Alterna Tales Anthology #1
Written and drawn by Various artists
Cover Price: $3.50
Anthology titles have been used for a while to give new creators a spot to showcase their budding talent. The shorter stories give them a chance to spread their wings while not over stretching themselves. This title gives a look at some new talent that has a lot going for it and here’s hoping that they go on to better things.
Alterna Tales Anthology #1 offers up five short stories in the old horror comic/EC tradition. Some go for an Evil Dead humor/horror hybrid, and others just go for straight horror. And like most anthology titles some work better than others, but all of these offer the reader something different.
The first story is called “Uncle Creepie’s Collection.” It’s an almost humorous story about a man checking out a monkey’s collection of soiled underwear, yeah, don’t ask me to explain it further than that. It’s got its own sense of humor which I didn’t really find the humor in but hey, put a talking monkey in it, and I’ll find anything funny. What really does work is the art by creator Ken Henson. It has an old school 70′s underground comix feel to it, but also looks like an old English woodcut print. It works well to show the weirdness of the situation and draws the reader in.
The second story, “Tortured,” is drawn straight from the start of the first Blade movie. It’s a more straight up horror story than the first one is. The story involves a guy going to a bar to get over a nasty break up, and he finds a girl right away who’s interested in him, but not in a good way. The story is a bit predictable, but still decently paced, except for the ending. It feels like it needed a few more pages to have a proper end. The art brings to mind Kyle Hotz, with some weirdly elongated faces. Artist Kurt Belcher uses the contrast of the black and white art to set the mood, and does it well.
Belcher changes up his style for the third story, “Moonlight Hours.” While using more white space in the previous story, he uses more negative space in this one. As the title gives away, most of this story is set outside at night. Belcher continues to set a very scary mood. This story is almost a straight monster story with a bit of sci-fi thrown in. Monsters have been created by a botched experiment, and now one of the grandchildren of the creator is trying to make up for it, by hunting them down. It feels like a pilot for a really good series, and is one of the stronger stories of the issue.
Belcher is back for a third time in the next story “What I Am.” He goes back to the more white spaces of his first story, but his character work is a bit stronger here. Again, the biggest problem I had with this is that it felt like it needed a few more pages to really flesh out the main character. It deals with a videogame designer and what he does in his new game. It just felt like there were details missing in the story. It’s an interesting concept though and has some decent creepy moments in it.
The final story, “Death by Taxes” by creator Dan Crosier, falls back into the humorous horror mode, and this one had a bit of a funny joke on the old line about death and taxes. If anything, they didn’t go with the joke enough. Still, the situation brought me a few laughs, and Crosier has an interesting cross hatched style and renders the main character in all his zombie glory.
So, as with any anthology, some stories worked, some didn’t, but they all gave a peak at some emerging talent that has a bit of growing to do, but is on the path to success. If you’re in the mood for a few scares and a few laughs, give this book a try.
Available at the Alterna Comic Shop.