Comedy, Horror, And A Detective Chimp New On ComiXology
By Jeremy Konrad
As long as I can remember I have always enjoyed all things horror. Especially horror with some great humor thrown in. Whether intentional, like the old Universal Horror meet Abbot and Costello movies, or unintentional, like The Howling Reborn, I like to laugh when I am being frightened. It takes the edge off.
Luckily, there is a new horror comedy book out this week on Comixology that has both in spades. Stiffs #1 (written by Joe Glass, PJ Montgomery, and Drew Davies with art by Gavin Mitchell) is a British horror comedy title that right off the bat reminds you of another certain British horror comedy, Shaun Of The Dead. Written with the same wit and charm as that film, the book drops us right into the action as Don Daniels and his talking monkey friend Kenny dispatch a zombie in a most gruesome way. They identify as zombie hunters, even though they have only been doing it for about 6 months or so.
After some playful banter, they decide to check out the house that they killed the zombie in front of to see if the people inside are ok. Here we cut back and forth between our heroes and a group of their friends at the pub. The group of friends is concerned since they have not seen Don or Kenny much in the last six months, and hypothesizes that he must have meant a woman, or even a man. When the focus shifts back to the house, it is non-stop action as Don and Kenny try to escape the house and stumble upon a room of the undead. There is a twist here that I dare not spoil, suffice to say that it was quite intriguing to say the least.
It is obvious that the creators are having a ball making this book. The banter between Don and Kenny is very quick-witted and snappy; I instantly believed not only that the monkey could talk, but that these two were great friends. Really though, the humor in this book was a pleasant surprise. On more than one occasion I laughed out loud, particularly when Kenny finds a bottle of booze instead of an escape route. Kenny has climbed right alongside Detective Chimp as one of my favorite talking simian characters.
The art and design of the book perfectly compliment the writing, as both are superb. The monsters are quite gruesome and refreshingly scary. Lately there seems to be a focus on nothing but gore, gore, gore in horror comics, especially in zombie books. I am happy to say that is not the case here. Gavin Mitchell does an excellent job of keeping things atmospheric and reigned in, never pushing things too far into the gross department. Creepy is always better than gruesome, so I always appreciate when someone can straddle that line properly. And a special shout out to colorist Adam Cadwell, whose use of blacks and even bright colors in the right spots really set the mood and keep the eyes moving from panel to panel.
If you enjoy getting horror mixed all together with your comedy, you would be hard pressed to find a better combo than Stiffs. With great pacing, laugh out loud jokes, and creepier than you would think visuals, this is one that you should go get right now.
Check out Stiffs #1 on Comixology, out this week.
Jeremy Konrad is a freelance writer for Bleeding Cool. Follow him on Twitter @jeremyohio