Monday, December 28, 2015

CFP: The 'Slayage' Conference on the Whedonverses

In 2004, the first Slayage Conference on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was held in Nashville, Tennessee, an event organized by David Lavery and Rhonda V. Wilcox. Interest in meeting again was so high that the conference became a biennial gathering of scholars and other enthusiasts. Today, the Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses has convened in Georgia (2006), Arkansas (2008), Florida (2010), British Columbia (2012), and California (2014).

In 2016, the conference celebrates the 12th anniversary of its first gathering by convening at Kingston University, Kingston upon Thames, England, UK, 7-10 July 2016.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Terrors from the Lobby! (part 4: también en español!)

At Horror-Rama 2015, I realized early on (just like last year) that I'd be spending far more than I'd ever make back selling books. But that's OK, because writing isn't yet my day job! And seeing as though Mike from Toronto's Hollywood Canteen would be there, well, I was pretty much guaranteed to spend a few dollars at his booth.

My latest addiction, which I've mentioned in past blogs, is collecting lobby cards from Canadian horror films, and I'm especially interested in foreign-language pieces (this is slowly bleeding into a side hobby of collecting foreign-language film posters, but I'm doing my best to stem this one before it gets out of control). Mike did not disappoint! I picked up a nice set of Spanish-language lobby cards for David Cronenberg's Rabid (1977).

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Philatelic Phantoms II: Haunted Canada Collection 2

Canada has its own share of urban legends and spooky folklore, and sometimes even our own government entities like to celebrate this fact. On June 13th of last year (a Friday, of course!), Canada Post unveiled a set of spooky stamps called the "Haunted Canada Collection"; although not quite as quirky as their "Haunted Stamp House" from 1997, it's still a worthwhile investment for those who are interested in such homegrown horrors.

This year, they've returned with Haunted Canada 2, which unearths five more spooky Canadian ghosts from across the country.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Walker of the Snow

My current phase of research for The Great Fright North involves tales of the Windigo, which is now often written as wendigo. This cannibalistic creature, of Algonquian legend, has taken on many forms including that of a demon, devil, or a supernatural spirit that possesses human beings. (It has since become a popular monster menace in films and on television.)

Many early writings are collected in John Robert Colombo's excellent Windigo: An Anthology of Fact and Fantastic Fiction (1982), which covers three centuries of works from the 1630s-1970s. Long out of print, this tome is a preeminent work on the subject.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Fan Expo 2015

Fan Expo 2015 has ended. The Horror Writers Association had an amazing run this year; we engaged lots of horror fans, talked about writing and other aspects of the craft, and our members participated in no less than eight panels! A record for us, which we'll try to top next year.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Monstrosity & Monstrosity II

Independent graphic novel publisher Alterna Comics produced two volumes of a horror / sci-fi anthology called Monstrosity in 2013/14. Overall, the short monster-themed comic tales are funny and engaging, with some stunning artwork. What's even better is that most of the content was created by indie Canadian writers and artists--including Attila Adorjany, Sanya Anwar, Jordyn Bochon, J.Bone, Rodrigo Bravo, Dylan Burnett, James Edward Clark, Jason Copland, David J. Cutler, Ian Daffern, Matthew Daley, Anthony Del Col, Alex Diochon, Brian Evinou, Toma Feizo Gas, Ryan Ferrier, Adam Gorham, Keith Grachow, Max Haig, Brice Hall, Shane Heron, Fred Kennedy, Eric Kim, John Lang, Marvin Law, Ricky Lima, Jason Loo, Nimit Malavia, Cory McCallum, Brian McLachlan, C.M. Morgado, Jeff Moss, Sam Noir, Gibson Quarter, Katie Shanahan, James Stokoe, Noel Tuazon, James Turner, Kris Waddell, and Michael Walsh. Whew! That was quite the roll call.

Friday, August 07, 2015

OGOM: ‘The Company of Wolves’

The University of Hertfordshire is hosting a conference that will "explore human social existence and its animal substrate, and the intersection between the human and the wolfishly bestial as expressed in narrative media from a variety of epochs and cultures."

