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Review: Night of the Ghoul #2

NIGHT OF THE GHOUL #2

It’s hard not to think about classic horror films when reading Scott Snyder and Francesco Francavilla’s Night of the Ghoul. I was reminded of the original 1951 The Thing, the 1964 film The Last Man on Earth (an adaptation of Richard Matheson’s classic novel I Am Legend), and even a bit of the black & white Universal monster movies. Not necessarily in terms of plot, but rather in terms of the dread that permeates through them. The comic just lives and breathes that kind of Fifties and Sixties horror that relished in making its characters slowly march towards their doom as they search for some impossible truth. It finds its life source in the creepy atmosphere those movies developed as well, the kind that builds up the mystery to heighten the horror at its core.

Night of the Ghoul is all of that and more, a vehicle for fear that establishes a kind of lineage of dark things that honors what came before it but also aspires to insert itself in the continuum. Snyder and Francavilla are tapping into some deeply unsettling things in their comixology series, ready for some serious mythmaking along the way.

Issue #2 digs just deep enough to expand on the legend of the Ghoul, a kind of proto-monster that transforms into the things other people are afraid of. The film researcher is making progress with the horribly disfigured director of the lost film he uncovered, the lost but now found “Night of the Ghoul,” but every new bit of information gathered points to a discovery of forbidden knowledge captured in celluloid, making the very act of watching it quite dangerous (an idea that reminded me of John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns, about a rare movie that captures the torture of a majestic being).

NIGHT OF THE GHOUL #2

The story’s dual narrative structure continues to build upon itself with key cuts in the narrative that show scenes from the “Night of the Ghoul” movie. These sequences offer more hints as to the actual content of the cursed film and the monster that lies within it. Francavilla is putting a lot of care into these segments, capturing a very genuine feel for the black & white horror he’s clearly inspired by, a quality that tends to make its presence known across his body of work.

Snyder’s script stands as one of his most focused and one of his most measured. There’s a real concern with style and structure that helps keep the story from going off the rails. Horror movies from the Golden Age (1910-1960) tended to focus primarily on the larger meanings behind their hauntings, on how they reflected upon society or a deeply seated fear on a collective level. Night of the Ghoul carries itself as such, at least two issues in. The mystery is carrying the story and its implications are what will keep readers hooked in as more gets uncovered.

Night of the Ghoul is a well-oiled machine made by two masters of the craft. Horror runs deep in its DNA and it understands the inner working of it in intimate detail. The comic is well on its way to becoming a horror comics classic. If it holds steady, it’ll become a story I’ll be recommending to readers interested in expanding into the comics medium for their horror fixes.

Story: Scott Snyder, Art: Francesco Francavilla
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0
Recommendation: Buy and subscribe to a streaming service that features old horror movies.


Purchase: comiXologyKindle

Scott Snyder and Tony S. Daniel’s Nocterra is in the works at Netflix

Nocterra

Netflix is adding another comic title to its catalogue. The streaming platform is teaming with writer Roberto Patino to develop a series based on the comic series Nocterra. Nocterra was created by Scott Snyder and Tony S. Daniel and published by Image Comics. It’s part of a multi-year deal between Patino and Netflix.

Patino is currently working on HBO Max’s adaptation of the DC Comics/Vertigo series DMZ.

Nocterra takes place in a world where darkness has enveloped the world. Val Riggs moves people and goods across the darkness in her truck dodging the creatures called shades corrupted by the darkness.

Patino will pen the script, serve as showrunner and exec produce alongside James Wan, Michael Clear, and Rob Hackett.

Netflix has focused on building its comic adaptation base after its deal with marvel ended. The platform purchased Mark Millar’s Millarworld and has adapted other comics such as Umbrella Academy from Dark Horse, the manga Cowboy Bebop, and the film Extraction based on the comic Ciudad.

Review: Undiscovered Country #17

Undiscovered Country #17

Our group is in the zone of Possibility with a machine that can create anything. Undiscovered Country #17 presents the possibility of the infinite with an interesting proposal and debate about what to do and how to proceed. In an issue revolving around Ace, we get to learn more about his character and the hope of the possible, that feels grounded in reality, that he represents.

Written by Scott Snyder and Charles Soule, Undiscovered Country #17 begins the issue focused on the possibility of music and ends on something grander. The group is presented with an offer to use the tool in front of them to rebuild the realm they’re in and then use it to create anything they want. And that’s literally anything. They can create a cure for disease, a weapons system to protect themselves, the possibilities are endless. And that sums up a lot of what this arc is about, the possibility of America.

