How I Spent October 2017

DorisOctoberI have a ritual for every October. Each day of the month I watch one horror film and read one horror story. This year was no exception, and I spent the month revisiting some of my old favourites and catching up on a few new releases (hello, Mother, It, The Ritual and Happy Death Day! I dug all of you, each in a somewhat different way.)

My other tradition is to knock out a number of blog posts about the horror genre. Silent films! Creepypasta! Contemporary folk horror! I made my stab at all of those, I did.

Shout out to my fellow Horror Honeys. Halloweentime is our collective favourite time of year, and we always get a little bit excitable.

Now, I prepare to conclude this year’s ritual by watching The Wicker Man for the umpteenhundredth time, before November beckons and I get back to blogging abut old space operas again…

Articles of mine published elsewhere this month:

Article topics for November and beyond:


Spending Halloween with A. Merritt


Over at Amazing Stories, I’m celebrating Halloween by looking at how the vintage horror novels of A. Merritt fared when it came to film adaptations. The first in the two-part series of posts examines Seven Footprints to Satan, a novel about the machinations of a quasi-supernatural crimelord which was, rather oddly, adapted into a knockabout comedy about a Harold Lloyd lookalike being hassled by a bloke with a black sheet over his head. How did this shift come about? Read and see, dearies…

October 2017 Belladonna Now Available!

BelladonnaOctoberHalloween is coming, the bats are getting fat… and the latest issue of Belladonna is now available for you to buy and devour.

Amongst this months attractions are an interview with Halloween event mistress Melissa Carbone, a look at Prevenge by Revenge Honey Addison, and my review of Vertigo’s Lost Boys comic. We’ve also got a collection of articles on the Saw series by Slasher Honey Chass, and any fan of Jigsaw’s antics would rather hack their own leg off than miss it.

But of course, since it’s the month of Halloween, we’ve pulled out all the stops to bring out something rather special: a celebration of witches on screen and print! Head Honey Kat discusses her favourite pieces of cinematic witchcraft, Classics Honey Samantha revisits Black Sunday and The City of the Dead, Musical Horror Honey Brittany takes a look at The Crucible, Gamer Honey Jess has a go on Witcher 3, The Love Witch director Anna Biller explains her tricks in an interview, Monster Honey Sarah gets lost in The Blair Witch Project, Supernatural Honey Kim celebrates the witches of kids’ movies we grew up with, and yours truly delivers a retrospective of the wickedest witch in comics: Lady Death.


Jam-packed, it is!

Plus: the mag has the latest instalment of my ongoing comic Midnight Widows. This time you will be introduced to the person responsible for the gruesome deaths. He’s an undead murderer who, in life, was known as the Vampire Killer…


If all of this sounds like your bag, then check out the latest issue of Belladonna magazine at the official website or MagCloud.

The Weirdness of WerthamInAction


Any comics fans out there remember the fabled year of 2015? If you were keeping an eye on four-colour fandom at the time, you will have noticed that it was a prime time for controversy. Debates raged over a Batgirl variant cover; Breitbart was slagging off the female Thor; and Wonder Woman was using the word “mansplaining”. Amid all of this controversy, Gamergate was trying to bleed out into Comicgate.

It was under this climate that a new community sprung up on Reddit, bearing the name of WerthamInAction – a title that combines the name of 1950s anti-comic crusader Fredric Wertham with that of the Gamergate community KotakuInAction. Its mission statement is as follows:

This subreddit tracks and discusses attempts to smear, intimidate, censor, culturally appropriate, ethically corrupt, or otherwise harm the comic book industry and culture, specifically such attempts by the SJW hate movement. These attempts are collectively known as #ComicGate.

The biracial Spider-Man controversy, the female Captain Marvel controversy, the Muslim Ms. Marvel controversy, the Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman controversy, the Spider-Woman variant cover controversy, the female Thor controversy, the Batgirl variant cover controversy (a.k.a. the #ChangeTheCover/#DontChangeTheCover/#SaveTheCover/#WeWantThisCover/#CoverGate controversy), and similar issues are welcome. These should all be considered under the #ComicGate umbrella term.

Continue reading “The Weirdness of WerthamInAction”

Space Opera Archeology: E. E. Smith and The Skylark of Space

“She flies! She flies, dearest, like a ray of light for speed and like a bit of thistledown for lightness. We’ve been around the moon!”

—Richard Seaton, The Skylark of Space

amazing_stories_192808In the first post in this series I took a look at Edmond Hamilton’s Interstellar Patrol stories. Now, it’s time for another space opera that commenced publication in August 1928: The Skylark of Space, written by Edward Elmer Smith partly in collaboration with Lee Hawkins Garby. The former went on to write the influential Lensman series under the name of E. E. “Doc” Smith, but the latter vanished from the field.

Sam Moskowitz’s book Seekers of Tomorrow goes into detail about the background to the novel. The spark of inspiration occurred back in 1915, when Smith was discussing outer space with Lee Hawkins Garby’s husband, Carl. The conversation caught the imagination of Lee Garby, who suggested that Smith write a novel based on some of the ideas discussed. Smith was comfortable writing a scientific adventure, but got cold feet at the idea of writing a convincing romantic subplot, which he felt would be necessary to the story; and so Lee Garby agreed to act as co-writer, providing the requisite love interest.

The two finished roughly a third of the story in 1916 before losing interest. It was not until 1919 that Smith picked up the project again, this time without the direct involvement of Garby. Although he completed the story in 1920, it received an overwhelmingly negative reaction from potential publishers – hence why it did not see print until 1928, when Amazing Stories began serialising it across three issues. The novel edition, published in 1946, had significant revisions; I’m basing this post on the original magazine version.

Continue reading “Space Opera Archeology: E. E. Smith and The Skylark of Space