Welcome back to Graphic Content, Haunted MTL’s longest-running comic review series, where we’ll be tackling a new miniseries from DC Comics called Soul Plumber. This limited series is a unique one in that it is a partnership of DC Comics and the megahit podcast Last Podcast on the Left. Is this a perfect union, or does the relationship leave a little to be desired?
Soul Plumber #1
In a bit of a branding stroke of genius, DC Comics has partnered up with the team of Last Podcast on the Left to deliver a limited series of six issues. Soul Plumber #1 “With Friends Like These – Part One” features a seminary-school dropout in Indianapolis, Edgar, who continues to do his godly work in a novel fashion – as a blue-collar exorcist operating out of a gas station with stolen plans to a “soul plumbing device.” He also finds himself recruiting a disfigured veteran named Elk in the process. As it is a production from the team of Last Podcast on the Left longtime fans of the show are sure to get where this is going right away. For people unfamiliar with the show and the personalities behind it, the issue may be a bit confusing, maybe even a little offputting, but should win a few converts through fun moments of characterization and the novelty of the concept. Blue-collar exorcisms will do that.
The writing is effective, largely on the work of Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski, the main researchers of the show, but the third host, Ben Kissel, does hind his way into some of the storytelling, particularly through a number of Kisselisms that pop up. The issue is also highly referential in a couple of ways – whether it be specific references to jokes from the podcast, like Detective Popcorn, or the dialogue and themes the series looks to be exploring. As far as a first issue goes, this one is rather enjoyable and quite effective in setting up some ongoing fun. The comic hits the well of “truth in lies” pretty hard, but it is a lot of fun in the way it is handled. As far as the characters go – you could easily adapt this comic with the three leads of the podcast playing the roles. Fans of the podcast are likely to read Elk’s lines as though they spill from the mouth of Ben Kissel – though Elk’s crass nature can start to wear thin.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find myself too shocked by the direction of the plot, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. Parks and Zebrowski are hitting the major beats for the type of story they want to tell and as a first issue, there isn’t a ton of room to step outside of the first steps of the journey. Given their sense of humor and storytelling, however, I expect the second issue will introduce an interesting complication or two. For this first issue, the story goes about how you would expect it would.
The comic looks great, too. Interestingly, the art duties are split between pencils by John McCrea and PJ Holden, but there is also a bit of unity in that McCrea is the inker for the whole book. The main difference comes in the “seriousness” of the events depicted – McCrea’s pencils and style are looser, rougher, and grittier overall. Holden’s pencils are seen in specific sequences of what we’d call “soul plumbing” and have a little more “volume” in the style. Not to say McCrea’s designs are flat, but they are more stylized than Holden’s more traditional approach. It still works, however, due to McCrea’s inks.
As far as the other contributions, Mike Spicer’s colors are wonderfully gross with a lot of ugly green and yellow tones befitting the concept. Meanwhile, Becca Carey’s letters are appropriate – sound effects and dialogue balloons, have an unstable quality and the font choice is easy on the eyes. As a whole, the book really comes together from a visual standpoint and really complements the story going on.
DC Horror’s Soul Plumber #1 works as an introduction to a larger story that should appeal to fans of Last Podcast on the Left but could be a harder sell for a general audience. That being said, horror books are pretty big right now, so perhaps people might be keen for a darker, more comedic take on exorcisms – there should be enough buzz to get readers into the door. With that said, some characterization runs the risk of being a bit thin and wearing itself out and the setup isn’t anything overly shocking, but I am eager to see where the team takes the book from here. (4.5 / 5)
DC Horror’s Soul Plumber #1 (of six) is written by Marcus Parks, Henry Zebrowski, and Ben Kissel with art by John McCrea and PJ Holden and contributions by Mike Spicer and Becca Carey. You can buy it from DC Comics, or your local comic shop.
I hope you enjoyed this dive into Soul Plumber. We will continue to cover the series until its resolution and let you know what we think. If you want to share your thoughts on this comic, or pitch a comic to review, let us know in the comments!
Creepy Comics Collages by Jennifer Weigel, Part 5
Well, you won’t get rid of me that easily… Ha ha, I lied about coming to the end and the afterlife in the Creepy Comics Collages segment, it was just an opportunity for rebirth. Besides, it’s World Collage Day! So having come into another comic book to rework, here we go again…
Creepy Comics Story 9: The Voice (of God or Reason or perhaps an homage to my ex)
“Come to me my children, the voice of God awaits!… Don’t let them escape!” Please beam me up out of this weird comic collage alternate reality. “God I am your hand! Lift me… to your place. I commend my spirit!” I want to go back to dreaming about starfish.
The computer programmer behind the scenes turns to face us and smiles. “Guardians! This is a place of God!… Come to the true voice of God!” “I am everything.” “Come to the voice!” And the horrific AI generated creatures abide by his every coded word.
Just like last night in the — signs posted for Nightmare, No Exit. The deer spirit faun screams in surprise, “Eeek!” “No! I defy you!” She returns to the form of a little girl with arms outspread to the open sky. “Y’know, a day like today makes all the stuff that happened last night seem just like a bad dream!” The dream seems so real…
Somewhere in the city, the computer programmer sits up at night in pensive monologue, “You try to make a difference… But it doesn’t really matter.”
