Monday, July 1, 2013

Grave Tales (Review)

The long-delayed Grave Tales #7 has finally arrived, delivering a Tales From the Crypt-ic triptych of ghoulishness.

The issue's cover could be a bit misleading, suggesting an adaptation of a story by Joe Hill.  Hill actually is responsible here for doing the script for Peter Crowther's story "Rustle."  The piece offers an intriguing, quasi-Lovecraftian premise (a suspected serial killer's "victims" disappear when stepping through a door that mysteriously appears in the middle of his apartment), but builds to a fairly predictable conclusion.  Also, the sound effects ("hisss,"
"scuttle," "shiffle...shaffle") blazoned across the final page prove
more silly than sinister.

Much more impressive is Ed Gorman's "The Jungle" (art and adaptation by William Renfro), the tale of a hard-boiled drifter who tracks a werewolf to a hobo camp in Depression-era Nebraska. 
Readers are presented with an engrossing tale (one that features a nice plot twist) in a distinct setting.  Renfro's artwork is sharp (hobo beard stubble is rendered with pointillist precision), his black-and-white drawings well-suited to this horror-noir narrative.

Ray Garton fills up the issue's "Epitaphs" slot with a work of flash fiction entitled "Tub."  The story is short and anything but sweet.  Let's just say that Garton does for hot-tub bathing what Jaws did for swimming in the ocean.

The latest edition of Grave Tales won't go down as an all-time
classic, but with a price tag of only $5, the issue will surely satisfy those looking for some cheap thrills.

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