Grimm Fairy Tales Halloween Special #2 came out both in print and digitally this week. The special got me spinning my wheels on modern vampires…
The folks at Zenescope have made covers like this an industry all their own. What we’ve got here is not a preview of things to come but titillation for its own sake, complete with modeling that flies in the face of physics and good taste. And, in a way, that makes this the perfect cover.
The mass of Halloween specials (from the Big Two and indie comic publishers alike) often use an omnibus format. In their finest form, these specials are anthologies full of pithy little stories about much loved characters. At their worst, they are superficial shorts hinged on one central conceit.
With this special, Zenescope manages to elide the expected format, offering a single story thats content matches the mesmerizing tawdriness of the almost entirely unrelated cover. The story uses the old bait and switch. We’ve got a group of revelers, dressed up as sanitized Hollywood-land vampires (read: Twillight) being stalked by a shadowy entourage that seems to be the real deal. When the innocent partygoers are inevitably confronted, we get a twist in the form of a second menace. This unseen terror steals the show, assaulting both the innocent humans and their shady stalkers.
I can’t offer unqualified praise. But while the story and art had their respective clumsy moments, the finale left me in a state of morbid satisfaction. The end is an utterly despairing bookend to the beginning that’s more reminiscent of the hopelessness of post-World War II horror and weird genre comics than, say, True Blood. In fact, the issues aims to undercut the ethos of two distinct brands of modern vampire; the shiny tween romantic and the violent sexpot. The key vampire here is repulsive– physically and ethically. He is not a diminutive spin on the concept of the vampire but a channel for the hideousness at the heart of a monster like Dracula or his unique rip, Count Orlok.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales Halloween Special #2 may not reach the heights of horror storytelling but it isn’t trying to. Beyond the busts and cheese, it is a dire romp. In the end, there is no allure. There is no sex. Only old fashioned brutality.
An aside: On November 1st, Jim Trombetta’s The Horror! The Horror! Comic Books The Government Didn’t Want You To Read will be hitting bookshelves. The book gathers together horrifying art from comics that came out before the Comics Code curtailed publishers. Trombetta provides some historical background for these blood-curdling tales along with his own analysis. So check out Mr. Trombetta’s book and the *ahem* pleasures of Grimm.
Tagged: Grimm Fairy Tales Halloween Special #2 · zenescope
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