Tomb of Horror #1

Written by: Various

Art by: Various

Published by: Swamp Line Comics

The anthology comic Tomb of Horror #1 promises 100 pages of chills and thrills. Inside the book is a multitude of stories full of blood and gore as introduced on the first page by The Caretaker, an ugly skeleton man meant to remind of Tales from the Crypt’s Cryptkeeper. It’s a nice homage but as I read page after page of this comic made up of sixteen stories I noticed something. The Caretaker never shows up again. I thought it weird because you would think he would at least pop up elsewhere.  Anyway…he looks cool.

This is an indie book through and through.  The stories have nothing to do with one another, the only link is they all have some sort of horror aesthetic to them.   Many of the stories here feel rushed, maybe due to page count constraints. Reading many of the stories they just felt incomplete. It is usually protagonist introduced, antagonist arrives a few panels later, and then people die.

Death for death’s sake gets boring really quick story after story because the book is all about the blood and gore with zero character development. If you don’t care about the person introduced in the story why do you care if they die?

The clear standout of this book is a tale titled “Insanitarium” written by Chris Gates and drawn by Haraldo. The story is able to flesh out the story of a young man who witnesses a horror then decides to return to the scene of the crime to release some carnage.

This story is different from the others in a few ways. It’s a lot longer then some of the other stories and therefore gives us time to get to know Ezekiel, a young man born and now living in the insane asylum that his mother was committed to. He’s not crazy like the rest of the inhabitants, but we begin seeing the true story of what is truly going on through Ezekiel’s eyes.  And when the shit hits the fan for those in the asylum they only have themselves to blame.

Because the story has more time you care a bit more about what is going on. Having an excellent artist in Haraldo really helps, especially the coloring work. This entire issue is mostly black and white except for a few stories done in color. Unfortunately when put side by side with their color counterparts the black and white stories just don’t stand out as much.

There is one story titled Down to the Woods which unfortunately is over the second you start reading. However it is very effective thanks to artist Luciano Fleitas’ mesmerizing artwork. My God man – your images can frighten even the toughest person in the world. Talk about preying on the fears you have as a child.

There’s a couple stories here with some excellent artwork and halfway decent stories that I think are only marred by the shortness of the scripts.   Should the creative teams have had a few more pages each I believe this anthology would have been much better off.

All in all Tomb of Horror is an average book with stories that will make you go “Why!?!” with others that may make you say, “Wow that is fucking creepy!”  It’s too bad the average stories outnumber the amazing ones.