Brandon Hull is a morally corrupt lawyer who abuses his power, neglects his family, and thinks himself above most people. He also suffers from a mysterious blister that never seems to stop bleeding. When Hull enters what he thinks is a children’s Halloween haunted house to pick up his son, he encounters hellish images and literal demons that may just reveal the depths his human soul has sunk to.
Blood Blister #1
Written by: Phil Hester
Art by: Tony Harris, Eric Layton and Guy Major
Published by: AfterShock Comics
Seasoned comics veteran Phil Hester brings some visceral horror in this book. But it’s not without dark humor (at least initially) as the opening scene with the redneck family brings to mind gory splatter comedies like Re-Animator and Basket Case with its depiction of grossness for laughs. But even then there is an underlying feeling of true horror, specifically “body horror” (think David Cronenberg) that isn’t lost on the reader. The main character constantly bloodletting his blister is fairly disgusting, and every time it does it builds a bit of intrigue.
So when the tone changes toward the end and gets serious, it doesn’t seem jarring. In fact, the ending is the best part for me, as it really starts to open up the story, which I felt was starting to get a little slow. The paced eased a bit in the middle, but the ending will leave you hooked and awaiting the second issue.
The art in this is great. Tony Harris, Eric Layton, and Guy Major create a look that is stylized but still disturbing when it needs to be. It actually invokes EC Comics style horror, but with a very modern sense of page layout and panel structure. It’s very inventive and visually pleasing. And again, like the writing, there is an overall feeling of “not right’ that swims beneath the surface.
The line work is inked thick and dense, which really makes the art jump off the page. Everything is outlined in black, which is subtle art move, but one of the most effective ways to give comic book art a look that draws attention to each figure.
The character design is also fantastic, and the very expressive faces really allow for the horror to come through when needed. The entire haunted house sequence at the end is a high-light, with an excellent use of space and color. It’s great stuff.
Blood Blister seems poised to be an intriguing mystery, with serious horror elements. There is enough originality in it to help separate it from other horror titles out now. AfterShock Comics continues to pump out very interesting non-superhero genre work, and that is always welcome in the medium. Give this a shot; you will be amused, disgusted, and maybe even a little disturbed.