The Fantástico ¡Fantasmagoria! #1

by Angel Carreras

Taking a chance on a new comic book is always a bit of a gamble.

Questions will always persist, potentially keeping your curiosity at bay–What’s the comic about? Is that little synopsis in PREVIEWS gonna be enough to satiate your curiosity? And if it’s a new imprint? Hesitation beckons.

But alas, poor reader, there be hope in the fairly-new imprint of Starburns Industries Press and their latest title, ¡Fantasmagoria! #1.

¡Fantasmagoria! is a spooky, Latinx-flavored version of Tales from the Crypt / Creepshow, a horror anthology with stories ranging from genuinely frightening to bittersweet, all with a be-careful-what-you-wish-for tinge. Although all three stories in this collection are by Eric M. Esquivel and James A. Fino, each story has a distinctive voice to them, aided by drastically different art.

“El Corazon Negro” pits a pro wrestler at the end of his life in one last no holds barred match against Death herself. If Death wins, the luchador gives his life right then and there as opposed to dragging out his life. If the luchador wins, well, he’ll “take the cancer in my ass and shove it up yours.”

It’s a cartoony, colorful, sweet story that provides laugh out loud moments in the literal face of Death (who’s embodied as a sugar skull La Parka), perhaps the authors providing some meta-commentary–the only way to process grief is to laugh at death and wait our turn to tussle with it next.

Other stories delivered to the reader by La Bruja include cautionary tales about a businessman with a penchant for deals who exploits immigrants (in art of a Mignola-esque manner by Victor Maura) and a story about the dangers of chiles and desire.

This anthology is a breeze to get through and thoroughly enjoyable, but most importantly, it isn’t the same rehash and remix of American folklore that horror usually gets. This isn’t the Universal Monsters being done to fucking death, this is something new to American audiences.

Brujas, elote, luchadors, chiles too hot for the human soul, and flying coffins. What more could you want from a comic book?

¡Fantasmagoria! #1 is currently in comic shops from SBI Press.

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