The worst thing you can say about issue 24 of “Vincent Price Presents” is also a huge compliment: The damned thing’s too short. It’s always terrific to find big things in little packages, but with all the effort that went into this, it’s a shame that the people behind it didn’t have a broader canvas to work with. Maybe it doesn’t have the same pacing as the old horror comics – it’s about as long as any issue of “Tales from the Crypt,” which usually had four stories crammed into it. Not bad, considering the cover price was 10 cents.
Still, “Vincent Price Presents” has a lot going for it, and if the Crypt-Keeper’s missing in action, let no one accuse his replacement of being a novice. Price, who looks grimly amused even in comic form, is playing chess on a porch when a stranger asks for directions. The guy’s name is Michael, and he’s taken a detour from his cross-country road trip to investigate an unspecified hamlet whose backwoods are supposedly home to a supernatural being. As soon as Price sends the guy on his way, there’s a sense he’ll find out more about this thing than he ever wanted to know.
Price is a befitting host for material like this, and what’s uncanny about the artwork from Manoel Moriera and Osmarco Vallado is how it resembles his old creature features. The colors have an absent quality to them that brings to mind black-and-white drive-in movies, or the pastel fade of a TV rerun. They don’t necessarily make the story scarier, but they give everything a familiar style that makes the result that much more entertaining. It’s a good thing, too – when you’re dealing with a story this simple, it probably can’t make much of an impression on its own.
A horror comic that fires on all cylinders is rare at a time when the spotlight’s on DC and Marvel, but between this and hits like “The Walking Dead,” the genre could be headed for a renaissance. It figures something unlikely as “Vincent Price Presents” would get the ball rolling, especially in light of messes like Papercutz’s “Tales from the Crypt” revival, which falls flat even under the banner of the most popular horror title in comic history. Even if those comics have gone the way of the dinosaur, it’s comforting to know that the spirit they left behind is enough to terrorize y’alls neighborhood.
This article originally appeared on AllMediaNY.com.