Mike Mignola, Hellboy, and a roster of great creators and characters explore the dark corners of the horror genre in thirty-five stories of witchcraft, ghosts, and the risen dead.
Originally published in four award-winning anthologies, these stories featured the debut of Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s Beasts of Burden series, and standalone stories by Kelley Jones, Kurt Busiek, and many others.
In addition to the comics, Gary Gianni (Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea) illustrates stories by legendary authors such as Robert E. Howard (Conan) and William Hope Hodgson (The House on the Borderland), and Scott Allie interviews experts in the occult fields, including a seance medium and a witch who specializes in love spells.
I absolutely loved whenever the book fair came around during school and would always come away with a handful of new reads. I always got at least one new Goosebumps title, and later on latched onto the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. All these years later, I opened up The Dark Horse Book of Horror and immersed myself in this collection like I was a kid again reading them late into the night.
This giant book of all things that bump in the night gathers up four “The Dark Horse Book of” books previously released on their own – Hauntings, Witchcraft, The Dead and Monsters. As you would come to expect from a collection of this many stories, as a whole and within each of the individual anthologies, each reader will finish this having a range of appreciation for the stories. My experience for example, started off strong really liking the first Hauntings tale that opened up the book. From there, it was a roller coaster of ones that pulled me deep into the story, some that I just felt were ok, and on rare occasion ones I got nothing out of.
Beyond just the general theme that held each of the separate titles together, the collection as a whole also had some recurring content. Each of them featured a Hellboy story, as well as four tales of a group of dogs dealing with the supernatural. The first two themes, Hauntings and Witchcraft, also included interviews with folks experienced in that area. Sprinkled throughout all of the comics are also some short stories to give even more assortment to these mostly scary offerings.
With so many different stories in this book, the assortment of artistic presentations is as varied as it gets. Again, as with the thoughts on the stories themselves, how well liked the artwork is changes just as frequently. To the best of my recollection, there were none that I absolutely couldn’t stand, but certainly ones that shined more than others. That is one of the nice things about books like this is you are exposed to a variety of artists and their work, sometimes even becoming a fan because of it.
As a whole, I definitely enjoyed this as both a full collection and my first time reading any of the original pieces. I tried to pick what my favorite section was among the four, but it was honestly tough to do so. With few exceptions, I liked almost everything that was stuffed into this large book of horror. Naturally, every person will have their favorites, but I think overall anyone that likes horror will find this a good read. With so much content in one place, it’ll be a nice purchase to fill up your free time for a good long session or multiple ones.
For more on The Dark Horse Book of Horror or other Dark Horse books, check out Dark Horse Comics.
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.