Adults, teens; nudity, profanity, adult situations, gore
A cast of thousands (well, a cast of lots, anyway) contributed
to this anthology of 23 mostly horrific stories. Some are adaptations
of classic SF or horror (or SF horror) stories by Ambrose Bierce,
Robert Bloch, Michael Moorcock, Edgar Allan Poe, Howard Waldrop,
and Roger Zelazny, but most are original works, including several
by well-known pros Charles de Lint and Nancy A. Collins. Many
of the artists and other writers are small-press or self-published
folks; some are newcomers, but most have pedigrees in the business.
Among the many artists are John Garcia, John Bergin, Matthew
Guest, Omaha Perez, and Dean Rohrer; writers include Jerry Prosser,
Poppy Z. Brite, Neal Barrett, Jr., Bill Crider, and Chet Williamson.
The interior art is black-and-white (except for the adaptation
of "The Masque of the Red Death") and comes in a huge
variety of styles.
For the type of book it is, there is surprisingly little depiction
of gore; more often, the stories suggest gore, or just
don't get very gory when given the opportunity to do so. Sample
plotlines: "Gorilla Gunslinger" is chased through the
Old West by clowns and anti-evolutionists; the nerd Franklin
obtains a can of Whup-Ass to get revenge on those he hates most;
a blind woman and her rather odd and violent protector go "Trolling"
for idiots who attempt to rob or molest the woman; and in an
alternate postwar America, the Nazi governor of San Antonio takes
advantage of an unexpected snowfall to become a less-than-child-friendly
This is an excellent anthology with a great deal to recommend
it. Besides the terrific variety of art, most of the stories
are well told and worth reading. There are a couple of clunkers,
such as the Charles de Lint story, which spends way, way too
much time musing on the nature of reality with nothing else happening.
(Heck, that wouldn't even make a good normal short story, much
less a good graphic one.) Also, adapting the hoary old "Masque
of the Red Death" isn't the most imaginative thing one can
do. Far more interesting is the adaptation of Ambrose Bierce's
"Oil of Dog," which is less well known (at least I've
never read it) and hence more satisfying to find in the book.
I did not care for the art in the Michael Moorcock adaptation
at all; I've seen Elric done much, much better elsewhere, both
in character depiction and in choice of story elements to depict.
But these are minor quibbles.
Another thing I like about Weird Business is that every
story is introduced with a biography of its creators, so we get
a sense of how experienced these people are and where else they
have published. Finally, the cover (which is unfortunately too
small and blurry in the graphic above to see the details) is
This enjoyable and well-produced book, well-reviewed in its
time and nominated for several awards, would make an excellent
addition to horror collections for both adults and teens.