There Will Be Blood
Story by Joshua Williamson
Art by Mike Henderson
Colors by Adam Guzowski
Letters & Book Design by John J. Hill
Edited by Rob Levin
NAILBITER created by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson
I originally was going to review this one issue at a time. I decided to go by volume instead because I don’t want to spoil anything for readers. I did post a review of the first issue which you can find HERE.
I was immediately captivated by this series. I finally got time to read more than just a few pages and I was not disappointed.
Here’s a recap of my first issue review:
A town named Buckaroo in Oregon where an unprecedented number of serial killers have been born
A guy named Eliot Carroll is investigating Buckaroo trying to figure out why so many serial killers come from this town (it’s not just something in the water okay people?)
Another guy named Nicholas Finch, an NSA Intelligence officer that’s on suspended leave pending investigation because he went off the rails while interrogating a suspect during a case
One of the many serial killers from Buckaroo, a group aptly named “The Buckaroo Butchers”, they call him The Nailbiter. Buckaroo Butcher #16. His name is Edward Charles Warren. His big thing was to kidnap men and women who bit their nails, hold them captive until their nails grew back, and then bite them off himself, along with their fingers down to the bone, before killing them. Approximately 46 victims in California.
Sheriff Shannon Crane, dated Warren The Nailbiter in high school. The town won’t seem to let her forget that. She’s been working with Carroll on the serial killer mystery aspect of the town.
Teen rebel Alice, always talking smack, can take care of herself for the most part but, definitely going to end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In the midst of all this dramatic and emotional action brewing, real physical action is happening all over town. In the next four issues, there are two murders, a missing person, two fires, and a lot of suspicious behavior. There is something happening on almost every page. This series is not one that has a lot of useless filler content. There is a constant progression of the story without any dull or boring spots. And there is plenty of plot to follow. Not only are seemingly unrelated people turning up dead but Eliot Carroll has gone missing. Emotions are frazzled, tensions are high and frustration mounts with each new lead ending up being a dead end.
So far this series is a real page-turner. The idea of the story is a fantastic one in itself but the plot is really brought to life with well-written characters and excellent artwork. The artwork is a little on the more modern and geometric side. It goes well with the sharp storyline and the distinct personalities and attitudes of the characters. There is definitely what I consider a muted color palette. The only real bright pop of color is the splash or splatter of blood in some scenes.
This volume contains issues one through five. I believe there are six volumes in total. I will be reading volume two very soon and posting the review for that. I think this is going to be an excellent series to read.
Here Comes Calico #4
OFF THE ROPE
From Sigma Comics
Creator/Writer – H.H. German
Artist/Letterer – Javier Orabich
Colorist – Daniel Grimaldi
Cover – Garnabiel
Wow! This issue contains so much information! We get a lot of background on how Calico pairs up with his partner and their history. Similar to how Batman operates with his small and close network of trusted associates, Calico and his partner also have unique connections, providing the tools to assemble their own team of expert specialists and benefactors. They have certain procedures and protocols, programs of operation, and a specialized coordinated effort including with law enforcement to aid them in protecting society. It’s a perfect web of people with various skills that help get things done.
There is also an entire kind of blueprint, if you will, that shows in immense detail the features of the suit Calico acquires to wear while he is doling out justice to the dregs of humanity. This was one of the most fascinating parts to read in this issue. This suit is more like a large piece of interactive hardware and software that, when manipulated in the proper way, turns into a lethal aid to assist in battle. This includes being equipped with a variety of weapons, tools, systems to monitor and calculate, gadgets, and safety mechanisms.
Truly an exciting issue.
The other thing that I have to point out is that throughout the issue there are a few flashbacks. Not a problem. Many times though, when comics do this, it can get a little confusing to separate the details, specifically in the timeline aspect. The author and artist made sure this didn’t happen. They proficiently altered the appearance of the entire flashback, including the appearance of the character by making him look younger. Then when you come back to the present day you can see the difference easily, so you always know where you are in the timeline. A lot of comics make this a blurry and confusing detail.
Once again, Calico creators did not disappoint. I am looking forward to the final few issues to see how everything comes together.
