Friday, February 13, 2009


So I'm laboring away at a short story I'm writing and illustrating for the upcoming music-themed issue of Fan-Atic Press' Slam-Bang Comics, published by underground comix vet Allen Freeman. The story I'm doing is entitled "A Child of the Sea" and is an autobiographical cartoon sharing my nearly life-long obsession with Black Sabbath.

So I'm rushing to hit this deadline, and talk about woodshedding. Not only am I immersing myself in all things Sabbath (which is a daily ritual of mine anyway, thankfully for the story), but I'm striving for likenesses of the various Sabbath members portrayed in the story. Expect a much more cartoonish than photo-realistic look, which not only eases my burden but better serves a story inspired by the great underground comix by Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb that have dealt with their own musical fetishes.

Here is a small preview:

Below is a study I worked up of Ian Gillan, Sabbath's vocalist on the classic Born Again album and tour; and a quick sketch I did of Sabbath main man Tony Iommi, .

More to come,

Postscript/ Update (April 2009): I was not able to complete the 8 page "A Child of the Sea" for Slam-Bang Comics Vol. III # 4 after all due to time constraints, but editor Allen Freeman has chosen to run my text and photo collage piece "Jazz Deaths" instead so that I can still be included in the issue. "Jazz Deaths" originally appeared in 1997 in issue # 10 of a zine I used to write for called Terminal Brain Rot, edited by Cleveland-based psychotronic zinester/ muso Michael Huegen, who had a profound influence on me in my early days as a published writer, back when Michael's home base was the City Where Evil Dwells, Charlotte NC. Thanx Michael and thanx so much Allen!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Some Thoughts on DAWN OF THE DEAD (The Only Version That Matters)

Due to popular demand (OK, like three people), I'm presenting this brief, far-from-comprehensive scattershot review (that originally appeared on Flixster and on my MySpace blog) of one of my all-time favourite films.

George A Romero's seminal horror picture DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) is a film that (with its predecessor, Romero's 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) has spawned an entire subgenre of horror and a teeming cottage industry of works that, with very few exceptions, in no way approach the brilliance of Romero's. No doubt I'll, um, cannibalize this capsule rant when I cover DAWN at more length for a future piece on my all-time favourite flicks.

Some Thoughts on DAWN OF THE DEAD
(The Only Version That Matters)
by Henry Covert

Romero's epic of survival in a world overrun by the living dead could be the most ambitious - and successful - attempt at using the horror film genre as powerful and multi-leveled social critique. Our quartet of hapless protaganists sequester themselves in a massive shopping mall, all the consumerist needs of their past lives fulfilled, despite one of them slowly dying from zombie bites, and the two in a relationship (one pregnant) finding it as impossible to get along in this manufactured world as in their previous lives.

It falls to SWAT officer Peter Washington (an Oscar-level turn by Ken Foree - as if Oscars really held much credibility to me), one of the great heroes of horror or action cinema, to keep his cool and keep thinking, even when faced with his friend's zombification, and the zombies ultimately breaching the mall due to a renegade army of looting bikers. Peter almost manages to deal with it all and get out alive with pregnant Fran (Gaylen Ross), but there's a final twist - but one that makes Peter's struggles worthwhile.
If you have yet to see this, see it now! Much imitated, never equalled, with brilliant performances, a tight (and highly quotable) script that shows Romero thought out every angle of his premise. And the interesting thing is, no one ever learns exactly why the dead walk - it's just happening, and they have to deal with it. I could write on and on about the meanings and subtext at play here, but I leave that to the individual viewer. For the gorehounds (who no doubt have, uh, devoured this flick numerous times, but just in case), the intestine-ripping, gut-munching splatter is on hand in copious amounts. As with its premise and approach, this movie broke ground to become the benchmark for gore films from here on, largely due to Tom Savini's savagely realistic makeup effects.
Finally, if you've seen neither version of the film (not counting the several cuts of Romero's original), please, I beg you, eschew Zack Snyder's pointless DOTD remake. Watch the real one first. I don't hate the remake, but for the most part it's imminently forgettable and misses most of the points Romero was making. So much for "re-imaginings".

"When the dead walk, we must stop the killing... or lose the war".

Henry Covert

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Astonishing Adventures # 5 On Sale At Last

The current issue of Astonishing Adventures Magazine is finally on sale as a hard copy magazine. This issue features the final installment of my column "The Many Worlds of Wold Newton" with AAM. I have another possible venue for it, but it's way too soon to confirm anything. Astonishing Adventures # 5 can be ordered on here:

AAM # 4, featuring my first Wold Newton column, is still on sale as well here:
Thanx again to Katherine Thomlinson for her unflagging editorial support and encouragement during my time with AAM.

Appropos quote of the week, from one of my very favourite films :

"It's not so much what we do... it's having a choice... being able to decide what it is I want... not just to be forced into a thing because that's the way it is. I'm gonna buy me some time, baby... some time that isn't all fucked up with things we gotta do. Just to be free."

- Youngblood Priest (Ron O'Neal), Superfly