Wonderland: If it is innocent, desecrate it…

Posted by Harry Markov

I am starting with fairy tales, even though I am fully aware that “Alice in Wonderland” is in fact a novel. So, fairy tales charm with their innocent magic, naïve and friendly demeanor and though with droplets of sadness and fear are generally the indestructible pink sun glasses that make the world so much better. Who can forget Snow white, the Ugly Duckling, Pinocchio, Beauty and the Beast and all those happy endings….

After a while though when the modern generation of horror movies, vampire clans and gothic devotion grew up to drinking age or even before that realized that the Grimm Fairy Tales were in fact the first horror stories [trust me in Cinderella there is much mutilation going on and I read it in German] and so we have seen Snow white dying after a dose of apple heroin and Little Red Riding Hood slaughter people with a chainsaw and Alice in Wonderland get down with a butcher knife in a video game [at least I have seen]. But the comic book industry couldn’t keep their hands to themselves and Alice had to be desecrated again.

Zenescope’s 6 issue mini-series “Return to Wonderland”, the ongoing sequel “Beyond Wonderland” and the three one shots “Tales from Wonderland” take the innocent, magical and illogical Wonderland with its cast and harvests its twisted potential. Alice Liddle, the original Alice, is a grown woman, married with children, but suffers mentally from her trip to Wonderland and attempts suicide after Wonderland attempts to claim her back. After her death Wonderland sets its eyes on her children Calie and her brother, who becomes the second Mad Hatter. With a black stripper version of the classic blue dress Alice spurted, Calie sets out on a survival mission in a Wonderland, which is simply another word for Limbo aka Hell.

Everything you held dear has been twisted… The white rabbit is a zombie. The Cheshire Cat is a lycanthropic monster. The Catterpillar strikes like a distant cousin of the Alien and the Mad Hatter is quite mad. Only the Queen of Hearts is more like herself. She wants heads to keep rolling, but is not afraid to do it herself. Calie, who is Alice version 2.0, looks like a wet dream material and can if needed revert to violence. The plot is simplistic to keep true to the survival horror atmosphere. Calie has to deal with being chased by monsters in the real world and in Wonderland, deal with the guilt of sending her brother through the mirror to limbo and try and keep her sanity.

What I found most interesting however was the total psycho-murderous horror make over in the exterior and the mechanics behind Wonderland and its inhabitants. Writer Raven Gregory is one sick puppy and I love him for his work on the series, which is gaining popularity among its targeted audience. Art tandem Daniel Leister [illustrator] and Nei Ruffino [colorist] create high class crystal clear vision, aesthetical gore and a sultry underlining eroticism, which is quite noticeable though not profane or tasteless. All in all what horror should feel like. I suggest people that like their stories dark and bloody get it now.

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UF Author Kicked Out of Church for writing about vampires

author-photo-high-res1Author of Staked, J.F. Lewis was recently kicked out of his non-denomiational church for writing about vampires, “committing the sins contained within it”, aiming the book at children, and teaching and encouraging the use of vulgarities.

Say what? Never heard of fiction?

Staked, Lewis’s writing debut released by Pocket in March 2008, is about a vampire who just can’t catch a break.

lewis1[From Amazon] Eric’s got issues. He has short-term and long-term memory problems; he can’t remember who he ate for dinner yesterday, much less how he became a vampire in the first place. His best friend, Roger, is souring on the strip club he and Eric own together. And his girlfriend, Tabitha, keeps pressuring him to turn her so she can join him in undeath. It’s almost enough to put a Vlad off his appetite. Almost.

Eric tries to solve one problem, only to create another: he turns Tabitha into a vampire, but finds that once he does, his desire for her fades — and her younger sister, Rachel, sure is cute. And when he kills a werewolf in self-defense, things really get out of hand. Now a pack of born-again lycanthropes is out for holy retribution, while Tabitha and Rachel have their own agendas — which may or may not include helping Eric stay in one piece.

All Eric wants to do is run his strip club, drink a little blood, and be left alone. Instead, he must survive car crashes, enchanted bullets, sunlight, sex magic, and werewolves on ice — not to mention his own nasty temper and forgetfulness.

Because being undead isn’t easy, but it sure beats the alternative.

More on this bizarre story at Asimovs.com forum.
Show the author some support and visit his website.
Lewis can also be found at A League of Reluctant Adults.

Top 10: Female Hotness in Spandex, Leather and Superpowers

A while back I had the pleasant request to post an article from AskMen.com about a top 10 rank list of the hottest female vampires to hit the screen ever. Up until know I never thought of ranking anything, but if AskMen.com can do it all the time, it’s time to kick butt here on this stage as well. So I turned to the one thing I loved so much and could rank, hot women in spandex or leather with super powers. However I knew that not all people would read so much comic books and I decided to cast a Top 10 of actresses to portray either a heroine or villainess in a big screen movie. The criteria is recognition to the public, actual hotness and the ability to portray the role.

