Our friends over at PLB Comics have put out a Halloween Special for this 2019 horror season. This time of year is usually one that creators either absolutely love, or dread. Themed work can bring out both the best and worst from individuals. PLB has put together a nice entry to the Halloween reading list with their special this year. For the most part, I love anthologies. Personally I feel that horror lends directly to this format and works very well when done in this manner. Let’s take a spoiler free glimpse at what you’ll find inside of this year’s PLB Halloween Special. The anthology has seven different stories to choose from and has a feature that has a nice cameo for fans of PLB’s other works! It’s a smart little cameo and helps build the world around some of the established PLB characters. There’s also a tale that is wholly centered around a PLB character.
First up is DAWN OF THE HAYMAN! (Story/Art by Frank Dawson Jr – Letters by James Dufendach).
Being a child of the 80s I’ve many a horror/slasher movie to recall from my growing up. A couple in particular did the job for me as a kiddo because my grandparents had a farm down in South Texas. Corn and cotton fields surrounded the house and barn. I can state matter of factly that a proper scarecrow is just that, scary. When I opened up the pages and was immediately greeted by a story featuring these bad boys I had to grin. It’s really hard not to be creeped out by scarecrows and the story we’re given to kick things off doesn’t do any work to remedy the issue of scarecrows being freaky. It’s centered around a construction crew that’s not meeting deadlines and are having to clean up … A LOT … of scarecrows. Why, how, what? Yeah the story has a suspenseful edge and ends a bit disturbingly. Fitting for a scarecrow story.
Following up is FOR I HAVE SINNED. (Story by David Spicer – Art by Brandon Spicer – Letters by James Dufendach).
Much of what makes horror great is that it is perfect for harsh realities, being very real in its portrayal, or just down right being blunt. Playing on the very real fear of having a child kidnapped. Being a father that fear is honestly the biggest one I have, that of something happening to my children. This noir-esque entry borrows bits from a few other genres to twist into a very dark and blunt tale. A cult has taken the child in their hopes of summoning a demon. Trying to save the child is a masked vigilante type of hero. All in all the story shocks a bit as it unfolds and keeps a very dark overlay. In the end you’ll enjoy the closure of things while also being taken back a bit.
Next up is BOUND. (Story by Gabe Frumuth – Art by Jeff Tolliver – Letters by James Defendach).
Less of a horror story and more of a look in the mirror using a fantasy setting. We see two sorcerers that are entangled in a battle of ideals. As we struggle with and conflict against others in our lives with issues such as love and strength (the many definitions of each) these sorcerers struggle against each other. There’s also the magic element at play. A short exposé that delves into problems and differences that most can relate to, Bound also plays at the ties that bind us all. I feel there’s more to this one.
THE CAVE bats cleanup. (Story by Josh Shockley – Art by Kurt Krol – Letters by James Dufendach).
It’s hard to imagine having two very crippling real world fears joined together into one really shitty situation. Arachnophobia (the fear of spiders) and claustrophobia (the fear of closed spaces) are bundled for your enjoyment in this entry. As we watch the two men trapped in a cave and, of course, separated by a heap of rocks we’re thrown another curveball. It isn’t just a creepy story grabbing us and keeping us as confined as the two unfortunate souls in the cave. No no, we’ve got friggin poisonous spiders inhabiting the cave too. Wait, sorry, that’s HUGE poisonous spiders inhabiting the cave. It’ll make you anxious for sure.
The five hole is occupied by BLACK BUTTERFLY. (Story/Art by Josh Shockley – Letters by James Dufendach).
PLB gives their fans a little treat in this one as favorite characters John the Swamp Dude and Bobby make an appearance. Why? Well this one is set in the same universe as JtSD! Excellent usage of tools on hand! This tale brings us the ‘things are not what they seem’ entry in the anthology. A good looking widow needs help removing a tree out in the woods. Two poor saps, er, adventurous souls head out to help. Except you know, there’s more at play and the widow has plans for her would be helpers. Great little expansion on the universe that inhabits PLBs most popular folks!
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT is the penultimate tale in the anthology. (Story by Josh Shockley – Art by Russ Walton – Letters by James Dufendach).
Arguably the best part of Halloween is seeing the kiddos and their free spirits running wild. The tradition of going Trick or Treating-ing is something that many love and cherish. There’s a cuddly innocence and view of things was folks get costumed up, have fun, and drop all the pretense. Well sometimes the Jack’o’Lanterns have a mind of their own full of ideas for Halloween. This tale brings us just such an occasion. You’ll be immersed in the Halloween Spirit as the sentient squash plays on the child’s imagination.
Closing out the book is THE REAPER. (Story by Scott Markley – Art by Frank Dawson Jr – Letters by James Dufendach).
More inner workings here as The Fall universe sees some action. Specifically the masked vigilante the universe centers around takes center stage. Life, Death, and the balance between is the subject of conversation as The Reaper pays a visit. The grainy approach and dimly lit corner of this universe is used well to present questions and address the scary inevitability of life. Though, is the Reaper there for just a coffee talk or is there more to the visit?
The PLB Comics Halloween Special 2019 is a fun read. Original stories are mixed in with familiar faces from the PLB stable of books in order to provide a welcoming presence for both new and old readers to the publisher. Traditional horror, suspenseful stories, and even some thought provoking terror keep you entertained and the pages flipping. Done in black and white, the book shares the Halloween theme and maintains a form of continuity while presenting the wholly individual tales on their own merit. This is an entry into the seasonal anthology you’ll be glad you checked out.
You can grab the Halloween Special and other great PLB titles NOW! at their webshop: