Hungry Ghosts 1: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Ryan Desaulniers

Hungry Ghosts 1

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

They found her body sprawled across the grave. Without realizing it, she had plunged the knife through her skirt and had pinned it to the ground. It was only the knife that held her. She had died of fright.

Alvin Schwartz, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Drew: Like every kid who grew up in the ’90s, I’m intimately familiar with Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories books — the perfect camp fire/slumber party fodder. But “The Girl Who Stood on the Grave” (sometimes known as “The Dare”), whose punchline I spoiled above is the only one that ever actually scared me. Even as a kid, I never believed in ghosts, so stories of long-dead apparitions leaving their sweaters behind or whatever felt more like jokes than anything. But the thought of scaring oneself to death felt all too real when watching my friends get spooked by the other nonsense in the book. I doubt I knew who FDR was at that point, but even then I understood that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Which is to say, I’m far more interested in the telling of ghost stories than I am in the stories themselves. And I suspect we’re all a little that way — it’s why Tales from the Crypt had the Crypt Keeper and Are You Afraid of the Dark? had those terrible child actors — the ritual of telling scary stories is just as important as the scary stories themselves. It’s a notion that Hungry Ghosts taps into twofold, offering a framing story within a framing story, as a Crypt Keeper type tells us the story of people sitting around telling ghost stories. Continue reading

Constantine: The Hellblazer 4

constantine 4

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Constantine: The Hellblazer 4, originally released September 16th, 2015.

Michael: I’m going to tell you something that you’ve heard so much already that you’re going to want to stop reading after I tell you (but please, don’t): fiction is escapism. The simplest bit of escapism is tossing our problems aside and putting ourselves in the shoes of someone sexier, stronger, more likeable and generally just better than what we’re working with. There’s an equal amount of catharsis and distortion at play in this escapism. John Constantine isn’t the guy you are wishing you could be – he’s the guy who you’re thanking your lucky stars that you’re not. I mean, afterlife existential grief/survivor’s guilt makes your last break up look pretty vanilla. Continue reading