In Review: Grimm Tales of Terror #7

Impressive scares with a good twist, told with excellent visuals.

The covers: A foursome to haunt your soul. The A cover is by Richard Ortiz and Ylenia Di Napoli which features the hostess sitting on a bathroom counter. There’s an odd shaped shadow in the mirror behind her, and that’s a subtle hint at what readers can expect from this issue’s story. The hostess is attractive and the coloring is dim enough to suggest something’s not right with what’s being seen. Sexy and eerie. Alfredo Reyes and Stephen Schaffer do the B cover which has two girls looking in a bathroom mirror, unaware that someone holding a bloody axe is making his or her way to them. Creepy image with the coloring very bright in the bathroom, to showcase the girls, and dim in the unlit hallway, to make the antagonist more frightening. The C is a great EC Comics inspired cover by Eric J. and Romulo Fajardo, Jr. The page is in the same layout of an EC comic, complete with the white letters of the title against a blood red background. The image is a tight close-up of a woman looking in a mirror and seeing a ghastly female corpse coming toward her. This excellently captures the story that lies within and the tone of that iconic 1950’s comic line. There is also a Secret Retailer Exclusive cover by Mike Krome and Ula Mos available only at Zenescope.com, but I couldn’t find a picture of it on the website. Overall grades: A A, B A, and C A+

The story: This issue has a fun take on the classic Bloody Mary storyline. The story was conceived by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, and Josh Gorfain, with Tedesco writing out the script. A mother, her stepdaughter Mary, and Mary’s friend Cheryl are going into a coffee shop where they briefly encounter a rude man on the phone with his wife. Inside, the man flirts with the cashier before being blown off. This episode will bookend the issue. The girls get their drinks and Mary and Cheryl go to class, where they continue talking after the instructor has come in. The day’s discussion is on urban legends, and Mary is asked to share if she knows any, since she has no problem talking when class has begun. She tells the tale of Bloody Mary, but can’t get further without the interruption of an obnoxious student. That night, Mary invites Cheryl and two other friends to spend the night, since her father and stepmother are going out. Mary doesn’t trust her stepmother, as she seems too nice. Bored after eating, the four decide to see if the urban legend is true. Page 10 has their actions coming to life in very unexpected ways. I have to admit I was impressed with this story. I didn’t think much of anything new could be done with this tale, and Brusha, Tedesco, and Gorfain took it into a new direction with a successful ending. The bookend was okay, capping off what occurred earlier, but only served to have the hostess inserted into the story. Still, I was very pleased with the main tale. Overall grade: A

The art: There are two different artists on this book: Joel Ojeda (Pages 1 – 13) and Eleonora Carlini (Pages 14 – 22). I like both their styles, which are very different, but would have enjoyed the experience more had it been just one of them. Ojeda’s artwork reminded of Bernie Wrightson and Mike Ploog at various points, and if one is too have a style suited for horror, either of these masters would be ones to study. His characters are really well done. Very realistic and emoting excellently. I love the look of the instructor at the bottom of Page 5. The girls at the party have their own distinct personalities shown through their faces and body language. Page 10 is an outstanding splash page showing the supernatural threat, and the close up that occurs later is equally fantastic. When Carlini takes over the art chores, the visuals are very angular. I like it, but it is a noticeable change as to what’s been shown before. For example, I like the look of Mary’s hair that ends in tremendous points, but her father’s hair is too spiky, and his ears look pointed in many panels, which had me wondering if he was supernatural in nature–he’s not. The fourth panel on Page 16 is brilliant. I love everything about that panel and the sixth panel was just creepy! The climax is excellent, with the penultimate panel on 20 being exactly the visual needed to satisfactorily end this story. The final page is also good, and I like the way Carlini chose to show the violent act. Classy and shocking. I must repeat, I would have given this a higher grade had there been one artist solely on this installment. Overall grade: A-

The colors: Beautiful work by Fran Gamboa on every page. A good horror comic must be able to go bright and dark in just the right places to emphasize and hide the terrors. The first five pages are set in the daylight, and the colors are rightfully bright and real. This is an excellent way to lead readers calmly into the awaiting thrills. The colors dim during their pizza eating discussion, before becoming dimly lit in a bathroom by candlelight. When the creature appears on 10 it iss beautifully colored in pale blues, violets, and sickly oranges for the candles. The creature’s later appearances include brighter reds that make it so much more grotesque. Red is also used for dialogue balloons, as black is used for another character’s speech. Coloring this pair’s dialogue in this way made them more dramatic. This is a well colored book that shows Gamboa to have considerable skills. Overall grade: A

The letters: Micah Myers is responsible for the dialogue and scene settings (same font), the hostess’s dialogue font, sounds, screams, and the creature’s dialogue font. I was very happy to see that the two supernatural beings of the book had their own unique font, which made each seem very different from the “normal” humans. However, I wish the scene settings had been a different font from the dialogue. It’s used for a different purpose, so it follows that it should be a different font. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Impressive scares with a good twist, told with excellent visuals. This is another series that I’m going to have to track down all the previous issues. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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