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Review: A Town Called Terror #1

A Town Called Terror #1

A new horror series from Steve Niles is going to get me to take notice. Having Szymon Kudranski makes me even more intrigued. So, going into A Town Called Terror #1 I only knew the basics of the flavor text released and the duo’s previous works to set my expectations. A dark, brooding mystery, with an interesting build is what I thought the first issue would deliver and for the most part, I was right.

The teaser text for the series describes a story about a husband who is kidnapped and the wife that has no idea why and trouble proving that he has been. That alone had me hooked as a concept. Was she making it up? Is there something more? But what Niles has cooked up is something rather different. We generally know why the husband has been kidnapped. We don’t know why things were handled the way they were. It’s a mystery but not at all as to what I was expected. That teaser concept is there but A Town Called Terror #1 is far more different than just that.

The debut issue teases us with family drama and a “magical” world but the details are scarce. It seems to have to do with monsters and a son who wanted to get away from it all but beyond that, we’ll have to keep on reading to discover all of the details. It’s an intriguing start, just not what I was expecting.

Kudranski’s art, along with Scott O. Brown’s lettering, creates a dark and moody world. It has a feel in some ways of old-school horror comics and stories where the small details tell as much about the world as everything else. As our kidnapped victim is taken home, we’re treated to creatures, statues, plants, and more that tell us stories about the world he’s entered. The comic opens in a laboratory which too begs the reader to linger and attempt to discover what’s going on. The comic is visually nice but it’s the small details that really stand out here.

A Town Called Terror #1 is an interesting start. It’s not what I expected at all. I thought I was getting into a psychological horror story about a missing husband. While that’s there, there’s also elements of a pulp horror story about family. It’ll be interesting to see where it all goes but as far as starts, this is an intriguing one.

Story: Steve Niles Art: Szymon Kudranski Letterer: Scott O. Brown
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Pantera and Z2 Celebrate 30 Years of Vulgar Display of Power with a Graphic Novel

Z2 Comics reaches “a new level” in 2022 with the release of an ambitious graphic anthology paying tribute to one of the biggest bands in the history of heavy metal, whose innovative fusion of groove and hardcore served as one of the defining sounds of the 1990s: Pantera! The Vulgar Display of Power graphic novel unites famous fans of the band throughout comics and music to team up on adaptations of all eleven of the album’s tracks.

Creators including Alan RobertEric PetersonKeith BuckleyBurton C. BellSteve NilesTony Lee, and illustrators Brian EwingRyan J. DowneyErik RodriguezRyan KellySteve ChanksKevin MellonJohn Pearson, and Danijel Zezelj will each offer a unique interpretation inspired by the lyrics and music to create a whole new way to experience this landmark work of heavy art. 

Fronting this legacy of admiration and talent, legendary tattoo artist and friend of the band Paul Booth provides the stunning cover art, showing the grisly aftermath of the sucker-punch cover photo from the original album. 

Z2 and Pantera present Vulgar Display of Power in both softcover and hardcover formats, as well as deluxe, super deluxe, and platinum editions packaged with an exclusive vinyl variant LP of the classic album, gallery ready prints by Danijel ZezeljErik Rodriguez, and Alan Robert, signed editions from Philip Anselmo and Rex Brown, plus more available exclusively through Z2’s webstore! Also available in a limited and numbered edition will be a one-time release of a special Pantera “punch action” resin statue, paying tribute to the album’s iconic cover art.

Welcome to A Town Called Terror

Masters of the macabre Steve Niles and Szymon Kudrański present new cutting-edge horror in the upcoming, A Town Called Terror. This ongoing series will launch from Image Comics in April.

In A Town Called Terror, Henry West is brutally kidnapped in the middle of the night while his wife Julie watches, terrified. Henry awakens to the reality of his whereabouts, but Julie, with no evidence of the phantom crime, is unable to get help to search for him.

