Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reviews: Witch Doctor Vol. 1: Under the Knife; Robert Bloch's That Hellbound Train

WITCH DOCTOR VOL. 1: UNDER THE KNIFE (Image, 2011; Softcover)
Collects Witch Doctor Nos. 0-4 (cover dates June- October, 2011)
Writer: Brandon Seifert
Artist: Lukas Ketner
Bravo! Seifert and Ketner, take a bow! Young comic creators out there, this is how you do it. You employ the best storytelling techniques of the older generation, namely each issue telling a complete story with a beginning, middle and end while building towards a larger arc while offering identifiable, memorable characters that I actually give a damn about. The best aspects of classic and modern comic book storytelling converge, and the result is Witch Doctor. Well done!
I must also give a shout out to colorists Sunny Gho and Andy Troy, who add classic yet modern flourishes to the artwork with their subtle, tasteful coloring. Modern computer coloring is amazing when employed correctly. It can add tremendous amounts of depth to the artwork when it is done like this. Color should add to the artwork, not try to outshine it.
There is a character sketch gallery in the back, where they mention that several self-published issues were released first, and how they may someday re-release them. I hope that they do, if as DVD-style extras in the back of a future collected edition if nothing else. I can't wait for the follow up mini-series to be collected.
The OCD zone- The production values on this trade paperback are top notch. This has a pleasing feel and heft to it, and has nice paper to boot. 
Collects Robert Bloch's That Hellbound Train Nos. 1-3 (cover dates June- August, 2011)
Writer: Robert Bloch; adapted by Joe & John Lansdale
Artist: David Wachter
This is an excellent read, even better than I thought it would be. This mini-series is based on a 1958 shorty story by Robert Bloch (Psycho and Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper), who studied under H.P. Lovecraft.
The gist(spoiler free): An orphan whose father worked for the railroad and told him stories about a Hell-bound train ends up encountering this train in adulthood. He makes a deal with the conductor, who is really Beelzebub, and it becomes a game of wits between the two. This is a fast paced yet thoroughly satisfying read that I would recommend to all comic book fans of discriminating taste.
The OCD zone- Exceptionally high quality, heavy duty paper coupled with a wax coated cardstock cover makes my OCD glow in a greenish hue. 

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