Selected Readings from Satan’s Powder Room

    (Asylum, 2002)
™ and © Asylum Press

You can’t judge Selected Readings by its cover. Based on the tongue-in-cheek title and the cover illustration of the title character reading the comic book on his porcelain “throne,” it could logically be expected to be a humorous horror comic book. It’s not. It’s a serious, disturbing, and occasionally gross horror comic book. Those are not bad attributes in the genre; they just might not be what the reader expects from the cover.

Writer Robert Steven Rhine is clearly a horror fan. He presents three gory short stories with admirable twists. With pages borrowed from Frankenstein (or perhaps Herbert West: Reanimator), Dracula, and the movie Tattoo, Rhine has crafted new tales that are definitely his own.

Gratuitous nudity is horror’s bosom buddy in the movies (pardon the pun). This continues that tradition. Each of the three stories includes unnecessary nudity. That is normally lamentable in a comic book, since it makes it less appropriate for kids. In the case of Selected Readings, the stories themselves are inappropriate, so it doesn’t make much difference. The cover could really use a “mature readers” label, though.

Not for the faint of heart nor the weak of stomach.

— Jack Abramowitz

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 Robert Steven Rhine