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

Paper Cuts: 2/6/17

Aliens: Defiance #9 (Dark Horse)

The last time I checked in with the Aliens series was during the initial launch of the Prometheus line back in 2014.  It is not that those comics were bad, but there were a bit wordy. If I remember correctly, it was just not compelling enough to keep reading after the first several issues.

I rarely will mention cover art in these reviews, but it was beautiful, dark, and creepy.  It was drawn by Stephanie Hans whom I have enjoyed since she first appeared in the interior of a Superior Spider-Man one shot.  Hans has a water color, painted style that is soothing and haunting.

Brian Wood continues to be one of the most workman, versatile writers in the entire comic industry.  Wood can write post-apocalyptic landscapes, Viking and Revolutionary warriors, and major two characters as well as anyone else.  All of these previous stints make Wood the perfect writer for a well thought-out Alien series.  This book had all the markings of what has made the series a lasting icon.  A small desperate cast, an emotionless android, government schemes, and the lurking notion that an xenomorph is lurking on a ship in cold black space.

The interior art is not only great on its own merits, but compliments the story well.  It was done by Wood’s long time DMZ collaborator Tony Brescini.  Each character wears their emotions, or lack of, on their face across the entire book and could tell a story even without any dialogue.  Brescini’s art in this book is simple and compelling.

Not only am I looking forward to issue number 10, but also looking forward and going back and catching up on the entire series.  If one main reason for licensed properties is to get readers to further engage in the universe, anyone who reads this book will be lining up at the doors of the theaters in May.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Quick Cuts:

Zenescope launched the third volume of Grimm Tales of Terror.  It was standard affair for that series with serviceable art and Tales of Crypt one shot storytelling.

Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

Spell on Wheels from Dark Horse delivered a lackluster issue in what was one of my favorite miniseries of the years. I’m hoping the final issue delivers like the first three issues.

Ratings: 3 out of 5

 

She Wolf from Image launched a new arc with #5 and the art alone is worth a read, but this entire series is worth catching up on as well.  The best comparison would be a cross between Archie and Twin Peaks.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Paper Cuts: 1/30/17

 

Richard Corben’s Shadows on the Grave #2 (Dark Horse)

This book still stands out with beautiful black and white, classic horror style art.

The first issue’s strength were the chapters coming before the main overarching tale. This issue’s strength came from the ongoing and absolutely terrifying and brutal art of the Cyclops monster.

This book is for any fan of classic horror art or films like Jason and the Argonauts.

Ratings: 3 out of 5

 

Norman: The First Slash #2 (Titan)

Norman is a series imported from Europe about an 8-year-old serial killer.  It is a blend of Dexter and Invader Zim.  The premise and art lends itself to be something you would see on an Adult Swim line up.

Overall, the book is a lot of fun with bright colors that really keep the book light-hearted and humorous despite the subject matter.

The only critique is that before learning this book was translated, the dialogue felt off and I believe that is because the first language was not English, but it was still very enjoyable overall.

If you never read any of the European Editions of this series, you can hop on with issue #1 of The First Slash and be fine.

Ratings: 3 out of 5

Die Kitty Die #4 (Chapter House)

The arc finished and I still cannot say enough good things about this series.

It was my favorite mini-series of 2016.  While issue #4 was a little less tongue-in-cheek and a little more adult, it still was extremely enjoyable.  The pinups and fake ads in this issue make this a must pick up for any comic art enthusiast.

I am looking forward to the next installment: Die, Kitty, Die: Hollywood or Bust, arriving in May 2017. Make sure to pre-order!

Ratings: 4 out 5

White #2 (1First Comics / Devil’s Due)

One of the strengths of this book may actually be the digital format.  The storyboard format helps build the suspense of what lurks in the water below.

On top of the sharks circling below our main character, there is another mystery happening which compels you to keep reading and wondering what is happening.

Sharks and comics are hard, but this series is really nailing it.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Quick Cuts:

Hook Jaw #1 (Titan) was released, and, after reading White, it fell just a little flat.  It felt more like a Jaws: The Revenge or Deep Blue Sea.  Enjoyable, but missing some suspense.

Nailbiter #28 from Image Comics came out last week. It was another fantastic issue. The series is wrapping up with issue #30 and if you have not jumped on at this point, now is not the time to do it.  Check out the first trade for $10 on Amazon or at your local comic shop.  Be on the lookout while we try and celebrate the series once it has concluded!

Paper Cuts: 11/4/16

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Hellchild: The Unholy #1 (Zenescope)

This book was simply perplexing.

Zenescope has not been known for its stellar art, but when you first open this book, there was some truly great art.  It had me wondering, “who is this?”  The credits list Renzo Rodriguez as the artist, but the art and lettering is so wildly different from segment to segment that it feels like it had to be a collection of artists.  Assuming Renzo drew the first 4-5 pages, they were incredibly well done.  It went from a book that I felt like I had to read to a book I wanted to read.

However, the book then stops all momentum and gives you a full page of written backstory which is almost never a good story telling device; it usually spells doom for films that do not trust the story they have.

The art after that then appears to have been drawn by a completely different artist.  It is extremely jarring.  The easiest way to take me out of a book is poor lettering, and that’s exactly what happened here.  If that was not already challenging, the book seems to change art styles at least one more time.

The actual story that was told in the beginning of the book seemed to be setting up a great supernatural mystery and had me on board.  However, after the text page, we meet the “hero” of the book.  Hellchild is an uninteresting character and the writers feel like they have to justify how badass she is by turning the remainder of the book into one long, gory fight scene.

After all the fighting, the writers spend a couple pages trying to make Hellchild a brooding loner, but instead the writing is just amateur to put it as nice as possible.

The art in the beginning will force me to pay attention to this series, but if the inconsistencies continue, I will hold out my hopes for Renzo Rodriguez to see what he will do next.

Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

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Nailbiter #26 (Image)

26 Issues in and there has not been a single dull moment in this entire run.

If you need more Hannibal Lecter in your life, this book is a must read.

The payoff in this issue is huge if you have been reading the series from the beginning.  While you could jump in with this issue, the reveal in the book is much more satisfying after spending time with these characters.

I know it is only November 2nd, but after a month of Halloween inspired tales, this tale of murder during the Christmas season seemed refreshing.

Ratings: 4 out of 5

pc-eclipse-3

Eclipse #3 (Image)

If you enjoyed the type of horror in John Carpenter’s The Thing, then you should be reading this wonderful series.

This series is the perfect dystopian future/murder mystery.

The art continues to amaze as it is so bright yet continues to be so bleak.

My only criticism is that the story telling felt very quick and would not have minded to have it breathe a little bit more.

Ratings: 4 out of 5