"You don't scare me! The Bogeyman isn't real, you're making it up!" - Sally
Clearly Jason Paulos is keeping one step ahead of the moral majority as he brings for our entertainment Eeek! Issue 4 (E4). The comic contains three stories steeped in dark genre nastiness that should please even the most hard to please horror fan. You certainly know you're in for a good time when you open an Issue of Eeek!, let's stir the cauldron and see what body part floats to the surface.
Showing how bogged down we are with late year/early year horror bounty I'm only getting to the latest Jason Paulos delight in February having received E4 back in December. Before you ask, yes I immediately took time out of zombie apocalypse watch duties to read the Issue, but have only just got to it in the review queue. The downside, well out of date with a dispatch from the horror frontlines, the upside, I got to read the Issue all over again. And oh hell yeah, I've got a grin plastered right across my face, the legendary Jason Paulos once again proves why he has the whole retro thing roped, tied, and branded.
Kicking off the Issue is perhaps the best Jason Paulos strip I've read thus far, Zombie Chef. Yes the story is set post zombie apocalypse but Paulos takes a refreshing look at the rotting flesh of the sub-genre and throws down one hell of a perverted take on things. If you are a fan of such tripe as Master Chef then I would suggest giving this one a miss, it might just nauseated you … in a good way! Okay I saw the plot twist lumbering over the hill with a human resistance spear in it's guts, but I had a heck of a good time getting to the punch line. Paulos' panel art has me convinced he could set a graphic novel in this universe and show The Walking Dead crew how to construct a good zombie outing. All in the desolate wastelands of civilisation kids.
Naturally after the rendering of the first story it's going to be near impossible to backup but thankfully we are in the hands of Mr Paulos over here, The Four Colour Fiends! is set in an authentic looking by gone era that had me glued to the panels. This tale of the macabre has so many twists and turns contained within it's pages that I got the feeling Paulos spent many a fevered late night cackling away as he came up with the plot. It's a hoot, though I'm not entirely sure Black House's Baden Kirgan will be as enthralled, not that I'm implying Baden is a vampire like creature who preys on graphic Authors of course! Anyways this story is startingly Creepy like, and I can state that with some authority as I had received one of those Amazon hardback anthologies of early Creepy Issues over the Christmas break.
Rounding out E4 in strong fashion is a demented little fairy tale named The Bogeyman that sees Jason Paulos summoning the Brothers Grimm in particularly stylish fashion. We're talking an actual modern fairy story here complete with a strong moral message, enough horror dripping off the panels to start a riot in a Fundo church, and the sort of nightmarish surreal fantasy feeling that drove cool kids from the pages of a Grimm collection into Friday the 13th back in the 1980s. Jason Paulos nails the requirements, thoroughly dislikeable antagonists, the innocent paying a heavy price, and finally the punishment fitting the crime in particularly gruesome fashion. I should also point out that innocent bystanders are caught by stray retributions aimed at the antagonists, just like in the traditional stories. Jason Paulos once again proving he has the versatility to surprise in an Anthology.
Throughout E4 Paulos' artwork remains strong with a sure hand on the retro look and feel that will make you wonder if you haven't hit some sort of time warp back to the 1960s. It's just a jump to the left. There are subtle changes in the feeling of the panels as we move through the three stories in the Issue that ensure the atmospherics are exactly right for the particular story at hand. Jason Paulos goes nuance like a seasoned pro and once again shows why he is held in such high regard both locally and beyond these fatal shores.
Black House once again presents the comic in stylish fashion. The stiff covers are in full colour, Jason Paulos once again channelling that retro feel of Creepy or Eerie magazine with the artwork, while the paper weight of the black and white inner pages is solid and likely to withstand a hard core read or three. All the panels are well defined with the lettering easy on the eye, it's almost like the complete package and puts to shame the major publishing houses of New York. I've been following this comic from it's first Issue and have to say that Black House surely do give you your coin worth with every Issue, there is no lowering of standards.
I get pretty excited with each Issue of Eeek and besides maybe a slightly muddled plot in The Four Colour Fiends! was all over E4 like Freddie in a teenage nightmare. The stories were solid, the artwork compelling, better than average read going down here. Full recommendation folks, if you like some retro goodness in your diet then sign on up to Team Eeek today.
You can score your own copy of Eeek! Issue 4 from either your local comic or magazine emporium of disaster or via the online store at Blackboox. The comic will set you back a mere $3 AUD plus P&H if ordering online. Word to the wise here kids, if ordering online get yourself a bunch of other Black House offerings at the same time.