Comic Review – Tales From The Darkside #1

  • Writer: Joe Hill
  • Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Colors: Ryan Hill
  • Letters: Robbie Robbins
  • Publisher: IDW
  • Release Date: June 15, 2016

Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez unite once again to bring readers the first of four Tales From The Darkside published by IDW.

Brief Story Synopsis of Tales From The Darkside

Ziggy has sleepwalked through most of his life, without any real purpose, or consequence. One could say he has led a charmed life. He has a dream job as a lifeguard by day and parties at night. Or so he thought, until he was caught in a darkside event after which everyone that looks at him falls asleep.

Man lives in the sunlit world of what he believes to be reality. But…there is, unseen by most, an underworld, a place that is just as real,but not as brightly lit… a darkside.

The Creative Team

Joe Hill, the son of horror fiction writer Stephan King, is an accomplished author in his own right.

He is a past recipient of the Ray Bradbury Fellowship and in 2006 won the William L. Crawford award for Best New Fantasy writer.  In 2005 he published his first book 20th Century Ghosts, a collection of fourteen short stories that won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection. His first novel Heart-Shaped Box was published in 2007 and reached number 8 on The New York Times Best Seller List. 

Hills’ first comic book work Lock and Key was published by IDW in 2008.  

Tales From The Darkside: Cover art
Cover art by Gabriel Rodriguez

Gabriel Rodriguez is a Chilean comic book artist and architect. Although his comic book resume is brief, most of his work has earned an Eisner Award.  His work on Lock and Key won an Eisner Award for Best Penciler/Inker in 2011. His work on  Little Nemo Return to Slumberland by IDW won a Eisner for Best Limited Series in 2015. 

Ryan Hill has worked in comics for over a decade. He was the artist for Dark Horse Comics Avatar: The Last Airbender and was the colorist on Stumptown for Oni Press.  More fun facts about Ryan: he first coloring work was on the back cover of Stan Sakai’s Usagi YojimboHe also attended the last Ramones concert at the Hollywood Palace in 1996 while he sat behind Tim Burton. 

Toby Robins is an artist and co-founder of IDW in 1999. He has lettered several titles for IDW including X-Files, Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles and Lock and Key.

The Word of This Nerd

Tales From The Darkside was a television series produce by George A. Romeo, which aired on television between 1983 and 1988. 

The Tales From The Darkside comic book mini-series is based upon scripts Hill wrote for a re-launch of the series that never aired.

In this first story titled “Sleepwalker”, Joe Hill writes an engrossing and terrifying tale of unintended consequences.  

I was completely immersed in Ziggy’s story from page one.  We quickly learn he is a sympathetic character who is good at heart.  That is what makes this tragic tale so impactful.  Yes, Ziggy may have “sleepwalked throughout his life, but he never meant any harm to anyone.   

I was very impressed with the pacing of this 20 page comic book adaptation.  A story which could have been stretched into four or five issue was done in one. There is no gratuitous splash pages. Each one of Gabriel Rodriquez’s panels is devoted to character development and story progression. Rodriguez’s choice of layout helps to frame the story.  A two page spread of Ziggy’s narration uses an unorthodox and creepy panel design, a signal to readers that for Ziggy things are about to get real.

Ryan Hill’s coloring is muted and restrained for this dark tale; very suitable for the tone Joe Hill has created for the story.  

Darkside events will be a common theme throughout the series. Hill has me hooked and I want to see how it plays out in future issues. 

I rate this first issue a buy on site with confidence.  If the rest of Tales From The Darkside is as strong as this first issue, horror fans are in for a real treat.

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About the author

Christopher Calloway

Christopher Calloway is the small press and idependent comic creator editor for Word of the Nerd. He is long-time comic book reader and collector who is passionate about comics and their creators.

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