A Town Called Terror mirrors the dark, paranormal tones of Midnight Mass but with the criminal machinations of Ozark and is a must-read for horror fans to add to their wish lists.

A Town Called Terror #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, April 13:

  • Cover A by Szymon Kudrański – Diamond Code FEB220042
  • Cover B Tony S. Daniel & Kudrański – Diamond Code FEB220043

Criminal Macabre Returns with Spirit of the Demon

Dark Horse Comics and Steve Niles are teaming up again for more Criminal Macabre! Criminal Macabre: Spirit of the Demon is an all new original Cal McDonald story told as a self-contained hardcover graphic novel illustrated by Szymon Kudranski.      

Supernatural detective Cal McDonald, is ripped again from his self-imposed retirement to resume his monster-killing career after hunting down a serial-killing priest with a blood-draining knife on a trail leading him directly to the gates of Hell!

Criminal Macabre: Spirit of the Demon hardcover will be in comic shops July 6, 2022. It is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your local comic shop and bookstore. Criminal Macabre: Spirit of the Demon will retail for $19.99 and will contain an introduction from horror icon John Carpenter!

Criminal Macabre: Spirit of the Demon

Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories is Coming in March 2022

Dark Horse Comics presents the newest edition of Steve Niles’ Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories featuring two brand new tales and an introduction by the horror legend John Carpenter. This new, bone chilling collection collects the complete Criminal Macabre prose stories Savage MembraneGuns, Drugs, and MonstersDial M for MonsterAll My Bloody Things, and the two new stories The Dead Son and Out of Water.

The world has two faces. The natural and the supernatural. The face we see every day, people filing past us in an almost zombie-like stupor, numb to the horrors of everyday life or driven to madness by the pain and agony of modern-day existence. And those are the people who aren’t zombies or monsters!

Cal McDonald is a detective with one foot in the real world, and one in the world of magic. For Cal, the horrors we all dream about in the fevered darkness of the night are all-too real, kept at bay through an almost constant influx of drugs to numb the pain, but never erase it. Cut from the same mold as Sam Spade, Jake Gittes, and the famous detectives of Chandler, Hammett and Spillane, Cal McDonald, whether he likes it or not, is all that stands between us and the nightmare world just outside our vision.

Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories trade paperback will be available everywhere books are sold March 2, 2022. It is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your local comic shop and bookstore. Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories will retail for $19.99.

Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories

Underrated: Halls Of The Turnip King

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Halls Of The Turnip King.


I picked up Halls Of The Turnip King, published by Pegamoose Press yesterday from my LCS. It was written, drawn and hand lettered by Brenda Hickey. Originally released as a very limited series with a small print run, Halls Of The Turnip King also adds a thirteen page epilogue to the story, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

The plot is actually pretty simple; an elf prince goes to the dwarf kingdom to forge an alliance because the king believes a war is coming. But the prince would rather be playing video games than playing politics and doesn’t really have any idea what he’s doing. But where the plot is fairly straight forward it allows Hickey to really go to two with the humour in the book. If you like visual gags, the honouring, mickey-taking and subverting of fantasy tropes then this is going to be a book you’ll want to get your hands on.

Hickey also has some really fantastic examples of lettering and playing with the panel layouts and sound effects. One of these moments has a sound effect tapping a character on the shoulder to get his attention. I love the way that Hickey is able to work these often subtle moments into the graphic novel. It honestly wasn’t until I started writing this column that I realized just how much I enjoyed the way Hickey has drawn and lettered the comic. There’s an energy here that makes the comic feel almost Monty Python-eqsue at times, but it always feels like a complete and cohesive vision from Hickey.

There’s also a good lesson in the comic, too, but if I tell you what it is then it’ll probably give away too much of the story. The plot is fairly basic on paper, and that’s actually one of the comic’s strengths.

