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Review: Scarenthood


As a fan of Supernatural, I enjoyed the show for most of its entire run. I enjoyed the dynamics between the brothers and how they sacrificed themselves for each other. Season after season, the love between them and for those who they call “family”, made their adventures more than your typical procedural. At its core, it was really a show about family. The recently collected comic series Scarenthood has that same building block at its core.

I often wondered what kind of life the siblings of Supernatural would have if their lives were more stable. We saw a bit of this in the series finale, as one meets their end during a job while the other goes on to live a “normal” life. I secretly wanted both of them to find peace in the series conclusion. In a similar iteration, Nick Roche and Chris O’Halloran gives us a spin on this very question with their deceivingly biting Scarenthood.

The comic focuses on a group of parents, Jen, Cormac, Rhona, and Flynno, as they commiserate over what they will do when they don’t have their kids. From there the story spirals into an investigation concerning the schoolhouse the kids go to. Scarenthood delivers a flipped dynamic of what we’d expect. Instead of the kids investigating the haunting and what goes bump in the night, it’s the parents while the kids are away.

The series delivers its strength in the setup but then getting the reader to question what’s real, if anything. Is this just parents breaking down and losing it? Is there really an evil force out there. The series does a great job leaving you guessing as it builds. But, no matter what, the series focuses on the relationships between the parents and the parents and the kids to build a group of characters you care about.

Overall, Scarenthood an eerie and relatable story. The story by Roche is scary. The art by Roche and O’Halloran is gorgeous. Altogether, an excellent comic collection that is a fine addition to the horror genre.

Story: Nick Roche Art: Nick Roche and Chris O’Halloran
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleTFAWBookshop

Preview: Scarenthood


(W) Nick Roche (A/CA) Nick Roche
In Shops: Sep 29, 2021
SRP: $15.99

What’s scarier: fighting demons or letting your kids down? That’s what a group of parents will find out as their plans to solve the school’s long standing mystery lead to one parenting nightmare after another!

TO-DO LIST: Drop kids at preschool; Grab coffee with other parents; Go ghost-hunting in woods; Fight demonic entity; Collect kids; Nap time.

With the kids away on a field trip, a group of parents disturbs an ancient evil buried beneath the old Church Hall, unearthing a decades-old mystery about a missing child, and inviting something… hungry into their lives. Suddenly, their mornings go from playdates and peanut allergies, to a battle for the souls of a broken family-and one child in particular-in this original story that combines the highs of parenthood with horror movie scares.


Preview: Scarenthood #4 (of 4)

Scarenthood #4 (of 4)

(W) Nick Roche (A/CA) Nick Roche
In Shops: Feb 10, 2021
SRP: $4.99

The Big Boy has tipped ALL the toys out, and the Grown-Ups don’t know how to clean them up.

There are revelations about Flynno’s brother, the ‘Mother Of One’, and Father Sinnott; can they be connected? And it’s a race against time for Cormac to catch Scooper’s School Play–but stage-fright is the least of her problems….

Nick Roche (Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Transformers Wreckers Saga) and Chris O’ Halloran (Ice Cream Man, Folklords) tidy away most of the mess in this final issue.

Scarenthood #4 (of 4)

Review: Scarenthood #4

Scarenthood #4

Scarenthood has been a fun read from the start. It takes the “ghost hunting” genre and delivers a spin. Instead of younger individuals figuring things out, the comic has focused on a group of parents brought together because their children go to the same school. Scarenthood is a horror story for daycare crowd. Scarenthood #4 wraps up the first story arc of the series and has me wanting more.

With a daughter not too much younger than the kids in the comic, the series by Nick Roche is very relatable to me. Roche not only delivers creep chills but breaks them up with those small moments that make parenting interesting and very fun at times.

