Our indie round-up takes a turn for the horrific this week: with sinister tentacled loch monsters from Wart’s Chris Welsh in Ness; gruesome body hour in Hellhound Media’s The Disease; and an anthology of Ghastly Tales from Margeuriette Bennet and Broken Frontier.
Ness #1 and #2
Writer: Chris Welsh Art: Robery Carey, Dee Cuniffe, Rob Jones Price: TBC
After some t-rex tomfoolery with Merrick’s Tom Ward on Doc Dino, Wart creator Chris Welsh is back in the world of tentacled beasties for his new series Ness. With art from Rob Carey and Dee Cuniffe Ness is Welsh’s attempt to create a great British monster book and means that it is a dank, dark and creepy looking horror story which will make us never want to look into a Loch again after reading this! We start with a creepy looking pasty naked guy being taken out by the tentacled Nessy, and then we are off into classic horror story territory as a group of stupid teenagers get too close to the loch and raise Nessie’s ire. Welsh moves the story along quickly and the monster is quick to terrify these teens and show itself, which is an interesting move for a book like this as it seems to play a lot of it’s cards very early on (including a full reveal of the monster itself!). With another 4 issues to make up the series, we’re very curious to see where things are headed, but judging by this initial offering Welsh has created a really strong and interesting idea for a British monster book that is presented in a really slickly designed package. We can’t wait to see how it develops and feel like there could be some really unsettling moments still to come from this book.
The Disease (Hellhound Media)
Writer: Paul Kane Art: Pavel Kardis Price: £5.00 from Hellbound Media Store
If you’re a fan of David Cronenburg style body horror, then The Disease should be right down your dark, twisted little alley. The story about a man’s descent into a mysterious and unexplainable pustule covered illness owes a huge debt to the Fly mixed with a bit of Outbreak. Main character Gus is our unfortunate patient zero and we see his slow decline, his attempts to find out the cause of his illness, and the deterioration of his relationship with his girlfriend Rachel. While the subject may not be to everyone’s taste, Paul Kane’s script does a great job exploring Gus’s illness, and his metal state which gives the book a very solid and emotional heart. Instead of explaining the ‘why’ he focuses on the ‘how’ Gus has become infected, which means when the events of the final act take place you are emotionally invested in the character and his life and so genuinely care what happens to him. Artist Pawel Kardis does a great job rendering the grotesque process in every putrid detail thanks to a beautiful yet horrific painted style. It’s definitely not for everyone, but at a time when a lot of horror books either rely on overly clever twists or over the top violence, it’s interesting to read a book that feels quite so old fashioned in it’s approach. So much so that it ends up feeling like a bit of a breath of fresh air for the genre (or should that be a rank and fetid breath of air on a calm and quiet day?!)
Ghastly Tales (A Wave Blue World)
Writer: Marguerite Bennett Artist: Varga Tomi Price: £1.49 from ComiXology
Ghastly Tales sees rising star Margueritte Bennett (DC’s Bombshell’s, Batgirl, Angela) conjure up a three pronged collection of creepy tales, edited by Tyler Chin Tanner from Broken Frontier with art from Hungarian artist Varga Tomi. Although Varga works on each chapter he has a different approach to each chapter which gives the whole thing a great sense of diversity and stop it feeling too samey. Chapter one is set in Japan (complete with cherry blossom colour scheme) and sees a mistreated fiancee gain some gruesome revenge via the Koi carp gods. While chapter two (previously seen in the Broken Frontier Anthology and featuring more computer generated greys and blues) sees a female mountie have a dark awakening on the mountain tops. And finally, we get a bit Steinbeckian Deep South gothic horror in Cider which is rendered in a sickly yellow. Each of these Ghastly Tales is your fairly average indie horror anthology fare with none that stand out as truly exceptional but at the same time are well realised enough to still be pretty entertaining. The twists are nicely realised and the artwork is very good so in a genre where the quality can be quite erratic, these three very solidly put together tales manage to stand out from the crowd. So if you are a after collection of smartly written and well drawn stories with a darker edge (all for a bargain price) then these Ghastly Tales won’t disappoint.
Author: Alex Thomas
Alex Thomas is the Editor and founder of PIpedream Comics. He grew up reading comics in the 90s, so even though he loves all things indie and small press, he is easily distracted by a hologram cover.