How I Spent March 2022

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Well, this was the month where I devoted a good chunk of my time to Nosferatu’s Kindred, my WWAC series about the history of German vampire literature. I also received my final payment for a script I wrote last year, which was lovely (still can’t talk in detail about that project, though). Beyond that, I’ve been working on some short stories — although I’ll admit, I’m behind on my goal of finishing 12 stories by the end of the year.

Articles of mine published elsewhere this month:

Article topics for April and beyond:


March 2022: A Month in Horror

It was a good month for vampires. Besides the first public release of photos showing Nicolas Cage’s turn as a decidedly Lugosi-esque Dracula in the upcoming film Renfield, the Lord Ruthven Assembly announced the winners of its annual awards for vampire-related media. Jessica Levai’s The Night Library of Sternendach: A Vampire Opera in Verse won in the fiction category while Simon Bacon’s The Transmedia Vampire: Essays on Technological Convergence and the Undead and Violet Fenn’s A History of the Vampire in Popular Culture: Love at First Bite were joint winners in non-fiction. Midnight Mass won in the media category and, finally, Elizabeth Miller earned special recognition “for her foundational contributions to vampire, specifically Dracula, studies.”

And Morbius came out, too — although judging by the response so far, this may not be remembered as one of the high points of vampire cinema.

Sadly, this is also the month in which Fireside magazine announced its impending closure. The magazine published fantasy works that were sometimes horror adjacent or at least eerie, including Nicasio Andres Reed’s haunting “Body, Remember”

Werewolf Wednesday: Elliott O’Donnell on Werewolves, Vampires and Ghouls (1912)

The eighth chapter of Elliot O’Donnell’s 1912 book Werwolves bears the intriguing title “Werewolves and Vampires and Ghouls”. O’Donnell begins by continuing the topic of the previous chapter – that is, Gallic lycanthropes — and outlines some notable werewolf trials in early-modern France:

THROUGHOUT the Middle Ages, and even in the seventeenth century, trials for lycanthropy were of common occurrence in France. Among the most famous were those of the Grandillon family in the Jura, in 1598; that of the tailor of Châlons; of Roulet, in Angers; of Gilles Garnier, in Dôle, in 1573; and of Jean Garnier, at Bordeaux, in 1603. The last case was, perhaps, the most remarkable of all.

Note that “Jean Garnier” was actually called Jean Grenier: O’Donnell has apparently confused his name with that of Gilles Garnier. He then asserts that “[t]he name Grénier, like that of Garnier, was closely associated with lycanthropy, and in Blois, where there were more instances of lycanthropy than in any other part of France, every one called Grénier or Garnier was set down as a werwolf” but provides no sources to back up this claim.

Continue reading “Werewolf Wednesday: Elliott O’Donnell on Werewolves, Vampires and Ghouls (1912)”

A Long Year’s Dreaming: March Progress Report

Between my German vampire series WWAC and my impending coverage of the Splatterpunk Awards, I’ve had to slow down a little on my book A Long Year’s Dreaming: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror in 2020. It’s still continuing to take shape, though. I now have a fairly clear idea of how many essays are left to write, and I should be able to reveal the cover art soon as well.

Here’s a (still not quite complete) contents list:

  • Bang in the Coffin: Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat’s Dracula
  • Copter Crash: Isabel Fall and the Transgender SF Controversy
  • Prophets of Doom: Did these Authors Predict COVID-19?
  • The Last Laugh: Animated Films Before the Pandemic
  • Coronaphobia: Horror Films in Lockdown
  • 2020 A.D.: Reviving the British Anthology Comic
  • Broken Futures: Iron Man 2020
  • The Year we Had No Heroes, Except for This Lot: Superhero Films in 2020
  • Investing in the Gods: Jiang Ziya and the Fengshen Cinematic Universe
  • Wit, Weirdness and Warped Ethics: Megan Giddings’ Lakewood
  • Cannibal Women, Laughing Lords and Ownvoices Iconoclasm
  • First Lady: Lilith as Icon of 2020
  • Out with the Old and into the Sun: The 2020 Hugo Awards
  • Dragons and Death Cults: The 2020 Dragon Awards
  • Red Brains: Zombies in 2020
  • Blue Veins: Vampires in 2020
  • MAGA 2020 and Beneath: The Strange World of Trumpist SF
  • For Better or Worse, the Film of the Year: Tenet
  • Huns, Rouran and Uyghurs: Mulan goes to Xianjiang
  • Untitled Last Emperox Essay
  • From Smashing the Klan to Killing Jimmy Olsen: The Superman Family in 2020
  • Untitled Doctor Who Essay
  • Aquaman’s Architect: Robson Rocha in Memoriam
  • Ghosts of Christmas Present
  • Franchised Fears: The Year’s Horror Reboots
  • Hill House: DC Horror Comics Post-Vertigo
  • Cyborg und Hausmartian: Remixing Fairy Tales
  • Could be Worse: Dystopian Fiction
  • Dragons, Demons and Anime Adventures
  • Untitled essay about children’s literary adaptations
  • Untitled essay about apocalyptic films
  • Viral Stories: COVID-19 Fiction Anthologies

