If you’re a fan of classic anthology shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, or Alfred Hitchcock Presents, then Dark Horse Presents is the book for you. If you’re not a fan of those shows, then you’ve probably never watched them. Comics’ favorite anthology is back with its twenty-eighth issue. Here’s the official description:
Read a new tale, written and illustrated by David Lapham, featuring luchador revenge on fearsome vampires in the world of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain: The Fall! Neal Adams’s Blood returns in part one of a massive two-part finale! And read an original tale from the world of the upcoming OGN Sabertooth Swordsman!
Plus, new installments of Juice Squeezers, Nexus, Trekker, Alabaster, and Steve Niles’s Nosferatu Wars! And a Edgar Allan Poe adaptation by Richard Corben!
“Alabaster: Boxcar Tales” is written by Caitlin R. Kiernan, with art by Steve Lieber. Patrick Alexander brings us “Mrs. Plopsworth’s Kitchen”, while Ron Randall writes and draws “Trekker: The Train to Avalon Bay”. “Nosferatu Wars” is once again drawn by Menton3. The second chapter of “Mr. Monster: Dark Stearn” is written by Michael T. Gilbert and Janet Gilbert, with Michael also on art. David Lapham pulls double duty this month, as he also writes and draws “Juice Squeezers”. Damon Gentry and Aaron Conley write and draw “Sabertooth Swordsman”, respectively.
DHP stumbles a bit this month with “Blood”. As the solicit mentions, this is the beginning of the story’s finale, but we haven’t seen an installment in several months, and recent new readers get no recap to tell them what’s going on, or even what the story is about.
The Strain story only just gets going this month, but Lapham deftly reveals the backstory of his main character. Although there’s nothing terribly surprising in the plot, it creates a sense of accomplishment in the reader by making additional story layers immediately understandable without bashing us over the head with them. Lapham’s pencils are clean and simultaneously disturbing in places. Lee Loughridge creates color palettes for each panel that flirt with being monochromatic while allowing individual colors to pop.
Patrick Alexander’s “Mrs. Plopsworth’s Kitchen” somehow manages to be adorable and disturbing at the same time, although words like “surreal”, “endearing”, “hilarious”, and “grotesque” could apply as well. As an added bonus, the story breaks part way through, with its second half finishing off the issue.
Finally, Gentry and Conley’s “Sabretooth Swordsman” sees an anthropomorphic tiger fighting an apparently mystical snake in the jungles of Asia. Gentry’s offbeat humor and storytelling definitely have their appeal, but it’s Conley’s art that sells it. To me, the exaggerated expressions on the animals screamed classic Looney Tunes, though some scenes of pus, blood, and eye crud may make a Ren and Stimpy comparison apt as well.
While I have to say this wasn’t my favorite issue of DHP, it still offers a selection you won’t see anywhere else. Besides, with vampires and eye crud, what more could you want?
Zac Boone is pretty thrilled about the Gotham show they just announced. After you’re done with DHP, go pick up Gotham Central. And follow Zac on twitter.