Comic Cover(s) Of The Week – Spooky Halloween Edition
Welcome, fellow fans of fantastic freaky fiction, to our haunting Halloween special, a cool, compelling yet chilling compendium of charnel comic cover classics courtesy of the decidedly devilish – DC Comics!
Thank you for convening with us down here in the Precinct’s creepy Comic Crypts for this hellacious Halloween special, so why not pull up a tombstone as we take a terrifying tour of the dark side of DC!
And our blood-curdling beginning for this phantasmic post is none other than DC’s haunting – House Of Mystery. The House of Mystery was an anthology comic first published by DC in 1951. It initially ran for 173 issues and featured terrifying tales of the weird, wild and wacky, set within the ritualistic realms of mystery and science fiction. From issue #174 the lauded series switched to a hardcore horror anthology, presented by Cain the Caretaker and introduced new series such as I… Vampire, which originally started as a back up story but was such a massive success with the fans, it became the ongoing apparitional anthology’s main feature.
The spooky sister title to the House of Mystery was another anthology series that set it’s sights on the macabre and is most notable for introducing us to the character of Swamp Thing, DC’s heroic quagmire residing defender of the green. First published in 1956, The House Of Secrets introduced several other of DC’s supernatural entities including Mark Merlin and Eclipso, Doctor Rocket, and the fantastically named – Moolah the Mystic!
We would be neglecting our darkly devilish duties if we didn’t include, quite possibly, THE greatest supernatural comic book anti-hero of all time, occult detective – John Constantine. First published by DC Comics in 1988, and then subsequently by its adult imprint – Vertigo in 1993, the series followed John as he negotiated his way through heaven, hell and beyond, utilising his innate talent in manipulation, deceit and guile, arguably for the greater good. The series was one of the longest running and most successful of DC/Vertigo’s titles and was a notable stepping stone for many British writers and artists, Brit contributors included – Garth Ennis, Jamie Delano, Andy Diggle, and Pete Milligan.
Justice League Dark malevolently materialised onto the comic scene in 2011, a supernatural superhero team-up series that combined the terrifying titular talents – John Constantine, Zatanna, Etrigan the Demon, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Doctor Fate and, on occassion, the dark and surly one himself – The Batman. Their remit was to investigate mystical threats, and demonic incursions which were deemed outside the scope of the more traditional capes and tights crew of The Justice League of America.
If you’re looking for a suitably creepy but freakishly fun DC Comics read this All Hallows Eve, may I recommend the sublime – Zatanna and the House of Secrets, a spooky journey through the mysterious and magical realm of the mystical mistress of magic herself – Zatanna! and you can read our glowing review Right Here.
Precinct1313 Recommends: Zatanna And The House Of Secrets
Zatanna and the House of Secrets is the latest entry into DC’s graphic novels for kids line, an accessible and fun series of original stories that beset readers imaginations with tales of classic superheroes and villains in their pre-teen years. Our last dalliance with this excellent series of character chronicles was with the dazzling Diana: Princess of the Amazons, this time around though we’re going to be setting forth into the magical and mysterious realm of the mystical mistress of magic herself Zatanna, as she explores the unknown boundaries of the House of Secrets!
Welcome to the wild and wacky world that is Zatanna, the backward speaking sorceress who possesses a mysterious rabbit named Pocus, and lives with her father the illustrious stage magician Zatara in the exceedingly esoteric House of Secrets.
The House of Secrets is a mystical abode full to the bombastic brim with mysterious doors, perplexing puzzles and fabled creatures. It’s the house that every local talks about but also avidly avoids. Zatanna though, loves her home and her life with her beloved bunny, Pocus, and her loving father Zatara. In fact the worst that life throws at her are the everyday rigours that most normal kids have to deal with – school, homework and the inevitable growing pains of youth. Yet, Zatanna is no normal kid, and as our occult odyssey unfolds, Zee will have more uncertainty to face than mere peer pressure as life goes from (relative) normality into full blown obscure oddity!
Written by Matthew Cody and gorgeously illustrated by Yoshi Yoshitani, Zatanna and the House of Secrets is a wonderfully witty and engrossingly endearing tale full of beautiful imagery ( I mean seriously, the artwork is absolutely fantabulous!) and fantastic humour (some of the scenes, literally, made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion) all wrapped up in the captivating chronicle of Zee’s eventual emotional acceptance of her eerie reality by dealing with traumas from her past, school bullies and distancing friends, and the thrilling yet also traumatic transition into her new life brought on by her slowly burgeoning magical prowess.
