Just Can’t Get Enough

Favourite reads for the Halloween season

October, kids. It’s OUR season. The season where we can wear our pumpkin dresses without glares, be incredibly morbid and just be called “festive”, and pretend to be one of those “seasonal readers”.

So maybe it’s just me. But I’m getting into the spirit of things here.

I have to admit, I don’t read much horror or thriller novels in October. Shock, horror, but summer is typically when I gorge myself on trashy books where characters meet their grime demises. I don’t only watch horror movies in the autumn, so why save reading certain books just for October?

That being said, there are certain books which feel a bit more seasonal than the average book. These are stories that are a little bit more old school, whether they’re classics of the genre or just take on the style.

But just warning you now: there will be no Stephen King on my list. I know he’s meant to be one of those ‘staple’ authors, but it’s my not-so-deep and dark secret that I really don’t like him. Or at least I have yet to read one of his books that I enjoy. But I’m going to keep trying (if you have any recommendations, please share).

So grab your pumpkin spice arsenic teas, everyone! These are my recommended reads for Halloween:

1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Is there any haunted house book that’s better? That’s a rhetorical question and the answer is no.

Shirley Jackson is the queen of twisted, psychological tales. The Haunting of Hill House shows Jackson in perfect form. If you’ve seen the classic 1963 version of The Haunting, you’ll know the gist of this one. Four people go to stay in a supposedly haunted house where strange and horrible things begin to happen. Is it real? Or is it all in their heads?

This is one of the few books has actually managed to terrify me. Don’t read it when you’re home alone (or do, and scare the crap out of yourself).

2. How to Survive a Horror Movie by Seth Grahame-Smith

I have a real love-hate relationship with ol’ Seth. On one hand, he’s written this hilarious in-joke of a book, but on the other, we have him to blame for that Dark Shadows script.

How to Survive a Horror Movie is exactly what it says on the label: a step-by-step guide for navigating your way through a horror movie. Each page packs in as many Easter eggs as possible, making it a hunt for references. I read and re-read the shit out of this book as a teenager. Perhaps it’s time for adult me to give it another try.

3. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina vol. 1 “The Crucible”

Archie Comics have been killing their revamped series. I think the jewel in their crown is this dark and horrifying version of Sabrina.

All of the original ingredients are here: Harvey, Salem, the aunts. Only Sabrina meets a nemesis with vintage Archie character Madam Satan. Don’t expect too many jokes with this one. Think more along the lines of blood-rituals, possessed trees and face eating.

It was announced last month that the Riverdale creators are working on turning this into a television show. You have all of my attention and all my love.

If you can’t wait, the Jughead one-shot The Hunger from last spring has been turned into a new full-length series. Issue #1 will hit comic book shops on October 25th.

4. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Just give me a chance with this one.

Jane Austen often has a reputation she doesn’t deserve. The woman was fierce and clever, and wrote one heck of scathing book when she wanted to. Northanger Abbey is a parody of the gothic novel that was incredibly popular at the time. Her heroine Catherine Morland is silly and naive girl who has lived most of her sheltered life in the country. She goes to Bath and is whisked off on a journey full of ‘haunted’ homes and ‘murders’.

Northanger Abbey is, yes, a romance novel, but at heart it’s really about a girl becoming a woman. Catherine as the lead heroine is an absolute gem. She spends so much time dreaming that she’s in a Gothic romance novel that she forgets she actually doesn’t live in one herself.

This is certainly the most unusual choice on this list, but if you’re not into reading this, try watching the 2007 adaption starring Felicity Jones and JJ Field. It’s that perfect balance of Gothic imagery, sweetness and sick muslin jokes.

5. Spell on Wheels vol. 1

This limited-run series published by Dark Horse is absolutely brilliant. It’s full of feminism, witches, and mystery. And hilarious mythical monster romances.

Three witches go on a road trip throughout New England to look for their magical items that have been stolen from them. They try to track down their items while thwarting evil along the way.

The style really couldn’t be better for this time of the year. It’s a seriously good-looking comic. But also: witches.

