{Feature/Book Review} Dr. Herbert West & Astounding Tales of Medical Malpractice: Bruce Brown

Dr. Herbert West & Astounding Tales of Medical Malpractice

Reanimating The Love Of Horror In Children – A word from Bruce Brown.

Dear Kendall Reviews Readers,

Over a decade ago, Arcana Studios opened a call for a horror anthology called Velvet Rope. It was an open submission and as a lover of horror, I wanted to be a part of it. Previously, I had worked on a Lovecraft graphic novel that never saw the light of day, however, it left me with a profound love of the works of HP Lovecraft. At the time, the majority of my graphic novels were for children; so I had a penchant to see stories in that context.  When Velvet Rope was accepting submissions I wanted to tell a story that combined my love of children’s stories and my love of horror; specifically Lovecraft.

I created a short story of a young Howard Lovecraft. The story was accepted into the anthology and after it was printed, I simply could not let go of the idea of Lovecraft for children; at the time, this was an unheard-of concept,  Undeterred, I proceeded to write the script to my next book Howard Lovecraft & the Frozen Kingdom. When the book came out, as an indie graphic novelist, I struggled to get attention from the traditional comics sites that catered more to Marvel and DC news. So, I decided I would go outside of the comics world and try to get Howard the attention from the horror, Lovecraft and “mainstream” book community.

Within a short time, the book was featured in The Chicago Tribune, Rue Morgue Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly and countless Lovecraft and horror sites receiving rave reviews.

With the success of that book, others in the series would follow which led to the hardback compendium Howard Lovecraft and the Three Kingdoms.

Following Howard’s success, in the back of my head, I had always wanted to tackle another book, but something distinctly different from the Howard series. I had always loved Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator and began to be intrigued by the idea of a child Herbert West.

When I was a child and I am sure this dates me, I read many books from a series called Encyclopedia Brown.  He was a child detective so brilliant, he could solve crimes. With Herbert West, I loved the idea of a child so brilliant, his brilliance would lead him into disastrous situations. I created a world that I felt would be friendly to children, but also a homage to the original Herbert West stories Lovecraft wrote.

To tell the story, I needed a narrator that was a normal child who would go along on Herbert’s wild ride and be the voice of reason to his “brilliance”. I decided to create Elizabeth Anne West; Herbert West’s sister who I modeled after my own sister who I dedicated the book to.

Once the script was ready, I began to seek out an artist. This became the major challenge to the book. You see, unlike major comic companies, indie artists do not draw art as their full-time job and sometimes life, as it will, throw challenges to finishing a project. Five artists and five years later, I was fortunate enough to reconnect with the very talented artist Thomas Boatwright who had worked on the Howard Lovecraft series ages ago.  Luckily for me and the book, Thomas agreed to take the reigns of the art for Dr Herbert West.

Once the book was finished, I was thrilled to see my publisher was able to secure a forward by the very talented actor who played Herbert West in Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator: Jeffrey Combs and in that, the book was done.

In my final parting words, bear this thought in mind; there are so many adult horror/Lovecraft fans who now have children of their own.  It is my hope Dr. Herbert West; Astounding Tales of Medical Malpractice can bring them together; give parents a chance to share their love of horror fiction with their children and hopefully create a new generation of fans of this genre we all love so dearly.

Bruce Brown

Creator of Dr Herbert West: Astounding Tales of Medical Malpractice.

You can follow Bruce on Twitter @BbruceBrown33

You can visit the Arcana Comics website HERE

Dr. Herbert West & Astounding Tales of Medical Malpractice

Reviewed By A.S. MacKenzie

When presented with a copy of this graphic novel I was told the premise was “if the movie Re-Animator was made for kids”. Now, I’m not sure why someone thought that that particular story required retelling for kids, but here we are.

There are certain things to look for when telling a horror story that is designed for a young reader that make it safe for them to read and still be safely in the horror genre. It’s not an easy thing to do and certainly many have tried. However, I have to give credit to Bruce Brown for telling the story properly with all the hallmarks required for the criteria.

There’s a mad scientist, who is actually a genius kid doctor.

There’s the voice of reason, who is actually the genius kid’s sister.

There’s the hero with the strong arm of protection, who is actually a janitor/dean.

Combine this with the premise of raising folks from the dead, having them run loose, and generally causing terror and panic, then you have all that is needed to be a good horror story.

Dr. Herbert is a young boy genius who finds himself as the town’s doctor quite by accident. He gets bored and decides that he needs an outlet for his genius to thrive and decides to see if he can re-animate some corpses. He’s successful, but there’s now a bigger problem: they aren’t dying again like they were supposed to and now have an insatiable hunger for Johnny Cakes.

The town is in a panic as the roving band of the dead eat as many sweets as they can and it’s up to Dr. Herbert, his sister, and the dean/janitor to fix it and bring the town back to normal. Will they do it before the dead run out of confectionary delights? They better hope so because the good young doctor feels they may move on from the sugary foods to something a little more alive.

This is a cute story with even cuter artwork. The playfulness of the drawings lend the story the appropriate level of fun needed to keep it from getting too scary for young readers but still exciting enough to keep the story flowing. Any fan of the original movie, or fun horror, will enjoy this unique entry into the zombie mythos.

Dr. Herbert West & Astounding Tales of Medical Malpractice

Dr. Herbert West: Re-Animator, legend, genius…and childhood menace? In this spine-tingling tale, young Herbert creates a botched serum which cause the dead to walk the streets in search of Johnny Cakes. Together with his sister Elizabeth and the Dean of Arkham University they must stop the zombie army before they run out of cakes and start eating townsfolk!

You can buy Dr. Herbert West from Amazon UK Amazon US

A. S. MacKenzie

A. S. MacKenzie is an Atlanta based author who loves all things books, movies, games, and comics. He lives with his wife, spoiled dogs, and an unhealthy obsession with building things. He can be found building worlds in books, building plastic models, or building with wood. Check out his website at asmackenzie.com for ways to join his newsletter and read free stories. Also, he’s been known to frequent Twitter (@a_s_mackenzie) to say something vaguely interesting and Instagram (a.s.mackenzie) for food, travel, and random pics.

Hit Then Run

It was a store robbery gone wrong when the criminal got away but the victim was hit by a car.

Then it happened again.

And Again.

For newly hired detective, Phil Ford, this was beyond coincidence. Told not to investigate further, he couldn’t let it go. When he falls into a much larger conspiracy involving death-for-hire, organized crime, and corruption in the Sanford Sheriff’s Department; it will cost him more than he knows to get to the truth.

You can download Hit Then Run from www.asmackenzie.com

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