"Run-of-the-mill" seems like a modestly accurate way to describe myself in terms of horror fandom. In certain respects I find that valuable, since ideally I can make an appeal to those like myself, to those who may be testing the waters, and hopefully to the hardcore horror fans as well. (And I sincerely encourage feedback, especially from the latter.) It wasn't until several years ago, the present time of this writing being December of '09 to give perspective, that the genre genuinely appealed to me and I owe all that to the film adaptation of Stephen King's 'IT'. After that, it was a slow and steady progression that grew into watching more Stephen King film adaptations, then into watching general horror films. In more recent years it's branched from solely films into different mediums, namely: comics (comic books, manga, graphic novels, webcomics, etc.), purely written literature, and different games.

But let's get to the point, shall we? The Darkley Niche is something I've constructed after the comic-in-progress that a friend and myself plan on self-publishing, an anthology of short horror stories much in the same vein as 'Tales from the Crypt' and similar titles. The series centers around a faceless persona we've affectionately dubbed Alan Darkley, the Niche's namesake, and a cast of storytellers whose tales fall within particular subgenres and sister genres of horror. This site is the drawing board, if you will, where everything posted is either a form of research or a roughing out of ideas. It's all relevant in some fashion. By exploring these different horror stories and their mediums a better understanding and influence of the genre, as well as inspiration, can be put into the comic. Even if you have no personal interest in the project, perhaps you can glean something from the reviews and the like. And if nothing else, the Niche will work to serve my own purposes.

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Meet The Darkley Storytellers

Meet The Darkley Storytellers

About Myself

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Well, here's yours truly. The name's Drew, in case you were wondering. The Niche is my personal site, while the comic-in-progress is a partnered effort with Don, a lifelong friend of mine. We collaborate on the stories, but my partner's the writer in the outfit while I am the illustrator. This is currently little more than a side project, but we hope to make something of it.

artwork by yours truly

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Benton's Illustrated History and Goosebumps Graphix 2

While films are the more customary subject of the Niche, be they television, indie short films, movies, or the like, our first love is comics. After all, this is the ultimate purpose of the Niche: to be a wellspring of inspiration for the Darkley horror anthology comic that yours truly and lifelong friend Don are shaping together. So it only makes sense that we occassionally dedicate a share of the Niche to the medium of comics. Here are a couple more recent reads that were rather interesting.


First, a thanks to The Horrors of it All for recommending this read.

Mike Benton's Horror Comics: The Illustrated History begins with the birth of American horror comics, touching on the predecessors that would lead to their creation (namely pulp magazines, horror movies, and mystery radio shows of the 1930s and 40s). Chronicling the rise in the horror comic's popularity, we witness its trials and controversy (much of which is owed to Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent), ultimately leading to the creation of the Comics Magazine Association of America (CMAA) and its suppression. Still, horror comics would manage to survive underground, like a malnourished ghoul picking at scraps. But as social prejudices ebbed over the years, the genre would rise once more from the grave. Quite appropriate, actually. Leading up to the 1990s with a brief chapter, Benton's book finishes with guidelines for comic care and preservation, as well as a list of notable horror comics spanning over fifty years.

Informative and with artwork on almost every page, Horror Comics: The Illustrated History is a handy guide to those interested in the general history of the genre. I give it four-and-a-half out of five Vault-Keepers.


A thanks as well to Rhonny Reaper, whose Goosebumps article reminded me of the children's horror book series and ultimately led to my stumbling upon this read.

Goosebumps Graphix 2: Terror Trips is the second in a compilation of R.L. Stine stories adapted to comics. I have yet to read the first volume yet, namely because I was too eager to read "One Day At Horrorland". Growing up, I wasn't allowed to read the Goosebumps books or watch the inspired television series, but it circulated around elementary school enough to make one a tad envious of those that were. I distinctly remember the cover of One Day At Horrorland, longing in that way kids do for something forbidden to them. So now the time has come to do some serious catching-up for my inner child, and after reading this book I have to say it felt good.

Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother series) illustrates "One Day At Horrorland" in a superbly sketchy and expressive style. Definitely my favorite of the three, I personally would've loved it if the rest of the stories were adapted by her. However, Jamie Tolagson's adaptation of the second story, "A Shocker on Shocker Street", is certainly on the same par, doing a remarkable job on dramatic lighting and shadow play. My only complaint is the last, "Deep Trouble", but that's simply a personal criticism of the artist's style, Amy Kim Ganter. But it is cute, especially her mermaid, so I can't be too harsh on her. I give Goosebumps Graphix 2: Terror Trips four out of five Horrorland horrors.

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