Bardstone Publishing 2021
Created & Written by Scott Zambelli
Pencilled by J. Travis Smith & Scott Zambelli
Inked by Kevin E. Meinert
Coloured by Scott Zambelli
Flats by Shara LIma
Lettered by Brett R. Pinson
"Crimson Shadows" is an intense series set in late 1880s London where the paths of Jack the Ripper, Dracula, Vampires, Demons, and Angels collide with darkness seeming to be the inevitable end for all involved. We follow our main character Julius Resnick to see if he can hold on to whatever spark of Light remains within or will the Darkness consume him as it does so many others on the streets of London.
I am a fan of this series so far. I was lucky enough to be asked to do a review of issue one and now here we are with issue two, both of which were successful Kickstarter campaigns of which I supported and I hope you did too. What I really enjoy about this is that it takes characters from literature and real life and blends them into a story that is unique and interesting. From Holmes and Watson to Joseph Merrick, also known as the Elephant Man, make appearances in this series and I have to say it’s a great look at what men considered monsters in this era.
I am very much enjoying the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exquisitely. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character development as well as how they act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter is phenomenally well rendered. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing more and more of the story it’s easy to get swept up in what is happening within the pages.
I find myself rather enjoying the way that this is being structured and how the layers within the story continue to grow, evolve and strengthen while new ones emerge. It is within these layers where the avenues being explored continue to be done as well as where the characterisation along with the twists & turns that add so much depth, dimension and complexity to the story. The way we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is impeccably achieved.
I am a huge fan of the interiors we see here. The linework is exquisite and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to showcase this level & quality of detail work is astounding to see. How we see backgrounds utilised throughout to enhance the moments and work within the composition within the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story is utterly magnificent to see. The creativity and imagination that we see is spectacular and to see the Proteus Syndrome, Frankenstein’s Monster as well as these Death Doctors really make for some truly memorable standout moments. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a remarkably talented eye for storytelling. The colour palates are pretty muted and even then that we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is phenomenal. There are bright pops of colour here and there but I’m impressed with the muted palate range the most.
It used to be you’d only find books like this at conventions but with the advent of Kickstarter and Indiegogo it is easier than ever to be able to fun your own self-published book. It also means it’s easier to get it into more hands than ever before as well. For me it’s fantastic because this is where the next generation of storytellers can be found. This is amazingly well written and sensationally illustrated book that you need to have in your reading list. Trust me this is the kind of storytelling that reignites your passion for comics.