Life of Agony bassist Alan Robert is also a talented comic book author and artist. I became aware of his work last year when the mini series Crawl To Me was released. Its unique art and compelling, disturbing story drew me right in (I did not see the ending coming).
Now, Robert and IDW Publishing are set to release Killogy, just in time for Halloween. After reading a preview copy, I can tell you that Killogy features a story just as engaging, characters just as entertaining and art that’s even more blood-splattered, unapologetic and bold than his previous work. Plus, it’s just plain fun.
Here’s my review of Killogy issue one.
The three main characters – accused killers in a Brooklyn police holding cell – immediately look familiar, and that was by design. Sal “Sally Sno-Cones” was inspired by Frank Vincent of Goodfellas, Raging Bull and the Sopranos. Legendary drummer Marky Ramone is Cole Edwards, a streetwise thug, and Brea Grant of Heroes and Dexter is Summer Rhoads, a disgruntled housewife, fresh from stabbing her husband to death. It does add a bit of fun to see these celebrities “playing” characters in a comic. As Robert puts it, “You rarely see an original, creator-owned comic series that features celebrities depicting its characters. I thought it would be interesting, in the same way The Twilight Zone had guest stars at the center of its stories.”
Sal “Sally Sno-Cones,” so named because his wife runs a sno-cone stand, will be instantly familiar to anyone familiar with Vincent’s work. He’s a recently-pinched wise guy with the stereotypical accent, vocabulary and short fuse of a born-and-bred Brooklyn hit-man. While Robert does go a bit overboard with the “Fugheddaboudit’s,” the over-the-top caricature does have a certain charm. Sno-Cones is an anti-hero, and one issue in, I’m ready for him to receive his comeuppance.
Issue one focuses on Sal’s story, so the others aren’t heavily featured this time around. Marky’s character is streetwise and unafraid of Sal, while Brea’s weeping and blood-soaked counterpart seems racked with remorse for stabbing her husband to death. I expect readers will hear their stories in turn. Speaking of…
As the story opens, we discover that the trio has been locked in a holding cell for two days. They’ve not seen any police in that time, and haven’t been fed. Tension is high and it’s not long before Sal and Marky come to blows. As they rain fists down upon each other, Brea sees the figure of a cop approaching. The gang is relieved until he reachers the cell and they see that he’s undead.
A zombie in blue, reaching, moaning, bloody and disgusting, trying to get at them through the bars. As our heroes recoil in horror, Sal reveals that he expected this, as he witnessed similar horrors just before his arrest. After some prodding, he tells his tale.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll say prepare yourself for severed heads, flying bullets and a page-spanning center image you won’t soon forget. The issue ends as Sal finishes his tale and a new horror threatens the three jailed murderers.
As I said, I was drawn to Crawl To Me (soon to be a movie) by the art. Robert’s style is unique, and in Crawl To Me he combined photos, drawing and other techniques into a compelling and unique visual style. It created an unsettling mood very effectively.
What’s impressive about the art in Killogy is that Robert chose a very different style. The washes of color that spanned several shots in Crawl To Me are gone, replaced by bold, confident images. There’s nothing timid here: blood splatters and flies and gaping bullet wounds dare you to look. But there’s more than gore. The characters look just like their real-life counterparts and each panel flows nicely to the next, moving your attention from scene to scene. It’s impressive that Robert could be so effective with different styles.
I’m eager for episode two. “Killogy” suggests “trilogy,” of course, so I’m ready for the other two murders to tell their own stories, and to see how Robert ties them together and gets them out of the undead hell they’re about to face. Killogy goes on sale on Halloween and I suggest those who love horror comics – like yours truly — pick it up.
I love October. Partly for the weather, but mostly because it’s an excuse to indulge in my love of horror fiction. This month, I’ll feature some comics, stories and movies in the genre that you should check out.