FICTION

The Creeps: A Deep Dark Fears Collection

illus. by Fran Krause. 144p. Ten Speed. Sept. 2017. Tr $16. ISBN 9780399579141.
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On his website, Krause invites readers to share their darkest fears, which he then turns into brief comic strips. The results, as seen in his popular webcomic Deep Dark Fears; his first graphic novel, of the same name; and here, are phenomenal. Many of the comics are a morbid combination of terrifying and funny: "When stuffed animals are made, they're living, breathing creatures—but they suffocated in their packaging, and we play with their lifeless bodies." Others are more poignant, such as a musing on the potentially fleeting nature of online friendship. Most, though, are relatively lighthearted, even as they speak to common fears such as ghosts, death and dismemberment, and urban legends. Krause's witty, quirky illustrations, along with his careful selection and organization of material, draw the fears into a unified whole, though he acknowledges that we all have varied dreads. Readers may even come away with new terrors: "Sometimes when the sun is bright, I worry my glasses will amplify the light, like a magnifying glass can do to ants, and I'll get two holes burned through my head."
VERDICT An excellent option for fans of offbeat comics and dark humor.

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