ragemoorA dark castle whose origins are shrouded by time and drenched in blood has a treacherous secret. Ragemoor is alive: conscious, vengeful, ever vigilant and committed to its own survival, no matter the cost to its human inhabitants—or are they captives?

A strange cast of characters inhabit the castle: Herbert, the remaining bachelor lord of Ragemoor; his mad father, Machlan, who scurries about the castle naked; Broderick, his devoted manservant; a crew of insectoid servants and an army of skull-faced baboons. This motley crew is joined by Herbert’s interloping American uncle, eager to profit from the mineral riches buried beneath the castle, the beautiful Anoria, his daughter-for-hire, who shares his desire for Ragemoor’s wealth but finds herself unwillingly held in its grasp, and Tristano, a trespassing ruffian who becomes the lady’s lover and hopes to save her from the castle’s clutches. Lurking beneath it all, hideous monsters are trapped below the castle’s stone walls.

Ragemoor is a perfectly crafted tale of dark nights, candlelight, and forbidding places. It’s a story of classic horror, one which hearkens back to the works of James, Lovecraft, and Poe. Jan Strnad’s weird, Gothic tale is complimented by Richard Corben’s darkly creepy illustrations. Ragemoor is well-drawn in black and white, with shadows that hint at what may lurk within. Rather than shining a spotlight on the dangers that haunt Ragemoor, Strnad and Corben often use insinuation and suggestion, allowing the reader’s imagination to do the rest. It is a work of almost literary horror, its language and style an homage to the masters, including a poem written by Herbert to the trapped Anoria that reminds the reader of “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allen Poe.

Ragemoor is definitely not for the faint of heart. Dark Horse rates it for older teens, though its appeal is likely to be strongest for those who are fans of traditional horror. Sensitive readers may be disturbed not only by the violence, but by Strnad’s heavy use of the notion of a fate worse than death. Ideas of sanity and insanity are explored, and some parents may object to the book’s occult themes, brief glimpses of nude buttocks, and the suggestion that Herbert may rape Anoria in order to provide the castle with its desired heir. For readers of the weird, supernatural, and dark however, Ragemoor is an excellent exploration of the things that go bump in the night.

by Jan Strnad
Art by Richard Corben
ISBN: 9781595829641
Dark Horse, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: 14+

  • Beth Rogers

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support! Beth Rogers is Coordinator of Reference, Instruction, and Outreach at the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library at West Virginia Wesleyan College, where she has worked to introduce and develop the library’s graphic novel collection. Also a part-time lecturer in English, Beth has taught courses on graphic novels for college students, lead book discussions on graphic novels including Watchmen and American-Born Chinese, and guest lectured on superheroes in American culture. She also maintains a book review blog, Do I Wanna Read THAT?!?!? When she’s not working, Beth enjoys action movies, knitting wee Avengers, and spoiling her dog.

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