Hickey shows that you don’t need to have a Lord Of The Rings or Game Of Thrones/A Song of Ice And Fire style epic to tell a good story. Sometimes, a story about trying to forge an unlikely alliance can turn out to be exactly what you want to read on a Saturday morning (yes, I am writing this half an hour before publication). I read this book in one sitting, and I enjoyed each and every page of the book. Art, humour, the lettering (which is an underrated side of comics in and of itself) are utterly fantastic.

If this was a review of the book, I’d probably be looking at giving it upwards of an eight or a nine (I say this because there aren’t that many reviews of the book from what a quick google search found). But, because this isn’t a review, what I will say is that this is an Underrated gem and was worth every penny of the $30 it cost me.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Steve Niles, Shannon Eric Denton, and Dan Evans Launch Monster Forge Productions

Monster Forge Productions

Steve Niles and Shannon Eric Denton have launched Monster Forge Productions, a new company focusing on horror properties. Joining them as a creative consultant is Dan Evans a former vp, creative affairs for DC Entertainment. Niles is the co-creator of the 30 Days of Night franchise and Denton is an artist and animator.

The company is a multi-platform production division that brings together Niles and Denton’s longstanding work and creator relationships focused on film, television, interactive entertainment, gaming, and merchandising. Material will be for adults and kids.

Monster Forge will parter with artists and writers to build franchises across media and appeal to audiences of all ages.

The company already has an impressive roster of talent to work with including Star Trek: Picard supervising producer Marc Bernardin, legendary toy designer James Groman (Madballs), N.W.A. co-founder Arabian Prince, BOOM! Studios co-founder and Hellboy screenwriter Andrew Cosby, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, The Grudge 3 screenwriter Brad Keene, Hack/Slash creator Tim Seeley and the estate of legendary horror illustrator Bernie Wrightson, among others.

Drax, Juggernaut, Marvel Monsters, and Romance from Marvel and Harlequin are Your New Digital Releases

ComiXology delivers six new releases today on their digital comics platform. You can choose between releases from Marvel and Harlequin with a mix of genres. There are classic characters and classic and modern romance comics for you to read now. Check out all of the releases here and get shopping or the individual issues below.

Billionaire’s Bargain

Written by Maureen Child
Art by Sara Nakayama
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It’s been two years since Sienna divorced her cheating husband, Devon. His older brother, Adam, suddenly pays a visit to her. She always found it difficult to deal with him, yet her body sizzles when he is around. But Adam has perplexing news for her. Devon, who died six months ago, had a baby with a woman who then sold the baby to Adam! He pleads with Sienna to stay with him for two weeks to help care for the baby, and she finds she can’t refuse the offer he makes her…

Billionaire's Bargain

Drax The Destroyer: Earthfall

Written by Keith Giffen
Art by Mitch Breitweiser
Cover by Mitch Breitweiser
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Collects Drax: The Destroyer (2005) #1-4.

The crash of an interstellar prison transport spells big trouble for an isolated Alaskan town when Paibok the Power Skrull, Lunatik, the Blood Brothers and Drax the Destroyer come calling. It’s not a social call. Oh… and you think you know Drax? Big, green and not all that bright – is that the Drax you’re thinking about? You don’t know Drax!

Drax The Destroyer: Earthfall

King Of Swords

Written by Sara Craven
Art by Nasuno Amano
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Julia was astonished when she returned to her beloved home after a month away. While she was gone, her father had gone bankrupt and sold their property. The buyer was Alex, a notorious Greek man. Though he came off as rude and arrogant, he took a liking to Julia and proposed that she marry him to be able to stay in her home. Ignoring the frantic fluttering of her heart, she accepted his proposal, telling herself it was just for the house…

King Of Swords

Marvel Monsters

Written by Peter David, Keith Giffen, Mick Gray, Roger Langridge, Steve Niles, Jeff Parker, Eric Powell, Tom Sniegoski
Art by Russell Braun, Mark Farmer, Duncan Fegredo, Keith Giffen, Roger Langridge, Arnold Pander, Eric Powell
Cover by Eric Powell
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Collects Monsters On The Prowl, Devil Dinosaur, Fin Fang Four, Where Monsters Dwell And Material From Tales To Astonish #1, Journey Into Mystery #62, Strange Tales #89 And Tales To Astonish #10 – And The Marvel Monsters: From The Files Of Ulysses Bloodstone (And The Monster Hunters) Handbook.

