Sunday, April 30, 2017

Catching Up with the Kings, Part 4: Joe Hill in comics

A while back, Joe Hill was hired by the CW to develop a reboot of the '80s television anthology Tales from the Darkside.  Hill sketched out a plan for three seasons' -- !!! -- worth of story, and completed three full screenplays (two half-hour episodes which served as the pilot, and an hour-long episode).  The pilot was filmed, and was evidently well-received by all who saw it, but the CW opted not to go to series, and that was the end of that.
Sort of.
Later, somebody at IDW Publishing (Hill's normal comics publisher) had the idea of repurposing the screenplays as a comic-book limited series.  And so they did over the course of four issues during the spring and summer of 2016.  We'll get to those in a bit, but first, this:

After the miniseries ended its single-issue run, IDW published a hardback -- pictured above -- that contains Hill's original screenplays, plus illustrations by C.P. Wilson III (who drew Hill's Wraith miniseries a few years ago).

Since the project began as a television project, and also since the scriptbook came out prior to the collected graphic-novel edition of the comics, we'll cover the screenplays themselves first.  So let's get to covering!

An introduction by Hill (titled "Getting In Touch with My Darkside") relates the project's history, which includes the confession that some of what he ended up establishing as the would-be mythology for the series was triggered by an episode based on one of his dad's stories, "Word Processor of the Gods."  This new series does not seem to have been intended as a follow-up or spinoff of that story in any direct way, but took its notion of a reality-modifying processor and springboarded from there.  My guess based on the evidence at hand is that somebody in Hill's iteration of the series developed a processor similar to the one in King's story/episode, and did so thanks to the inspiration of having seen the episode of the original Tales from the Darkside series.  I'd speculate further that what that person did was develop a microchip that, when implanted in a human brain, unlocked reality-altering potential.  
But since the series never went that far, we'll likely never know for sure.

Now, let's look at each of the three scripts, beginning with:

I avoided spoilers in my post about The Fireman and "Snapshot, 1988," but with this one I'll maybe be a little less rigorous in my attempts.  I'm not going to go out of my way to spoil anything, but if you're super-duper squeamish about that sort of thing, you've been warned.

"A Window Opens" begins with a grad student named Joss, who, after taking her eyes of the road for a few seconds and glancing at her phone, blithely drives right into a "Darkside event" that has descended upon an area ahead of her.  She almost runs over a shabby-looking guy in the middle of the road.  "This is NEWMAN and if DARKSIDE has a hero, he's it," Hill tells readers.  "Too bad he'll be dead by the first commercial break." 

These sentences clue you in somewhat to Hill's screenplay-writing style, which is loose and conversational, and is obviously intended to entertain the reader.  In that sense, it makes for good reading in its own right, which is a screenwriting trait Hill shares with his father.

Newman tells her she's in the middle of a "Darkside field," but does not explain what that means.  He and Joss are in front of a home with a realtor's sign in the yard ("SOLD BY MATHESON-JACKSON ESTATES...," it proclaims), and before long, they meet the residents: an artificially chipper set of parents who hire Joss to babysit the kids.  The kids carry tablets that they never let go of.  Do you suppose those tablets do anything weird?  Well, yeah, sure: with them, the kids can literally rewrite reality.  For example, they draw wings on a kitchen knife, and it turns into a "butterfly knife" that can then fly around and do what knives do: cut things.

Joss's boyfriend, Carter, comes over to keep Joss company while she babysits, and things proceed from there.

Allow me to pose two questions:

(1)  Would this have made for a good first episode for a prospective television series?
(2)  Does the screenplay read well in its own right?

(Also, a third: does the story make for a good comic book?  But we'll get to that later.)

I'll answer #2 first and say that yeah, it makes for a fairly good read.  Hill is a good, entertaining writer, and that comes through even in screenplay format.  
To answer the first question, however, I'm not sure "A Window Opens" works as a first episode of a television series at all.

It depends on your perspective, I guess.  Hill has stated -- and hints in this screenplay -- that a larger mythology underpinned what was going on in this episode.  I don't think that necessarily comes across unless you already know it.  It's easy to tell people a fact like that, if, for example, they are television executives to whom you are pitching a series concept in the hopes that they will commission a screenplay from you.  It is then easy to include verbiage within the screenplay itself indicating (for the benefit of the people who are deciding whether to green-light production of a filmed pilot based on the screenplay) that certain elements tie in to a serialized story that will be developed over the course of the series.
It is another thing entirely to convey that sort of information within the body of the episode itself, and even if you are able to do so, it is difficult to rely on the average viewer to pick up what you're layin' down.  So it's not hard to imagine the average CW viewer watching the filmed version of "A Window Opens," not knowing they are seeing a show that blends the anthology format with an ongoing serial story.  Hill's screenplay doesn't get the mix right, so there's no reason to assume the filmed version did, either.