Scarenthood #4 has the group confronting the ghost/demon that has been plaguing them and hints at some of the bigger themes of the comic. The haunting is tied to the lack of attention being given by the parents and there’s some solid commentary about our busy lives that have divided our parenting attention. It definitely hit me a bit reading that and then reflecting on the time spent with my daughter and wondering if it’s enough to prevent demonic interference. But that reflection is a small piece of this comic.

Scarenthood #4 ends the first “book” of the series and opens up a greater world. The series has hinted at greater forces at work and this is the issue that really begins to explore that. A simple horror/ghost story is something so much more now and where this all goes should be very interesting.

Roche’s art continues to be solid. Chris O’Halloran provides color and Shawn Lee does the lettering. The comic never quite goes full horror which might be a distraction from the attempt “ground” the series in some ways. While it deals with the supernatural, the comic also focuses on parenting and a more hardcore horror style would distract from that. As is, the comic delivers a nice balance of creep. It doesn’t go for scares, it’s more focused on building tension and unease. It succeeds in that and then some as the comic progresses.

Scarenthood #4 is a solid end to the first arc and a hell of a setup for where things go from here. Its world has expanded from a compact horror comic to something much greater. Where our group of parents fits into that should be fascinating and it’s a world I want to see more of. The team has done an excellent job of balancing the every day life and the fantastical and combination has created a comic that truly stands out.

Story: Nick Roche Art: Nick Roche
Color: Chris O’Halloran Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Brett’s Favorite Comics of 2020 and a Reflection on the Past Year

The Recount #1

It feels weird writing a “best of” list for the past year since it’s been so difficult for so many. Writer Ron Marz Tweeted something like any comic that helped to get you through it is a favorite, and deep down I agree with that. It’s been a rough year for so many and it’s one where the comic industry was forced to mature and face reality in many ways.

Things shifted for everyone.

Publishers canceled projects, shifted schedules, and looked to go directly to the consumer. Creators looked for new ways to earn money and also go directly to the consumer. Stores were forced to market more taking to video, email, and social media to keep customers aware of the latest offerings and remind them of classics they might have missed. Some stores didn’t make it through the year. Others expanded. New ones joined the industry. Consumers had more choices than ever before that made it easier to escape the world burning around them and find enjoyment in make-believe worlds where justice prevails in the end.

In the end, though 2020 looked bleak, it left the comic industry as a whole stronger than ever before.

It feels weird doing this “best of” but at the same time I feel like I want to “honor” and spotlight the comics that got me through the year and had me excited to read the next issues. This is what I’ve read so if you don’t see something mentioned it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I just might not have read it. Sorry, I can’t read everything (there was a massive glut in webcomics and manga for me).

So, in a bit different spin I’ve split this list into three sections.

  1. Comics where I’ve only read one issue so far, because that’s what’s been released, but am excited to see what comes in the new year.
  2. Comics I enjoyed each month and are kind of a “silver medal” for me. I wanted to acknowledge them but also didn’t want this to be an overwhelming essay. They’ll get more of a nod when I do a video of this.
  3. The ones I was excited to read each month or had an impact on me. These are the ones that go into my regular suggestions of comics to read down the road. The art, the stories, the presentation, they’re all at that “top of the game” level.

All of these are listed in no particular order (hell it’ll probably just be in alphabetical). Enough with the rambling… lets get on with some comics!

2020 gave us one, here’s ones I’m excited to read their second issues in 2021!

  • Batman: Black & White #1 – The first issue had some solid stories but it’s the art that really stood out. It was mind-blowing and one of the best comics visually released this year. Almost every story broke away from standard panels and was just amazing to look at. I have no idea if future issues will be like this but here’s hoping.
  • Black Cat #1 – The last volume was a lot of fun to read and this first issue continued that. Despite being a King in Black tie-in, the issue kept the focus on what Black Cat does best, steal things as everything collapses around her. There’s just a certain style and attitude that the creative team nails with this. It was a fun debut that you could just sit back, laugh while reading, and enjoy.
  • M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #1 – Marvel’s trying to make M.O.D.O.K. a thing. It’s kind of been his year between an upcoming HULU series, a popular miniature in Marvel: Crisis Protocol, and this comic. The first issue had me laughing and I’m hoping that continues.
  • The Other History of the DC Universe #1 – John Ridley is one of my favorite creators out there. His work in film and television have blown me away. It looks like DC has given him the opportunity to deliver a brutally honest take about the DC Universe from the perspective of people of color and the first issue is one of the best things I read all year. I can’t wait until the second and this man should be allowed to do whatever he wants.
  • The Recount #1 – The issue hit a bit close to reality. The President is a crook and assassinated and there’s an uprising to purge the country of everyone who supported him, from the Vice President down to voters. It was a hell of an opening issue and one that was chilling in so many ways.
Shang-Chi #1