One scene in the issue sticks out and it’s the discussion of what the United States is good at. That’s selling and exporting its own legend. That its message told some sort of truth. In this realm, all of those legends come together and the result is a mess of a situation. But, it’s also clear those legends mean nothing without the people to share them and believe in them, and more importantly to create new ones. There’s a to to chew on in this arc and issue which makes what to ruminate on much more interesting than the specifics of the issue.

Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi continue their fantastic art. Matt Wilson provides the color whole Crank! handles the lettering. The small details of the issue is what stands out as readers will linger on pages to catch the references and hints as to what things represent. Ships in the background are throughout history and concepts and that alone is interesting but it’s the reveal at the end that’ll leave readers excited to guess the references.

Undiscovered Country #17 continues grand ideas. The issue, and series, is one that will challenge readers to think through its themes and debate themselves the concepts within. It’s also a story that can be appreciated for its surface level action and entertainment. In other words, it’s a comic that captures so much about what America is about.

Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi
Color: Matt Wilson Letterer: Crank!
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: We Have Demons #2

We Have Demons #2

As Lam and the Angels continue the mission that her father started, Gus tells the story of a man who lost everything, and the one person who deemed him worth saving. We Have Demons #2 continues the rather intriguing comiXology Original series that feels at times like 1990s Image, both the good and the bad of it all.

Written by Scott Snyder, We Have Demons #2 puts the spotlight on Gus. We learn the rather tragic history of the demonic character and how he came to be that way. Snyder does an excellent job of balancing flashbacks and the current situation. But, what stands out is the heart of it all.

Underneath the flashy veneer, We Have Demons #2 has a surprising amount of emotion. There’s the tragic story of Gus but that’s intertwined with Cal and Lam and the lives of the trio. It’s all rather interesting and it’s that focus that makes the comic much more than its imagery. There’s a lot going on underneath so that you have some connection with the characters. But, more importantly, you’re taken along an emotional rollercoaster along with the over the top action that peppers the issue as well.

And there’s some over the top action. Greg Capullo does his magic bringing his style to the comic and while it works most of the time, there’s some instances where it falters a bit. Jonathan Glapion provides ink with Dave McCaig on color and Tom Napolitano on lettering. Capullo’s style is unique and he brings some great visuals when it comes down to it. But, every so often there’s a person whose contortions don’t quite work, a head that feels slightly off, or body language that feels like there’s a gap. It’s not bad at all but it’s noticeable with so much that’s so good.

Capullo does an excellent job in the quieter parts of the comic. While Gus discusses his past, the art nails the emotional ups and downs delivering the sadness and hope the story drives home. Character’s body language, the way a head lowers for instance, nail home what’s being discussed and it’s that extra small detail that really drives the vibes oozing off the page.

We Have Demons #2 shows that it’s going to be the relationship between Gus and Lam that really drives this series and makes it interesting. They’re the heart at the center of this adventure and what makes it fun and engaging. While they’re basically the grizzled veteran cop with his rookie partner, there’s a more paternal vibe coming off of Gus when it comes to Lam which sets up the heartbreak that’s likely to come.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Greg Capullo
Ink: Jonathan Glapion Color: Dave McCaig Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

comiXology provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindle

Batman and Fortnite Return with Foundation!

DC and Epic Games are teaming up again to combine the worlds of Fortnite and the World’s Greatest Super Heroes. Batman/Fortnite: Foundation #1 arrives at participating comic shops on Tuesday, October 26

This 48-page one-shot also releases day and date in nine international territories: Argentina, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Poland, and Spain. Each physical copy of the comic includes a bonus code to download a special Batman Who Laughs player Outfit and exclusive Batman Who Laughs-themed Fortnite Loading Screen. The Batman Who Laughs Outfit will also be available for purchase in the in-game Fortnite Item Shop on the book’s release date. 

Batman/Fortnite: Foundation #1 follows the successful and critically acclaimed Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point series where, upon arriving on the Fortnite Island, an amnesiac Batman battles unknown enemies and must use all his detective skills to solve the mystery of the Zero Point to find his way home.

