Texas Horror, Edited by David Doub

A friend of mine brought a Kickstarter campaign to my attention months ago. Upon checking it out, I absolutely had to get on board. It was to be a graphic novel showcasing a variety of Texas-based comic and literary talents in an anthology setting. Since a lot of my favorite indie authors and small presses are based out of Texas there was no way I wasn’t going to support this campaign.
My digital edition of Texas Horror arrived just a few days ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
We begin this anthology with Kitchen Witches: Origin of the Ramen Witch, brought to us by Halo Toons. A late-night visit to a convenience store becomes something unexpected as a cup of ramen in the microwave behaves in a way that defies any conceivable safety precautions.
Aerobicide: Blockbuster night, written by David Doub with art by Terry Parr, takes on a harrowing adventure that arises from a simple attempt to return some videotapes. You’ll find references to horror video rental royalty throughout this brief but entertaining escapade.
Demons In the Darkness: Part 1, written by David Doub, with letters by Daniel Chan and art by Dominic Racho, tells the story of a group of outcasts getting together for a night of tabletop role-playing after a rough day in school. As the story unfolds, an in-game ritual to purge some of the negativity from the real lives of the players might turn out to have some real-life consequences.
The Texas Horror Writers Showcase brings us flash fiction from some of my favorite writers in the industry today. John Balitsberger shares a tale of the famed Goatman’s Bridge and the sacrifices people will make to unlock secret knowledge. Lucas Mangum tells us the story of a camping trip gone terribly wrong in a story of beautiful flowers and mental illness. Wile E. Young brings us back to the world of Salem Covington (of The Magpie Coffin) from a different perspective. And finally, Max Booth III brings us a strange tale of gardening and family that will leave you wondering “What the fuck,” just as much as the father in his story.
Luna Vino, written by Mike Howlett and drawn by Howard Kelley, takes us to a manor where, no matter how unexpected the night might turn out, losing one’s favorite wine might be the worst thing that could happen.
Finally, Mask It or Casket, written by David Doub with art by Miguel Angel Hernandez, shares a poignant tale of the current pandemic. In this violent clash of ideological perspectives taken to extremes, it’s difficult to consider even one’s own side correct, though it’s hard not to sympathize with the antagonist’s frustration.
All in all, this is a great sampler of the fantastic horror-themed art coming out of Texas. It’s certainly added some names to the list of creators I’ll want to keep an eye on.

Though the campaign for this project has been over for a while, readers might be interested in some additional details. I’ll include the link to the Kickstarter below:


The Magpie Coffin by Wile E. Young, Narrated by Sean Duregger

Wile E. Young paints a grim portrait of the postbellum American west, replete with magic and mystery. In this shadow permeated version of the wild west, the author spins a tale that fuses horror and fantasy with otherwise familiar tropes and western motifs.
It would be impossible to talk about The Magpie Coffin without first spending some time introducing the protagonist of this amazing Splatter Western. Salem Covington is a riveting character. One can think of him, in the simplest terms, as being equal parts Jonah Hex, a wild west incarnation of Dexter Morgan, and a little bit Elric of Melnibone–substituting a pistol for the sword, Stormbringer. A student of dark magic from various sources and cursed with the need to kill for the sake of his own damned soul, Mr. Covington is far from a heroic figure. There is a strained and rigid nobility to him, though. As with most antihero characters, he has a code of sorts that guides his actions.
Upon discovering that his old Comanche teacher, Dead Bear, has been murdered and that a white buffalo has been slaughtered by the same band of killers, Covington sets out on a quest to bring down everyone involved. Enlisting the assistance of one of the men associated with the killing, his pursuit of vengeance carries the reader through the Dakota Territory and into the Rocky Mountains of what would soon become Colorado.
Leaving a trail of bodies and tortured souls in his wake, Salem Covington chases quarry who might just be too dangerous for even The Black Magpie to overcome.
My only complaints with this book are present because I happen to be a South Dakota resident. North and South Dakota didn’t become states until 1889, and Deadwood is nowhere near North Dakota, sitting approximately 130 miles South of the North Dakota border. But, considering how few people seem to recognize that North and South Dakota exist at all, it’s not exactly a deal-breaker.
The narration by Sean Duregger for the audiobook is fantastic, capturing the grit and cruel nature of Salem Covington with a degree of authenticity that felt right. The narrative, being shared by Covington in first-person, making it simple to distinguish the voices of secondary characters without any trouble.