I really enjoy monsters in comic book form. If there are vampires (remember American Vampire?), hellish creatures, and epic violence, you can count me in.
Here are some recent titles I’ve been indulging in this month.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1955–Occult Intelligence TPB, by Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson and Brian Churilla
We had been covering some of the single issues over at GeekMom. However, one last story was missing and I wanted a go at it once the stories where complete. This BPRD series follow Hellboy on his first missions with the team, year in and year out, starting in the early fifties. They also cover some interesting viewpoints on the supernatural about that era, apart from famous issues of the time: Cold War, Racism, and the big old Big Distrust of Each Other being some of them.
The missing story talks about spontaneous combustion in a place covered with mossy dinosaurs. Originally intended to be an attraction, this place has a lot of sad history behind it: a hospital in the Civil War, a hanging place in slave times, you get the idea. However, the fire does not have to do with a specific creature or demon, but with the sadness accumulated there for so long.
Silver Vol.1 by Stephan Franck
A mix-up of the 1930s con artists with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There is a curse inside the vampire’s realm, related to a Silver Dragon (an impressive hoard of silver in the shape of a pyramid), a treasure interred deep inside the vaults of his majesty.
The first volume is all about the ambiance: silver is not only the dangerous and valuable stuff vampires like to play with, but it also is a term for this kind of black and white movies, with beautiful girls, old actors, mysterious Chinese men, and one guy (Finnigan) who thinks himself the most clever of the bunch.
Also, the grandniece of Van Helsing, Rosalyn, is swift with the katana sword.
Silver Vol.2 by Stephan Frank
This second volume picks up the pace immensely: it reminded me so much of an Ocean’s Eleven set up, with its fast pace and its soon-to-be-revealed multiple details, that it was a thrill and a joy to read.
A heist inside Dracula’s Castle, in the night of Walpurgis! The very same night where all vampire clans are gathered to offer his majesty a new vampire queen! How did they find out the way in? How is it that nobody noticed the actor and they truly believe he is a vampire in a wig? How are they going to fool their mark and steal tons of silver treasure?
I still have the third volume to go through, but I already know the final conclusion will arrive later on; Franck is writing it right now, funding it through a Kickstarter campaign alongside with his company Dark Planet Comics.
Atlas & Axis Vol 1 and Vol 2 by Pau
Titan Comics has been translating his work from the Spanish and French versions since 2017. I first read the tale that these two comics comprise some years ago and enjoyed it despite its furry violence.
The name of these two animals comes from two bones of the human body. The characters are exactly that mix: anthropomorphic dogs that live in medieval times, but they keep many dog attributes, such as marking their territory by peeing and their weird habits concerning sniffing other dogs’ butts. It is by no means for younger kids, because the characters are cuddly but savage.
Since this first story arc concerns the destruction of their village by Vikings, the kidnapping of all women and children and the bloody revenge thereof (including making sausages out of the vanquished), it is properly rated for ages 12 and up.
Atlas & Axis Vol 3 by Pau
This comic is just great. They follow a mysterious papyrus that indicates the location of a “magic bone” that will always fill the lucky owner’s plate. They end up embarking upon an adventure that will take them to the desert, where they will meet a strange kind of “missing link” between dog and savage wolf.
The talk of the scholar dogs about their evolution, the fact that the hunted animals can talk and respond (and even plead not to be used as food, from rabbits to mammoths!), and the very perceptive drawings of the other species of dog-wolves, are both funny and a bit disquieting at the same time.
When I read this saga, I think about humanity a lot. How violent and instinctive we still are, how full of preconceived notions and weird beliefs… The fact that dogs are meat eaters and crazy about chasing goats is just a funny take on our weird traits. Here is a great interview with the author. The third volume is on sale since March, 2018.
I hope you will feel at least a bit curious about some of these graphic novels and be willing to enjoy them yourself!