Author Archives: Michael K

Review: Vampirella Faery Tales #5

VampiFeary05-Cov-A-AnacletoWith the horror genre of comics definitely making a resurgence in recent years, it is no surprise to see Vampirella be brought back in to fashion. I can tell you it’s probably been almost 20 years since the last time I picked up one of her books and this certainly did not disappoint.

This is the last installment in the five part series, where Vampirella finds herself inside the storybook, like Alice through the looking glass, and must find a way out. What she discovers inside though, in these last few chapeters, neither her, nor the reader, would have suspected.

The comic reads like something out of Tale From the Crypt with the narrator interacting directly with Vampirella and making groan-inducingly painful, but at the same time terribly delicious, puns. Even much the art work is reminiscent of the old Creepshow and Tales From the Vault comics from the ’60’s and 70’s. It is a dose of nostalgia in the modern age, and successfully pays homage to it’s predecessors.
There are noticeable shifts when each of the artists takes the reins for their respective stories, but not so much as to be a distraction or to interrupt the flow.

The writing is what you would expect, a combination between Poe and the alliterative nature of comics from a bygone age, harking back even to old radio dramas where the story, by necessity, needed to be fleshed out in such a verbal cornucopia as to engage and enthrall the listeners.

The comic never loses site of itself, knowing full well it is simply campy, pulpy fun at it’s best.

Writer: Nancy A. Collins, Steve Niles Artist: Jack Jadson, Eman Casallos
Story 7.0 Art 8.5 Overall 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Dynamite provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Southern Dog TPB

Southern Dog coverCollecting the critically acclaimed 4 issue series Southern Dog, this trade paperback that tells the story of Jasper Dixon, an awkward high school teenager.
Dixon sustains an injury while hunting with his family, and when his infected wolf bite, combined with the hormonal changes of puberty triggers, a disturbing physical transformation he’s forced to confront his deep south upbringing and monsters far worse than what he’s become.

As a forewarning, let me say that I am a sucker for modern stories featuring old monsters, such as werewolves and vampires. So the fact that we’re dealing with that subject matter immediately attracted me to this comic, However, it would be more accurate to say that is a socially conscious story that features werewolves.

Southern Dog, for the most part, is told through the first person perspective of Jasper, via notes that seemed scrawled on notebook paper, which is very fitting. The book really wastes no time getting to the meat of the story, allowing you to get an understanding for the characters as it progresses, instead of any flashbacks and back story. If you’re from the northern parts of the United States, or if you’re not presented with the reality of racism on the daily, then, like me, you may find the stark way it’s presented here as not offensive but truthful, without being preachy or heavy-handed. Make no mistake, racism and its many facets of white anger and aggression are alive and Southern Dog doesn’t hide from that, featuring our hero pitted against his family, his peers, and almost the entire town. Add into that interracial love story, and the resistance Jasper faces from African-Americans for being interested in a girl he simply finds pretty.

The artwork is simplistic, which is not to say simple. It is extremely fitting for the story being told, keeping it grounded in reality. The panels are beautiful and well drawn, the colors showing wonderful contrast at times. I would say the one drawback for me was at first it was a little difficult to tell characters apart, but as the book progressed that quickly ended.

It’s a quick read, but it is obvious how it became so lauded by the critics.

Writer: Jeremy Holt Artist: Alex Diotto Cover Artist: Riley Rossmo
Story: 7.5 Art 7.0 Overall 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Action Lab: Danger Zone provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Zombie Tramp #7

ZombieTramp_7_cover_regular_solicitFor those of you unfamiliar with Zombie Tramp, it follows the journeys of Janey Belle, a former Hollywood escort who was bitten by one of her johns and became titular Zombie Tramp. Now she travels the country with supernatural powers and a copy of the Necronomicon in search of answers.

In this issue Janey is in the Southwest, stopping for a bite at a local fast food restaurant. She lands herself in some serious trouble when she decides to sample the local cuisine and needs to call on her new-found abilities to get out alive, so to speak.

This a fun read with an intriguing artwork that can hit close to home when compared to the state of America these days, especially in this issue. Being undead gives our main character the ability to call out people, and society as a whole, for their disgusting behavior and terrible decisions.

If you’re interested in pin-up artwork and zombies as well, it is worth seeking out the variant covers.

Even with an ongoing story thread, this is certainly a series that you can pick up seemingly anywhere and enjoy each by themselves. It’s a gory and entertaining distraction and has that dark sense of humor I enjoy very much.

Writers: Jason Martin, Dan Mendoza Artist: Winston Young
Story: 7.5 Art 8.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab: Danger Zone provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review