I've read a lot of comics during the inaugural year of Funny Book Splatter.  Out of all those books, I think this is the weakest bunch I've gone through to date.  Don't get me wrong.  There are a few good comics in this lot but as a whole, this was a pretty disappointing week.  Let's get into it!


Harvest #1
Published by Image Comics
Written by AJ Lieberman
Illustrated by Colin Lorimer
$3.50, 32 Pages

Harvest was a book that hooked me right when it was announced.  Great promotional artwork coupled with a killer description about human trafficking and Yakuza organ mills is pretty friggin' cool, so needless to say I was pretty excited when the first issue finally came out.  The comic is basically a string of catastrophes.  The mob needs a new surgeon when Fisher wants out and ends up in the grave.  Benjamin Dane's drug problem finally catches up with him with a bloody woman on his operating table.  Hey, maybe these two things should go together.

Author AJ Lieberman weaves this story like a screenplay.  Each scene is well paced and gives you just enough information to lead you in the direction he wants you to go with killer final panels.  It's like a mini-reveal at the end of each scene. 

These panels from artist Colin Lorimer look great, but what really shines are the colors.  He did a fantastic job with the coloring throughout the issue.  Each segment of the book has a different shade.  You can practically hear the buzz of those bright hospital lights when Dane enters the hospital.  Everything is very white and washed out.  Meanwhile, the scene with the mother getting her kids ready for school is vibrant and well-lit.  It's your average family where nothing could possibly go wrong...which makes it so devastating when something does. 

Leiberman pushes Dane to a situation where he has no good choice.  He can work with the mob or he can die.  Neither of which are great options and given his mental state at this point, he might just go with death.  This first issue is all set up, but it is expertly done.  It's like Crank if you took it down a notch and added an actual story.






Black Kiss 2 #1
Published by Image Comics
Written and Illustrated by Howard Chaykin
$2.99, 24 Pages

You know what you don't see a lot of in comics?  Giant naked women with multiple penises screwing a bunch of people in a movie theater.  Thanks to Black Kiss 2 from Howard Chaykin, I can cross that one off my bucket list.  Admittedly, I've never read the original Black Kiss that came out in the '80s, so I don't know if anything that I just read ties in to the previous book.  I would hope so because otherwise I'm really not sure what the hell I just read.

This issue is split into two chapters.  The first deals with the aforementioned movie goers in New York City in 1906.  The second has to do with a succubus, presumably the same lady with all those penises, anally raping some dude on the Titanic as the ship sinks.  Well, that's different.

Chaykin has a signature art style and it's no different in Black Kiss 2.  Men have these block heads with big jaws filled with gritted teeth.  The women can be similar, but they have breasts.  You'll see a lot of those in this issue so it's safe to say this isn't one to read with your kids.  I'm not sure you should read this at all.

Black Kiss 2 feels like it's being dirty just because it can.  Look what they can get away with on a creator owned book!  If Chaykin wants anal rape, he gets it.  There doesn't appear to be any connection between the two chapters aside from the succubus and her motives are unclear.






Alpha Girl #4
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jeff Roenning and Jean-Paul Bonjour
Illustrated by Diego Simone
$2.99, 32 Pages

In a world where women are turning into raging zombies left and right, what's a man to do?  Tough girl Judith is uninfected, but she's on a mission to find her brother.  Along the way she's picked up virgin Frank and the busty-but-brainless Penny.  This issue has her grabbing a few other members of for her team of refugees, but they all feel like throw away characters that add little to nothing to the story. 

I've dug Alpha Girl so far, but this month's issue feels light.  The characters move around, but it's mostly sight gags and gore.  The jokes are pretty funny though, such as the names of the hot dogs at Wiener World (The Walt Chamberlain is spicy blood sausage) yet some of them feel like the writers are trying too hard.

Diego Simone takes over for the artwork on this issue.  I like his style a bit more than previous artist Robert Love, although they are somewhat similar.  Simone's pencils just seem to have more life.  They're full of energy and always moving.  Jeff Rassier's cover is a pretty sweet homage to Enter the Dragon, so it's worth checking out for that alone.

Alpha Girl is a pretty fun comic, but this issue felt like something was missing.  The humor is here and so are the zombies, but there should be a little something more tying them together.






30 Days of Night #9
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Steve Niles
Illustrated by Christopher Mitten
$3.99, 24 Pages

Eben and his horde of vampires tear through the FBI office.  These people are responsible for the death of his love Stella and he wants them to pay.  He also wants to send them a message.  Vampires are done hiding.  When they come out, things get bloody.  The humans are only one side of this war though.  The old guard from Europe isn't happy with Eben's rise to power or how he is wielding it.  Of course, mankind is going to be stuck in the middle of this.

I like the overall story of 30 Days of Night.  It has a cool setup with this vampire war and Eben's goal to bring the bloodsuckers out into the open is like a more violent version of what happened in True Blood.  Unfortunately, this book is plagued with bad art.  Christopher Mitten's artwork looks like a crude storyboard.  This doesn't look like a finished product and it hurts the comic as a result.  The characters are flat with shaky forms and little detail.  It's like Mitten just scribbles the basic shape of a person and calls it a day.  I want to like this book, but the art is killing it for me.






Deadworld: War of the Dead #1
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Gary Reed
Illustrated by Sam Makkonen
$3.99, 32 Pages

Deadworld returns as a five part weekly series.  It's trying desperately to stand out amongst the seemingly endless string of zombie stories out there today.  In this one, the zombies can be smart.  Most of the time they're you're average members of the undead.  A group of humans is struggling to survive.  Some of them have been injected with a new strain of the leprosy virus in an effort to combat the hunger for flesh.  This creates ninja-like warriors who can attack the walkers without being seen because the zombies don't smell or sense them due to their dead flesh.

