SCRATCHER, ISSUES #1-3
Writer: John Ward Art: Juan Romera Publisher: Self-published
Like a lot of the indie comics I review, this will only cover the first three issues, and not the trade paperback length I typically review. Because of that, we don't get insight into the greater story arc, so details may be fewer and the story may be more difficult to judge.
WHAT IS IT?
A spin on the zombie/mysterious disease sub-genre of horror.
It's the still-somewhat-human, rage zombies from Resident Evil 4 mixed with the starts-small-and-quickly-spirals-into-something-much-larger, grounded-in-traditional-horror elements of Cabin Fever.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A tattoo artist, Dee, finds out the hard way that the tattoos she's given people start to move on their own, controlling their hosts in evil, violent ways.
Unsure of what's happening or how to undo it, Dee sets off to make it right...or at least to control the damage in some way.
Throughout her journey, she saves friends she tattooed in the past who are possessed now, and they join or otherwise help her decipher this mystery. We also get some backstory, interspersed throughout, to add some context to Dee's relationships.
ISSUE #3 follows Dee to a sorority house, where all the women there are possessed and violent. She must search for the secret to cure them, which may help her cure the others and get one step closer to solving the mystery of what's happening. If she doesn't lose her mind -- or her life -- in the process.
If you're into bloody, gory, melodramatic horror this is the book for you
It's good, classic horror fun with just the right amount of twists and turns
Feels influenced by the '90s era of horror, dark and gritty, like it should have a grunge-metal soundtrack
So much of horror these days is just coming up with a new idea; while the sub-genre isn't new, the concept of "evil tattoos" is, and it's cool as hell to see how that plays out
Pretty steady action throughout, which creates a really fun experience and keeps the pages turning
The art and shading conveys enough that you don't really miss the color, and without it, it actually feels even darker
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
It plays out about how you would expect...but isn't that part of the fun of horror?
Early on, the positioning of the characters feels very staged, stiff and unrealistic -- it pulls you out of the action (hard to show examples of this, however, without showing spoilers, but this gets a lot better in later issues)
Shading/inking could also get a little more detailed -- often, to show where cheek bones are, we just get a diagonal line that make Dee look like Apocalypse (of X-Men fame)
The way the art is laid out over the panels lost me in the action a couple times, making me wonder what was happening (this also gets a lot better in later issues)
It may feel like a soft pitch for a feature film or a TV show, but it's definitely one I'd watch!
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
If you like horror, want to see a really cool, cinematic idea and like supporting indie creators, this is a good option for you.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Bone Parish #1 by Cullen Bunn & Alex Guimaraes
The Walking Dead, Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore
Gideon Falls, Vol. 1 by by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino & Dave Stewart
If you like the art:
Los Muertos by Moonlight by Fabian Rangel, Jr. & Juan Romera
Vengeance, Nevada #1 by B. J. Mendelson & Piotr Czaplarski
Outcast by Robert Kirkman & Paul Azaceta
ABOUT THE CREATORS
John Ward – Writer
Multitalented: Also writes for TV and film
Actually has a Ph.D in String Theory!
Music Lover: Is a big fan of punk rock
Juan Romera – Illustrator
Outlander: Hails from Argentina
Was into comics before even learning how to read
Multitalented: Works as a penciller, inker and a colorist
Eric Grissom – Letterer
Multitalented: Also writes comics
Hosts a classic Doctor Who podcast, The Old Doctor Who Show
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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