It simply doesn't have enough mythology, even by implication, to work as a pilot for the series Hill says it was intended to be.  And as an episode of an anthology series, it fares only a bit better: there's not a strong resolution, so it can't -- and doesn't -- stand on its own the way a good episode of an anthology series should.  
For me, then, it's a failure as a screenplay for a prospective episode #1.  Granted, the filmed version could have been an improvement; I'd love to see it and find out.

Moving on:

"The Sleepwalker" was the second half of the pilot presentation, technically a separate episode, but one which would have aired back-to-back with "A Window Opens."  The two stories are almost entirely distinct: Newman makes a brief (re?)appearance, and there is another "Darkside Event," but otherwise, this is an entirely new story, an entirely new cast of characters.  You know, like they do on anthology shows.  The bit with Newman is clearly designed to alert viewers to the fact that there is also a continuing story of some sort; it's intended to intrigue them, and lure them in further.
Personally, I don't think it works in either episode; the Newman elements are underdeveloped and kind of beg for attention rather than invite it.

The main thrust of the plot of "The Sleepwalker" involves a lifeguard who falls asleep on the job, resulting in somebody's death.  Later, he gets caught up in a Darkside Event that seemingly puts a curse on him: anyone who sees his face or hears his voice falls asleep, and stays that way while he's in the vicinity.  Pretty good X-Men power; pretty bad way to go through your life.

I'd still like to see the filmed pilot episode to see how it played.  If I pretend to be a television executive, though, I have to say that based on these first two screenplays, I doubt I'd have even greenlit production of a pilot episode.  Neither is bad, exactly; but based purely on these two stories, it's kind of difficult to see what kind of show Darkside (Hill's proposed title for the reboot) would have been.  If the things that happen to the characters in these stories happened to you in real life, you'd be scared; but on the page they are not scary at all.  Perhaps a strong directorial job could have fixed that, but I'm dubious.

So if they're not scary, what are they?  Weird (in the Weird Tales sense)?  Sure, but neither story is an especially strong example of that subgenre.  Hill certainly has the ability to write in that vein, and has numerous prose short stories that demonstrate it.  So what happened here?  "A Window Opens" lacks sufficient resolution, whereas "The Sleepwalker" has a resolution that feels forced and unearned; so my feeling is that Hill was simply off his game a bit when he wrote them.  Happens to even the best writer from time to time, I'd imagine.
The third episode, an hourlong, improves things a good bit.