Story by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, Jay Sandlin
Written by Jay Sandlin
Artwork by Rodrigo Xavier, Allan Otero
Colors by Maxflan Araujo, Vinicius Andrade
Letters by Carlos M. Mangual
Ever since Zenescope turned Grimm Tales of Terror into a quarterly issue instead of a monthly issue, I’ve been a little dejected. This was one of the top three comics I looked forward to every month. Now I have to wait three months for my fix.
However, it seems that the folks at Zenescope realize that their customers might be feeling a little shorted so they do bulk up the quarterly issue. Luckily this allows for a longer and more detailed story. The downside is they charge more than the regular comic price due to the added length and artwork. I guess my opinion was ‘well it all works out in the wash’ (a midwestern saying for everything evens out in the long run).
Then I got this quarterly issue. An entire issue based on H.H. Holmes. Those of you that have read my website will know that I find Holmes a fascinating serial killer. The work put into this issue takes the truth that has been publicized for decades and adds a little mystery, a little paranormal twitch here and there, and comes up with a whole new story based on real events. Except this is a story that uses the real events to form the foundation of the fictional side of the tale. They’ve also modernized the setting of the story a little bit to make it fit in with our current era.
In this particular issue, the story is great, everything is very well written, the artwork is excellent and of course, all that put together makes for a most entertaining read. In certain panels there is a fascinating use of color that sears the images into your brain, making everything feel so much more impactful and realistic. The use of truthful events as individual parts of the plotline instead of purely for inspiration makes the story seem like something we would see in movies these days. I can just picture this whole issue playing out on the big screen and just enthralling the captivated audience. Definitely worth the read, even if it is only quarterly now.
Creator/Writer: H.H. German
Artist/Letterer: Javier Orabich
Colorist: Daniel Grimaldi
Here we have the third installment of an eight-issue series. Things are really getting heavy as the plots are becoming more serious and the hero vigilante is becoming more vengeful. This is a wonderful combination for a fantastic and entertaining read.
In this issue, Calico becomes aware of a horrid human being organizing dog fights. In addition to organizing and running these disgusting events, this macabre man, who is the epitome of a vicious man with the worst of human personalities, breeds, raises and conditions the dogs for the fights, dishing out all the horrific and sickening treatment of the dogs that comes with such a lowly and foul profession.
This being the case, Calico snaps into full vigilante mode and seeks out this unsavory and odious poor excuse for a human in order to exact some justice for his furry canine friends. It is clear from this issue that Calico is a massive karmic force not to be messed with. He repeatedly finds people who are some of the lowest creatures mankind has to offer and through his own arsenal of special skills and talents, he dispenses justice in the form of his idea of proper and deserving punishment.
With amazing artwork, as always, this issue was packed with vengeance, violence and gore. All things any horror fan would probably drool over. The artwork may even be getting better as the issues keep coming. The artist has a true skill for masterfully exposing facial expressions in a medium that is often very challenging to do so.
Also, the message of the creator and the team at Sigma Comics that are part of bringing Calico to life is staying very clear. Many times, in creations such as this, the message often gets lost in the illustrations and writing, kind of skewing more towards comic book fantasy rather than holding true to their original motivation for starting the series to begin with. The creators and contributors to this series are very careful it seems about keeping their message in the forefront, always the priority, letting the creativity of the comic book making process to almost take a back seat to the profound meaning and injustice being brought to light. Because they are so focused on this aspect, the purpose of the series is not lost in the surrounding story line, external filler and background type of stuff.
Another home run for the creators. I’m starting to get a little sad that this is only going to be an eight-issue series. In my opinion, they could keep it going and be successful beyond those initial eight issues we are going to get. I am told issue four will be out soon. So be looking for my review for that.
