Yes, those are lyrics from Billy Idol. But this isn’t about Billy Idol! I swear. It’s about two new comics I started reading that happen to be about crime and murder. As someone who embraces their “Dark Passenger” it’s nice to find some comics that tickle that area of my brain. As someone who still considers themselves new to comics, it can be a little hard to sort it all out. That’s why I’m here to help you and your Dark Passenger by recommending these two books that I just started reading!
Nailbiter (Image): Joshua Williamson and Artist Mike Henderson
This book centers around a town in Oregon that has produced sixteen serial killers since 1969. That’s a lot of serial killers for one town! An FBI agent goes to check this all out but shocker, goes missing. That’s when his friends step in to try and figure out what the hell is going on. The first issue just came out this week and it’s amazing. The artwork and the story line are really great. It can be easy to be lazy when it comes to a topic like murder but this book has me hooked and I can’t wait for the next issue. You can tell that those involved did their research and I can’t wait to see where the story goes and if I can point to a character and know who they were influenced by. It’s a game I play when I watch “Criminal Minds” and I always win. The story isn’t the only thing that grabs you though. The artwork by Henderson is really something else and really flows with the pages. I honestly think it’s rare for a writer and artist to be 100% on the same page but this is one of those books. If you have room on your pull list or just some extra cash, be sure to check this one out. If you’ve been trying to stop biting your nails this book might help with that. It might turn you off to eating roast as well though. Just sayin’.
Black Of Heart (Assailant Comics): Chris Charlton, Artist David Hollenbach, and Letterer Brant W. Fowler
I came across this book while attending C2E2 and wandering around Artist Alley. This is why I always stress checking out that area of a convention. You never know what new books you’ll find. The story is set in 1949 New York City and follows Detective Drake Harper as he’s on the trail of a serial killer known as “The Vulture.” Of course like any Detective that gets swallowed up by a case, his personal life is affected as well. Before I even touch on the story I want to talk about the art. I have never seen anything like it before. It’s dark and beautiful. It’s gripping and keeps you hooked. I think when you’re dealing with murder, it’s a fine line when it comes to art. It’s easy to get stuck in a hole of being over the line, too morbid or bordering disgusting. You need to get across the brutality of the crime but you don’t really want to offend. This book manages to do that amazingly well. I give major props (OMG, I sound so old) to Hollenbach for being able to pull it off.
Now the story, the story matches the artwork perfectly. I’m glad I had issue #1 and #2 because I wanted to keep reading. I needed to know what happened next and honestly, it’s killing me waiting for issue #3. I want it now! You instantly feel connected to the characters, especially Harper. You can almost feel his stress and his heartbreak over not just the case, but his marriage as too. Plus there’s the fun of knowing who the killer is and almost wanting to smack the characters for not knowing. Plus the story does a good job of showing that the bad guy isn’t always the creeper in the alley. The monsters that commit these crimes don’t look like monsters. They look like your neighbor, your kids teacher, or even your coworker. It’s not always the noise that goes bump in the night that you need to be worried about.
There you have it. I’m horrible at writing reviews (which I always say when posting a review) but I just had to share these two books. The nice thing is they aren’t that far in which means it’s easy to get on board! You don’t need to worry about decades of comic history. You can just dive right on in. You can find “Nailbiter” at your local comic shop. It’s been selling out though which means you might have a bit of a time finding it. The good news is you can purchase it digitally! “Black of Heart” is available in the Assailiant Comics online store in both digital and hard copies.
Have you read any of these books? If you have, what did you think?