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The Sleep of Reason: An Anthology of Horror

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The Sleep of Reason is a 360-page black-and-white anthology of horror comics for mature readers. Inspired by likes of Taboo, Uzumaki and Black Hole, this collection is devoid of the familiar by design. There are no garden-variety monsters in The Sleep of Reason; no well-worn terrors from film and television. This is an anthology of comics that strive to inspire unparallele The Sleep of Reason is a 360-page black-and-white anthology of horror comics for mature readers. Inspired by likes of Taboo, Uzumaki and Black Hole, this collection is devoid of the familiar by design. There are no garden-variety monsters in The Sleep of Reason; no well-worn terrors from film and television. This is an anthology of comics that strive to inspire unparalleled dread. No monsters with a rule book. No easy answers.


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The Sleep of Reason is a 360-page black-and-white anthology of horror comics for mature readers. Inspired by likes of Taboo, Uzumaki and Black Hole, this collection is devoid of the familiar by design. There are no garden-variety monsters in The Sleep of Reason; no well-worn terrors from film and television. This is an anthology of comics that strive to inspire unparallele The Sleep of Reason is a 360-page black-and-white anthology of horror comics for mature readers. Inspired by likes of Taboo, Uzumaki and Black Hole, this collection is devoid of the familiar by design. There are no garden-variety monsters in The Sleep of Reason; no well-worn terrors from film and television. This is an anthology of comics that strive to inspire unparalleled dread. No monsters with a rule book. No easy answers.

30 review for The Sleep of Reason: An Anthology of Horror

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    C. Spike Trotman is a Chicago-based artist and publisher who edited this volume of 26 horror shorts, 360 pages of disturbing in a variety of ways. Variety is Spike’s principle. No typical scary monsters but real dread, and in a short space. And though all of them are in black and white (except Michael DeForge’s creepy cover), there is a diversity of styles, with a diversity of characters, sexual orientations, races, and so on. Not familiar horror. Trying to take horror in new directions. It’s no C. Spike Trotman is a Chicago-based artist and publisher who edited this volume of 26 horror shorts, 360 pages of disturbing in a variety of ways. Variety is Spike’s principle. No typical scary monsters but real dread, and in a short space. And though all of them are in black and white (except Michael DeForge’s creepy cover), there is a diversity of styles, with a diversity of characters, sexual orientations, races, and so on. Not familiar horror. Trying to take horror in new directions. It’s not for kids, it’s not R. L. Stine, as some of the stories get into pretty dark territory. Spike’s blurb for the book says it was “inspired by likes of Taboo, Uzumaki and Black Hole,” so not kid stuff. The work in the volume is done by people I had not heard from before (save DeForge and Spike). I like that principle of introducing new cartoonists, but then as you can expect the art styles and stories, varied as I said, are also uneven, sketchy, rough sometimes. It took me a couple weeks to get through it, taking my time with it, and I liked it. I would say 3 stars for the execution of the work overall, which means I think it is good, 4 stars for the admirable conception and principles. Five stars for the great title, but it led me to expect something even more amazing. I expect to see the work of these folks for many years to come, yay.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    Very-short works better for horror than for most genres, and some of these were pretty creepy, but I can't say many of them made me want to seek out more by the artist. Very-short works better for horror than for most genres, and some of these were pretty creepy, but I can't say many of them made me want to seek out more by the artist.

  3. 4 out of 5

    P.

    This is the horror anthology I meant to buy when I bought the other horror anthology. This one is much better. I thought the stories were more fleshed out and the point of the thing was to not rely on the same old characters/tropes. The paperback, black and whiteness of it made it feel satisfyingly pulpy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sooraya Evans

    The Child Eater by Meg Candy was a rather poor opening. From there, it continued to fall downhill. The consistently poor drawing made it hard to figure out what was going on in a panel. Abrupt ending with no resolution was a common theme. In a collection featuring 26 comics by 34 different creators, only two stood out. Grackles had a decent story. Faerie Ring had decent art.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Adams

    This was an excellent comic-book anthology of horror stories. A couple were fair and didn't quite work perfectly, which is to be expected in an anthology, but by-and-large these were some very dark and highly effective stories. These are mostly tales of body-horror and personal tragedy, with a few that strive for a deeper socio-political message that are quite haunting. Highly recommended to fans of dark and troubling works of visual storytelling This was an excellent comic-book anthology of horror stories. A couple were fair and didn't quite work perfectly, which is to be expected in an anthology, but by-and-large these were some very dark and highly effective stories. These are mostly tales of body-horror and personal tragedy, with a few that strive for a deeper socio-political message that are quite haunting. Highly recommended to fans of dark and troubling works of visual storytelling

