Grimm Fairy Tales 2012 Halloween Special
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Written by Patrick Shand, Raven Gregory, and Dirk Manning
Illustrated by Tiziano Zaffiri, Amin Amat, Elias Martins, Marcelo Salaza, and Andrea Errico
$5.99, 50 Pages

Zenescope Entertainment ushers in the Halloween season as only they can: with busty chicks in skimpy clothes.  Of course, you could say that that's what ushers in every Halloween nowadays, but who cares?  Is anyone complaining really?  Anyway, this year they've put together an oversized Grimm Fairy Tales one-shot with a handful of ghost stories.  Each section is framed as a tale told by one of three girls in a field on All Hallow's Eve. 

What is impressive with this collection is how incredibly creepy each one of these stories is.  Island of Dolls by Raven Gregory has a man atoning for his apathy towards a young girl when she got lost in the woods and later drowned in a nearby lake.  Since then he's heard her voice calling for her dolly.  He spends the rest of his life gathering dolls in an effort to appease the girl but to no avail.  The twist ending is something that will make your skin crawl. 

The following two stories, Are You There? and The Clown, by Patrick Shand and Gregory respectively, are more of your basic horror fare, but no less scary.  Are You There? is a take on the Asian version of Bloody Mary called Hanako-San while The Clown has a really creepy clown.  This latter story will strike home for anyone with kids as it has children as the main target.  Try as she might, the babysitter with the big cans can't help. 

Dirk Manning's story, Jack the Lantern, is the only one that has a real tie to the Grimm Fairy Tales universe.  It's also the one that connects to the wraparound story with the three girls and does so in a very organic way.  It's a bit obvious, but fun, telling the tale of a serial killer who uses a Jack O'Lantern as a mask. 

Unfortunately for all the cases, the art is pretty rough.  Tiziano Zaffiri, who drew Myths & Urban Legends, the main story, has a hard time with basic poses.  There are several panels where the legs of the girls face the wrong way, like their knees bend in the opposite direction.  Marcelo Salaza's work on The Clown has the babysitter shown with constant erect nipples and a waist that's smaller than her head.  Andrea Errico, the artist on Jack the Lantern is the saving grace though.    I especially like her depiction of the Dark One.

This Halloween Special is a nice sized treat for any fans of Zenescope's comics.  It's not that heavily tied to the overall Grimm Fairy Tales universe, but it's a bit more horror related than some of its other titles. 

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The Untold Tales of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy One-Shot
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Filipe Melo
Illustrated by Juan Cavia
$2.99, 36 Pages

Dark Horse Presents has been running some pretty stellar stories as of late.  One of which is that of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy.  The four-part story is collected in this one-shot.  Dog is a werewolf private detective.  Pizzaboy is his unpaid intern.  Pazuul is a six-thousand-year-old demon trapped in the body of a young girl.  Sounds pretty run-of-the-mill, right?  The first three chapters of the book detail Dog's origin, born with a curse as the only son to a family with six daughters; naturally this means that he is a werewolf.  His father took him around Europe like a mini-circus, terrifying people around the countryside.  Everything was going well until some Nazis showed up and wanted to take Dog in. 

While this is a great story with some pretty dark tones, the book has a sense of humor and never takes itself too seriously.  Dog narrates the comic, explaining that they got a check from Dark Horse to tell this story.  Product placement fills up the second chapter.  Dog even sells the last panel to the fake cola company.  It's refreshing to read a title like this that isn't all about doom and gloom.  It's fun.

Juan Cavia's artwork matches up to that tone perfectly. His style is a little cartoony.  Dog is presented as a very round fat man in present day, but he looked like a pretty fierce young guy back in the day.  Although Pazuul never says anything, he's probably the coolest character in the comic.  When he's first introduced, he's lighting a cigarette with his hand and just chilling in the background. 

As the title suggest, these are just the Untold Tales of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy.  There's a full length graphic novel entitled The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy that I clearly have to check out now.

