THE DARK: COLLECTION ONE
Curated By: Kelly Williams
Creators: Kelly Williams, Matt Harvey, Jim Gibbons, Chas! Pangburn
Publisher: Source Point Press
WHAT IS IT?
Do you remember Tales From The Crypt with its host, The Cryptkeeper? Well, The Dark: Collection One is like that show, but in comic form with an undead monkey named Monty.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Williams wrangles fellow creators, Harvey, Gibbons, and Pangburn to tell four short horror stories, plus one bonus story.
In The Dark: Collection One, Williams draws all four horror stories, writes two of those stories, plus writes and draws the bonus story. Each standalone story has a page count under 12, and all are supernatural to some effect, containing killer ghosts, witches, and whispering winds.
Between each story, we are treated to a quick one-page introduction from our ever-lovable narrator, Monty. Think of these as the aforementioned Cryptkeeper, or Rod Serling in the Twilight Zone.
Cover Story: I've hammered this fact in a lot of my other write-ups, but a cover may be one of the greatest selling points of a comic (and other media), so I have to mention The Dark: Collection One's cover. By putting our creepy narrator, Monty, front and center, Williams kept it simple, yet terrifying in its execution.
Making our way inside, we are first treated to a preface written by Williams about the work that went into the anthology. Write-ups as such are amazing and give insight into the process behind a comic. It'd be nice seeing more like this in other comics!
Each story is equally well-written and scary in its own way. But my personal favorite would be Nanny. Second would be Devil's Gate.
The title for each story is simple and ties into the theme of each story.
The ability to write a complete story in the span of 8-12 pages is a huge feat, yet The Dark: Collection One accomplishes its goal, making it seem easy.
Similarly, no one story gives too much background or exposition which is common in the horror genre. Each is trimmed down to fit well into its shortened page count.
I loved Monty and hope to see him more in the future!
Williams hand letters a few of the stories. This style fits the horror theme greatly, amplifying the words and bubbles/boxes. It may take a lot of time, but hand-lettering is amazing. Once Chas! takes over the lettering he keeps the font shaky, thus retaining the horror vibes.
Between the dark, blotchy colors and the terrifying art, Williams' style fits the horror genre perfectly!
In most cases Williams doesn't use a vast color palette, containing the pages to darker shades of color. Yet, when he adds bright colors they make the page they adorn gorgeous, and this break from the palette doesn't go unnoticed.
In general, Williams's art looks amazing throughout The Dark: Collection One, and it shows he knows what genre he excels at.
Watercolor. Williams used watercolors. What can I say, I love watercolor!
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
It's horror with scares and gore, that alone will scare people away who aren't fans of either.
As great and fitting as Williams's lettering is, he at times has too many words in each bubble. Sadly, this causes his amazing art to become covered, which is a shame. If the dialogue had more room to breathe, then the art could have been showcased more.
Williams' lettering also suffers from legibility issues. Funny enough, he jokes about this in the preface saying how Chas!'s work will make the words more legible.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Each story is short in its presentation, yet packs a lot of great horror. You can read The Dark: Collection One in one sitting or read in segments. Perfect for on-the-go!
Also, who doesn't love short horror vignettes? When done well, horror is one of the best genres for short stories. And you're in luck as The Dark: Collection One is well done and deserves your time!
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Cult Classic Creature Feature by Eliot Rahal & John Bivens
Tales From The Crypt by various creators
The Plot by Tim Daniel, Michael Moreci & Joshua Hixson
If you like the art:
The Cabinet by Christian Sager & Kelly Williams
Bloodsucker by Katja Vartiainen
Black Stars Above by Lonnie Nadler & Jenna Cha
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Kelly Williams (@TreeBeerd) – Curator, Writer, Illustrator
Multitalented: Has written and drawn comics, while hand-lettering some
Does amazing horror-themed Pokemon art
Uses watercolor for a lot of his work - who doesn't love watercolor?
Matt Harvey – Writer
Multitalented: Guitarist/Vocalist for the band, Exhumed
New Face: Honestly other than the music career I can't find much on Harvey. This may be his first comic!
Jim Gibbons (@thejimgibbons) – Writer
Multitalented: Worked as Editor at Dark Horse Comics and later helped launch Stela, a comic platform with a focus on mobile devices
Award Winner: Won Eisner and Harvey Awards as Editor at Dark Horse Comics
Chas! Pangburn (@chasexclamation) – Letterer
Multitalented: Writer, letterer, & editor for multiple comics
Has a Creative Writing Masters MFA in comic scripting
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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