The first Gloom Cookie collection by Serena Valentino (Nightmares and Fairy Tales) is illustrated by the wonderful Ted Naifeh (Kin with Holly Black). It introduces a whole cast of gothic and fantastical characters. You have Lex (a petite and pretty goth) who is in love with Max (a tall cyber goth type). He does not love her sadly, but the evil Isabella who doesn't even notice him. Isabella has a history with Damion who in turn has a thing for Lex. Then there are Lex's friends Sebastian and Chrys who make a lovely couple. Things are not all they seem here either. Sebastian sees monsters everywhere and Chrys, well you will have to read the collection to know more about her.
There are also some great secondary characters like Vermilion who writes terrible gothic poetry and Sebastian's monster. The story of Lex and Damian starts to be explained and we delve into Isabella's past as well as Sebastian's parentage. I loved all the Vampire the Masquerade references, Valentino really knows her goth culture!
The stories blend elements of fairy tale, fantasy and gothic culture in a spell binding mix. Ted was just the right person to illustrate this collection as the artwork is stunning. It is just the right blend of hunour and seriousness, poking fun at itself and the goth culture it portrays in a loveing and endeering way. I look forward to more in this series.