"Black Box" opens with a scene that takes place thirty years ago (let's call it 1985).  "BRIAN NEWMAN, a boy of nine, but serious beyond his years, fiddles with a Rubik's Cube at one end of a cluttered table," Hill writes.  "A TV plays on, unattended, in the background.  This is an old TV, with a faux wooden cabinet, and brass antennas.  And look what's on: Tales From the Darkside!  Tonight's episode is my personal favorite: 'Word Processor of the Gods.' "
Brian is playing Monopoly with his babysitter, a friend, and a few other kids.  One of them is an older kid named Donnie, a loudmouthed bully who gives Brian a goodish amount of shit.  He slaps the dice out of Brian's hand at one point before a crucial roll (for which Brian really needs to produce snake eyes), and Brian goes under the table to retrieve them.  While under there, he "comes face to face with a hideous, impossible child" who "looks almost exactly like a photo negative of Newman himself.  His skin is cinder-colored and his eyes are hot points of light."  This character is known as Big Winner, and when he talks, nobody can hear him except Brian; his "image flickers and rolls, just like an image on a TV with bad reception."
"I fixed them for you," he tells Brian, handing him the dice.  Brian eventually emerges from under the table, and rolls -- you guessed it -- snake eyes.  It would be hard to roll anything else; the dice have ones on every side.  Donnie starts to bluster, but Brian has a seizure.
Cut to Brian as an adult.  He is fired from a job at a game store due to an incident in which Big Winner intervened on his behalf.  Basically, Brian Newman is going nowhere fast.  He's approached -- in a manner that reminded me of the Stephen King story "Everything's Eventual" -- by a representative of a company called briteRside; they manufacture tech for phones, satellites, voting machines, and the like.  They know about Brian's problems, and want to fix him ... and also put his abilities to use.  
I won't say much more than that, but that's a pretty good setup.  "Black Box" is better than the first two stories in pretty much every way, and I'm very surprised that somebody at the CW, upon reading the screenplays Hill submitted, didn't recognize immediately that "Black Box" would work as a premiere episode in a way that the combination of "A Window Opens" and "The Sleepwalker" could not.  It gives some context for the appearance -- and Kenny-from-South-Park-style disappearance(s) of -- Newman, as well as the Darkside events.  Put "Black Box" first, and all of a sudden, the first two stories actually possess a decent amount of the intrigue and invitation to follow further that Hill wants them to have.  That doesn't necessarily elevate the stories from being B-minuses, but it does solve the issue of them not being acceptable introductory episodes, because they are no longer introducing anything.
Instead, you could have had "Black Box" as a pilot.  It tells an origin story for Newman, and does a strong job of establishing the conceits that would potentially have gone on to enable the "standalone" episodes to be a part of the larger storyline.  Crucially, it does this by making it clear that they will, even if only tangentially, be a part of Newman's story; it gives them context by virtue of giving us built-in investment for Brian Newman, whose story is intriguing and compelling.  Just the opening scene alone is more effective than anything in either of the other two stories.
Sadly, nobody had this idea.  That baffles me more than a bit, because frankly, it's quite an obvious idea.
All that said, I'd nevertheless recommend Tales From the Darkside: Scripts by Joe Hill to fans of his work.  His screenplays are very readable, and the illustrations by C.P. Wilson III add a bit of spice every few pages.
We may end up taking a look at a few of those illustrations in a bit, but let's now shift our attention to the IDW comics, which were drawn by Gabriel Rodriguez.  We'll take it one issue at a time, beginning, of course, with the second story.
cover art by Gabriel Rodriguez

cover at by Charles Paul Wilson III
cover at by Ben Templesmith
That's right, the miniseries kicks off with "The Sleepwalker."  And I'll go ahead and jump the gun and say that "Black Box" is issues 2 and 3, which means that "A Window Opens" culminates the miniseries.
It's an odd decision, and I'd love to know whose idea it was.  It kind of works; thanks to some changes that have been made to "A Window Opens," that story kind of serves as a non-ending ending for the series (which is obviously never going to be made).  We'll get there in a bit, though.  For now, let's focus on "The Sleepwalker."
A goodish number of changes have been made to all of these stories, at least as they are presented in the scriptbook.  It is not clear who made the changes.  Hill himself did not script the comics; adaptation duties were handled by Michael Benedetto (with whose work I am unfamiliar).  My best guess (based partially on this interview) is that Benedetto had -- and used -- a relatively free hand in adapting the screenplays to a different medium.  It's also possible that Rodriguez suggested some changes, or even IDW bigwig Chris Ryall; but for our purposes, we will assume it was Benedetto, and proceed accordingly.
Whoever gets the credit, I think the changes make the stories fundamentally stronger.  This is certainly true in the case of "The Sleepwalker," which is still probably only a B-minus or so using the report-card scale, but is definitely superior to the screenplay, at least in my opinion.
One of the biggest improvements is that Benedetto drops Hill's notion that people were put to sleep by hearing Ziggy's voice.  In the screenplay -- and presumably, therefore, in the completed pilot episode -- Ziggy can only communicate by texting.  Benedetto simplifies the concept by having the narcoleptic effects be limited to people who see Ziggy's face.  This enables a major change: Ziggy is able to interact with people by putting on a mask.  You can see this on all three of the covers above.
It's a Greek-drama tragedy mask that Ziggy used previously during a performance of Richard III.  This play is a major part of his backstory in both the screenplay and the comic, and Benedetto's choice to elevate it in a style wholly becoming to a comic book is a stroke of genius.
Elsewhere, some scenes from Hill's screenplay are dropped, others condensed or otherwise reshaped.
Let's have a look at a couple of pages from Hill's screenplay, and then at the corresponding pages from the comic.


Having your main character get run over by a lawnmower is admittedly an impressive surprise for a television show.  Even the great Mad Men could only manage to do that with a minor character.
Let's see what Benedetto and Rodriguez did with this scene.
Let's pause here for a second and reflect how much better it works to see Brian Newman in the bottom panel if you already know who he is and what his backstory is.  As is, Benedetto has done a good job of trying to make the random appearance of this unknown character have some resonance by adding this line about Ziggy thinking nobody has it worse than him.

