Welcome to the latest installment of Haunted MTL’s comic review column, Graphic Content. We’re switching things up this week, but we will get into why that is after the reviews. This week we’re covering the comics that crossed my radar the week of Sept. 5th, 2022. What horror goodness is awaiting you in local comic shops? This week we’re covering Killadelphia #24 and A Town Called Terror #6, in addition to two new titles, Shock Shop and Parasomnia: The Dreaming God.

Killadelphia #24 – “The End of All – Part VI – Time To Die”

'Killadelphia' #24 cover depicting the newest force in the comic - a Haitian revolutionary turned vampire hunter named Toussaint

We last reviewed Killadelphia‘s 21st issue. This week we’re catching the latest installment, issue #24, titled “The End of All – Part VI – Time To Die.” This issue follows up the declaration of war between the surprising allies of vampires, werewolves, and a witch, as blessed vampire hunters are on the approach.

As a whole, the series continues to expand and the scale of the conflict has gone beyond merely vampires to something a little more cosmic. The forces of good and evil have their soldiers and the imminent clash promises a great amount of excitement. Rodney Barnes has done a great job in this issue positioning the characters and their relationship to the conflict. We see some losses, but the conflict still has a ways to go before it resolves.

Visually, Jason Shawn Alexander presents a wonderful character-building moment through his art, depicting a character’s childhood recollection in childish, crayon-illustrated images. The double-page spreads in particular offer some highly cinematic moments as well. Luis Nct’s colors contribute significantly to the affair, with many pages in an apocalyptic red overlay.

Impressions of Killadelphia #24

Killadelphia‘s 24th issue presents some positioning of characters before the massive battle between literally forces of good and evil. What began as a series about vampires in Philly has become an exploration of the nature of humankind and monsters punctuated with stories and experiences of the sins of the past and their legacy to communities of today.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Killadelphia is written by Rodney Barnes and illustrated by Jason Shawn Alexander. Luis Nct handles colors. You can find Killadelphia via Image Comics or your local comic shop.

Shock Shop #1

'Shock Shop' #1 depicts two skuls and spines in an embrace with plant growth set against a moonlit night... creepy!

Cullen Bunn’s series Shock Shop opens with a tribute to horror hosts and the comic creeps of Creepy and Tales From the Crypt. The whole issue is comprised of anthologized tales The first is titled “Something in the Woods, in the Dark.” The first store presents a tight little body horror story intermixed with relationship drama among a circle of friends on a hike.

The second story, “Familiars,” follows a divorcee who moves into a new home that presents an initially helpful presence. The story plays on folkloric stories of elves and gnomes with a twist.

Both tales “end” at a cliffhanger, to be continued in the following issue. Yikes.

Danny Luckert’s illustrations in the first story are excellent, finding the right balance between realism and comic-book illustration. I also appreciate some of the character likenesses, which almost cast the live-action adaptation of this story we may see someday. Luckert also does a fantastic job with the colors, allowing the character line art to stand out without muddying the results. It does what Alien did, but much stronger.

Leila Leiz’s illustrations for the second story are decidedly rougher in style but thematically appropriate to the story. There is a whimsy in the art that reflects the whimsy of the associated story.

Impressions of Shock Shop #1

Shock Shop presents the horror anthology comic, like Creepshow, with a twist in that stories are not contained to a single issue. Both features in this first issue will be continued in the second issue. It’s a novel approach, and at least for the first two features it works pretty well. Specifically, each ends with a little shock, and the single-page introductions with series host Desdaemona Nimue Moreau.

With that said, an anthology series where the anthlogized tales are stretched over two (potentially more) issues may run the risk of wearing thin. With that said, this issue worked out quite well.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Shock Shop is written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Danny Luckert. You can find Shock Shop via Dark Horse Comics or your local comic shop.

Parasomnia: The Dreaming God #1

One writer, two books this week as we dive into Cullen Brown’s Parasomnia: The Dreaming God. The series involves the search for a missing child in a cyberpunk reality set against the real world and a dreamscape.

