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DC’s Hill House Returns with Refrigerator Full of Heads

DC’s Hill House is the comic imprint launched by Joe Hill. Its horror theme kept the line focused on its initial launches. A new series, Refrigerator Full of Heads has been announced from writer Rio Youers and artist Tom Fowler. It’s the first in a new wave of Hill House titles from DC and continues the world of Basketful of Heads one of the initial launch titles.

Refrigerator Full of Heads launches on October 19th and will bring readers back to bloody Brody Island. At the bottom of the bay, the mysterious axe that unleashed violent pandemonium during the hurricane of ’83 has been waiting… but nothing that powerful stays buried.

With a new sheriff, new visitors, and a dangerous Great White Shark spotted off the coast, the pieces are all in place for terror to rise again when vacationing couple Calvin Beringer and Arlene Fields stumble onto the wrong side of Brody’s unsavory elements.

Refrigerator Full of Heads is an off-the-wall delight, with moments that could only happen in the panels of a Hill House comic. Readers will not want to miss where this story goes! Issue one of six will be available in comic book shops on October 19 featuring a cover by Sam Wolfe Connelly and a variant cover by Reiko Murakami.

Refrigerator Full of Heads

The Conjuring prequel comic will usher in the new ‘DC Horror’ label

The Conjuring: The Lover

With The Conjuring having its feet firmly planted in its own universe, it’s only natural comics got the opportunity to flesh out the franchise’s particular brand of terror. DC Comics has answered the call to do so with the launch of a new imprint called ‘DC Horror,’ which will premiere with a prequel comic to the latest entry in The Conjuring franchise subtitled The Devil Made Me Do It.

The series, titled The Conjuring: The Lover, will run for five issues and will set up the events that lead into The Devil Made Me Do It. It’s co-written by the film’s screenwriter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and author Rex Ogle (Death of Wolverine: Life After Logan), with art by Garry Brown (Babyteeth) and colors by Chris Sotomayor.

The story follows Jessica, a college freshman, returning to campus after winter break, that’s dealing with the anxieties of mounting schoolwork and grades, a sexual encounter with a guy she’s now regretting, and the odd feeling she’s being watched by something.

The idea shares some elements with that of The Exorcism of Emily Rose movie, in which the titular character starts manifesting “possession” symptoms while in college, throwing every single aspect of her life into disarray. In a sense, it’s fitting that the story echoes that of the aforementioned movie given its basis on real events, something it shares with The Devil Made Me Do It.

The Conjuring: The Lover

The third entry in The Conjuring series is based on the first legal case in American history to have a defendant claim innocence due to demonic possession at the time of the crime. The Exorcism of Emily Rose, on the other hand, is also based on the true story of Annaliese Michel, who underwent 67 exorcism rites in a year, which eventually led to her death. The cause of death was attributed to malnutrition. Her parents and the priest that conducted the exorcism were convicted of negligent homicide in the case.

How much of this case actually inspired (or not) The Conjuring: The Lover remains to be seen, but the premise promises a story worthy of the name that graces its cover. Additionally, The Lover will feature short back-up stories written by some of horror comics most popular creators, including Scott Snyder, Juan Ferreyra, Che Grayson, and Denys Cowan. These stories will focus on the haunted objects that resided in Lorraine and Ed Warren’s infamous artifact room (which is where they kept the Annabelle doll).

It bears mentioning that this new horror imprint might be riding on the shoulders of Joe Hill’s own recent horror imprint, Hill House Comics, which was headlined by Hill’s own Basketful of Heads comic, illustrated by Leomacs. The series that were published as part of the imprint received mostly universal praise and felt as if they belonged in the same habitat as DC’s classic House of Mystery comics.

The Conjuring: The Lover

DC editor-in-chief Marie Javins seems to be aware of this connection. In a statement she released on the new horror imprint, Javins said that “DC has always been the home of great horror comics and characters. DC Horror continues this tradition with new frightening tales from both well-known and new storytellers that will keep fans spooked and entertained.”

With The Conjuring possessing a well-established horror universe and DC recognizing the weight horror carries within its company’s history, it looks like this year is shaping up to be a good one for both veteran and emerging horror fans. The potential behind the new imprint for pulling in new readers, especially in the wake of Hill House’s success, seems to lean favorably towards success.

One thing’s for sure, if this move inspires other publishers to invest in their own horror imprints, they’ll be able to say ‘DC made me do it.’

The Conjuring: The Lover arrives in comic book stores and on participating digital platforms the same day as the U.S. release of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It—Tuesday, June 1, 2021, with issue #2 available on July 6, 2021.

Review: Plunge #6

Plunge #6

Plunge #6 might be the perfect example of a horror story fumbling the finale. I’ve loved this series up to this point. But, that love has also floundered a bit as it became clear the series was rushing to a Cthulhu-like ending. It’s a great concept and amazing ideas looking for a great story to carry them through.

Written by Joe Hill, Plunge #6 feels like a monster movie where they’ve built up to the monster, got to the point, and then said, “let’s blow the budget.” It’s an ending that’s predictable and anti-climactic in so many ways.