Some of the imagery -- the bird with the forked tongue, the rotting flowers -- are from Hill's description of what the show's opening credits will be like.

I'd love to know if the airy bubble-pops in the bottom left-hand panel were Benedetto's idea or Rodriguez's.  My money is on the latter.  Earlier, in the scene in which Ziggy fell asleep while on duty as a lifeguard, the same bubbles appeared around his hand.  Their reappearance here ties the one event to these startling new ones, and is a great example of making the sequential-art medium work in the style it is uniquely suited to work.

In a perfect world, the bottom left-hand panel would have ended the page, and the next panel would have come only when you flipped to the next.  Leave the reader briefly hanging in the expectation of a grisly, Dead Alive style death.  Then, the strange disappearance of the entire body carries that much more intrigue.
So in my opinion, what you've got here is Benedetto and Rodriguez elevating Hill's material quite a bit.  In film terms, both are functioning almost as co-directors, which suggests that the filmed episode based on "The Sleepwalker"could theoretically have benefited in the same way.  Alternatively, the filmed version could just as easily have made a mess of Hill's screenplay, rendering it even less effective than it already was.
Such is the nature of a collaborative medium like film, or comics.
Let's move on and take a look at the second issue.
cover art by Gabriel Rodriguez

cover art by Charles Paul Wilson III
As I mentioned earlier, "Black Box" has been moved up to be the second story, presented across two issues.
Benedetto has not made as many substantial changes to "Black Box," likely owing to the fact that is a fundamentally sounder story than "The Sleepwalker."  However, some appearances of Big Winner have been added to strong effect, and some seemingly contradictory bits pertaining to Brian's control over his powers have been deleted.  So again, I'd argue that Benedetto has improved Hill's work.
Let's do another compare-and-contrast scene:

C.P. Wilson's illustration on this page is worth looking at closely.

Has Hill sneaked a Horns reference into the screenplay?

Now, the comic version:

I like the reflection of Big Winner.  But I'm more impressed by Benedetto reassigning the line about the computer chip in the cell phone to Finney.  It seems forced coming out of Newman's mouth in the screenplay; it sounds like information being given to the audience, not to Finney.  Here, it works better, because Finney is giving Newman information he doesn't have.

The abridged version of the fox-stole incident is arguably inferior to Hill's original, as is having the landlord be trapped inside a car instead of a room with no exits.  I don't think you miss any of it unless you've read the screenplay, though, so as condensations, I think these work.  Too bad those milk-drinking cows of Wilson's didn't make the cut, though.

Moving on to issue #3:
cover art by Gabriel Rodriguez

cover art by Charles Paul Wilson III
I'm not going to talk much about the events of the second half of "Black Box," so as not to give anything away.  And I'd like to stress, it's not like I'd be giving away the fact that Charlton Heston was actually on a former planet of the humans the entire time.  There's nothing like that here.  I just figure that if you care about any of this at all, you probably want to read it for yourself eventually, in which case you don't need me telling you what happens.  Maybe you've even read it already, in which case you STILL don't need me to tell you.
In any case, the only thing I want to say about issue #3 is to carp a bit about the final panel (which is vague enough as to give nothing away to the uninitiated):
Reading the dialogue there from Dr. Friedkin, and then seeing the "TO BE CONCLUDED..." capper, does it instill in you a reasonable expectation that the following issue will resolve the story?  It does in me, and I already know that the story does not resolve.  So what would a comic-book reader coming into this miniseries cold think?
I don't see how they think anything BUT that the fourth issue will wrap things up.  And it assuredly does not.  So here, I think all involved made a miscalculation by creating a false expectation.  Let's see how that pays off in the final issue:
cover art by Gabriel Rodriguez

cover art by Charles Paul Wilson III
I find it to be a bit odd that the miniseries closes with the episode that opened Hill's scriptbook.  I assume the idea was that it was less than optimal to "end" the miniseries with an open-ended story like "Black Box," which is sensible.  But "A Window Opens" is fairly open-ended in its own right, and Benedetto actually makes it more so here than it was in Hill's screenplay.  He does so to good effect for the story at hand, but I don't think it does anything for the overall miniseries that "Black Box" didn't already do.
In other words, color me confused.
That said, I think Benedetto and -- especially -- Rodriguez do strong work with "A Window Opens," and once again improve on Hill's original screenplay.  (It sounds like I'm raking ol' Joe over the coals a bit in this post!  If it is indeed coming across that way, let me clarify that I don't think Hill did poor work with these stories; I don't think it's his best work by any stretch of the imagination, but it's certainly not shabby.)
Let's check out the differences between the screenplay and comic in the first scene:
I like the use of the song from Eddie and the Cruisers, which is totally on the nose, but in a way of which I approve.  No way that's what Joss would actually be listening to, but I, as a 42-year-old man, will allow it.