6. Dark Entries by Robert Aickman

Aickman, for me, is incredibly dated in ways that male authors often are. He lacks all ability to write fleshed-out female characters. That being said, the short stories in this collection are pretty great. More than anything,  they’re appropriate for Halloween. “The School Friend” and “The Waiting Room” are stand outs amongst the six stories included.

Most people prefer Lovecraft (there isn’t much in the way of similarities here), and I won’t argue that. But Aickman macabre stories are definitely worth checking out if you have yet to be exposed. He’s well worth experiencing.

American of London’s summer horror reads 2017

I know that summer is typically when people consume garbage books, but summer doesn’t have to equate to the mind-numbing. Life is too short to read shit books on purpose.

Increasingly I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed reading horror novels in the summertime, especially when I go home to Wisconsin. There is something unknown about the forest around my parents’ house that fills my imagination with spooky ideas.

As August is giving us its final, dying breath before autumn mania takes over, I thought I’d chat about the horror stories I’ve read this summer.

1. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

This was one joyful read. A glorious throwback to a horror golden age. It surprised me, made me laugh aloud but most all — creeped me out quite a lot. In My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Gretchen and Abby are the best of friends. They’ve been together through their fair share, but they meet ultimate test when Gretchen becomes possessed.

I’ve never read anything else from Hendrix, but his book Paperbacks from Hell: The twisted history of ’70s and 80s paperbacks is out in September, and that’s a definite “yes please” from me. Hendrix built such a great, convincing story around his main characters’ friendship, that I think I’ll be reading anything he writes from here on out.

And quick note, this book sat on my TBR shelf for nearly a year until I saw the paperback edition and had to buy it immediately. I mean, look at it – it’s incredible.

2. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan

This is a bite-sized thriller about a group of kids who accidentally kill their English teacher (spoiler alert). Like many of Duncan’s novels, the teens have to learn to accept responsibility for their actions or deal with what happens to you when you’re a nasty little liar.

I mentioned this in my review of the made-for-tv adaption, but I picked up this Lois Duncan novel in a used book store. I’ve been interested in reading Duncan’s novels for a while and I quite enjoyed this. Duncan was fantastic at building up feelings of suspense and guilt. A disturbing little read.

3. Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

It’s rare to get excited about any books that come through our office at work, but when I heard co-workers talking about creepy dolls and needles stuck in a boys’ eyes, I knew I had to get my greedy little hands on this book. It took almost two years to do it, but I finally read it!

Frozen Charlotte isn’t likely to blow anyone away who’s familiar with the genre, but there is plenty of atmosphere that is rather chill-inducing. It follows the story of Sophie, a girl who goes to stay in Scotland with some family after the supposed suicide of her best friend. It’s immediately clear to Sophie that not all is well with her family or the weird dolls she finds everywhere.

There’s a prequel novel out in September. The first novel was good enough for me to gladly read the second.

4. “The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood

I listened to Algernon Blackwood’s short story “The Willows” on Chilling Tales for Dark Nights’ YouTube page, which you can listen to here. Peter Bishop does a fantastic job with the narration. They do a number of stories on their page, and its well worth a visit if you enjoy audio books.

“The Willows” follows two men as their make their journey down the Danube. They stop for the night on an island filled with willow trees. The men begin to have explainable supernatural experiences as their situation becomes increasingly dire. It’s a story that slowly unfolds, and dramatically. Blackwood was absolutely fantastic at creating a chilling story.

I definitely want to read more of this man’s stories in the future.

5. The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Not strictly “horror” this one. The Butterfly Garden is more thriller, but the two often go hand-in-hand. This book, to me, is in the same realm of something like The Silence of the Lambs, which also treads the line between thriller and horror.

The story follows two FBI agents as they interview a girl who has been held in a greenhouse known

as the Butterfly Garden for years. Her captor is the Gardner, a twisted man who mutilates his victims by tattooing them with butterfly wings. The story changes POV between the interview with the girl, Maya, and Maya telling her side of the story.

