Kids love to be scared. Whether it’s sneaking peeks at adult horror flicks or telling spooky stories around the campfire, many children can’t get enough of the controlled adrenaline rush that comes with fictionalized terror. House of Fear: Attack of the Killer Snowmen and Other Spooky Stories, out May 1st from Dark Horse Comics, understands this perfectly, with five scary stories aimed at younger readers from the creative team of writer James Powell and artist Jethro Morales, along with inker Mike Erandio, colorist Josh Jensen, letterer Matt Krotzer and bookend illustrator James Hislope. (Co-writer Daxton Powell also contributes to one story, which features art by Adrián Bago González.)
House of Fear builds on the strong tradition of Goosebumps and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and, as you’ll see below, it doesn’t skimp on actually looking creepy. There’s nothing a junior horror-hound hates more than feeling coddled, and Morales’ design for the Tooth Fairy, star of the short comic “Teeth,” is bound to inspire some legitimate nightmares—maybe even from the book’s older readers. With House of Fear’s release just around the corner, Paste invited writer James Powell to provide commentary on the art team’s design and page process for the Tooth Fairy. House of Fear: Attack of the Killer Snowmen and Other Spooky Stories is available in comic shops and through preferred digital retailers May 1st.
House of Fear Cover Art by Jethro Morales & Josh Jensen
Writers: James Powell & Daxton Powell
Artists: Jethro Morales, Adrián Bago González & James Hislope
Inker: Mike Erandio
Colorist: Josh Jensen
Letterer: Matt Krotzer
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: May 1, 2019
It’s kids vs. monsters in this collection of scary comics for young readers!
Welcome to the House of Fear, your new home for scary comics! Boyle, the creepy caretaker, presents five frightening tales of startling suspense and thrilling adventure. These chilling comics will engross even the bravest of young readers—and empower them with themes of conquering fear and saving the day.
It’s Scooby-Doo meets Tales from the Crypt! Devour these terrifying tales if you dare!
Tooth Fairy Concept Art by Jethro Morales
Jethro sent me character sketches for “Teeth” before I finalized the script, and they totally blew me away. When I saw the evil Tooth Fairy for the first time, I immediately knew two things: This would be the scariest House of Fear story yet, and I had to rework the script a little to ensure it didn’t give anyone nightmares.
”Teeth” Process Art by Jethro Morales
The Tooth Fairy reveal is probably my favorite in this first batch of House of Fear stories, which is saying a lot because we have some incredible splash page reveals. I love the idea of Mylie happily falling asleep, thinking she’s pulled a fast one on her brother, only to wake up to see just how wrong she was.
”Teeth” Process Art by Jethro Morales
Jethro never ceases to amaze me. The detail he adds to this page is incredible.
”Teeth” Process Art by Jethro Morales & Mike Erandio
Now we add the shadows with Mike’s inks, and it makes this moment even better. With the pencils, I was focused on the Tooth Fairy, but here, I fell in love with the look on Mylie’s face. With her eye open wide, it’s clear she’s frozen in terror. Perfect!
”Teeth” Process Art by Jethro Morales, Mike Erandio & Josh Jensen
Josh and I discussed several options for the “Teeth” color palette, originally wanting to stick to the norm for kids comics, which is to use colors that pop. In the end, though, we decided to stick closer to reality and drain the color from the night scenes. You’ll note in the final pages, however, that Josh pulled back on the blue, going full black for the shadows, which allows the Tooth Fairy to stand out more here.
”Teeth” Process Art by Jethro Morales, Mike Erandio, Josh Jensen & Matt Krotzer
In the script, the Tooth Fairy’s dialog is pretty sinister. As if that wasn’t evil enough, Matt made her word balloons twisted and gnarled, just like the old witch herself. Matt’s style truly added another level of creepiness to the character, and I can hear her crackling voice whenever I read the story.