Marvel’s monsters unleashed in four timeless tales by today’s hottest creators! In MONSTERS ON THE PROWL, it’s the Hulk, the Thing, Giant-Man and the Beast vs. a tidal wave of classic creatures when the Collector inadvertently lets loose Droom, Grogg, Goom, Rombuu, Grattu and more on New York City! In DEVIL DINOSAUR, two young Celestials debate prehistoric Earth’s superior life form. But when the ferocity of Devil Dinosaur proves no match for the opposition, a savage from the future is brought back for a battle you thought you’d never see: Hulk vs. Devil Dino! In FIN FANG FOUR, four giant monsters – incarcerated for years for their crimes against humanity – now find themselves shrunk to human size and working at the home of the very people who captured them: the Fantastic Four! Meet Googam, Son of Goom; Elektro; Gorgilla; and Fin Fang Foom! But when Goom’s mad plan to rescue his father goes awry, the quartet must put aside their differences and become – the Fin Fang Four! And in WHERE MONSTERS DWELL, witness the terror of Monstrollo, the horror of Manoo and the fright of Bombu!

Marvel Monsters

Marvel Romance

Written by Gary Friedrich, Stan Lee
Art by Sol Brodsky, Dick Giordano, Jack Kirby, Gray Morrow
Cover by Jack Kirby
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Collects Love Romance #89 And #101-104; My Love #2, #14, #16 And #18-20; Teen-Age Romance #77 And #84; Our Love Story #5; And Patsy Walker #119.

MY LOVE. TEEN-AGE ROMANCE. LOVE ROMANCE. Picking up a theme? The romance genre spanned nearly half a century, and now Marvel’s picked some of its best from the sixties and seventies! “It Happened at Woodstock!” “My Heart Broke in Hollywood!” “Love on the Rebound!” Featuring Smart Styles and Heavenly Hairdos with Patsy Walker in a pre-Hellcat tale!

Marvel Romance

Spider-Girl Presents Juggernaut Jr.: Secrets And Lies

Written by Tom DeFalco
Art by Ron Frenz
Cover by Ron Lim
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Collects J2 #1-6.

Lots of people have big shoes to fill, but how many have to fill the helmet of the Juggernaut? Teenager Zane Yama grows up fast and hits the big time headfirst when he inherits his father’s unstoppability and joins the latest generation of Avengers! J2 squares off against villains and heroes alike, including a certain green goliath who thinks he’s STILL the strongest one there is! Plus: the first appearances of the X-People and Wild Thing, daughter of Wolverine and Elektra.

Spider-Girl Presents Juggernaut Jr.: Secrets And Lies

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ComiXology Has Nine New Digital Comics including New TKO, Magnetic Press, DC Digital First, and Harlequin

There’s nine new digital comics ready for you on comiXology. You can get new releases from TKO Studios, Magnetic Press, Harlequin, and a new DC Digital First! You can get shopping now or check out the individual issues below!

Gunland Vol. 2 #7: Tribe

Written by Captain Artiglio
Art by Captain Artiglio
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Bill “Death” is dead, and now the infamous Wild Bunch is on a rampage across the valley, lead by a ghost. Meanwhile, the Cherub joins The Girl with No Name’s gang, but are his intentions legit…?

Gunland Vol. 2 #7: Tribe

Lonesome Days, Savage Nights

Written by Szymon Kudranski, Steve Niles, Salvatore A. Simeone
Art by Szymon Kudranski
Colored by Szymon Kudranski
Lettered by Thomas Mauer
Edited by Sebastian Girner
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When the one person he cares about is murdered, private detective Stu Manning unleashes the beast he’s kept hidden inside and paints the town red.