Batman/Fortnite: Foundation #1 is co-written by Epic Games Chief Creative Officer Donald Mustard, Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point writer Christos Gage and acclaimed Batman and Dark Nights Metal/Dark Nights Death Metal writer Scott Snyder. Art is provided by Joshua Hixson (pencils and inks), Roman Stevens (colors) and AndWorld Design (letters). Snyder’s longtime collaborator, artist Greg Capullo, teams up with Jonathan Glapion, and Matt Hollingsworth for the main cover, with variant covers provided by Alex Garner, plus a premium variant cover by Epic Games CCO Donald Mustard (check local stores for availability). 

Returning to Gotham City after the events of Zero Point, Batman is faced with a new mystery and a new arrival. The Foundation, an enigmatic figure from Fortnite Island, emerges from the depths of Gotham Harbor, and the Dark Knight wants to investigate what he is doing in his city. 

In collaboration with DC and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, clothing designer Extra Butter NY and Epic Games is offering an awesome selection of DC x Fortnite t-shirts and hoodies featuring the sinister Batman Who Laughs. A must for any DC or Fortnite fan, these items are available worldwide

Review: Clear #1

Clear #1

Scottober continues with Clear #1, one of a handful of new series Scott Snyder is launching in partnership with comiXology Originals. The second release, Clear is far from the subject of the debut series We Have Demons. Set in a dystopian future, Clear #1 introduces us to a world where you can purchase “veils”. Veils are basically skins that change how you perceive the world. You can make it look like cartoons, the old west, a utopia, full of zombies, it’s your choice. The vast majority of the people use the technology with those that don’t being “clear”. Detective Sam Dunes is one of those clear.

Written by Snyder, Clear #1 is a fairly traditional detective story set in an atypical world. Dunes’ opening case involves a “cheating” husband who may be purchasing blackmarket veils. It allows him to see someone other than his wife in front of him. It’s a small detail but the type that makes the series stand out as original. Dunes is also a former cop. Then there’s the case moving the story forward. It all comes together for an opening that feels like something we’ve read, but not something we’ve seen.

It’s the details that makes the comic stand out. The world that Snyder is crafting is an interesting one. While Dunes is clear, we can’t be sure of what we’re seeing as readers. A lot of those impressive aspects of the comic are due to the visuals.

Francis Manapul handles the art and color with lettering by Andworld Design. The colors give the comic early on a neon hue of pinks and oranges which contrast the latter part’s cold blues. The visuals play with the veil concept during one action-packed sequence as Dunes isn’t sure what he’s seeing and we the reader get to experience the trippy ride. But overall, the comic has a look that’s familiar but just slightly different, much like we the reader have our own veil as to what this future is like. It’s a comic visually, like the story itself, rooted in traditional detective tropes and styles and it works so well by doing so.

Clear #1 is a solid start for those who enjoy detective stories. It’s an exciting start that blends classic tropes and beats with a look that feels more Blade Runner than anything else. There’s a familiarity of it all while also folding in new ideas and concepts which have potential for creating an intriguing series going forward.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Francis Manapul
Color: Francis Manapul Letterer: Andworld Design
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.65 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

ComiXology provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchae: comiXologyKindle

Review: We Have Demons #1

We Have Demons #1

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are the architects behind some of DC’s biggest events and series creating concepts and stories that reverberate years later. Court of Owls to Metal, they’ve helped define modern-day DC Comics. Now they’ve taken their “show on the road” as part of Snyder’s multi-comic deal with comiXology. We Have Demons #1 kicks off a whole knew idea that also feels like a throwback to some classic comics as well.

Written by Snyder, We Have Demons #1 introduces us to Lam an interesting individual who has an interesting history and future. Lam is the narrator of the story, literally taking us through history to get us to her current moment, she might have to kill some friends. Why? You’ll have to read and find all of that out.

Snyder and Capullo’s combo of styles for the comic evoke an early Image, mostly Spawn with both how the story is told and how it plays out. Art panels are often to the right as narration is to the left taking us through the story, a very different style of comics than many or releasing now. And it works, it works well. We get the story and the history from Lam’s perspective, it’s clearly her story in many ways. And with what’s told, it’d be difficult to get the same effect and focus any other way.

What Snyder and Capullo do really well is that build up. As we’re given the history and what we need to know there’s a sense that something isn’t quite right. We know it’s not due to the opening. But, what the hell is actually going on? Chapter by chapter all of that is revealed until we get to the action packed ending that feels like it’d fit perfectly in a Sam Raimi film.

