Publisher: Self-published, WEBTOON, Tapas
WHAT IS IT?
A snarky reaper and his vampire handler work together to send souls to the afterlife in this southern gothic, mature boys’ love webcomic from creator Lucid.
Think Interview With a Vampire meets Soul Eater or Bleach.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Drake Velasquez is the newly appointed reaper of New Orleans’ River Street, a place where souls go to wander and the supernatural can find solace from humanity. He struggles with his new duties, as well as the nagging voices of the recently departed that scream out for help in the back of his head. On top of that, he can’t get laid anymore, since his touch is deadly!
While out on the job collecting wayward spirits one night against the orders of his employer, he comes across an unhinged vampire who is absolutely his type. When he realizes he’s unable to reap this blood-covered individual, Drake immediately turns on the charm and shoots his shot for a chance at a hook-up.
The stand-offish vampire’s name is Remo Caldwell and he seems to know more about Drake’s new job than he does. As if designated by the Fates themselves, Remo ends up being assigned as Drake’s handler and he is none too happy about the developing situation. The reluctant vamp is forced to work alongside the smitten new reaper, and Drake’s inability to let their developing business relationship stay strictly business begins to grate on his nerves.
Will this unlikely duo manage to find common ground, or will their drastically different personalities make their afterlives a living hell?
As always, Lucid’s artwork is drop-dead gorgeous. The vivid colors and diverse character designs, as well as the chosen color palettes to differentiate between the worlds of the living and the dead, simply ooze New Orleans charm. Down to the smallest detail, River St’s world is a bustling and vibrant place filled with gothic influence that has a lot of care put into it.
The story is steeped in mystery and myth yet still channels a modern tone that grounds the narrative to a sense of reality needed to sell the world Lucid has created. The dialogue is sharp and humorous and the dynamic personalities of the characters really shine through the writing, making the main duo and the supporting cast stand out amongst those in similar titles.
One of my favorite pieces of any Lucid comic is the lettering and it does not disappoint in this title. The selection of styles used for speech and sound effects add a lot of emotion and energy to the conversations while still allowing the art to do a lot of the talking on its own.
You can easily see the anime influence behind River St, and one of those defining points is definitely the humor. Drake's constant flirting and Remo's discomfort and semi-threatening attitude feel like they were pulled straight out of your favorite anime. It dials up the charm that is so heavily steeped in that southern gothic aesthetic in a fun way.
When Remo and Drake go off to reap souls, they step into a plane of existence frozen in time that is designed perfectly for the tone of the scenes. The backgrounds are blood red and the color is sapped from the characters, adding a sense of death and separation to the moments from the main narrative. They’re a shining piece of the series and I can't wait to see more of it.
The designs of the Soul Snatchers has an undeniable anime influence that is immediately noticeable and brings to mind other classic soul-reaping titles like Bleach, Soul and Eater, and it’s perfect for Lucid’s style.
Filled with the supernatural and paranormal, River St features a supporting cast of demons, ghosts, and otherworldly creatures that have some A+ designs. They feel modern but still have undeniable traits that make them easy to spot, adding to the urban fantasy elements of the story.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
CW: Strong language, mild violence, adult themes, uncensored scenes of a sexual nature including BDSM, and horror-related imagery. Definitely recommended for an adult audience only.
The editing/censoring needed to keep things acceptable for WEBTOON and Tapas will end up removing full panels and entire pages of their scripting in some of the later chapters, so it is a more thorough and enjoyable experience on the official site (again, for mature audiences only. As long as you’re of age, go read it on the official site and support it through Patreon).
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
It’s an undeniable fact that I am an absolute addict when it comes to Lucid’s stories and River St quickly became a favorite mere moments after its stunning introduction scene began. A part-southern gothic, part urban fantasy tale of otherworldly beings just trying to get by filled with sultry situations and a positive representation of the BDSM community, this webcomic is shaping up to be a title you don’t want to miss.
While only part way into the first book, the series has already developed a dedicated following and crafted an incredible narrative that is sure to hook you quickly. The southern gothic charm in the series is instantly recognizable and will make any True Blood fan feel right at home, while the undeniable anime influence allows a wide variety of readers to step into that sub-genre in a way that will captivate them. The series updates on Saturdays and is several pages ahead on Lucid's Patreon for those who just can't get enough. The webcomic has all of the witty charm, well-developed characters, and beautiful artwork we’ve come to expect from Lucid, solidifying River St as a place I desperately want to go hang out.
HOW DO I READ IT?
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