Comics great Ernie Colón has a new graphic novel out, a collection of seven horror stories loosely adapted from the classic horror radio show Inner Sanctum. In this book, Colón gives readers a great group of stories featuring demons, zombies, vampires and graverobbers as well as scheming families and greedy wives. In other words, this is classic horror with a series of fun twists delivered by a man who really knows his way around a comics page.
This book is a hell of a lot of fun, an anthology of wonderfully drawn short tales, all of which amuse and delight and feature terrific artwork. The first book in this collection, "Death of a Doll," is a noir tale of a newspaper reporter in 1948 who finds a doll at the morgue that seems to be warning about the Devil. The story takes some very entertaining twists and turns and ends in a dark and surprising way. There's even the hint of a dark romance that's cool and intriguing. Colon shows off a lot of wonderful artistic tricks in this story, effectively using techniques like silhouette, the full page splash and establishing shots to tell the story in ways that make it quite compelling.
"The Horla" tells the story of a composer who meets a demon in his travels and ends up haunted by the demon. Colón's art once again tells the story in intensely effective ways, doing a terrific job of employing forced perspective and a wonderful depiction of faces to help make the horror more real. And once again the story has a pitch-black ending that makes the events of the story feel even more terrible.
"The Undead" features some wonderful twists and turns before its shocking revelation about the story's main character. This one leaves a few loose ends and I was scratching my head wondering a bit about the vampires in this story. But Colón draws really beautiful women and this story has an airy energy about it that was really entertaining.
Probably my favorite story in this book is "The Voice on the Wire," an EC-like yarn featuring scheming family members, a doomed love, and a jilted husband risen from the dead to gain his revenge. Everything in this story seems a bit familiar but in a good way, as it takes some very dark twists and turns before the ending. I might not feel the same way about a gas can again for quite some time after reading this tale.
Inner Sanctum is a really fun graphic novel for anyone who loves classic stories and monsters with new twists. And Ernie Colón's storytelling chops are still a glory to behold.
Jason Sacks has been obsessed with comics for longer than he'd like to remember. He considers himself a student of comics history and loves delving into obscure corners of this crazy artform. Jason has been writing for this site for about seven years and has also been published in a number of fan publications, including the late, lamented Amazing Heroes and The Flash Companion. He lives in north Seattle with his wife and three kids.