Cackling Imp Press, $18.00, 118 pages
Looking at the cover and reading the title of the book gave me hope that Tales of Hot Rod Horror has potential. I pictured a fun, campy, unique anthology of short graphic stories, but after reading all fifteen “tales of terror,” my hope had fizzled. In his introduction, editor Devon Deveraux (based in Portland) states that readers will see a lot of Stephen King’s influence on the genre – and he is not exaggerating. King’s “Christine” is the ultimate possessed car story. Nearly every story in the collection seemed like an adapted King story. It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery, but when the person you are imitating is so well known and talented, your work ends up looking like a weak copy. “The Curse of The Little Bastard” has the most interesting plot. It tells the “real” story of what happened to James Dean’s cursed silver gray Porsche 550 Spyder (in which Dean died in an accident).
If you are looking to be inspired by the book’s graphic elements, most of the artists are successful in their styles and designs. Bottom line: a majority of the stories have been done before, but the graphic art is new.