"End Times #4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Horrorgeddon Comics
Written by Vin Davis, Amy Walsh, Jeff Edmond, Charles Anthony, and Troy Hargrove
Illustrated by Vin Davis
2014, 44 Pages
Lately, there has been a great crop of independent horror anthologies that have popped up in the comics industry. The tradition started decades ago with the likes of Creepy and Eerie is kept alive by titles like End Times. The fourth issue of the series brings a few more tales of terror and also branches out to become a little more than a traditional comic book with a short story and some unique art and cartoons.
While the comic stories are front and center in End Times, a big chunk of this issue is dedicated to The Animist, written by Jeff Edmond. Originally appearing in The Freakout Zone back in 2002, the short prose tells the story of a 14-year-old named Cynthia who is jealous and angry with her baby brother. She meets a strange man at the mall who gives her an amulet she can use to scare the child. Things quickly get out of control and Cynthia finds herself in a truly horrifying situation. It's one thing to terrify an adult or see some co-ed as cannon fodder in a slasher movie. There's an entirely different level of scare when the victim is a young person, let alone a baby. I'm not saying that an infant gets cut up or something, although the outcome could be considered even worse. Edmond's story is unsettling, but not in a bad way. The Animist runs in this issue with accompanying artwork by Vin Davis. He helps illustrate some basic scenes, but it doesn't add much to the plot.
A real standout in this volume is Mutesques and Grotations, a collection of entries from the diary of M'Gambe Paris (aka Inmate #28 in Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town, South Africa in the early 1970s). Davis reproduces original sketches from Paris and they're breathtaking. This is the way the world looks through the eyes of a mad man. Paris believed that strange creatures were possessing and murdering people. When they were under the influence of one of these monsters, they would become grotesque and mutated. Any one of these images could be used as an album cover for a metal band. Paris killed a total of 18 people, three of which while in prison.
There are three traditional comics included this time around. Annie's House by Amy Walsh and Animal Control by Vin Davis have some great twists to them. The former centers on a woman consumed by hoarding. Instead of just making fun of the idea, Walsh provides a supernatural reason for the collecting habit. It's a nice touch that will make you look at that Hoarders TV show a little differently. Animal Control turns the tables on your average dog catcher in a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-style.
All of the stories are illustrated by Davis. His artwork can be a bit of a mixed bag. There are some panels that are filled with detail and look damn near perfect. Then you'll hit a few with characters that are lumpy or flat. The layouts are pretty basic with this issue, unlike some of the more untraditional setups that were seen in issue #2.
Mr. Wellington is the one tale in End Times that feels out of place. It's based on a true story and written by Troy Hargrove. It follows the title character as he lurks around graveyards for no particular reason. He thinks he belongs there. Cemeteries are spooky, but this seems like there is no real point to the plot outside of being a goth kid's dream.
End Times branches out with issue #4, creating a packed 44 pages of content that's more than just a few comics. You get prose, a few cartoons, letters and reviews from fans, and even a poem in an oversized magazine format. This is right up the alley for any indie horror fan. Honestly, this issue is worth it for the Paris sketches alone. I keep going back to those shots because they're mesmerizing. Hopefully they don't rub off on me.
End Times can be purchased directly from the publisher through its official website.