Comics to check out…

These were all great reads and should go on your reading pile. These are ones I made sure to read every month and jumped at reading as soon as they crossed my desk. They’ll all get more love in my video version of this.

The comics that really stood out for the year.

All of these comics were ones that kept me thinking well after I read them and I’d be happy to read them again. Many are still ongoing while others have wrapped up their runs. Each stands out in its own special way.

Ginseng Roots #3
  • Black Widow – Kelly Thompson, Elena Casagrande, Jordie Bellaire, and Cory Petit are the main creators on what’s been released so far and every issue has been amazing. Black Widow has been captured and brainwashed into believing a domestic life is real and hers. There’s been a great mix of humor, action, in this spy thriller and it’s sure to ramp up now based on the latest issue’s final moments. This is a great mix of storytelling and visual coolness.
  • Dead Day – Man, I really want this to be done as a television series and absolutely need more comics. Ryan Parrot, Evgeniy Bornyakov, Juancho!, and Charles Pritchett deliver a masterclass in world-building. Not only do they deliver an interesting story but have crafted a bigger world. For one night, the dead return, and while the comic really told the story of one family, each issue fleshed out enough of what this event’s impact would be elsewhere to get you to think and imagine.
  • Far Sector – N.K. Jemisin, Jamal Campbell, and Deron Bennett have breathed a breath of fresh air into the Green Lanterns with this series. We’re taken to an alien world where a new Lantern named Jo must solve a murder which takes her deep into a corrupt society. It does what science fiction does best, explore our real world. The visuals are stunning as well in what is a comic that’s timely capturing the current zeitgeist.
  • Ginseng Roots – Craig Thompson explores his childhood in what’s one of the most original comics this year. In a small format and with minimal colors, the comic tells us the history of ginseng and Thompson’s childhood.
  • Harley Quinn Black + White + Red – DC really shook things up this year and one way was a greater focus on digital releases. This series was an anthology that delivered a different creative team with every chapter. We got to see over a dozen different takes on Harley Quinn each of which was entertaining. If you want to see how much the creators matter when it comes to the storytelling, here you go. This is also a perfect example of where digital comics should be going from major publishers.
  • Kill a Man – This story focused on a gay man’s battles within the world of MMA was an updated take on the Rocky formula and done so well. You can come at it as a fan of MMA, as someone who’s LGBTQ, both, or just wanting good storytelling. Emotional with great action, it’s a home run from the team of Steve Orlando, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Al Morgan, and Jim Campbell.
  • Superman Smashes the Klan – The miniseries was collected and it’s amazing. Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru, and Janice Chiang deliver a comic that captures the heart of Superman. Based on the groundbreaking radio play where Superman takes on the KKK, this comic is amazing in every aspect, from the story to the visuals. Add in some extra material from Yang about his own experiences and it becomes a comic everyone should read and one that helps define Superman in one of his best depictions ever.
  • Vlad Dracul – Matteo Strukul, Andrea Mutti, Vladimir Popov, and Joel Rodriguez tell us the story about the very real Vlad, the inspiration for Dracula. I learned a hell of a lot and would love to see more comics like this. It’s a crazy read that can be enjoyed for the history and education and/or the brutal story itself that would fit any fantasy world.
  • We Live – The first issue was perfection and got me to choke up. Each subsequent issue has built upon the world. In this story humanity is almost over but a mysterious entity from space will save 5,000 children but first they must get to extraction points. This is a few kids’ stories and their journey of survival. By Inaki Miranda, Roy Miranda, Eva De La Cruz, and Dave Sharpe each issue is visually amazing plus there’s some awesome bonus music you can listen to while reading.
  • Yasmeen – Talk about an emotional gut-punch with each issue. Saif A. Ahmed, Fabiana Mascolo, and Robin Jones tell the story of Yasmeen who was captured and tortured by Isis and her attempt to deal with the PTSD while settling after in the United States. Just an amazing blend of storytelling and real recent history.

