Most Anticipated Indie Comics for NCBD 11-30-2022

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Holiday Spirits Vol 2 Review

“Holiday Spirits is a comic book horror anthology with suspenseful and thrilling Christmas tales brought to you by 20 super talented indie creators. This high-quality 90-page book is a must-have under the tree this year! if you like Tales from the Crypt, Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents, this comic book is for you.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be absolutely terrified. Some of the best indie creators around will thrill you with their holiday horrors in this anthology that is tied all together by a story following Mr. Marley, the accused serial killer from volume 1 and his lawyer’s defense of him using tales of horror from Christmastime.

You’ll be visited by “Karens” who want to speak to a manager or they’ll turn into something so ungodly you’ll wish for a regular Karen to appear. You’ll meet slashers and dashers, killers and thrillers. All of these stories are simply terrifying. This is the holidays at their most sinister. Some of the best indie creators have come together to weave a tale so terrifying you’ll wonder if you’re safe this holiday season.

All of the artwork seems to flow together so seamlessly despite the different styles that are presented. With the incredible writing teams that are a part of this book, you’ll fall into this terrifying tale and not want to put it down until the conclusion. Check out all of the creative teams listed below to see the lineup for this year’s anthology.

Each story will pull at your heartstrings in one way or another. Some stories about family and seasonal trauma may be too real for some readers, while stories about a killer that hunts down those on the naughty list may leave you scared of the killer’s arbitrary judgment (or very happy – idk you do you). There are stories of redemption and healing that resonate loudly during the holidays. The tl;dr of it all is that this anthology has a story for everyone – a story that you will connect with on some level and you will walk away differently after reading it.

This has easily become my new favorite holiday read as we all know the holidays always inspire a little touch of horror.

Creative Team:

Santa Slasher
Written By Brian Hawkins (Vineyard, Black Cotton)
Art by Etienne Derepentigny (Dead Kingdom, Cthulhu Invades Wonderland)

All Good Children
Written & Colored By Stonie Williams (VILLAINOUS)

Art By Glliard Goulart (Voodoo Nations)

Razing Spirits
Written By Matt Knowles and Steph Cannon ( HEIRS OF ISILDUR, TALES FROM NOCTURNA, and MISFITZ CLUBHOUSE)
Art By Kurt Belcher (Rottentail, World Front, Winter War)
Colors By Alan Emennual (Voodoo Nations)

Letters To Santa
Written By John Durgin (Jol, The Cursed Among Us)
Art By Joel Vanpatten (Deadball)

8th Night
Written By Tom Ravid (Monstrosities: A Horror Anthology)
Art By Michiums (Wonderful Women of the World)

The Twelve Days of Krampus
Written By Travis Gibb (Coins of Judas, Cthulhu Invades, Granite State Punk)
Art By Don Nguyen (Pablo The Gorilla, Retro)
Colors By Alivon Oriz (Holiday Spirits, Chaos Campus)

Rest Ye Merry Gentleman
Written By Adam Barnhardt ( Sh*t Show, Moonspawn)
Art By Nícolas Santos (Moonspawn)
Colors By Rolands Kalniņš (Coins Of Judas)

BLACK FRIDAY
Written By Heather Gibb (Pup Van Winkle, Cthulhu Invades Wonderland)
Art By Jake and Sean Baggs (Freakshow: Hearld, Expired)

Gift Rock
Written By Matthew Wilding (Free Hands)
Art By Richard Kemp (Dont Even Blink)

My Deer Lady
Written David Galiano (Savage Bastards)
Art By Brian Lue Sang (Tales from the Tipsy Taurus)
Colorist: Damir Rošić (Kerra Prime Presents)

Kickstarter Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bd4db-issue3/holiday-spirits-1and2-horror-anthology-ogn?ref=user_menu

Traveling to Mars #1

Written by Mark Russell
Art by Roberto Meli
Colors by Chiara Di Francia
Letters by Mattia Gentili
Editor Davide G.G. Caci
Published by Ablaze Publishing

“Traveling to Mars tells the story of former pet store manager Roy Livingston, the first human to ever set foot on Mars. Roy was chosen for this unlikely mission for one simple reason: he is terminally ill and therefore has no expectation of returning. Roy is joined on his mission to Mars by Leopold and Albert, two Mars rovers equipped with artificial intelligence, who look upon the dying pet store manager as a sort of god. Against the backdrop of not only his waning days but those of human civilization as well, Roy has ample time to think about where things went wrong for both of them and what it means to be a dying god. A riveting story of planetary exploration and of finding meaning in your final days.”

When Mark Russell is writing the story you know you’ll be getting deep and well-thought-out themes, often with well-placed humor. Traveling to Mars delivers on this and then some. This issue spends a lot of time worldbuilding and developing our main character, Roy. Mark does an excellent job exploring the character and really honing in on what motivates him and where he is at mentally at this point in his life. He is dealing with his very real mortality and trying to come to terms with what are the last months of his life.

Roberto Meli is a beast on the artwork as he not only kills it on design for space stations and Alabama landscape but also does a fantastical job imagining what a younger Mars would look like with life on it. The emotion shown by Roy is clearly visible throughout the issue and for a lot of the issue he just seems tired and ready for his life to end. All of this is captured very well by Meli’s art and accentuated by Chiarra Di Francia’s colors that vividly depict space and the fictional old Mars with life on it. The use of muted or more vibrant colors throughout is well done to depict the scene tones and seemingly follows what Roy may be feeling.

As always, Mark Russell’s writing cannot be understated as this story is so thought provoking and leaves you sitting for a while, contemplating your own mortality. Subtle humor, satire, and social commentary are pervasive in this issue as has come to be expected from Mark Russell’s writing.

If you’re a fan of The Martian or Not All Robots, then you’ll want to check out Traveling to Mars #1, which is out now! I cannot wait for issue 2 as I am betting things will go off the rails a bit now that the premise has been established and the world built up some.

Rating: 8.5/10