Review: Dread Island by Joe R. Lansdale

This here story is a good’n and just about every word of it is true. It’s tempting to just jump to the part about where we seen them horrible things, and heads was pulled off and we was in a flying machine and such. But I ain’t gonna do it, cause Jim says that ain’t the way to tell a proper yarn.

– Huck Finn

Dread Island by Joe R. Lansdale. Published by IDW as a Sand Diego Comic Con convention exclusive in 2010. Only 400 printed. 78 pages. Signed by the author.

Back in the day, IDW was one of the top publishers of horror comics. Like, REAL horror. Good, good stuff. Gory. Scary. Extremely original and creative. Back in 2010 they did something called Classics Mutilated. Basically it’s a mash up of horror and fantasy. Take a classic story and add monsters to it. They made it an anthology filled with 13 delightfully spooky revamped classics written by some of the top horror and fantasy writers of the day.

For a 2010 San Deigo Comic Con exclusive, IDW took the Joe R. Lansdale story, Dread Island, from the anthology and released it as a special limited edition novella. Only 400 of them had been made. Joe was there at the booth signing the books right then and there if you bought one. I’ve been obsessed with Joe R. Lansdale for a while now, ever since I read The Drive-In and watched Bubba Ho Tep, like, 18 years ago. Hell, I’ll even read this man’s WESTERNS, ok? And I give ZERO fucks about westerns, but that’s how much I like this author.

I just so happened to be at that 2010 Comic Con and how the hell could I pass up meeting Joe R. Lansdale??! He is… brilliantly creative. I mean… the stuff that man comes up with for his horror stories is phenomenal. He is seriously a fantastic writer. I just had to go meet him! I was so nervous, but he was so friendly! And has the biggest Texas accent ever. I mean, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since he lives in Texas and a lot of his books are set in that region. I just never thought about it before. XD

He misspelled my name, but he’s Joe R. Fucking Lansdale. He can spell Ami however he wants to…

I wrote ‘Dread Island’ based on my love for Mark Twain, which collided with my interest in Lovecraft, and the fact that the Uncle Remus tales may have been the first stories I ever read. And then there were comics. I always saw ‘Dread Island’ as a kind of comic book in prose, the old Classics Illustrated look. That’s how it played out in my head.

– Joe R. Lansdale

Dread Island is an EPIC story. I’ve never been a huge fan of Huck and Tom, but you throw in crazy other worldly black magic and giant tentacle creatures from other dimensions and a whole bunch of other crazy shit and you have one hell of a river adventure I can get on board with!

Heavily inspired with Lovecraft’s creepiness, which is really obvious. I don’t know much about Uncle Remus. I’m from the south, and I know I’ve heard the stories of Br’er Rabbit and the Tar-Baby and probably others. But it’s been a very, veeeeeery long time and I don’t recall much of them. There is a lot of Uncle Remus inspiration within Dread Island. Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, the tar baby… they all show up and play major roles in this novella.

Dread Island was a very clever mash up of all these different classics. And it was so entertainingly creepy. I was very sad when it was over! Definitely makes me want to read the whole anthology. I’m really glad that I sat down and finally read this story. It had been on my TBR shelf for waaaaaay too long!

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