Graphic Novel/Comics Review

The Dark Horse Book of the Dead

(2005) various artists, Titan Books, 11.99, hrdbk, 104 pp, ISBN 1-84576-117-0

This anthology is subtitled Nine cautionary tales of the risen and hungry dead and contains an illustrated text story by Robert E Howard (creator of Conan), "Old Garfield's Heart", supposedly a 'seldom-seen tale' though in fact it's always been available in The Dark Man Omnibus (1963), a Howard collection that's hardly ever out of print! The illustrations by Gary Gianni are pretty poor. There's a Hellboy tale by Mike Mignola, of course; probably the best tale in the book is "The Hungry Ghosts" written and drawn by Kelley Jones; goodies also include "The Wallace Expedition" by Eric Powell, "Kago No Tori" by Jamie Rich and Guy Davis, and the wonderful "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson in which a witch-cat raises zombie dogs! This is a companion volume to The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft and is in the same "shrunken hardback" format. I do wish publishers wouldn't piss around like this - don't they realise that it makes our shelves look untidy! I mean, Dark Horse didn't shrink their hardback of Gaiman and Zulli's Creatures of the Night, so why this? Anyway, despite this annoyance this is still a pretty good book which should appeal to Dark Horse fans and, who knows, maybe zombie fans too. So if you're, perhaps, a fan of the Skipp and Spector zombie anthologies Book of the Dead and Book of the Dead 2: Still Dead, or of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead trilogy of films, then this could be just your cup of tea. Recommended with caveats...

Tony Chester

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