And now, the comic version:
As far as I can tell, this is a nonexistent song.  It is certainly NOT John Cafferty.

If you want proof that Darkside would have worked better if "Black Box" had come first, here it is.  Newman's appearance carries more weight if this part of the story plays as a sequel to "Black Box."

Benedetto opts not to emphasize the Darkside event, which strikes me as being a missed opportunity.  Perhaps he felt it was redundant, since we'd already seen such a thing in "The Sleepwalker"?  It's also worth noting that he has omitted virtually all of Newman's role in this episode, opting to merely have him "die" as the result of being "run over" by Joss.  That's probably an improvement.

Would YOU buy a house from Matheson-Jackson Estates?  Me neither.

It goes on from there, of course.  Rodriguez does a good job with the violent chaos that erupts, and Benedetto makes a few changes to the end (including altering one character's fate) that work well.  He also adds a tag that doesn't resolve Hill's take on Darkside, but does a good job of forcefully driving home the fact that these four stories were intended to be the beginning of a much longer tale.  Benedetto's take on that is satisfyingly unsatisfying, if that makes any sense.

The miniseries is available from IDW in a handsome collected hardback edition.  The question is: is it worth your time?  Should you get the scriptbook instead?
Personally, I think any Joe Hill fan should have both.  The two books feed off each other in some way, and provide a window into a television project that never quite came to fruition.  That's frustrating and unsatisfying, but it shouldn't let you stop yourself from enjoying the books that resulted from it.  Hill's screenplays are written in an entertaining fashion that demonstrates the author's enthusiasm for the project; and the comic adaptation features strong art and (arguably) an improved set of storylines.
From me, it's a recommendation.
If there's any hesitation in issuing that recommendation for Tales From the Darkside, there is virtually none in issuing one for the next comic on our agenda:
cover art by Gabriel Rodriguez

cover at by David Petersen

cover art by Charles Paul Wilson III

cover art by Brian Coldrick

cover photography by Shane Leonard
A brief word about variant covers.  They are controversial among comic-book enthusiasts, partially because they/we see variants as a cheap -- meaning "an expensive" -- way for publishers to get us to spend more money.  In principle, I'm opposed to the practice, but the fact is that in many instances I am more than willing to fork over money for multiple issues of a single comic.
The trick is, you've gotta give me good art.  Preferably GREAT art.  Of these variants, I have all but the final one; and I may yet break down and buy a copy of that, just to say I've got it.  My favorite of the group is the one by C.P. Wilson III, which is just lovely.  I dig 'em all, though.  
The $4.99 price is a bit much, though, guys.  I know you probably do well by fleecing us Joe Hill fans, but at a certain point, this one is likely to look at your practices as less of a feature and more of a bug, if you follow me.
Anyways, none of that matters in terms of my feelings about "Small World," which are entirely positive.
The story is set in the 1910s and involves the family of Lockes previously glimpsed in "Open the Moon."  You need not know anything about that story, though; in fact, I'd forgotten I was seeing characters I'd already seen before, and it didn't hurt me a bit.
The setup is fairly simple: Chamberlin Locke, then-patriarch of the family, has constructed a dollhouse replica of Keyhouse.  A corresponding Key enables one to peer inside the dollhouse and see "replicas" of the actual people within it.
So in that bottom right-hand panel, Tiberius (the cat) is looking in on himself looking in on himself.  Pretty fucking trippy.

