Waxwork Records, known for their horror soundtrack releases, venture here into the world of comic books. Their first release, House of Waxwork — Issue 1, is a 32-page anthology, containing two creepy short stories: Occult Slumber Party, written by Gabe Soria (Batman 66’), and The Lighthouse Keeper, written by Kevin Bergeron (Waxwork CEO). Both will remind you of the classic short stories found in the horror-anthology comic books that inspired them, such as Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt. And much like those comic books, and the current rebirth horror cinema is experiencing, there’s a strong reliance on smart storytelling here that makes each story a joy. While Occult is a great tale, and a fantastic introduction to what Waxwork is trying to do here, The Lighthouse Keeper is the real standout. Although shorter, you’ll be impressed with Bergeron’s first foray into comic book writing, along with the ability to pack in two shocking twists and creatively present just the right amount of gore. A joy from start to finish, whether you’ve previously enjoyed horror comics or not.
What separates Waxwork from other horror comics is, of course, the inclusion of a 7″ record, featuring a theme for House of Waxwork as well as two tracks that are meant to score each of the two short stories. Waxwork’s intention here is simple. The reader will hopefully play each theme while they read each story. Any hesitation I held towards the concept was quickly extinguished, as the first track paired perfectly with Occult Slumber Party, as if it was plucked right from an ’80s horror film. The Lighthouse Keeper improved on the experience, simply as it was twice as long, and I’m a slow reader. With Occult I had to restart the track, making it a slightly less immersive experience. What’s most impressive, though, is just how well timed out the tracks are, matching up with story beats quite appropriately.
All Original Music by Rami Sharkey, Kevin Dredge, The Budapest Scoring Symphonic Orchestra, Douglas Pipes, and Creeper.
Both colorways sound great here. I only detected a few pops and clicks throughout my playthrough on my high-def system, which is to be expected.
Really impressed with the packaging here. Waxwork — as they typically do — put fun little touches on every component to this release. The comic itself, which features impressive cover artwork from Justin Erickson of Phantom City Creative, has an interesting and unique texture to it, feeling like a fine sandpaper or skateboard grip-tape. Waxwork stated in an Instagram post that this was because the stories were so scary, you needed to have a good grip on the comic, so as not to drop it.
Inside the comic you’ll find a vintage Waxwork Records ad for their soundtrack releases, designed by popular poster artist Gary Pullin (I’m surprised they didn’t include a mail-order form, that’s how legitimate it seems). The 7” is heavyweight, coming in two different colorways, one for each story found, and both with a splatter effect. The sleeve itself features the “Die-rector,” the House of Waxwork character who introduces the two stories, and is made from high quality material. A great package that can be compared, in positive respects, to Waxwork’s soundtrack releases.