Sunday, September 27, 2015

Conan the Barbarian meets Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Today's improbable team-up is Conan the Barbarian and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, drawn by me. The real Sabrina comic book is drawn by Robert Hack and written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and it is a terrific horror comic, well worth your time.

Learn more about it here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


   Here is my panel schedule for Monsterama, a convention for lovers of all things monstrous. I’ll be there signing books, talking on panels and hanging out with friends. Come on by and say hi!

Friday Oct 2nd

8-9 PM Bump in the Night: Monster Folklore Origins

Saturday Oct 3rd

10-11 AM Pulp Comics

1-2 PM Monster Lab: Creating as a Team

3-4 PM Lovecraft: The Influence of the Old Ones

5-6 PM Creature Vs Man: Who is the True Monster?

7-8 PM Supernatural Vs Paranormal

Sunday Oct 4th

11AM-12PM Pulp Monsters: Writing Mayhem

Monday, September 21, 2015

Happy Birthday Stephen King!

   It’s Stephen King’s Birthday today. A publishing phenomena, King ushered in a whole new generation of horror readers and writers. I’ve been reading his stuff since I was in high school, and though I don’t like everything he’s written, I like most of it. When the man is on, he’s one of the best storytellers around and he’s one of the few people whose books, and especially short stories, have actually scared me. Happy Birthday Stephen. Thanks for all the years of reading.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Charles Rutledge’s Book of Horror Vol VII

And here we are again. September. As in the past half dozen years, I’ve chosen thirteen chilling tales for my imaginary horror anthology, inspired by the book H.P. LOVECRAFT’S BOOK OF HORROR. I always try to have this list up before October so that interested parties can have some suggestions for Halloween reading. This isn’t a ‘year’s best’, though often the stories on the list are ones that I’ve read or re-read recently. For example, I re-read Robert E. Howard’s OLD GARFIELD’S HEART just the other day and was reminded what a fine weird tale it was, told in a voice very similar to the one you hear in REH’s letters and set in his beloved South West.
A newer example would be MUSINGS by Brian Keene, which I just read in a new collection. It’s not a new story for Brian, but it’s new to me. Ditto Robert Bloch’s BLACK BARGAIN, which I just discovered. A nifty tale combining elements of the Cthulhu Mythos with a setting reminiscent of Damon Runyan.
SLIME is Joseph Payne Brennan’s most famous and most anthologized story, but somehow I’ve never added it to one of these lists. Very influential to Stephen King for his story THE RAFT. By the same token, THE CHARNEL GOD is one of Clark Ashton Smith’s best known stories, and it’s definitely one of my top five by Klar-Kashton. In contrast, THE LURKING FEAR is usually considered a fairly minor H.P. Lovecraft story, written as a serial right after HERBERT WEST:REANIMATOR, and not HPL’s best. Still, I found it creepy and very cinematic in construction. I think a fine low-budget horror film could be made from it.
Though I’ve read a ton of M.R. James ghost stories, I first encountered THE TRACTATE MIDDOTH as a TV adaptation done by the BBC. I enjoyed it enough to find the original story and give it a read. A classic M.R. James tale of revenge from beyond the grave. The TV version is usually available on Youtube.
Kealan Patrick Burke shows that even something as modern as social media can be grist for horror tale in OFFLINE.
Manly Wade Wellman and Karl Edward Wagner, those two southern gentlemen, return this year, Karl with WHERE THE SUMMER ENDS, a tale that could only be told in the south, and Manly with his final John Thunstone short story, ROUSE HIM NOT.
The oldest story on this year's list is by Leo Tolstoy's cousin Aleksei. THE HOUSE OF THE VOURDALAK is closer to folklore than modern horror and thus paints a very different picture of a vampire.
These days every horror anthology needs a zombie story and I picked a corker by Joe Lansdale. ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE CADILLAC DESERT WITH DEAD FOLKS is a mix of humorous and disturbing, like much of Lansdale's work.
The final story on the list was the hardest to decide upon. I considered stories by Ray Bradbury, Hugh B. Cave, and Stephen King, but I finally went with Caitlin R. Kiernan's PICKMAN'S OTHER MODEL because it's a recent mythos story that I really enjoyed.
So there you have it. Vol VII of my book of horror. Plenty of time to go and find these stories before Halloween arrives. I bid you uneasy nights and shadow-haunted dreams.

1. Musings by Brian Keene
From Where we Live and Die

2. The Lurking Fear by H.P. Lovecraft
From The Best of H.P. Lovecraft

3. Slime by Joseph Payne Brennan
From The Shapes of Midnight

4. The Charnel God by Clark Ashton Smith
FromThe Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith Vol 4

5. Old Garfield’s Heart by Robert E. Howard
From The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard

6. Black Bargain by Robert Bloch
From American Supernatural Stories

7. The Tractate Middoth by M.R. James
From Collected Ghost Stories of M.R.James

8. Offline by Kealan Patrick Burke
Available as an ebook

9. Where the Summer Ends by Karl Edward Wagner
From The Best Horror Stories of Karl Edward Wagner

10. Rouse Him Not by Manly Wade Wellman
From The Valley So Low

11. The Family of the Vourdalak by Aleksei Tolstoy
From Victorian Vampire Stories

12. On the far Side of the Cadillac Desert With Dead Folks by Joe Lansdale
From The Monster Book of Zombies

13. Pickman's Other Model by Caitlin R Kiernan
From New Cthulhu

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Triptych of Terror

Been doing a little reminiscing today, trying to recall just how I discovered the writing of H.P. Lovecraft. My operating theory has been that I read about HPL in Stephen King's book DANSE MACABRE and that led me to seek out Lovecraft's work and I ended up with the Del Rey collection, THE BEST OF H.P. LOVECRAFT. Sat down for a reread of Danse Macabre this afternoon and sure enough, when I reached the part where King talked about discovering the old gentleman from Providence, I recalled what had sparked my interest, and that was King's mentions of Cthulhu, Nylarthotep and HPL's other strange gods. I checked the dates on the books and everything fell into place. Danse Macabre came out in 1981 and the Del Rey HPL collection in 1982. Bada bing. Bada boom.
   Something I'd forgotten though, was that King was introduced to HPL by finding a box of books that had belonged to his father. One of those books was the Avon edition of THE LURKING FEAR AND OTHER STORIES which is pictured on the far left. King found HPL through that book and I found Lovecraft through King's book. It's like a gibbering slavering circle of unlife.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Red Sonja/Conan Art by Roberto Castro

I'm still finding the story in RedSonja/Conan to be a little meh, but boy the art is a blast. This is so close to old school Marvel Conan the Barbarian that it looks like a lost issue of Savage Sword of Conan in color.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Happy Birthday, Edgar Rice Burroughs!

Today is the birthday of Edgar Rice Burroughs, my first ‘favorite’ author and the man who created Tarzan, John Carter, and so many other amazing characters and worlds. There is still no other author who can give me the ‘sense of wonder’ I had when I was a child like Burroughs can. I was doing a reread of TARZAN AT THE EARTH’S CORE last night, ERB’s crossover between the ape man and Burroughs’ inner world saga, and my favorite Tarzan book. A few pages in and I was twelve again. So Happy Birthday, Ed. How much drearier this world would be without your imagination.