An additional wrinkle can be found when and if one inserts an object into the dollhouse while it is Key-activated.
This is obviously a shitload of fun for one who wishes to torment one's siblings; perhaps less so if one is a sibling who is on the receiving end of said torment.
It's also problematic if somebody leaves the Key in the active position and a black widow spider crawls inside the dollhouse.
That's a serious problem, no doubt about it.  The remainder of the story will involve the efforts to cope with that problem, of course, and you will get no further specifics out of me as to how those efforts go.
This is a terrific tale, full of the wit and charm that has often characterized Locke & Key.  It had been three years almost to the day since the final issue of the primary series had come out; sometimes, a gap of time like that can make it difficult for artists to return to a series and find their groove.  No need to worry about whether Hill and Rodriguez had problems of that nature; if they did, it is wholly unapparent in reading "Small World."  Instead, they seem to have dropped right back into the world of Keyhouse like the universe had merely put them on pause for three years.  The pause having been lifted, "Small World" feels of a piece with the rest of the saga.
In a postscript, Hill and Rodriguez are interviewed by IDW's publisher, Ted Adams.  Some interesting info comes up:
For one thing, I'm always up for poking The Phantom Menace with a stick.  For another thing, it sounds like we might be getting a LOT more Locke & Key eventually, and that's an entirely good thing, in my opinion.
I suspect some of these plans may already have changed, however.  This August, a collection title Locke & Key: Heaven and Earth is being released.  It will contain both "Open the Moon" and "Grindhouse," both of which are mentioned here as components of The Golden Age; but it will also contain a story called "In the Can," which I'd never heard of, and which apparently only appeared in a hard-to-find IDW 10th Anniversary collection of some sort.
It will NOT contain "Small World," however, which presumably means that at some point in time, when the other "Golden Age" stories are complete, they will appear in collected form as Locke & Key: The Golden Age.  This might mean that this Heaven and Earth book is more of a cash-grab than anything else; depends on whether "In the Can" ever makes another appearance, and since I don't even know exactly what that is, I can't even speculate knowledgeably on that matter.  Either way, I guess I'm okay with it; you make a series as great as Locke & Key, you earn the right to grab at my wallet every so often.
The real news here is World War Key.  Both Rodriguez and Hill indicate that they've plotted it out loosely, and given what seems on their part to be a very enthusiastic desire to continue living in the Keyhouse universe, I suspect the series will end up happening eventually.  I will buy every issue, plus variants.  Go ahead and add it to my pull list, fellas.
We're almost done, but there is one additional thing to mention regarding "Small World."  Not only is it available in a (somewhat overpriced) $4.99 floppy edition, but you can also get a hardback copy for a mere $14.99.

I, of course, sprung for this also.  This means that I've sunk something like $35 into "Small World," and the fact that I don't begrudge everyone involved at least thirty of those bucks ought to tell you something about Locke & Key.  Anyways, Ted Adams gotta eat.
As to whether you ought to splurge on the hardback, the difference between it and the floppies is that it contains a nice smattering of supplemental materials.  An art gallery, for example, showcasing the various variant-cover pieces.  There's also about eighteen pages' worth pf replicas of Hill's hand-drawn script for the story.  These are hard to read -- Hill is a scribbler -- but for the would-be Hill scholar, that stuff is worth its weight in ... well, maybe not gold, but it's worth its weight in, like, steak or lobster or something.
So there you have it.  I'm caught up with the Kings, finally.  I plan to stay that way, permanently.  We're less than a month away from Gwendy's Button Box, Stephen's collaboration with Richard Chizmar.  I'll definitely be reading that when it comes out, so look for my thoughts on that relatively soon.


  1. I skipped over the Locke and Key stuff, because I really do want to read those, so I'll have to circle back to that particular overview. One of these days!

    I thought of "Everything's Eventual" during that part, too. I suppose there's only so many ways one can approach this, as a storyteller.

    His idea for a "Darkside" reboot remind me a little of the "House of Mystery" title that was launched a few years back. It got cancelled, but overall it was pretty good: anthology format but with an over-arching mythology, one that started off as subtle then (in my opinion, as they started altering the format looking for better sales) slowly took over the book. Good series, though.

    These look interesting - the art / those covers especially. I like Charles Paul Wilson especially.

    1. I remember hearing good things about that relaunched "House of Mystery." I'd like to read that. The old version, too, for that matter.

      Well, really, every comic ever made. You know how it is!

  2. I loved the Darkside comics, but I will probably skip the scripts one.
    I am rewatching Darkside now and they are not really that good. The one with white monster in the clost haunted my dreams for years but other than that I think the ratio of actual good episodes are around 20%. That '80s TZs were way better.
    Regardless it would have been awesome to get the anology series back espially with the talent Joe has and he could have probably brought more talent to the show. This is much more interesting to me than a Locke and Key tv show.
    Speaking of which, I'd like to read Small World, I had assumed it would be in that new collection, thanks for letting me know it isn't.

    1. It seems like an odd exclusion; but IDW are old experts at squeezing extra bucks out of Joe Hill fans.

      I bought the complete "Tales from the Darkside" DVD collection last year, and will sit down with it all one of these days. Probably whenever I get around to the "Word Processor of the Gods" short story review. So in about 2056 or so...