Category Archives: gothic

The Webcomic Overlook #213: Heart Shaped Skull (Serenity Rose)

Hello, boys and ghoouuullls! It’s October. The time when we put pumpkins with grinning faces out on the porch. When we dress up in fancy costumes like “clown” and “sexy clown“. And when webcomic reading becomes webcomic bleeding. Welcome to the Webcomic Overlook October Spooktacular!

I’m your reviewer, Hell Santo. This week, we’ll be looking at several webcomics that are to die for! Creepy tales of witches, ghouls, spirits, and creatures that go bump in the night. Will they delight, or will they fright? There’s only one way to know if a comic stood a ghost of a chance!

We begin with a story of a young woman growing up in the Pacific Northwest. She’s a very quiet girl. Gloomy. Shy. Frightened. But deep down inside, there’s something wild just aching to emerge. You might say that this woman has … hex appeal!

Tonight, let’s take a look at Aaron Alexovich’s Heart Shaped Skull, which is also known as Serenity Rose. I have no idea witch one is correct. I’ll go with Heart Shaped Skull just to keep things simple.

I mean … sin-ple.

No wait. That one was a bit of a stretch. I apologize for that one.

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Random Quickies: Helvetica

I’m a pretty big fan of LucasArt’s Grim Fandango game, the one where spending your life as a skeleton actually seems kinda fun. I wait patiently for the day when they resurrect (pun unintended) the game for iPad. Grim Fandango on the go? Yes, please.

Until then, I guess I’ll have to tide myself over with J. N. Wiedle’s Helvetica. It’s the story of a skeleton who’s just newly arrived into the world of the undead, filled with irascible cabbies, enthusiastic fashion designers, and bohemians. The story thus far is a light-hearted affair reminding me of the best moments of Hanna Is Not A Boy’s Name, only with a far more vibrant palette and artistic style reminiscent of 1960′s pop art.

The Webcomic Overlook #188: Jack (the Drunk Duck one)

While checking my email during my break from reviewing webcomics, I recieved a profound feeling of deja vu. I got a request from an avid reader of this site to review a webcomic that, to put it politely, looked rather sketchy. It featured a world with humans and furries who would often mutilate each other. There were long scenes of characters having their skin and limbs peeled off and of gratuitous murder porn. The hero, if you could call him that, was often in contact with an anthropomorphic grim reaper character who lived in hell.

Yes, this reader asked me to review Jack.

But not THAT Jack.

This is the other Jack, written and illustrated by Norweigan webcomic creator Catya Alvheim. The comic is a little hard to find on Google, given the prominence of David Hopkins’ Jack, but if you type “drunk duck jack” in the search field it pops right up like a mischievous imp trying to educate you on the importance of springs. I felt a little guilty doing this, since Jack, and the art of Jack, specifically, strikes me as the sort of terrible comic that you’d make up in high school. So, yeah, I did my due diligence and, not for the first time, looked up the author’s age, hoping against all hopes that perhaps this was just a screwed up teen who didn’t know any better.

To my dismay… yes, this author is probably old enough to take it. Hopefully, if she comes across this review, she’ll take things in stride. (Heaven knows there are fairly cruel reviews of this Jack populating the internet.) It is also true that Jack was ,at some point, the product of some screwed up teen. But the author is no longer a teen, it’s still updating, and to my further dismay, it has apparently just celebrated its six year anniversary. That’s … that’s a whole lot of Jack.

(Incidentally, many links in this review are going to NSFW due to mutilation, nudity, cannibalism, excessive gore, and juggalos. Viewer discretion is advised.)


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The Webcomic Overlook #186: The Night Owls

“But wait, El Santo,” you say. “Aren’t you taking a break?”

I know. I’ve got to admit something to you: I’m terrible at this whole taking a break thing. And the worst part of it is… I’m breaking hiatus for something that is not, technically, a webcomic.

Twins Peter and Bobby Timony’s The Night Owls is, in fact, closer to being on the digital comic side of the scale than on the webcomic side. It could have been considered a webcomic when Zuda was around. But then Zuda died, a good number of my Zuda-only webcomic blogger compatriots disappeared, and the remaining Zuda issues have been banished to the nether realms of Comixology.

If you want to read The Night Owls anymore, you must download it for $0.99 an issue … though the first issue is free. The Night Owls has since ended, capping off at 9 issues, so a full run of The Night Owls is going to cost you $8 (and a bit more more if you’re going to spring for the print version on Amazon).

I suppose a site called “The Webcomic Overlook” should probably let this one go… but then who would review it? From my experience, most sites reviewing digital comics are focusing on much the same things as their print comic sites … namely DC’s New 52 initiative.


