BLACK MASS RISING, TPB
Writer: Theo Prasidis
Artist: Jodie Muir
Publisher: TKO Studios
WHAT IS IT?
A period horror story featuring demons and spellcraft.
Think The Witch with hints of Twilight.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
It has been a year since the darkness that plagued the land, and the people are hopeful. Things have been so peaceful that Aurelia and her brothers don't even think twice about playing demons in the field. Little do they know, their merriment would bring a demon back to this world.
Thankfully, a mysterious mystic known as The Healer is in town, but does this Healer have something to do with the demons' appearance in the first place? Has the evil that once plagued the land returned? And if so, how do they stop it?
Prasidis crafts a dramatic emotional story with a heartfelt take on a classic horror icon, complete with a brilliant ending.
The painted art style of Muir matches the setting excellently and helps the reader be transported into the story.
Also, Muir's coloring and shading brilliantly contrast between lights and darks to keep the pages fresh and imbue the scenes with appropriate emotion.
Otsmane-Elhaou’s sound effects lettering creatively blends in with certain panels, making them feel like active parts of the story.
Each character’s dialogue is distinct, with one, in particular, having a continual internal monologue that adds additional depth to the story.
The art utilizes perspective in stunning ways. Lots of moments where characters' fear is shown through how small they are compared to the scenery.
Muir makes creative use of distorted panel edges and colors going off-panel to depict the impact of a spell. It adds amazing chaotic energy to these scenes.
Each two-page spread is breathtaking and utilizes the extra space beautifully.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
The story is a slow burn and takes until a twist in the third chapter to get interesting.
There’s not a ton of variety in panel shape, mainly sticking to squares and rectangles. Some variety or diagonal panels could have added to the intensity of certain scenes.
A character who is suggestively transgender is killed early in the story and is the only LGBTQIA+ character presented. This could be argued to contribute to the “kill all your gays” trope and may be offensive.
Some sound effects lettering blends too much into the art, making bits of the panel look odd and can be a bit distracting. Sometimes, this can be an issue with review copies that will later be fixed in production before printing, so it's possible readers won't encounter it.
The letterer isn't credited until the back pages of the book.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Black Mass Rising is like exercising: one may not see progress immediately, but the end goal is extremely worth it. The story strides the line between horror and tragedy, taking the genre in a refreshing direction.
Hope is a key theme that the writing excellently pulls out of the reader before stripping it away, giving said reader a firsthand experience of the characters' troubles in this world.
The art pulls no punches. It's bold and colorful, using every square inch to sell the grand narrative in a way only this painted style could. Muir makes her debut, crashing through the curtain to take center stage, loudly declaring “here I am!”
Horror lovers looking for something fresh and gorgeous, this is a must-read.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
The Doomsters Monolithic Pocket Alphabet by Theo Prasidis & Maarten Donders
Swamp Dogs: House Of Crows by J.M. Brandt, Theo Prasidis & Kewber Baal
God Of Tremors by Peter Milligan & Piotr Kowalski
If you like the art:
American Jesus: The New Messiah by Mark Millar & Peter Gross (Covers by Jodie Muir)
Maniac Of New York by Elliot Kalan & Andrea Mutti
Kingdom Come by Mark Waid & Alex Ross
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Theo Prasidis (@theoprasidis) – Writer
Beginning his comics career in 2017, Prasidis has written titles for Image, Black Caravan, and TKO Studios.
He is also involved in the music industry being the owner of the independent label Archaopeia and starting the Fuzztastic Planet rock festival.
Prasidis hails from Greece.
Jodie Muir (@jodiemuirart) – Artist
Although no stranger to comics art, Black Mass Rising is Muir’s debut as an interior artist.
She has done multiple covers for Marvel and Mark Millar.
She hails from the United Kingdom.
Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (@hassanoe) – Letterer
With an established reputation for quality lettering, Otsmane-Elhaou has letter books for nearly every major publisher.
Being multitalented, he is also the editor of the Eisner-winning magazine PanelxPanel.
He is from Algeria.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Black Mass Rising characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of TKO Studios or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.