Hell Yes to Hell House: The Awakening & Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD (Updated)
For all of you comic book hellions out there, you're in luck. This month marks the premiere publication of the Hell House: The Awakening graphic novel, written by Chad Feehan and Ryan Dixon and illustrated by Tsubasa Yozora, from indie publisher Viper Comics. Hell House: The Awakening details what happens when one of these seasonal, religiously-themed events is overrun by something genuinely supernatural. From what I heard in the previews, the end result ain't pretty.
(If by some odd chance that you don't know what a "Hell House" in this context is, you might want to check out the Hell House documentary from 2001. It should also be noted that this kind of Hell House should neither be confused with Richard Matheson's 1971 novel Hell House, nor its 1973 movie adaptation The Legend of Hell House.)
It just so happens that I know--or at least know of--half of this Hell House writing team. Years before he started writing comics, Ryan Dixon produced and directed a few of his own low, low budget movies in western Pennsylvania and he cast of friend of mine in a major role in one of his productions, Scary Movie! or Small Town Serial Killers and Flesh Eaters. You can still watch this movie for free on Dixon's video production company site, Firefly Productions. As for Chad Feehan, he was one of the producers for the ambitious 2006 horror film, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. (The way I see it, any horror film that can add a dark, twisted subtext to Bobby Vinton's version of the otherwise innocuous song "Sealed With A Kiss" is worthy of mention.) Feehan also wrote, produced and directed Wake, another horror movie that has been making its rounds in the film festival circuit.
Hell House: The Awakening looks like it's going to be a big bloody blast of blasphemous fun, so be sure to pick up a copy. This title will be released by the end of this month (September 29, the last I heard), and you can pre-order it now. You can also read an interview with Dixon and Feehan on the Comic Monsters site, and you can read Brett Schenker's positive advance review of Hell House at the Graphic Policy site.
Speaking of graphic novels, the Small Press Expo (or SPX) will be held in Bethesda, Maryland this weekend, September 11 and 12. Admission is $10 for one day and $15 for both days. In addition to having a wide variety of guests, events and exhibitors devoted to comic books and graphic novels, this year's expo will include the First Annual Small Press Expo Animation Showcase. So if you're in the Washington DC area this weekend and have some free time, you should go check this out (that is, if you're not already planning to head north to the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama in the Pittsburgh area).