Death Has Lots of Fun in Grimm Tales of Terror Volume 1

The Goddess of Death lounges on a cement throne surrounded by skulls

Drawing inspiration from Tales From the Crypt, Twilight Zone, Egar Allan Poe, Creepshow, and more, Zenescope is all about fangs, gore, and horror in Grimm Tales of Terror Volume 1.

Grimm Tales of Terror Volume 1

May 4, 2016

A skeleton draws a bloody A on a window

Here is my third dive into the world of Grimm Fairy Tales, with my most recent visitation being part of our Breaking In series with Grimm Fairy Tales #34. The individual issues of Grimm Tales of Terror still feature sexy Death or women unaware of their pending doom on the covers that are included in this volume, but the series prominently displays its message of horror with covers by Eric J. that are not quite so T&A intensive. Once again I have to add the disclaimer that the typical Grimm covers are clearly meant to titillate and objectify women, but the content maintains its focus on telling interesting stories.

Grimm Tales of Terror Volume 1 collects issues #1 through #13 of this series, with a writer and artist teaming up to tell all sorts of morbid, horrifying tales, all with a moral attached. A redheaded woman who knows way more than she should is present in each tale, as she has been in the other Grimm stories I’ve read. In the fairy tales, the mysterious woman typically appears to tell the protagonist a story relevant to their situation, but here, she gets more directly involved in surrounding events that aren’t necessarily related to the main tale she shares. The disconnect between the two situations in each story makes for some confusion, but after dealing with this for a few issues, it becomes easy enough to accept that this is simply how our storytelling hostess wants to roll.

While her tales differ wildly, her present day antics all share a very similar theme: bad people getting their comeuppance. From a perverted professor preying on his students, to a negligent pet sitter, Death shows no mercy, but she does show a lot of creativity in ensuring people pay for their sins with their lives. In the fairy tales I’ve read, she’s more ambiguous, but here, her identity is far less mysterious to the reader. Amazing what a few visual cues can do! (Or, maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention in my earlier reads).

True horror fans might recognize the sources some of these stories are adapted from. Not being a horror fan myself, there are likely many references that I have missed, but that doesn’t take away from my growing appreciation for the series. Ranging from slasher movie twists, to body snatching invasions, to pandemics that hit a little too close to home right now, Grimm Tales of Terror Volume 1 has a lot to offer within its 300 pages, though some of the stories do trip into tired ableist tropes when it comes to depictions of mental health.

The story in each issue is brief, but packs in a lot without being overly wordy. The collaboration between the creative team results in tight, focused storytelling. Colours are bright, panels are to the point, and dramatic, gory revelations hit just the right note of terror. After three trips into Zenescope’s Grimm world now, I’m sold on their style of story retelling.

Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.