cover image The Furry Trap

The Furry Trap

Josh Simmons. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (140p) ISBN 978-1-60699-536-5

The 11 horror stories in this collection showcase Simmons’s possession of a dark and capable imagination, one that has discomfort down to an exact science. Subjects include Christmas gift giving gone wrong, a deranged and overexcited movie theater patron, a retelling of a certain disturbed bat-oriented superhero, and a simpleton in possession of a very special member. Simmons (House; Jessica Farm) is at his best in stories like “Mutant” and “Demonwood,” where rash decisions and chance encounters lead to nightmarish consequences, with terrifying demon children and reborn mutants wreaking havoc on the lives of the ignorant. There are stories that feel flimsier than others, like “Jesus Christ” and “Mark of the Bat,” but Simmons’s brand of deep unease permeates all of them, even in the opening story, “In a Land of Magic,” which features a scene of sexual and physical violence that could lead to sleepless nights. The book is also filled with illustrations and short comics that just add to the pile of evidence that Simmons has a wide-ranging talent, with an artistic sense that brings to life his most ghoulish creations. These stories are, hopefully, harbingers of even stronger and more sinister work in the future, with fewer wizard-related sexual assault scenes. (July)