This gimmick is interesting but it falls a bit flat.  There was an earlier Deadworld series that I haven't read, but I think it's required reading for War of the Dead judging by the pace of this issue.  Author Gary Reed assumes you're up to speed on this world.  Aside from the leprosy angle and the occasional intelligent zombie, this is your average tale of the undead.

Average I can deal with, but Sam Makkonen's art I cannot.  His pencils might not be that bad if it didn't look like he drew everything on wax paper he found in a dumpster.  It's like Makkonen found the dirtiest canvas he could to do his work.  The characters look pretty basic, but some of the forms are pretty wacky.  Limbs are too long and awkwardly posed.  Facial expressions are out there.  This just needs to be cleaned up.






Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Evan Dorkin
Illustrated by Jill Thompson
$3.50, 32 Pages

A group of dogs and cats live in an area called Burden Hill that appears peaceful to the humans nearby.  Unknown to the bipeds, the place is filled with supernatural creatures that go bump in the night and these animals are here to protect their masters.  This is the world of Beasts of Burden.  This one-shot entitled Neighborhood Watch collects three stories that were originally published in Dark Horse Presents

The different tales included here are all pretty lighthearted.  You could share this comic with your kids.  The pets are interested in safety and teaching lessons to their children.  They border on the spooky, but it's not nightmare food.  In Food Run, they chase off a goblin that's been stealing chickens.  Story Time is a fable about a loyal dog fighting a basilisk.  The creepiest -- and best -- story of the bunch is The View from the Hill, where the gang encounters a strange group of sheep.  It's a quiet story that sneaks up on you with a nice little twist.  This one is a little darker than the others.

Jill Thompson provides some excellent painted artwork here.  Everything is bright and colorful.  You can feel that down home quality that is supposed to surround Burden Hill.  The flashback scene in Story Time is faded like an old photograph.  It's a nice effect.






Infected #1
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Scott Sigler and Chad Minshew
Illustrated by Chad Minshew
$3.99, 32 Pages

Scott Sigler's novel Infected is getting the comic book treatment.  A new breed of virus has started to spread across the country.  It shows up as small rashes all over the body that cause the victim to be insanely itchy.  They can't stop scratching.  This eventually drives them mad and they start killing everyone around them.  The police are investigating as are the CDC.

Adapting a prose novel into a funny book isn't an easy task.  Sigler has help in writer / artist Chad Minshew, but the results are pretty uneven.  Half of the book is pure exposition and the other half is a legitimate comic.  It's like the two writers split up the duties and the result is more of a book with pictures than a comic.  It makes the story feel very dry and boring.  I read comics because you're able to tell the story with the artwork and it's like they ignored Minshew's ability to draw and relied solely on the text. 

Minshew is a decent artist, but he takes some shortcuts.  Instead of drawing in all of the details, he'll occasionally throw in a real photo.  These are things like a football game on TV or some artwork on a wall.  This stuff sticks out like a sore thumb and it looks lazy. 

The ending of this first issue feels abrupt, like they just arbitrarily cut the story at a certain point to fit within the page count.  There's no cliffhanger or any real incentive to check out the next issue.






Mind the Gap #3
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jim McCann
Illustrated by Rodin Esquejo and Sonia Oback
$2.99, 36 Pages

The mystery of the attack on Elle Peterssen continues.  Her friends and family are at odds with one another as she's in the Garden, a strange place that exists between life and death.  Elle just got a new visitor there in the form of her psychiatrist Dr. Crenshaw, who is also in a coma in the bed next to her's.  Elle's memory is still lacking, but she's managed to literally pull pieces of it back to her in a frightening way.

The art team of Rodin Esquejo and Sonia Oback is really tearing up this book.  The scenes in the real world are all clean and bright, but where they really excel is in the Garden.  This place doesn't adhere to the physics of the real world so they're free to play around a bit with how things work.  The memory pull is a nice touch along with how those memories are displayed to Elle.  If this were a movie, it would be like a flash of light and a split second shot of the image.  It works very well and gets the point across.

I'm digging Mind the Gap, but I think this might be a book I'm better suited to reading in a trade.  I love a good mystery, but I hate having to wait a month between issues to get the next piece of the puzzle.  I want to figure this out now!  Although author Jim McCann points out that everyone is a suspect, but I really have no clue who the attacker might be.






Also out this week in the world of horror comics (but not covered here) were...


  • Animal Man #12 (DC Comics)
  • Swamp Thing #12 (DC Comics)
  • I Zombie #28 (Vertigo)
  • Dark Shadows Vampirella #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
  • Spawn #222 (Image Comics)
  • Planet Of The Apes Annual #1 (BOOM! Studios)
  • War Goddess #9 (Boundless Comics)
  • Courtney Crumrin #4 (Oni Press)


And in graphic novel releases...


  • 30 Days of Night: Volume 2 (IDW Publishing)
  • Crawl to Me (IDW Publishing)
  • Monocyte (IDW Publishing)
  • Helldorado: East Eats West (Ape Entertainment)
  • Lady Death: Volume 2 (Boundless Comics)
  • Dark Shadows: Complete Series - Vol 4 (Hermes Press)
  • Kindred Spirits (Markosia)
  • Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Neverland Hook (Zenescope Entertainment)


That about does it for this week's edition of Funny Book Splatter.  Was I correct in my assessment of this batch of horror comics?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!


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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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