Warming up for Bedlam!
First of all most of these stories are not real horror stories!
They are weird, surreal, out of your mind, gory, and some are even disgusting unless you have some sort of fetish for snot. I do not... and this one-page story is not so funny although it was meant to be, I guess. Well, those stories are not necessarily the kind of horror that won't let you sleep at night. Again, don't try to eat while looking at that particular page.
Lets start from the beginning.
This is a two-part anthology collecting several works by Bissette & Veitch from the late 1970s to 1985. Formerly only available in black-and-white they are beautifully recolored by Nancy O'Connor (who I never heard of before), Ken Feduniewicz, and Bissette for these short anthology series. I like to name people if they deserve to. There! The colors make do wonders here. They are bright when they need to be bright, and dark when... you get it. I'm a sucker for black-and-white stuff but here it would be hard to imagine the artwork without these colors.
Nice one. I prefer the cover of the first issue over the one from the second issue. It doesn't have anything to do with one of the stories inside but gives you an idea about how the interior art of the book looks like. Bissette and Veitch know how to ink and draw.
"Lo" is about a beautifully winged and three-eyed demon coming to harvest of a dreaming (or dead) giant maggot stranded on some island. This is quite philosophical and I still have to read this a couple of times. I like that kind of stuff that isn't too easy to digest, that engages your imagination, and that probably keeps you awake at night, not out of fear and horror, just because you still haven't it figured out. It's inspired by a painting from surrealist Victor Brauner ("Object which Dreams", 1938) which is hard to find via Google unfortunately. The only one that you will find is "Obejct which Dreams II." -- 3 pages.
"Sneaky Pete" will give you a brand new perspective on the "do-not-drink-and-drive" thing but it kind of confuses the cause and the effect, however, drinking just doesn't seem to be such a good idea. Whenever a drunk fellow runs into your grill you better run over him. Saves you lots of trouble. (Note: Please kids, do not take those words too serious. Always look out for the others and drive responsibly). Oh, there are no words here. No words needed either. (I already said too much!) -- 5 pages.
"The Fears..." is a collage and collection of fictional b-movie posters presented in some sort of funny narrative. If you like monsters, b-movies, and crazy artwork, then this one's for you. Don't expect too much of a story though. There's no moral here. -- 6 pages.
"Curious Thing" is another silent story beautifully done. First of all one of the curious things is such a plushy little monster you which you could find and buy it as a pet and feed all your litter to it while it keeps weird strangers away from your place. Second, I have no clue what this about. It some sort of eat and be eaten story. There also is a living scarecrow observing everything like what real scarecrows do all the time, too. -- 4 pages.
"Pick of the Litter" is the aforementioned one-pager of disgust. It's just one of those things you don't know whether you should laugh about or not.
"Cell Food" is the main attraction of the first comic in this series and is the one true horror story although it's still not mainstream horror, or whatever horror is to you. The title already gives you an idea what this is all about. A cell mate trying to eat and survive. I don't like spoilers so that's as much as I'm going to give away besides the recommendation not to read this story while processing food. The dark color tones, besides some other objects, make this one truly nightmarish. -- 8 pages.
The first and last story are the highlights and real gems of this first issue both story (or narrative) wise and visually. The rest isn't bad but you won't want to read and look at it more than once. All in all this issue feels like the warmup session to the much better second issue in this series (quite contrary to the covers) although this one is true "bedlam."
3/5 stars. - Keep in mind I'm a huge fan of anthologies, horror, surreal stuff (I will never understand), and b-movie posters. There are no love stories in here. No happy endings. No superheroes. No (positive) ethics. It's one of those really weird collections. If you feel like this, you want to pick this one up. If you're looking for an anthology full of love stories and positive vibes, then please do yourself a favor and stay away from this and ask yourself what made you come to "Bedlam" and read this review?
A review for the second issue will be added in no time.