Lonesome Days, Savage Nights

Mistress For A Month

Written by Ann Major
Art by Eve Takigawa
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Amelia happens to run into the same gorgeous Frenchman twice. It must be fate! After he asks her on a date, she’s thrilled. But then she sees an article about him in the paper—he’s Count Remy, a famous playboy! She’s doubtful a man so out of her league would ever be interested in her. And it turns out what he’s really after is Amelia’s property. But can she look past his ulterior motive and use this man to teach her how to be a lover?

Mistress For A Month

Pistouvi #4

Written by Merwan
Art by Bertrand Gatignol
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Something is changing. Things arent sparkling like they used to. And suddenly the birds are making sense… The powerful conclusion to this poignant allegorical series.

Pistouvi #4

Poppy’s Passion

Written by Helen Shelton
Art by Atsumi Ryo
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Poppy is a brand-new intern working in the emergency room. She’s in a huge hurry to get to work when she bumps into a man in the corridor. It’s Tom, the man she’s always admired and who is now a skilled surgeon. Poppy wants to impress him, but she keeps making mistake after mistake in front of him. Can she forget this childhood love and focus on her career?

Poppy's Passion

Pregnant By The Boss!

Written by Carol Grace
Art by Tsukiko Kurebayashi
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Claudia has feelings for her boss, Joe. But it’s hard loving a man with such a philandering reputation. Just when she works up the nerve to resign, Joe drops a bombshell on her. He wants her to marry him! She knows he doesn’t love her, but what will the next two weeks hold as she trains her replacement?

Pregnant By The Boss!

The Pull

Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Ricardo López Ortiz
Colored by Triona Farrell
Lettered by Thomas Mauer
Edited by Sebastian Girner
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When the unstoppable cosmic force of the Undoer threatens the existence of Earth itself, disgraced government agent Brenton Demm must shake off a lifetime’s worth of regret and save us all.

The Pull

Redfork

Written by Alex Paknadel
Art by Nil Vendrell
Colored by Giulia Brusco
Lettered by Ryan Ferrier
Edited by Sebastian Girner
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Ex-con Noah McGlade returns to find his hometown decayed by opioid abuse, but he soon discovers an even more sinister horror lurking in the coal mines below town.

Redfork

Superman: Man of Tomorrow #19

Written by Dave Wielgosz
Pencils Jorge Corona
Inks Jorge Corona
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During a heated argument, the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight are ambushed by a cadre of evil Multiversal doppelgangers. It’s Batman versus Superman in this no-holds barred brawl between good and evil!

Superman: Man of Tomorrow #19

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Ronnie James Dio’s Holy Diver Heads to Comics

Dio’s Holy Diver

News of Z2’s 2021 lineup begins to roll out with news of what is sure to be one of the publisher’s most anticipated projects yet! The Holy Diver graphic novel, creating an original storyline inspired by one of heavy metal’s most iconic album covers. Acclaimed horror comics writer Steve Niles will tell the tale behind the events leading to the powerful moment captured on the cover of Dio‘s debut album, definitively addressing 30 years of fan speculation. Why is the priest being thrown into the ocean? Who is truly the villain in this scenario? All of these questions are exclusively answered for the first time within the pages of this 120 page graphic novel.

Dio: Holy Diver reunites Steve Niles with Gotham County Line artist Scott Hampton for an all-new original story, inspired by the original iconic album art by Gene Hunter and Randy Berett. Two editions are available for preorder now; both the standard graphic novel, as well as a limited deluxe edition, the full details of which will be revealed within the coming weeks. The deluxe edition will include an exclusive vinyl edition of this classic album, and both are available for preorder now through the Z2 website. Dio’s Holy Diver releases in summer of 2021.

Zeismic
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