For those who’ve gotten to this point in the series, the giant portal has been opened and the intelligent space worms have skittered back through freeing what’s within. That, not surprisingly is yet another Lovecraft inspired being here to destroy reality. Little is explained and we’re just expected to roll with it as our rag-tag group has to figure out how to destroy it and save everything.

The comic feels like Hill had a limited number of issues, ran out of ideas, and needed a way to wrap things up. Where the series leading up to this has been relatively creative and creepy, the finale just delivers things we’ve seen time and time again. The creative of the previous five issues is out the window for a cookie cutter ending.

Hill also leaves so much hanging and unanswered. This being can eat reality, so isn’t the reality of where it came from destroyed then? Why do the worms want to go back? What are they other than other-dimensional beings? There’s just volumes of interesting material to mine and the series feels like it’s hampered by its six-issue run. It needed to wrap up and this was the easiest way to do it.

The art is the usual fantastic. Stuart Immonen delivers sites that truly feel epic and the lookers on do come off as they are witnessing something grand. That’s helped by Dave Stewart‘s colors and Deron Bennett‘s lettering. As a Cthulhu-inspired spectacle, the comic does rock. There’s some inspiring visuals and interesting spins to concepts in the art. But, it also emphasizes this is something we’ve generally seen so many times before. The creep factor of the previous five issues is gone and we’re delivered over the top monsters.

Plunge #6 doesn’t stick the landing. It crashes hard. The series was one full of mystery and such interesting concepts and ideas. The package just doesn’t come together and jettisons all of them for a standard ending that’s been done before so many times. I wanted to see how this series ended but when I got to the end, it actually lessens what comes before spotlighting that it was great ideas with nowhere to go.

Story: Joe Hill Art: Stuart Immonen
Color: Dave Stewart Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 6.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics

Preview: Plunge #6 (of 6)

Plunge #6 (of 6)

(W) Joe Hill (A) Stuart Immonen (CA) Jeremy Wilson
In Shops: Aug 25, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Sixty fathoms below the ocean’s surface, a massive hatch waits to be opened…Something within wants to emerge; wants to be born; wants to rise; wants to feed. The child is coming, desperate to fill its belly-by devouring reality itself!

Plunge #6 (of 6)

Review: Plunge #5

Plunge #5

If you’re a sci-fi horror fan, Plunge is a series that’s a must for you. Plunge #5 delivers a lot more reveals as we get a better idea of what the alien worms want and is full of betrayal and grief. When we last left them, the crew were debating whether to give the worms what they want or if there were other options.

But what’s in the hatch and what do the worms want?

Written by Joe Hill, the issue is claustrophobic in a way as the ship’s crew is locked away debating what to do. With some intelligent moves they use the infected individual to learn more about the worms delivering a reveal to us. While the direction hinted at isn’t quite Earth-shattering and somewhat predictable, it’s a good direction to go in to. What’s lead up to this moment is gone over and it’s full of creepy goodness.

What Hill does that’s fantastic is keep the story focused on the characters. You get a sense of fear and desperation, most importantly anger. There’s anger at what must be done and the sacrifice that happens. Much of the comic has a feel of a condense play in that way with a focus on a small group in a tight location.

As I said, the revelation itself isn’t anything major. It’s somewhat predictable and where I thought the series was going. While I was hoping for something different, this direction in a way keeps the story simple focusing more on the characters instead of a crazy idea.

All of this is helped by the art which focuses so much on the body language and facial expressions. Stuart Immonen and Dave Stewart as usual knock it out of the park. The series keeps it all disturbing without making things gross. It’s just enough to unnerve some readers (like myself). Deron Bennett‘s lettering too is key when it comes to the possessed individuals and their speech. Again, like the art, it adds a bit of unease to everything.

While the reveal in Plunge #5 isn’t original, there is a lot that is in the story. We learn a bit more about the worms and how they’re described adds to the atmosphere of the comic. And that atmosphere is so much of it all. This is a horror story with sci-fi elements but at it’s heart this is about a group of individuals who are presented with a mystery and difficult choices. The series continues to entertain and has nailed it at every issue. For those who enjoy horror, it’s a must get.

Story: Joe Hill Art: Stuart Immonen
Color: Dave Stewart Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Cloven

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Cloven Vol. 1 (Fantagraphics) – Garth Stein and Matthew Southworth’s graphic novel about a genetically modified human who’s half-man, half-goat.

Empyre #3 (Marvel) – The event has been much improved the more it goes on and we’re excited to see what’s coming next. This is one for those who enjoy big summer popcorn events.

Hedra (Image Comics) – An astronaut leaves a world ravaged by nuclear war in search of life. The conept sounds interesting and art looks great. We’re intrigued to read this one.

Lost Soldiers #1 (Image Comics) – Ales Kot, Luca Casalanguida, and Heather Moore tell the story of three men tied together by the Vietnam War.

Nailbiter Returns #3 (Image Comics) – The series has been so much fun to return to. If you like slahser horror, it’s a must and you don’t need to have read the previous volume to enjoy it.

