Short stories are one of the best forms of storytelling. They offer fast-paced tales that don’t beat around the bush. Horror comic anthologies used to be all the rage with books like “Eerie” and “Tales from the Crypt”, and thankfully they are seeing resurgence. The newest player in the game is “Evil Jester Presents”, and it’s an impressive debut issue with stories from Jack Ketchum, Jonathan Maberry, William F. Nolan and Joe McKinney. All four are quick and to the point which is just was short horror comics should be. Though Evil Jester is new, their story choice for the premiere issue are well thought out and freaky, which bodes well for the new kid on the block.
WRITTEN BY: Jack Ketchum, Jonathan Maberry, William F. Nolan and Joe McKinney
ART BY: Beni Lobel, Esteve Polls, Salva Navarro and Nacho Arranz
PUBLISHER: Evil Jester Comics
RELEASE: Out now
All four stories are a good fit for a first issue. Two are quick and dirty while the other two offer a little more length, but one thing they all share is an excellent representation of the horror genre. I’m going to focus on the two stories I most enjoyed from this book, the first and the third.
“The Box” by author Jack Ketchum has both a simple and alluring title. It’s cryptic in the sense that the box is shown at the outset, but never returns to the narrative. The tale follows a father who slowly watches his family slip away from him while despair fills his every nook and crany. The story itself is simple but the premise is anything but. As the tale unfolds, the situation becomes more shocking until the final few panels. The art by Beni Lobel is solid, but some of the coloring has a certain digital look that takes way from the horror. Still, Lobel does an excellent job of showing the decaying effects that the box has had on the family.
William F. Nolan’s “Small World” is a bleak take on the future of humanity as aliens wipe out everyone on Earth above the age of 6. The story follows what could be the last adult on Earth as he makes his way through the wasteland that the once highly populated planet has become. As the tale flashes between present and past the scope of the story expands, making you feel for this last bastion of humanity. The end of story is simply stunning. Salva Navarro has a realistic style infused with a nice sinister look. He makes the present dark and bleak, while the flash backs have a brighter look to offer an appropriate contrast.
“Evil Jester Presents” has my attention. It’s given me the urge to dive into classic anthologies for more short horror stories and any comic that makes me want to read more has done its job. With such talented creators on board, Evil Jester is definitely a publisher to keep your eye on in 2014.
You can pick up the first issue on the Evil Jester website.
Reviewed by – Green Basterd