REVIEW: “Boo!: Halloween Stories” #1-3

(Monkeybrain Comics, 2013)

Review by Brad Gischia

WRITTEN & ARTWORK BY: Various
CREATED BY: Jon Morris & Manning Krull

Aside: In college I took a pre-requisite class on publishing your work. I submitted a story that I meant to publish to the prof and was rebutted with…”this is fun. Too bad there’s no place to publish the fun stuff…”

Now I saw to you…college prof…there is a place to publish the “fun stuff”. Look no further than Boo at Monkeybrain Comics, and you’ll see that there are people out there doing just that. Filling our heads with “the fun stuff”. Thank you Jon Morris and Manning Krull.

This is an awesome book. It’s familiar in the best, most horrifying way. It makes me feel like I did the first time I watched Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt. It’s one of those books you want to read slowly because you know soon it will be over. Need I go on?

With the release of #3 this week, Boo from Monkeybrain Comics now has a trio of terrifying tomes…triplicate terror, and each more fantastic than the last. I love a horror anthology. I can already see this in trade format upon my shelf. Creators Jon Morris and Manning Krull have taken the reality show genre and infused it with all of the classic archetypes of the horror story host, each more fantastically awesome than the last. You will recognize them all, including the host of the “show”, Dyin’ Seacrest. Their speech is full of puns, they are long-winded and grim, they want to kill each other, but most of all they want to scare you, as is their nature, and the only way they will stay in the Boo house. The scariest story wins.

The tales range from the bizarre to the creepy to the downright terrifying, with a pile of just-for-fun thrown in. It is a mixture sure to please.

The interstitials, drawn by Jon Morris, are great and recall such artists as Brooke Allen and Lizzy John (Moon Lake, Archaia 2010) and John Kracfalusi (Ren and Stimpy). They switch from black and white to color on the main stories. It works well as a transition and helps to break the tension between tales. I’m not going to do a lot of spoiling here, mostly just to list the creators and give a Cryptkeeper-esque intro to each story, because I think they need to be read with a clean palate. If you agree, read no more until you’ve finished the first three books. For those that enjoy reviews, queue up issue 1…

Issue 1

Productivity by David Hopkins, Paul Milligan and Matt Warlick shows what can happen when your job gets the better of you. The art is crisp and neat.

Mixed Signals by Leonard Price and Neal Von Flue explores our dependence on our devices, and what could happen if they were to fail us. The art has a painted look that is a nice contrast to the first story and lends itself well to the subject matter.

Slaytrain by RJ White and Carl Nelson.  How close is too close? This feels very much like a Rod Serling story to me. I think of it as a Twilight Zone episode drawn by Robert Crumb or Harvey Pekar.

Issue 2

Sweet Tooth by Matt Smigiel takes an amusing look at the zombie story and reminded me of Pendleton Ward, creator of Adventure Time.

The Night the Dead Rocked Texas by Ken Lowery, Shawn McGuan, and Rachel Deering is something straight out of a Tales from the Crypt episode and looks like Adam Hughes art.

Matheson and Hobbs Psychic Investigators in the Last Séance by Kyle Starks asks how close two partners can be? What could possibly drive them apart? The art reminds me a little of Edward Gorey, a little of Charles Addams.

Issue 3

I Am A Teenage Blood Beast by Andrew Ihla and Joe Hunter shows how a night at the movies can become a life together. Great comic art.

Infernal Gallop by Delilah Dawson and Nathan Massengill. Okay. This was certainly the most disturbing of the tales so far. A tale of how our obsession can get the best of us. And creepy as hell? Yes. For certain. The use of perspective in the art gave it that otherworldly feeling a carnival gives us.

Married to the Sea by Eric Esquivel and Chris Haley is a simple love story between and man and his myth-is.

So I’ve come to the end of the review, all the sadder for me.

Suffice to say, I love this book. It is a fantastic homage to the horror comic genre and it’s continuing evolution. This is a must read for any lover of horror comics. Jon Morris and Maning Krull have cremated…sorry…created a comic that should be on your pall…pull… list. No bones about it.

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Follow Brad Gischia on Twitter:  @comicwasteland

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