Creators/Writers: Jeff Homan and Benjamin Bartlett
Cover Art: DAL
Content Art: DAL
This is the fourth issue of what was previously published as The Toking Dead. Though the name has changed slightly I can assure you, our lovable and feisty classic characters and their smart aleck, foul mouths are still with us. And thank goodness for that!!!! This is, by far, the best issue the guys have created. I am a person who is more the type to laugh on the inside rather than out loud and very rarely out loud at all when I am reading. With this issue I was laughing out loud almost every single page. The characters are really coming to life with all the personality and spunk and quirkiness of each starting to fully show and intertwine together. I must say, the guys wrote this extremely well. It has the natural flow of dialogue a reader craves and the humor a comedy lover needs topped with the gore that a true horror fan requires.
I’m telling ya, if I were in Duke and Tobi’s situation, I think I would be far less positive thinking. As we have seen in previous issues, Duke and Tobi are infected with whatever it is that these pot-smoking zombie fiends are spreading like a virus. And the guys are keeping themselves from turning into full-on psycho zombies that will kill for marijuana is actually smoking the medicinal plant themselves and ingesting edibles in large quantities. The medical properties of the marijuana in various forms seems to be the only thing keeping them alive and the weed-smoking zombies happy and, luckily, keeping the zombies from killing them in violent hand-to-hand combat. It’s an incredible war being fought and Duke and Tobi are still holed up in one of their dispensary buildings with Piper.
So, the guys are trying to stay more human than zombie AND fight off the killer weed-smoking fully infected zombies at the same time. Piper is on the front lines in the fight as well, although as we saw in previous issues, she’s still normal (never forget that 'normal' is a relative term). So far. Now, add to all that the fact that the guys and Piper have to figure out how to keep the supply going to stay alive and avoid full transformation. Their stock is getting lower and lower by the day and with the zombies just outside, whatever was growing in their plantation is now gone or worthless (you'll see).
We also have a new guest that shows up at the place where they are taking shelter.
Between the four of them it’s a comical emotional rollercoaster. There’s insults, snappy comments and quick comebacks, some that might even make a sailor blush. But not me. I was laughing my tail off. I thought this issue was by far the funniest and most entertaining issue yet.
And the artwork! The artwork is fantastic! Incredible line work and the colors practically jump off the page and pull you into the comic. The writing is so funny. It feels so natural as you read it. I can actually picture this group of people living in reality and having these exact same conversations.
Yes, there is foul language. Yes, there is some less than tasteful humor. But it’s meant to be that way! This trio isn’t made up of a group of goodie-goodies. These are some seriously badass people and they have strong personalities and strong opinions. And no filter from their brains to their mouths. (I can relate. No REAL filter here, in truth.) And that is what makes them so funny together. They feed off of each other. These three could be an act on a show like SNL (Saturday Night Live) where they do skit comedy. It’s almost like you can’t have the full punch of the comical friends if one is missing. Their personalities are perfectly meshed and intertwined to give us the maximum amount of entertainment that is able to be packed into one issue of a comic book.
As always, the guys don’t disappoint their fans. They have come out with yet another amazingly crafted issue and it’s my favorite so far.
Get your copy and more at the link below!!!!
Creator/Writer: H.H. German
Artist/Letterer: Javier Orabich
Colorist: Daniel Grimaldi
This is the second issue in the eight-issue series. Here we get a little more insight into our main character Calico and how he views the world. To me, this was much more a psychological and emotional issue, which is necessary to properly express and develop characters' backgrounds and personalities.
Calico is definitely a rogue vigilante. But you can’t let that deter you. His heart is in the right place. The places and activities shown in each issue depict things that would make any human with a heart’s blood boil but for animal lovers, people who care about creatures other than those that live in their own home, the images in these panels are enough to truly enrage someone.
I have often said that most people probably wouldn't eat what they eat if they knew where it came from and how it went from a live animal to the dinner table. Me, personally, yes, I eat a lot of foods that are not good for me. And I'm not saying you need to become vegan or vegetarian. I'm not. My family hunts a lot for our meat supply, especially through the winter (no I don't live out in the boonies, it's just the way we were raised). It's perfectly acceptable to hunt for survival and to stay fed. However, I don't condone things like inhumane treatment of farm animals, hunting for pure sport, abusing animals in any way, poaching, etc.