  6. 5 out of 5

    Devann

    This was an okay read but overall there weren't really any stories that stood out to me that much. Usually short horror stories rely on a very obvious twist at the end but most of these just have a very abrupt ending where it's heavily implied that the characters are about to die. Less outright annoying but still gets really old after you've read several of them in a row. Some of the art is good and some of it could definitely be a lot better. It's just a pretty standard mixed bag anthology for This was an okay read but overall there weren't really any stories that stood out to me that much. Usually short horror stories rely on a very obvious twist at the end but most of these just have a very abrupt ending where it's heavily implied that the characters are about to die. Less outright annoying but still gets really old after you've read several of them in a row. Some of the art is good and some of it could definitely be a lot better. It's just a pretty standard mixed bag anthology for the most part.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel

    A few items in this anthology were kind of spooky, but altogether they kind of highlighted how repetitive body horror is as a shock twist--and how repetitive short-form horror is in general. Ah, well, not everybody can be Junji Ito.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brian O'Connell

    An incredibly disturbing journey into the darkest regions of weird/horror comics. For a while I was genuinely afraid to even touch this book (no joke).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maija

    1.5 stars There were, like, two or so comics in this anthology that I liked. A lot of body horror / gross-out stuff, which I don't care for. Got this in a bundle of Kickstarted works and have been slowly reading it, a story or two at a time. I can't even remember most of the comics now, so they didn't stick with me. 1.5 stars There were, like, two or so comics in this anthology that I liked. A lot of body horror / gross-out stuff, which I don't care for. Got this in a bundle of Kickstarted works and have been slowly reading it, a story or two at a time. I can't even remember most of the comics now, so they didn't stick with me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael Caveney

    Some decent body-horror in here, but overall uneven in tone and quality.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    Pretty spooky. Some of them I didn't ~~gEt~~ but whatevs. Pretty spooky. Some of them I didn't ~~gEt~~ but whatevs.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ross

    Spike and the assembled artists behind The Sleep of Reason did a fantastic job. Each horror story has its own unconventional threat - monsters seen and unseen that pursue, invade, and forever change their victims. Refreshingly, these tales do not rely on gore, torture, or other cheap tricks to spook you. Violence and blood happen but they are incidental tools; the authors never ask you to be frightened by a swinging hatchet or a severed head. Instead they grope deeper to court your fears of aban Spike and the assembled artists behind The Sleep of Reason did a fantastic job. Each horror story has its own unconventional threat - monsters seen and unseen that pursue, invade, and forever change their victims. Refreshingly, these tales do not rely on gore, torture, or other cheap tricks to spook you. Violence and blood happen but they are incidental tools; the authors never ask you to be frightened by a swinging hatchet or a severed head. Instead they grope deeper to court your fears of abandonment, authority, disillusionment, pregnancy, infection, and ... Well, the list goes on. Gore and violence happen only after your vulnerable fears are led into the open, pushed to the wall, and surrounded. The storytelling quality in this anthology covers a wide terrain, unfiltered and raw. Some pieces fell flat for me but I wouldn't change them; the total effect of the mixture is an unignorable authenticity of voice. A creepy tale ending with a gallows-humor joke is followed by a mercilessly professional and hard piece that unflinchingly saws you open. Others draw you into a diffuse, eerie confusion that defies logic, and yet others lay out a nightmare so brazen and vivid and clear it makes you cry. You won't enjoy every story but standing among them will be at least one, pitch black, that stares right into you. It is an adventurous collection. the stories that held nothing back in their devotion to drive headlong over the edge of sanity will be with me for years.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Goodreads Censors Books