Werewolf Wednesday: Elliott O’Donnell on the Helpful Lycanthropes of France (1912)

Having covered British werewolves in chapter 6, Elliott O’Donnell devotes chapter 7 of his 1912 book Werwolves to French lycanthropes. We can hardly miss the distinct change of atmosphere as we hop over the channel: if O’Donnell’s Britain is a land haunted by ghostly werewolves, his France is a place in which werewolves are prone to saving rather than taking lives.

“In no country has the werewolf flourished as in France,” begins O’Donnell, before noting that French accounts of lycnathropy date back to the sixth century – although, characteristically, he fails to identify any documents of this vintage. The first account that he describes lacks any dates and concerns one Abbot Gilbert of the Arc Monastery on the banks of the Loire. O’Donnell relates how the abbot was accosted by “big wild cats” while travelling and received help in the unlikely form of a werewolf. The lycanthrope was injured in the fight, but received medical aid from the abbot and followed him back to the monastery:

Despite Gilbert’s protestations, for he was loath to be seen in such strange company, the werwolf accompanied him back to the monastery, where, upon hearing the Abbot’s story, it was enthusiastically welcomed and its wounds attended to. At dawn it was restored to its natural shape, and the monks, one and all, were startled out of their senses to find themselves in the presence of a stern and awesome dignitary of the Church, who immediately began to lecture the Abbot for his unseemly conduct the previous day, ordering him to undergo such penance as eventually, robbing him of half his size and all his self-importance, led to his resignation.

Continue reading “Werewolf Wednesday: Elliott O’Donnell on the Helpful Lycanthropes of France (1912)”

On Marvel’s Outlawed


Subscribers to the WWAC Patreon get a new article today: my look at Marvel’s Outlawed event from 2020, covering all of the main titles invovled with the storyline. Here’s a short preview:

The superhero comic convention of the “event” story can be divided into two main categories. The first consists of cosmic-scale storylines like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinity War, where worlds and realities are threatened by godlike beings and universe-destroying menaces. The second, meanwhile, includes the likes of Civil War and Identity Crisis, where the conflict is framed as moral or ideological rather than existential. Typically, the latter story type will kick off with one or more heroes stepping out of bounds, and the superpowered community as a whole being faced with a question: is it time to be reined in, or perhaps even abandon their capes altogether?

Continue reading “On Marvel’s Outlawed

“Love Hangover” by Sheree Renée Thomas (2021 Ignyte Awards)

SlayNoireRecently republished in The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction (2021), “Love Hangover” originally appeared in SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire, an anthology devoted to stories about black vampires and vampire hunters. Sheree Renée Thomas sets her story in seventies New York, where lovers of the disco scene spend their nights in search of transcendence. Into this setting is born Delilah Divine, a singer who performs at club after club and causes other stars of the era to pale in comparison: “Bianca Jagger rode by on a white horse, her black locks shining ebony waves, but all eyes returned to Delilah.”

The story is narrated by Frankie, one of many to fall under Delilah’s spell – but one of the few to get close to her. Frankie notes that, while Delilah appears to be around twenty, she speaks as though she is much older, even sharing memories of Berlin in the 1920s. As it happens, Delilah is a supernatural entity who drains life to fuel her songs:

“Where did you learn to sing like that?” I asked. She looked at me with dead fisheyes that should have run me away, but I was already hers before the first time we even touched or danced.
“From the throats of a thousand, thousand men and women. But the children,” she said, closing her eyes as if the memory pained her, “their voices are too sweet. I cannot bear the taste of their songs.”
I thought she was high. I’d seen her with blow and biscuits, poppers and whippets–whatever made the music and lights, the dance and the tempo last longer.

Continue reading ““Love Hangover” by Sheree Renée Thomas (2021 Ignyte Awards)”