Preview: Scarenthood #3 (of 4)

Scarenthood #3 (of 4)

(W) Nick Roche (A/CA) Nick Roche
In Shops: Dec 23, 2020
SRP: $4.99

It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid… Unless you’ve disturbed an ancient entity, your sanity is in tatters, your child is at risk, and your friends don’t believe a word you say. Cormac is forced to dig up the past as The Big Boy makes itself more and more at home, and Scooper gets what every kid wants from Santa: An exorcism.

Scarenthood #3 (of 4)

Review: Scarenthood #3

Scarenthood #3

Scarenthood has delivered a bit of a twist on the horror ghost gang concept. Instead of kids or young adults, it’s parents attempting to solve the mystery. The first two issues have upped the tension and creepy factor teasing the horror that’s just on the edge. There’s been a solid build-up and teasing of things. Scarenthood #3 twists all of that, questioning everything from the first two issues.

Writer Nick Roche, who also handles art, delivers another fantastic issue. For much of it, I was questioning what was real. Was it possible everything up to this point was a person’s mental breakdown? We thankfully get that answered within the issue. I’m not sure I could stand that dragging out much longer as I wanted to know the answer! It’s a great issue in that it had me second-guessing myself and what I thought to be “true” in the comic.

Roche delivers a lot of emotion in the issue as well. There’s a concern for Cormac and his daughter. As a father myself much of what is written is something I think about. I want to make sure I care for my daughter and that she’s healthy, happy, and safe. But at the same time, there’s a balance and that balance can easily be tipped too far one way or another. That’s what’s addressed here as Cormac’s obsession with the supernatural and its impact on his life is clear.

The issue also approaches this all in a smart way. It does a cold open in a way and I was left wondering if I’d had missed something. It focuses on the rest of the gang and their concern for Cormac and what they’ve witnessed. The approach is part of what threw me for a loop and kept me wondering what exactly was going on. Is Cormac losing his mind? Is his daughter in danger? What happened to his wife? Is this all in his head?

Roche handles art duties as well. He’s joined by Chris O’Halloran on color and Shawn Lee handles lettering. The art has a slight cartoonish quality about it all. But, even with that style, it focuses on the emotion. We can see the concern in Cormac’s friends. We can see their anger as well. Cormac himself delivers a spectrum of responses as he delivers his reality to his friends. It adds to the emotional punch of it all. It also helped keep me guessing as to what the truth of it all was.

Scarenthood #3 is a fantastic issue. For those reading the series, it’ll keep you guessing as to what the reality is. Is this all in Cormac’s head? Is this one person’s mental breakdown? Thankfully, the team delivers an answer because I’m not sure I could stand another month to find out. For those that like horror stories with a slight twist, this is one to definitely check out.

Story: Nick Roche Art: Nick Roche
Color: Chris O’Halloran Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Yasmeen #5

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night #2 (Behemoth Comics) – A vampire story taking place in Iran, the first issue had a lot of potential and has us intrigued to see what’s next.

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Secret Origin #1 (DC Comics) – he heroes search for a way to defeat the Darkest Knight through the universe’s past, while Superboy Prime faces down the demonic Batman!

Firefly: Blue Sun Rising #1 (BOOM! Studios) – The event wraps up and promises big changes.

