Feature for Shades of Fear

The Shades of Fear Horror Anthology Is the Kind of Vibrant Horror That Lingers at the Back of Your Neck

11 chilling tales by diverse horror creators.
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The Kickstarter for the Shades of Fear Horror Anthology is aiming to bring us a series of terrifying stories with a focus on “emotional and evocative color.”

Launched by Ignatz Award winner Ashanti Fortson (Leaf Lace, Wayward Kindred) and Eisner Award winner Allison O’Toole (Wayward Sisters, Wayward Kindred), the anthology will be a collection of 11 stories from diverse creatives that focus on subtle, more psychological horror, the kind that makes you paranoid about the noises you’ve become accustomed to in your own home.

Shades of Fear takes a craft-based approach to anthology curation, driven by the guiding principle of precise, thoughtful use of color and design. The featured cartoonists will integrate
narrative and color, selecting palettes for their expressive power. Their stories will show readers the horror of loss and sacrifice, of what lurks in liminal spaces, and of the unknowable that lies just beyond the veil.

“While there are some significant exceptions, straight, white cisguys (and Junji Ito) tend to dominate discussions about horror in comics,” says O’Toole. “With Shades of Fear, Ashanti and I wanted to give space to a more diverse group of creators, and encourage them to have fun and experiment in the genre.”

Horror has always been a fascinating genre for me – even if I scare easily. Everyone approaches the concept of “fear” differently, and I’ve become a fan of the kind of stories that don’t look all that frightening at first, but as you peel back the layers, it ends up being the scariest concept you’ve ever seen.

I’m intrigued by the idea Shades of Fear is presenting where color contributes to the uncomfortable atmosphere that’s being illustrated. Here is a list of the stories that will be featured in the anthology along with the artwork that’s currently available. Each one offers a unique perspective of what “fear” is, ranging from familial expectations (both from the living and the dead), questions regarding religion and spirituality, and something about an unsettling karaoke bar?

  • The Hue of Heaven
Hue of Heaven

Art by Ashanti Fortson

Description: At The Home for the Holy, Cassandra is told that her suffering brings her closer to God. The Cardinal, in charge of the Home, dismisses her concerns and her experiences. She questions whether the Cardinal can be trusted – and how his charitable institution can afford to live in decadent luxury…

Story by: Ashanti Fortson

“Horror scares me but I’m still here” note: Oh boy, we do love a “suffering brings you closer to God” narrative. I preemptively hate The Cardinal.

  • Nina

Art by Desolina Fletcher

Description: Nina is an android designed to intuit and respond to human emotions, modelled after her maker’s deceased granddaughter. But what does a companion android become if she is alone?

Story by: Desolina Fletcher

“Horror scares me but I’m still here” note: Never. Leave. Your. Androids. Alone.

  • Family Reunion
Family Reunion

Art by Amber Huff

Description: In the muggy heat of a summer cookout, Theo is surrounded by family – the living and the dead. The expectations of generations of his relatives may be too much for Theo to bear.

Story by: Amber Huff

“Horror scares me but I’m still here” note: Lord I do NOT need my relatives – living and dead – judging my life choices.

  • Bellies

Art by Mar Julia

Description: Leily is a newly-chosen attendant for La Procesion del Mar, supporting a local deity. She catches the eye of Yamaris, a procession member, who begins to lavish Leily with beautiful gifts and secret meals. If this is what their deity provides devotees, what will it demand in return?

Story by: Mar Julia

“Horror scares me but I’m still here” note: While I don’t have proof that this is what the deity wants in return, I have my suspicions:


  • This One Goes Out to You
This one goes out to you

Art by Molly Mendoza

Description: There’s something strange occurring in this karaoke bar; lyrics are added to songs, unsettling visuals appear in videos. One young man becomes entranced, trying to solve the mystery – and make contact with the spirit behind it all.

Story by: Molly Mendoza

“Horror scares me but I’m still here” note: Time to go to a different karaoke bar.

  • Broadcasting

Art by Grendel Menz

Description: A young woman, tormented by her overprotective mother, finds her life spiraling further out of control when her thoughts begin to broadcast over the radio.

Story by: Grendel Menz

“Horror scares me but I’m still here” note: Imagine your thoughts being heard by everyone around you without your permission. Oof.

  • Slip Stitch
Slip Stitch

Art by Tess Eneli Reid

Description: In the not-too-distant-future, a nuclear plant trainee, working through the monotony of maintenance with his fellow workers, starts to listen to the reactor.

Story by: Tess Eneli Reid

“Horror scares me but I’m still here” note: Listen to… the reactor? Oh dear…

  • Turtleneck


Description: At the start, she wore the turtleneck to hide her face. But it’s calmer inside the turtleneck. It’s safe inside the turtleneck.

Story by: Joy San

“Horror scares me but I’m still here” note: I hate that I’m suddenly very on edge about a turtleneck.

  • Hyssop

Description: Rachel becomes a live-in caregiver for an elderly woman on a rural property. Things between the woman and her daughter have been tense, and Rachel quickly realizes that this is no ordinary job.

Story by: Olivia Stephens

“Horror scares me but I’m still here” note: Time to redo that LinkedIn profile and get a new job RIGHT NOW.

Art note: Artwork will be revealed on October 13th, however, you can check out a sample of Stephens’ work in my write up about Artie and the Wolf Moon

  • Strawberry Kiwi
Character sketches Strawberry Kiwi

Character sketches by Shannon Wright

Description: While waiting for a ride, Deja and her friends head into a convenience store for drinks and snacks. Under the eerie fluorescent lights, Deja suddenly finds herself alone – or maybe not alone, after all.

Story by: Shannon Wright

“Horror scares me but I’m still here” note: Is it the convenience store I shouldn’t trust? The lights?? The fact that Uber isn’t here yet???

Art note: Full artwork will be revealed on October 15th!

  • How to Survive a Haunting

Description: Floorboards ripple, staircases shift, the walls drink up your blood. The Father is a faraway shadow, the Mother treads the worn patches on the floor, and the Baby’s cries echo down a distant hallway. This is home sweet home.

Story by: Jade Zhang

“Horror scares me but I’m still here” note: The walls DRINK UP YOUR BLOOD?! Excuse me?????

Art note: Full artwork will be revealed on October 18th!

You can check out the Kickstarter by following this link here!

(feature image: Maya McKibbin)

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Image of Briana Lawrence
Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)