Zatanna and the House of Secrets is a wonderful work of art from the talented team of Cody and Yoshitani. The lushly rendered and beautifully coloured artwork leaps off the page, and the wry and witty writing is surprisingly deep and deft. Full of amazing visual gags and entertaining Easter eggs for Vertigo aficionado’s (a portrait or two of Cain and Abel come to mind) once again DC’s newest YA novel is another thrilling tale that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages, scintillatingly superb, sorcerous storytelling at it’s finest… highly recommended.
Justice League Dark Materialise Into Reality…
“If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call…” certainly not the Ghostbusters, they wouldn’t stand a literal hope in hell against the aberrant abominations and mystical miscreants that haunt the dark side of DC Comics, no, this is unreservedly a job for that phenomenally preternatural group of magical Superheroes known as Justice League Dark.
Justice League Dark was first introduced in 2011, though the characters contained within this uncanny cabal have been around for decades. The original line up as introduced to us by series creator, the inimitable Pete Milligan consisted of – Zatanna, John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, Black Orchid and Shade the Changing Man. The JLD initially formed after ancient witch Enchantress (recently seen haunting the silver screen as a protagonist in the astounding Suicide Squad movie) defeated DC’s premier team of costume clad Superheroes The Justice League. Their defeat by the supernatural powerhouse, necessitated the creation of a mystical team of heroes to deal with the emergence of paranormal Supervillains.
DC have long touted the occult team with a big screen appearance, with legendary director Guillermo Del Toro attached as director (Del Toro is a huge fan of the original comics) but his excessively busy work schedule has meant that the long waited mystical movie has languished in limbo. Until now… DC‘s parent company, Warner Bros have announced that Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman has taken up the ghostly reins and will be directing the Dark Universe alongside Del Toro who will act as producer for the eerie epic.
With this announced alongside the upcoming animated version of Justice League Dark, it seems our favourite group of esoteric heroes will finally step out of the darkness and into the light, of the silver screen.
Comic Cover Of The Week: Harley’s Little Black Book #3
Once again we peruse the local comic book shelves in an attempt to pick out the greatest comic cover in a sea of masterful illustrations. And, as ever, it’s tough, with so many fantastically drawn covers appearing each and every week how on earth do you go about choosing just one? For me the choice is always easy whenever one of my favourite artists, Amanda Conner, provides the gateway image for a comic, and it also helps that she always seems to be the lead cover artist on some of my favourite characters from the DC Comics’ Universe.
And lo, what do we see before us but yet another Conner cover masterpiece, intertwined with two of DC’s greatest female protagonists, Mistress of Magic – Zatanna and everyone’s favourite Mischievous Misfit – Harley Quinn.
Harley’s bi-monthly team up book continues its successful march onwards, and this month unites her with, arguably, DC’s most powerful character Zatanna. Also along for the zany ride are Harley’s new best buddies, a cast of awesomely odd British Superheroes with fantastic names such as Big Bad Ben and The Pub Crawler (being British myself and having gone on many a pub crawl in my time – this name certainly resonates with me. But for all the beer I drank, I never gained superpowers… maybe I just need to consume more!!)
Whilst Harley accommodates her British buds from the London Legion of Superheroes, she also becomes the unwitting host to a group of ghosts, who move into Harley’s Hacienda after their haunted mansion in Coney Island is demolished. Luckily Mistress of Magic Zatanna is booked at Big Tony’s cabaret nearby and agrees to help Harley convince the ghosts to move on to the next world… what could possibly go wrong!?
Harley’s Little Black Book #3 is available at your local comic book emporium right now. Written by: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. Interior art by: Joseph Michael Linser. Cover art by: Amanda Conner.
Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Vol 2) #174
Return with us once more to the beautiful isle of Themyscira, home to the immortal Amazons and, Precinct1313‘s weekly comic-cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman. This week the ancient Amazon archives reveal their secrets in the form of “Wonder Woman (volume 2) #174.” Written by: Phil Jimenez. Cover art by: Adam Hughes. Interior art by: Phil Jimenez. Released in November 2001.
