Scout Comics 2019
By Joseph Schmalke & Rich Woodall
The Electric Black is a cursed antique shop, appearing in any time or space, soliciting customers it hungers to corrupt or devour. The mysterious Julius Black is the store's demonic proprietor and narrator. He, along with his psychopathic employees, regularly manipulates patrons for their own devious purposes. Inside the eerie emporium, all of the forbidden objects have secrets to unlock. The poor souls that enter never leave without something. Its dark light will shine on macabre mysteries, grisly murders, and other frightful occurrences. Dare you step within its sinister halls?
There is plenty here to like in Scout’s new anthology series. To me this feels like Tales from the Crypt meets The House of Secrets in all the best ways possible. Our enigmatic host Julius Black who feels like a vampire to me is in in his cursed antique shop which exists between time and space and appears when and where it needs to as those who deserve to find it. Then the other thing about this that I really liked is that it had only two tales inside. So there is plenty of time to get into each story and really get into them. Moving forward I wonder if we’ll get this much time spent getting to know Julius and June Bug and I hope we do there’s too much to learn about them not to.
I do like and appreciate the way that this is structured. While the stories are being told to showcase lessons that people need to learn I think how and which are decided up is sensational. By this I mean the first visitor we see to the Electric Black wonders around waiting for someone to help him, as he meanders through something catches his eye and that item is the first tale we hear. So it is very much an organic set-up and it can be based upon the visitors need or just coincidence that they pick up or are attracted to a specific item. Yes I am aware that I always say there are not such thing as coincidences and there aren’t, so the item they are drawn to is more destined for them to be drawn to. Also it is a very nice way to break the ice when Julius introduces himself.
I am very much enjoying this interior artwork! We see the style this is going to take and seeing June and how the linework is utilised to bring her to life compared to her surroundings made me think of Marilyn Munster. Also there is something almost hypnotic about the wallpaper pattern we see here and I am here to tell you the kind of precision and skill it takes to see that in so many panels from so many different directions is utterly marvellous and skilful. The creativity and imagination on display is mindbogglingly good and I say as a fan of horror because these vignettes made me think of the old horror films my cousins would put on to scare men when I was little.
The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show us this superb eye for storytelling. The way backgrounds are utilised makes me so very happy as they flesh out the moments and bring this size and scope to each story. The colour work is stunning and the colour gradation or how it varies depending on the light is brilliantly done. Plus each story has it’s own style attached to it and the colour work for each is so well suited to the individual story. From the red eyes to that purple glow, yeah it really finishes things off perfectly.
Finally an anthology series that I can support, enjoy and rejoice in because the stories aren’t short and they have this beautiful structure to fit in their allotted space and most of all feel complete. The horror is old school and the scares are now so don’t wait make sure your shop is carrying this because sometimes you just want to be bricking oneself!