Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Artist and writer: Richard Corben
Release Date: 14th December 2016
Shadows on the Grave is a new eight-issue anthology horror series from writer and artist Richard Corben, winner of the 2012 Eisner Hall of Fame. In Corben’s traditional style of black and white penciling, the comic is a nostalgic delight for readers who spent their childhood with their noses in books featuring similar tales of terror.
Evoking the style of alleged true haunting anthologies in its choice of brief but haunting stories of the supernatural, the comic features original tales from Corben in each installment. These include: “Strung Along”, a tale about mysterious marionettes in a traveling puppet show that forever haunt a young boy in a local town; “Roots in Hell”, which has a very grounded moral message about thinking before you act; and “For Better or Worse”, a story of marital values and their lasting bond.
Added to these standalone stories is the recurring narrative of Denaeus, a warrior who fans of Corben will be glad to hear has more in common with Den, Corben’s central character from his Heavy Metal series, than a similar name. Set in Ancient Greece, it features a psychic in the world of the dead, a King and a treacherous threat…
The format of the comic, particularly Corben’s distinctive visual style (which channels that of the wonderful 1950s horror comics), also harkens back to the Spinechiller magazine series that ran through the 1990s. Presenting strange stories for children, mostly retellings of campfire tales or urban legends, each tale had a moral in the form of a horrific twist. Add to this the adult darker themes of classic short horror literature – with definite inspiration from masters such as M.R. James, Sheridan Le Fanu and Ambrose Bierce – and you have something that wonderfully weaves together nostalgic visuals and traditional tales to produce an overall package that is a sure treat for horror fans of all ages. A perfect pick for Christmas, read this by the fire on a cold winter’s night for maximum effect.
Shadows on the Grave is a modern classic in horror, perfectly mastering the macabre, obscure and uncanny aspects of everything that intrigues our curiosity about the supernatural tale.
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The writer of this piece was: Rebecca Booth
Rebecca Tweets from @rebeccalbooth