Year-End Favorites: Reads

Again, split into catagories…

1. OFF SEASON, THE UNEXPURGATED EDITION; Jack Ketchum: I got around to reading Jack Ketchum’s first book in the complete way he intended it. The story of a group of college friends shacking up in a vacation cabin at a seaside town and the inbred cannibals who hunt them down. A terrifying, action-packed ride that was the first book to give me nightmares since reading Stephen King’s Desperation.

2. TERMINAL; Brian Keene: The story of a poor man diagnosed with terminal cancer who decides to rob a bank in order to help his wife and child before he dies. Emotionally jolting, deeply frightening, with one of the best endings I’ve read in a long time.

3. SHIVERS; Various: I love anthologies, and I was knocked out by this one, the first of what is soon to be a foor volume series. Contains incredible stories, by Keene (with Tim Lebbon), Edward Lee, Brian Freeman, Simon Clark, Douglas Clegg, Ketchum, Ray Garton, and a slew of others. This was a can’t miss!

4. FLESH GOTHIC; Edward Lee: I’m a relative newcomer to Lee, and while some of his grosser stuff (and yeah, it’s really gross) isn’t for me, this one was the perfect blend of gore, suspense, and absolute terror. The story of a haunted mansion once owned by the head of a porn empire and the band of ghost-hunters and psychics who investigate it. Great from first page to last!

COMICS

1. FELL; Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith: Leave it to Warren Ellis to charge a buck less for a comic, make it six pages shorter, and still blow everything else out of the water. A mysteriously disgraced detective is sent to work in Snow Town, the worst city anybody’s seen in a long time. The people are awful, the police chief doesn’t give a shit, and there’s a gun-toting nun who looks a lot like Richard Nixon.

2. THE WALKING DEAD; Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard: The Dead slipped a little this year, the story slowing down a little bit as internal strife takes a heavier toll on the group of survivors. Still better than almost anything else on the stands, though.

3. RUNAWAYS; Brian K Vaughan and Adrian Alphona: maybe I should be ashamed that one of my favorite titles is one aimed at the young adult market, but I don’t care. This story of the orphaned children of supervillains is at times hillarious, thrilling, and heart-breaking. A must read.

4. NEW AVENGERS; Brian Michael Bendis and Dave Finch: Hear that? That’s the sound of my good friend Randy Lander’s head popping. Bendis starts fresh, avoiding the hulking bohemoth of continuity to give us an Avengers tale you can actually read and enjoy. Who woulda thunk?