Plunge #5 (DC Comics/DC Black Label/Hill House Comics) – If you enjoy sci-fi/horror, this has been a fantastic series. This issue is full of reveals as well as betrayal.

Pulp (Image Comics) – Ed Brubaker, Jacob Phillips, and Sean Phillips’ graphic novel tell a pulp story in this highly anticipated graphic novel.

Star Wars: Darth Vader #3 (Marvel) – Absolutely fantastic so far, the series delivers even more depth to the popular character.

The Walking Dead: Alien (Image Comics/Skybound) – The digital comics set in the world of The Walking Dead is in print for the first time. See Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s take on the popular world.

X-Factor #1 (Marvel) – The classic team is back and now with new members its focus is to investigate the deaths of Mutants to figure out the why and how and if they’re really dead. It’s CSI: Krakoa.

Preview: Plunge #5

Plunge #5

Written by: Joe Hill
Art by: Stuart Immonen, Dan McDaid

The crew of the Derleth have been generous hosts. They’ve given Moriah, Bill, Gage, and the rest of the MacReady’s crew several incredible gifts. They’ve solved problems humanity has grappled with for ages, shown us ways to power the entire world for generations. And they’re offering even more. All they want is one teensy-weensy little favor in return from the MacReady’s crew: open the hatch.

Plunge #5

Review: Plunge #4

Plunge #4

That was not what we were expecting. Plunge #4 delivers a lot of reveals and some teases as to what might be coming in this fantastic, and creepy, horror series. Is it a horror series? More sci-fi/horror series as revealed in this issue. Written by Joe Hill, Plunge takes place on a remote island with a salvage crew exploring what happened to a wrecked boat and its missing crew. That crew is alive decades later and full of secrets of the universe.

Plunge #4 is the big reveal issue giving us such a better idea as to what’s going on and what the mysterious worms are. It’s an issue that will make some reader’s stomachs churn with images that make you uneasy but at the same time it’s hard to look away. For me, it’s the right amount of disturbing.

It’s difficult to really review this issue without spoiling it. So, to keep it broad the reveals are really interesting and ominous. You know there’s more to it but not quite sure what that is. You also know that whatever the worms want, it’s probably not good.

And while Hill delivers all of that, he also delivers some fantastic dialogue. The issue has some shocking moments and those are enhanced by the lack of real action but it’s the dialogue that stands out. The reactions feel right in a movie sort of way. There are some smart-ass quips but generally, they’re perfect for the moment. The flow is fantastic making the issue a page-turner. That dialogue extends to the characters who do play stereotypes but each role enhances the overall story and enjoyment. None of those stereotypes are distracting at all and help drive the narrative.

The art by Stuart Immonen is fantastic. Along with colors by Dave Stewart and lettering by Deron Bennett, the art brings the perfect amount of unease. Some bugs get to me and issue delivers just enough of that for me without getting me to completely put the comic down. It shuddered a bit and my stomach churned a little but the visuals are never over the top. Stewart’s colors help with that delivering a sickly palette to Immonen’s designs. The comic feels cold and wet perfectly matching its setting.

Plunge #4 is another fantastic issue and the series as a whole is amazing. If you’re a fan of horror with a slight sci-fi tinge, it’s well worth picking up and getting. This is a comic that’s exciting to pick up and see where it’s going and what twists it has in store.

Story: Joe Hill Art: Stuart Immonen
Color: David Stewart Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleTFAWZeus Comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Banned Book Club

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

20th Century Boys Vol. 8 Perfect Edition (VIZ Media) – If you’ve missed this series as single volumes, here’s your chance to get these collected editions of what’s considered some of the best manga ever.

Ash & Thorn #1 (AHOY Comics) – The savior/champion of the world is not who you think.

Banned Book Club (Iron Circus) – A graphic novel exploring the history of South Korea’s Fifth Republic, a military regime that entrenched its power through censorship, torture, and murder.

Batman #93 (DC Comics) – The end to the “Grand Design” storyline and takes us into the “Joker War.” Many aspects of the story are predictable but it’s still a hell of a final chapter.

Bleed Them Dry #1 (Vault Comics) – The year is 3333. Earth is in a state of recovery. Vampires are real, and though far less populous, they thrive alongside humans in the Japanese-engineered mega-city known as Asylum.

Dragonfly and Dragonflyman Vol. 1 (AHOY Comics) – If you like a take on superheroes over different eras, this is a series to definitely check out. Both an homage and study on superheroes over the years.

Empyre: Avengers #0 (Marvel) – Marvel’s next big event kicks off here.

Once & Future #8 (BOOM! Studios) – A new take on Arthurian legends. It’s well worth checking out!

Plunge #4 (DC Comics/Hill House Comics/DC Black Label) – Fantastic horror with this issue finally making it clearer as to what’s going on but still leaving a lot of mystery.

That Texas Blood #1 (Image Comics) – A new ongoing series that’s described as a “neo-Western crime” story. WE’re intrigued.

Almost American
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