While the majority of 2000AD titles targeting American readers have focused upon highly recognizable talents who have worked for Marvel and DC such as Moore, Andy Diggle and Jock, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Brian Bolland, and Dave Gibbons to name but a few, Tharg’s Terror Tales signals the second publication spotlighting artist Frazer Irving, an honor not afforded any other 2000AD writer or illustrator (Storming Heaven: The Frazer Irving Collection was published in 2007). Not only does Tharg’s Terror Tales collect Irving’s first full-length black and white strip for 2000AD—Necronauts—but also his first professional color work with A Love Like Blood. Rounding out the volume are shorter five-page strips of Irving’s early efforts alongside Sunday newspaper-format comics originally published in Metal Hammer magazine.
Although Irving had worked before with a colorist, A Love Like Blood signifies his first solo coloring efforts employing digital tools in Photoshop. While the narrative of pretty vampires versus werewolves has become commonplace with film franchises such as Underworld and Twilight, this 2000-2001 work predates them as writer John Smith weaves a romantic tale of horror between a male vampire and female werewolf. Visually, Irving’s color work is rough and somewhat distracting in places as he wrestles with a diverse palette of hues to correspond with his utilization of fractured and angled panel layouts. Signature magentas and turquoises appear and are much better conveyed when Irving dials it back with the Reefer Madness and Mars Needs Mates strips. Both strips represented a shift in his artistic process and approach, and the results are apparent on the page.
as a supplement to the Storming Heaven Collection (which also includes A Love Like Blood), this volume is a welcome chronicle of Irving’s award-winning 2000AD years that built his reputation in the industry and led to collaborations with authors such as Morrison, Joe Casey, David Hine, Kieron Gillen, Matt Fraction, Ray Fawkes, Phil Hester, and a variety of others. Engaging tales with a glimpse at rare Irving art, Tharg’s Terror Tales is a significant move into the American graphic novel market.