In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales 2019 Horror Pinup Special

A fun ten page tale introduces twenty-eight pinups for the Halloween season.

The covers: Eight different covers to haunt your dreams on this year’s Halloween Pinup Special. The A Cover is by Alfredo Reyes and Ylenia Di Napoli. Skye is in the lower half of the cover wrapped as a mummy, though here and there a bit of her flesh shows through her bandages. Behind her is a twin towered building that has orange lights emanating from each upper level. The sky is green-gray and features a full moon in the dead center with several bats flying about. Very neat cover. The B is a fantastic frontpiece by Kevin McCoy and Grostieta that features the newest Zenescope star — Gretel. She’s wearing a red and black plaid log sleeved top that exposes quite a bit of her legs, her chest, and her shoulders. It’s the latter two areas of her body that her infamous tattoos are shown. She’s lovingly holding a bloody ax in her arms, with her head tilted back with a slight smile on her face. Her face and chest are splattered with a bit of crimson. She’s in a wood walled room with red curtains, a lamp, and a plush chair. This would be a cozy setting were this hero not holding his weapon and wearing someone’s blood. I love this! Robyn Locksley is cosplaying on the C created by Derlis Santacruz and Ula Mos. This popular character is dressed as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She’s sporting the tall wig and the revealing black dress, plus sporting a small knife on a black belt around her waist. If she hadn’t been missing her left eye I don’t think I would have recognized her. The setting behind her is a brown colored room that has an antique cabinet, a plush red chair, a small table holding several lit candles, and a bizarre poster on the wall featuring severed limbs. This is great! Michael DiPascale and Sanju Nivangune have created the D cover and I do not know who this character is. She’s obviously not in her typical Zenescope outfit. The woman has beautiful brown hair that’s covering most of the left side of her face and falls past her shoulder. She has riveting blue eyes. She’s wearing a vampire cape, whose collar is pointed out far from either side of her head. She has on a matching red bustier that’s low cut in red and black. Her tiny panties match that and she has on black stockings. She’s on a white background, allowing her colors to draw the reader’s eye to her. WOW! There are also four Exclusive covers I couldn’t find images of online. These include the New York Comic Con Cosplay Exclusives (Limited to 250/75 copies) by Paul Green and Mos, the New York Comic Con Wraparound Insert Exclusive (75) by Eric Basaldua, and the New York Comic Con Foil Insert Exclusive (50) by Keith Garvey. Good luck, collectors! Overall grades: A B, B A+, C A-, and D A+

The story: The first ten pages of this pinup collection, are devoted to the Dave Franchini tale “The Witching Hour.” In Buffalo Grove, Illinois it’s Halloween and four Trick or Treaters go to a home and are given treats by a woman in a sexy witch outfit. As they walk away after thanking her, she says, “And be sure to not stay out too late…You don’t want to run into any real monsters.” The witch goes back into her house saying how much she loves the candy, the costumes, and the children. With this final word she’s in her kitchen where a boy and girl are held captive in cages hanging from the ceiling, a large pot is boiling over, a counter is caked in blood, and several wicked looking tools are on another counter. She obviously plans to eat the tykes, but another child at her door momentarily prevents their demise. The reader is prepared for another candy seeking kid, but gets something else entirely, as does the witch. I love who the Zenescope hero is, what she does, and whom her partner is. This makes me hungry for more adventures of this hero. This is cool, funny, and whets my appetite for more of this character, which can’t come soon enough. Overall grade: A+

The art: I really like the art by Eduardo Garcia. It’s very detailed, with the characters and the settings looking fantastic. Take a look at the opening panel that shows the houses and how well done the witch looks. The kitchen for this character is large, but all the better to show the impending horror, my dear. The transformation that starts Page 3 is great and the rapid change back gives this individual a lot of strength. The anger that appears in the final panel on this page is terrific. The reveal on 6 is excellent and the appendage that appears in the fifth panel was a shock and absolutely awesome. The battle is good, with the appearance on 7 cheer worthy. The final design of the antagonist is ghastly. What’s done in the fifth panel on 9 isn’t a surprise to fans of this character. The last page doesn’t really need text (although it’s good!), because it’s completely clear what’s been done. I would love to Garcia return to illustrating this character’s adventures! Overall grade: A+

The colors: Jorge Cortes does some incredibly vivid coloring on this book, which keep all the surprises and horrors completely clear to the reader. The first panel has beautiful colors to make this night idyllic. The amount of skin being shown by the witch has the reader’s eyes drawn to her against the browns of the homes and the greens of the grass. The reds in the large panel on the second page immediately telegraph danger. Subtle browns are used to intensify the ugliness that’s revealed of a character. Very cool. The greens that surround the change in the fifth and sixth panels on 5 are magical and foreshadow the colors that the hero is most often dressed in. The color of the appendage that appears on the next page is just a taste of the final reveal for this character. I love the reflections on the character’s costume on 7 which makes her outfit look very real. I love the greens that appear at the end of 8 and the red object that closes out 9. Cortes is doing a great job on this. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, yells, dialogue, sounds, and the narration and an editor’s note (the same font) are created by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios. I like the style of the scene settings, which get attention instantly. There are several types of yells with each done in a different font, with the one that starts Page 3 my favorite. The narration is differed by the dialogue by being in italics, which is something I always enjoy seeing because it visually shows the reader that he or she is not reading someone’s speech. I don’t have a problem with the editorial note being the same font as the narration, as both are asides to the reader. Overall grade: A 

The pinups: The final twenty-eight pages of the book are full-paged pinups of various characters in the Zenescope Universe. There are so many different characters and artistic styles that there are bound to be several illustrations that a reader will like. Some of the better ones include Liesel Van Helsing as Freddy Krueger (Mike DeBalfo and Mos), Mary “Mystere” Medina as Ash Williams (Green and Mos), Liesel Van Helsing as the same character (Monte Moore and Nivangune), Sela Mathers as a Ghostbuster (DeBalfo and Ivan Nunes), Cinderella as Bettlejuice (Sheldon Goh and Hedwin Zaldivar), Keres dressed as a sexy devil (Garvey), Jasmine as Bruce the Shark (Noah Salong and Nivangune), Cindy as Hannibal Lecter (Garcia and Nivangune), and Jasmine as a vampire (David Nakayama). There’s plenty to enjoy. Overall grade: A

The final line: A fun ten page tale introduces twenty-eight pinups for the Halloween season. I really enjoyed the opening story and hope that all the creators to this tale reunite to deliver more of this hero. The pinups features the heroes and villains of this publisher dressed as iconic and infamous film characters. A book to buy if you love the creepy and the beautiful. Overall grade: A

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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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