Writers: Cullen Bunn, Kevin Watkins
Artist: Javier Saltares, Blacky Shepherd, Adam Mclaughlin, Gary Bedell
Letters: A Larger World Studios
Growing up as a kid, I enjoyed a good horror story. I’m not talking the slashers such as Friday the 13th (although I did, in fact, enjoy many of those movies). I’m talking about the stories that you tell around a campfire on a summer camping trip or would find in a book like Goosebumps. Having a wife who is not a fan of anything horror and a six-year-old has greatly limited the amount of time that I get to spend with horror or scary movies in recent years. However, as soon as I see Cullen Bunn’s name on a project, I know that I am going to pick it up to enjoy it in my free time.
Graveyard Slaughter is set up as an anthology with several short stories. Each of those stories is separated by a small vignette of things happening in a local video store. The breaks and the shortened stories again lead to that telling-stories-around-the-campfire vibe. Each story ends with the reader being left to assume what the final act would result in.
The stories that are told in Graveyard Slaughter have a certain amount of familiarity to them. Stories of the lunatic in the woods, the teens drinking and partying, or the game of hide and seek in the graveyard are all tropes that have been used often. It is the execution of these stories and, in some, the ending that keeps you engaged in Graveyard Slaughter.
Cullen Bunn and Kevin Watkins each have their own style of storytelling. They switch back and forth between them which helps to keep the reader guessing as to what might happen next. Of particular note, the pacing within each story is unique as some move at breakneck speed from the beginning. Others bring anticipation that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat.
At some point, it was decided to do the book in black and white rather than color. To me, at least, this takes an extremely talented artist to pull off. I’ve found often that if the artist knows it will not be colored, they tend to fill in empty space with too many details. Despite having several different artists throughout Graveyard Slaughter, none of them stuff the panels to the point of distraction.
Instead, the black, white, and grays were left to fill the backgrounds while shades and grayscale added the texture to the characters and setting. Not having to fill the panels with the reds of blood splatter allowed the artists to up the extreme actions of the killers in each story. It adds a bit of campiness to the stories that should keep squeamish readers from being turned off from the stories.
You can back Graveyard Slaughter now as part of their Kickstarter campaign.