Papercuts: 05.28.2017

Papercuts: 05.28.2017

By Ryan “HB” Mount

Blood Blister #2 (Aftershock)

Issue #1 of Blood Blister was twisted, gross, and a perfect start to a creepy story.

Issue #2 was the definition of a sophomore slump and a bit of a letdown in comparison.

The art overall had a very different feel overall.  It had too much black ink covering up Tony Harris’s typically wonderful art and dampened the enjoyment of this issue.

The story telling in this issue also seemed to be very chaotic and found myself turning back a couple pages to see if there was something missed.  I do not mind non-linear storytelling, but this felt almost frantic and disjointed.  And at the end of it, the plot and character development seemed to crawl forward if at all.

Overall, knowing Phil Hester and Tony Harris are some of comics best creators, this issue feels like a disappointment, but due to issue #1 being so incredibly strong, despite this issue, readers should continue to check out this series, especially those who love the body horror genre.

Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

Underwinter #3 (Image)

This comic is not going to be for everyone and that is okay.  This appears to be a series that people are either going to love or hate.

The art is very, VERY, lose.  It is a mixture of simple pencils and watercolors with no real definition and very little texturing.  Seeing an artist pencil lines in a main stream comic is not something I want to see all the time but found it to be a treat for this series.  Overall because the art is so loose and sparse, it challenges the reader to put the story together and makes it feel more like interpreting a painting than reading a comic.

The story is rather simple, one of a group of dysfunctional and struggling classical musicians given a chance to perform under strange circumstances and something darker and evil guiding them.  The first issue was the introduction to the players and their employer, and the second issue took a deeper dive into character development.  This plot was nearly loose as the art on issue #3 and now that we know the characters and what they are doing, something is happening to them for the worse.

Ray Fawkes is the creator, writer, and artist and deserves to be commended for pushing boundaries of the comics medium and still offering up a compelling story.

Ratings: 4 out of 5

Plastic #2 (Image)

Writing a compelling serial killer as a main character is not always easy, but works like Lady Killer over at Darkhorse and TV’s Dexter that you can write a character who is normal in all other aspects other than their night activities and have it be compelling.

Writing a deranged, unhinged lead character is often a struggle.  They often turn into humor pieces like Marvel’s Deadpool.  Or worse yet, Marvel’s newest attempt to give Bullseye his own solo series that ended up being humorous for the wrong reason or lackluster at best.

Yet, in Plastic #2, Doug Wagner gives us the story of a man, off his rocker, obsessed with plastic and his blow-up girlfriend and are invested in a character that in the wrong hands would be a disaster.  Without having to state a code of ethics for the character, Wagner works with artist Daniel Hillyard to show that he is not out to kill everyone for the sake of killing, but there is a method, although not completely understood method to his madness.

Hillyard’s art has simple line work and is cartoony, but helps keep the story from being too dark and creepy.  There is an overall lightness that comes from his human expressions that works perfectly.

Ratings: 4 out of 5

 

If you like what you read, make sure to like it and share it on all your social media platforms.  If you want to suggest a book to review, make sure to tweet at me @hebruise . Make sure to follow me and check out all my comics work at horror-writers.com (@horror_writers) and over at twoheadednerd.com (@twoheadednerd)

Paper Cuts: April 26, 2017

Paper Cuts: April 26, 2017

By Ryan “HB” Mount

Redneck #1 (Skybound/Image)

Modern day Hatfield and McCoys is one of the families was full of vampires and the other led by a preacher.

While the story is not breaking any new ground, it was extremely well written and a perfect first issue.  We immediately get a sense of the Texas town, the Bowman vampire family and their rivals of the Landry Family.  Even the beginning where many creators get bogged down in info dumps, the set up here was done without feeling like I was reading a poorly constructed novel and the opening two page spread certainly helped.

The rules of the world seem simple.   Vampires drink cow blood and paint thinner to avoid human blood.  They are still vulnerable to sunlight but nearly immortal.  There also appears to have some telepathy, but not fully defined.

The art of Lisandro Esterren has a lot of sketchiness of Jason Latour with some facial work similar to Howard Chayakin.  As with any book written about vampires, creatures of the night, you would expect the book to have an overall dark appearance.  While the book certainly let the reader know if you were in the woods at night or in a dimly lit, you were not staring at pages soaked in black ink.  The coloring from Dee Cunniffe contained a lot of cool blues and soft reds and accented the book perfectly.

This book was a perfect first issue.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

 

Jughead: The Hunger #1 (Archie)

This is simply an elseworld style tale of Jughead was a werewolf and Betty was a monster hunter.  The story is not bad, but it is not compelling.  The tone of this book was closer to Riverdale than to Archie Horror.  There was some injected humor, but I believe fans read these books for the straight horror aspects.

