If you’re lamenting the fact that there’s not a ton of horror options at the comic shop this Halloween you’re in for a treat today; DC Comics has released DC House of Horrors #1, which collects eight short stories that put scary twists on characters we know and love. Care to see an evil Kryptonian baby fallen to Earth? How about a Green Arrow who kills criminals? There’s that and more:
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
An all-new, all-creepy one-shot set in the DC Universe-just in time for Halloween! Martha Kent fights for her life against a creature from a spacecraft that lands in front of her farmhouse. A young woman is possessed by the spirit of a murderous Amazon warrior. The last surviving member of the Justice League faces down a horror beyond imagining. All these and more are what happens when the most exciting new voices in contemporary horror fiction are paired with the talents of some of the greatest artists in the DC firmament! And if that isn’t enough to scare you, there’s Keith Giffen, too.
Why does this matter?
Keith Giffen is a writer who has been at the comic writing game for some time. We spoke to him and he clearly has a sense of storytelling like no other. He also happens to have written the plots of all these stories! Joining him are creators like Howard Porter, Bilquis Evely, Tom Raney, Brian Keene, Howard Chaykin and more!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
He’s mad, mad I tell you!
Bump in the Night
Written by Edward Lee and art by Howard Porter
This might be my favorite story in the bunch and it’s a great way to open the issue. Take the Superman origin story, at least the part where a baby is found in an alien capsule, and then turn it terribly evil. There’s a ton of violence and unnerving moments which Porter knocks out of the park. The reveal of the “monster” is quite good too, never giving the reader too much so that when it’s revealed what is causing all the damage it’s a good shock. There’s also some awesome lettering by Rob Leigh going on with alien sounds, which adds another layer to the horror.
Written by Mary SanGiovanni and art by Bilquis Evely
This story is drawn by one of my favorite artists so I was instantly taken by the story. It opens with a teenage girl covered in blood. SanGiovanni slowly reveals what is going on with well timed flashbacks intermixed with creepily unemotional violent acts. There’s also an interesting twist that tethers the horror to a social issue grounding the somewhat supernatural story in reality. Evely draws excellently as always with a thin line that’s detailed and so unique.
Crazy For You
Written by Bryan Smith & Brian Keene and art by Kyle Baker
This story offers up more violence in an unexplainable way at first and then reveals all as the story progresses. Smith and Keene weave in Harley Quinn quite well and there’s quite a lot of unnerving art from Kyle Baker which has a rougher and more wild edge. It also weaves in the Arkham Asylum in a cool way.
Written by Nick Cutter and art by Rags Morales
This story offers up the question, “What if Bruce Wayne thought his parents were killed but a much more horrible act of violence actually occurred?” I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but it’s an interesting twist on the character that’s incredibly dark and unnerving. Morales’ art is one of the more traditional superhero styles in this work and it utilizes a 6 panel layout throughout that paces the story fantastically.
This is a version of Batman who has seen some shit.
Written by Brian Keene and art by Scott Kolins
What kind of horror anthology doesn’t include zombies! Prepare for Justice League turned zombie action in this one. Kolins draws another excellent story and his version of Batman is quite cool.
Written by Ronald Malfi and art by Dale Eaglesham
Incredibly dark in tone, this story lays the inks down in a thick way making it quite a street-level tale. Overall it has a dark way of looking at heroes.
Written by Wrath James White and art by Tom Raney
Prepare for giant monsters, faces being torn off, and a surprise twist on a classic Batman villain.
The Possession of Billy Batson
Written by Weston Ochse and art by Howard Chaykin
The final story has an interesting twist on Shazam which ends up being more of a curse than a blessing. It’s the kind of story that shows you horror can tilt your view just enough to show you something entirely different.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Three of the eight stories didn’t quite do it for me, but as with any anthology that doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience.
Is It Good?
As far as horror anthologies go this comic is well worth a look especially if you dig superheroes. They may be elseworld stories, but they give readers a chance to look at these characters in a slightly different and horrific light.