Welcome to the Longbox Junk Halloween Horror Party! It's that special time of year when I wonder just HOW many things can be Pumpkin Spice. Every year, I'm somehow surprised to realize the answer is: Almost EVERY thing can be Pumpkin Spice.
I've decided to spotlight some NEW horror comics out there for the 2021 Longbox Junk Halloween Horror Party, and so far, I think there's been some pretty good stuff. A little bit of slow burn mystery. A little bit of hard rockin' horror. For my third offering, I present a tie-in comic to a very popular horror movie franchise. . .The Conjuring.
The Conjuring "Universe" consists of 3 main movies and 5 prequels, with 2 more movies announced as still coming down the pipeline, for a total of EIGHT existing movies that I haven't seen. Yep. I'm going to review a comic book tie in to a series of movies I haven't seen a single one of. Wish me luck!
Not that it means much to me, but this comic ties in to the most recent movie in the franchise (released in June of this year), The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, for those who are keeping track.
To me, it seems strange to have a prequel comic series running 5 months (The final issue coming in November) after the movie came out. You'd THINK the prequel would come out BEFORE the movie. . .as suggested by the word "prequel". But I'm not the one in charge of these things, so there's that, I guess.
ANYWAY. . .
Ready? Let's do this!
SPOILER ALERT! This series is still ongoing (Currently on issue 4 out of 5), so I'll try to keep spoilers to a minimum, but there will be some spoilers in this review. If you don't want ANY spoilers, just skip on down to the "Conclusion". END SPOILER ALERT.
DC HORROR PRESENTS:
THE CONJURING: THE LOVER #1
COVER: Bill Sienkiewicz
Bill Sienkiewicz delivers a dark and disquieting piece of art in his signature style that really grabs the eye (This cover is why I picked up this series at all). The shades of black, white, and grey give this cover the look of a creepy old photograph. All around a predictably great job from one of the living legends of comic art. Let's get inside!
We get TWO stories in this issue for our four bucks! The first is the movie tie in. The second is a series of standalone stories set in the same "universe", but only loosely connected to it by being about various items in an arcane museum. Let's look at each one in turn!
THE LOVER (PART 1)
SCRIPT: David L. Johnson-McGoldrick & Rex Ogle
PENCILS: Garry Brown
INKS: Garry Brown
It's 1981 and Jessica is returning to college after having a bit of a nervous breakdown during the last semester. Jessica suffers from severe social anxiety, is struggling to cope with the stress of an unsympathetic mother, and has a former one night stand trying to get back together with her.
As Jessica tries to navigate her fears and insecurities, she begins to feel that she's being watched and followed by a sinister, unseen presence that only she can feel. But is it real, or just part of her struggle with mental problems? As the story progresses, we (the readers) see that Jessica is indeed being stalked by some sort of terrifying being.
To be continued. . .
I have no idea how this comic connects with "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It" film, so I just have to say it as I see it. It's. . .okay. This story rides down the middle line of being neither great or terrible. It's pretty good.
It's creepy in a few places. . .like the silent series of panels below where Jessica is studying in the library and the unseen presence slowly makes itself known to the reader, but not her. . .but overall, this introductory issue just didn't have the horror hook that makes me want to read the next issue like the previous two entries I've done for this little Longbox Junk Halloween Horror Party.
The art does a good job of helping tell the story. Not the best comic art I've seen, but dark and heavily-inked. . .scratchy and ambiguous. It definitely helps sell what creep factor there is to the story.
Overall, this isn't bad. It's just not good enough to hold my interest. Maybe if you're a fan of the movies and can see the connections, you might get more mileage out of this than I did.
TALES FROM THE ARTIFACT ROOM:
SCRIPT: Scott Snyder
PENCILS: Denys Cowan
INKS: Denys Cowan
After stealing a coin from a dead woman's mouth meant for the Ferryman of the dead on a dare as a child, a man spends his life looking for the coin as those he loves keep dying horrible deaths.
On a stormy night, he finally comes within reach of his goal. . .but in a terrifying twist, he discovers that a curse can't be ended so easily.
There's not much to this short little tale, but it's got a decent "Gotcha" ending. It really reminds me of the short stories that used to fill the horror anthologies of the past, so for that, I give it extra points. This story would be right at home in "Unexpected" or "Chamber of Chills".
Once again, I'm not able to see the connections between this and the movies, so fans of the Conjuring movies might get a little more out of this than I did, but all in all it's a decent little throwback to the horror anthologies of days gone by.
Overall, this is a comic that is just "okay". The stories aren't bad. . .but they aren't particularly great or memorable in any way. The main story that ties into the most recent Conjuring movie is a decent enough introduction with a few creepy moments (to be fair, mostly coming by way of the art), but it's just not interesting enough to hook me into the next issue.
The shorter backup story is a nice little throwback to the "Gotcha" ending horror anthology stories of the past, so I enjoyed it more for nostalgia's sake than anything else.
Never having seen the Conjuring movies, I couldn't see the connections in either story, which might have dropped my opinion down a notch or two compared to someone who might know more about the Conjuring "Universe", so based on my own humble opinion, I can't really recommend this series with so many other great new horror comics out there. . .BUT, if you're a Conjuring fan, you might get more out of this, so go ahead and give it a look.
Up Next. . .
Let's keep the Longbox Junk Halloween Horror Party going with a tale of the strange things happening at a roadside hotel in the middle of nowhere. It's Upshot Comic's "Hotell"!
Be there or be square.