This weeks titanic tale is titled “The Witch And The Warrior” and is the first of a three part storyline that eventually serves as a set up for a six part crossover series entitled “The Joker’s Last Laugh.” In order to defeat witch-goddess Circe and her allies Silver Swan and Cheetah, Wonder Woman must engage the help of several female Superheroes. This terrific tome brings together some of DC’s greatest female Super heroes of all time including, girl of steel Supergirl, her parallel universe counterpart Power Girl, mistress of magic Zatanna, winged wonder Hawkgirl and the maid of might Mary Marvel.
Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my astute Amazonian associates!
Comic Cover Of The Week: Justice League Dark #40 – Variant Cover
Welcome once more my comic collecting cohorts to another Comic Cover Of The Week, we have been focusing on DC’s movie homage variant covers all month, and continue this with yet another fantastic Warner Brothers movie tie in, Justice League Dark #40. A perfect blend of DC Comic’s premier supernatural team of crime-fighters mixed with Tim Burton’s classic movie Beetlejuice.
Plot Synopsis: They have been to the edge of time and back again, but the arcane forces they have fought will combine in one last attempt at destroying Justice League Dark. Major changes are coming for the team, as it faces quite possibly, its final fate.
Another astonishing movie crossover cover, with more to come as the month marches on. Justice League Dark #40, movie variant issue is available at your local comic-book emporium right now. Written by: J.M Dematteis. Interior art by: Walden Wong, Andres Guinaldo. Cover by: Guillem March. Variant cover by: Joseph A. Quinones Jr.
We Love Kotobukiya…
Precinct1313’s comic crypt shelves are already literally straining from the weight of all the amazing Kotobukiya statues of our favourite DC Comics Superheroes and now the Japanese based creator of top quality statues and figurines has released another awesome statue which will be hard to resist, this time of the mistress of magic herself, the inimitable Zatanna.
Zatanna is DC’s foremost practitioner of Magic, quite possibly the most powerful character in their pantheon of heroes and villains, due to the fact that she can accomplish anything she can perceive by just speaking it backwards. She was created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson in 1964, daughter of famous stage magician Giovanni Zatara and Sindella a member of the magical race Homo-Magi. Zatanna makes her living as an illusionist but is also a founding member of the mystical team of Superheroes, Justice League Dark.
Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo statue of Zatanna is a stunning recreation of the preternatural practitioner of the paranormal. Zatanna comes clothed in her trademark black tuxedo and tails, fishnet stockings and boots, hand outstretched with her signature top hat, this is another great figure from the masters at Kotobukiya. The Bishoujo range takes classic Superheroes and gives them an anime styling and I find that their range of female hero figures suits this technique perfectly.
Designed by the always amazing Shunya Yamashita and sculpted by the talented Takaboku Busujima, Zatanna stands ten inches in height and comes with a transparent base. As with all of Koto’s other comic-book statues this is a beautiful piece, and if you’re in any way shape or form a fan of the character then this is a must buy from the expert crafters of awesome at Kotobukiya.
Motion Monday – Zatanna
Welcome fellow comic fans to another motion comic spotlight, this time featuring the lovely Mistress of Magic – Zatanna. Zatanna Zatara was created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson in 1964 and made her first appearance in Hawkman #4. Her father is the world famous stage magician Giovanni Zatara and her Mother is Sindella, a member of the Homo-Magi, a race of magic wielding humans.
Like her parents Zatanna’s mystical powers are real, and she makes her living as an illusionist, whilst also saving the world on occasion as a member of Justice League Dark, a team of mystical Superheroes that includes John Constantine amongst its ranks.
Zatanna’s father was a good friend of Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s father and trained the young Batman in escapology techniques, Zatanna and Bruce were childhood friends and continued to be close up until the events of ‘Identity Crisis’, where Batman discovered that Zatanna had selectively wiped his mind of certain events that took place in the highly recommended comic classic.
Zatanna is quite possibly the most powerful Superhero in the DC Universe, with the ability to do anything that she can think of by just uttering the words backwards, she is also capable of using her powers by writing the spells out in her own blood, which she has done on the occasions that she has been unable to speak.
Zatanna made her live action debut in the CW series Smallville in 2009, brought to life by actress Serinda Swan, with her comic book relationship with Constantine there is hope that we may be seeing the Maestro of Magic reappear on our screens again.
The Justice League Dark – Futures End #1 will be available to buy on the 24th of September, with the motion cover drawn by Justin Ferreyra, interior art by Andread Guinaldo and Walden Wong and written by J.M DeMatteis.