[Review] CRYPT OF SHADOWS #1 Pays Tribute to Classic Horror Comics

FIRST IMPRESSION

CRYPT OF SHADOWS #1 pays homage to classic horror comics, giving us three stories in the classic vein, but with a modern veneer. It's a super-fun throwback comic for genre fans, but even if you're not a horror buff, there's plenty to enjoy.
Writing
Pencils/Inks
Coloring
Lettering
- Advertisement -

Horror has always been an integral part of the Marvel brand. Whether it’s one of the pre-Comics Code creepers, or the widely-popular Marvel Zombies that debuted in the mid-‘00s, you can’t overlook the genre’s importance to the company’s legacy. Now, in honor of their 80th anniversary, Marvel are putting out a series of one-shot revivals of classic titles from the publisher’s past, beginning this week with Crypt of Shadows #1.

The Writing

The original Crypt of Shadows ran from 1973 through 1975. This new volume, however, reads like a classic Golden Age horror comic, but with a modern tone and sensibilities.

The issue features two stories tied together by a third narrative about a man with cynophobia (fear of dogs). Al Ewing provides writing duties for all three, and you get a sense he’s loving the hell out of it. There’s a zeal for leaning into genre conventions, embracing the campy quality of classic horror comics. However, Ewing manages to include enough new elements and surprises to keep things fresh.

The three stories in Crypt of Shadows are interconnected, eventually merging into one narrative by the book’s end. That shouldn’t come as a surprise; in fact, it’s clearly telegraphed. What is interesting is seeing how they come together, flipping the narrative on its head. The book opts for psychological, rather than supernatural horror, delivering an effective, yet very fun read.

The Artwork

- Advertisement -

Three different artists provide ink for the different stories, each with their own charm. Gary Brown employs a sketchy style for Cynophobia, which he uses to truly gruesome effect in bringing some of these hellhounds to life. The art shines in this story, especially towards the book’s end.

The other two artists in Crypt of Shadows #1, Stephen Green and Djibril Morissette-Phan, tend toward a more realist style. Their work is similar to what you would find in the pages of an old-school horror comic, which I mean in a very positive way. Both employ heavy inks, giving each panel a shadowy look that perfectly reflects the tone.

The colors provided by Chris O’Halloran are an incredibly important to the book’s overall vision as well. He employs vibrant, spooky tones that absolutely scream “Halloween,” especially on the stories Cynophobia and Grave Errors!

Final Thoughts

Crypt of Shadows #1 is a worthy tribute to Marvel’s legacy of horror. Whether you’re a fan of the genre or not, this volume is definitely worth grabbing.

 

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Review: THE IMMORTAL HULK #21 Explores The History Of General Fortean

James Fortean, much like his mentor General Thunderbolt Ross, would like nothing more than to destroy both Bruce Banner and the Hulk. So much...

A New Beginning in WONDER WOMAN COME BACK TO ME #1

Wonder Woman Come Back to Me #1 is a reprinting of a classic tale of Diana once again diving into danger to save those she loves.

Advance Review: MIDNIGHT SKY #1 Creates An Intriguing Mystery And A Frightening World

Scout Comics' Midnight Sky #1, by James Pruett, Scott Van Domelen and Ilaria Fella is the start of brand new science fiction series that...

Review: We Could Use a Few More Pages for THE QUIET KIND

In many ways, The Quiet Kind by Chuck Brown, with art by Jeremy Treece and Kelly Williams, is an inversion of the clichéd “chosen...

Review: DEAD END KIDS #1 Is A Somber Murder Mystery

Dead End Kids #1 is the new book from Source Point Press, written by Frank Gogol, with artwork by Nenad Cviticanin and letters by...

Review: Frosty The Snowman Comes To Marvel In LOKI #1

A sentient (and possibly menacing) snowman is exactly the kind of wonderfully weird supporting character Loki needs

Review: UNEARTH #1 – Plunging Into a New Horror Series

Something is clearly not right in the small Mexican town of Mitlán Itzá as Unearth #1 sets the stage for a twisted blend of...

Review: GIDEON FALLS #15 Andrea Sorrentino’s Art Will Give You Nightmares

Gideon Fall #15 from Image Comics hits your local comic book store today; written by Jeff Lemire, with art by Andrea Sorrentino, colors by...
Avatar
David DeCorte
David DeCorte covers comic book, entertainment, pop culture, and business news for multiple outlets. He is also a sci-fi writer, and is currently working on his first full-length book. Originally from San Diego, he now lives in Tampa.
COMIC REVIEW DIGEST, sign up today! At Monkeys Fighting Robots, we strive to talk about ALL aspects of a comic book, instead of just giving you a recap of the story.
  • Did you notice how epic the colors were?
  • That was a wicked panel layout by the artist!
  • What was the letterer thinking?
  • How did this comic book make you feel?
  • Most importantly, should you buy it?

Every Wednesday you will receive an email with our latest reviews and analyses, as well as our original comic strips and exclusive editorial content.
Thanks for signing up!