The scenes in some of these panels are disturbingly honest and that's what needs to be shown so people know what goes on in places they don't or can't go. Most people probably think a lot of this kind of thing has been resolved over the years with animal rights activist groups and such. But, very rarely do we have to look at it.
All of this being the case, it’s easy to get behind the main character of Calico. And in this issue, we get a deeper look into Calico’s psyche. This is an angry man. And probably a tortured soul. He has very little patience with people in general yet is incredibly compassionate with animals. He recognizes that these animals are defenseless against humans. It’s also made clear that Calico doesn’t think much of human beings and has, well, sort of lost his faith in humanity. One could understand how that could happen after having been through and seen the things Calico has. But though he has been hardened and made somewhat emotionally cold or void in his interactions and thoughts about humans, it is clear that he connects with animals and has a calling to protect the animals that cannot protect themselves.
As for the actual writing and artwork of the comic book, I find both to be unique to these particular comic book creators. The author seems to put some of his own voice into the voice and thoughts of Calico and the artists do an excellent job at capturing the emotion and facial expressions of the story and the characters, which pulls you into the heart of the story. The emotional aspect of the characters combined with the action of the storyline makes for a very smooth, quick and extremely entertaining read.
This is a comic book for those with stronger stomachs. If things like violence, blood and injured animals are one of these triggers for you, or if you are looking for more traditional horror then this may not be the series for you. Still, I think the attention this comic brings to the subject of animal cruelty and abuse is needed and I maintain that this is an excellent medium to use for that purpose.
Writer: Eliot Rahal
Artist: Mattia Monaco
Colorist: Matt Milla
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Main Cover: Andy Clarke w/ Jose Villarrubia
Incentive Cover: Tony Harris
Variant Cover: Clara Meath
Created by Eliot Rahal & Mattia Monaco
This is the first issue in a new series of comic books. It is about a 21-year-old stand-up comedian who wants nothing more than to be a success. He is in college, where his sister wants him to be, much to his dismay. Although his sister wants him to focus on his education and is constantly telling him that there’s no money in a life devoted to comedy, he still focuses his attention on the chosen career at every opportunity.
The young comedian is Pryor Brice. His sister is pushy, overbearing, condescending and only helpful when it comes to matters of finance. She does not support his dream or the pursuit of that dream. And she continually makes that clear, in no uncertain terms.
After a set one night, Pryor gets into an accident and something goes terribly wrong. Soon, Pryor will learn the true price of success and how far he is willing to go to get it.
The overall appearance of this comic book is excellent. Nice, high quality cover and pages with a fabulous array of artwork from the artist and colorist. The cover is a spectacular depiction of the implied horror that awaits our young friend. The rest of the artwork in this issue is truly very well done and catches the eye of the reader. The colors employed by the colorist are bright and eye-catching yet this artwork has the unique ability to invoke the creepiest and most eerie feeling in the reader’s heart and mind.
The writing in the story is well done with the dialogue feeling fairly natural and believable. It flows easy in the mind and meshes very well with the immediate context and surrounding story. It is easy to see the main character in the average person, everyone knows someone who has struggled with something monumental in their life. Pryor Brice is the everyman in the story, the average Joe Schmo with a dream in his heart, a chip on his shoulder and little options or chance for success in a great big world of other average Joes. And yet, it is easy to identify and emotionally attach to the Pryor Brice character because of his fervent desire to attain his only real dream, the one thing he feels can bring him true happiness in life.
This was a great first issue packed with emotion and action, drawing you in from the very beginning. Easily recommended to the horror comic community, this is a series that is sure to get stranger, more violent and packed with real and sarcastic comic relief and suspense at every turn.
Here is the teaser for Issue #2:
Pryor Brice died…but only for a couple of seconds. The thing is, he didn’t come back alone. Trapped inside Pryor’s body, a ghost offers Pryor a supernatural deal: He’ll write Pryor’s material so they can still be successful, even after death.
Their bargain comes with supernatural strings attached and, soon, Pryor will discover that comedy is no laughing matter.
Here Comes Calico #1 of 8 SafHari-Kari
From Sigma Comics
Creator/Writer: H. H. German
Artist/Letterer: Javier Orabich
Colorist: Daniel Grimaldi
“He’s a one-man arsenal of destruction, in the constant pursuit of justice for the smallest and weakest among us.”
