Tales-poster-WEB-ONLYI just did a poster design for Ryan Cassavaugh, who is hosting a live storytelling show, “Tales from the Verge,” at Bozeman’s non-profit black box Verge Theater this May 2-3, 2014. The show features a great lineup of funny and talented people who will be telling stories on the theme of “low point.” How could that not be fun?

Ryan wanted a Tales from the Crypt knock-off theme for the poster, so I helped him refine a design and added pseudo comic-style illustrations of some of the featured storytellers. I wanted it to look a little shocking (in order to pull off the knock-off) but not outright scary, and hopefully a little comedic.

I can’t say my illustrations are especially fine examples of comic style (comic style isn’t that easy to do, and I have nothing but respect for the people who do it well) but I still think they’re kind of fun. This is the sort of project I could really get fussy with, but given the quick turnaround, I had to let good enough be okay.

My favorite part was that I coined the term “unvarnisher” and nobody made me change it! If you look at a Tales from the Crypt comic, you will see the three narrator characters are the Crypt-Keeper, the Old Witch and the Vault-Keeper. I changed them to the Truth Teller, the Unvarnisher and the Vault-Opener. I think “Unvarnisher” sounds like a worthy calling.

The illustrations for the original Tales from the Crypt are truly fabulous. Since I’m a blood and gore weenie, I’d never looked at it much, so this was enriching.

It’s really quite a story: EC Comicssophisticated and tongue-in-cheek horror comic, Tales from the Crypt was forced out of publication in the mid-50s due to accusations that it contributed to illiteracy and juvenile delinquency. Publisher Bill Gaines went on to focus on Mad magazine, which—I can personally vouch—was a positive influence in the moral development of many young Americans.