Morbid Myths Vol. 1: The Collection
Written by Dale Mettam, Dwayne Biddix, Jamison Kasian, Chris Carpenter
Pencils by Dwayne Biddix, Harold Edge, Jennifer Tanner
Inks by Gary Mitchell, Harold Edge, Richard Zajac
Alterna Comics & Hard Way Studios
Cover Price $11.95; Available Now
From Hard Way Studios comes this thrilling and fast-paced anthology of stories to chill your bones and tales to rip the scream from your throat. Originally published in single comic book form, Volume One now collects the first three issues as well as the “lost” fourth issue into a handsome trade paperback. This collection is ripe and ready to be read close to the fireplace and preferably with a fierce wind whipping about outside.
At the helm of these spooky snacks of delicious horror is a mysterious man known only as Job, who guides us through his vault of items that have come in contact with the supernatural, and thus have become supernatural themselves. With each newly acquired item, Job tells the story of how it came to be in his possession and of the unfortunate soul who had it before him. Dressed in a suit that was most likely stolen from Dr. Strange’s closet and wearing a half skull mask to complete the atmosphere, Job boasts an odd sense of humor that would be right at home on most late night local cable horror shows which keeps even his darkest tales from dreary suffocation.
Job’s stories range anywhere from a few pages to the entire book, which is the case with the first issue, and it may just be the best tale of the series. Here, a portly old librarian along with her two assistants must retrieve an overdue book. The only catch is that the book is The Bumper Grimoire Of Extra-Dimensional Beasties, and it has been used to open a portal to allow a quite Lovecraftian creature into our world. Noting that the book was checked out from none other than the Miskatonic Municipal County Library, and you can tell right off the company Morbid Myths would like to be associated with.
From here the series segues into the more traditional anthology format, with each book containing two or three stories. The tales range from horrors too unspeakable to even draw, to quick and quirky puns, and even makes room for a few riffs on classic urban legends such as Bloody Mary. Not every story is a winner, with a few that feel more like page fillers than fully thought-out tales, but for the most part each chapter provides goosebump-inducing atmosphere and a chilling end that would be make for a perfectly demented bedtime story.
Throughout the entire series stand-out attention is paid to the quality of the artwork, and though there are six artists between the pencilers and inkers, each issue retains a firm sense of continuity and a communal style. Heavy black inks keep the shadows vibrant and endless, while the crisp whites act as counterbalance that cowers in fear of being taken over. It is with a tinge of regret that these stories are told in black and white, for while its use retains a connection to the godfather of creeps EC Comics, color would certainly give these tales an entirely new dimension of macabre.
With almost a dozen different names that are currently responsible for bringing this creation to life from start to finish, there stood a very good chance that the entire project would become disjointed. To editor Chris Carpenter‘s credit, he keeps everything in check and flowing smoothly from cover to cover to form a unified project that knows how to make the skin crawl. Volume Two is already underway at Hard Way Studios, and it can’t escape from the dark corners of Hell fast enough!