Naomi: Season One (2019) Written by Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker Art by Jamal Campbell
It’s rare to see a completely new character debut in the first issue of their own title, not directly tied to the legacy of a pre-established figure in their shared comic book universe. Legendary creator Brian Michael Bendis, a figure who overhauled and recreated Marvel comics through the late 1990s and 2000s, arrived at DC, who apparently wrote him a blank creative check. Bendis was asked what his ideas were rather than be handed properties as the company saw fit. One of his first points of order was to take the Superman books in a whole new direction. Once that was underway, he rolled out Wonder Comics, an imprint he would curate similar to Gerard Way’s Young Animal line.
The Need by Helen Phillips There are subtle shades of Jordan Peele’s “Us” present throughout this novel as it tells the story of a housewife encountering an entity in her home that will up-end her life. Molly is an anthropologist by day and worn out mother by night, often tasked with caring for her two very young children by herself while Molly’s husband is away. It’s one of these lonely nights at home when Molly becomes aware that something else is in the house. The brief movement of a toy chest lid in the living room informs her that this thing is watching her, and when it reveals herself, she isn’t quite sure how to process what is going on. Then the deal is struck, and soon, Molly finds she’s an outsider in her own life, becoming an observer as someone else takes her place. The scary part is that Molly finds relief in handing the burden of parenthood off to another. The Need is a tightly written and deeply existential & weird text. I’m not a parent, but the anxieties experienced by parents are palpable in this book. I imagine this could be a cathartic release for parents who naturally have those moments of regret from time to time.
Watchmen (HBO) Season 1, Episode 2 – “Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship” Written by Nick Cuse & Damon Lindeloff Directed by Nicole Kassell
Will Reeves, the young boy saved from the Tulsa Massacre, is now an old man in a wheelchair claiming responsibility for a murder he couldn’t have possibly committed. This puts Angela Abar in a tough spot and she locks Will up in her bakery while dealing with the fallout of the last episode’s killing. This entire episode centers around upending the world Angela knows and forcing her to question everything she’s becoming comfortable with. It goes from her work relationships to the very nature of her own heritage.
Castle Rock Season 2 (Hulu) “Let The River Run” Written by Dustin Thomason Directed by Greg Yaitanes
“New Jerusalem” Written by K’naan Warsame Directed by Phil Abraham
“Ties That Bind” Written by Scott Brown & Obehi Janice Directed by Anne Sewitksy
Anne Ingalls is a nurse always on the move, dragging her now teenage daughter Joy with her where ever she goes. Her escape from some unseen force in her past leads Anne to the town of Castle Rock following a car accident. While holed up in the Stargazer Motel, Anne is able to secure a part-time registered nurse position at the hospital in Jerusalem’s Lot, where we learn she is in dire need of antipsychotics. Meanwhile, “Pop” Merrill, the head of a local crime family, is caught in the middle of a fight between his nephew Ace and his adopted son Abdi. Abdi is laying the foundation for a Somali community center set up, especially for the refugees who have settled in Castle Rock. This goes against Ace’s grasp on the Somalis who rent space in his rundown market building.
The Lighthouse (2019) Written by Max & Robert Eggers Directed by Robert Eggers
“DAMN YE! Let Neptune strike ye dead, Winslow! HAAAAAARK!”
Thus begins the great invocation of the ocean god by the wicky Thomas Wake against his co-worker Iphraim Winslow. Both men, stuck on an island somewhere in the middle of the sea, left to fend for themselves and tend the titular lighthouse. The job is, by its nature, an isolating and stressful one, stressful to not only the body but also the mind. It doesn’t take long before Iphraim becomes deeply suspicious of the veteran Wake, whose previous partner believed there were mystic powers imbued in the lamp of the lighthouse and vanished after going mad. The two men battle it out in passive-aggressive and drunken fashion, slowly cranking up the stakes as their rescue from this damned place appears to have forgotten them.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) Written by Dan & Kevin Hagerman Directed by André Øvredal
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a book published in 1981, compiled and rewritten by Alvin Schwartz. Schwartz was a writer who was primarily interested in folklore and wordplay, writing more than fifty books on and about these topics. His most famous, of course, is Scary Stories and the two follow up texts. The books contributed to many nightmares for children growing up in the 1980s and 90s, most notably because of the grotesque illustrations of Stephen Gammell. Gammell was also not primarily a horror creator, having illustrated over sixty children’s books, including one of my favorite picture books. When the Relatives Came. This book, like so many texts and pieces of nostalgic media, has been snatched up by their publisher’s parent media corporation to be turned into a movie.