- House of Fear
- Ten31 Publishing
- Written by James Powell
- Illustrated by Jethro Morales
- Boyle pages Illustrated by James Hislope
- Colors by Josh Jensen
- Letters & Design by Matt Krotzer
Watch as normal, everyday kids attempt to fight off hungry, shape-shifting aliens; an infestation of giant spiders; a copse of angry Aspen trees; a gigantic dragon from another world; a group of sinister jack-o-lanterns; and more!
Welcome to the House of Fear… Your room is ready…
You know what’s tough? Ice skating uphill. You know what else is tough? Convincing your wife that spending $30 on comics isn’t a waste of money. You know what else is tough? Only spending $30 on comics.
You know what else? Reviewing an anthology book. But, I’ll say this… House of Fear wasn’t as tough a nut to crack as some of the collections I’ve had sent my way. For one, it came at me as a nostalgic reminder of the good times I had reading Goosebumps with my kids, pretending all the creepy crawlies in R.L. Stine’s pages were truly terrifying rather than just a series dedicated to mildly spooky fun. Another feature that helped me along the road to tackling this review was the House’s host Boyle, the good-naturedly eerie fellow introducing the stories by way of one- or two-page vignettes. It struck just the right balance of humor & easy reading horror.
James Powell is making great stuff, creating entertaining scares for the kids in the audience, and maybe even for some of the adults out there who never really got past Hocus Pocus. There’s nothing I saw in these pages that’s truly chilling for readers around the ages of 8 and up (parents, check with your kids before reading). Even better, the scares contained herein are aimed in general at the most deserving: bullies, vandals, people who talk in movie theaters, etc. And when the good guys are threatened, it’s only to provide an opportunity to rise up and take a stand against the bumps in the night. Powell is able to deliver a message (don’t be a bully and the I am rubber, you are glue curse won’t get its hold on you) while he entertains.
The other piece of the puzzle that made House of Fear easy to digest is the fine work of the artistic team. The main stories are illustrated by Jethro Morales, and he’s putting it all together in a very relaxed style that keeps the atmosphere from getting too heavy. A word of caution: he can dial it up here and there, so if you think that a lurking spider monster may be too much for your young’uns (or you), you might want to sit on this one for a year or two before you crack it open. The in-between spots are filled by the misadventures of our host, Boyle. These pages are drawn by James Hislope, and work to throw in bits of humor and dark chuckles to help the kids along. The book as a whole is colored by Josh Jensen, and his work goes along very well with it all, Hislope’s lines in particular.
I’d say that, as a parent, you’d be fine picking this up for the 8 to 14 age range… especially if you’re looking to read along with kids at the younger side. It’s all set to entertain, nothing especially graphic and no serious scares or jumps intended. Just be ready to check the closet and the space under the bed… you never know.
Final Score: 10/13