Writer: Geoff Richards
Illustrator: Peter Habjan
Colorist: John Charles
Letterer: Rob Jones
Publisher: Floating Rock Comics
Herd #1, Cover by Peter Habjan, Floating Rock Comics, Richards/Habjan
WHAT IS IT?
It’s a vampire comic!
More specifically, it’s a vampire meets fantasy meets horror meets prehistoric adventure comic. It is so unique in what it offers, clearly ambitious in its premise, but focused in its execution.
Not sure there is a great comparison for Herd with popular media. Maybe Thirty Days of Night meets Apocalypto – I’m not sure. Herd really does the work on carving itself out a new place in the vampire era.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Herd is a story about Homo-Vampyrus, a cousin to our own species, which rose to power millennia ago. Faster, stronger, and with a penchant for sucking human blood, Vampyrus quickly strutted up the food chain to become the dominant species.
Yet, a rise to power isn’t all it looks to be. The Vampyrus race quickly realizes that anyone can get to the top, but not everybody can stay there. Their food sources drying up, their civilization struggling, they must now deal with a strong change of circumstances or face extinction.
Herd feels as much about vampires as it does about the complexities of civilization and governance in general. Dressed up in fangs and violence, Herd is thematically making some pretty poignant statements at the same time.
The concept is fresh, it’s a great hook. It’s easy to get interested right away.
I like that the story is utilized as part of a greater message. It’s one thing to make a comic, it’s another to tell a story within a greater meaning. All of that feels so focused here, and I think that says a lot regarding the writer’s efforts here.
Vampyrus don’t get hung up on the same vampire tropes we’re used to (daylight, for example). Changing up what a vampire “is” is so necessary to keep adding kindling to this sort of creature story.
The stakes of the plot are evident early on. It’s a dark tale, and I like that it sets its tone from the outset.
I like the pacing, for the most part. I think the team handles dealing with two different tribes at the same time pretty well.
The action sequences are great and violent. They feel quick and intense, something that I really quite like in fight scenes.
Colorwork is solid. I like that the book’s ambiance is handled super well even as it shifts from a daytime hunt to a somber nighttime moment.
Lettering is on-point. Zero complaints here. Solid work all the way throughout. As a matter of fact, I’d like to see Jones get the opportunity to flex some more on these pages.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
I didn’t feel attached to any characters from the offset. I’m not actually 100% sure who the main protagonist is supposed to be. While the premise is intriguing, it seems like the story being character-driven got a little lost in the mix.
The ending seems a little confusing. I’m not sure why Kojo, the character in the last sequence, is doing some of the things he’s doing considering the situation was just in, or why the people he sees at the end react the way they do. This is hard to say without spoilers, but to sum it up vaguely: Why does the tribe know Ife but refer to Kojo as a ‘stranger?’ It just feels a little off. If Ife was a member of this tribe, but not Kojo, how did they know each other so intimately and, seemingly, romantically?
I’m not 100% sold on Kojo’s agreeing to do what is asked of him by a mysterious character at the end. I feel like there’s a logic to it, but with so little time getting to know Kojo, I’m not sure it lands completely to the reader.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Herd #1, pg 6, Floating Rock Comics, Richards/Habjan
Doing a vampire comic in 2020 has got to be one of the most creatively courageous decisions possible. There’s been so much media on vampires in so many varied styles and approaches that it’s hard to do anything unique or new. Therein lies the really brilliant part of Herd: nothing else is like it. It manages to fuse brutal violence with intense thought on civilization, and for the most part lands it.
Herd is currently in a lane of its own making, and that is always a ride worth taking.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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