I found this a difficult one to rate. In many ways, it’s very good – I felt scared, I cried, I was sickened. But also, I think Maya was meant to feel like an unreliable narrator but I believed everything she said. There’s no real twist here. It’s either guessable or given away by the synopsis. Not exactly what you want in a thriller.

6. The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch

It’s been a rather Lynch-filled summer. With the return of Twin Peaks I’ve been living in the Lynch World since April (when we started re-watching the original show leading up to the The Return). So I was very pleased when I got this book for my birthday from my co-workers.

And…wow. What a saucy book.

Laura Palmer’s diary is certainly very shocking. Unfortunately, Jennifer isn’t anywhere as good as her father in building characters, but she does know how to write terrifying and sickening scenes. One day I want to sit with all of the pieces of the Twin Peaks puzzle and see if I can put any of them in place.

7. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

I’m a very slow reader. So when I received my copy of The Witching Hour in the mail, I nearly wept. IT IS SO LARGE. I managed to read this beast in about 24 days, but boy I’m still not certain if it was worth it.

The Witching Hour is an epic in every sense of the word. While there is one main plot line, much of the story is filled with the history of every Mayfair Witch. For the first 400 pages, I was so into it. Rice has such an alluring style of writing. But the lady cannot be described as brief. Do readers really need to know every detail of a house? And when I say every detail, I mean I could draw you a picture of this thing.

Despite it being simultaneously devious and tedious, I found myself actually wanting to read the other books in this series (of which there are two more). Damn you, Anne Rice.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Dark Horse to partner up in the not-too-distant future

mst3k

The MST3K revival is just around the corner, kids. Netflix has now announced a premier date of April 14th.

And it’s great. It’s exciting. But the cherry on top is the announcement that MST3K will now be in a partnership with Dark Horse Comics. This is going to include a new comic series. Considering the show is based on riffing films, it will be interesting to see what the team at Dark Horse come up with. Considering that Dark Horse and MST3K are full of great ideas, things are bound to be good.

The publishing company will also be releasing products for the show. Hopefully there will be Crow backpacks or Tom Servo inspired hats. But seriously, hopefully the license will include classic characters like Mike (who, like his fellow Rifftrax members, won’t be joining the revamped show on Netflix).

Christmas Horror movie recommendations for the festive season

gizmochristmas

Christmas is the season of the classic film. No other celebration creates more movies than the holiday season. And really, you can see why, celebrating Christmas one of the new things that most people can agree on (unless you’re Kate Beringer).

Which is also why, I think, filmmakers love destroying Christmas with horror movies. There are so many Christmas-themed horror movies, it even out-numbers Friday the 13th sequels. While Christmas great and all, it’s even better with axes, demons and monsters.

But not all Christmas horror movies are created equal. Here are my personal favourites. I even stretched what it means to be a Christmas movie, because I can:

1. Black Christmas (1974)

Boy, I go on about this movie a lot, but I really do love it. The death scenes can be a bit gruesome, but they’re effective. The suspense is so well-built, it could be the foundation for a shopping mall.

A group of sorority sisters are terrorised during the Christmas season by an unseen man. The body count goes up, and so do the thrills. Olivia Hussey is absolutely perfect as the lead.

Black Christmas one of the finest examples of Canadian films and really gives Bob Clark’s other Christmas movie a run for its money (maybe). And this classic slasher one movie that I go back to every year, whether or not it’s Christmas. But watching it in the days up to the holiday is even better.

2. Gremlins (1984)

Yes. This is kind of cheating. While Black Christmas is one of my favourite horror films, Gremlins is probably my favourite film ever. Gremlins is definitely a children’s film in many ways, but Joe Dante’s horror influences are undeniable.

And if you’ve somehow managed to never see this movie, it’s about a Billy (Zach Galligan) who receives a creature known as a mogwai as a Christmas present from his father. The creature is sweet and loving, but comes with three rules: no bright lights, don’t ever get it wet, and never ever feed it after midnight.

Gizmo, the world’s greatest puppet, “gives birth” to several mogwai with bad attitudes. When they trick Billy into breaking the final rule, they turn into Gremlins, who wreck havoc on the small town.

