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Tales From the Darkside #1 Review

Comic Books

Tales From the Darkside #1 Review

The bad news: After The CW hired Joe Hill to lead a TV revival of Tales from the Darkside, they decided not to produce the series.

The good news: Joe Hill decided to team up with his Locke & Key partner/artist Gabriel Rodriguez and turn a few of the scripts into a miniseries for IDW.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

This week, we finally get to read the first issue. Is it good?

Tales From the Darkside #1 (IDW Publishing)

Tales From the Darkside #1 Review


  • This is how it always starts: An unethical professor, a student who needs a passing grade, and a beautiful theater major who needs an undiscovered/talented actor as a scene partner.
  • Never been a lifeguard myself, but I know plenty of folks who have…and plenty of them have admitted to falling asleep behind their sunglasses for hours at a time.
  • People fall asleep when they see me, too, but I think it’s more of an avoidance mechanism.
  • Theater masks: Creepy and practical.
  • I understand the husband is distraught with grief, but this murder set up is getting progressively more complicated/evil.
  • 🙁

Tales From the Darkside #1 Review

Is It Good?

Okay CW, what the heck? How was this not good enough to get a series green light?

I may be a couple years removed from the coveted age 18-34 demographic, but I would have loved this series. In fact, it would have been the type of show I scheduled my life around instead of waiting to watch it online.

Ah well, at least we still get the comic, which is excellent.

For starters, Joe Hill can craft one heck of a good story. That’s old news for fans of Locke & Key or his novels (especially NOS4A2 and The Fireman), but it’s great to see him jump back into the comic world with the same juice he had before.

If there’s any drawback to this format, it’s that Tales from the Darkside feels a bit limited for one of his greatest strengths. Hill is at his best when he can dive into a character so deeply that the connection becomes personal for the reader. There’s some great character work in Sleepwalker, but I wish we’d gotten more.

There’s also an underlying mythos being established (which Hill discusses in an interview at the back of the issue), but that aspect feels shoehorned into what’s an otherwise great story.

Aside from those minor issues, however, the first issue of Tales from the Darkside is exactly what you want it to be: Tense, introspective, and creepy as hell. The Twilight Zone off its meds and on an acid trip.

Art-wise, Rodriguez’s work looks better than ever. Aided by Ryan Hill’s artfully muted colors, his attention to detail and expression makes Hill’s script (adapted by Michael Benedetto) feel almost uncomfortably intimate.

There’s also the aforementioned interview with Hill and Rodriguez, which is a fascinating read, but might also make you even more frustrated that we won’t get to see more stories in this universe beyond its limited series run. You never know, though. The Locke & Key series was canceled and came back. Maybe it will happen if enough people pick up Tales from the Darkside. Either way, you’d be purchasing a great comic.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go lift up the lifeguard’s sunglasses at our neighborhood’s swimming pool.

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