GRAPHIC NOVELS

Four Gathered on Christmas Eve

Albatross Funnybooks: Dark Horse Dec. 2023. 72p. ISBN 9781506740874. $24.99. HORROR
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Four renowned cartoonists come together in this anthology created in the spirit of the Victorian tradition of swapping ghost stories on Christmas Eve. The crew of an experimental airship bound for Mars is plagued by a vengeful, ethereal stowaway in author Powell’s (Did You Hear What Ed Gein Done??) and illustrator James Harren’s (Ultramega) “Eyes in the Primordial Dark.” Becky Cloonan’s (Lazarus Planet: Revenge of the Gods) unnervingly sensuous offering “The Kelpie” reveals what befalls a lonely woman when she offers room and board to a mysterious stranger. Mike Mignola (Hellboy in Love) presents a new spin on one of Lewis Carroll’s classic creations in his deliriously atmospheric offering, “Night of the Jaberwok.” Finally, Powell writes and illustrates a tale of vengeance two centuries in the making in “The Gift of Major Courtenay.” As delightful as these four stories are, the greatest pleasure to be found in this anthology may in fact come from the frame story, written and illustrated by Powell, which finds the four creators offering increasingly barbed criticism of one another’s work.
VERDICT An essential horror anthology from an all-star lineup of creators.
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