My Mother likes to tell me that I keep odd friends. I like to think I keep friends who are much like myself, so I guess I will just write it off that my Mother thinks I’m odd. Sounds about right. I first met John Aranza about 4 years ago and I instantly knew he was a man after my own heart. Like in a past life we probably both rolled in the same pack of squirrels that all had a thing for Dracula and movie props. If you didn’t already know, John is the owner of a fantastic horror shop, Horrorbles, located in Berwyn IL. This shop is filled with such magical stuff that I would live in the basement if he would allow me to.
A little bit ago I got word that John and a couple of others were in works on a Horrorbles themed comic book. The concept of it sounded fantastic, and I couldn’t have been more excited when I received an invite to the book release. That level of excitement only could be matched with later reading that the one and only Svengoolie would be there as a special guest. So I did a cart-wheel, drank a 5th of Dr. Pepper, and anxiously waited July 22.
I like to refer to that waiting period as the “dark days”, it was tough but I made it through it. Yesterday morning I awoke and took the voyage out of the city. When I arrived at Horrorbles I was surprisingly pleased to see that there was a line halfway down the block. I say surprisingly pleased, because unlike some I like to look at lines like this as a challenge and not resort to sending the “so who can sneak me in the back door” text. It all becomes a game and an experience of who will last longer, what new friends will I make, and how much candy can I eat in an hour time. Side note, I base most of my life decisions on how much candy I can eat. Shortly later I was inside with 3 copies of “Haunting Tales of Horrorbles vol. 1” in hand, and talking to Svengoolie. It was amazing to see how down to earth he was and how easily he mingled with his fans. It’s a characteristic a lot of TV and movie personalities alike have sadly done out with. Shame shame. After chatting it up on the main floor I headed down to the “Galerie Des Terrors”, aka my future home. Downstairs eagerly greeting people were John, Rafael Nieves (Writer), and Dan Dougherty (Writer/Art). It was really great to see everyone in this environment, because you could truly tell they were on cloud 9 with the release of their comic book. All in all, this was a great event that I’m glad I got to be a part of.
Now as for the piece de resistance itself, Haunting Tales of Horrorbles #1, boy was it a good afternoon becoming one with my couch and indulging every page. Haunting Tales of Horrorbles #1 is a horror anthology comic book that in style pays homage to many EC comics from the 40’s and 50’s. Also, if you ask me, it instantly felt a little Creepshow-esq as well. The covers art and color instantly pop and demand attention, all while each of the five stories inside will keep you entertained for hours. Dan Dougherty’s art and attention to detail is some of the best I’ve ever seen, and I must admit, his story “Shoplifters…Beware!” actually made me chuckle out loud. If that’s not enough, John Aranza and Rafael Nieves ability to deliver fun, kitschy, and creepy stories is top-notch, and truly help complete this trifecta of awesomeness. Don’t believe me, I dare you to pick yourself up a copy and take the challenge. If you don’t like it, you can yell at me later.