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Killogy #1
Published by IDW Publishing
Written and Illustrated by Alan Robert
$3.99, 32 Pages

I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Killogy #1 a few weeks ago.  My opinion of the comic hasn't changed.  It's still a unique spin on the zombie genre.  Three murderers "played by" Frank Vincent, Marky Ramone, and Brea Grant are trapped in the same prison cell when the shit hits the fan.  They're getting hungry and they're getting angry.  No one's checked on them in some time. 

Creator Alan Robert reveals bits and pieces of the backstory for Frank Vincent's character, Sally Sno-Cones.  You find out how he got pinched, but we don't know why the other two killers are in there.  Robert presents this in such a way that you can't help but want more. 

What's really impressive with Killogy is the artwork.  It's unlike anything that Robert has produced before.  It's a very pulpy style and almost akin to an old grindhouse poster.  The colors really stand out, but what pops the most is the blood.  Anytime it appears on the page, it's a vibrant shade of red that you can't help but notice.  Shadow is also used well throughout the issue, creating a nice contrast to the other colors that are so bright. 

Killogy is a great first issue and one that immediately drew me in.  I want to read more, but we have to wait a little while before the second issue comes out.  Fortunately, the series will be a total of four issues instead of the original three, so there will be more to the story. 

Check out my interview with creator Alan Robert from New York Comic Con for more information on Killogy.

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Let's Play God #1
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Brea & Zane Grant
Illustrated by EricJ
$3.99, 24 Pages

Mel is in a band and she's living life the way she wants to.  Everything seems to be going well until she sees someone horrifically murdered in a nearby apartment building.  She calls it in and then goes in to see if the guy is still alive.  Of course, the cops don't understand that and bring her in for questioning.  Things get a little complicated when Mel recognizes the victim as a pervy photographer that has taken pictures of her.  That's a connection and one that she doesn't want getting out.  What's a girl to do?

I don't know the answer to that yet.  This first issue of Let's Play God stops just as it's getting going.  Outside of the murder -- which is one of the scariest, out-of-nowhere kills I've seen in a while -- the comic feels like your basic start of a cop drama, just from the perspective of one of the suspects.  It doesn't pop out as anything special yet. 

EricJ's artwork looks pretty good in the murder scene.  That's where it jumps out the most.  It catches you off guard a bit too.  The rest of the book is rather ordinary, set in a police interrogation room.

I want to see how the rest of Let's Play God plays out.  I just wanted a bit more from the first issue.  It set something up and then didn't do much with it afterwards.  Let's get this moving!

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Ghost #1
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Kelly Sue Deconnick
Illustrated by Phil Noto
$2.99, 24 Pages

The mysterious "Mary" is trying to find out more about who she is and why's she's now in the land of the living.  She can't remember much before Tommy and Vaughn pulled her here using a strange device.  She has great power though, with the ability to phase parts of her body in and out at will.  It makes ripping a man's heart out very easy.  Meanwhile, there's someone else looking to contact the other side and they don't look nearly as nice as "Mary." 

I'm digging the premise behind Ghost.  It's got a hint of buddy comedy, but now it's on to a road trip story.  The entire thing is peppered with the supernatural.  I just want to find out how this woman's powers work and why.  It's an interesting setup, but she has little knowledge of her background. 

Tommy and Vaughn are clearly in over their heads.  Whomever Tommy bought that device from wants it back and they're willing to kill for it.  Neither of these guys know exactly what it is or how it works.  Now they're on the run with this woman from the afterlife who just killed a dude.

Phil Noto's art is rather uneven throughout the issue.  He nails the characters, but the backgrounds are incredibly basic.  Anything that's not a person looks like something out of a rudimentary coloring book.  Towards the end of the issue there are several panels set in a parking lot and on the highway.  The cars look so out of place, almost like someone had these stock images of vehicles and dropped them onto the page. 

