Writer: Jordan Alsaqa
Illustrator: Ray Nadine
Editor: Mark Bouchard
Publisher: Self-published (Kickstarter)
WHAT IS IT?
Raise Hell! Issue #1 introduces a world where demonic forces run free and summertime antics are far from the norm. This quirky, coming of age story is chock full of adolescent drama, supernatural hijinks, and tons of ska.
Think The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy meets American Graffiti.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A trio of seriously bored teens have a single goal before their summer vacation ends; grab a ritual book from the mall, make a blood-pact, and summon a demon. When their not-so-official ritual summons and binds a lazy demon to their souls, suddenly the hope of excitement begins to dwindle. Still, this minor setback won’t stop them from trying to make this the most exciting and chaotic summer ever.
Alsaqa’s writing brings every character, be it human or demon, to life with authenticity, creating an enjoyable narrative that is not only funny but relatable with dialogue that feels as though it was pulled directly out of the early 2000s.
Nadine channels a unique and nostalgic art style throughout the issue, accented with a grunge-centric color palette the backgrounds and character designs feel fitting for the era presented and are complimentary to the overall black comedy centered tone of the narrative.
The artistic direction, as well as the comedic tone, perfectly compliments the setting, every panel feels like it was ripped straight out of a Cartoon Network afternoon favorite with a timeless graffiti and punk rock vibe.
The dynamics and conversations between the cast feel realistic, as do the normal day-to-day struggles of teens learning to navigate life, friendships, and family drama.
The plot is simple and fairly easy to follow but has an appealing mixture of dark humor and supernatural shenanigans to keep readers engaged, you can tell Alsaqa and Nadine had a ton of fun creating this comic.
The setting, though obviously alternate to our own, still feels believable and does not pull the reader out of the plot when oddities or strange happenings occur. Everything feels natural.
There’s a bonus story that focuses on the demon king of ska, with some incredible artwork and truly laugh worthy lines.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Content warning: The main cast do slice their hands open with knives while doing the blood-pact, it may be triggering for some readers, as well as dealings with dark arts that may not be suitable for young readers.
It can be a bit hard to tell that the demonic presence is meant to be ‘normal’ in this universe, as does the ‘why’ behind it. The backstory detailing how this reality operates isn’t clearly defined until the last page through a synopsis.
The story doesn’t pick up much traction before the end. It leaves you wishing there were a major reveal or turning point to solidify the overall plot before the conclusion of the volume.
The dialogue bubbles can be a bit small, sometimes text feels crowded and can be hard to read in places.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Demons, teen angst, and ska music - what more do I need to say? Raise Hell! is a quick, fun read that will feel relatable to anyone who lived out their teenage years knee deep in baggy clothes with their iPods playing emo on loop. The Easter eggs peppered throughout lend themselves to the style and overall tone of the narrative, harking back to the good old days of alternative rock, checkered vans, and lazy afternoons spent at the mall. The story and art really immerse the reader in a bygone time with a devilishly fun twist.
The believable universe where hell portals are commonplace and impish beasts roam the streets (yet is still quite like our own) is a fitting setting for a punk-rock leaning story such as this. The cast is diverse with loud personalities that compliment each other well and the addition of sassy and loud-mouthed demons just adds to the joyous, chaotic energy that Raise Hell! brings.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Support the Kickstarter for issues #1 and #2.
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.
Copyright (c) Jordan Alsaqa/Ray Nadine 2020. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be replicated without express written permission from the copyright holders. Names, characters, places, and incidents are product of creator’s imaginations or are used fictitiously; any similarities are purely coincidental.