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"House of Fear: The Infestation of Mr. Skinny Legs" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Ten31 Publishing

article-cover

Written by James Powell
Illustrated by Jethro Morales and James Hislope
Inked by Mike Erandio
Colored by Josh Jensen
Lettered by Matt Krotzer
2019, 33 Pages

Review:

House of Fear is back with more all-ages scares, this time dealing with creepy crawlies that frighten almost everyone: spiders. Maeve and Paul are spooked by the exterminator who is spraying for spiders in their basement. That night, they discover his real plan. He's not out to kill the spiders. He wants to create an army of giant ones.

Writer James Powell has a talent for taking simple things that scare us or seem strange about our world, such as tooth fairies or in this case, spiders, and expand upon them with a wild imagination. This isn't a story about finding a spider and getting creeped out. It builds to something bigger and completely out of left field and the comic is all the better for it. You won't be able to guess where this story goes and that's part of the fun.

A key part of this and all of the House of Fear comics is how central the kids are to the story. The adults are there, but it's up to the children to save the day. This works on a few levels, first and foremost giving kids an entry point into the story that they can relate to. They can imagine themselves in this spot. This extends to adults too, as everyone has been a kid at some point. It also serves up raise the terror levels a bit as you have to wonder how these siblings will take down some giant spiders on their own.

house of fear skinny legs 01

Artist Jethro Morales uses a clean, simple style for House of Fear: The Infestation of Mr. Skinny Legs. This lines up well with the tone of the story. The details of the spiders and the exterminator shine. There's a mad scientist vibe to the exterminator with his tentacled arms and erratic hair, but he looks a little silly in his short shorts and long socks. Here he has power, but out in the real world you probably wouldn't give him a second look.

There's a bit of body horror in this issue that is definitely the scariest part of the book. It pushes the boundary of the all-ages piece, however, it's confined to one page, so it's quick to breeze by if it's unsettling for younger readers. Inker Mike Erandio captures all the fine lines in this, showcasing the details of the spider legs and what's left of the humanity within this person.

Danger is highlighted in this issue by flashes of bright color. Josh Jensen uses splashes of green and pink to suddenly put us on edge and grab our attention. It grabs the eye letting us know these are key moments.

house of fear skinny legs 02

Letterer Matt Krotzer uses a scratchy font for the spider monster at the end of the story that I really like. It's just different enough to convey a sinister tone, while not being overly stylized. The sound effect work is also on point.

House of Fear: The Infestation of Mr. Skinny Legs is bookended by our creepy narrator, illustrated by James Hislope. This is a completely different style than the rest of the book, but it works here since it's a wholly separate story. This guy is super creepy too.

House of Fear taps into stuff that scares both kids and adults alike, confronting it in new and interesting ways. This issue uses an age-old fear of spiders as the starting point and quickly spins into something so much more. It's a horror comic you can read with your kids without giving them nightmares.

House of Fear: The Infestation of Mr. Skinny Legs is available on Etsy.

Grades:

Story: fourstars Cover
Art: threeandahalfstars
Overall: 4 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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