Advance Review: A Writer Becomes Trapped In His Own Writing In `Ice Cream Man’ #33

by Tom Smithyman


Why do horror writers create dark, terror-filled worlds instead of telling happy stories? That question is haunting the narrator in this great story. There may not be a lot of action, but it’s a fascinating exploration of a writer trapped him his own creation – and his own success.


Pity horror writer W. Maxwell Prince.

He wants to tell happy stories. Uplifting tales full of mirth and sunshine. Stories about good things that happen to good guys living in a good world.

But Prince is trapped. Every time he tries to tell an uplifting story, the tale turns dark. The grey cloud just doesn’t have a silver lining.

Real or imagine, that is the struggle that Prince wrestles with in the new issue of the Ice Cream Man anthology series. It is Prince himself serving as the narrator. He explains that there is the story he wants to tell the readers – a good guy meets good girl who have good sex and goes on to save a man’s life – and then there is the story he ends up telling. In that narrative, the guy has a blah life, with a blah girlfriend and they have blah sex. He doesn’t save the other guy’s life. How could he? That would provide too much hope.

It’s a fascinating exploration of why horror writers tell the kinds of stories they tell. Only this time, Prince turns the microscope on himself. Does the real-life Prince really want to tell happy tales, or is he trying to delve into his own psyche for fun? This clearly isn’t the case, but you can almost imagine Prince questioning himself after coming home Thanksgiving and having his family grill him on why he doesn’t write happy stuff.

The tale of two stories sets up an interesting challenge for artist Martin Morazzo. He must create both worlds with many of the same characters but completely different circumstances – all while keeping the reader engaged. He succeeds at doing with, with help from colorist Chris O’Halloran, who switches between vibrant hues and grey tones, depending on the story.

Fortunately for his readers, Prince is a strong horror writer. While he may question why he writes what he writes, he consistently delivers his audience a quality story. That’s not something to second guess.

Ice Cream Man #33 will be available for purchase on Wednesday.

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