This is a brand-new comic and story from Sigma Comics. Unlike a number of other comic books and the typical mainstream plots, this comic book addresses a societal problem that exists across the globe and is truly something anyone with a conscience can get behind and support.
The issue addressed is one near and dear to my heart as I am a pet parent of five. We have four cats and a German Shepherd. The cats are a 12-year-old gray tabby, two Bengal cats (one 11 years old and one 7 years old), and an all-black Bombay that is about 6 years old. The German Shepherd is 3 years old. So, the idea of what this comic entails is, in part, truly horrifying.
The first page of the comic depicts a deplorable person violently abusing a sweet little dog while a child cries out for the abuser to show mercy to the animal in the background. This terrified and beaten dog appears on the page with scared, sad and desperate eyes, tears flowing from his eyes and blood spurting from his little nose and mouth. The pictures are utterly disturbing on one hand, but on the other it is a scene that many abuse victims see on a regular basis.
This is the introduction to the story of Calico, a man with one goal, one purpose, one mission…to exact justice on those that abuse and torture animals. Now, if you are thinking that sounds a little corny then you really should reserve forming an opinion until you actually see the comic book. This is far from corny or silly.
Truth be told, this is one angry man. He is incensed over the violence and utter cruelty inflicted on innocent animals. We all know it is wrong to physically impose one’s will on a smaller and weaker being. And we have all seen those commercials on TV about animal abuse. A lot of people change the channel when those commercials come on. Not only because they won’t or can’t afford to help or donate to the cause but also because they don’t want to see what is actually happening to these vulnerable, dependent creatures. However, this comic makes you face the problem, putting it out in print and picture right in front of your face.
Two things I feel really make this comic work are the spectacular artwork and the realism of the topic. The artwork is excellent and the artist has a talent for capturing facial expressions, which is very hard to do (in my opinion). The combination of color variations and bold, significant, intentional linework expertly depict the natural expression of emotion that is often missed in traditional comic book art, which usually seems to rely more on the written story than the visual story for emphasis on things like emotion. Furthermore, this is a real-life concern, unlike rabid vampires stalking the city streets or zombie attacks across the globe.
Being the first of eight issues (the second issue expected in March), I think this comic has a fantastic start on a story line that is only going to become more intense and emotionally charged as it moves forward. Most introductory issues are full of explanation and character intros, bogging them down in a bunch of boring text rather than getting to the nitty-gritty of the story right away. This comic plunges you into the deep from page one and makes you tread water against a massive and domineering current the whole way through to the last panel.
Although it is an emotional and sensitive subject, it is one that needs to be more widely addressed. According to the Humane Society there are over 144 million pet dogs and cats in this country. Many of those animals that are abused are often found in homes where there is spousal or child abuse present. According to the website www.humanesociety.org there is a commonality between those that abuse humans and those that abuse animals. This is presumably due to the personality of the offender, meaning that a person who is compelled to exert and impose their will over other people physically is probably comfortable doing the same to a small, helpless animal.
While this is what I consider true crime and real-life horror, I do feel that this comic book is a great way to open a dialogue about the issue. This is a medium that is becoming more popular as a way to get various messages and information across to people all over the world. It is a much more entertaining and moving option than simply seeing it on the TV screen.
Below is an excellent video interview from Zia Comics with the
creator of Here Comes Calico, H.H. German:
Other reviews of this comic:
Renderosity Magazine: https://magazine.renderosity.com/article/6230/comic-book-review-here-comes-calico-by-sigma-comics
BJ Kicks: https://youtu.be/W6uxFc5_HbM
Sarah Donner: https://youtu.be/tPBOpQxFelQ?t=1h53m17s
Purchase link: calico-landing
TRUE STORIES FROM THE FRONT LINES OF COVID-19
True Stories from the Front Lines of COVID-19
Foreword by Alyssa Milano
Writer: Ethan Sacks
Artist & Cover Artist: Dalibor Talajić
Colorist & Cover Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Graphic Designer & Letterer: Bosung Kim
This is not only a heavy and emotional read, but a necessary one. For starters, the foreword is incredibly real, true and emotional; genuine and sincere. Ms. Milano opens up about not only her own struggles with the virus and the pandemic, but calls for attention and openness to the stories included in this collection, pointing out that they aren’t really so much to be enjoyed as they are meant to be shared and experienced. In order to come together we must understand our fellow citizens and their plights as well.
