American Gothic Press 2019
On Sale July 24th 2019
Story by Philip Kim
Written by Holly Interlandi
Illustrated by Piotr Kowalski
Coloured by Dennis Calero
Lettered by Jenn Pham
Private detective Hank Barrymore stumbled upon the occult when he investigated a murder case on the World Studios movie set. Now, in his quest to find the witch he fell reluctantly in love with, Hank enlists the help of Nybbas, the demon of knowledge, and follows his clues to the plains of Oklahoma, where a strange farm boy is planting fear into the hearts of monsters and townspeople alike!
I love this world and I make no apologise for that at all. This is a perfect example of a company that doesn’t try to flood the market, they have few offerings and yet every single one they do is of the highest quality all around. I may hate the wait between books and arcs but they really are worth that wait. The opening here is a stellar example of why too as we see New York City in December of 1934 and the city is both beautiful, ugly and magical beyond belief. When Piotr is able to unleash his talent like we see here it is something beyond magnificent and it is art, illustrative art that is gallery show worthy in it’s quality. This is what attracts you straight away and then it’s the writing that seals the deal so you stay and become a fan for life.
The way that we see the story start is fantastic what Holly does here is give us a brief history of the world while simultaneously moving the story forward beautifully. On the plus side, we also get to meet a new character and he’s pretty amazing if you ask me. I am really impressed with how the dialogue and conversation between Hank and Nybbas gives us the perfect among and kind of characterisation that keeps the reader on their toes. This is smart, full of double entendre and full of don’t make one misstep of there will be, literal, hell to pay kind of discussion. I love that we have to pay attention to what’s being said and we can glean from that as it really does raise the bar on keeping the reader engaged in the story.
Piotr is one hell of a great artist/illustrator. His linework is so utterly gorgeous, full of life, zest, pizazz and the kind of attention to detail that makes you want to weep. The way we see the composition inside the panels and how full they are, featuring the backgrounds and now they manage to expand the moments and bring a size and scope to the book. There is also a wonderful sense of imagination and creativity within these pages. The feeling that we get from seeing the work here highlights what the characters feel and all the emotions and feelings we get just further the characterisation we see. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show off a masterful eye for storytelling. The colour work is inspired as well since we see a lot of tonal greys and not a lot of actual colour. That being said the pops of colour that we see really make things stand out all that much more and the impact it has on the reader is highly noticeable.
For someone who just happened to stumble upon this world he certainly has found a way to embrace it, all grumbling to the contrary aside. For me it’s very much like Alice going down the rabbit hole and embracing the madness pretending to look for a way home. Embrace the madness that your life has become by exploring, learning and preparing yourself for any and all circumstances.
Y’all need to be giving this a chance and see why it’s among the best franchises out there and why these creators are able to receive such high praise. Make sure your shop is going to carry this!