Paper Cuts: 8/18/16

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Demonic # 1 by (Skybound/Image)

There has been a real influx of demon-driven books, even from unsuspecting creative teams.  Last week we saw Kill or Be Killed with the crime noir team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips put a demon twist on a traditional crime story.  Citizen Jack by Sam Humphries also gives us a political satire with a demon playing a role.  It seems to be infiltrating books like the recent zombie craze after the success of The Walking Dead.

Perhaps it is because this book references demonic activity in the title, I did not worry about the overuse.  Even though The Walking Dead had a lot of zombie books follow in its wake, it didn’t mean TWD did not have great stories to tell.  So it is with Demonic.

Demonic #1 was a great horror-filled troupe with solid writing that left you caring about all the characters even after a single issue.  The art was predictable and had a very simple layout, but the transformation at the end of our main character – from a man to what he becomes – was a great design, which is crucial to any slasher in the horror genre.

Ratings: 3 out of 5

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The Hunt #2 (Dark Horse)

Issue #1 was beautiful to look at, and that is what  ultimately led to picking up this second issue.  I was certainly glad I did.

The team of Colin Lorimer and Joanna LaFuente really turned the eeriness and creepiness up in this issue and it was simply captivating.

The story may have started with something familiar in issue #1, but now I have no idea where it is going and happy to be taken for a ride.  This is downright weird, and I love it.  If you enjoyed Snyder and Jock’s Wytches, then this book is for you.

Ratings: 4 out of 5

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Tales from the Darkside #3 (IDW)

I read this book and literally had no idea what was going on.  It truly felt like I missed an issue, but as you all know, I reviewed the last issue right here on Papercuts.  The story completely lost me, as the reader was given no indication of what was real and what was not.  Was that the point?  I trust this team and it was entertaining, but perhaps the format of the television episode that it was meant to be is not best suited for the comics medium.

Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

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Haunted Horror #23 (IDW)

Horror anthology? Check.  Remind you of reading comic strips as a kid? Check.  Remind you of Vincent Price movies?  Check.

I love these monthly books that IDW is putting out.  These are wonderful small collections that I really enjoy reading: they are unlike anything on the shelves because they are from a different era.  I am shocked to see them still printing monthly issues as well as large curated hardcovers.

Next month may find me reviewing each of the many stories you get with a single issue.

Ratings 3 out of 5

Paper Cuts: 7/22/16

Always Tip Your Bartender! I think that sentiment should apply to your Local Comic Book Shop owner as well.  This week, I took to Twitter to look for some more books on this horror-light week. After not a lot of response, my local go-to in Cincinnati – Maverick’s Comics – introduced me to two titles put out by Image Comics this week Wolf and The Hunt.

Instead of my normal reviews for the week, I wanted to talk about something that stood out in these books.

However, if you want my quick ratings:

Tales From the Darkside #2 (IDW) Ratings: 4 out 5

Wolf #9 (Image) Ratings: 5 out 5

The Hunt #1 (Image) Ratings: 4 out of 5

It’s was a good week for horror comic fans.

Reading all these books next to one another, one thing was clear: the art was a very high quality, which is not always a given in the horror comics genre.  I expect higher quality with Image and IDW, and they did not disappoint.  he most interesting part of these books was not the line work or the colors, but the actual panel work.

paper cuts - tales from the dark side

Tales From the Darkside was a fun story, but told in a more traditional panel style that did not stand out.  However, knowing that this project was a failed relaunch of the TV show, it would make sense that most of these panels had been worked out in a traditional sense to go with the scripts that Joe Hill produced.  In that way it made for the least interesting book win regards to panel work.

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The Hunt took another step forward when it came to panel structure.  While a lot of the book stayed with grid selection, it would add small touches.  When our main character is wandering into her parents’ room to a strange glow, it moves from two neat square panels to a slight tilt of the small panel which truly increased my intrigueto the same level of intrigue the character felt coming into the room.  It is a subtle touch of storytelling and was extremely effective to set the mood, all without a single phrase of dialogue.  While I do not want to give too much away, there were also some large full-to-double-page spreads that really only occurred when one group of characters appeared, which gave those scenes some real depth, weight, and magnitude.

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Wolf was simply beautiful and the most intriguing book I read in my entire stack of comics.  While at times the panels seemed traditional, there were other pages that simply floored me.  There were several pages which were essentially two page spreads, but over ¼ of them would be all white with only a small sentence of dialogue.  It added some drama and forced the reader to really pay attention.  Even though I went into this book without any knowledge of the story, it felt incredibly heavy.  This type of art and willingness to take big risks is exactly why I love the medium, and it left me clamoring for more immediately.  If you pick this issue up cold, you won’t understand it, but you will understand exactly who is important, the weight they carry and the ramifications in play.  You will understand all of this, due in no small part to the bold panel construction with the stark contrast of white.

If you like what you read or have your own thoughts about comics panels, tweet out the link to the column and use the #comicpapercuts. If you want to read more, follow Ryan and look his other comic columns and interviews over at Two Headed Nerd.