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Experience Thrills and Chills in “Bomb Scares Volume 3”

Cover art Bomb Scare 3

Time Bomb Comics brings the horror this Halloween with Bomb Scares Volume 3, edited by Paul H. Birch (who contributes some chilling tales of his own).

As you read through the anthology, it’s clear that there has been a focus on diverse stories and formats. This works to the collection’s advantage as there is always something new and unexpected in every tale. Whether it’s a short story about the aftermath of mythical battles, or a serial killer ploughing through victims, you are kept on your toes with every turn of the page and never sure how or where the stories will end.

Short and sweet

I found that, while there were some great ideas in the longer formats, the shorter entries proved to be the most memorable and imaginative. “Onomatopoeic Onslaught” by Paul H. Birch and John Erasmus cleverly takes the “bam,” “pows,” and “whams” familiar to every comic book fan and puts them front and center; stripping out the dialogue completely to let the sounds and designs tell the story. It works very well, particularly with such gruesome panels and an ending that fans of black comedy will get a kick out of.

Arguably unavoidable for horror tales, some stories do feel like they are based on classics of the genre rather than breaking new ground. The authors have all put their unique stamps on the plots, however, as in “Jaws of Life, Jaws of Death” by Gary T. Becks. Running very close to the Stephen King novel The Mist, monsters attack from thick fog with the protagonist left fighting for their life in a car. Becks manages to add unexpected twists to give the story an extra layer of intrigue, making it stand on its own.

A visual feast

One of the aspects of Bomb Scares Volume 3 I enjoyed most was the artwork. Offering up a wide range of styles, the comic always has something visually interesting going on. There’s something especially jarring about seeing brutal narratives played out by characters you’d expect to see on a child’s cartoon series, especially when the previous story might have been a gritty and grim apocalypse or Lovecraftian monster tribute.

The downside of such variety is that not all contributions will have the same impact. There are plenty of stories that hit the mark or exceed expectations, but a couple of entries that don’t quite gel tonally. One or two I might struggle to classify as pure “horror,” so if you’re only looking for scares, this is worth keeping in mind. This point is arguably more of a personal preference issue, however, and a common feature of most anthologies with multiple contributors. On the plus side, it does mean there’s something for everyone.

Overall, Bomb Scares Volume 3 is a unique collection of horror (or horror adjacent) comics. Each tale brings something different to the anthology, whether it’s something completely unique and original, a homage to some of the classics of the genre, or something in between. The contributions largely stand on their own, but when combined, provide some unexpected thrills that’ll help get you in the mood for Halloween.

Are you ready for some thrills and chills? Check out Bomb Scares 3’s Kickstarter page for more information. Don’t forget to let us know what your favourite story is when you sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!

About the author

Peter Horner