The Company of Wolves: Sociality, Animality, and Subjectivity in Literary and Cultural Narratives—Werewolves, Shapeshifters, and Feral Humans will run September 3-5, 2015, and is brought to you by the Open Graves, Open Minds Project.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Terrors from the Lobby! (part three: en español!)

My latest, ongoing addiction--collecting lobby cards from Canadian horror films--is already turning into a nice little stash. I usually get them from the Hollywood Canteen in Toronto, or visit their booth when I see them at a convention.

However, I recently picked up a few different lobby cards online, and what makes them really interesting (and perhaps not as common) is the fact that they're in Spanish--since they were all displayed at theatres in Mexico.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

What's the time? SLIME TIME!

In the mid-late 1980s, Hasbro created two lines of absurdly large watches for kids. The first, called Watchimals, featured furry wristbands with animal heads that would open to reveal a digital watch inside. There were twelve characters to choose from: a bear, butterfly, elephant, peacock, mouse, toucan, dog, dragonfly, goldfish, moose, snail, and unicorn--which were primarily marketed for girls (a related line of products, Wearimals, were furry animals that could be clipped onto clothes, hair, etc). But the focus of this post is Hasbro's second line of cumbersome timepieces called Slime Time, which featured two colour variants of three characters--a snake, bat, and frog--that also opened up to reveal a digital watch inside (and were marketed for boys).

Monday, June 22, 2015

Gamut magazine

In the mid-1970s, Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, produced four (or possibly five) issues of a comic magazine called Gamut. At the time, the college ran a "Cartooning" course, which was geared towards comic strip and comic book creation. As such, the 'zine primarily featured student works spanning fantasy, superhero, and other more traditional genres--as well as a spattering of horror.

The cover artwork was illustrated by professional artists of the day, including Mike Ploog, Will Eisner, and Bernie Wrightson--all of whom were at one time guest lecturers at the college. I unearthed issue #1 at The Beguiling in Toronto, and have included some of the more interesting aspects below. And, being a huge Wrightson fan, I'm now madly searching for the remaining issues--since it appears as though some rare work of his was reproduced therein (and he contributed the covers for issues #3 & #4).

Friday, May 01, 2015

Sex and Horror: The Art of Emanuele Taglietti

Inspired by the art of Frank Frazetta and Averardo Ciriello, Emanuele Taglietti left an established career in Italian cinema to become a comic book cover artist. Throughout the 1970s-80s, he painted over 500 fumetti covers for the likes of Zora the Vampire, Vampirissimo, Playcolt, and Sukia.

This beautiful volume celebrates Taglietti's art, collecting some of his most brilliant, provocative, and erotic work. And it's definitely a must-have for fans of the era of pulp magazines, as well as for those interested in pop culture and illustration.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Toronto ComiCon 2015

Convention season in Toronto has begun! Members of the Ontario Chapter of the Horror Writers Association will be at this year's Toronto Comicon presented by Fan Expo Canada, March 20-22, 2015.

Be sure to stop by our table to chat about all things horror‬!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dracula: The First Comic Book Adaptation

Dracula, Van Helsing and several other characters from Bram Stoker's novel first appeared in comics in the pre-Code series "Eerie" in August, 1953, published by Avon Periodicals (this is a different series from the more widely-known publication from Warren, which was published from 1966-83).

With art by Gene Fawcette, this is a rather faithful adaptation that begins with Jonathan Harker arriving at Dracula's castle--but ends in typical staking fashion.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

CFP: Current Research in Speculative Fiction 2015

Returning for its fifth consecutive year, CRSF is a one day postgraduate conference designed to promote the research of speculative fictions, including Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror; showcasing some of the latest developments in these dynamic and evolving fields.

CRSF attracts an international selection of delegates and provides a platform for postgraduate students to present their current research, encourages discussion with scholars in related subjects and the construction of crucial networks with fellow researchers.