Review: Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog #1

Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog
Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog #1

Rodney Barnes, Patric Reynolds and Jason Shawn Alexander are making sure they leave a mark in the world of horror comics with the quickly expanding universe of Killadelphia. It started with the backup story Elysium Gardens, focused on a pack of black werewolves that are trying to track down a coven of witches during the LA riots of 1965. It now continues with Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog, the story of a woman that runs an urban legends blog that is finally getting confirmation on the truth behind the horrors she writes about.

The new series takes a stab at another city with a long history of racial tension and racial violence not unlike that found in Philadelphia: Baltimore. The comic refers to the city as “Bodymore, Murderland,” a name suggested by Killadlephia’s own Jimmy Sangster, who is revealed as Nita Hawes’ ex-boyfriend. Nita is the surviving member of a family that’s been cut down by police shootings and police brutality during peaceful protests and fateful encounters with law enforcement.

Nita is visited by the ghost of her murdered younger brother as a music studio massacre, perpetuated by a hellish entity that loves to carry a tune as he goes about his killing, just starts to come within eyesight in her investigations. The son of one of Baltimore’s wealthiest men lies among the victims of the massacre, a key detail that also opens the door for a female detective character that will surely cross paths with Hawes.

Where Killadelphia feels like a sprawling historical vampire epic that rises from the most neglected parts of Philadelphia and into the national stage, Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog feels more like the back-alley investigations wing of the expanded universe. It aims to populate Killadelphia’s world with new horrors the main book might not be able to fit into its pages. Killadelphia has its hands full with Founding Father vampires and the fast spread of blood-sucking mania.

Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog

Fans of Kolchak: The Night Stalker will find Nita Hawes oozes with that same 1970’s vibe that made the classic TV series such a chilling and endlessly watchable piece of horror fiction. Like Kolchak, who was a reporter that investigated the news stories he stumbled upon with the journalistic integrity they deserved no matter how supernatural things got, Nita seems to possess the same deep thirst for truth that puts fact before conspiracy in the face of the unexplainable.

Also like the Kolchak movies and TV series, Nita Hawes looks ready to offer up monstrous metaphors for the problems facing inner city race relations, both past and present. Kolchak battled vampires and undying spree killers in the age of serial killers, especially out West (in and around the California area). Nita’s nightmares can very easily follow suit, only the focus is clearly set on the black experience in Baltimore.

Patric Reynold’s art is as effective as Jason Shawn Alexander‘s has been throughout Killadelphia. There’s a grittiness to the horror he captures on the comics page that makes each panel feel dangerous, unsafe for its characters. The work on display takes readers outside their comfort zones and places them in a world where security is but a fantasy we let ourselves believe can be achieved. It allows for pure terror to take over the story at every corner.

Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog #1 is the type of comic that supports and builds upon the foundations of the main title it sprouts from while also telling a story that it can legitimately call its own. It owns its part in the grand scheme, but it also makes sure it’s essential for the enjoyment of the entire experience. Nita Hawes is ready to make the world of Killadelphia meaner and scarier.

Story: Rodney Barnes, Art: Patric Reynolds
Layouts: Jason Shawn Alexander
Publisher: Image Comics
Story: 10
Art: 10
Overall: 10
Recommendation: Buy and then binge Kolchak: The Night Stalker for added flavor.

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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  • Just a correction… the interior art work was done by me, Patric Reynolds, and Jason did the layouts. Cheers!

    • Error corrected! Sorry for the mix-up. Amazing work on this opening issue, Patric!

      • No worries… the way the creators are listed and credited in the comic has created some confusion, so I totally understand.

        That said, thank you very much for doing that, Ricardo… and thank you very much for the positive review and insightful comments! Cheers!