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Posted January 27, 2013
Few things go better together than scary stories and graphic novels. Pedro Rodriguez leads you on a tour of some of the great horror stories that often serve as horror motifs today. The Handtakes on the revenge of the disembodied hand. Sir Dominick's Bargain is one of the origins of the deal with the devil motif. The Vampire by John William Polidori introduces the free wheeling lifestyle of the vampire. The book also includes short tales from Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Alan Poe and others.
The book gives the reader a broad introduction to the field of Gothic horror, a genre to which middle school readers naturally gravitate. Brief biographies of each author are included, which allows for the reader to further explore the writings of the authors.
Parents will appreciate that this is graphic horror written in a PG style. It is a relatively safe read for all students fifth grade and up. One seldom sees violence or gore, but only the aftermath. It is creepy, not necessarily creepy. It is a great use of the graphic novel to introduce a great literary genre.
Pedro Rodriguez tells the stories with contemporary language and art, yet capturing the period in word and art. The one critique that I would have of this work concerns the inking and lettering of the book.
If my memory serves me right, the original graphic novels were created by a blind writer and illustrator who sought to use the combination of words and pictures to tell a tale. Oddly enough, this book, like many graphic novels are actually made harder to read for the visually impaired and learning disabled, by using all capital letters, using thick blocky fonts and cramming the text into conversation bubbles.
This is not a fault of this work alone, but it is common within the genre. These things are not only a problem for the visually impaired, but also for those with learning disabilities. Thus, they do not work as well as one would like for encouraging the reluctant reader.
This critique noted, the book is a must have for public and school libraries. It is part of a Dark Graphic Novel series that includes a book of stories from Edgar Alan Poe and a graphic novelization of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Posted November 24, 2012
Good spooky read
In CHILLING TALES OF HORROR: DARK GRAPHIC SHORT STORIES, Pedro Rodriguez graphically adapts seven classic horror stories from the nineteenth century, including THE HAND by Guy de Maupassant, SIR DOMINICK'S BARGAIN by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, THE HOUSE OF NIGHTMARE by Edward Lucas White, THE VAMPIRE by John William Polidori, HOUSE B ON CAMDEN HILL by Catherine Crowe, THE BODY SNATCHER by Robert Louis Stevenson, and THE BLACK cat by Edgar Allan Poe. Rodriguez provides a good mix of well-known with lesser known authors who have fallen off the literary radar. Each chapter begins with a brief biographical sketch of the author. A further reading section directs readers to the original source material.
I recommend this book for readers who prefer horror writers to leave a little to the imagination rather than provide a CSI worthy accounting of every drop of blood splattered. Drawn with an autumn and winter palette, the illustrations compliment the spookiness of the stories. While the adaptations of the stories are well done, some of the panels contain too many words. At times, the font is too small and the words are squished together, making the text difficult to read. Despite that one objection, this collection of ghosts, grave-robbers and vampires makes for good reading on a dreary November afternoon. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Enslow provided me with a complimentary copy of the book to review. ISBN# 978-0-7660-4085-4.
Posted July 10, 2012
I got a sample of this at a trade show and really enjoyed the various short stories. Each had a brief intro about the author and the pages had an aged look to them that helped foster a spooky atmosphere. Perfect for kids 12 and up, including adults. Some of the horror in the stories is more in the anticipation of something that anything really gruesome.
Really perfect for reading by a fire in the fall and winter!