Comic writer Cullen Bunn has successfully marked his place within the horror genre by creating stories plagued with fear, tension, and most importantly, have a way of engaging the reader. Bunn is currently helming the critically acclaimed series titled Bone Parish, by Boom! Studios, which takes readers on a surreal trip through the eyes of the dead. A new street drug, known as Ash, is engineered using the ashes of the dead to deliver a trip that drives its consumers wanting more. The Winter family, who are the sole proprietors of Ash, have found themselves in a predicament in the midst of a crime world they aren’t fully equipped to handle.
Written by Cullen Bunn with art by Jonas Scharf and coloring by Alex Guimaráes, Bone Parish delves deep into the real life horrors of crime, drug addiction, and nightmarish visions of the dead. Thanks to the art direction and colors of both Scharf and Guimaráes, Bone Parish delivers a wonderful and dark aesthetic by blending the surreal hallucinogens of Ash with the more tangible threat of drug crimes in the real world. The overall colortone of the comic expresses darker blue/green “cold” tones versus the brighter, more saturated, pink colors within the hallucinations generated by Ash. This contrast is helpful in two ways; first, it’s aesthetically appealing as it also guides the reader between the two worlds. Second, the saturated colors within the hallucinations are what make Ash so demanding as it offers an escape from the dark tones of the real world. In some cases, Ash even helps people connect with their loved ones lost in life.
These are the factors that make Bone Parish such a compelling and engaging read. The, at times, terrifying images conjured by the drug set against the crime ridden city of New Orleans offers high tension as the stakes for drug domination continues to rise. Bunn offers insight into the Winter family’s turbulent past which provides context and orients the reader about the present. It’s also Bunn’s writing that enables Scharf and Guimaráes to create a world that will completely engulf the reader into the surreal mixture of fantasy and the real world. Which world would you choose?
Bone Parish is currently on its third issue with number four ready to hit the shelves on October 31st, 2018, at your local comic book shop. Pick up the acclaimed series that ComicBook.com declares, “This is definitely a series you won’t want to miss out on”, and Multiversity Comics calls, “…equal parts intriguing, creepy, and intense”. You can also get more information regarding comic subscriptions as well as digital versions through the Boom! Studios official website below. Thanks for reading!
Cullen Bunn is a three-time Bram Stoker nominated comic writer and novelist notable for his contributions to the horror genre in comics. In recent years, Bunn has written some of the more popular titles within the genre including Harrow County and Bone Parish. On August 22nd, 2018, Image Comics published Bunn’s most recent work titled Cold Spots, in collaboration with artist Mark Torres (Zombies vs. Robots: Undercity, TMNT). According to the Image Comics official website, Cold Spots synopsys states,
“Psychological terror, the undead, and a supernaturally bitter cold come together in this spine-tingling new series from CULLEN BUNN and MARK TORRES. 10 years ago, Dan Kerr turned his back on his wife and unborn daughter. Now, both mother and child have gone missing, and Dan must face cosmic terrors to find them again. He soon finds that ghosts stir when his estranged daughter is near. And as the dead grow restless, the cold deepens…”
Bunn’s writing slowly builds on the narrative, giving a steady drip of storyline that maintains its grip on the reader. The dialogue feels natural while Bunn will emphasize certain words, in BOLD form, to provide some insight within his writing. Cold Spots does an exceptional job of providing plot and character driven elements through two mediums, the writing and the art. As Bunn focuses his narrative strictly on plot, Mark Torres’s art provides insight into characters through subtle details that at times are profound. The horror elements throughout Cold Spots are one to appreciate, which remind me of Shattered Memories with a dark detective noir twist; and issue #1 truly delivers on these elements. The initial entry is a fantastic serving of horror, thrills, and mystery and I’m excited to see how the story will unfold in the following installments.
In order to enrich the experience of reading Cold Spots, each issue will include an accompanying free mp3 soundtrack that is available through a QR code and/or a Dropbox link provided within the comic. Pick up your copy today of Bunn’s latest horror piece and enjoy the experience with the free soundtrack. Cold Spots is a limited comic series that will run for five issues. You can pick up issue #2 on September 26th, 2018 at your local comic shop, or order directly through Image Comics (link provided below).
Thanks for reading.
Victor LaValle’s Destroyer – A Review
H.P. Lovecraft remains one of the most influential writers of the 21st century, continuing to inspire countless works in the name of Chutulu. Born from the very pages of Lovecraft’s most notable works, anthologies continue to share (as well as contribute) various storylines providing further insight into the Chutulu Mythos. Through such mediums one can discover talented authors; a prime example is Victor LaValle. In 2016, LaValle published The Ballad of Black Tom, which parallels the events taking place in Lovecraft’s The Horror at Red Hook. LaValle’s novella was noted not only as a “fantastic novel of a black hustler in 1920’s Harlem”, but also as a worthy companion to Lovecraft’s original story. The Ballad of Black Tom peaked my interest in exploring other works in LaValle’s literary catalogue.