Gremlins is an absolute classic in every sense. I see it every single year at The Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square, and it never fails to entertain. Plus is totally scared the shit out of me as a kid, which is a bonus if you’re a truly terrible parent.

3. The Night of the Comet (1984)

Is this a Christmas movie? Well… it takes place during Christmas so it counts. Anyway, it’s my list.

Two sisters survive the passing of a comet that wipes out a majority of the planet’s population when they stand outside to watch the comet pass. They then have to fend of the other zombie-like survivors who are out to eat them. Even worse, the military needs their blood to survive and these valley girls aren’t willing to give up without a fight.

Night of the Comet is the perfect 80’s film. It’s witty, completely absurd, and filled to the brim with excellent characters. I recently re-watched this on the Arrow Video blu-ray release and it was great to be reminded how good this film really is. It’s the perfect cult classic you can rope others into watching because CHRISTMAS!

4. Elves (1989)

Pagan rituals! Nazis! Sinister plots!

Elves is weird. I would be lying if I even pretended to full grasp what the hell this film is. It’s a part of the “so bad it’s good” genre. The plot is just utterly baffling, but I suppose that’s why I rather like it.

A girl is the centre of a Nazi plot to create a race of supermen. Some how this involves elves. Then the girl and her pals get trapped in a department store with said elf.

Sounds totally bonkers? It is, if you didn’t get the message earlier. But it’s rather fun if you’re into that sort of thing.

“I had a rough day at work. Santa got murdered.”

5. Christmas Evil (1980)

The classic “Santa goes nuts” plot. But Christmas Evil is so weird, so wacky that you can’t help but feel a bit of affection for it. Plus John Waters loves it, so you can only guess what type of film this is.

But if you’re interested in knowing more, you can just wait until Wednesday for a more in-depth Wicked Wednesday.  This film is a much better option to Silent Night, Deadly Night, which on the surface is fairly similar (kid sees Santa do something “naughty” as a young boy, boy grows up to be psycho obsessed with Santa). Though that film is the worst option you’d have for a Christmas horror movie. In fact…

6. Silent Night (2012)

I know, I know. Horror remakes are never better than the original, but this is. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not exactly what I would catagorise as a good. But Silent Night is still a helluva lot better than the original film it was based on. And I’m constantly told that Silent Night, Deadly Night is worth it. It’s not. It’s really, really not. Though some of the sequels have some truly classic scenes.

Back in the Wicked Wisconsin Wednesday days I wrote about Silent NightI slightly enjoyed it then, and I still tolerate it now.

7. Home for the Holidays (1972)

A made-for-TV film that has everything you could want, really: loads of over-the-top thunder, Sally Field, and a slightly-obvious murder mystery. This was another Wicked Wednesday choice, and I  still rate it as the best made-for-TV film I’ve watched yet. Sure, it gets melodramatic but isn’t that what made-for-TV should be?

And a bunch of people getting killed off during Christmas is always exciting. And the whodunnit is rather entertaining as well.


So what’s your favourite Christmas film? Any horror picks I missed out on?

Current comic obsession: Spell on Wheels

Writer:Kate Leth
Artist:Megan Levens
Colorist:Marissa Louise
Published by Dark Horse Comics

I’ve been waiting for a new comic book series to become obsessed with, so Spell on Wheels came at exactly the right time. When I saw Dark Horse promoting the new miniseries, I knew in an instant that it was something I absolutely needed to read.

Jolene, Claire and Andy are three witches that live and work together in Boston. When their house is robbed of some important magical instruments, the girls head out to try and track down what has been taken – and to discover who the mysterious person is who has robbed them. The road trip story takes them throughout the upper East Coast, and straight into a lot of trouble.

The story is a lot of fun. Plus it stars three totally badass ladies who are honest-to-God witches (helloooo magic). The ingredients are exactly that I would throw into my dream story: feminism, magic, mystery, road trips, diversity and fabulous art.

