(Updated 24th February 2016): Titan Comics has announced a partnership with Hammer Films, publishing adaptations of the studio’s classic titles as well as all-new properties.
Announced at the comic book retailer conference ComicsPro earlier today, Titan says the line will launch in time for Hallowe’en of this year.
“Hammer is the home of some of the most groundbreaking horror and genre films in motion picture history,” said Titan editor David Leach in a statement. “Together, we’re going to make some terrifyingly good comics.”
David is a comics editor well aware of Hammer’s rich comic history, so you can’t blame us for hoping the project includes collections of the classic House of Hanmer magazine’s adaptations of the studio’s films, which featured art by the likes of John Bolton, Brian Lewis, Paul Neary, Steve Parkhouse and many other great British talents.
However, in correspondence since we first posted this story with House of Hammer creator and editor Dez Skinn, we understand that discussions are ongoing with regard to that material.
Titan Books has previously published a number of terrific books about Hammer Films by Marcus Hearn, including the terrific The Hammer Story.
Founded in 1934, Hammer Films came into its own in the 1950s with films that include a big screen adaptation of The Quatermass Experiment and The Curse of Frankenstein. For many horror fan films it was the 1958 film Dracula that really put the studio on the map, and made international stars of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
The Hollywood Reporter notes in its report on the new line that throughout the 1950s, ’60s and into the ’70s, “Hammer Horror” became a reliable shorthand for a particularly gothic aesthetic filled with dramatically lit castles, creepy old men with upperclass English accents and chills that managed to be both over-the-top and surprisingly effective.
Following the studio’s disappearance in 1979 after almost falling into bankruptcy, Hammer Films returned in 2008 with a string of updated horror titles including The Woman in Black, The Quiet Ones, The Resident and Let Me In, a remake of the Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In.
The original The House of Hammer magazine (later re-titled Hammer’s Halls of Horror), combining comic adaptations and features, was launched in 1976 by Dez Skinn, before his days at Marvel UK (where he would create, among other things, Doctor Who Weekly and Starburst), who had been editing a revived version of Monster Mag for publishers Top Sellers (one of several imprints of Warner Bros publishing division Williams). Published between 1976 and 1978, the title was briefly revived in the 1980s by Quality Communications, Dez’s publishing house known also for Warrior.
On his official site, Dez Skinn reveals he initially conceived of the magazine under the title Chiller, but walking past the Hammer offices each day, he suddenly realised that a tie-in with the world’s most famous horror film production house could be beneficial. A meeting with Hammer was arranged and, thanks to the influence of Hammer’s then script editor Chris Wicking – a comics fan who knew Skinn’s work – a deal was quickly made.
The new Hammer Film comics further expand Titan Comics licensed range, which already includes numerous Doctor Who titles, Heroes Reborn, Assassin’s Creed and NBC’s The Blacklist in its portfolio.
Its next high-profile launch starts in May, based on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful.
• For some fantastic background features on the original House of Hammer magazine, check out the web site of publisher and editor Dez Skinn here | There’s a straightforward brief history and cover library here on the Monster Magazine Galleries blog
• Author and publisher David Howe has an overview of the magazine here on his Archival Mutterings blog
• Fittingly, the creators and properties involved in Titan’s new Hammer comics are, say the company “still wreathed in shadow”, and Titan says those interested in further news and developments on the initiative should join Titan Comics on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr.
• For more information about Titan Comics visit: http://titan-comics.com
• For more information about Hammer visit: http://hammerfilms.com