. Eureka Productions, $9.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-9746648-1-1
The Graphic Classics series has been improving our cultural literacy by presenting zippy comics-styled renderings of those stories most people read in school, or at least know they should've read. The formula works particularly well in this collection of 12 classic horror stories, which includes short works by Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Jack London and Honore de Balzac, among others. The book begins with a stylish depiction of Bierce's mummy as a cool cocktail-lounge character wearing a fez, before settling down to business with a very effective adaptation of Lovecraft's ""The Thing on the Doorstep."" The vivid black inks and woodcut style of illustrator Michael Manning enhance the original tale's creepiness. Poe's ""Some Words with a Mummy,"" by contrast, is drawn in a cartoonish manner, with a touch of humor that suits this feather-light tale that's far more social commentary than spine tingler. Balzac's ""The Thing at Ghent"" is all style, with no words at all; those not already familiar with the work may be left in the dark by artist Mark Dancey's version. ""The Monkey's Paw,"" however, illustrated by John W. Pierard, retains all the eerie detail of W. W. Jacob's original. Jack London's ""Keesh, Son of Keesh,"" drawn by Ryan Inzana, is another moody work, while Bret Harte's ""Selina Sedilia,"" admirably adapted by Antonella Caputo and rendered by Nick Miller, is as silly as it should be. Perfect pacing make this another home run from the Graphic Classics team.
Reviewed on: 09/01/2004