Megan Levens is probably my second favourite Buffy artist (after the great Karl Moline, of course, who is probably my favourite comic book artist full stop), and her art was key to what I think was a much-improved season 10. She really brings out the personality of each girl, whose personalities are already different and totally fleshed out by writer Kate Leth.

It is, unfortunately, just a miniseries and is only planned for five issues. But I would totally dig in a second series. With the success of other short-run series at Dark Horse like Lady Killer, I’ll be keeping fingers crossed.

Spell on Wheels issue #3 will be in comic shops on December 21st.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown turns 50

img_0119

The classic American television program It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown first aired on October 27, 1966. And old pal, these last 50 years have been great for the holiday classic.

It speaks volumes when a piece of work remains entirely undated, even five decades after it’s release. The Peanuts shows and films never spoke down to children, but directly to them, and it has made for a fine body of work that is still charming, even to adults. From the music to the various plots and subplots to the excellent jokes (“I got a rock.”), It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is certain to be around for many more years to come.

I have an extreme personal attachment to this show that started really late in my life, actually. While I loved it as a child, it wasn’t until the first autumn I lived away from home that I really grew my love for it. During those first few years, I had a series of unfortunate personal tragedies in my life. Like a warm blanket, I always turned to the Great Pumpkin to help me through things.

Heck, I own two copies of the thing on DVD. One to watch in the US and one for UK viewings. My poor husband has suffered through so many viewings, bless him. But despite being slow to understand the Peanuts gang charms, he has made the solid effort of actually suggesting we watch it.

I love that Charlie and Snoopy will always be there. I love that Vince Guaraldi’s score still sounds like perfection. When we think about autumn and everything that goes with the season: the pumpkins, the hot drinks and cold nights – none of it would ever be complete without watching this classic one more time.

What to watch for Halloween with children (if they like things a little bit spooky)

halloweenkids

An American in America age 6 with some ghoul.

My parents were probably the worst at keeping me in check when I was young. They certainly didn’t care about what sort of mind-ruining things I’d see on television. Like when I was barely seven and I watched the opening of Scream 2 while on a trip up north. I still feel a bit terrified in movie theatre bathrooms. And until about a year ago I couldn’t sleep in any position that left my back exposed in case the Ghostface killer came into my bedroom and decided to stab me in the back.

When I was even younger I was subjected to Leprechaun 3 and watched a man get sawed in half by a wicked-looking mythical creature. I still can’t sleep on my back. And don’t even get me started on Mars Attacks! I was constantly terrorised by my two older sisters and my father with their masks and plastic creatures. But in a way, I’m a bit thankful for all those nightmares. For one, I was always queen of Halloween.

I suppose that’s where my little affection for everything spooky came from. Though I really don’t recommend showing your children I Know What You Did Last Summer (whether they be 6 or, well, ever because that movie is crap). But there is thankfully plenty of age-appropriate things for children to watch for Halloween. Or, you know, for those with a weaker constitution who want a scare but only like the volume at 4.

Horror really isn’t for everyone. But I do think it’s good to scare children and give them some gentle nightmares. If even just a little. So I’ve compiled my favourite picks for some gentle Halloween scares:

1. Halloween is Grinch Night (1977)

I still get the creeps watching this. Perhaps it’s that peculiar Seuss rhyme, or the surrealist animation, but really it’s that song. I revisited Halloween is Grinch Night last year, and the words to that haunting song came back to me instantly, “Euchariah! Euchariah! Grinch is gonna get ‘cha! Grinch is gonna get ‘cha!” It’s perfectly spooky. There isn’t much to the plot: Euchariah goes to face the Grinch on Grinch Night, the night where the Grinch likes to terrorise the Whos in Whoville. It’s simple, but certainly effective.

2. Coraline (2009)

Besides being one of the most beautifully animated films of the last decade, Coraline is a tale of warning and love. Young Coraline and her family move to a new town where she isn’t allowed to do anything while her parents are busy trying to get their work done. She wishes for a better place to live where her parents pay her more attention and the local neighbours a little more tolerable. But when she thinks she gets what she asks for, things certainly aren’t what they seem.

