Thursday, October 13, 2011

Off the Rack

A possible new feature here on Tentacle News, I wanted to take a look at some of the comics I am currently enjoying. As with my mentions of films or books, I rarely review or rate things. But occasionally there are things I come across that I find intriguing enough that I want to share.
With the big upheaval in my beloved DC comics, and the subsequent release of what I find to be sub-par books, the last month or so has lead me to looking at other sections of the rack. I have always been a fan of indie and creator-owned works, though my love of DC's cape books has always taken presidence on my buying list. Recently though I have found a few really enjoyable series that stray far from the superhero genre.
Locke and Key
I am a late comer to this series (and to be honest to most of the series on this list). Written by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King), whose novels such as Horns I have enjoyed. But unlike his books, which read much like his father's early work, his comics are incredible. This is a man who knows how to write great characters and pull them along in an interesting yarn.
Filled with great dialogue, unique characters and a bizarrely enjoyable style to the art, Locke and Key has quickly become one of my all time favorite horror series. Now don't let the categorization of this being a horror comic turn you off. Technically Sweet Tooth is a horror comic. This is like a great thriller, or a supernatural mystery. I cannot recommend this series, and its subsequent series, enough.
It tells the story of a young family, dealing with the murder of their father. Taking refuge in a strange old house in Lovecraft County, they deal with their grief, their new lives, and the potential of their father's killer coming back for them. But underneath it all, there is a greater mystery at work. Dark sinister forces lie beneath this old house. And with the right keys, each door leads to another world. But not all of them lead to Narnia. Somewhere hides the one key to unlock any door in the house, and therefore access to great power. The question is, who will find it first?

The Sixth Gun
This western series, from Oni Press, does what I have always wanted fiction to do. Bring together western with horror genre elements. Brian Hurtt, whose artwork also amazed me in Greg Rucka's Queen and Country and the other enjoyable Oni series Damned, does not disappoint in this series.
A civil war General, filled with so much hatred, is back from the dead and looking for a set of magical pistols. Each one bestows upon the wielder a different power, from spouting hellfire to raising an undead army.
Enter Rebecca Moncrief, having lost her beloved stepfather and come into possession of a strange gun. Evil men are now after her, they want her, and they want her gun. Along with a few unexpected cohorts, Rebecca is now in a run for her life, and a chase to find the truth. Giving her strange precognitive visions, the gun is leading them somewhere. But who knows where, or what they will find when they get there.

The final series on my list, is actually one I was able to jump onto from the beginning. If for no other reason than because its beautifully painted cover instantly grabbed me. Like the other books on this list, setting has a lot to do with the story. In this instance it is depression era America, as a young boy goes in search of his biological father. But as he treks across the country he will have to quickly learn that not everyone he meets is as trustworthy as they seem. Especially when he caught the sight of the mysterious Mr. Alan Fisher. Severed is not an all-ages comic by a long shot. Filled with foul language and brutally graphic violence, this dark tale about a cannibal serial killer loose in America during a "simpler time" is hard to digest at times, but still wonderfully executed.
Taking my time through each of the issues, the incredible artwork of Attila Futaki is amazingly absorbing and getting to read Scott Snyder outside of his DCU work is always a great joy. Pick up this series while you can, or wait for the first trade, but if you want great art, an eerily atmospheric setting, and a disturbingly addicting story, get this book!

But as Levar Burton used to say, "you don't have to take my word for it".

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