankenstein were husband and wife but separated. Here, the letter feels more unrequited, like something one would write to someone they’ve never been with but longed for, not someone who has been loved and want that love back.

Still, between that and the amazing art and action, this was a really good story.

Solomon Grundy in "Buried on Sunday"

Another nice story. One thing that I’m really liking about this anthology so far is that it seems less focused on the obvious sort of romantic love that Valentine’s Day is associated with, and here we get a humanizing moment for Solomon Grundy. Nice little moment.

Raven in "The Dead Can Dance"

I liked this story – Raven answering poltergeist calls is a little different, but fits her character, and I liked this moment of Raven letting loose and doing something normal like dancing with a boy, even if he is a ghost.

The only thing that nagged at me – is my colorblindness showing, or did they color Raven to have pink hair? That’s an odd choice, her hair is usually black with maybe some purple highlights.

Deadman in "Be My Valentine"

I really love this story. Paul Dini is such a great writer (I wonder if he’s willing to do more than just little stories for anthologies?) and Guillem March does some amazing work. The story I guess could be a bit hammy and after-school special-y, but I think it was well executed and the message is a good one.

Swamp Thing in "Heart-Shaped Box"

My thoughts while reading, “Wow…this is such a beautiful, heartfelt story. I wonder who…Mark Russel wrote this! No wonder!” While seeing Swampy with someone other than Abby was weird at first, and you kinda knew that things would not end well for the two, I thought this was really good. Swamp Thing’s dialogue was poetic and beautiful. The line of “Without love, my heart becomes a prison without a key” is going to stick with me for a while.

And the art…oh man, Frasier Irving is a GOD-TIER artist, his storytelling and use of color sets him apart from so many other artists working currently in the biz. I wish he would get more work.

Monsieur Mallah & The Brain in "Visability"

A nice story – while kind of standard “villain with good intentions gets persuaded to do things the right way,” but with solid execution.

I, Vampire in "The Turning of Deborah Dancer"

Decent story, AMAZING art by Stephanie Hans, who is a perfect fit for a character like Andrew Bennett. I’ve mostly only read his adventures in the New 52, so I was confused by this Deborah Dancer character, so I looked her up and found that she was from his original series back in the 70s, so it’s kind of cool to see them combine continuities a bit.

I do feel that while the moment of Bennett letting go of his fears to give himself to Dancer is nice, it feels…kind of empty without knowing what their relationship is. Like, I don’t have any attachment to them, I haven’t seen how they gotten together, how they act together. I think a story like this is too big for an eight page story.

The Demon in "To Hell and Gone"

Anything with rhyming Etrigan will always get me, especially if the rhymes are in sonnett and iambic parameter. The stuff with Rose was interesting – I wonder if that was history that was in the past Demon comics, or something they made up for this story.

The Creature Commandos in "Dear Velcoro"

The soldier getting a “Dear John” letter has been around since probably the invention of war, but seeing it happen with a vampire was kind of interesting. That’s about all I got for this one. Not sure if I didn’t have the right wiring at the time, or if this one is just boring. Oh well.

So yeah, overall some pretty good stuff in this one, glad to have read it. :slight_smile:

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