Creepy Comics Story 10: The City (Metropolis becomes self-aware)
This segment is brought to you by Dead Artists and Talking Dinosaurs. No really, wait for it…
Woooooo Uhhhh Wooooooo Uhhhh… Wump! Uff! Wump! Uff! “She belongs to The City!” The Glenn Fry 1985 hit single looms ominously overhead as Metropolis becomes self-aware. “The City… will live!… The City… will breathe!” The City gasps for air, “Got to… breathe!… Got to… Breathe!“
Her breath is the wind… Her eyes are windows. Her heart pumps fluid through buried plumbing… “I’m The City!” Her mind is The City!
And we have a celebrity appearance by Rich Koz “Son of Svengoolie” WFLD 1973: “I take a nap for 10,000 years and look what happens… some-body builds a city!” Kerwyn chimes in, “Geez! Somebody’s been busy!” And we cut out to a scene of Svengoolie standing alongside his coffin.
Well, that’s all folks. Or is it? For now, any way… until I get more comic books… Duh duh DUHHHH…
Creepy Comics Collages by Jennifer Weigel, Part 4
Wow, I can’t believe you’ve stayed the course through four whole strange story posts of these creepy comics collages. But this is the final frontier, the last segment, the standing ovation as it were. So here goes…
Creepy Comics Story 7: The Grave (shallow enough for ya?)
“It should take longer, it seems to all of them. Such holy flesh should not give before a blade so easily.” “His brow is growing so cold.” “Yes it would be. He’s dying.”
“My god… I’m not dead.” Put the shovel down. “Life is a no-win situation. Besides… You’re already dead!”
“I’m not dead. I’m not dead!… Oh, Oh my god… I can’t move… What’s happened to me?” Buried alive. Or maybe not.
“Dead?” Perhaps I am actually dead. I was expecting something… I dunno… different.
“I’m not hungry, I’m dead. I’m not sure what I’m doing here, in fact.” At least I’m not a zombie. That seems a small consolation right now though. “My organs are shutting down. It is a relief.”
“Three days have already passed.” We’re just sitting here, rotting. Like Norman Bates’ Mother. At least someone was kind enough to supply a rocking chair. “Oh, one last thing before I go… You’re doing my fucking head in.”
Creepy Comics Story 8: Adrift Afterlife (why you save the best gold coins for the ferryman)
How’d we get here? “I do not stand alone. I am sat in a boat.” “.. to be millions of miles away from any care in the world.” Was that the Ferryman? “Only liberty I know.”
“He does not remember arriving here, or if he has been here before. It is not the island he grew up on, though it feels so very familiar… He has been waiting for the night tides to come in, for they will bring starfish. He has always liked watching them cling to the beach before the current pulls them back into fathoms.”
“And the ocean brings him starfish… Perhaps his father had nothing to do with this place at all.” The ferryman stands on the far shore. It makes no difference now.
“Beneath the ocean, razor-sharp coral grows and plunges towards the surface, sent by a green place that would not like to burn.” “The sand is soft between his toes and he is not ashamed of anything.” The ghosts are here, contentedly it seems.
Thank you for joining us for these creepy comics collage art stories. But here’s where we have to leave it off. Trust me, it’s best that way. Besides I’m out of creepy comics to collage with.
Creepy Comics Collages by Jennifer Weigel, Part 3
We’re ba-ack… Are you ready for the next creepy comics collages graphic story overload? After the last time and the intermission I wasn’t sure I’d see you again, but here we are, together again. You’d almost think we put something in the water – wink.
Now where were we? Oh yeah, the world was going to hell… or was it?
Creepy Comics Story 5: Alien Invasion (A Fist Full of Physics!!!)
“Elsewhere… months… earlier…” “It begins as a flicker pin-point of light getting closer ever closer until it takes form.” The sky is falling, damn you Chicken Little.
“…unconfirmed rumors of extraterrestrials have surfaced this evening following reported sightings in upstate New York earlier today.” There’s the news for you. Always blowing things up to increase viewership ratings.
“Then I would suggest a test immediately.” ‘K Doc, we get it; maybe there’s cause for concern. Guessing these aren’t friendlies based on intel, or that the government pissed them off. “Where’s William Shatner when you really need him?”
“Next morning… City Hall…” “A Fist Full of Physics” Blamm-o! “As if that’s some kind of homage.” It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I was feeling fine but now I’m not so sure. “All of this is on your head.” You can thank the world governments with their shoot first, ask questions later policies for that.
“The act was deplorable. It’s ramifications were permanent.” Doc looks unamused. “And the doctor drones on in his cold monotone… ‘Then we all die.’”
Creepy Comics Story 6: Werewolves (Londoners, eat your hearts out)
“Fables Werewolves… no one can hear you howl.” So now we’re elbow-deep in lycanthropy? This story just keeps getting weirder and weirder…
“… I feel so… disoriented… is this vertigo?” No, you wouldn’t be so lucky. Once bitten, twice shy. It’s The Change. Prepare yourself for the transformation.
“What now?” Enough with the damned interruptions already, can’t you see I’m at work?!
“Shall we start a war?”
“No! No! Leave me alone! Leave me alone! No!“
“I know one thing.” “Never will you suffer the indignity of this animal’s touch again.” The wolf seems somewhat offended by that statement. No really. And probably rightly so.
“Maybe it’s just an excuse, a fucking cop-out for when we inevitably fuck-up our lives and hurt people… We’re not cursed, we’re rotten, or mad or…”
“I don’t deserve this!” he howls. Stop blaming the werewolves for your own human indecencies. Teacups get broken and the London werewolves get angry.
Thank you for going all in with us over this series, there’s… one… more… final… huzzah… In the meantime, check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites.