(Monkeybrain Comics, 2014)
Written by RJ White, Dylan Todd, Leonard Pierce, Jan Morris, Delilah Dawson, Chris Sims, Ken Lowery, Manning Krull, Sean Pappe, Scott Faulkner, and Benito Cereno
Art by Kelly Tindall, Matt Digges, Pete Toms, Gloria Reynolds, Adam Watson, Matt Smigel, Joel Carroll, Matthew Allen Smith, Andy Hirsch, Shawn McGuan, Manning Krull, Sean Pappe, Erica Henderson, Scott Faulkner, and Jordan Witt
Halloween was just upon us, and along with scary movies, trick or treating, and the occasional summer camp hack n’ slash, we turn our thoughts to holiday-themed television shows and more importantly, comics.
The history of horror comics has been well documented and has been re-ignited in the past decade, but that doesn’t mean that we, as a comic-consuming public, have had enough. Not by a long shot. And this year, in observance of one of the best-love holidays of the year, Monkeybrain Comics issues the second volume of it’s anthology Boo! , just in time to scare the socks off of unsuspecting children.
Boo! Volume 2 #1 recreates the magic that was captured and held against its will in volume 1, filling your brain with images that you’d like to forget, all the while making you crave more. In the first volume, the stories were based around the concept of a horror show host reality show. That has been abandoned in this issue, but there are still funny little interstitials between stories a la Tales from the Crypt.
Several of the creators from the first book make an appearance again in this volume. The stories run the gamut from silly to scary, intensifying that homage feel to the horror comics of the 60’s that the first volume cemented so well. Clever wordplay in names like A “Lotto” Death make you feel the silliness while Murder Ballad is a continuation from a story in volume one and tells a morality tale.
The art in this is as varied as the people who have worked on it. You can’t really gauge one against another because each is individual to the story it’s drawn for. Clue(less) was based on, you guessed it, Clue, and it was wonderful. Rise, by Matt Smigel takes a dark and disturbing look at the bringing of demons through a portal, and flips it on its head at the last moment. The Hell Mask has art that would look at home in the Sunday Funnies, and hides a disturbing element. Each story is unique and completely different with the others that ran before and after it, making each turn of the page a surprise.
The most general task of a horror story is to entertain. But the horror comics of the 60’s did that and framed it in a morality tale. Those comics are treasures. And so is Boo! Volume 2 #1. Monkeybrain Comics takes those classic tropes and filters them through artists and writers who give it a fresh look and feel while keeping that feeling from the old books. Boo! Volume 2 #1 is the perfect way to spend your Halloween, cowering beneath the blankets and jumping at each rap at the front door.
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.