This collection features ten individual stories. These stories are from all different types of people from all different areas covering all different kinds of circumstances, experiences and situations with this deadly virus sweeping the globe.
ALL OF THESE EXPERIENCES HAVE ENORMOUS IMPACT AND CARRY INFINITE EMOTIONAL WEIGHT.
The telling of these experiences from all over brings the true sacrifice and tragedy of the pandemic to the absolute forefront, educating readers but also giving them insight to the darker side of what happens “behind the scenes” of the pandemic. While I agree with all my heart that we should celebrate these unsung heroes, who in the face of grave danger and death, also risk not only their lives but the lives of their families in order to treat, care for, protect and nurture OUR loved ones who we have put in their care, we must also bear witness to the challenges, struggles and tragedies that have resulted from this pandemic. It is a powerful step in the healing process for everyone. The experiences related are things that the average American wouldn’t probably know about unless they have direct access to events like these or direct involvement.
We SHOULD celebrate these incredible men and women that have kept us alive and kept our country moving. I believe that in order to do that we should also respect and acknowledge the very terrors they deal with and the effects that these experiences have on them. These are our fellow human beings. Surely, we can all agree that they deserve empathy and compassion. They deserve to have their stories told, acknowledged, heard and felt. This is a crisis that affects us all. And this collection of stories is pure proof of that.
These essential and life-saving front line workers are constantly doing everything in their power to help those stricken with this virus while looking for more ways to improve their care in addition to their usual patient care responsibilities and regular admitted patients for treatments and emergencies other than the COVID-19 virus. And they do all of this while severely understaffed, undersupplied and overworked and overstressed, deprived of sleep, of family contact, deprived of the very support of a social or familial support system that we all require to cope in times of tragedy.
The writer of these experiences was allowed direct and personal access to the individuals relating their stories but, also had personal contact with individuals who had front line experience with the pandemic. Each experience illustrated and written is full of the real-life fear and anxiety, the roller coaster of emotions as the days click by, the physical and psychological struggle on top of that emotional whirlwind that people feel and the reality that not all of us have survived or will survive this global pandemic.
But there is a certain sense of hope that you get out of knowing that there ARE people like this out there and that they are tirelessly, selflessly and courageously working for all of us here on Earth to get through this horrible pandemic. Though each story is heartbreaking and tragic in its own way, each gives specific insight into what has truly transpired and what are health care workers have been faced with. Getting up and going to work every day without proper protection, without proper equipment, without proper conditions, period, knowing that any of those days could be the day they contract this deadly virus…and possibly not survive. They did it and continue to do it now.
The artist is quite skilled at expressing the intensity of the emotions of each profound memory and experience. These are all circumstances that anyone could find something in this collection to relate to. And it is an excellent depiction of the severity and horror of the tragic health crisis that is upon us, mutating and grower stronger every day as we fight to stay alive against it.
For months now we have been told stats and numbers every day, morbidly titled data like the “death bill” shows the number of people lost to this virus each day, each hour, each minute, each few seconds. It’s very easy to change the channel or ignore what hasn’t directly affected you in such ways, giving in to the fatigue that has begun to set in for all of us. But this collection, chronicling the very people’s stories and experiences, makes it all much more real, much harder to ignore and much, much harder to deny that there is a global pandemic. There have been costly mistakes and over two million lives have been lost.
I believe this to be a creative and more accessible way to document the horror and terror this tragedy has unleashed upon us, not only as a nation but as a civilization, as a global society. It is informative, emotionally impactful and a necessary sharing of truth so that we as the general public may better understand what the struggles and problems are, how they are handled and the effect this has on not only the people that do the work but our civilization and society as a whole.