I'm definitely interested in Ghost and I want to know more.  There's a reveal of sorts on the last page but it didn't strike me as anything that big.  It looks obvious, but I really hope it's not that blatant in the cliffhanger.  I expect a little better from author Kelly Sue Deconnick.

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Extermination #5
Published by BOOM! Studios
Written by Simon Spurrier
Illustrated by V Ken Marion
$3.99, 24 Pages

Having joined up with an oddball group of super powered heroes and villains, Nox and the Red Reaper are taking the fight to the aliens.  They're searching for Absolute, the Superman-esque character in this world.  He's the only one powerful enough to stop this invasion, but he's also the one that caused it.  Reaper has a plan to hijack the weird human-trafficking train that the creatures have developed to transport the people used as batteries for their machines. 

Extermination keeps getting cooler.  I love this book so hard.  What's great about it is that it looks like a finite story.  I don't see this as a huge ongoing series.  It's not like Marvel and DC where they can't do anything drastic with the characters because they need them around for a million years.  These characters are facing down an imminent and horrible death at the hands of terrifying aliens.  They're not going to solve this problem by punching it really hard. 

V Ken Marion takes over the art duties for the full issue this time around.  He's got a style that fits well with the super hero genre.  The characters look like they would fit right in on the streets of Metropolis taking care of everyday crimes.  Unfortunately for them, the world has pretty much ended and they're the only thing standing in the way from the extinction of the human race.  No pressure.  This month we get to see a bit more of the Red Reaper's talents and weapons and some of the new technology that's popped up in this future world.  Marion has some great designs for it.

Extermination is the super hero book that you should be reading if you're tired of boring super hero books.  The dialogue is smart and fast-paced.  The art kicks ass.  The story is creepy and a little disturbing.  We need more comics like this. 

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Hack / Slash #19
Published by Image Comics
Written by Steve Seeley & Michael Moreci
Illustrated by Emilio Laiso
$3.50, 32 Pages

Cassie and Vlad are having a case of déjà vu.  They keep killing the same guy over and over again.  He just keeps coming back.  This time they end up getting caught by the police and tossed in a holding cell.  Of course, that body doesn't stay cold for long and then it's time to kick some more ass.  Such is the world of Hack / Slash.

Steve Seeley & Michael Moreci, the team behind Hoax Hunters, wrote this issue.  It's a one-and-done story, but it manages to hit the theme that follows Cassie around.  She has been put on this planet to kill monsters.  That's her job.  Is she ever going to be able to retire?  She seems to have accepted it.  It's her burden, but I think she gets some joy out of smashing undead skulls in with a baseball bat.  Plus, she's a natural.

I really dug Emilio Laiso's artwork with this issue.  It was fun while still bringing the spooky.  Cassie smashes this guy's head in pretty good at the beginning of the book.  Although he heals enough to be able to walk around again, he's not far enough along for his head to go back to normal.  As a result, this guy is running around looking like Jason at the end of the first Friday the 13th movie.  Oh, and did I mention that he's completely nude? 

The backup story is another short from Monstro City by Mike Costa and Ryan Browne.  I'm loving these strips and I really want more from them.  It's about a cop in a city filled with monsters.  His job is to police them.  Hilarity ensues.  They're a fun addition to Hack / Slash.

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Revival #4
Published by Image Comics
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Mike Norton
$2.99, 32 Pages

The mystery continues.  Ms. Dittman, the crazy old lady who just wants to die, burned down a funeral home in an effort to put an end to her seemingly never-ending life.  Meanwhile, local reporter May Tao has stumbled onto a plot to catch a demon.  Are we finally going to get an answer as to what that weird white creature is that's been lurking around this small town?  I really hope so because it's freaking me out.

