Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter feels very familiar. Riding a wave of nostalgia, Count Crowley features material that evokes things that you already know and love. That’s not a bad thing though. The comic seems to be very specific about what it is doing, and it seems to be doing that well.
Count Crowley is a 4 part limited series from Dark Horse Comics. We’re tackling the first issue with this review. The comic follows the supernatural misadventures of a local reporter who takes over hosting duties for a midnight horror program after the disappearance of the previous host, Count Crowley. But, what starts as a second chance in Jerri Butler’s career becomes a supernatural mystery.
The comic is a collaborative effort with David Dastmalchian handling the story and Lukas Ketner on the art. Lauren Affe provides the colors, and Frank Cvetkovic is on the lettering. Dastmalchian might sound familiar to you; He was one of Joker’s goons in The Dark Knight. He was also Kurt, one of Scott Lang’s associates in Marvel’s Ant-Man. And most close to my interests, he will be appearing as Piter De Vries in the upcoming Denis Villeneuve adaptation of Dune.
Count Crowley feels a lot like Fright Night, though there are worse things for an 80s-themed horror-comedy to aspire to. There is a very similar set-up: someone dealing with a supernatural problem, lycanthropy, seeks out the aid of a TV horror host. The wrinkles are three-fold: one, the host is actually someone who seems to be dabbling in the supernatural. Two, he is missing. Three, he has been replaced on his show by a drunkard former reporter, Jerri Butler.
The familiarity works out pretty well for Dastmalchian’s story. All the familiar beats we’d expect from a project like this are in here in the first issue. The familiarity may initially feel like Count Crowley introduces nothing new. This is not true, though, these elements help to ground readers for what is to come. From Jerri the lush to the weariness of her producer brother, Ben, these elements work harmoniously to get us to what we need to know, so we can follow the real story.
The writing is strong with every character having a distinctive voice and personality. Jerri in particular is the sort of hot mess character that is perfect for these sorts of stories. The fact that she slides so easily into an on-screen persona as Count Crowley also indicates she is a much more complex person than she initially lets on.
Overall, you can definitely feel the love of the subject matter: horror, the 1980s, local television, and horror hosts. It’s all a very nostalgia-inducing package that works well as an introduction. We’ll just need to see how the remaining three issues end up.
Lukas Ketner’s illustrations are quite a strong match for the tone and spirit of the book. At times, there is a visual similarity to some of the classic, EC Comics. Specifically, the heavy black inking and shadows present across the story, particularly in the moments of mystery, terror, and sadder moments of Jerri’s existence. Ketner’s attention to detail also firmly plants the story in the 1980s, from fashion to hair, to the cars. The comic very much looks like it is set in the 1980s.
While any “action” scenes are limited in this first issue, the timing is pretty impressive where each panel feels like an appropriate snapshot of the relevant action. Furthermore, the expressions of the characters and their body language are heightened, but not enough to come off as overly cartoony. It’s all very appropriate for the story.
The coloring and color choices by Lauren Affe are also fantastic. The comic as a whole has a textured feel with little watercolor dabs. Scenes are also color graded to convey a specific mood and time as well, which I absolutely love to see. What stands out most to me, however, is the usage of blue as a highlighting element across many of the panels. The blue doesn’t quite mix in with some of the other colors and it creates a kind of strange and unique highlight.
Count Crowley starts off with a really fun issue that leaves me interested. The concept is just goofy and fresh enough cleverly evoking feelings of some other classic horror projects. (4.5 / 5)
Continue following Haunted MTL for more horror comic coverage.
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.