    I'll talk about the stories that I particularly liked (or loved). no spoilers. at the end, one story I flat-out hated, in part because of its conventional approach, but I won't go into that. "The Child Eater" by Meg Goudy – great art, lots of atmosphere. experimental. at the same time, it felt undeveloped and had an "and then" plot, where actions take place for no real reason. the background felt off. I speculate that the author did not want to offend her readers and so did not make it real enou I'll talk about the stories that I particularly liked (or loved). no spoilers. at the end, one story I flat-out hated, in part because of its conventional approach, but I won't go into that. "The Child Eater" by Meg Goudy – great art, lots of atmosphere. experimental. at the same time, it felt undeveloped and had an "and then" plot, where actions take place for no real reason. the background felt off. I speculate that the author did not want to offend her readers and so did not make it real enough. still, the weaknesses did not cancel out the strengths. "The Waiting Game: A Nightmare" by Carla Speed McNeil – the legendary Carla Speed McNeil couldn't produce a bad comic if she tried to. without giving away spoilers, though, this veered off in a direction rather than going forward to where, in my opinion, the story wanted to go. premise, missing conclusion. I wonder if she based this on an actual nightmare. it does have that feel. "The Untimely Death of Smokey II" by Der-shing Helmer. this, kids... this... a small masterpiece of a story. I confess to not understanding this one, then rereading it. I found it more horrific after I had reread it and understood it completely. such a good story. "Do Better" by Kristen Cherry – this one read like the first chapter of a high quality graphic novel. only... it ends at that first chapter. regardless, a high quality graphic novel. perfect character designs. "Sunken Ship" by Issaiah Smalley (script) and Kev Anderson (art) – this one shows you can present a basic scenario and elevate it because of the manner of presentation. it didn't feel like anything else in the anthology. the absence of backstory, somehow, improved the story. "Out of Chaos" by Rachel Eddin (script) and Kel McDonald (art) –a good one. it benefited from having an actual plot and not just a premise, and (at least to me) making sense metaphorically. reminsicent of the film mother! (which I also liked). "I Am Sick" by KC Green – total disconnect between the story and the cute art style. (Green also created the infamous "this is fine" meme.) loved it! "MIracle" by C. Spike Trotman – an effective story, but I think it rested on an incorrect premise regarding human nature. possibly two incorrect premises. (I also thought of a twist which could have made the story more "The Emperor Awakes" by Jason Bradley Thompson – this paralleled the earlier McNeil story in that, while the creator shows find craft, the story went into a direction that felt incongruent with what had come before. loved the otherworldly setting. "Anniversary" by Sophie Goldstein – accomplished art, with obvious influences but really like nothing I had seen before. she has, to put it another way, her own voice. as with "I Am Sick", the art style contrasted with the story and I laughed at the end. "It Comes Back" by Brittney Sabo – did the editor (Spike) put the scariest story last? yes, indeed, she did! more than that I will not say. overall observations: — the majority of the stories suffered from lack of development and lack of story, or had "and then" plots. — ideally a story, will have good dialogue and good plot. if you have to do without one, though, the plot matters more. (I say this as a writer good at dialogue.)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gayle Francis

    Well, that fucked me up but good. Iron Circus is absolutely stellar at anthologies, and this book is no exception. I didn't love everything equally, but man, there were a lot of pieces here that left me terrified or disquieted or grinning in a bit of messed-up delight. The horror runs the gamut and shows how much you can do in a genre that is generally considered to be lower tier. Great horror has themes and ideas, the same as other great works, and this anthology shows off a lot of great horror Well, that fucked me up but good. Iron Circus is absolutely stellar at anthologies, and this book is no exception. I didn't love everything equally, but man, there were a lot of pieces here that left me terrified or disquieted or grinning in a bit of messed-up delight. The horror runs the gamut and shows how much you can do in a genre that is generally considered to be lower tier. Great horror has themes and ideas, the same as other great works, and this anthology shows off a lot of great horror.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Darren

    Some great stories, some incredible art, sometimes both at the same time. I loved the challenge of creating horror stories without any familiar monsters. The collection made me thing of how much we carry with us from stories we've heard, and how we relate to stories that don't give us anything familiar to hold onto. How much do we take for granted? Some great stories, some incredible art, sometimes both at the same time. I loved the challenge of creating horror stories without any familiar monsters. The collection made me thing of how much we carry with us from stories we've heard, and how we relate to stories that don't give us anything familiar to hold onto. How much do we take for granted?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    A few of these stories were top notch and extremely disturbing. Then there were a handful that were weird in a very good way. The vast majority were snippets of starvation or dismemberment without any effort to create story or use the medium in any meaningful way. If you can get this without paying for it, it is worth a read. There is just too much fluff in here to justify the price.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    The art was pretty good, some stories more than others. The writing was okay. Not much new and many stories were somewhat predictable, I would say if the artists had more developed writing to draw this book would be excellent. Worth a read though I won't leave this one around for my kids to read as much of the content is adult themed. The art was pretty good, some stories more than others. The writing was okay. Not much new and many stories were somewhat predictable, I would say if the artists had more developed writing to draw this book would be excellent. Worth a read though I won't leave this one around for my kids to read as much of the content is adult themed.

