THE CREEPS delivers a wide range of emotions with whimsical illustrations, which perfectly captures the human experience of fear.
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So relatable it's scary
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THE CREEPS, written and illustrated by Fran Krause, is a collection of ninety-seven unique fears and two fearful anecdotes. Though this comic is a follow up to the New York Times best seller DEEP DARK FEARS, I was unfamiliar with Krause’s work. I didn’t know what I expected when I picked this comic up, but whatever expectations I had were far surpassed. THE CREEPS has an incredible balance of fun and movingly relatable content.

An Anxious Gal’s Guide to Normal

As someone who goes through life with severe and often irrational anxiety, flipping through THE CREEPS is like flipping through my mind. This comic touches on social fears, like questioning whether parties are real or a terrible joke, or refusing to believe you’re a human after an awkward encounter. It also touches on the even more ridiculous little paranoias like something grabbing your hand if it hangs off the bed, or needing to only step on a certain color of floor tiles.

Image from THE CREEPS, courtesy of Ten Speed Press.

I think the hardest part of having an anxiety disorder is how isolating it can be. Personally, I always feel like I’m going out of my mind, and like my nerves over every little thing are a burden on everyone around me. It feels like I’m the weirdo in a crowd of sanity. However, seeing the silly fears that I have put on the page — seeing that others share them — makes me feel one step closer to normal.

READ: Check out 10 Reasons Why Jessica Cruz’s Anxiety Moves Us!

Laughing, Crying, and Hiding Under the Covers

Beyond the relatability of THE CREEPS, this comic also beautifully captures a wide range of emotions. Though all the fears come from a place of sincerity, some of the lighter examples are delightfully funny. Fear #96 is about one woman’s worry that after she vents to her horse, the horse spreads the gossip once she leaves. Alternatively, there are some fears that are heartbreaking and extremely touching. Some examples deal with loss and lingering ghosts of family or old pets. There’s even one about squandering the opportunity to meet your soulmate.

Image from THE CREEPS, courtesy of Ten Speed Press.

Of course, true to the concept of the comic, there are some examples that are spine chilling. There’s an illustration about a drawing so scary that it might summon something evil. There’s another about the brightness of your phone at night hiding the things in the dark. For me, the most frightening of all is the fear that if you hide under your sheets and open your eyes, you’ll find something there waiting for you.

READ: For more relatable content, check out IF MY DOGS WERE A PAIR OF MIDDLE-AGED MEN!

Intimate Artwork

There’s something strangely whimsical about Krause’s illustrations. There’s a familiarity to the style — a sort of reminiscent tone that creates an intimacy between the reader and the comic. It’s very easy to imagine yourself in each spooky situation. Beyond that, I feel like Krause was very clever with his illustrations. The organization of the panels creates a sense of anticipation and tension in the reader. The sentences are broken up, giving only parts of a fear with each drawing. I especially love the illustrations for the story “My Attic Room,” when the story became a part of the pictures, as seen below.

Image from THE CREEPS, courtesy of Ten Speed Press.

Final Thoughts on THE CREEPS

This is a wonderful comic that makes readers like me feel less alone in the world. The real beauty of this comic is that it doesn’t take the easy way out. It doesn’t devote the entirety of its pages to only humor or only terror. It understands the spectrum of fears and manages to capture an exceptionally authentic human experience.

THE CREEPS will be released on September 26th. I cannot recommend it enough.

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