First things I should mention before I get going on this write up, I know and am friends with several people involved with the making of this book, many of which we have interviewed here on The Gravy Age. For one of the stories involved (Smell A Rat) I wrote some (bad) music inspired by it, the music was used in the background of the Kickstarter video, and my name appears twice in the book, once on the Thank You page, and on a headstone on a pin-up. I’m dead in this book! Morbid? Or funny? It’s a honor, is what it is, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t touched. So now that all that is out of the way, put on your spooky pants, and lets purify ourselves in the waters of Lake Minnetonka, and go fishing at Loon Lake.
The Horror Of Loon Lake
Writer: Carl D. Smith
Foreward: Kat Morris
Cover: DW Frydendall
Logo: Tyrone Rieschiek
The Horror Of Loon Lake is a horror anthology, over 100 pages of comics, prose, poetry and pin-ups, for our canine readers, that is over 700 dog pages. Here there be monsters, Vampires, Werewolves, and more. The book takes full advantage of the anthology style with a variety of stories that are equal parts spooky, funny, heartwarming, and sad. I was surprised by the emotional roller coaster I went through in reading this book. Comics, like horror can encompass any style, they don’t have to be solely about adolescent power fantasies of sexy, spandex clad super folk, any more than horror movies have to be about trudging, unstoppable, slashers punishing wicked teens for smoking the grass and taking a roll in the hay. There is the fear, not just of the unseen that lurks in the shadows, but the fear of being the unseen yourself, forgotten by those around you, those you love (Invisible Melvin).
There is the fear that you are defined by your career, nothing more than a faceless puppet (The Mask Of Dr. Sueno), told to compromise yourself, because you are nothing, you are replaceable. And then there are the horrors of love, of finding someone amazing, someone that reaches through every defense you’ve built (Willow The Wisp), and when you lay it all out… Well, I’m not going to spoil it, but let’s just say that story resonated with me to an uncomfortable Degree, and leave it at that. (that was capitalized for a reason, sad trombone)
In her introduction, Kat Morris (Go check out thehorrorhoneys.com immediately) talks about horror, why it persists, how personal our relationship with it is, and it’s great stuff, so I’m not going to any further into that here really. I will say this, for me, as a life long horror fan, through all the blood, the monsters, the fear, horror gives me hope. It shows me that the sun WILL rise, that we have within us untapped strength and resourcefulness, that as long as we draw breath, we can push through unimaginable situations and come out the other side. In this book there is hope, that your passion can save you (Marco Dances), that sometimes, somebody does stand up for the little guy (Gene’s Golem).
I’m not omitting anyone out of disliking their contributions, I just don’t want to spoil the fun of reading this for you. It is a love letter to comics and horror, and a damn good one. Every single person who contributed to this book deserves a round of applause, and bear hugs and high fives. My hat is off to all of you, especially Carl. Hold your head up high, dude. You followed your heart, you brought something into this world that you can be extremely proud of.
This wasn’t a review in the regular sense, how could it be? Like I said up top, I am friends with Carl and a few of the people involved with this. The real test for the book was handing it to a person who didn’t have the history with it I do, and who would tell me what he thought. So I handed it to my 11 year old son, and watched as he devoured it. He loved it. After he finished it, he took it back to the girls room and spent close to half an hour reading it, and showing things to his little sisters, who eagerly listened to him and asked questions. There you go, I can’t think of a better review than my kids pouring over it, talking about it, and then being inspired to act like monsters and chase each other around the house. The Horror Of Loon Lake can be purchased here, and on the next episode of the podcast, find out how you can win a copy.