  18. 5 out of 5

    StephV

    This anthology still haunts me, I first missed the kickstarter, was gifted the pdf and eventually actually found a physical copy at a book swap. If you like horror then give this a read. It is unique and wonderfully crafted in each story.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Amazing art and many chilling stories!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Siebert

    it's an anthology, so it's bound to be hit or miss. slightly more hits. you can see that steven universe style creeping in and i do wish that would stop. it's an anthology, so it's bound to be hit or miss. slightly more hits. you can see that steven universe style creeping in and i do wish that would stop.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Kania

    I found these to be hit or miss. Some were totally worth it and some were... less so. Anthologies!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Uteri-My-Duderi

    Spooky and very interesting

  23. 4 out of 5

    Poetniknowit

    These comics are fucked and creepy and gross and right up my alley!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Beccy

    True rating; 2.5 stars I only read this during the day, in case all the horror gave me nightmares, but I didn't find any of the stories actually scary. Some of the stories had good twists, but overall they were just okay. True rating; 2.5 stars I only read this during the day, in case all the horror gave me nightmares, but I didn't find any of the stories actually scary. Some of the stories had good twists, but overall they were just okay.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    This anthology, collecting stories from a slew of young horror authors, gave me just what I wanted from it: serious, challenging, unexpected approaches to a genre that's become overrun with cliche. It proclaims on the back of the book that there are no vampires or werewolves or zombies, which was already a promising pledge for the collection to make. Even more impressive, there's nary a lonely ghost or haunted house. I can't begin to say how nice this is, when even the most current horror (i.e. A This anthology, collecting stories from a slew of young horror authors, gave me just what I wanted from it: serious, challenging, unexpected approaches to a genre that's become overrun with cliche. It proclaims on the back of the book that there are no vampires or werewolves or zombies, which was already a promising pledge for the collection to make. Even more impressive, there's nary a lonely ghost or haunted house. I can't begin to say how nice this is, when even the most current horror (i.e. American Horror Story) is built around repeating and exploiting the same horror tropes. In a way, by avoiding the cliches, Sleep of Reason ends up creating some NEW tropes, which become motifs in this book: psychologically damaged children, birth as a form of body horror, and uncontrolled organic growth... those are three that I can identify, right off the bat. In this way, Sleep of Reason is actually a gallery of purer, more immediate horror devices... not mediated by convention, but drawn directly from the real-world anxieties of the creators (and, by extension, of culture at large... or at least a certain young, creative demographic). Not all the stories in Sleep of Reason were home runs (or headshots, or whatever). The ones that were: The Child Eater, The Untimely Death of Smokey II, Do Better, Old Echoes, and Four PM is Tea Time. Those were perfectly crafted, innovative, and genuinely horrifying. That's already a pretty good record, but even beyond that, there are many more stories... probably 50-80%... that I remember with mild dread, and looking back through the book, they still jump immediately to mind and give me some shivers. An excellent, well-selected survey of trauma and catharsis... highly recommended.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bishop

    Horror black and white comics anthology from ironcircus.com (got it at Push/Pull in Ballard) with the constraint that zombies, vampires, werewolves and other standard monsters are disallowed, and as far as I can remember, there can be no escape or happy ending from the bad thing (stories always end Lovecraft style, descending into the worst possible outcomes). Really love the premise, and it definitely produces new feeling stories like I haven't read before. But it made me realize comics are a b Horror black and white comics anthology from ironcircus.com (got it at Push/Pull in Ballard) with the constraint that zombies, vampires, werewolves and other standard monsters are disallowed, and as far as I can remember, there can be no escape or happy ending from the bad thing (stories always end Lovecraft style, descending into the worst possible outcomes). Really love the premise, and it definitely produces new feeling stories like I haven't read before. But it made me realize comics are a bad medium for horror. At least for producing that direct, cold sweat, wake-up-from-the-nightmare-in-fright-in-a-dark-room feeling of horror. I like a lot of the art, some of it is super impressive, but line art has to be almost transcendentally, groundbreakingly scary to evoke the kind of gut reaction a filmed image or photograph or written words can get relatively easily. Savannah Horrocks's Faerie Ring is the only one here I think pretty much makes it to this level. Her drawings are just that chilling. And it helps that she uses a really heavily textured, dynamic, watercolor-looking shading, the most sophisticated and labor intensive-looking shading of all the comics here as far as I can tell. There's still a lot of good stuff in the rest though, the scenarios themselves are memorable and intense and unpleasant in other ways besides just the direct evocation of fear. Like the visceral depiction of spousal and child abuse in Meg Gandy's Child Eater or the horror of being a mother in Weft by Liz Edwards & Kit Goode and Miracle by Spike, or the drawn-out, sick horror of unwanted, obsessive love in Anniversary by Sophie Goldstein.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Harris