Revival is a mystery that's slowly coming into the light.  There are several moving pieces and they're never stationary for long.  Each of the characters has a part to play and it's clear that there's more bloodshed in their future, even if some of them can't die.  I have so many questions and I want to know more, but I'm struggling to be patient.  Image Comics has been publishing books like this that have been so good that I can't stand to wait each month to read them.  Fatale and Mind the Gap are in the same group.  I want the rest of this story right now. 

I've said it before, but Mike Norton is doing a fantastic job on art in Revival.  His characters look real, but more importantly, they look average.  These are the kind of people that you would walk by on the street and wouldn't notice.  It's not until the dead come back to life that everyone starts to take a second look at this Wisconsin town.  Norton has a talent for getting you settled into this book and then doing something that will scare the crap out of you.  It's a great pace for the comic and it always leaves you wanting more.

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Irresistible #4
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Written by Raven Gregory
Illustrated by Derlis Santacruz
$3.99, 34 Pages

Allen has a spell on him.  All women want to screw his brains out.  Unfortunately, that doesn't include his ex-girlfriend, the one woman he really wants. This started out great.  It was like the plot of a porno.  Then the women started fighting and getting bloody.  They all wanted him, but they all wanted to be the only one for him.  It got to be too much.  Allen needed a way out.  He tracked down the gypsy woman that cursed him and found the one way to put an end to all this.  He would have to kill his one true love. 

I love this twist that came at the tail end of the previous issue of Irresistible.  I couldn't wait to see how this was handled.  Unfortunately, I was rather let down with the delivery.  The first half of the issue is spent rehashing the plot of the first three chapters.  We know that he gets laid a lot.  We know that it's not fun for him anymore.  He tries to embrace it "for the first time", but he did that before too.  By the time Allen mans up to do what needs to be done, his actions don't carry the same weight.  He comes off like a jealous ex-boyfriend instead of a man at the end of his rope.  It was like a bizarro version of a Lifetime original movie.

The artwork didn't help matters.  Derlis Santacruz's pencils lack a certain polish, as if they weren't quite finished.  This is a decent first draft, but not up to par for a final cut.  Perspective is also off in several panels, which became distracting. 

Irresistible started out a little slow but picked up a cool twist on the story when it got dark.  It's one thing to fantasize about every woman loving you.  It's another when they're clawing through each other to use you over and over again like a piece of meat.  No woman is safe.  Not even nuns.  Yes, author Raven Gregory went there.  I was somewhat let down with the finale.  This could have probably been shortened by an issue if some of the fat was trimmed, making it a decent, albeit short read.

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Also in stores this weeks in the world of horror comics...

 

  • Dark Horse Presents #17 (Dark Horse Comics)
  • I Vampire #13 (DC Comics)
  • Justice League Dark #13 (DC Comics)
  • Unwritten #42 (Vertigo)
  • Marcus Nispel's Chosen #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
  • Ghostbusters 100-Page Spooktacular (IDW Publishing)
  • Spawn #224 (Image Comics)
  • Artifacts #22 (Top Cow Productions)
  • Eaters Digest #1 (Antarctic Press)
  • Crossed Badlands #16 (Avatar Press)
  • Clive Barker's Hellraiser #19 (BOOM! Studios)
  • Giant-Size Grimm Fairy Tales 2012 (Zenescope Entertainment)
  • Grimm Fairy Tales #78 (Zenescope Entertainment)
  • Grimm Fairy Tales Myths & Legends #21 (Zenescope Entertainment)

 

And in graphic novel releases this week...

 

  • Crow: Midnight Legends: Vol 2 - Flesh & Blood (IDW Publishing)
  • Freakangels Complete Collection Slipcase Edition (Avatar Press)
  • Purity (Kickstart Comics)
  • Charles Burn's The Hive HC (Pantheon Books)

 

And that's it!  You've heard what I thought of the week's horror comics, but I want to know what was on your pull list!  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Buy Buffy Season 9 comics at TFAW.com!

 

 

 

 

 

Want to comment on this? You can leave one below or head over to the HorrorTalk Review Forum.

 

 

 

 

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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