Grimm #1 (Dynamite) – Considering the rate of both network and cable television series getting comic book adaptations, it did take a surprisingly long time for Grimm to get its turn, even though it is only going on its third season.But here it is now, courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment, so we get to dabble in some police drama/fairytale creature killin’ goodness. The first few pages are somewhat of a hurried recap, but if you are a fan of the series you know the general synopsis. It is worth noting that the comic book series is adapting the show starting at the beginning of season two, rather than one. I am not sure of the reasoning behind it, maybe they did not want the comic book version running a full two seasons behind, but regardless of that the paper form isn’t doing a direct adaptation, rather a loose tie-in to the show’s story. Detective Nick Burkhardt, his partner Hank Griffin, and fury friend Monroe travel to Vienna to track down Nick’s resurfaced mother and the three coins of Zakynthos which she was protecting. The coins give their holder power over others and have been used throughout history by many of the worlds conquering leaders, ie. Alexander the Great, Ceasar, Napoleon, and of course, everyone’s favorite Nazi and closeted werewolf, Hitler. Always with the Hitler. Inevitably, trouble ensues and the team is confronted by the group responsible for the disappearance of Nick’s mother. Overall, the book retains the same level of dark fantasy and light whimsy as the television series, and it feels like a proper print version of the story and characters. Given Dynamite’s penchant for creature-slaying violence, we might even be treated to a more splatter-friendly take on Grimm and indeed we get a peek at that towards the end of the first issue when a certain sword wielding vixen makes a pointed entrance. If you are a fan of the show, this book is probably a no brainer, and if not, the story really isn’t difficult to come in on late in the game and is mostly welcoming to newcomers so it is at least worth checking out.
Chin Music #1 (Image) – There is not a great deal of worthwhile comics on the market that blend the occult and supernatural over a backdrop of prohibition era crime. Probably because melding them together often comes off as a cheap gimmick to capitalize on the current marketability of ‘pulp’ and ‘neo-noir’ pastiches. There are certain names who I would trust enough to make a faith-purchase in the genre, like Brubaker for example, and definitely Mignola. I also count horror scribe Steve Niles on that list, not because I associate him with supernatural pulp, per se, but because I’m a sucker for just about any campy and often cheesy horror when it has even a small semblance of intelligence or just plain entertaining writing behind it. Niles has always retained that as his trademark flair: making a b-movie grade comic with high brow scripting and interesting setups. Which is why I wasted no time jumping into Chin Music, out this week through Image. The story is of a grizzled Federal Agent (he’s really an IRS agent but I still wouldn’t fuck with the guy) who, from the very first page makes it clear that he dabbles in the deep dark end of the occult. This first issue is mostly just a preliminary piece that introduces the reader to the tone and setting of the book in general. We meet the character, and some of how he came to be, but there is no blatant narration to hold your hand, so you are mostly just along for the ride, but don’t worry, it’s a good ride. Niles is able to sit back a little in the caption and dialogue area because he’s got Tony Harris handling the art, and he does a fantastic job. The pages are vivid and splashed with gruesome eye candy, even the paneling is fun and absorbing although the superfluous layout design can sometimes busy up the pages a bit much. Altogether, Chin Music is a fun book with a lot of style, and the first issue definitely gives the impression that it is only touching the tip of the iceberg. Pick it up if you want a mix of horror, supernatural, and neo-noir in a package that looks as good as it sounds.
Creepy #12 (Dark Horse) – One of the better (and only) horror comics anthologies rolls in with the twelfth issue of Dark Horse’s resurrected Creepy. This installment sees a better bunch of shorts than recent issues, with the likes of Richard Corben, John Arcudi, Ron Marz, Julian Tedesco, and even features a reprint of an old Archie Goodwin and Steve Ditko piece. Things get to a good start with a simple but entertaining Richard Corben story, and if you’ve got a horror comic there is certainly no better way than to lead off with a legend in the genre. The master of macabre art makes everything he does look like a classic and Creepy will surely always have a place in its pages for him. Ron Marz and Richard Clarke’s ‘Fishing’ is a clever little tale that features some cool art and great panels, as does Arcudi and Tedesco’s ‘Pack Leader’. Tedesco’s soft pencils make for some very haunting and surreal imagery, even though there is nothing overtly graphic in the story by way of creatures or amount of gore, which is really a testament to the artist. What really brings the issue together is the Goodwin and Ditko reprint, it’s a good piece and having it included in the collection not only adds variety but gives the comic a feeling of authenticity in regards to the classic series it is following in the tradition of. A pretty solid offering altogether with a good mix of stories, and this issue is definitely an example of what makes Creepy the reliable horror comic anthology that it is.