Friday, February 7, 2014

Review: The Horror Show #1

Writer:  James Maddox
Artist:  Todd Beistel
Review:  Arthur Black

Recently I was exposed to an independent writer's comic: The Horror Show #1, through another writer.    Although the title is not original, it was a pretty decent read.  The Horror Show #1 has a very fascinating story with characters, whom are not complex but believable.  Todd Beistel does a great job with the art work in this one. 

Since the tender age of twelve, my infatuation with the horror genre has come to include movies, books, comics, and magazines.  When it comes to comics, many horror comics fall short in my opinion as they do not provoke a reaction. Horror should make you jump, feel scared, or invoke shock.  This book did get a reaction out of me; something that few comics have ever done.

James Maddox starts the story with a pair of friends at a cabin in the woods drinking beer and reminiscing.  Then they are disturbed by a noise outside.  When one of them looks, there is a swarm of zombies marching toward the cabin.  At this point, my thoughts were, “Oh my God, another Zombie book,” but I stuck with it and found more than I anticipated.  The zombie attack was a prank set up by one of the friends, and the writer does a superb job in providing us with this information.  The story takes a drastic turn.  Maddox provides a solid plot twist with the presentation of a monster crashing the prank.  Fortunately I am not going to ruin this with any more details for any of you readers. 

The artwork in this comic book is done with black and white inks splashed with red for dramatic effect.  This is not original, but effective.  Todd Beistel's style is accomplished and consistent.  His best work is on page eleven, where the actual monster is introduced.  This image actually made me recoil in shock.  That is what put it squarely in the horror genre.  Another noteworthy panel is on page twelve, a close-up of the monsters eye.  The details of this image are fantastic. Beistel's forte seems to be in his shading and shadowing, but his drawing of human heads and faces seems a little distorted. This may be on purpose for effect, but at least he is consistent.  In my opinion consistency from a comic book artist is more important than any other quality.

For Maddox and Beistel to tell this story as effectively as they did in only sixteen pages is very impressive.  Overall I would say this is a winner for the horror comic genre. The price is perfect as well.  The digital PDF is completely free. You can download it at  If you like horror comics at all or would like to try one, check this one out.  It will only cost you some time, and it is sure to be worth it.

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