REVIEW: ‘In The Dark: A Horror Anthology’

(Tiny Behemoth Press & IDW Publishing, 2014)

Edited by Rachel Deering

Writers – (in order of appearance) Cullen Bunn, Justin Jordan, Rachel Deering, Michael Moreci, Steve Seeley, Mike Oliveri, Steve Niles, Tim Seeley, Christopher Sebella, Tom Taylor, James Tynion IV, Duane Swiercynski, Matthew Down Smith, F. Paul Wilson, Scott Snyder, Sean E. Williams, Brian Keene, Jody Leheup, Nate Southard, Thomas Boatwright, Ed Brisson, Paul Tobin, Valerie D’Orazio, and Marguerite Bennett

Artists –(In order of appearance) Drew Moss, Tyler Jenkins, Christine Larsen, Christian Wildgoose, Mike Henderson, Damien Worm, Stephen Green, Zack Soto, Mack Chater, Eryk Donovan, Richard P. Clark, Alison Sampson, Matthew Down Smith, Nate Powell, Andy Belanger, Tadd Galusha, Dalibor Talajic, Christian Dibari, Thomas Boatwright, Brian Level, Robert Wilson IV, Marc Laming, David James Cole, and Jonathan Brandon Sawyer

Colorists – (again…in order of appearance) Tamra Bonvillian, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Felipe Sobreiro, Jordan Boyd, K. Michael Russell, Ian Herring, Thomas Boatwright, Jim Campbell, Mike Spicer, Shari Chankhamma, Matt Wilson, and Doug Garbark

Letterers – (etc. etc.) Rachel Deering, Damien Worm, Nate Piekos, Adam Wollet, Nic J. Shaw, and Ed Brisson

When I first began this review, I looked at the credits and thought, “that’s going to take up too much space at the top of the review.  I just put ‘various writers and artists…” No one is going to read through them all anyway.  So that’s what I did.  But as I thought a little more about In The Dark, I realized that this collection of creators, gathered between the covers of one book, was too good to just skip by with a generic tag.  So go back to the top and read through them.  I’ll wait.

This is not the lineup for the next major con in your area, though it would certainly be a con worth attending.  This is the creator list for In The Dark: A Horror Anthology, published by Tiny Behemoth Press and IDW.

Rachel Deering, writer and comic letterer extraordinaire, undertook what began as a simple horror anthology and quickly became a 24 story, pinup stocked monster of a book.  I found it at C2E2 last spring, where I was fortunate enough to snag one of the few copies she was able to get before the show.  I had even put aside a special bill for the occasion because I knew that it was going to cost me $50.  This is a substantial book, in cost for certain but more so in content.  Look at that list at the top again.  F. Paul Wilson, Scott Snyder, Cullen Bunn…I could go on an on but you’ve read the credits already.  (I know you have.)  This is a rock star lineup of some of today’s best and brightest.  And they prove that zombies are not the only creepy-crawlies that inhabit today’s horror comics.

These stories go back to the roots of horror comic books, to the Creepy, and Eerie, and Tales From the Crypt books that we all wanted when we first heard about them, the books that parents in the 50’s and Mr. Wertham were so terrified of.  (Disclaimer, there are a couple of zombies.)

I could tell you about the standouts, the stories I like the best, but each and every story is great.  That’s the quality you’ll get from Ms. Deering.  If you’ve read her own series Anathema, you wouldn’t be surprised, but as creator and a writer and letterer in the industry you won’t find many people as hard working and passionate.  (Not only did she write two of the comics within, but she lettered most of them as well.)  It shows in this volume if you see it nowhere else.  She loves the genre, and that draws the kind of people in the credits list above.  Everyone has a love of being scared, and who better to scare you than the people who have the imagination to do so?

Launched as a Kickstarter last year the project quickly trounced its goal and because of the generous support it received the book was published early this year.  It’s big.  The book itself measure a massive 12 ¾ in. by 9 ¼ in. as big as most coffee table size books.  Bound together here are 24 original horror stories as well as horror pinups and an excellent essay on the history of horror comics. And, as if that weren’t enough, amidst the comics are sprinkled ads the like of which you would see in vintage horror comics.  Ads for things like rubber wolf masks to “terrify your friends”, and “Monstervision Specs” for the ability to see “real” monsters.  They add greatly to the charm of the book.

Rachel Deering has produced the gift of the year for any fan of horror comics by collecting some of the greatest comic creators working today.  In The Dark: A Horror Anthology (…The…Horror Anthology?) is a must have, a book that you can read more than once, and that you should read more than once, because it is a primer on not only how anthologies should be put together, but about how to make great comics.


 

Brad-profilepic

Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.

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