Sorry warm woolen mittens, but short stories, horror fiction, and comic books are a few of my favorite things. Lucky for me, Zenescope has combined all my favorites into a single comic book. As an added bonus, this special one-shot is coming out just in time for Halloween. The Grimm Tales of Terror Quarterly: 2020 Halloween Special, due to hit comic shops on October 21st, collects three original tales of terror. Each story is introduced by Keres the goddess of death.
Keres may be the goddess of death, but in this Halloween Special, she’s moonlighting as a fortune teller. Each of the three tales in this comic revolve around people who walk into her shop hoping to learn what fate holds in store for them. This connecting story sets up the high point of the comic, Tarot card inspired page breaks, drawn by Sheldon Goh and colored by Ivan Nunes. These page breaks are so gorgeous, I found myself wishing I could hang them up on my wall. Different teams of artists illustrate and color each of the three stories. Unfortunately, not all of their work is of the same quality as the page breaks.
The first story has a lot of flashbacks, but artist Dario Tallarico and colorist Maxflan Araujo don’t do much to distinguish these scenes from those set in the present. The reader eventually catches on, but some sort of deviation of color would have helped make the change of setting much clearer. The second story looks much better than its predecessor. Oliver Borges uses perspective to great effect. He draws panels from varying angles, giving the story a cinematic look. Plus, the monster he gets to draw looks fearsome and badass.
Artist Novo Malgapo puts fine detail into some aspects of the third story, but seems to slack off in other aspects. Most notably, the proportions of the main character are sometimes drawn very poorly, making him look misshapen. As for the connecting story, Babisu Kourtis draws New Orleans in a very recognizable way. Even if the narration didn’t explain that New Orleans was the setting for the connecting story, the reader would be able to tell the location just by taking in the illustrations.
Unlike some of the artwork, the stories contained in this comic are all high quality. The first story has a lot of different horror elements, but the writers are able to connect everything into a creepy story. In the second story, the writers put a cool twist on a classic monster myth. The final story takes a familiar premise and brings it into the modern world. The obsessive nature and depravity of the main character in this story made my skin crawl. Plus, it’s got a surprising ending that’s tinged with a touch of dark humor.
Before I wrap up this advance review, there’s one more thing I want to mention. I find it really cool that Zenescope’s President and Chief Creative Officer Joe Brusha is not only one of the writers on this special, but he also created the Grimm Tales of Terror series. It’s not like it is unheard of for a publisher’s executive to contribute to a comic, but I feel like these days they only come off the bench for big events or anniversary issues. It’s refreshing to see a CCO take the time to write an entire holiday special. Grimm Tales of Terror Quarterly: 2020 Halloween Special is due to be released on October 21st, just in time for Halloween.
Writer: Joe Brusha Story: Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini
Art: Novo Malgapo, Sheldon Goh, Babisu Kourtis, Maxflan Araujo, Oliver Borges
Color: Ceci de la Cruz, Ivan Nunes, Fran Gamboa, J.C. Ruiz, Maxflan Araujo, Grostieta
Letters: Taylor Esposito Art & Colors: Various Art Teams
Story: 10 Art: 6.0 Overall: 8.0 Reccommendation: Buy
Zenescope provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review