The Best Fantasy, Horror and Sci-Fi Comics in the Universe

Comics and Records and Blu-rays...Oh My!

Comics and Records and Blu-rays...Oh My!

, by Jake Abbate, 14 min reading time

Happy Thanksgiving to all who observe!! How’s our week going? So glad you asked! For those who didn’t know, we’re getting a brand new office, and the relocation efforts are currently in full swing with our upstanding shipping department (y’know, the hard-working folks who pack your orders on a daily basis) moving our ENTIRE inventory to the new digs in Southampton, PA. It’s going to take a bit of getting used to, but all of us are confident that this is the start of a bold new era for Zenescope–one that will herald big things to come as soon as 2024 gets underway.

Speaking of “new,” it’s new comic book day! And we have not one, not two, but THREE books hitting shelves this week that can’t be missed! If you enjoyed last month’s Wonderland Annual: Out of Time, then you’ll definitely want to pick up Wonderland: Child of Madness #1, which follows up on Out of Time’s shocking cliffhanger and lets Violet Liddle have a turn in the spotlight while her mom, Calie, is…well, let’s just say she’s indisposed at the moment. The timing of the new series' launch is actually perfect, because today was also the last day to pledge toward our Wonderland Collectible Trading Cards Kickstarter. Thanks to more than 300 kindhearted souls out there, our most recent crowdfunding journey raised over $93k!

Today’s new releases also include another Van Helsing one-shot and our latest Pinup Special, which pays tribute to America’s Armed Forces with help from our most popular characters. You can view the cover art below!

Wonderland: Child of Madness #1

(L-R: Cover A - Al Barrionuevo; Cover B - Jordi Tarragona; Cover C - Ignacio Noe; Cover D - Ivan Tao)

Van Helsing: The Syndicate

(L-R: Cover A - Igor Vitorino; Cover B - Guillermo Fajardo; Cover C - Cedric Poulat; Cover D - Greebo Vigonte)

Grimm Fairy Tales 2023 Armed Forces Edition

(L-R: Cover A - Alfredo Reyes & Vinicius Andrade; Cover B - Igor Vitorino & Ceci de la Cruz; Cover C - Ignacio Noe; Cover D - Tina Valentino & Ylenia Di Napoli)

Thanksgiving is a special time of year, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Black Friday and all the flippin’ sweet deals we already have on many of our comics, including single issues starting at just $1 and graphic novels for as low as $5! There are lots of options to choose from (myself, I’m partial to our Grimm Fairy Tales paperbacks and our various Tales of Terror installments). We’ve also got new Jingle Belle Bundles and Advent Zenboxes for the holiday season that are filled with tons of collectible goodies. And if you’re a Silver- or Gold-Level VIP member, you can take advantage of free shipping from now until December 31. More deals are inbound, so if you're on our mailing list, keep checking your inboxes for further updates!


Of course, we’re well aware that many of you will be spending your hard-earned dollars elsewhere throughout the long weekend. How do I know this? Because I’m the same way! In addition to comics, I’m also an avid collector of vinyl records. My stash of wax probably numbers somewhere north of 500 LPs at this point, and no matter how much my wallet doth protest, it ain't slowing down anytime soon. That’s why I’ll be visiting one of my favorite local haunts (Siren Records in Doylestown, PA!) for Record Store Day - Black Friday! Similar to the main RSD event that’s held every April, Black Friday celebrates independent record shops with a vast assortment of exclusive releases, many of which are pressed on spiffy-looking colorways. Just like your local comic shop, indie record stores are pillars of small communities everywhere, and they deserve all the love and support you can afford to give them during a week like this.

Once I get my record shopping out of the way, I’ll head over to the nearest Barnes & Noble to check out all the Criterion Collection Blu-rays they have on sale for 50% off. B&N actually does two sales like this each year (one in July, one in November), and if you’re a cinephile like me, it’s hard to resist the pull of those markdowns, especially when the discs are loaded with bonus material. And to top it all off, each Blu-ray release is blessed with gorgeous cover art. As Zenescope devotees, surely you can appreciate this as well!

Having said all of that, I figured I’d take a break from the shameless self-promotion this week and talk about all the records and movies that I think are worth picking up on Friday. Here are my recommendations:




Screaming Trees - Live At Egg Studios   

I’ll be honest, I still haven’t fully recovered from Mark Lanegan’s passing last year. Although he and his Screaming Trees bandmates were some of the earliest grunge pioneers, they reaped very few rewards compared to other Seattle bands at the time. But hopefully, this new “live” album will win them a few new acolytes. It captures the Trees during a transitory period in their careers, when they faced some pretty significant lineup changes right after making the jump to a major label. While tracking demos in early ‘91, Lanegan decided to have them record a live set in a basement studio that’s never been heard before…until now! Oh, and did I mention it’s pressed on “fried egg” colored vinyl?

  The English Beat - I Just Can't Stop It (Expanded)

Anyone who knows me knows that I love me some ska, and The English Beat are one of the greatest bands to ever do it. Their debut LP, I Just Can’t Stop It, was a bona fide game-changer when it first hit stores in 1980, combining an array of styles to create something totally unique, breaking down racial barriers and challenging a host of societal norms in the process. This new pressing of the album contains the original 14 tracks in all their seismic glory. However, the real draw here is a second disc comprised of alternate mixes and live recordings, none of which are available anywhere else.

Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight  

Jenny Lewis’ solo career is still going strong (check out this year’s Joy’All if you haven’t already), but to a generation of listeners, she’ll always be known for fronting Rilo Kiley at the turn of the millennium. The band’s early records featured more of a lo-fi indie rock sound punctuated by raw, confessional lyrics. But by the time they put out their swan song, Under the Blacklight, in 2007, Lewis had expanded her vocal range to become more soulful, showcasing an abundance of new influences and giving rise to the most accessible Rilo Kiley album to date. Haters will say it’s too polished, but I’m excited to pick up a copy on purple (just like a blacklight!) vinyl this weekend.

  The Jesus Lizard - Blue

The Jesus Lizard have been playing sporadic reunion shows for about 15 years, but they haven’t released any new music since their final LP, Blue, dropped in 1998. Not their best, but not their worst either, Blue (now on metallic blue vinyl!) finds singer David Yow and company experimenting with their traditional noise rock sound, infusing it with jazzy elements while retaining most of the unbridled aggression that made them unsung heroes of the alternative scene in the first place. Most likely, we have producer (and Gang of Four guitarist) Andy Gill to thank for this. Either way, even if TJL never set foot in a recording studio again, at least they went out on a relative high note, doing things their own way and not caring what anyone else has to say about it. It doesn’t get much more punk rock than that.

 Coheed and Cambria - Live at the Starland Ballroom  

Okay, this one might be too heavy for some of you. But did you know that Coheed and Cambria’s records are concept albums that tell the story of an epic space opera called The Armory Wars? Frontman Claudio Sanchez also co-writes a graphic novel series based on the storyline, published by BOOM! Studios and featuring artwork by Rags Morales. That’s right–they’re big nerds like us, and in 2004, the band let its geek flag fly during a show at New Jersey’s legendary Starland Ballroom, blazing through a hodgepodge of tracks from their first two LPs and keeping the crowd energized over the course of 10 songs. Nearly two decades later, that setlist is finally getting a vinyl release with a “solar flare” variant that belongs on any fan’s shelf.

Criterion Blu-rays!

  Night on Earth (1991)

Jim Jarmusch has been one of my favorite directors for a few years now, and in my humble opinion, this is his finest work. Night on Earth is actually a series of five vignettes that take place in different cities around the globe, each of them following a cab driver and the fare(s) they share brief, but momentous nighttime encounters with. Tonally, the conversations between chauffeur and passenger are a mixed bag, ranging from funny to downright depressing. But every single cab ride is a transformative experience for everyone involved. What I love about Jarmusch is that he always manages to say so much with so little, and with actors like Winona Ryder, Giancarlo Esposito, and Roberto Benigni delivering such great performances, many of the familiar themes he explores in his other work carry a lot more weight this time around.

Eyes Without a Face (1960)  

This right here is one of my top horror movies of all time—in fact, I even have a poster hanging in my cubicle! Eyes Without a Face (or Les Yeux Sans Visage, if you’re French) centers on a surgeon who kidnaps young girls in the hopes of performing a face transplant for his daughter, who was horribly disfigured in a car accident. To this day, I still can’t decide what’s more unsettling: the surgeries themselves (which feature very impressive practical effects for 1960), or the expressionless mask that the surgeon’s daughter wears to cover up her scars.

  Triangle of Sadness (2022)

Triangle of Sadness wasn’t just one of my favorite movies of 2022, it was also my first exposure to Ruben Östlund, an absolute master of social satire who doesn’t hold back when taking a bite out of image-obsessed rich people. Most of the story unfolds onboard a superyacht until distaster strikes in hilarious fashion (I won’t spoil it, but the scene in question had me rolling in my theater seat last year), putting our travelers through the ringer and shifting the power dynamics in a way that’s oh-so-satisfying to watch. But full disclosure: if you’re emetophobic, this DEFINITELY isn’t the movie for you.

Cure (1997)  

I like to roll the dice on a couple of blind buys during any Criterion sale, and Cure will definitely be making the cut this weekend. To this day, I’ve only seen one Kiyoshi Kurosawa movie: Before We Vanish, an off-kilter sci-fi flick about aliens who possess human bodies. Cure, on the other hand, is about the hunt for a gruesome serial killer, which sounds right up my alley. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a sucker for international horror, and since Cure has appeared on just about every “Best Of” list I’ve read that compiles Japan’s top contributions to the genre, I have to give it a shot.

  Mean Streets (1973)

All the buzz surrounding Killers of the Flower Moon proves that Martin Scorsese’s still got it, so now’s as good a time as any to revisit what most people consider to be his first real hit. Criterion just released this new edition of Mean Streets to coincide with its 50th anniversary. I haven't seen this one either, but I can't wait to check out Scorsese’s humble beginnings. Plus, it’s his first-ever collab with Robert De Niro. Need I say more?


Sooooo those are my plans! What are yours? Tell us how you’ll be spending Black Friday weekend in the comment section below!

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