Comic, Andrew Pannell, Hannah Mizar, Matt Davis, Jensine Eckwall, Ross Jackson, Sam Szabo, and Lara Kaminoff, Issue 2, 42 pgs, brainbooger.tumblr.com, $8
Strange things abound throughout the Halloween season, but this horror comic anthology with no distinguishable publisher, marked only by a giant eyeball and bloody text, still managed to catch me by surprise. The Lodge: Scared S2pid stands out among a pile of zines, but doesn’t quite fit in with one’s comic-book collection either. It’s an anomaly, and proud of it.
Scared S2pid is the sequel to a previous comic-zine, simply titled The Lodge, but you don’t need to read it in order to follow along. The zine is formatted like an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? as a compilation of not-so-spooky stories, all with different authors, and little or nothing to do with one another aside from the fact that they are bound in the same book. The main distinction is that Scared S2pid never legitimately tries to scare its reader, nor approach horror as parody. At most, the zine winks at the genre — entirely aware of expectations, but not really interested in commenting upon them.
This is by no means a bad thing — in fact, it’s likely the ingredient that keeps the anthology fresh. Each new author seems to begin with a horror trope (ie. Andrew Pannell uses bodily regeneration, Ross Jackson uses a ghost inside a computer screen, Sam Szabo uses strange phobias,) but takes his short comic to unexpected regions, exploring ideas of suicide, high school, and overwhelming bad luck. More importantly, Scared S2pid is funny, which is difficult to pull off when so many authors work on one product. I look forward to Scared 3pid. (Joel W. Vaughan)