"The Gathering: Horror #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by GrayHaven Comics
Written by Marc Lombardi, Tatiana Christian, Brad Nelson, Jason Synder, Ray Goldfield, Arcadio Bolanos, Matthew Louden, Erica Heflin, Glenn Matchett, and Elena Andrews
Illustrated by Leonardo Gonzalez, Courtney Thomas, Brian Defferding, Mikey Sumski, Chris Page, Juan Alarcon, Jazel Riley, Amanda Rachels, George Amaru, and David Asamo
2012, 40 Pages, $4.00
Comic released in November 2012
The Gathering, an anthology comic from GrayHaven Comics featuring the work of up-and-coming independent creators with a new theme per issue, has become a great starting point for many writers and artists. There have been titles focused on fairy tales, super heroes, and more. Horror seems to be a genre that keeps coming back. The third volume of horror within The Gathering includes over 10 new tales of terror.
The stories collected in this issue range from two to six pages in length. Surprisingly, the shorter comics were the ones I enjoyed the most, such as "Undead Again" by Matthew Louden and Jazel Riley, featuring a grandfather that just won't stay dead. They had a theme that struck the right chord. Many of the other tales look like great pitches for longer stories, but left me hanging in regards to a stand-alone arc. It's tough to cram a complex idea into just a few pages, especially if you're setting up a supernatural world.
"The Devil & Bobby Jones" by Brad Nelson and Brian Defferding is a perfect example of this. Bobby gets mad at his brother Jason and wishes he was never born. Then something creepy pulls Jason under the porch and he's never seen again. More and more people start to disappear until you get a good look as to what's lurking under the steps. This is a great setup for a bigger story, but it left me with more questions than answers. I want to know what this thing is, how it got there, and how Bobby is involved. Granted, that's hard to do in just three pages. I'd read an ongoing series about a boy and a monster traveling across the country murdering people, wouldn't you?
The opening story, "Prepared", by Marc Lombardi and Leonardo Gonzalez, is another standout of The Gathering. It centers on a couple who was ready for the zombie apocalypse with seemingly everything they'd need to survive for the long haul. In an ending that resembles a famous episode of The Twilight Zone, you find that they're not as prepared as they thought. Gonzalez's artwork is among the best in the comic. Although the zombies only appear for a few panels, they are absolutely gruesome, and no two look alike. There are also some nice little Easter Eggs, such as the license plate on the car which reads “AIM4HED.”
The Gathering continues to be a great collection of work from independent creators. While some of the stories fall short in terms of being a stand-alone tale, they can all serve as a demo reel of sorts for the writers and artists. Horror has been such a successful theme for The Gathering that there is now a regular title from GrayHaven called The Infinite Abyss. This comic, as well as other issues of The Gathering, can be purchased directly from the publisher via their official site.