There’s such style to the comic. It mixes the humor of Raimi with the horror scares of that fantastic filmmaker with the visuals and style of a McFarlane. The combo is a comic that’s full of laughs, heart, and just solid storytelling. In the debut issue the comic has its “voice” and below it well. This is a comic that knows itself in every way.

Capullo’s art evokes his work on Spawn. There’s a focus on shots that are close in playing with the reader’s imagination and designs that would fit perfectly into that earlier work. With Jonathan Glapion on ink and Dave McCaig‘s coloring it’s the visuals you’d expect from Capullo but a bit reserved in a way as well. This isn’t the over-the-type art from the duo’s later DC work but instead feels like Capullo getting back to his roots in some ways. Tom Napolitano‘s lettering stands out as well as the comic begins to twist and turn at the end delivering more personality to what is dealt with.

We Have Demons #1 is a solid start of a series. While it isn’t anything completely new it delivers its story with a certain sense of flair that makes it a really fun and entertaining read. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and you can tell all of the creators involved are just cutting loose and enjoying the comic. There’s humor underneath even the most tragic moments of the comic. There’s a solid vision for the series in every way and as a start to Snyder’s return to his “indie” roots, this points to some solid things ahead.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Greg Capullo
Ink: Jonathan Glapion Color: Dave McCaig Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

comiXology provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindle

Celebrate “Scottober” With comiXology at New York Comic-Con 2021

We Have Demons NYCC Poster

The comiXology Originals line of exclusive digital content kicks off October with the debut of the first three creator-owned titles penned by New York Times bestselling writer Scott Snyder and co-created by some of the top artists in the industry. First comes We Have Demons #1 written by Scott Snyder with art by co-creator Greg Capullo on October 5th, then on October 12th comes Clear #1 written by Scott Snyder with art by co-creator Francis Manapul. Next comes Night of the Ghoul #1 written by Scott Snyder with art by co-creator Francesco Francavilla on October 19th. Closing out the month on October 26th the wickedly curious can get a glimpse at the next five upcoming titles in a Halloween Sampler.

The “Scottober” celebration headlines comiXology’s presence at New York Comic-Con 2021. Fans at the convention can find comiXology located in Artist’s Alley at Booth #H1B5 which will be decked out for the occasion. Come take a Scottober themed selfie between 11:00am – 6:00pm daily and get an electronic image for sharing and a commemorative print out.

Exciting giveaways include limited-edition enamel pins and exclusive We Have Demons posters (available while supplies last) which you can get signed by the superstar duo during their two signings. And don’t miss their live panel conversation moderated by The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald.

Schedule of appearances below:

Friday, October 8th

4:30pm-6:00pm—Signing Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo at comiXology Booth #H1B5

Saturday, October 9th

3:00pm-4:30pm —Signing Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo at comiXology Booth #H1B5
5:00pm-6:00pm —ComiXology Originals Presents: CONversations with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo in Room 1A21.

In addition to what’s happening inside the convention, look for billboards outside the Javits Center and the nearby 7 subway stop.

Here is the schedule of debuts for the month of October: 

October 5, 2021

We Have Demons #1 (of 3) written by Scott Snyder with art by co-creator Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion with colors by Dave McCaig and letters by Tom Napolitano.

In practically every folklore throughout history, there’s a struggle between angels and demons–beings of goodness and light and monstrous beings of darkness. But what if this struggle, this war for the soul of humanity, wasn’t rooted in the mystical or supernatural, but in science? 

Lam was named after the first female angel, “Lamassu.” Lam never really understood her father’s devotion to their small-town Unitarian church. And when he dies under mysterious circumstances, she starts to question everything she thought she knew. 

We Have Demons is full throttle entertainment by two comic book megastars, featuring action, conspiracies, secret organizations, monsters, mayhem, and a climactic war of good and evil with no less than the fate of the world hanging in the balance. 

October 12, 2021 

Clear #1 (of 6) by Scott Snyder with art by co-creator Francis Manapul and letters by Andworld Design

Welcome to the future, a world where people can connect to the internet neurologically and mediate the real world through the lenses of their eyes, transforming reality. Everything can be skinned to fit a preference from steampunk to old fashioned Hollywood glamour. If you can name it, you can live it. You choose how you see the world and no one else knows what you’re seeing. 

