Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: 'Haunted Horror: Comics Your Mother Warned You About'


Craig Yoe’s Haunted Horror gathers choice stories from less-remembered fifties horror comics like Voodoo, Worlds of Fear, and Adventures into Darkness. IDW’s hardcover anthology of the series’ first three issues, Haunted Horror: Banned Comics from the 1950s, made a pretty strong case for these comics with their weird stories and weirder artwork. The next few issues gathered in a new volume called Haunted Horror: Comics Your Mother Warned You About aren’t quite as out-there, with stories leaning more heavily on clichés and oddly enough, sports, a topic that doesn’t mix well with horror’s dank atmosphere, and the misogyny of the bowling tale “Night Owl” is more repugnant than its predictable conclusion.

There’s still a good deal to enjoy in this latest volume, particularly in the run of stories that follow those blah sports ones. “Valley of Horror” gets things back on track with a motorist suffering from mistaken identity issues, Jack Cole’s classically morbid artwork, and a welcome dose of humor and imagination. “Dragon Egg” is like a collaboration between Ray Harryhausan and the Crypt Keeper. “Ghoul’s Bride”, with its Lon Chaney-inspired creature, and the vampiric “The Night of Friday the 13th” sport the book’s most striking art. “The Thing from Beyond” has its grossest. “The Improved Kiss” is a truly gruesome mingling of historical and supernatural horrors. The first half of the book has a couple of good pieces too in “Goodbye… World!”, a cuckoo tale of locust-sympathizing space harpies, and “The Devil Puppet”, which features what may be the most evil evil puppet in a long history of evil puppet stories.

Though these non-mother-approved tales are a milder bunch than last year’s banned ones, there’s still plenty to drool over, and as always, IDW packages these tasteless tales in lovingly tasteful fashion.

Get Haunted Horror: Comics Your Mother Warned You About on Amazon.com here:


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