Within the recent months, a particular work of LaValle’s has circulated book retailers in the form of a limited comic book series titled, Victor LaValle’s Destroyer. Released on May 24th, 2017, Destroyer quickly became a summer sell-out as quantities dwindled the same day it hit the shelves. LaValle has described his latest work as a merging of the original Frankenstein monster with the negative influence of racism currently plaguing our nation. This underlying social commentary parallels the current negative social climate. LaValle states, “this comic idea came to me around the summer of 2015, when the stories – and footage – of black men and women and children being gunned down became a recurring motif on the Internet and on television”.
Destroyer engages its readers in several ways through its visual beauty as well as its telling of a story through a social-political lens. Artwork by Dietrich Smith perfectly captures the framework of the storyline. Micaela Dawn, serving as cover artist, brings her art to life with vibrant contrasts against the pallid environment of this morbid tale. The first few pages demonstrate her ability to effectively animate, through her use of color, the story where little to no dialogue exists.
The storyline demonstrates recurring themes of lost love as well as humanity’s lack of compassion. Dr. Baker, the protagonist, suffers a tragic loss that drives her to unimaginable ends as she seeks to fill the void in her life. Meanwhile, the original monster of Dr. Frankenstein witnesses humanity’s disregard for other life forms and commits to a path of destruction in diminishing humankind ‘s dominance on Earth.
A limited comic series of only six issues, Victor LaValle’s Destroyer is more than satisfying for today’s sci-fi/horror aficionado. Not only is the artwork engaging, the social commentary will touch home for many dealing with the negative impact of today’s social climate. Destroyer issues do not last very long on store shelves, so order yours soon or pick them up early on release dates at your local comic shop. Links provided below where you can order your copies as well from Boom! Studios.
The legacy carried by one of heavy metal’s most influential artists, Slayer, has long endured a sea of controversy throughout their career spanning thirty-five years. Since their inception in 1981, Slayer have dominated the thrash metal scene with not only the wielding power of complex riffs and speed rhythms, but their album artwork has inspired a string of controversies. The band recognizes no boundaries when it comes to artistic expression, in any form of art, whether it’s visual or musical. In recent years, Slayer suffered the loss of a founding member, guitarist as well as a key songwriter, Jeff Hanneman due to liver disease. As many questioned the future of the band, sans its critical musical contributor, Slayer continued writing new material with Kerry King, fellow guitarist, taking the reigns as primary songwriter.
In 2015, Slayer released their latest album titled Repentless, featuring Gary Holt as a fulltime replacement in Jeff Hanneman’s place. Perhaps the recent struggles have garnered a sense of purpose in an entirely new direction for the band. In an attempt to promote their latest album, Repentless, the band released a music video of the title track. Featuring a few well-known celebrities, the music video takes place in a high security prison. To describe the video as gory, violent, and bloody would simply be an understatement by diminishing the significance of its shock value. As the video gained momentum online, a storyline was set in place to film a prequel, as well as a conclusion to the Repentless music video. If placed in chronological order with respect to the story’s timeline, the videos should be played in this order; You Against You, Repentless, and Pride In Prejudice. Following the success of the video trilogy, Slayer were presented another opportunity to expand the Repentless universe using a different format; a limited comic book series.
Named after the album title, Repentless hit the shelves January 25th, 2017 with its first issue published by comic giants, Dark Horse Comics. The three-part limited series expands on the storyline of the video trilogy, maintaining the similar elements that drove the series into popularity such as the blood, gore, and extreme violence. When asked about the purpose and inspiration behind such a violent story, vocalist Tom Araya stated “ We’re telling the story that we’ve always told about society and how humans treat each other”.
Repentless focuses on Wyatt; a young man whose left his past of Neo-Nazi convictions behind. Wyatt’s actions create tension between him and his family as he is now seen as a traitor; they seek revenge by kidnapping his wife, an African American woman. Her disappearance creates a string of ruthless acts as Wyatt is brought to face his past. If you’ve seen the music videos, you’ll already have an idea how the story will end. Yet the comic series offers much more details and backstory that rather than a carbon copy of the video trilogy, readers are presented with a great companion instead.
Slayer – Repentless video trilogy
There are currently only two of the three series released at this time. The third and final issue will be released May 24th, 2017. Pick up your copy soon before the third issue hits shelves.