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Monday, December 5, 2016

Chronicles of Terror No. 4. Kim Roberts (Editor) WP Comics (2016)

Chronicles of Terror commitment to providing diverse, smart and deeply engaging comics continues unabated, which is just wonderful. The big tent approach to horror stories and the extraordinary array of talent gathered here is a vivid testament to editorial imagination and commitment. The suitably seasonal cover by Haraldo sets the scene for a clutch of great stories, stunning pin-ups that celebrate the long dark nights of Christmas with  black humour and buckets of gore. Christmas time is a target rich environment for horror stories, the unexpected perspectives and angles that the stories here use is a deep pleasure. Included among the excellent set of stories are the following:
The Never. Eric Gahagan (Writer), Pietro Vaughan (Art), Nikki Sherman (Letters). When Christmas come so does darkness and a visit from the anti-santa. A gripping and creepy story that packs a big punch in a small space as something very nasty comes down the chimney. Pietro Vaughan's black and white art captures the contrast betwen what is going on in the house and finishes with a stunning panel that reeks of excited malice. Nikki Sherman's letters are quiet and natural in the panels, they reveal the story with clearly different voices being heard.
Reindeer. Paul Bradford (Writer), Allen Byrns (Art), is an astonishing mix of traditional Christmastime ideas and a horribly clever and perfectly paced savagery. Allen Byrns' muted colours and sketched art capture the low key drama that the reader very uncomfortably completes for themselves. The lettering is superb, it is used as a significant aspect to the whole story design, in particular the landmine of the final narration box.
A Christmas Carol, Gabe Ostley (Writer) , Chris Allen (Colours) is a gloriously perverse version of Christmas haunting, Hell and mayhem. Gabe Ostley goes full tilt and beyond and the story benefits for the momentum and hell-for-leather approach. Chris Allen's colours are a match for the energy of the writing and art, they bring out every manic element and turbo charge the story up to its fantastic conclusion.
The Ancestors. Hunter Eden (Writer), MC Carper (Art), Chris Allen (Colours & Letters), is a gem of a story and an astounding comic. The ancestors gave way when the priests came, gave way but did not go away. They come in the depth of winter looking for good children and bad children. What happens to both is brutal, a folk tale that has claws, teeth and a taste for blood. MC Carper's art captures the folk tale core and is completely contemporary in the controlled used of panels to manage the tempo of the story. The ancestors are a subtle balance of human and wolfish, while being neither but wholly themselves. Chris Allens's colours are pitch perfect, they capture tone of fairy tales and the grim events they can so lightly present.
Unwanted Gifts. James Johnson (Writer & Art). James Johnson's distinctive art and willingness to take creative risks with his writing contribute to makes a very twisted Christmas story.
Christmas Eve. JoJo King (Writer), Alister Lee (Art) , Nikki Sherman (Letters) manages to mix cute and horrifying with excellent results. JoJo King risks making a cute childish misunderstanding joke that is black as pitch and actually works. Alister Lee balances all the aspect of the story with  with care and detail so that child's perceptions of events and the actual events fit together rather than uncomfortably jostle each other. Nikki Sherman's lettering never draws attention to itself, it sits so easily as part of the art and story.
Chief Wizard Note: This is a review copy very kindly sent by Kim Roberts, to purchase a copy of Chronicles of Terror No. 4. which in the season of goodwill would be a generous act for yourself to get great comics to warm you, it can be bought here

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