Grimm Tales of Terror #11
Written by: Billy Hanson
Art by: Joe Sanchez Diaz
Published by: Zenoscope Entertainment

Review by Dean Zeller

This review contains spoilers of Grimm Tales of Terror #11, by Zenoscope Entertainment.

Looking at the cover of GTOT #11, it looks almost exactly like the movie Mars Attacks! One would think a copy of a story that has been done many times would be gruling and boring. However, as my review of Robyn Hood #4 may reveal, I am kind of a fan of well-done copies. While I also like original stories, predictive familiarity can also benefit a good story, especially if there is a good twist.  The cover art by Eric J and Sean Ellery shows a very traditional 50’s sci-fi show, with ships in the air, and aliens destroying civilization.  This scene never actually happens in the comic, but there is a specific reason for that.

I typically start reviews of a background of the creators. I was surprised to find there was four people involved with just the story. Why so many? Were Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, and Billy Hanson all necessary for the story? Did they all get together over beers and decide to tell a story that has been told a dozen times before? The official writer is Billy Hanson only. So I will comment on his background only.  Which is…  nothing.  I did find a Billy Hanson on the IMDB as a movie producer and director, but I don’t think it’s the same one.  So, like always, I remind my readers that I never look at inexperience as a bad thing; it shows the company is willing to hire new talent.

I have previously reviewed the work of Joe Sanchez Diaz in GTOT #9. I found his artwork good then, and is equally good now.  In fact, better.  Diaz’ artwork in issue #11 is smoother and more defined than in issue #9.  I thought this could have been from a different inker, but he did the artwork solo in both issues.  I absolutely loved his portrayal of the female body, once again showing a style similar to Terry Dodson or Adam Hughes.  Given the right situation and exposure, I could eventually see Diaz’ name in big bold letters.  Watch out for this guy!

Diaz’ female form

 

Adam Hughes collage

 

Terry Dodson collage

Ok, on to the review! The title of the story is War of the Worlds. Naturally, this title has been done so many times I’m sure H.G. Wells is sick of it now. The original story was the radio production of the 1930’s that supposedly caused a bitter panic.  (It actually didn’t, that story is way over-blown.) It’s been made into many movies, most recently starring Tom Cruise. How in the world could young creators like Hanson and Diaz make this story any better ? Luckily, I went in with the idea that this is a retold story and allowed the creators to give their take on it. Even though this is issue 11, it is not a continuing storyline and all characters are new, so prior knowledge is not a necessity. Even without a prior storyline, there is an introductory paragraph on the inside cover. The first page starts out very well with Diaz’s awesome rendition of the characters.

It’s Halloween and the story goes along as some truckers nearly miss a kid an alien costume.

“Kid”

To miss the “kid,” the truck swerves and whirls, while the radio plays Call Me by Blondie.  It reminded me of the opening car-chase scene in The Kingsmen: Golden Circle, when they were driving through the city to Let’s Go Crazy, by Prince.

“Look for the purple banana until they put us in the truck.”

As it turns out, it ain’t no kid!  It’s an alien, with really cool four-fingered extra-long claws.  Here is another shot of the alien, showing off Diaz’ talent with storytelling frames as well as realistic artwork.

The story cuts to Meredith, the radio DJ playing 80’s music from earlier.  She is also taking callers to talk about trick-or-treating and such. She has a very charming scene where she makes coffee and interacts with a spider. You would think dedicating an entire page to such a menial task would be a waste of space. As I found out later, it wasn’t a waste, and it ended up being my favorite scene in the comic.

Read this scene, then read it again after finishing the comic.

Suddenly, her producer runs in and tells her they’ve got a caller for the radio show who is in a panic. He tried to call the fire department and police, but the lines were all down.  It was the trucker from earlier. She is reluctant to put him on the air because he could be a crackpot.  She doesn’t want a repeat of the 30’s incident so she tries to talk to the guy and line goes dead.

The plot thickens…

While she and her producer discuss what to do, other calls start coming in saying similar things–being attacked by aliens. After a few calls, her producer orders her back to the booth, and she starts taking callers.  The next caller is a wee-bit more gruesome.

Ain’t so lucky

She explains to the audience that it seems very odd, but since the lines were down this was the only communication they were allowed to get. Many people were listening, drinking in bars, or while trick-or-treating and the general idea was it was staged, much like the famed radio show and countless movies.

As more callers come in this looks more and more real. The dialogue turned from casual and happy to intense and horrifying as it showed other people being attacked by aliens and calling in in a panic.  Things were going along just fine, until suddenly the police start knocking on the door demanding that she shut down the broadcast. Why? Because she is causing chaos. The police are saying that people are running from imaginary monsters. The DJ continues to tell the audience what is going on with the police in the radio station.

Even though this is a spoilers review, I don’t want to ruin the ending for you. It’s not a M. Night Shyamalan (Shama-lama-ding-dong) ending and it was just predictable enough to be fun.  If you have seen The Belko Experiment, the ending is a similar sort of semi-predictable twist.  I would love to see this rendition made into a low-budget movie.  I liked the use of the radio station as the storytelling medium, and could be applied to the Internet (the story takes place in 1980).   Belko cost only $5 million, and Purge was only $3 million.  I’m sure we can find $10 million somewhere, to pay for this low-budget film.  Just saying — it’s only 10 million.

 

Overall, I quite loved the issue. There was at no point that I was bored, and I highly recommend it.

Ratings: A / 5 stars out of 5 / Thumbs Up

 

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