This month’s theme from Comic Bento is “Mixtape Vol. 2”. What does that mean? Apparently, it means anthology books. Now, an anthology is only as strong as its best story and only as bad as its weakest. And, quite frankly, the last book for this month looks like it will be the most awesome, but I’ll get to that later.
In the meantime, let’s look at the first book from Zenescope, Grimm Tales of Terror.
First off, I don’t get Zenescope. They have no problem with strong language, but everyone stays dressed. Violence may or may not be explicit. It’s like they can’t decide how adult they want to be.
Their comics also don’t tend to impress me much.
Let’s take a look at this one: Grimm Tales of Terror is a horror anthology with a narrator/host (an attractive redhead who may or may not have a name that speaks in black word balloons and tends to just pop in briefly for each story to one degree or another), and then each issue included is either a different take on an old urban legend or a different take on some classic horror story. And by that I mean sometimes they’re barely recognizable. The “Black Cat” issue, for example, barely featured a cat and instead dealt with a husband tempted to cheat by a neighbor woman named Cat. And there was a “Monkey’s Paw” issue that dealt with monkeys, paws, and wishes, but that’s about all the story had in common with the original. Victims tend to be assholes in many cases, you know, so they deserve whatever happened to them.
But here’s the problem: nothing here was scary. Generic artwork, paper-thin characterization, and twists that were barely worth the name. I used to read DC’s Showcase Presents reprints, and the horror anthologies there often had similar issues but there the individual stories were maybe eight pages long tops, so the book had to introduce the characters and then give them an ironic ending, often with the person getting the horrible punishment being someone who deserved it (rarely were the victims innocent). But those books at least had clever things going on. Grimm Tales didn’t really accomplish that much. True, the second and third stories came close, but if I didn’t care what happened to anyone in the story, I wasn’t going to care who got knifed badly. Is Comic Bento trying to send me trades I will dislike more than the average Aspen trade I sometimes get? Maybe. Zenescope is leading now amongst books I don’t really want. Four out of ten dead people who gave me a severe case of apathy.
NEXT BOOK: Well, at least next we get to something I know I like: Valiant Comics, namely an anthology collecting zero issues and origin stories for their various characters titled, appropriately, Valiant Zeroes & Origins. I’ve probably already read a few, but I like what Valiant does, so this should work out fine.