Who doesn't love a good ghost story? This gorgeous, coffee-table art book is a compendium of old, forgotten haunted houses imagined by artist Ben Catmull, along with the stories and rumors of who haunts them, and why. Each spread features a different haunted house, lovingly and exquisitely rendered in scratchboard on masonite, with a short, nightmare-inducing description of each scene.
In "Drowned Shelley," for example:
A chorus of frogs surrounds the house where young Shelley was drowned headfirst in the bathtub by her drunken stepfather. Say her name 13 times while looking in the pond and she will drown you in your sleep. Say her name the wrong number of times while looking in the pond, and she will leave hair in your breakfast dishes. Say her name 13 times while not looking in the pond, and she will watch you when you clip your toenails. Mispronounce her name 13 times while looking anywhere near the pond, and she will kick you somewhere delicate at the stroke of midnight.
Catmull's images are evocative, haunting masterpieces that never tread in graphic imagery, choosing instead to suggest horrors far more frightening than what they explicitly depict. With just the right touch of humor to balance the terror, Ghosts and Ruins is sure to please fans of Edward Gorey or Tim Burton, and makes a perfect gift book for the ghost story fan in your house.
“A tour of strange and sinister places only the very brave or the very foolish might be tempted to explore, the kind where ghostly apparitions glide by attic windows, crawl across ancient carpets, or leap out at you from darkened doorways. Ben Catmull is an exceptional artist who has crafted a singularly macabre experience, both frightening and funny.” – Richard Sala
“Ben Catmull’s drawings are mind-blowing and this book is a velvet nightmare you never want to wake from.” – Renée French
"...Catmull's illustrator-influenced approach to storytelling stands all by itself in the current alt-comix landscape." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"The absolute best comic you have never, ever heard of, Monster Parade is horrifying, eerie, unforgettable, and unputdownable. In short, it’s genius in 32 pages. Imagine if Edward Gorey and EC Segar (creator of Popeye) teamed-up to create Where the Wild Things Are as a horror anthology for adults, and the result would be something very much like Monster Parade." – Dave Baxter, Broken Frontier
"Catmull is a remarkably careful but playful draftsman and his ability to convey a consistency of tone and atmosphere despite exegetic and stylistic shifts is a wonder. ... This is one of the best things I've read in a long while." – Benjamin Gottlieb, Art + Culture
"This book is wonderfully terrifying in its visual movement. If one loves monster stories, then this one is a must have." – Gary Hornberger, Razorcake
"Lovers of fantasy, especially the kind that focuses on magical beings, creatures, and beasts, may have found a new maestro in Catmull. After one issue, I'm ready to believe that he is the real deal — perhaps even a budding master of the modern fairy tale. In terms of subject matter, style, and execution, his work is similar to Jim Woodring's phantasmagoria and the films of Hayao Miyazaki." – Leroy Douresseaux, Comic Book Bin