Just in the nick of time for this Halloween weekend, this anthology fell into my inbox. It is absolutely packed full of talent and shows off a pile of UK-based small press creators with great effect. It’s 62 pages of mostly full colour, full terror content that puts most modern mainstream horror anthologies to shame. Add to that the fact that it’s free to download from Dropbox and it’s a serious tick in the win box (other boxes are available).
“A bunch of small/indy press guys and I have put together a free ‘Halloween’ anthology,” says compiler Mike Garley of this project. “We thought it would be cool to do something fun for Halloween so we all got together and made a little festive comic.
The anthology is made up of (fittingly) 13 stories, with some shorts from established series such as Afterlife Inc., Bertie Bear, The Gee Bees, The Kill Screen, Little Terrors, and The Red Mask, as well as some great little one-offs.
Even though I only ‘compiled’ the anthology (compared to editing it) I’m still really proud of the great selection of tales we’ve got in there, which I think is a great reflection of the UK comic scene.”
We get the following stories…
CHOP CHOP CHOP!
Written and drawn by Peter Mason
A really cooly illustrated supernatural slasher story. Told with a dash of the late 1980s slasher movie and a dollup of Manga stylings. Anyone for pumpkins?
Afterlife In: The Black Room
Written and lettered by Jon Lock
Illustrated by R.H. Stewart
This was a great surprise. Playing with the white room interview scenario, it’s an iconic stage play setting with a blood soaked gut punch on the last page. It’s got a bleak tinitus Cronenberg feel to it with a Cliver Barker style end cap. One of my personal favourites.
• Find R.H. Stewart on Twitter at @Rhs_illustrator
Written and drawn by Samantha Holmlund
This was a really beautiful short story told in a creepily tragic silhouette. It’s a glorious piece of art that’s rendered in black, white and blue/grey. Loved this. The sort of story that would also make a great print for your wall.
Written and coloured by Shaun Dobie
Art by Paulo Oliveria
This is a change of pace, with some more familiar turf treaded. It’s like a moment snatched in the corner of a super-hero or xci-fi comic; a scratch in the dark in a quiet night time moment. Pretty good flowing action sequentials, nicely done in my humble opinion.
A Date With Death
Written by David Hailwood
Art by Tony Suleri
Letters by Ken Reynolds
Imagine a mixture of a European sci-fi epic, a Hellboy monster bash up and a Rom-Com dating comedy and that might come within a left hook of this story. Absolutely nuts in all the right back alleys, this was a fun change of pace. Not so much Terror than slightly disgusting in all the right online dating ways. I shall certainly search out more of the same from these creators. David edits the Biodegradable digital comic, so that’s as good a place as any to start.
• Find Tony Suleri at www.tonysuleri.blogspot.com
• Find Ken Reynolds at www.kenreynoldsdesign.co.uk
One More Family Secret
Written and Drawn by Luke Cooper
This was a huge bump back to earth. Horrific and really well crafted within a short number of pages it’s the story of a daughter’s visit to her ill father. Done in black, white and grey tones it looks great and jumps in, tells a story quickly and exits on a gruesome note. Like a modern EC story.
• Find Luke Cooper at www.midwintercreations.weebly.com
Bertie Bear: Prelude To Terror
Written and drawn by Andy W Clift
Awww. Bertie Bear. The not so cuddly arse kicking creation of Mr Clift, he is a past favourite of this reviewer (Issue 3 of his regular series just got released at the recent MCM London event). Bleedin’ ‘Eck! Bertie is in space. It’s a short episode that’s little more than a ‘Coming Soon’ advert during a Grindhouse Double Bill, but it’s good to see that bear back.
Think Yourself Dead
Written by Stu Smith and David Hailwood
Art by Brett Burbridge
A one page strip with a Hammer Horror echo in it’s panels. To say any more would be to spoil.
The Bee Gees: The October House
Written by Steven D Quirke
Art by Kel Winser
Letters by Mike Stock
Every good horror collection has to have a creepy New Orleans story and this is exactly that. A little too short (and the spelling could do with a little checking) but the art and colour look great and give a little bit of a Jeff Lemire Sweet Tooth vibe.
The Kill Screen: Out Of Sync
Written by Mike Garley
Art by Josh Sherwell
Letters by Mike Stock
It seems like only five minutes ago that I reviewed the latest issue of The Kill Screen. It’s beginning to get one of those ‘Epic’ badges they sell in imaginary badge shops. This tells the story of two brothers in the post apocalyptic future that is infected with a computer zombie virus. It looks as always great and tells a fast and gorey story. Spot on stuff again from these creators.
• Find Josh on Twitter at @JoshuaSherwell
The Witch of the West Wood
Written and Drawn by Giuseppa Barresi
This is another gear shift to a little bit of small town Stephen King(ish) story and a little bit of a touching indie comics ghost story. Kids find themselves in a haunted house whilst out Trick or Treating. It has a more small press feel to it’s pages but is a fun little tale. Less epic than most of the rest of the book. Just fun I suppose.
• Find out more about Giuseppa Barresi at www.ryuuza.co.uk
Little Terrors: A Halloween Tale
Created and Illustrated by Jon Scrivens
Written by Patrick ‘Patman’ Cline
I had a chat with Jon at a recent convention and he showed me some of the pages for this story on his phone. It’s a real leap forward in the art stakes for him and looks great on the tablet screen. He told me that he took some time getting the colours right in the fireside scene and that really shows. The pages have real depth and scale to them. It’s a tiny bit over written but it’s really got me looking forward to the next issue from these guys.
The Red Mask From Mars VS The Halloweener
Written, Illustrated and lettered by Vince Hunt
Colours by Shaun Dobie
Right! This is the good stuff. If you haven’t read Red Mask From Mars before you are in for a treat. It’s the punch to the face of the Red Mask vs a big pumpkin monster. It looks like Erik Larsen and Fred Hembeck got jiggy with it on the page and it has the best colour in the issue by a monster mile. The last panel especially looks awesome. It’s a splendid way to finish this issue.
This Halloween comics anthology is seriously worth a look and will hopefully get a non digital release. It was great fun to read whilst I ignored the annoying track suit wearing trick or treating fat faced families at my front door this hallowed eve.
Many thanks for reading.