Comic Review: “The Fear Diaries” (Alterna Comics, Festival of Dread Special)
Welcome back to the Festival of Dread, The Splintering’s month-long celebration of all things that go bump in the night.
Today, we’re going to take a look at The Fear Diaries, a double-sized one shot book published by Alterna Comics in 2018.
Written by Garrett Gunn and illustrated by Nicolas Touris, The Fear Diaries follows a small band of stuffed animals who defend their children from the nightly threat of vicious nightmares. To do so, they travel to some sort of alternate, desolate dimension, where the nightmares lay in wait.
The five-member group of heroes includes leader Theodore “Teddy” Bearsley, Sherman “Shelly” the turtle, Spike the unicorn, and a large badger and hooded fox who aren’t consequential enough to be given names, apparently. Each of them has their own fighting style, with Teddy being a swordsman, Sherman is the muscle, Spike uses a unicorn horn to impale enemies, the fox is some kind of ninja, and I don’t recall what exactly the badger did.
After a typical showdown with the nightmare horde, the team discovers that a rival teddy bear named Stitches has amassed a vast army of nightmares to overcome the heroes. Stitches has pledged allegiance to the haunting Dark Mistress, a super-powerful evil force that hopes to breach the portal into the real world and torment the dreams of children everywhere. This all leads to a massive final showdown, which culminates in an unsatisfactory deus ex machina ending.
It’s a fairly simple, mostly lighthearted story, and the artwork coupled with it is a nice pairing. The action is engaging and quickly paced, the characters designs are mostly fun and colorful (other than the villainous Dark Mistress), and despite the darker theme, the barren wasteland where most of the books takes place is equally colorful in an all-ages-friendly sort of way. This might make for an action-horror book that is too light in tone for some, but I have to imagine that the brighter backgrounds lend themselves better to Alterna’s trademark newsprint paper stock.
I have to admit, The Fear Diaries wasn’t exactly what I expected. The book starts off as a boogeyman-themed horror book, but it quickly becomes an action-adventure with supernatural, horror flavors. Overall, TheFear Diaries is a fairly enjoyable read, especially for younger readers who don’t always get to explore “horror” themes much these days. I have to say that the disappointing ending did diminish my overall enjoyment of the book. With a $1.99 asking price, it was definitely worth the buy-in cost though, and it doesn’t look to be too much more expensive on the secondary market.
Thanks for reading!
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