It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Riley Rossmo’s art. It’s perhaps a little more of a secret that I am fond of anthologies, particularly horror anthologies. So when Riley Rossmo announced that he was drawing a three-issue horror anthology of Dia de los Muertos-themed stories penned by writers from Ed Brisson to Kurtis J. Wiebe, I was interested, to say the least. And Rossmo did not disappoint.
Each issue of the anthology series — presented in the slightly-wider Golden Age format — features three stories, each written by a different author but illustrated by (mostly) Rossmo. They all somehow connect to the traditional Mexican Dia de los Muertos celebration. Some of them take place during Muertos-themed parties, replete with sugar skulls and heavy face paint. Others simply rely on the theme of contact with those who have died. The series was limited to three issues, but Image would be amiss if they did not collect these stories into a handsome hardcover to give more people a chance to read them.
Rossmo could use the book as a portfolio, since it shows that he is capable of a number of styles, from the lanky figures he drew for GREEN WAKE and REBEL BLOOD to a pseudo-CALVIN & HOBBES style to a kind of Simon Roy-ish freehand style. He worked with a number of colorists on the series as well, which helped give each piece its own look and feel.
Issue #1, UNO, begins with a story of dreams and death written by Alex Link, Rossmo’s collaborator on the excellent REBEL BLOOD. Then comes the tale of a strange exorcism, penned by Christopher E. Long, followed by a tale of lost love by Dirk Manning.
DOS kicks off with a great Joshua Williamson story of competing psychopaths with a great twist, which is followed by a tale of revenge from beyond the grave by Ed Brisson. The last story is one of family and demons and where the two overlap, by Jeff Mariotte.
The final issue in the series, cleverly named TRES, starts with a story by Alexander Grecian. It’s the tale of a young boy who gets into trouble and gets out of it with the help of some (not so) friendly spirits. Then comes a remarkably sad story by Rossmo’s GREEN WAKE collaborator, Kurtis J. Wiebe, in which a recently deceased man contemplates the relationship he’s left behind. The series ends with a balls-to-the-wall action comic by Joe Keatinge featuring a bright-green action hero battling a female demon.
Although Rossmo brings a bit of his own sense of macabre to each of the stories, I was surprised he didn’t pen one himself. He was credited as a co-writer on the REBEL BLOOD series he created with Alex Link, and Rossmo has stated that he quickly loses interest in a project if he doesn’t have a certain amount of creative input. But again, each of the nine stories feels like part of a whole, so I’m sure Rossmo had more input into the stories than the credits page would suggest. After all, the book has his name on the cover.