10. Mina Harker: Victorian Vixen. Movie: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Actress: Peta Wilson.

As you have seen Mina Harker is definitely not dressed in leather and she doesn’t portray the typical superhero. She is just a different species, but featured in the comic book series and the 2003 motion picture, Mina Harker, created by Bram Stoker for “Dracula”, is a Victorian age savior of the world from evil. What made me feature her was the play mostly. Peta Wilson does a striking job switching from a reserved and polite lady and a very violent vampire. Who doesn’t love a chick that can scale walls, fly and call a flock of bats.

9. Elektra: Spiky Red. Movies: Daredevil & Elektra. Actress: Jennifer Garner

The concept of a woman in smoking red or black as it happens leather and fork weapons is hotter than hell itself, since you get a mega pack. She can stab, pierce, slash and whirls around and around, which gives a pretty good visual on how hot her body is. Jennifer Garner did quite the show kicking ass, but I thought her character was way underdeveloped. Plus there was that stare like a wounded animal, which crashed the style of Marvel’s most lethal and cold blooded assassin. It’s true you simply can’t bear to hurt a woman looking like she has lost her newborn, but it’s very untypical for such a character.

8. Mary Embray: Um, the Immortal version of Ms. Marvel? Movie: Hancock. Actress: Charlize Theron.

Mary Embray doesn’t exist really outside the movie Hancock as a character, which is kind of sad. The comic book universe might have used her. This position is an exception from the rules for this rank list, mainly because a woman lifting a truck, because a superhero hobo is running on her last nerve is sexy. Charlize Theron manages to portray the superhero woman’s scorn and thus earn her spot on number eight.

7. Invisible Woman: Transparent and Hot. Movie: The Fantastic Four 1&2. Actress: Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba should have played the female version of the Human Torch, because she is smoking. I have to admit that she has enough sex appeal to give away to the needy. She even played the character right, but the ass kicker of Sue is under question here. Being invisible is cool and so are force fields, but it saddens me to see that in general she is just sweet and defensive, when all her talents can be used in such violent ways. Referring to the force fields that is. Yes, that may be so, but Sue is devised to be the American Sweetheart in the superhero world, the reason Jessica is stuck on spot number seven.

6. Storm: Sizzling. Movies: The X-Men series. Actress: Halle Berry

Halle Berry has an affiliation to superhero roles as it would seem by her incarnation as Storm and Catwoman, Patience Phillips. However seeing that Catwoman is Selina Kyle, I voted in favor for the white haired mutant. One of my favorite characters ever created I was disappointed to see her role in the X-men movies reduced. The plot centered more around Jean Grey, so it’s understandable that most characters would be underdeveloped. However even if the role was small and not as power boosted as I would have liked, Halle Berry handled the task formidably. Her position here is cemented with the CGI scene with the cluster of tornadoes, which blew my mind away. I would wish her fly and do the human lightning rod gig as well, but may be another movie.

5. Lady Deathstrike: The Adamantium Manicure. Movie: X2: X-Men United. Actress: Kelly Ann Hu

Okay, so she had no back story in the second movie and all she did was come on the stage, shred Wolverine to pieces and then die by his hand. That really doesn’t earn much points for actor skills, but considering her role Kelly Ann Hu portrayed a mindless killing machine with ice cold beauty and as we have seen over the years Asian woman, who know martial arts are always a force to be reconned with, especially when they have blades protruding from their finger tips. As far as the character is recognized I am not sure whether there is a major uproar around Deathstrike, but I am sure the movie boosted her a lot. Number five is well deserved.

4. Mystique: Scally but Fun. Movies: X-Men series. Actress: Rebecca Romijn

The X-Men universe offers a great choice of women with power rather than any other comic book series. Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Ironman and so on have always been valiant knights saving their Louis Lanes, Marry Janes and what not. So most naturally the X-Men movies will provide a decent number of characters involved. Mystique is one of them. Rebecca Romijn promises an unforgettable performance, which leaves you with open mouths. Mystique is known to be a Machiavellian, but Rebecca’s bitchier vixen with reptilian behavior take on the character Mystique takes on a new level of evil ass-kickery. Her character in the movies is controversial since she is deadly, ruthless and yet loyal, which brought her end in the third movie. And Rebecca was hot in her demise.

3. Jean Grey: Quantum Physics in Leather. Movies: X-Men series. Actress: Famke Janssen

Jean Grey is limitless power and as much as I telekinesis the saint aspect of her personality is not that compelling. However when the Phoenix came into the game and suddenly Jean Grey was all red and pyrokinetic, I was ecstatic, because Jean killed around five billion people in the comic book, while in the movie she turned schizophrenic and joined Magneto. I fancy heroes turning villains and thanks to the CGI team Famke aced the transformation and did unspeakable things. For this third place is secured for her. The red leather outfit couldn’t replace the missing flames in the movies, but gave the much needed villain aura.

