"House of Fear: Attack of the Killer Snowmen" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Ten31 Publishing
Written by James Powell
Illustrated by Jethro Morales
Colored by Josh Jensen
2017, 28 Pages
Comic released on September 13th, 2017
Most horror fans can turn anything into a scary story. In the case of House of Fear: Attack of the Killer Snowmen, you'll get an idea for a frightening version of Frosty the Snowman. Unlike something like Jack Frost, this comic is an all-ages fare starring a handful of kids who are suddenly under attack by more than just a corn cob pipe and a button nose. Fortunately, they're pretty quick on their feet and come up with a good plan to take down these winter warriors.
Writer James Powell hits all the right story beats with Attack of the Killer Snowmen. In looking through it again, you can see how every panel and piece of dialogue serves to move the plot forward. There is no fat in this comic. The kids’ battle plan mimics their fun and games from earlier in the story.
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The comic begins with a light tone, luring you into a false sense of security. These could be any children, even your own or yourself. They're out there having fun and throwing snowballs while trading barbs. This all changes after a sudden rush of wind that brings a trio of snowmen to life in the most menacing way possible.
Artist Jethro Morales has the perfect style for House of Fear. It's spooky but not too scary. This strikes the right balance so everyone can enjoy it. Kids won't get nightmares from reading it and will instead just find it cool to see some monstrous snowmen. They debut in a gorgeous splash page, towering over the children with mouths twisted like they're ready to eat them up.
As creepy as they are when they first appear, they're even scarier when they're broken apart and attempt to reform. It's like a shuffling corpse trying to piece its body back together. Chunks of them are missing and are starting to coalesce in a rough way.
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Morales keeps the battle exciting with some dynamic layouts and varied camera angles. It's easy to get swept up in the fight as the kids leap around the snowmen, trying to stay one step ahead. We bounce from shots of the children to the snowmen and back, showing that they're still in danger despite all their attacks.
Perhaps the most important aspect to Attack of the Killer Snowmen is that the kids are the stars. They get into this mess and then get out of it all on their own without relying upon the help or guidance of adults. This creates a great sense of empowerment for young people reading it, as they can see themselves in the story.
House of Fear is a solid all-ages horror anthology in the vein of Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps. There should be more books like this, as they serve as a perfect entry point for horror for children while also delivering quality storytelling for adults. It's a win-win.