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Hino Horror 1: The Red Snake

Wow! Want something a little "different", a little "off?" Try the Hino Horror line for a reading experience that will literally disturb your inner being to the core. This material will rattle the foundations of what you once considered "horror."

Hideshi Hino has an entire series of manga horror available from DH Publishing (NOT Dark Horse!). THE RED SNAKE is the first entry of the line, and I must admit at first I was apprehensive to try out "manga horror." I think I've been programmed to believe that all manga is going to be a Macross or Space Cruiser Yamato knock-off. Well, I was wrong to make that assumption!

What Hino has accomplished with THE RED SNAKE is a weird, mind trip of psychological terror that leaves the reader truly reeling. The story is a very strange, very different attempt at fear from what Western readers will be used to, but it sure is effective! If you are a fan of top-notch Japanese horror stories like The Ring and The Grudge (as the movies were titled after being remade here), then you owe it to yourself to try a little bite of this creepy cuisine from the East. Check it out at:

History of the Skywald Horror-Mood by Al Hewetson

As time goes by and the 1970's become more and more part of the foggy past, there still remain a few bright beacons that cut through the haze; guiding the way for those of us who wish to recapture the memories of that bygone decade. Skywald horror magazines, for me, are among the brightest of such guiding lights. I often find myself sitting in my reading room just staring at the covers to these gems, and many a stormy night have I been in bed feverishly reading a few lurid yarns from the pages of SCREAM, NIGHTMARE, or PSYCHO. Nothing goes better with a late night storm than a good scary story, and man did Skywald ever publish some great ones!

So, it was with great sadness that I heard the news of Alan Hewetson's untimely passing in January of 2004. I felt as if he had passed from this mortal plane without ever getting his just praise from the comics community. After all, b&w horror mags don't get the credibility of a traditional four-color superhero comic, and editors and writers get only a minute percentage of the attention that artists have thrown at them. I felt it was a damn shame, because Al was the master mind of the Skywald "horror-mood," which has influenced and molded many a fan, and garnered quite a cult following some 30 years since closing shop.

Thank the Comic Gods that Hewetson was working with the the folks at Headpress on an all - encompassing book about Skywald at the time of his heart attack. As fate would have it, the project was able to be finished and is now available a year after Al's premature demise. Man, if you like Skywald, then this is a must have, plain and simple! I'm not going to go into detail about all the great contents, just suffice it to say that this tome is the DEFINITIVE piece on the horror-mood. Every horror comic fan should own this! It has (for now) replaced copies of PSYCHO and company as my nightly reading material. Once or twice I have even fought off a tear or two while contemplating the "humanity" of this posthumous release.

How ironic is it that Alan Hewetson finally gets his major comics recognition after his death? Almost sounds like a plot to a horror-mood story, doesn't it? "The Grimoire from Beyond the Grave" perhaps? Maybe it's fitting after all. I'm sure Al would approve, and I'm almost equally as sure that I can hear his trumphant laughter coming from somewhere out there in the dark.......