This 370-page horror anthology eschews the typical monsters of the genre in favor for new terrors to give you restless sleep and cause to keep the lights on. Done in black and white, Sleep contains artwork that ranges from the realistic to the cartoonish. Each story utilizes the medium to convey blood splattering, ooze drooling, and soul stealing nasties that hide in shadows and cursed objects waiting for the time to claim another victim.
Anorexia, child abuse, and addiction are themes that take on physical forms of horror throughout the collection. Other stories have a fairy-tale feel to them, and some build on stories of cursed objects. With such a range of inventive tales to buck the atypical plot, the anthology seethes with creative writing and devilish artistry. The end effect is a collection of stories that may not send you to therapy, but will amaze you with the talent collected to produce such a tome.
You will have your favorites, but I must say that I enjoyed “Old Echoes” for its Lovecraft inspired storyline and haunting illustrations. “Faerie Ring” also delivered with its beautiful pencils and frighteningly imaginative explanation of those circular collections happened upon in the woods. “Hostess” will put a wicked grin on your face, so I won’t spoil any of the story or the payoff.
Overall, the collection does serve the horror genre well. The effort of these creative individuals comes across like a song from a great, undiscovered indie rock band. The rough edges and rawness of the book amplifies the enjoyment of the stories. Boundaries are crossed and taboos are broken—some that would not otherwise be done in a mainstream horror comic. The final result is a collection of stories worth reading at a price that’s a bit excessive.
Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Iron Circus Comics Price: $30 softcover, $15 e-book Website