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One Punch Reviews #46: The Continentals

If there’s one thing I hate about Darryl Hughes and Monica McNaughton’s The Continentals, it’s Lady Fiona Fiziwigg’s stupid looking hat. Alright, to be fair, her entire outfit is completely ridiculous… and when she’s standing next to her partner, Jeffrey Tiffen Smythe, the ridiculousness goes up exponentially. It’s half Zatanna, half equestrian riding outfit. I’m tempted to say that she’s cross dressing because she’s a woman playing in a man’s world. It wouldn’t really be unheard of, since Gilbert & Sullivan, the Trey Stone and Matt Parker of the Victorian era, once mocked “the lady from the provinces who dresses like a guy.

I wish that Lady Fiziwigg dressed more typical to the ladies of the era, though. If she had to be eccentric, I’d tend more toward Mary Poppins than Annie Lennox. Because, shockingly, no one ever calls her out on her outfit. You figure if this is Victorian England, she’d get sneers and snide remarks everywhere she went. But no, this crossdressing strumpet is never really brought up in conversation. Hence, Fiziwigg’s fashion sense becomes a very unnecessary and distracting detail.

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The Webcomic Overlook #149: Strawberry Death Cake

Strawberry Death Cake, written and illustrated by Elliot Dombo, bears more than a few similarities to a notoriously banned webcomic strip. I’m speaking of Penny Arcade‘s parody piece: a sexy drawing of a tarted-up (heh) Strawberry Shortcake lampooning American McGee’s Alice video game. That very comic got Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins in trouble with American Greetings, which led to some legal mumbo jumbo, which led to that particular comic strip not existing officially. Also everybody got a nice lesson in “fair use” … mainly that no one has any idea what the hell “fair use” even means.

But back to Strawberry Death Cake. Is it possible that this very webcomic was inspired by the parody strip? There’s the title, which features both the words “Strawberry” and “Cake.” Its heroine look like a sexy Goth stripper out of Suicide Girls’ central casting. Penny Arcade has a demon cat; Strawberry Death Case has a demon moose. The parallels are interesting, no?

Curiously, Strawberry Death Cake is more similar to the Penny Arcade parody than to the actual freckle-faced youth in the strawberry-print bonnet. I mean, there’s no strawberries, and there’s definitely no cake. So… why is this comic even called Strawberry Death Cake? Was Goth Panty Flasher too on the nose?

Ah, THAT got your attention!

I should probably give you some fair warning ahead of time: assume, dear reader, that every link is not work safe. Oh, there’s no straight up nudity, if that’s what you’re looking for. However, if your boss catches you looking at underage underwear models in striped nylons, I have a feeling he won’t be giving that raise you asked for.

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One Punch Reviews #35: The Watcher of Yaathagggu

“Darkness reigns at the foot of the lighthouse.” — Japanese proverb

There’s something deeply mysterious about lighthouses. Part of it is the setting. They’re generally located in areas remote from town centers: up atop rocky cliffs, down windy roads, and on desolate islands — some occupied by prisoners. Their very nature recalls darkness, chilliness, and desolation. It’s no wonder that there are more than a few people who are convinced that more than a few of them are haunted.

Today’s webcomic review deals with a girl who must keep the fires burning at her lighthouse … only it’s not only the encroaching darkness she must keep at bay. In The Watcher of Yaathagggu by Robyn Seale, there are horrors that live beyond the fading edges of the lighthouse beacon lights.

Eldritch horrors.


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The DEADcomic Overlook #140: Lovecraft Is Missing

“The end is near. I hear a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it. It shall not find me. God, that hand! The window! The window!” — H. P. Lovecraft


I’ve got a confession to make. By an large, I am not that huge a fan of H.P. Lovecraft. I can count the short stories I’ve read on one hand: “Dagon,” “The Statement of Randolph Carter,” and parts of “Call of Cthulhu” (which I tried to reread before writing this review). I also generally liked the movie Dagon, which was apparently based on a different short story entitled “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” (Dagon was probably deemed the catchier title by studio execs.)

However, I understand why there are plenty of Lovecraft admirers, whose ranks include Neil Gaiman, Benecio Del Toro, Stephen King, and the members of Metallica. The horror imagery is creative, enduring, and highly influential. Movies like Alien, comics like Hellboy, and games like Halo 3 are covered with Lovecraft’s fingerprints. No wonder the internet’s in love with him. Google “Cthulhu,” Lovecraft’s infamous deity with the “pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque scaly body with rudimentary wings”, and you get 4.3 million results. Meanwhile, “Leopold Bloom” only gets you 88,900 results. Take that, Joyceans!

Still, I’m man enough to admit that I’m a relative newcomer to the Lovecraft mythos. Yet, here I am, reviewing Larry Latham’s Lovecraft Is Missing. Maybe I’m not the right guy, stripped as I am of any Trekkie-like obsessive knowledge of the Lovecraft mythos. But the new Star Trek movie thrilled both hardcore Trekkies and newcomers alike. Dare I hope against all hopes that Lovecraft Is Missing provides a gateway to the world of eldritch horrors for the uninitiated? (Incidentally, the phrase “eldritch horrors” will pop up multiple times in this review. It’s sort of required when you’re writing something about Lovecraft.)


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