Title: TKO Presents Tales of Terror.
Writer(s): Liana Kangas, Joe Corallo, Sebastian Girner, Steve Foxe, Alex Paknadel, Kelly Williams, and many more.
Illustrator(s): Paul Azaceta, Baldemar Rivas, Lisandro Estherren, Ian Macewan, and many more.
Letterer(s): Jeff Powell, Steve Wands,Hassan otsmane-Elhaou, and many more.
Publisher: TKO Studios.
Release Date: November 30th 2021.
Genre(s): Comics, Horror.
My Overall Rating:
Horror has a way to crawl under one’s skin and singe its terror into one’s consciousness. All it takes is a little bit of doubt, a little bit of skepticism, and voilà, horror is born and proliferates within one’s mind almost to the extent of taking control of our lives. While it can often be quite messy, through an abundance of blood and gore, it can also take the form of an uncontrollable dread and a sense of helplessness. Horror might be a scary concept in itself but it’s what it forces us to do that can be even scarier. Or even what it forces us not to do. Exploring various facets of horror, several writers and artists unite to deliver tales of terror, whether it is within the walls of your own home, deep in the sea, or out in space.
What is TKO Presents Tales of Terror about? Publisher TKO Studios brings together a myriad of creative teams in a collaborative effort to put forth a horror collection of short graphic novel stories that explores various different horrifying stories. From demons brought to existence by tribes to sentient AI technology having a mind of its own in space, these stories present chilling and sometimes quite bloody stories that give these creators the chance to explore their respective narrative and artistic talents. This first collection contains stories entitled “Seeds of Eden“, “The Father of All Things“, “Night Train“, “Roofstompers“, “River of Sin“, “Dame From the Dark“, “The Walk“, “Killiamsburg“, and “Hand Me Down“.
“But you know what matters? The only thing that matters? We chose it.”— Alex Paknadel
Despite its innocent and applaudable intention to offer numerous comic book creators, both writers and artists, the opportunity to make themselves known in the horror game through a short and sweet tale that reaches deep into the traditional tropes of the genre, this collection, unfortunately, suffers in term of quality and content. While the length in itself is an undeniable challenge in this medium, only a rare few successfully make use of the rules of this game and deliver original and chilling stories (see Night Train and River of Sin) that allow readers to take home some fruit for thought. Other stories (see Dame From the Dark), however, struggle to get through the reader by stumbling their way to the end, barely making much sense along the way, and offering little to nothing worth appreciating in its ideas, characters, or setting.
Where the narrative is unequally exquisite from one creative team to another, the same can also be said of the artwork. Although they are respectfully adequate for each of the stories that are being told, they unevenly achieve a different effect that can more likely negatively affect the reader’s appreciation than intended. Some artists have a knack at drawing dynamic and lively characters, meticulously giving them life and personality with the help of the writer’s script, others pencil rough designs that inevitably seem stiff and lifeless. Fortunately, the horror genre offers these artists a way out by emphasizing blood, gore, and chaos through their unique styles. The colouring also, more often than not, gives the stories the necessary gloom and doom, especially when working with shades and shadows, and notably through watercolour.
TKO Presents Tales of Terror is a mixed bag of short horror stories, ranging from psychologically thrilling to visually gory, presented without a unifying direction or style.