Release Date: 3/15/17
Words: Neil Gaiman
Pictures: P. Craig Russell
If you don’t already know Neil Gaiman, his novel American Gods, or the latest Starz adaptation of said novel…. dude! What the hell!? Basically, Gaiman is a master storyteller. He cannot disappoint. He’s my storyteller god. He just is. If you’re not familiar, American Gods is a kind of horror/supernatural, crime, action/adventure story. Shadow Moon is newly released from jail to find his life is gone. His wife is dead, leaving him defeated, broke and aimless. In his uncertainty he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday who offers Shadow a job as a his personal bodyguard. Here begins Shadow’s journey into the supernatural world where ghosts come back and the war between the old gods and the new gods come to a head.
I’m too biased in regards to this story to be fair, I suppose. But I’ll tell you anyway: I love this story! I have always had a soft spot for the kind of tales your elders would tell you over a fire or on a dark and stormy night. I also love folklore, myths and fairy tales. American Gods incorporates it all. If you’ve read and loved The Sandman, this is a no-brainer. If you’ve read the novel this is just more icing on the cake. If you can’t get enough, the Starz adaptation is really good, too. Casting is spot on and Bryan Fuller knows how to translate this story with his visuals. The art in this book reminds me of The Sandman days. It feels both old and timely. It changes depending on the story tidbit being told. Also, the David Mack covers for the variants are worth it alone. It pretty much speaks for itself.
Most of the inside art will contain spoilers so I’ll leave you with two David Mack covers that I am in so much love with.
Release Date: 6/25/14
Words: Robert Kirkman
Pictures: Paul Azaceta
Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead, introduces us to a new horror series, Outcast, centering on the life and times of Kyle Barnes. Kyle has isolated himself from society, understandably so, considering demonic possession has plagued his existence from childhood. Then, during a forced outing with his sister, he finds himself helping the town reverend with a young boy’s own demonic troubles. This encounter leads him to finally seek the answers to the questions his supernatural baggage has left him all these years.
Kirkman has a knack for telling creepy tales. He knows how to develop character relatively quickly but with perfect pacing. Kyle is not the most likeable protagonist at the beginning but as the story moves along, Kirkman slowly peels back the layers of who Kyle is and why he does what he does. By the end, the reader finds Kyle not just relatable but compelling, and is thoroughly invested in what happens to him. This book is not The Walking Dead, so comparing the two isn’t fair. Although, like The Walking Dead, the story uses the supernatural to show that humanity itself can be more horrifying than anything.
Azaceta’s art is just the right kind of creepy to enhance the story experience. This is another example of a book where the lines between artist and writer blur. The look leans to the more realist side, grounding the feel of the story further. There is a contrast between the ordinary world looking so… ordinary, so that when the supernatural is depicted it is all the more creepier. He also does this thing with his use of panels where the larger panels show progress at the usual pace and the smaller panels show details at a slower rate. That’s some good horror the the making right there.
If you are a fan of either artist, a fan of horror, or maybe need a filler with substance while waiting between Supernatural seasons, grab this one. It’s a beefy read for the $2.99 price weighing in at 44 pages, without ads!
Release Date: 10/9/13
Words: Caitlin Kittredge
Pictures: Inaki Miranda
Coffin Hill is a supernatural crime drama centering on the life and times of Eve Coffin. Eve has currently cracked the case of her career as a rookie cop. Before she has time to enjoy the much unwanted spotlight she suffers a gunshot wound. She survives and after recovering, is forced to go back home, a place she apparently has been trying to leave in the past. Eve’s history as a high society brat intent on shaming her rich and powerful family involves her dabbling in a bit of nasty witchcraft, the kind in which she and two of her friends partake in the forest one night only to wake to a bloody mystery in the morning.
Coffin Hill is perfectly released, just in time to get in the spirit of things that go bump in the night. Issue #1 is the set up for the central conflict and introduction of characters. Kittredge does this without bogging the book down in back story. She jumps in time giving clues here and there, slowly drawing the reader in deeper. Eve makes for an interesting protagonist. The way Kittredge uses nonlinear storytelling works for a character who is nowhere linear herself. The obvious contrast between Eve’s present more responsible self and her younger wild self is enough to make the reader want to know more.
The art in this book is brilliant. It is simply pretty to look at. It makes you feel like the whole thing is steeped in dark and damp places. For a book with such dark tones, the colors are so vibrant and alive. My favorite example being the page of Eve somewhat obscured by ravens. I am looking forward to seeing more in the issues to come.
Pick this one up in honor of Halloween, because it’s October, because you have a thing for fearless girls with dark, dirty secrets, because you liked the book Beautiful Creatures, because you like ravens or witches or just because it’s Vertigo Comics. If you haven’t noticed, witches are the in thing this year, so do yourself a favor and one up those watching American Horror Story: Coven or Witches of East End. Read Coffin Hill.
Release Date: 7/10/13 (*Apologies. I had this review done but must have gotten distracted and forgot to publish it that week.)
Words: Joshua Williamson
Pictures: Goran Sudzuka
All Jackson Winters has left to look forward to is the sweet release of death to get him out of the hell he knows as prison. This is quickly turned around when he is broken out of jail by Anderson Lake, the sexy female gun-for-hire of Markus Schrecken. Schrecken is a collector of supernatural items, but one thing is missing: a ghost from the Trask Mansion.
Ghosted is a supernatural Ocean’s Eleven. I wasn’t really expecting much from this book because the cover didn’t exactly call out to me and ghost stories, even though I love a good one, usually disappoint me. All that aside, Williamson has made a solid start to a promising story here. Jackson Winters is a love-to-hate kind of character and his ensemble cast of cons and thieves each have distinct personalities right away. I admit that my guard went up a bit as the opening scenes in the prison depicted rape, but it wasn’t done gratuitously so that I was able to move on quickly. Williamson has deftly put a lot of information to the setup of this story in just a few pages that I’m eager to see how the rest unfolds.
The artwork has the same kind of energy as the writing. Each character is its own, expressions and body language easily show that wild, controlled energy that is built just before something big goes down. It feels a little bit fun and a little bit scary. I really liked the last page, but I won’t spoil it for you.
If you enjoyed Ocean’s Eleven and love all things supernatural, give Ghosted a try.