Rating: 4.5/5 – Eric Powell Telling Spooky Stories for Kids!
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
On the cover for Albatross’s first issue of Spook House, the blurb reads “Scary Stories for Kids!” and while it’s not particularly scary, it’s definitely for kids which is great! If you haven’t heard of Albatross Funnybooks, it was originally the home of Eric Powell’s The Goon before that became a fan favorite character and series and moved over to Dark Horse where it found a much larger audience. Earlier this year Eric Powell decided to relaunch the independent label and Spook House is just one of the new titles being released from the publisher and it’s right in time for Halloween.
Spook House is an anthology book that has three stories in it, all written by Eric Powell, with his art on two and art by Steve Mannion on the third. The first of the three stories carries the same name of the comic, “Spook House”. Powell’s art in this first story is beautiful and cartoony as it tells the tale of two tough kids that are challenged to visit a “haunted house” that’s not like any other typical haunted house. Powell creates some cool characters before the boys find out the truth about what makes the house so spooky. It has one of those great twist endings that is appropriate for any age.
The second story was my favorite of the three, not only for the story, but surprisingly for the art which wasn’t by Powell. Mannion’s art is simple, again cartoony, but so energetic and fun. The colors by Brennan Wagner add a perfect touch to the art. Titled “The Frog Monster From the Sink”, Powell and Mannion tell the story of a kid who is home alone and hears creeks and croaks coming from the cabinets. When he investigates, he finds the frog monster! The design of the monster is wonderful and the action leaps off the panels. Unfortunately it ends too abruptly, not giving me a satisfying close but this is a story I hope continues in the second issue.
Finally, the third story is called Heckraiser,and you guessed it, it’s a parody of the classic horror film Hellraiser. Powell uses a different style of art and colors to tell this final tale of “cenobites” visiting a young girl and raising all sorts of…heck. I thought Powell could have spoofed the film series a bit more, but it’s still a cute story with some bright and colorful art.
It’s great to see Powell release a book like this, catering to kids with spooky stories at just the right time of year, Halloween! My five and eight year old haven’t read this yet, but tonight will be a perfect time to share it with them. I’ll be back for the next issue of Spook House, and I’m sure my kids will too!
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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