The Dark Horse BOOK OF THE DEAD - 2005
Editor: Scott Allie
Publisher: Dark Horse
Anthologies are, by their very nature, an eclectic bunch of tales. Not all of them will appeal to you, nor are they supposed to. Instead, anthologies are meant to give you wonderful reads of short tales and, as a grab bag, give you something that you may truly love. In otherwords, your favorite story in an anthology might not even be the editor's favorite story in the book.
A few years ago, Dark Horse comics decided to present an annual series of graphic Horror anthologies, in hard cover, and for a reasonable price. The series took off and this latest one, The Dark Horse BOOK OF THE DEAD, is a wonderful showcase of the top talents of the industry.
Well known comic veteran, Kelley Jones, takes the lead with his story and art in The Hungry Ghosts. Wonderfully told and in only six pages tells a tale of deceptive depth and trickery.
The second story, The Ghoul, is a Hellboy tale by Mike Mignola (HELLBOY: The Third Wish, HELLBOY) with our anti-hero-hero on the tail of a poetic ghoul.
Old Garfield's Heart is a Robert E. Howard reprint, about a near immortal, with illustrations by Gary Gianini.
Writer, David Crouse, and artist, Todd Herman, present the inner monologue of prescient roadkill.
Death Boy, veers to comedy with a story by Bob Fingerman and art by Roger Langridge.
The Wallace Expedition may be the darkest of the lot, with a creepy tale and art by Eric Powell (THE GOON).
Pat McQueen writes and draws Queen of Darkness in a tale of confidence, doubt, and decision.
Kago No Tori is a story by Jamie S. Rich with art by Guy Davis and tells a story of love after death that I've seen repeated by a number of writers more times than I can count. Davis artwork saves the tale.
The Magicians: A Devil's Footprints Story, by Scott Allie and artists Paul Lee & Brian Horton, demonstrates how the most powerful magic may still not be enough to answer one's burning questions, even from the source.
And finally, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie is a great zombie tale - and I know it's great because, again, it's been written so many times - told through the viewpoint of household pets. As such, it rises above what would have marked its territory as a mediocre story, had it been about humans. The story is by Evan Dorkin and the art by Jill Thompson.
The interesting thing about this anthology is, while I certainly have my favorites, even the least on my list were entertaining. Like most anthology editors, Scott Allie included one of his own stories, but I found it to be a really good story and had no problem with it. Your mileage may vary, but for me this book was money well spent and I'm buying the entire series.
4 Fan boys
copyright 2006 E.C.McMullen Jr.
Return To Comics