Horror has many variations on the same subject and things like the Wicker Man may be popular but it’s time to welcome a new version. This story takes place about 100 years after the Salem Witch trials and during the beginning of the American Revolution. It’s a time still rife with tales of terror and a vast unexplored wilderness full of strange horrors. Lou really has chosen a wonderful time in history to start his story it has all the elements you need to start off a new mythology.
I will say it started off a bit too Hansel and Gretel for me but that’s okay considering how quickly, and closely, this turned into a nightmare straight out of the Brothers Grimm. I mean c’mon right off the bat we’re into the meat of the story as these two kids, a boy and a girl, meet up with a witch in the woods on the way to Grandpa’s. What she looks like and what she does terrifies the kids.
Now here’s where I wish we were seeing artwork that was less all-ages and more like the cover. No offense to Jason but the interiors aren’t exactly horror genre stuff for me. That cover though wow it makes me cringe and think dang this is a character that could’ve come out of Face-Off! Not to mention there wasn’t enough detail in the wicker doll itself to make it stand out as a true symbol. As if that weren’t enough I’m sorry but Reb Bear and what he is well that should’ve been more dynamic as well. Don’t get me wrong Jason’s good but for an all-ages title just not this one. Though he does have a good eye for storytelling, the flow visually was very well done.
As the history of the witch unfolds and what role the children, their grandfather and Red Bear play in all becomes more clear. It’s pretty well done as well. I liked seeing the bits and pieces being played out between the grandfather and the kids so you are seeing it happen from two different points of view. Also I have to give props for how the issue ends! I was very surprised to see and learn along with the kids why they were being claimed by the witch.
This is really a great beginning story wise in creating a horror franchise based on the witch and her past.
There’s a backup story here as well. We meet the American Bison. A humanoid bison who travels with a talking raven. It’s written by Lou and illustrated by Steve Benton. It’s cute and has potential and it succeeds in piquing the interest in wanting to know more about the character, how it came into being and why it’s roaming the wild west in 1856 chasing demons and things that shouldn’t exist in the mortal world.
Editor’s Note: Wicker #0 is available in both print and digital! So grab up a copy today!
Insane Comics 2015
Created & Written by: Lou Frontier
Illustrated by: Jason Themm
Coloured by: DC Alonso
Lettered by: Alex Giles
Cover by: Saint Yak
Reviewer: Steven Leitman
Summary: Wicker is an episodic historical horror series set throughout out three centuries and follows the generational woes of a cursed family as they deal with being claimed by The Wicker Witch, in Andover, MA. Terror ensues through horrific tales of creation, revenge, atonement, and the legacy of the Wicker Witch.
Zombie Tramp vol. 3 #15 – Ongoing
Action Lab: Danger Zone
Writers: Dan Mendoza & Jason Martin
Pencilers: Marcelo Trom
Reviewer: Derrick T. Crow
Summary: She used to be Hollywood’s hottest high priced call girl, until the bite of an undead john changed her into something deadly different! Now Janey Belle – the street walking dead with supernatural abilities and a copy of the infamous Necronomicon – roams the highways searching for answers as the… ZOMBIE TRAMP!
Review: Continuing off of last issue’s Country Club extravaganza, Janey finds herself in a game of cat-and-mouse with the various huntsmen from the KKK out to kill her. Now, reviewing this issue is very difficult because the entire issue is very fast-paced and is basically a quick adventure of watching Janey gruesomely kill the KKK members in various ways. All the while having a blast doing it, oh and there’s a KKK demon lord as well. That was a thing.
Okay, so overall this issue was fun in watching Janey not only kill all the KKK members but finding various ways to take their entrails afterwards and make weapons out of them. Like a crossbow made from bones and intestines was quite ingenious.
But the story is lacking in that’s all this was. You get very little for what you pay for and I’m never a fan of comics like that personally. The KKK demon lord also comes out of nowhere from the bottom of a lake and without warning or set up in the story. He’s also quick to kill as Janey conveniently finds information on the demon in her Necronomicon and is able to learn how to kill it fairly simply.
While last issue had a bit more substance to it, this one had none and felt like a true filler episode. The art conveys that as well as I just can’t bring myself to like Trom’s style. It’s so rough and graney and reading the issue I kept thinking “this isn’t Zombie Tramp” which is a series I generally associate with, well, good art. I don’t want to sound harsh but it’s just how I felt.
The issue wasn’t good. The killings were fun. The issue wasn’t good. It felt like it was a placeholder for more, better stuff to come, and no story should ever feel like that to me. But that’s just my opinion on the matter. I’m sorry Mendoza, this wasn’t one of your strongest outings. And I wish there was a lot more I could talk about here. A lot more.
Final Score: 1 Racist Demon Lord out of 5
Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare #4 (of 4)
Comix Tribe 2015
Written by: Tyler James & John Lees
Illustrated by: Alex Cormack
Coloured by: Jules Rivera
Lettered by: Wes Locher
Reviewer: Steven Leitman
Summary: Swanstown belongs to the OXYMORON now… but the nightmare isn’t over yet. A relentless Mary Clark sacrifices everything to bring the contradiction-obsessed killer down, in a final confrontation that will leave you breathless.
