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Screamland Paperback – November 11, 2008
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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I love it when satire meets the horror genre.
Recently, I started following the new monster comic satire entitled "Screamland." It contains an intense, hilarious, and disturbing satire about the Hollywood system, featuring an old-school cast of monsters as struggling out-of-work actors attempting to make a comeback (all of the characters are seriously flawed anti-heroes with drinking problems, anger-management issues, and closet woes). It's set in a contemporary Hollywood where the Universal monsters are real, or I should say, the monsters are "real" actors who play themselves as monsters in the classic films (a very interesting twist).
At this point, I have only read three of the five issues: the Frankenstein issue, the Wolfman issue, and the Dracula issue, which features a closeted gay Count Dracula in the tradition of Rock Hudson. In the Dracula issue, the satire centers around the closet in Hollywood, and this story is clearly based on real-life precedent. Specifically, the way major studios tried to keep gay actors in the closet for the purpose of public image (and ticket sales).
All three issues are dynamite, twisted satire. I even got a little offended by the portrayal of Ed Wood in the Frankenstein issue, and I would argue that every good satire must offend everyone at least a little. Writer Harold Sipe did a wonderful job weaving the irony and social commentary with a good dose of old-school horror parody.
The artwork by Hector Casanova is amazing. The caricature-esque faces and bodies are excellently balanced by weird, atmospheric coloring.
I really enjoy the layered storytelling in the series, which involves a sophisticated use of flashbacks (I love the flashbacks about Dracula's fake marriages) and stories-within-stories, which include parody moments from the classic monster movies.
More than anything, I think it's really exciting to see Dracula in bed with another man!