    An absolutely delicious and spine-chilling read perfect for Halloween reading, The Sleep of Reason is not for the faint of heart. The twenty-six short comics collected here from dozens of budding new cartoonists and writers take the varied tropes of supernatural horror in many different, unpredictable directions. You never know what to expect as people's mundane lives are interrupted by horrors unspeakable, each drawing from some of humanity's deepest fears. Taking us from suburban everytown USA An absolutely delicious and spine-chilling read perfect for Halloween reading, The Sleep of Reason is not for the faint of heart. The twenty-six short comics collected here from dozens of budding new cartoonists and writers take the varied tropes of supernatural horror in many different, unpredictable directions. You never know what to expect as people's mundane lives are interrupted by horrors unspeakable, each drawing from some of humanity's deepest fears. Taking us from suburban everytown USA to Australia to deep space, the stories included here highlight many different styles and artistic forms, and, even better, showcase much diversity, in every sense of the word. The only complaint (if one can call it that) is that some of the stories end a bit abruptly, with little resolution, which may be a consequence of the short form as well as the inexplicable, futile nature of cosmic horror. A few also attempt a message of some sort, some more effective than others. It is also worth mentioning that many of the tales included in the The Sleep of Reason head into some pretty dark territory. While not always horribly gruesome (though some gross stuff is included, of course!) a lot of mature themes are explored which may be a little much even for a teen audience. This adds to a feeling that no holds were barred in the creative process of the included artists, increasing the chill factor even more. My favorites were Do Better, by Kristin Cheney, Out of Chaos by Rachel Edidin and Kel McDonald, The Collection by A. Seago and T. Harrington, and It Comes Back by Brittney Sabo.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Paolo

    As with almost any anthology, it is a mixed bag. However, as with almost anything successfully kickstarted by Iron Circus Comics, said bag tends to be of superior quality than any other, and 'The Sleep of Reason' is no different. Created as a way to break out of the standard cliches and tropes of horror, this anthology promised "No zombies. No vampires. No werewolves. No familiar solutions. No safe havens." and it more or less delivered on that promise. Contained within this comic anthology are As with almost any anthology, it is a mixed bag. However, as with almost anything successfully kickstarted by Iron Circus Comics, said bag tends to be of superior quality than any other, and 'The Sleep of Reason' is no different. Created as a way to break out of the standard cliches and tropes of horror, this anthology promised "No zombies. No vampires. No werewolves. No familiar solutions. No safe havens." and it more or less delivered on that promise. Contained within this comic anthology are twenty-six very different, and very scary, stories that can only be put under the category of horror. The art varies wildly, and your mileage may vary on how much you like them, but each story delivers a unique scare that, more often than not, relies on the horror trope of the 'bad ending.' Not that that's a bad thing and not that each story does it in the same way, but after reading halfway through, I saw the ending coming from the beginning of the story. Oh, and also, these stories are short, almost vignettes, but they do make use of every page and panel that they have, so there's that. Overall, I highly recommend grabbing a copy, so long as there are some left, and to enjoy the anthology like one would a sampler platter: individually and voraciously.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Glyn

    Wow. I finally got around to reading this today, and I was blown away. There's such a refreshing amount of variety in this book, no one story is like the other. I have to admit that the gore and body horror left me feeling nauseous and just... off. Halfway through, I had to get up and turn on the overhead light in my room (because it was getting dark) and I felt sufficiently spooked. Which is the goal of horror, really, and so is a testament to the quality of the material collected here. So, yeah, Wow. I finally got around to reading this today, and I was blown away. There's such a refreshing amount of variety in this book, no one story is like the other. I have to admit that the gore and body horror left me feeling nauseous and just... off. Halfway through, I had to get up and turn on the overhead light in my room (because it was getting dark) and I felt sufficiently spooked. Which is the goal of horror, really, and so is a testament to the quality of the material collected here. So, yeah, incredibly evocative stuff. Unfortunately, I could only afford an ebook version, which is a shame. I really love the cover, and I think it's a great anthology over all.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Littrell

    Am I on drugs? Cause I feel like I'm on a moderate amount of drugs. A lot of sick puppies contributed to this warped collection of horror stories with surreal and gross illustrations to match. Trotman did a really good job hitting the right level of variety in art styles, story-telling, and WTF moments (my favorite game was showing my roommate different pictures from the anthology, just to see his reaction). Real shame is how I'll definitely have some weird dreams for a while. Bah, I hated sleepin Am I on drugs? Cause I feel like I'm on a moderate amount of drugs. A lot of sick puppies contributed to this warped collection of horror stories with surreal and gross illustrations to match. Trotman did a really good job hitting the right level of variety in art styles, story-telling, and WTF moments (my favorite game was showing my roommate different pictures from the anthology, just to see his reaction). Real shame is how I'll definitely have some weird dreams for a while. Bah, I hated sleeping anyway.

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