The art of Michael Walsh feels like a cross of Jeff Lemire and Francesco Francavilla.  Now while to compare the art styles to two of the greatest working in the industry right now could seem like high praise, there was also some art that felt extremely rushed and not finished.  While the art did fit into the Archie horror universe well, it simply does not hold up against Afterlife with Archie and The Chilling Tales of Sabrina.  This is the second book reviewed this week that features colors of Dee Cunniffe.  Her color palate is perfect for horror books and should be a name to look forward to seeing when it comes out.

One thing that always made the Archie Horror universe so special was that even though the books came out sparingly is that they were so well done, it was worth the wait.  In this case, it was such a step down in overall quality that this is a totally passable book.

Ratings: 3 out of 5

 

Quick Cuts:

Plastic #1 (Image) – What is Joaquin Phoenix from Her was in love with a plastic doll and a murdering psychopath?  Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

The Atoll #2 (Big Pictures) – Human vs Shark fighting ring drama.  Ratings: 4 out of 5

The Beauty #14 – This arc is Hannibal Season 1 type of drama and creepiness. Ratings: 4 out of 5

Grimm Tales of Terror: 2017 April Fools Edition – It certainly lives up to the title of April Fools, with each story providing a “twist” ending.  However, it still was incredibly unclever and not scary. Ratings: 0.5 out of 5

Grimm Tales of Terror (Vol. 3) #4 If you fear clowns, this will terrify. For the rest of us? Ratings: 1 out of 5

 

If you like what  you read make sure to like it and share it.  What are you reading right now?  What would you like to see us reviewing?  Make sure to reach us at @hebruise and @horror_writers

Papercuts: 03-22-2017

Papercuts: March 22, 2017

By Ryan “HB” Mount

This week, we take a look at the reintroduction of two fan-favorite characters, Vampirella and Marvel’s Man-Thing with new jumping on points and big departures from status quo of the characters long histories.

Vampirella #1 (Dynamite)

After reviewing the #0 issue, there was a ton of mystery of where this series was heading.  I never would have thought from #0 that we were getting Vampirella in dystopian future Los Angles.  Perhaps as comic readers, we should welcome drastic changes and see where the story leads before rushing to conclusion.

This should not come as a surprise, but it felt like Paul Cornell was writing another episode of Doctor Who and not Vampirella.  There was a huge world presented with a lot of mystery and not a lot of explanation.  There was also some future speak dialogue which was alright for an opening issue, but hopefully does not bog down the story for the long term.

The art in this issue was fantastic.  While I appreciate the mood that the zero issue had set up, this set up a much different landscape.  There are remnants of Kirby and Moebius in the design work and spoke to my sensibilities.

There is also something to be said about a book taking a lot of chances.  There appears to be another narrative happening outside the panels on the page and certainly not conventional, I again think that a book taking some risks, should be something given some praise.

While this book is anything but traditional Vampirella, there are so many interesting things happening that this new launch deserves several issues before making a full judgement.

Ratings: 4 out of 5

Man-Thing #1 (Marvel)

If you were a child of the 1990’s and you saw that teen horror writer, R.L. Stine was writing a comic book, you would naturally be excited.

While for a long time, Man-Thing has been a lumbering and haunting character with oddly defined powers of portal jumping and instilling total fear into people, Stine decided to take the character in a completely new and different direction and is bound to rub some longtime fans the wrong way.

After reading this issue, you are left wondering if Stine had recently watched the 2005 film, Man-Thing which wanted to tell a funny story of how that film came to be made.  There were certain references from character designs to statements from characters in the book that leads us to that conclusion.  I was unsure if Stine was going for a Howard the Duck type of story for this book, but there the writing was not clever enough to hook readers.  The departure was so far removed from the original character that many old-time fans will have nothing to grab onto and new readers won’t have enough either.

The art was fine and seeing Man-Thing on the page was a real treat, when it came to everything else, it seemed clunky and rushed.

Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

 

Quick Cuts:

Zombie Camp #1 – This is a book has its issues, but it is intended for kids. Enjoy the simplicity.  Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

The Darkness Visible #2 – Mike Carey continues to tell a compelling story of a society where demons and humans struggle to co-exist.  A couple more layers added on in this issue.  Ratings: 3 out of 5

Eclipse #5 – New Arc.  Go back and pick up the trade, then jump in. Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Grim Tales of Terror (Vol. 3) #2 – Teen horror meets idle hands. Ratings: 2 out of 5

Grim Tales of Terror (Vol. 3) #3 – New art style for the book. Typical fare. Ratings: 2 out of 5

Richard Corben’s Shadows of the Grave #3 – The art alone is enough to add this to your monthly reading, but the creeps and scares keep it essential for any fans of the genre.   Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Lady Killer 2 #4 – Dexter meets Mad Men. Beautiful art.  Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Spook House #3 – Horror Anthology for kids! Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

When not writing about horror comics, Ryan enjoys long walks on shark infested beaches or at least watching them on the screen.  If you like what you read, tweet out the link to the column and use the #papercuts.  If you want to read more, follow Ryan @hebruise and look his other comic columns and interviews over at Two-Headed Nerd.com.