Alright there really is something absolutely spectacular about this story. Pushing someone to their limits to create the person you want them to be and then seeing them cross that line and become something else well it’s just so damn incredibly well done. From the get go we’ve seen this is story of Mary and the Oxymoron but surprisingly it hasn’t gone the way either of them thought it would. This has been some of the most incredible writing I’ve seen in comics lately, the level of characterization, story advancement, twists, turns and moments that are meant to shock you just baffle the mind.
I love that Mary becomes who she does and then to see Deborah step up and try to be the kind of person Mary would be proud of well, that’s just spectacular stuff. With the end of last issue’s hyper dramatic moment I was wondering what the boys could do to top that. Well they’ve done it here that’s for sure. I mean think about it what’s more dangerous than a crazed psycho killer? The idea he represents and ideas are the hardest thing to dispel.
Aside from the obvious character development and utter chaos Oxymoron has pushed this city into, there’s a much deeper part of this story that I’m not sure how that was intended. I mean we see such a wide variety of emotions, feelings, desires and ways of seeing things here that makes you pause and take a look around at your own life and wonder of these best describes you. The optimist who always looks at the brighter side of things like Deborah, the one likes to stir the pot and watch the ensuing chaos with glee like Oxymoron, or the one who thinks they are strong enough to deal with it but succumbs and goes past any limits they might have thought they had like Mary.
That a book about a man with no moral compass or human compassion but is only bent on creating someone worthy of him as an opponent should be this good is criminal.
I took a little glee from the fact that when Oxymoron couldn’t get Mary to come out of hiding after what he made her witness that he finally decides, three months later, to target Deborah. The conversation where Oxymoron calls her using her girlfriend’s phone really kind of sums up the kind of woman she is. No skeletons for him to use or manipulate just the love she has for her partner and that alone isn’t going to be enough to elevate her to take Mary’s place for him. Regardless of how much he tries.
I have to say the finale part one was a complete and utter twist for me. I hadn’t seen that coming to be honest though I should have. I mean how else could this have really played out? The boys deserve a lot of credit here for being able to craft the story like they did it’s really a stunner. Then after the credits, see letters page, the second ending oh yeah that’s what I was expecting to see! Every ending is also a beginning hence the circle of life. Can’t wait to see what these guys have up their sleeves.
Alex has grown as an artist throughout the series and he’s getting so gosh darn good with these characters, the emotions they portray and then the whole Oxymoron mask effect on the mobs really is powerful stuff. Speaking of powerful that lone image of Oxy’s back playing the violin yeah oh wow.
This is the kind of story readers get and find inescapable! A true gem of a find and something that should be in everyone’s stocking this holiday season!
Writer/Creator/Artist: Tobias Krebs
Reviewer: Derrick Crow
Summary: Pudgley is a plump, little rabbit living in a big city trying to make the most out of his life. But living with an older brother and his brother’s best friend, both of whom often put him down for his weight makes life a lot more difficult for young Pudgley. As Pudgley notices crime increasing in his home city of Carrotropolis he decides someone needs to rise up and be a hero. And that hero is him.
Review: Judging The Impenetrable Carrot by its cover pretty much guarantees you won’t check out the issue. Boasting a simple design as a crudely drawn, frowning rabbit looks over his makeshift superhero outfit. There’s nothing about it that screams “READ ME!”
However, when peering into this comic and actually giving it a chance something happens. You begin to realize there is a lot more to this sad frowning rabbit than meets the eye. Yes, the art is still crude, but it’s legible and looks as if Krebs is actually trying rather than lazily throwing lines onto a page like I see a lot of professional artists do. So while the art definitely needs a lot of work, I don’t have a lot of issues with it.
Right off the bat we’re introduced to Pudgley and his fantasies of giving Carrotropolis the hero it so desperately needs. Directly after that his confidence and grandeur is shattered when his brother begins verbally abusing him sending Pudgley into a depressive state, a family dynamic that plagues him the entire issue. And definitely not something I was equipped to handle going into this story.
It’s this extra something that lends a real relatable, human element to the story tethering the characters to the reader. It’s easy to feel sorry for Pudgley because a lot of us have felt like him at least a few times in our lives. Yet while he is constantly battling depression because of his weight and his family he’s also trying very hard not to let them dictate his life.
A good representation of that is his fantastical ideas of saving the city of Carrotropolis as a costumed hero. This is something we actually get to see this issue as Pudgley cobbles together a very basic, crude suit made out of literally just a mask and a towel for a cape. He then runs around trying to combat evil but usually ends up failing because being a real hero is extremely difficult or he completely misunderstands the situation at hand.
I liked that he had a lot of trouble actually being a hero.
What is Pudgley saving the city from, exactly? Sure, the city’s going under and he sees that, but other than just dealing with random events happening all around him for the entire issue Krebs actually does give us a villain to root against. A mob that is making millions off of illegally processed carrots. Pudgley does his best to stop them and this gets the attention of the mob boss, Alfredo Frank. The issue ends with Pudgley coming face-to-face with Frank, and things really don’t look like their in Pudgley’s favor.
I doubt anything bad will happen to Pudgley so I don’t find myself finishing this comic with an real sense of suspense plus it’s actually kind of an abrupt, oddly paced endings as it is so it feels off. But I definitely wouldn’t mind knowing what happens next to young Pudgley and whether or not he ever gets to truly be the hero he’s also wanted to be.
Final Score: 4 Runt of the Litter Rabbits out of 5
Editor’s Note: Head here to grab yourself a copy!