2. Liz Sherman: Inferno Tempered. Movies: Hellboy 1&2. Actress: Selma Blair.

Liz doesn’t have a fancy name, doesn’t wear spandex, isn’t Marvel, yet she managed to land a place so high on the rank list. The Hellboy movies definitely made her character recognizable, although slightly modified to the movies’ needs. Liz is one of the few women pyrokinetics and her usual melancholy self mixed with a short temper for contrast make her a ticking time bomb. Selma Blair resembles Liz physically and has the voice and facial expression to breathe life to how Liz should be felt by people. She is most notable for her self-ignition, where she becomes something like a human torch which explodes to a nova. Spectacularly handled in the movies so far, which makes Liz hot, both literally and metaphorically speaking.

1. Catwoman: The Latex Kitty. Movie: Batman Returns. Actress: Michelle Pfeiffer

Let’s first start with the costume, which although resembles the comic book version is latex, tattered and screams insanity. Catwoman has never been so deranged and unpredictable. Michelle nailed the part. Playing, when your body is denied any freedom by the tight almost vacuumed suit, is a feat on its own and then incorporate the trademark metal cat claws, the whip, the feline movements and add instable behavior. In the DC universe Selina Kyle is a human with no super powers. She has to rely on herself to succeed and for a woman with a cat obsession to avoid most attempts to be captured by Batman, who has fancy gadgets, makes her the ultimate masked woman in leather to ever appear on the big screen. Thus number one is for her.

A Side Note: I would have personally enjoyed if movie makers decide to add the Scarlet Witch, Sister Grimm, Poison Ivy (ignoring the Uma Thurman catastrophy), Emma Frost and Harley Quinn in future projects. I am sure that those movies will be blockbusters, because people love a scantily clad woman with super powers.

First Lines

Jim Butcher said his favourite of his novels so far is Dead Beat. One look at the opening line and I can see why:

On the whole we’re a murderous race.

What other great opening lines are out there? We thought it would be fun to have a look back at the first lines from some urban fantasy novels. These are the first words to pull us into some fantastic stories, the first words to lure us into some dark and twisted tales. Here they are, in no particular order…

I’d been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar.
~ Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris

Willie McCoy had been a jerk before he died. His being dead didn’t change that. He sat across from me, wearing a loud plaid sports jacket.
~ Guilty Pleasures – Laurell K. Hamilton

I stood in the shadows of a deserted shop front across from The Blood and Brew Pub, trying not to be obvious as I tugged my black leather pants back up where they belonged.
~ Dead Witch Walking – Kim Harrison

I didn’t realize he was a werewolf at first.
~ Moon Called – Patricia Briggs

I heard the mailman approach my office door, half an hour earlier than usual. He didn’t sound right.
~ Storm Front – Jim Butcher

He didn’t look dangerous, not at first glance.
~ The Scent of Shadows – Vicki Pettersson

Normally I wear a czarist army greatcoat– the kind that sometimes gets called a paletot– with pockets sewn in for my tin whistle, my notebook, a dagger, and a chalice. Today I’d gone for a green tuxedo with a fake wilting flower in the buttonhole, pink patent-leather shoes, and a painted-on mustache in the style of Groucho Marx.
~ The Devil You Know – Mike Carey

The night before he went to London, Richard Mayhew was not enjoying himself.
~ Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

Death came to the village, and the tall man followed.
~ BloodAngel – Justine Musk

“Wake up, sir. We’re here.”
~ “Sleep of the Just” from The Sandman #1 – Neil Gaiman

Hunting vampires was a bitch.
~ Minion – L.A. Banks

The moment the door opened I knew an ass-kicking was inevitable. Whether I’d be giving it or receiving it was still a bit of a mystery.
~ Stray – Rachel Vincent

I have to.
I’ve been fighting it all night. I’m going to lose. My battle is as futile as a woman feeling the first pangs of labor and deciding it’s an inconvenient time to give birth. Nature wins out. It always does.
~ Bitten – Kelley Armstrong

Well, thank God this is about to be over, I thought as I drove– well, blew– past the sign that marked Westchester, Connecticut, city limits.
~ Ill Wind – Rachel Caine

My working relationship with Lucifer began on a rainy Monday.
~ Working for the Devil – Lilith Saintcrow

There’s nothing worse than a red-eye flight.
~ Urban Shaman – C.E. Murphy

Saturday night is all about the Well of Souls– see and be seen is the rule– there is no excuse for an absence, least of all a bad hair day.
~ Happy Hour of the Damned – Mark Henry

I felt her fear before I heard her screams.
~ Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

I stiffened at the flashing red and blue lights behind me, because there was no way I could explain what was in the back of my truck.
~ Halfway to the Grave – Jeaniene Frost

His name was Danaus.
And what I remember most were his eyes.
~ Nightwalker – Jocelynn Drake

When I was eight, my mother lost me to zombies in a one card draw.
~ The Iron Hunt – Marjorie M. Liu

“Got another letter from that Cyprien guy,” Grace Cho said as she placed the office mail on Dr Alexandra Keller’s desk.
~ If Angels Burn: a novel of the Darkyn – Lynn Viehl

I don’t like what Operation Iraqui Freedom has done to me. I went to war a soldier; I came back a vampire.
~ The Nymphos of Rocky Flats – Mario Acevedo