May 3rd, 2006


Aleister Arcane

Steve Niles and Breehn Burns' three-issue miniseries Aleister Arcane is a lot of fun. (Big thanks to my friend Mary for lending them to me!) The story follows pre-teen girl Lauren and her buddies as they befriend disgraced and persecuted TV host Aleister Arcane, who lost his job and whatever happiness he had when a conservative, anti-horror backlash forced his monster-movie show off the air. Unfortunately, Lauren's healing friendship comes too late, because the curse Aleister set in motion against the people who cost him his happiness can't be stopped now, and soon all the adults in town, including Lauren's parents, are transformed into real-life, flesh-hungry monsters.

The story's use of a child protagonist coupled with Burns' expressionistic artwork strongly reminded me of the old Eerie and Creepy comics I used to read as a kid, utilizing that same cute, tongue-in-cheek tone mixed with awful, scary stuff. The more I read of Niles' work (and apparently he's got 6,000 other titles out there - the dude writes more, and faster, than Dean Koontz on speed), the more I think he's one of the best horror writers working today, in any medium. Personally, I'm surprised Aleister Arcane didn't win the Bram Stoker Award for Illustrated Narrative last year. (It went instead to Heaven's Devils by Jai Nitz, which I haven't read.)

And thus ends the official (and somewhat accidental) Week of Comics. Now back to Peter Straub's Floating Dragon!