Eeek! Vol. 1 Review

As a long time comic reader, I occasionally get bogged down by the typical capes and cowls nonsense that makes up a majority of the comic book market. Until recently, my escape from this monotony was either zombie comics or westerns. With the complete over saturation that the zombie market has received over the past few years, I have been feeling the need to find a new palate cleanser. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to review Eeek! Vol. 1 and its pulpy goodness.

Eeek! Vol. 1 is an an collection of 16 horror stories from the Asylum Press comic of the same name. To say it is an homage to the classic horror anthologies of the ’50s and ’60s would be a gross understatement. These stories aren’t a Quentin Tarantino-esque love letter to the silver age creepy books of the past. Good or bad, these tales are a direct continuation of that comic tradition.

Jason Paulos pulls double duty, acting as both writer and artist for nearly every story in the collection. The art is truly exceptional. With a style that ranges anywhere from traditional horror to a sinister Chick Tract comic, the pages look timeless in their classic black and white. Paulos’ drawings are unique; safely tucked away from the influence of the ’90s big guns and disproportional bodies. Each panel has a creepy vibe about it and is a pleasure to look at.

Where the book most consistently falls short though are the stories themselves. True to the comic’s inspirations, the stories average less than ten pages each and often seem rushed. It’s not that Paulos isn’t a good writer, the problem is quite the opposite. More often than not when a story came to a prompt end after only five pages, I really want more. It seems that the idea was only starting to blossom into a unique experience when it reaches the conclusion.

I found the stories I enjoyed the most were the ones that went on the longest. That’s not to say that some of the shorter stories weren’t entertaining. One tale, titled Just Desert, is a tightly packaged five pages that left me satisfied, but it is in the minority. I much preferred the longer stories such as Easy Prey and Witness to Evil.

One bold thing that Paulos chooses to do is keep much of the classic paranoia and propaganda found in these old stories intact. Bigotry,sexual repression, Christian values and all the other staples from the Cold War are freed from their time capsule, giving these stories a timeless feel. It’s clear that great care was taken by those involved to respect the genre and not mock it with a parody. Any one of these stories could easily be at home in an old comic you found in the attic.

If you’re a fan of classic tales of chills and creeps, Eeek! Vol. 1 is by far a can’t miss collection of stories. If you’re more of a casual fan, you will likely find yourself slightly malnourished and wanting more from the stories, but still turning the pages to see what Paulos will draw next. I personally would like to see Paulos go a little more modern in the next volume and explore what the genre could become, rather than what it was. At the very least, I wish he would abandon the short story nature of the piece to allow the stories and reader the time to become better acquainted.

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

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