"Axmaniac" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Zombieburger Productions
Written and Illustrated by Ammar Al-Chalabi
2018, 24 Pages
The slasher is a pillar of the horror genre and Ammar Al-Chalabi is adding another brick to it with Axmaniac, a new one-shot tribute to the classic slasher movies of the '80s. The comic features an ax-wielding madman who hacks and slashes his way through a group of college co-eds out for a raucous camping trip. This is the latest in an ever-growing list of reasons that I will never go camping.
Al-Chalabi's artwork is a little cartoony in style, which makes the huge amounts of blood and gore all the more shocking. He leans into the insanity these stories contain with some of the most elaborate kills in recent memory. This killer is very skilled with an ax and he leaves a trail of bodies behind him.
We don't get a long origin tale or even a ghost story told around the campfire about the Axmaniac. You don't need that for this kind of comic. He's just there. He suddenly appears and starts cutting people in half. That's all that's required because you know what you're getting into from the jump, and boy does it deliver.
|Click images to enlarge|
The design for the Axmaniac is simple yet effective. He's massive in size and clad all in black. A dark mask covers his face, preventing us from learning anything about his features or emotions. He never speaks or even makes a sound as he stalks his prey. This is a not-so-subtle homage to Jason Voorhees and it's perfect.
The co-eds run for their lives in a futile effort to escape from this masked killer. Along the way they encounter a series of slasher tropes that will make any longtime fan of the sub-genre smile. The victims check off every box in the stereotype list like the slut, the jock, and the innocent girl.
Axmaniac is most definitely a fitting tribute to the classic slasher movies of a bygone era. It's fun, gory, and absolutely relentless. If you grew up watching Friday the 13th movies, this is a must read. The comic has a satisfying conclusion, but the door is left open just wide enough to continue the story at a later date. I certainly hope we get more.
At the time of this writing, Ammar Al-Chalabi is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the release of Axmaniac.