I doubt many people went ahead and shelled out the extra for the Pelican Package while planning their wedding. A couple retreat isn’t the first thing you usually want to order off the menu, however, the heart wants what it wants. But sometimes you can’t decide for yourself or maybe need some help. Dark Horse comics offers a polite, pale proprietor named Desdaemona Nimue Moreau and her place of business. Enter into the Shock Shop, a comic shop unlike any other. A shop where new comic day brings anything but the funnies.
Shock Shop # 1
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Inker: Danny Luckert; Leila Leiz
Colorist: Danny Luckert; Bill Crabtree; Nate Piekos
Cullen Bunn digs into the dirt and unearths a classic tone for a current comic. Channeling both the Crypt and the Creep, the two tales summoned up from Shock Shop # 1 follow some stereotypical setups. The pacing of both stories really felt like an early 80’s horror movie, or comic. Modern horror finds a way to present threats as new arrivals to our doorsteps; Bunn, taking a lesson from Horror Masters, shows it was always close to home; and heart.
There are a few major components of the horror genre; those things that truly terrify the individual. Isolation, uncertainty and a lack of control or authority in a situation are sometimes all it takes. Which is also what it feels like to be lost in the woods at night. Or in the dark regarding the state of your marriage. The two occurrences combine for the first comic Desdaemona describes, Something in the Woods, In the Dark. The first entry sees infighting among friends as a couple faces a crossroads. As the participants pick fights over their allegiances to the struggling couple it is easy to imagine a threat picking them off one by one.
The inkers and colorists avoid any awkward moments in this anthology. Typically each creator would showcase their unique style but not at the Shock Shop. The union created means the artists overlap in duties, Luckert colors one story and inks in the other. But, you won’t be able to notice where Danny’s work ends and Leiz, Crabtree or Piekos’ begins. One odd thing is that apparently the undead age in reverse, or at least Miss Moreau does. In the most curious case since Benjamin Bratt, the owner looks younger during the comics second entry – which features the Shock Shop’s Grand Guignol – than in the first.
As for the second story, it is also scary in the suburban sense. House hunting and furnishing isn’t fun – especially when it is a second home. But as Familiar shows, the right welcoming committee can make move-in day feel like homecoming. And you don’t have to worry about letting the right one in if they are already there.
Shock Shop is a comic that truly relies on all it has to offer. By building the story around the physical item being sold, Desdaemona provides a fantastic framework as host. Still, both Familiars and Woods fall prey to one situation that can doom any relationship – letting others in too much, too quickly. Both entries end just a beat past the suspenseful moment; giving us a scary too soon. There is a feeling one story may possibly inform the other but this is mainly due to the nature of anthologies and similar appearances. It would be unfortunate as each deserves their own identity; their own shock.
They say this is how business is done. They also say that’s the way love goes.
If there is truth in advertising, there is only one thing to know about Desdaemona Nimue Moruea and Shock Shop # 1.
I’m Only Gonna Break You Heart