Pullbox Reviews: Grimm Tales of Terror, Halloween Special 2019

  • Grimm Tales of Terror 2019 Halloween Special (anthology)
  • Zenescope Entertainment
  • Story by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, & Dave Franchini
  • Evil Tattoos
    • Written by R. Alan
    • Art by Butch Mapa
    • Colors by Sebastian Cheng
    • Edited by Kellie Supplee
  • Cat & Mouse
    • Written by Raven Gregory
    • Art by Umberto Giampa
    • Colors by Grostieta
    • Edited by Rachel Bishop
  • The Hunter
    • Written by Ben Meares
    • Art by Salvatore Cuffari
    • Colors by Maxflan Araujo
    • Edited by Kellie Supplee
  • Letters by Maurizio Clausi (Arancia Studio)
  • Grimm Tales of Terror created by Joe Brusha & Ralph Tedesco
  • In stores October 16, 2019

Back for another year of nightmare-inducing stories, Zenescope Presents the Grimm Tales of Terror Halloween Special!
Join, Keres, the Goddess of Death as she takes up shop at a local costume store aimed to punish those unlucky enough to be worthy of her wrath in this small college town. Introducing three new short stories, just in time for the horror season!

It’s that time of year again, for better or for worse… No, I don’t mean pumpkin spiced latte’ season, although that is a particularly disturbing epidemic in its own right. I’m also not talking about the near constant showings of Hocus Pocus on cable television, but we might be getting a little closer. In the broader sense, I’m talking about Halloween Special Season, the time of year when every movie studio is looking to release a horror film and every television show is airing episodes dedicated to the creepy, the frightening, and the disturbed.

Some, more disturbing than others.

Comics are, of course, no stranger to the trend. Again, some more disturbing than others. Among the more consistently entertaining is the yearly entry from Zenescope. Generally known for their Grimm Universe which revisits the magical lands of our collective childhood (Wonderland, Oz, Neverland) and reimagines them for the superhero comic crowd, the folks at Zenescope have put out some fairly impressive horror titles. If I were being totally honest, I’d say that some of their best work has nothing to do with a scantily clad Alice or Dorothy (although I still have a soft spot for their Robyn Hood titles). When Zenescope steps away from their fairy tale adaptations, I think they do some of their best work.

So it is with Grimm Fairy Tales.

Let’s be clear, I’m not saying that this Halloween Special is rivaling the works of Alfred Hitchcock, or Jordan Peele for you youngsters out there. Never shy to embrace the fact that they’re work is closer to Michael Bay than William Shakespeare, this is a publisher that is looking to entertain with flair. In that regard, the works collected here are spot on. R. Alan, Raven Gregory, & Ben Meares give us tales of terror that might have more akin to the Scream or Friday the 13th movies. That isn’t to say that the short stories herein follow a straight line path from bloodbath to bloodbath. There are twists to be found that actually led me in one direction and then yanked the rug just as I was starting to roll my eyes at what I thought was their predictability.

A thing that most Zenescope titles have in common across the board is some generally good artwork. This particular collective team of artists- Butch Mapa, Umberto Giampa, & Salvatore Cuffari– and colorists- Sebastian Cheng, Grostieta, & Maxflan Araujo– have worked together to give readers a book that’s as visually entertaining as it is just plain fun to read. The styles all work well when taken together as an anthology, making the transitions from story to story pretty effortless.

On one thing I’ll take a stand, though… some of the dialogue was packed pretty densely into the panels, which made it a little confusing to follow in sequence. I don’t know if this could have been alleviated by opening the panels up a little bit, or by cutting back on some of the exposition… I just read ‘em, I don’t claim to know everything about the creative process. I do know that I’ve read some pretty in depth and layered comics, and that the writing needs to trust in the artwork to tell part of the story for it all to work. On that basis, I’d have to say that there could have been a few corners cut to reduce the space taken up by dialogue balloons. That gives the art a chance to show the story, reducing the need to tell it.

In general, Zenescope has put out a fun batch of stories. That’s the goal, right? Veal Parmesan sounds great now and then, but if that was all you had to eat, day in and day out, you’d be pretty sick of it. Some days, you just want a good juicy cheeseburger, and that’s exactly what we’ve got here. So sit back, put your feet up for a bit, relax and just let it happen.

Final Score: 8

Get your own digital copy here

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