San Francisco, private detective Sam Dunes is working a case when he’s approached by his former police partner, who informs him of his ex-wife’s alleged suicide. But nothing about this adds up. And when he receives a gift in the mail, Dunes finds himself pulled into a wild and twisting mystery that stretches from the city’s deadly underworld to the even deadlier heights of the city’s wealthy and powerful elite. 

October 19, 2021 

Night of the Ghoul #1 (of 6) written by Scott Snyder with art by co-creator Francesco Francavilla and letters by Andworld Design

It was said to be the greatest horror movie in cinematic history. Shot in 1936, “Night of the Ghoul” by writer/director T.F. Merritt was meant to sit beside “Frankenstein” and “Dracula” as an instant classic… But the legendary film never made it to the silver screen. Just before editing was finished, a mysterious studio fire destroyed the footage and killed the cast and crew during their celebratory wrap-party. Rumors of the doomed film’s greatness persist to this day, but no footage from it was ever recovered…until now. 

Forest Inman is a horror film obsessive who digitizes old films for the famed Aurora movie studio. When he stumbles across a seemingly forgotten canister of footage, his discovery sends him on a dark odyssey to the California desert, where he’s warned by a mysterious old man that the film’s ghoul is far more than a work of fiction. 

Night of The Ghoul is a dazzling work of contemporary horror, intercutting between the present-day narrative and the story of the lost film (drawn by Francavilla in stunning black and white).

Review: Undiscovered Country #16

Undiscovered Country #16

Undiscovered Country has been a fascinating series taking us on a twisted tour of what makes up America. After exploring individual liberty and innovation, the series takes us to Zone Possibility where we get to examine the myths and entertainment that have spun from the country. Undiscovered Country #16 focuses on American music giving readers a condensed history. As the issue points out, there’s a hell of a history here, far too much to pack into one issue. So, we’re given the basics and shown that there’s far more creation there than any of us realize.

In search of the Anything Engine, the issue feels like it’s full of riddles and puzzles as everyone attempts to figure out what to do next. That’s everything from singing to dealing with the “One-Man Band”. Writers Scott Snyder and Charles Soule have put together an interesting issue with Undiscovered Country #16. There’s a bit less of a funhouse feel to the issue and instead it shifts to challenging the readers in some ways. Music is presented to sign that the reader can attempt to decipher along with the characters. There’s a nice tease as a drum beat is discussed and readers can guess as to its significance and what it is before the reveal. It’s an exploration of music in both reading and listening.

The visuals for the series continue to intrigue. Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi have fun with some of the music eras hinted at. A joke about disco is groan worthy but still funny. The One-Man Band is creative and creepy in its design and presentation. The duo continue to create and explore new worlds visually while keeping the series’ look coherent and consistent. Matt Wilson‘s colors continue to enhance everything as greens and pinks help create an unease about the issue. Crank!‘s lettering enhance the emotion and delivers some punch to scenes.

Undiscovered Country #16 is an interesting issue. It doesn’t quite challenge readers about America’s essence like previous issues. But, Undiscovered Country #16 does challenge readers to think about the nation’s contributions to music. It’s an issue that will hopefully spur more investigation much like the characters within must do.

Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi
Color: Matt Wilson Letterer: Crank!
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Nocterra’s Blacktop Bill Gets the Spotlight this December

Master of horror Scott Snyder teams up with legendary artist Denys Cowan for a thrilling new penny dreadful in Nocterra Special: Blacktop Bill. This special one-shot issue from Image Comics is set to land on shelves this December and haunt fans of Snyder and Tony S. Daniel’s bestselling series Nocterra.

Behold the book of Blacktop Bill. In the wake of the first arc’s explosive finale, the origin of Nocterra’s most terrifying creature will at last be revealed in Nocterra Special: Blacktop Bill. Witness the horrors that await…

Nocterra Special: Blacktop Bill one-shot will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, December 22:

  • Cover A by Daniel & Marcello Maiolo – Diamond Code OCT210042
  • Cover B by Cowan & Chris Sotomayor  – Diamond Code OCT210043
  • Cover C blackout variant – Diamond Code OCT210044
  • Cover D 1:10 Copy Incentive B&W by Daniel – Diamond Code OCT210045
  • Cover E 1:25 Copy Incentive B&W by Cowan – Diamond Code OCT210046
  • Cover F 1:50 Copy Incentive Raw by Cowan – Diamond Code OCT210047
Almost American
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