Tales Told in Techni-Horror #1. Writer & Letterer: Kiyarn Taghan, Illustrator: Christian Dibari, Colorist: Simon Gough, Editor: Shawn French.
Black Caravan, an imprint of Scout Comics, presents the first installment in a biennial horror anthology, Tales Told in Techni-Horror. This title horrifies with five short stories, ranging from grindhouse creature-feature to sci-fi alien body-snatching. It’s been quite some time since I’ve read a horror comic, and now I feel I’ve been missing out. This book rocks it with a retro, pulp-style aesthetic that makes me feel like I should be hiding it under a mattress in my parents’ house. The border of each page is made to look crumpled like an aged paperback, the colors from the art bleeding into the empty spaces surrounding the story. Harkening back to the horror comics of old—I’m talkin’ EC Comics’ Tales from the Crypt type stuff—each short story takes us screaming into a contained world where gore and terror reign supreme.
I really love the attention to detail in this book. Aside from the aesthetic taking us back historically to the beginnings of horror comics, Tales Told in Techni-Horror #1 melds this experience with that of the cinematic. Imagine the vibe you get when you watch a classic horror film. It’s, ideally to me, some quaint 1970s-1980s small town. A local theatre’s marquee advertises the Fall’s selection of slasher/terror cinema, as a local band of hormonal teenagers strolls past, unaware of the looming doom the evening is soon to bring (I’m honestly just referring to Halloween, but I’m sure y'all get the idea).
The point is that this book carries with it a classic feel that is bolstered by the clear love of the genre the creators have. Stretching from various subgenres of horror, this book presents a broad spectrum of fear that will appeal to anyone who likes to shriek to films on their living room couch at 2am.
Taghan is able to change their writing to create a new atmosphere in each tale, a feat matched by the eerie art of Dibari. Each story feels separate, fully fleshed out, but most important, part of an overarching love letter to the comics horror genre of the early 20th century. This book is a fun melding of two mediums whose influences on the horror genre have positioned it as the seat-filler it is today: comics and film. I found myself often having to check the credits of each short story, convinced it had to be a different creative team each time. Instead I found myself in convincingly different settings with continuously new characters facing tree women (uh-huh), alien mimics, and pleasure demons. Each felt delightfully independent and left me needing a single issue for each short story just so I could know more. One story sees a disgruntled human space-colonist happening upon life on a foreign planet. He is overjoyed. . .until he isn’t. Another brings us to a swamp, huntin’ gators that may be bigger than advertised. The final story in this issue even tips its metaphorically horrific cap to Clive Barker in a gruesome homage.
I recommend this book if you’re looking for something off the beaten track. Pick this book up July 7th, 2021 at your LOCAL COMIC SHOP or mycomicshop.com!
If you’re interested in more titles along these same hair-raising lines, check out more books from Black Caravan, a deliciously bone-chilling imprint of Scout Comics.
WAIT!!! I have one last recommendation. If you like this book, you should check out this team’s previous work, Provenance of Madness. A Lovecraftian horror-thon; you’ll go mad if you miss it.