There are a few horror institutions that will likely live forever, and Creepshow is undoubtedly one of them. At first a series of movies and now an ongoing television show, the horror anthology is returning to its roots with a new comics series courtesy of Image’s Skybound imprint. It’s a return to its roots because the original movies were torn from a comic book that never was, drawing from Tales from the Crypt and other EC horror comics of the 1950s. It has come full circle with two stories per issue, but is it good?
Creepshow #1 opens with the Creep introducing us to three bad kids who are trick or treating. Written and drawn by Chris Burnham, these kids break the one rule of Halloween night and take more than one full-sized candy bar. There’s an honor system you don’t break when a bowl is left out, people! Soon they get what they deserve, and Burnham takes it to a disturbing level.
Burnham’s art, along with colors by Adriano Lucas, leans into the dark corners of the folds in their clothes and the hauntingly unlit neighborhood. Burnham’s style is slightly cartoony, which suits the Creepshow vibe, but detailed enough to make your skin crawl when it matters.
The second story is by writers Paul Dini and Stephen Langford and artist John McCrea. This story is wildly funny, creepy, and weird, featuring a birthday party gone horribly wrong. Instead of a clown, they’ve hired a monster named Shingo to cheer up the kids, but soon he’s gobbling them up. The story takes an unexpected turn near the end, making the entire thing more of an experience than a murderous calamity.
McCrea draws this character with a disturbing giant smile, like a twisted Sesame Street character. There are great details in this tale, like the cake and presents flying or how McCrea draws shadows as hash marks rather than solid black. Ben-Day dots are used throughout to give it an old-school feel. Mike Spicer colors the story well, adding warm tones and hues to scenes to increase tension. Given the comedic elements, the visuals do a great job capturing the ignorance of the parents.
Both stories work well in an anthology format, as they’re short and to the point. They get their hooks in, offer some horror moments, and get out quickly. You won’t find much complex character work, and the first story has a somewhat nondescript monster. More of the Creep, or a guiding light as to what this series will be about next time, could go a long way in hooking the reader a bit more. As it stands, this is a perfectly serviceable anthology with two tales worth a read.
Creepshow #1 comes out of the gate running, or in this case, screaming and blubbering. Both stories feel like an homage to older comics and the legacy of Creepshow while offering unique tales worth getting lost in.
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