Paper Cuts: 7/15/16

grimm tales of terror v2 10

Grimm Tales of Terror Vol. 2 #10 (Zenescope)

Zenescope is not known for highbrow, high-concept comic books.  They have their niche audience, which is what would make this single issue story a bit of a surprise.

We are immediately introduced to a TV news reporter, down on his luck and looking to break a real story instead of the fluff he is constantly delivering.  He goes to investigate an old home and something does not seem quite right.  It is a horror cliché to say the least, but that did not make it unenjoyable.  The dialogue was not fantastic; I found myself chuckling at some very poorly written moments.  The story was told in such a brisk manner is that it was really hard to get scared or even care about any of these characters within the issue.

The artwork, provided by Sami Kivela and colorist Marco Lesko, were serviceable.  That is by no means a dig on the work, but meant to be said with some praise.  It is very often with smaller publishers that the work can come across as unprofessional.  However, reading this issue in digital format the art came as polished, although not groundbreaking.

This was by no means a great comic, but I am a sucker for horror anthology style books and has me curious to read more.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 (but only for those fans of horror anthologies)

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Puppet Master #17 (Action Labs / Danger Zone)

A colleague of mine read issue one and rated it a solid “Leave It.”  However, being such a fan of the movies, I decided to dive into this.  I give credit to any film-turned-comic-series that manages to get itself to issue #17.

The new Puppet Master – a young boy who lives with his family at the hotel they run – is having problems with the Puppets.  They are falling apart and he cannot get them to go back together.  Meanwhile, a group of Luchador wrestlers show up with their sleazy manager to spend the night.  We then get a very uninspiring story that even the most rabid Luchador fans will want to pass up.

The one strong thing I can say is that the art had some very gory and violent scenes, courtesy of the Puppets.  While I do not want this in all my comics – or even all my horror comics – I like the occasional gasps that rival some in The Walking Dead.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #6 (Archie)

Letterers are often the forgotten piece of comic artwork, but Jack Morelli’s work in this comic are STUNNING.  Typically when you look at a lot of yellow-text books, the text feels heavy and drawn out.  Not here. Not even close.  The subtlety that he uses for when the cobras are speaking just says talent.

With amazing lettering, it’s hard to imagine that the art would not blow anyone away. The art is simply flawless. While the other books I looked at were flat, the art and coloring in Sabrina was deep and rich.  The tone is dark, but not soaked in black ink.

Roberto Agguire-Sacasa weaves a true tale of sadness and horror.  We are introduced to a ton of complex characters, but this ensemble cast each has their moments, and Agguire-Sacasa writes a script made for the best television dramas.
One last thing to note: it is very easy for one shot story’s to use “Let Me Tell You a Tale.”  There is something special when you can take a cliché and push its expectations and deliver not one, but two complete tales in a limited page count.

Perhaps you are like me and LOVED Afterlife with Archie.  Perhaps you even loved issue #1 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.  But with their infrequent release schedule, perhaps you are also like me and do not catch it in issue form.

Well, whether you are current on either series or never have read an issue (or even know who Sabrina is), this is a book that you can pick up and enjoy immediately.

Ratings: 5 out of 5

When not writing about horror comics, Ryan enjoys long walks on shark-infested beaches (or at least watching them on the screen).  If you like what you read, tweet out the link to the column and use the #comicpapercuts.  If you want to read more, follow Ryan and look for his other comic columns and interviews over at Two-Headed Nerd.

Paper Cuts: 7/12/16

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Nailbiter #24 (Image)

Have you ever turned a movie on TV and realized that the it’s coming to the climax and you become immediately invested?

Never having read a single issue of Nailbiter, I decided to take a stab at issue 24 this week.  (Forgive the bad jokes, I will try to limit them, but make no promises)

The issue picks up with two frantic cops who are trying to stop something from happening, but can see the ball is rolling and are desperately trying to catch up.  Throughout the issue we are introduced to most of the major players and what is happening with each of them.  There is no heavy dialogue bogging down the flow of the issue, which is an accomplishment since the “killer” speaks to his motivations (for most, this would be a slog).  The stakes are high after a single issue, and I immediately became invested in the entire cast .  Williamson is telling a great story here.

The art is perfect.  Henderson did not draw anything unexpected, but the storytelling was cohesive and strong throughout the entire book.  A ton of credit has to go to Adam Guzowski.  Watching him transport his readers from place to place with color choices and not feel disjointed is to watch someone working his craft at the highest level.

Even if you never read Nailbiter, pick this issue up.  Or at least go pick up the first trade.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Ghoul Scouts #2 (Action Lab)

Have you ever wanted to share in the watching experience of The Walking Dead with the whole family?   Afterlife with Archie still a bit too graphic?  Confused about who Scooby Doo: Apocalypse is really for?

This comic may be for you.

The premise is simple, a group of young scouts are suddenly faced with their town being overrun by zombies.  They must make their way from the woods back into town and try to find some help.  Steve Bryant does a great job with the dialogue: he gives us small glimpses into the characters, while letting the art be an equal part of the story.

The art by Mark Stegabaur – with colors from Jason Millet – are clean and cartoon-inspired.  Stegabaur certainly carried his share of the storytelling for the issue, but towards the end of the issue came across as unpolished and unfinished.

Overall, this is a simple and fun book.  Whether you were a fan of Goosebumps growing up or your child enjoyed the recent movie, this is a book for everyone.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Baltimore: Empty Graves #4 (Darkhorse)

I have read Baltimore collections sparingly over the past couple of years and always enjoyed them.  Baltimore always scratched a Mignola-verse itch without the need to keep up with the rest of universe.  Where I had no trouble jumping in my other books this week, this one left me completely lost and not much to hold onto.

The art had its moments.  The first few pages gave me exactly what I was looking for, but shortly thereafter started to stumble.  This is by no means a bad looking book, but the line work seemed to change after the first few pages and too many color pallet jumps left me uninspired.

This book is not for everyone, but perhaps it will resonate more for fans of the work that has come before.

Rating: 2 out of 5