Crypt of Shadows #1
Writer: Al Ewing
Artists: Garry Brown, Stephen Green, Djibril Morisette-Pham
Color Artist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Review by Brendan Hykes
Marvel is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year by releasing a series of revival titles, one-shots meant to stoke nostalgia and pay homage to the publisher’s early history. This includes the one-shot, Crypt of Shadows, a return to Marvel’s horror anthology from the 70s.
The three stories in the anthology start with the framing narrative of a man suffering from a crippling fear of dogs. The disturbing tales unfold as he reveals details of his phobia to a hypnotherapist.
First of all, this is a well-crafted homage to old-school horror comics — from the over-the-top dialogue and narration from writer Al Ewing, to the creepy style of the three artists (Garry Brown, Stephen Green, and Djibril Morissette-Pham), to the muted palette of color artist Chris O’Halloran, and even the lettering and captioning from VC’s Travis Lanham. Every bit of this is meant to feel like a classic horror book.
Ewing uses the style to his advantage, leaning into the wordiness of older comics to help set the mood. The result is an atmosphere reminiscent of Chiller Theater and other late-night horror shows. The stories on their own are okay, but it’s when they come back to the original framing narrative that the threads start to weave together for a clever conclusion.
The opening page, drawn by Garry Brown, is a wall of horrible, slavering dogs. And it’s awesome. The art throughout is fantastic, maintaining the classic tone of the story while still feeling fresh. The colors lend to the creepy atmosphere and burst when the story needs them to.
Verdict: Check it out.
Crypt of Shadows is a decent couple of stories with a satisfying conclusion. If you’re a fan of horror, or classic comics, or both, this will be right up your alley. If neither of those is your cup of tea, you might want to give it a pass.