Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review "Chilling Tales of Horror" by Pedro Redriguez

Chilling Tales of Horror

 Dark Graphic Short Stories by Pedro Rodriguez
ISBN-13: 978-0-7660-4085-4

Few things go better together than scary stories and graphic novels.  Pedro Rodriguez leads you on a tour of some of the great horror stories that often serve as horror motifs today.  The Hand takes on the revenge of the disembodied hand.  Sir Dominick's Bargain is one of the origins of the deal with the devil motif.   The Vampire by John William Polidori introduces the free wheeling lifestyle of the vampire.  The book also includes short tales from Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Alan Poe and others.

The book gives the reader a broad introduction to the field of Gothic horror, a genre to which middle school readers naturally gravitate.  Brief biographies of each author are included, which allows for the reader to further explore the writings of the authors.  

Parents will appreciate that this is graphic horror written in a PG style.  It is a relatively safe read for all students fifth grade and up.  One seldom sees violence or gore, but only the aftermath.  It is creepy, not necessarily creepy.  It is a great use of the graphic novel to introduce a great  literary genre.

Pedro Rodriguez tells the stories with contemporary language and art, yet capturing the period in word and art.  The one critique that I would have of this work concerns the inking and lettering of the book.  

If my memory serves me right, the original graphic novels were created by a blind writer and illustrator who sought to use the combination of words and pictures to tell a tale.  Oddly enough, this book, like many graphic novels are actually made harder to read for the visually impaired and learning disabled, by using all capital letters, using thick blocky fonts and cramming the text into conversation bubbles.

This is not a fault of this work alone, but it is common within the genre.  These things are not only a problem for the visually impaired, but also for those with learning disabilities.  Thus, they do not work as well as one would like for encouraging the reluctant reader.

This critique noted, the book is a must have for public and school libraries.  It is part of a Dark Graphic Novel series that includes a book of stories from Edgar Alan Poe and a graphic novelization of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

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