Since the Golden Age and the work of EC Comics, the horror anthology has been a staple of the comics world, existing longer than even most of the Superheroes who now monopolise the industry. Now existing mostly in small press circles with titles such as Disconnected Press’ Disconnected series or TPub’s Twisted Dark anthology, this week we take a look at the eighth instalment in John-Paul Kamath’s long running Horror Anthology, London Horror Comic.
Publisher: London Horror Comic Ltd
Writer: John-Paul Kamath
Artist: Craig Cermack, Lee Ferguson, Ben Newman (Artists), Matty Ryan (Letterer), Hi-Fi Design (Colorist), Ben Newman (Cover Artist)
Price: £9 (inc P+P) at londonhorrorcomic.com
The eighth instalment of the London Horror Comic provides readers with three new stories detailing the various tones of horror within the mind of J.P. Kamath. In The Lonely League of an Extraordinary Loser, Horror movie fan (and DVD boxset obsessive) Bob must call upon the forces of some of his favourite horror characters when the purchase of a mystical box set from an mysterious seller results in the kidnap of his long-suffering girlfriend, Jane, by Dracula. Then, in Hunger, while on a night drive, married insomniac Bill, comes across a young woman alone on the side of the road. However, doing the gentlemanly thing of giving her a lift gives him more trouble than he bargained for when he is forced to reveal his most terrifying secret. Finally, Sex in the Post-Apocalyptic City gives a brief overview for readers of the changes that dating life has received as the world comes to an end.
John-Paul Kamath has written a seriously captivating collection of stories within London Horror Comics #8, with all three tales displaying very different tones. With the first tale, Kamath creates a tale that, while built around horror tropes, is a primarily funny comic, with the humour utilised to great effect. As such, the characters feel incredibly real, including the ‘monsters’, all of whom (that have major parts anyway) come across with the voices of who they should be. This is particularly the case with Dracula, whose tone imbues a sense of the greatest Dracula ever seen on screen: Christopher Lee.
However, Hunger feels like a completely different beast (pardon the pun) as Kamath seems to keep his cards close to his chest, not revealing too much too soon to give the story some real suspense. Where these two tales share similarities is in the subtle messages they seem to offer readers, as Kamath uses these to (presumably) air his feelings on the very human subjects offered in the subtext. In this regard, both stories have a real Outer Limits feel to them. The final tale, Sex in the Post-Apocalyptic City, is short and silly and very different to the other two, but helps inject levity, particularly after the heavy second tale, to finish the issue on a high.
As for the art team, Kamath has done a fantastic job of finding talent whose styles perfectly match the tone of the story they are working on. For instance, Craig Cermack’s style is tremendous on the Lonely League of an Extraordinary Loser as his work, which is similar in look to Miskatonic High, gives the story the air of a a sixties/seventies comedy, such as the Young Ones crossed with the Munsters. Meanwhile, Lee Ferguson’s work on the second story, Hunger, has a very different aesthetic but is on less perfect in displaying the tone of the story. Ferguson gives his work a very mist-like hue throughout which imbues a very atmospheric, almost dreamlike, aura which adds to the suspense and gives a real horror movie look. Then, finally, there is Ben Newman’s work on the final story which covers the back cover page, Sex in the Post-Apocalyptic City which, again, has a very different, more cartoony style to the others. However, this very Calvin and Hobbes reminiscent style works superbly with the story’s tone as well as its newspaper-esque comic strip length.
London Horror Comics #8 is a fantastically eerie and engrossing collection of stories. Well written with good humour, loaded with suspense and gorgeously rendered in its artwork, John-Paul Kamath has produced a stellar outing for his series with this issue. Whether you are new to this title or someone who’s been on board since the beginning, this instalment is a fantastic pick up for you, whichever one you are.