Gloomhaven: Fallen Lion (Source Point Press) – The popular board game comes to comics!

King in Black #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was over the top excitement with impressive visuals. It was a solid start to the next Marvel event and actually paid off a great build up to it.

King-Size Conan #1 (Marvel) – Celebrating 50 years of Conan in comics including Kevin Eastman’s first work at Marvel!

Picture of Everything Else #1 (Vault Comics) – A murder mystery revolving around the art world taking place in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century.

Red Winter (Scout Comics) – If you missed this crime series, it’s now collected and well worth picking up if you’re interested in crooked cops and dirty, gritty, stories.

Scarenthood #3 (IDW Publishing) – The horror series has been solid so far with a focus on parents attempting to solve a horror mystery.

Sea of Sorrows #2 (IDW Publishing) – The first issue created a solid atmosphere and mixed with great art, it was a solid start for those that like tense thrillers.

Undiscovered Country #11 (Image Comics) – The series has kept us on our toes with every issue. We have no idea where it’s all going and what’s next which has made for an entertaining and exciting read.

Yasmeen #5 (Scout Comics) – One of the best series of the year. It’s an emotional punch with each issue but well worth the read.

Review: Scarenthood #2

Scarenthood #2

Is it weird that after reading the first two issues of Scarenthood I wish I had a group of ghost hunting friends? Scarenthood #2 continues the Irish ghost/horror series as the pressure of balancing the hunt and their duties as parents clash.

As a parent of a two-year-old, writer and artist Nick Roche captures so much of the life. There’s the silly conversations. There’s the difficulty of life and work balance. There are just so many small details that I appreciate as a parent.

But, what Roche does even better is the build up of the mystery. After the first issue’s “wtf” moments, Scarenthood #2 dials things back a little using subtly creepy aspects to build the tension and weirdness. There’s lost time and the build up of dread. The way it’s all presented it creates a tension that is felt off the page. This is a horror story where I have no idea what will happen.

Scarenthood #2 takes some solid queues from past horror stories where it’s not about jump out scares but the build-up. Films like the Blair Witch Project come to mind where the visuals and especially sound delivered the scares. Here, it’s walking down a tree-lined path where you, like the characters, have no idea what’s going to happen. That creates a tense situation for both. Roche, like horror masters, is controlling that tension and doing it really well.

Roche is helped by colorist Chris O’Halloran and letterer Shawn Lee. There’s some really smart decisions for both to help build the atmosphere that Roche is going for. Colors are on the drab side of things but not in a dark sort of way. There’s lots of browns and greens with a subtle use of dark colors to shift the situation. It’s really something to pay attention to and helps command the vibe of the comic. Lee’s lettering too packs a lot into panels as the parents deliver smartass comments back and forth and every so often deliver that needed exclamation point.

Scarenthood #2 is a solid horror/mystery series but from a perspective you don’t see a ton of. This isn’t some professional group or teens being stalked. This is a story of misfit parents attempting to solve a mystery like Gen-X Scooby-Doo. It delivers characters I, as a parent, can relate to and a story whose attention to detail creates a fantastic experience.

Story: Nick Roche Art: Nick Roche
Color: Chris O’Halloran Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Scarenthood #2 (of 4)

Scarenthood #2 (of 4)

(W) Nick Roche (A/CA) Nick Roche
In Shops: Dec 09, 2020
SRP: $4.99

Cormac and his daughter Scooper haven’t hung out much lately – He’s been trying to learn more about the thing he disturbed underneath the village hall, why it’s dogging him, and whether it’s connected to the disappearance of a child four decades earlier: And while her dad’s been so busy and her mum is… not at home… Scooper has found a new friend to take special care of her.

Will a father/daughter stroll through the woods bring them closer together, or tear them apart? Nick Roche (Transformers: The Wreckers Saga, Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows) and Chris O’Halloran (Ice Cream Man) are on babysitting duties…

Scarenthood #2 (of 4)
Almost American
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