22nd May2015

‘Blood & Gourd: Issue 1′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Jenz K. Lund, D.H. Shultis | Art by Dave Acosta | Pencils by Juan Albarran | Published by Dead Peasant

blood-gourd-1

Humour and horror do not always make the best bedfellows, and it takes some skill to combine those two themes into something that works, be it up on the big screen or within the pages of a comic book. It is to the credit of writers Lund and Shultis that not only do they make it work here in issue one of Blood & Gourd, they make quite a few other attempts look sorrowful by comparison.

Plot-wise, Blood & Gourd will be more familiar to the American reader than elsewhere; Americans love all things Halloween, and seemingly all things pumpkin related, and they won’t be disappointed here. Without giving too much away, we have a mix of evil chemical corporations, people-eating pumpkins, innocent small town folk and a Halloween that the people attending the party at Henderson Farms won’t ever forget.

I found the storytelling fast and furious, and great fun. Channeling everything from the films Tremors, Halloween III and Re-Animator, to the light horror of Tales From the Crypt, in both comic and TV show form, I devoured the 52 pages quicker than the pumpkins could devour the people. Small town people are good, big corporations are bad, simple message well delivered. The dialogue is also pitch perfect, ripped straight out of a B movie on the SyFy channel. Issue 1 ends with perhaps one of the best lines of the year (spoken by a humanoid pumpkin, I’ll just add):

“Seeds of my Children…Set forth and germinate”.

A special mention must also be made for the art and colouring which again hits exactly the right mark. Dave Acosta keeps his art clean and restrained at the beginning, but once the story demands it he lets rip with some outrageous sequences and panels. The fact his art has a clean, ‘all ages’ style also helps to make the gory sequences even more effective as they are almost unexpected. The same goes for the bright colours of Fran Gamboa, which help to highlight the humour as well as the gore. Visually, a joy for the eyes.

If you like your horror all grim and gritty, then Blood & Gourd probably won’t be for you. If you like your horror with humour and a touch of campiness, you’ll love this. A definite stab has been made here at attracting a mainstream audience, rather than a niche horror one, and for me it works very well.

Some may find the story a bit too light, the characterisation almost non-existent, and they may have a point. However, when you look at the source material the authors have taken as their inspiration, it is all about keeping the shocks and laughs coming, nothing more. We don’t need to learn a lot about the characters, we have seen their type many times before and will see them many times again.

The creative team and publisher have managed to deliver a fun, yet gory horror tale that delivers its humour and shocks well, and adds a little side order of social commentary attacking the corporate takeover of rural America. I’d recommend this one a lot.

**** 4/5

Blood & Gourd: Issue 1 is available now from the official website.

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