Coraline packs plenty of magic into the story while still making it terrifying. I think this is a better alternative to watching The Nightmare Before Christmas (both of which were directed by Henry Selick).

3. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

I’m so biased with this one, but I absolutely adore this TV special to the point where I watch it nearly every other month or so. It’s a classic. Charlie Brown gets rocks for trick or treats. Linus spends all night in the pumpkin patch. Vince Guaraldi’s score here is on par with the classic Christmas special. Perhaps I’ll stop writing and watch it now…

4. Scooby-Doo! and the Witch’s Ghost (1999)

It’s like the Blair Witch Project but for kids! Okay, not really, but the late 90’s were some excellent times for witch stories. Scooby-Doo! and the Witch’s Ghost is one of the more mature and thus more tolerable of the Scooby Doo movies. It’s not as scary as the previous year’s Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, but I personally prefer the style of this one. And it’s a great place to start kids off on a classic cartoon character.

Scooby Doo and the Mystery Gang travel to New England after being invited by a popular horror writers. The town has a local ghost, who is rumoured to be a witch from the 16oo’s. The movie is just filled with great imagery that is perfect for October.

“Baaaaad dreams, sisters.”

scoobywitch

5. The Groovie Ghoolies (1970-1971)

This is hardly scary, but it has monsters AND Sabrina. This spin-off of Sabrina (also known as Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies) is rather looked-over as far as Archie franchises. But a few episodes of this show are worth a little laugh. Many of the episodes are available to watch for free on YouTube.  The show follows a group of stylised Universal monster characters that live in a house together and sing pop songs. That’s about it. But it’s pretty cute and gentle.

But there’s plenty of monster-themed goodness from the 60’s and 70’s that are family friendly, including The Munsters which is possibly one of the more better-aged shows from the era.

6. Garfield’s Halloween Adventure (1985)

This show is terrifying based on Binky the Clown’s appearance alone. But Garfield is so lovely (and so is Lorenzo Music’s voice). Garfield and Odie go trick-or-treating together on Halloween night. They hop into a boat, which leads them to an old house. An old man is sitting in a chair by the fire, who tells the two pets to stay while he tells them a story about a group of pirates who vow to return for their treasure on Halloween night, 100 years after they buried it.

Garfield’s Halloween Adventure is a bit darker than Garfield usually is, but that’s all you can hope for in a Halloween special. The old man builds up the story just great, and it balances well with the typical silliness of Garfield and friends.

garfield

Hey, it’s the first of October!

Soooooul Dracula! 

In Wisconsin, Halloween season traditionally began August 1st when the seasonal Halloween store in town opened. My dear best friend and I were always on top of that. Halloween for us was always an event we loved to plan for weeks. But since I now live in the world’s #1 country for sucking at celebrating holidays that aren’t Christmas, I have to wait until it’s “appropriate” to put up Halloween decorations and go into Central wearing a dress covered in bats and cobwebs.

Oh, the growing pains of becoming an adult.

October is the one month of the year where we don’t have to explain why we watch horror films every other night. Where we can get a bit spooky and people will actually join in. This is our season. THIS IS OUR TIME!

So happy first of October! Enjoy the, er, questionable lovely choreography of the Spanish dance troupe Ballet Zoom. I’ve got lots of great stuff planned for this month. Let Halloween season begin!

Josie and the Pussycats Issue #1


Josie and the Pussycats issue #1
Archie Comics
Story by Marguerite Bennett and Cameron Deordio

Art by Audrey Mok
Colouring by Andre Szymanowicz
Variant cover art (as pictured above) by Francesco Francavilla

To say I’m enjoying the revamped Archie universe is an understatement – I’m absolutely in love with the contemporary Riverdale. The two horror series have really been something wicked, but I love the wholesomeness of the main line. So when I saw there was going to be a Josie and the Pussycats series, I squealed like a school girl because despite being 25, I still want to grow up to be Josie.

And thankfully, issue #1 from Marguerite Bennett and Cameron Deordio doesn’t disappoint.

