"Horrere #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Rob Jones and Michael Sambrook
Illustrated by Neil Ford, Alastair McLauchlan, Gareth Sleightholme, and Alisdair Wood
2015, 40 Pages
Horror anthologies continue to be a fixture of the genre within the comic book industry, providing a showcase for new and up-and-coming talent to scare the crap out of us in short stories. Horrere is a new book on the scene, landing with a bang and four shorts, each unique in its content and type. You've got a few kinds of monsters, zombies, and a creepy demon baby in a jar. That sounds like the makings of a good time for any horror fan, right?
Of the four stories included in this issue of Horrere, the first really stands out. “If You Go Down to the Woods Today...” presents a story of a small boy going out to the woods in the middle of the night. He heard something and decides to investigate, bringing his trusty teddy bear along for the ride. He's all alone out there and you watch as his house shrinks in the distance as he walks farther and farther along. He's met by a strange monster, and that's where the story takes an unexpected yet welcome turn. It's something I didn't see coming at all and it just works so well. It's the kind of twist that reframes the entire story up to that point.
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Neil Ford's artwork on “If You Go Down to the Woods Today...” has a very crisp quality. The lines are sharp and clear. There's one panel in particular that really stands out as the boy just gets to the edge of the woods. He looks up at the darkness surrounding the trees, bear in hand and breath wisping in the cold, to see a pair of eyes staring at him. Nothing else is seen of the creature, but damn is that creepy. That's all you need really.
The bulk of the issue is made up of the final story, which is actually the first chapter of an ongoing series, "Grimoire". It throws a handful of concepts and characters together in a short amount of time with some painful dialogue. I hate small talk to begin with, but this feels forced when the characters are first interacting. There's an old black cop who is basically a mixture of Danny Glover's character from Lethal Weapon and Reginald VelJohnson's from Die Hard, and he's definitely too old for this shit, which is evident from how often he talks about hating computers and loves sitting down.
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You can't deny the disturbing quality of the demon baby in the jar though. That's a powerful image that will haunt your nightmares. Thanks a lot, Alisdair Wood. Seeing an infant feasting on human fingers is not something that will leave my mind any time soon. Wood also has a great sequence where a woman rapidly ages over three panels, turning from a beautiful gypsy to a skeleton as her flesh melts away. The detail here is tremendous and well worth checking out.
Horrere is a fun indie horror anthology that works as a fitting homage to books like Tales from the Crypt and Creepy. It offers a variety of tales, each more unsettling than the last. The scares are smart and not meaningless jumps. There's quality writing and the artwork is there to match. This is a book to watch.