While Shock Shop was fun overall, Parasomnia feels dreary and is a bit of a slog to read through. The dialogue, in particular, struck me as very clichéd and took me out of the story. I felt a little bored by it. The hook of a missing child was not enough to endure the sheer amount of “things” introduced in this first issue. Cults in a cyberpunk future should be cool, but this feels tiring.

Andrea Mutti’s artwork, however, is dazzling and makes a bleak but visually interesting cyberpunk future. The usage of watercolors across the heavy black inking works out quite well and gives the setting a textured quality, as though steam and grime pervade every square inch of this future.

Impressions of Parasomnia: The Dreaming God #1

Cullen Brown’s second book that crossed my radar this week left me feeling pretty cold. There is a lot going on; the juxtaposition of contemporary and cyberpunk settings, and glimpses of a more low-tech one, feel a little much. The script tosses readers into the deep end and hopes they can pick up on what is going on. The dialogue, in particular, crosses the line between vague and expository like a tug-of-war.

Visually, this is a gorgeous comic, and Andrea Mutti deserves praise for the art. The setting isn’t anything new and her vision of cyberpunk is about what one would expect. However, through the heavy black inking and watercolor coloring cyberpunk takes on a dreamlike quality.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Parasomnia is written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Andrea Mutti. You can find Parasomnia via Dark Horse Comics or your local comic shop.

A Town Called Terror #6

Cover of 'A Town Called Terror' #6 depicting a hand grasping a small crucifix amidst a smoky red sky and a church skyline

A Town Called Terror is some parts Dark Shadows stitched together with the works of Clive Barker and a dash of the rural oddity of Twin Peaks. The comic so far has been an interesting one but a bit stilted due to the pacing.

Steve Niles only works with about 25 pages an issue on a slow-burn family drama is interesting enough but can also be frustrating. Just as frustrating is that there is a lot of information about Terror itself that would be great to have but is just hinted at. None of the characters have pulled me in, either. I am at issue #6 and have yet to feel much for anyone besides Julie, who is only now finding her way into the events after Henry was kidnapped.

Putting it another way: the comic features a deadly brawl that I felt no real investment in because six issues in, I hardly know the characters in that they are hardly characters.

Visually, the comic is fun, albeit very, very red. Symon Kudranski works from heavy photo references, but the inking style compliments them well, drenching his figures in noirish shadows. Due to the photo referenced figures, the posing can feel a bit stiff, however. The posing saps the excitement of what should have been a dynamic battle scene between a father and son.

Impressions of A Town Called Terror #6

A Town Called Terror has been a breezy read issue to issue, but it has also been a little superficial with some somewhat generic beats, almost predictably. A character will be mentioned in a conversation early on, only to make a shocking appearance by the end of the issue. The dialogue is also fairly rote with character voices blurring together. The setting itself is hinted at having all of these interesting dynamics we do not get to see as we’ve been stuck in six-installments of turgid family drama.

But hey, at least it looks pretty good.

2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

A Town Called Terror is written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Symon Kudranski. You can find A Town Called Terror via Image Comics or your local comic shop.

Graphic Content Going Forward

Permit me, if I may, to explain the changes in this installment of the column and the plan going forward. For a long time, I have struggled with what exactly the column should be because, if you have seen previous installments, you’ll see I can be a little wordy in my assessments. It’s not necessarily bad because I have a lot to say as someone who draws and writes comics. However, it makes it hard to keep current when I realize I am pouring a few hundred words into a title or two a week if I am lucky.

So, a couple of things: the goal is to do this weekly, which means that I will try to review the latest releases as I stumble across them and as budget permits. I also may not be 100% up to date and may review a release a week or two later based on what is on my plate. My goal is to review at least three titles a week. That also means some weeks, there may not be many horror comics. In lean weeks I may dip into some older titles for fun.

If you miss my more long-form comic reviews and insights, I would suggest keeping an eye out for the next installment of Graphic Content: Just Swamp Things, which I am desperate to return to. I want to continue following the series from the earliest run up through the Alan Moore era.

But, dear reader. What do you think of the approach? Sound off in the comments, and let us know what comic sounds best to you.

About the Author

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

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