While Betty and Veronica are possibly Archie Comics’ most iconic female characters, they are also still the most problematic. While many series have tried to update their relationship (Adam Hughes did a fab job in his first issue of Betty & Veronica), the girls still play second fiddle to Archie.

Josie and her band are female power through and through and it’s a comic based on female friendship, and the first issue plays out like an origin story.

Small-town folk singer Josie is a girl stuck in the wrong time, and her only fan is bartender Pepper (who was in the Pussycats as an original member until Valerie was introduced in 1969). Josie lives with her roommate Melody, a blonde with a healthy social life – one far too busy to join Josie on her music career.

When Melody finds a stray cat in the street on one of her dates, she joins Josie in volunteering to help out at the local animal shelter at a concert benefit. Here is where they meet Valerie, who works at the shelter and can calm the little kittens and puppies with her magical voice. Josie immediately procures Val for the band and they decide to play at the benefit.

So with six hours to rehearse as a band, the girls are a total bust.

And of course Alexandra is around the stir up trouble for her ex-friend Josie. She tells Val that Josie is only interested in playing solo and tells Melody that Josie only wants to make Mel look stupid on stage when she doesn’t know any of the songs.

Though Alexandra’s plan backfires, and unites the girls together for the first time. Josie admits that she’s not used to playing as a band, and decides to reshuffle the girls around so the trio can work together. The second half of the show goes without a hitch, and the audience loves it (plus the animals at the shelter – too!).

What always pleases me is how well these new series seem to grasp onto the spirit of the original spirit. This issue was so cute, fun, wink-wink, nudge-nudge and so wacky that I’m already counting down the days for the next issue.

Lady Killer 2 Issue #2

img_0102

Story and Art: Joëlle Jones
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Letters by: Crank!
Cover by : Joëlle Jones and Michelle Madsen 

I don’t know why I didn’t re-read the first five issues of Lady Killer before the sequel miniseries came out, but as soon as I opened issue #2, I regretted not doing so.

As soon as you reach page one, you are re-introduced to Irving Reinhardt, an ally of Josie’s found in issues #4 and #5 from 2015’s run. Good ol’ Irving has been looking for Josie, and has a new proposition for her. Since he’s old and “retired” – he wants Josie to do all the, er, laborous work while he helps her out with the cleaning up (which for a 60’s housewife, is ironically the one thing she’s really horrible at as seen with last issues tub troubles). Despite her hesitation, she eventually agrees.

After accumulating a business partner, Josie returns to her average life and goes to a Christmas party at the beach for her husband Gene’s work. All at the party is Gene’s super sleazy boss, whose dressed like a rather sun-caught Santa, and his wife from last issue. In a rather sweet move, Josie wears a rather unfashionable suit to the party. She’s self-conscious that all the other ladies are donning their new bikinis.

But of course the party wouldn’t be any fun if something potentially dangerous happened to Josie, and Irving shows up and throws himself into her family life. He knows the twins by name and introduces himself to Gene as Josie’s Uncle Irving. And Josie’s partner has officially muddled in her personal life in a big way. But at the party, Josie finds a note telling her to go to the Surfside Playhouse.

Awaiting her is an unnamed man playing bingo. He knows all about Josie and her work – and what happened at the World’s Fair. He also has a proposition for Josie, which I guess that’s what happens when small businesses start to become successful. He tells her that he can provide her with the type clients that will be more of a challenge than the current work she’s been doing on her own.

He does warn her that there are “dues to pay”, but without telling her what those dues are, Josie agrees.

Josie’s rule #7 is to trust her instincts. It’s plenty obvious that going into business with Irving isn’t going to make Josie’s life and easier. And that’s not even taking into account the mysterious bingo-man’s ominous warning. Safe to say that Josie Schuller has once again got herself into a bit of a bad spot. Shame she didn’t following her own rules, though it is a bit more fun for us.

On a final note, it goes without saying that Jones’s cover art is also on-spot, but I do with there were some variants to pick up. Issue one did, but it wasn’t a particularly interesting one. This is a series that pretty much sells itself on style, and how I wish it would exploit that more.