"The Gravediggers Union #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Wes Craig
Illustrated by Wes Craig and Toby Cypress
Colored by Niko Guardia
2017, 40 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on November 1st, 2017
I don't entirely know what a “ghost-storm” is, but it sounds terrifying. These are the types of things that happen in The Gravediggers Union, and it's just the tip of the iceberg. This is a version of our world where the supernatural runs rampant. Zombies and vampires are a constant threat and only the Gravediggers Union stands to protect us. They do much more than just digging graves. Think of them as a gruffer version of the B.P.R.D.
This series first saw life as a short in Wes Craig's BlackHand Comics. I asked him about it at New York Comic Con a few years ago and he said it was something he would want to develop further. I'm so glad he's doing it here, taking on writing duties and illustrating the first few pages. It's such a great concept that has greatly expanded from the tale in that previous collection.
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Craig and artist Toby Cypress take time to introduce the key characters, giving you a sense of each of them as well as their role within the Union. In some instances, it's like a buddy cop movie with the internal politics. Think Lethal Weapon if Riggs and Murtaugh had to kill zombies instead of jerks with diplomatic immunity. They still have to deal with a hard-nosed boss who's tired of their antics.
Cypress' artwork is insane. He presents a trippy look at the supernatural that makes it more unsettling and horrifying. Coupled with Niko Guardia's colors, The Gravediggers Unions has an old-school feel, like you've unearthed a buried tome from the exploitation era. Every page has these eerie swabs of color on them, like sunlight distorting the lens of a camera. This reinforces that old look.
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All of the monsters are ripped right from nightmares, but the junk golem really stands out. It's this horrific mass of organs and garbage, standing three times as large as a man. Everything about it is unnatural. While your mind is wrestling with the very idea of its creation, your eyes are disgusted by what they're seeing. If the Ghostbusters had encountered something like this instead of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, they would have retired after their first mission.
There's a bit of social commentary in The Gravediggers Union showing our disconnect from the world around us. The crowds are desensitized to the horrors they see, running to their phones before trying to do something about it. Corporations loom over them like specters from afar. You have to wonder if this world is worth saving or if it deserves what's coming to it.
The Gravediggers Union is off to a tremendous start. It's got a great premise, awesome artwork, and brilliant colors that come together to make this perfect horror package. This is an impressive and oversized debut issue.