ODD TALES FROM THE CURIO SHOP is a Fun Throwback to Indie Horror Comics

My Kickstarter binge is at Mach 5 as of late. I participated in the recent Monkeys Fighting Robots fundraiser because, of course, I did. Another one I gave some money to and just recently got in the mail was Odd Tales From the Curio Shop from Rocket Ink Studios. The story focuses on the Shopkeeper, portrayed by Brian O’Halloran, who brought Dante to life in Kevin Smith’s Clerks, as well as Mallrats, Clerks 2, and the recent Clerks reboot.

The black & white graphic novel is written in the style of the old EC Comics like Tales From the Crypt and The Vault of Horror with O’Halloran drawn as the Shopkeeper. You, as the reader, are looking through the wares at his curio shop. Each time “you” motion towards an object, the Shopkeeper provides its back story.


(He wasn’t even–You know what? No. I’m not doing it.)

There are six stories with a prologue/introduction and an epilogue. Each tale either has a moral attached to it (think “Monkey’s Paw”) or has a twist at the end in true horror comic fashion. The stories range from that of a ghostly janitor to a graphic tale regarding the Spanish Inquisition. The Shopkeeper provides the prologue and epilogue to each, and a good time is had by all.

Story list:

“Shopkeeper’s Introductions”

Written/Penciled by Tony Miello

Inked by Mikey Babinski


“Family Connections”

Written by Bruce Gerlach

Penciled by Bill Maus

Inked by Mikey Babinski



Written by Kasey Pierce

Penciled/Inked by Jay Jacot


“The Box”

Written by Tony Miello

Penciled/Inked by John Marroquin


“The Birdhouse”

Written by Dan Daugherty

Penciled by Bruce Gerlach

Inked by Mike Babinski


“The Black Friar”

Written by Gary Reed

Penciled by Tony Miello

Inked by Mike Babinski


“Big Spoon”

Written by Dirk Manning

Penciled by Tony Miello

Inked by Mike Babinski



Written by Dirk Manning

Penciled by Tony Miello

Inked by Mikey Babinski

There are some issues with the book. There are typos, there are odd quotation marks in some of the word balloons, and a couple of the storylines fall a little flat. That being said, it’s a great read in the spirit of genuinely independent comic books. These are creators who are building on their craft and have produced something they can use to showcase their talent.

Hands down, the best art in the book belongs to Bill Maus & “Family Connections.” All the artists included in this edition are talented, but Maus has the combination of clean lines and a unique appearance that should have him working on a Big 2 book. Story-wise my favorite is “Unconditional” by Kasey Pierce, which takes a couple of reasonably familiar tropes, but makes them horrifying as a new tale.

(Someone should hire Bill Maus right now.)

Odd Tales from the Curio Shop is worth the money I paid for it, the measuring stick for art. I’ve read better comics, but for a Kickstarter project from a small publisher, it’s a fun read and worth the time. Plus, any time creativity and art can be funded and supported by the public, everyone wins.

Have you read Odd Tales from the Curio Shop? If so, let us know what you thought in the comments below!

Brandon Mudd
Brandon Muddhttp://brandonmudd.blog
A Navy veteran & grandad to four girls, Brandon Mudd was bred for battle. After a lifetime spent warring with Skrulls & other foes of the Oxford comma, Brandon now writes about comic books on Tony Stark's favorite website, Monkeys Fighting Robots. He also covers stuff that is of no interest to anyone, like motorsports & politics.