Drawing on Your Nightmares: After Crypticon

Drawing on Your Nightmares
Lest I be taken for a pretentious twit with no place on this site after my last blog, I want to start this one with a quick review of Drag Me to Hell. I loved it. A goofy but great take on supernatural horror, a glorious gross out with a surprising lack of blood—but generous with other bodily fluids—this was Sam at his best. While I hated Spider-Man 3, I felt like that one had more hints of Raimi’s weird vision from the Evil Dead days than anything else he’d done recently. But now, putting Alison Lohman in the place of Bruce Campbell showed Sam’s willingness to adapt for modern, mainstream audiences—since Halloween, it’s just not a horror movie without a damsel in distress doubling as protagonist—as well as the endurance of his own distinct aesthetic, which can bear up under current trends. No mean feat. And I was pleased to see relatively little of Justin Long. He’s adorable, but I couldn’t see how he was gonna fit into this sort of story. Good news. He hardly had to.

I saw the movie with Matt Parkinson, Dark Horse’s Online Marketing Manager, at Clackamas Town Center, a sprawling mall near the DH offices. When we left the film, it felt like we were suddenly in it. We had to hot foot it to the car due to some family commitments, and women in the mall kept trying to talk to us. Someone asked me about my hair. You’ll understand if you meet me at a con. A girl was smoking at an indoor kiosk, and I guess I stared. It’s 2009, right? As we went by, she explained that it was an electronic cigarette to help quit smoking. Then a homeless-looking guy stumbled by, drunk out of his mind, with a Starbucks frappuccino bottle in hand. As we left the mall, a girl sitting on a bench called out, “Hey, do you guys like cheese?” We apologized for our haste and kept on rolling, dark clouds gathering over Clackamas, as she called to us saying she just needed to know if we liked cheese.

Scott Allie's Drawing on Your Nightmares (click for larger image)

This was all of course slightly less weird than the weekend I’d just spent in Seattle, at Crypticon. As I mentioned last post, I’m more used to Comic-Con in San Diego and the smaller shows like it. Crypticon was small, all right, but the weird thing is that opposed to the maybe 5% of attendees in costume at San Diego, about half of the attendees at Crypticon were in costume, and another 45% were wearing clothes they couldn’t wear to a job at, say, Starbucks. And this trend of zombie makeup at horror shows is crazy. One girl who stopped by our booth was covered in blood, and hanging out of the front of her dress were intestines she’d made out of actual pork casings and filled with thick red fluid and clots. Talking to her, the smell sort of made me nauseous. It was impressive.

One highlight of the show was meeting Tim Seeley, creator of Hack/Slash, and hanging with his hosts at the show, the staff of Comic Evolution from Puyallup, WA. By increasing the comics presence at the show, they helped remind people how important the horror genre is to the history of comic books. And Andrew Migliore of Portland’s H.P. Lovecraft Film Fest was there, a welcome face from home at the end of the long road trip I’d been on—where I found some interesting place settings.

Scott Allie's Drawing on Your Nightmares (click for larger image)

But I went to the show because I did a The Fog graphic novel, a prequel to John Carpenter movie, and four original cast members were there. We were there to sell copies, and we did pretty well, along with promoting my forthcoming Solomon Kane collection—but my collaborator on The Fog, Todd Herman—currently drawing Fall of C’thulhu: Nemesis for Boom Studios—insisted we present the cast with copies of the prequel and try to get them to sign some for us. I said we should only get one signed copy, which Todd could keep. If we tried to get multiple signed books, it’d look like we were opening an eBay store. We started with Adrienne Barbeau, who was very nice about signing Todd’s book, and from whom I bought a copy of Creepshow — cheesier than I remembered, but still pretty great. It’s interesting talking to Adrienne, such an important part of that generation of horror films, but she has no affinity or interest in the genre at all. The genre came to her—she’d have been just as happy doing more projects like “Maude”, her breakout role. Then we hit up Tom Atkins, who first asked Todd what Adrienne charged him to sign his copy of The Fog comic (nothing), and then asked me for $20 to sign my new copy of Creepshow—which had only cost $30 to buy signed by Adrienne. But talking to Atkins made me want to see My Bloody Valentine 3D, which he said he loved working on. While I talked to Atkins about that, Todd had a great conversation with Nancy Loomis, who asked us to sign the copy Todd gave her of The Fog. Adrienne and Tom were really polite — mostly polite — but Nancy seemed generally interested in what we were doing.

Scott Allie's Drawing on Your Nightmares (click for larger image)

I’m gonna try to do more horror cons, although the next book I’ve got coming after Solomon Kane isn’t a horror book at all—a rare exception for me. I don’t really look forward to seeing my son wearing zombie makeup at a convention, or at Migliore’s Zompire Film Fest just a few blocks from my apartment, but I suppose it’s inevitable with me for a dad.

See you at Dragon*Con -—


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