Webcomics Weekly: Blood Catalysts
Welcome to Graphic Policy’s spotlight on webcomics, where we take a look at one of the many comics available online every Monday: Webcomics Weekly (but don’t be fooled by the “weekly” part of the title; the feature may happen more or less frequently than that). We’re defining webcomics as any comics published online for free consumption by the general public that doesn’t require a subscription service.
This week we’re taking a look at Blood Catalysts. The strip is created by Griffin Cost, who was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about the webcomic below.
Graphic Policy: In a nutshell, can you tell us what the strip’s about?
Griffin Cost: Blood Catalysts is a magical realist action-crime drama with absurdist undertones, taking place in 2003 in Northern Chihuahua, Mexico. The story follows a “family” of hitmen under the shaky new leadership of their old boss’ daughter, and begins when a young American boy is thrust into their world due to near-impossible circumstances.
I don’t wanna reveal much more, but I do feel compelled to point something out: this is NOT a fantasy webcomic, despite the genre having “magical” in the name. Maybe I’m mincing words, but I’ve had to explain this to almost all of my friends, some of whom were genuinely confused as to the whereabouts of the magic. Essentially, the story itself takes place in a world where the laws of reality still very much apply, save for one or a few exceptions that impact the characters within it. In a lot of ways it’s like a sandbox, or a social experiment in fictional form, where the craziness of one or a few instances help shed light on otherwise foreign and unrelatable human experiences.
GP: How often do you update?
GC: I update chapter-by-chapter on my site, with release dates for each chapter being announced about a month in advance. There’s a lot of reasons I don’t release Blood Catalysts page-by-page or in a similar system, but it boils down to three major factors:
-I’m a full-time college student.
-Some chapters and pages are more difficult/time consuming to draw/write than others. I’d rather build hype for one big release at a time than fuck with people by occasionally changing up the posting schedule.
-Releasing in bulk rather than in pieces lets me edit each chapter up to release, resulting in fewer (or zero) errors, less dead weight in the story, and an all around superior product. Plus, you, the reader, get a full-fledged story with every upload rather than breadcrumbs over the course of weeks.
In spite of this irregular schedule, I still average well over a page per week in terms of actual page count divided by weeks since launch.
GP: How long have you been producing the strip?
GC: Chapter Zero (The prologue to the series/Volume 1) was released on June 16th, 2015, but I went through at least thirty drafts of the script over the course of a few years beforehand.
GP: Where did the idea for the strip come from?
GC: The original idea came when I was in high school, wanting to be edgy as fuck and prove to everyone I was DIFF’RENT.
At the time, I was immature and just kind of angsty and nihilistic about everything. Even though I’ve (hopefully) grown out of that mindset, the underlying sentiment of being angry and confused at a world you can’t understand, of feeling like every time you think you understand something having it blow up in your face, and of being constantly weighed down with fear about what the next day will bring, or even how many days you have left, that sort of adolescent existential crisis and need to matter still comprises the thematic core of the comic. However, rather than being a comic about nihilism and the worst of humanity, and being written by someone who advocates those viewpoints, the story is more or less an treatise on death and decay (moral, mental, physical, societal, etc.), as well as the realities and unexamined shadows that lead some to adopt certain philosophies and lifestyles. It’s less about the politics of Mexican crime and more about the human tragedies that everyone shares, and the ones could’ve been our own had life dealt us a different hand of cards.
Couple that with a personal interest in Mexican art, magical realism, psychology, and my guilty love of late 90’s/early 2000’s action movies, and you can get a decent idea of what Blood Catalysts reads like. If that piques your fancy, give it a go.
If not, do it anyway. It’s free.
Why it’s awesome: Blood Catalysts is a fantastically well illustrated comic that really makes excellent use of both light and dark textures in the artwork. The strip often uses some really interesting story telling methods that combine the art and text into some genuinely fantastic comic strips that give the reader a lot to love. I don’t, honestly, have much to say beyond what Griffin has already said above because I don’t want to simply repeat what he says, but Blood Catalysts is well worth a read when you get a chance. You won’t regret it.
Below you’ll find a selection of strips that originally appeared on the site.
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