cover image Box of Bones: Book One

Box of Bones: Book One

Ayize Jama-Everett and John Jennings. Rosarium, $19.95 trade paper (174p) ISBN 978-1-73263-884-6

For this tastefully out-of-the box-horror anthology, Afrofuturist thriller novelist Jama-Everett (The Liminal People) partners with comics writer/artist and editor Jennings (Parable of the Sower) to script a genre narrative rooted in collective trauma, with rotating artists. The comic frames the bloody accounts collected by Lindsay Ford, a Black female folklore student who is researching a mythical chest full of monsters: The Nobody, a Medusa-like gremlin; The Wretched, a living lynching tree; The Dark, a slave ghoul who wears a cross-shaped mask; and The Suffering, a noose-wearing rage giant. Each creature wreaks carnage during a dire setting in Black history (Haitian slave revolt, Jim Crow South, the Vietnam War, etc.). Jennings, also an artist, nails his impressionist layouts in two chapters, including the opening “The Troubles I’ve Seen.” Jamal L. Williams, Jarmel “Blaqzart“ Williams, and Alex Batchelor elevate their chapter, “Suffering on the Hill,” with dynamic character designs and deep shades and blood-red hues, and bring a cinematic energy that’s lacked in other entries. This spirited project is part of the trend of ethno-gothic fiction in the comics market, and offers a landscape ripe to contemplate such spooky and strange fruit. [em](Feb.) [/em]