Wishlist 2005: Less Zombies, Less Vampires

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Comics in 2003 and 2004 were surprised by the rise, both in success and buzz, of horror comics. Mostly, we can thank a one-man horror factory for it: Steve Niles.

Niles, whose 30 Days of Night brought horror comics back in a big way in 2001, cranked out dozens, seemingly hundreds, of horror comics in 2003 and 2004, covering topics like vampires, zombies, synthetic men, and more.

And let’s thank him for it (even if I didn’t like the only thing I’ve read by him: 30 Days of Night).

Late 2003 and 2004 saw the rise of another horror comics powerhouse: Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. Hugely popular title for a black and white book, but … well, you know what I thought about it.

Still, these series and miniseries have relied on established archetypes like zombies and vampires to ply their trade. What I want for 2005 is more new concepts.

Consider what was probably the freshest, most energizing horror film of the last decade: The Ring. Think of it, or its American version, what you will, but any movie remade or ripped off more than 100 times worldwide in less than 8 years is a major milestone.

Watch The Ring and you’ll find nary a zombie, a vampire, a werewolf, or anything descended from Universal’s 1930s bestiary. And I think that is, in part, what made it so exciting, lodged it so firmly in audiences’ imaginations.

So: for 2005, I’d like more movies and comics in the spirit of The Ring. Not more horror about dead kids who need to be avenged or about secret horrors transmitted through the media.

I mean more works, comics and movies both, which use original concepts, stories that rely on fear and effect over jumps and gore, tales that privilege character, pacing, and atmosphere over a sharp object to stab with.

Here’s hoping.

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