By: Tommy Dively
Living in the post-Batman Begins world, it’s getting harder and harder to find genuine thrills and horror that inhabit a universe without it being soul-crushingly dark and dreary. The order of the day is gritty realism, making the ridiculous relatable, the horrific very real. So it’s a wonderful breath of fresh air to fall into the at times terrifying and yet constantly fun and funny world of Blood and Gourd.
Created by genre fans themselves Jenz K. Lund and D. H. Shultis, the story follows many tropes yet never clings to them or uses them as a crutch. The monsters are pumpkins and, after obviously being genetically (at the very least!) altered by an evil conglomerate who buys the land of a struggling farmer and his daughter, a hoot of an adventure progresses. In a very fun nod to body-snatcher flicks, these pumpkins want to get ahead of the game – quite literally. They fly across the page, enveloping the heads of their victims who in turn become monsters themselves.
Speaking to the lighter tone while still keeping the scares coming, Lund shared, “We wanted to make something that harkened back to a time when the comics were fun, colorful, and a little bit goofy. We also wanted to come up with some brand new monsters. You know how to kill a zombie, a werewolf, a vampire, but pumpkin monsters? Who the hell knows! All bets are off!”
This freshness comes through, not just in the inventive new monsters but also the gorgeous illustrations and fun characters. It jumps back-and-forth to a few different groups of survivors of the pumpkin carnage but there is no doubt our protagonist is the farmer’s daughter. And as tempting as it may seem to jump to jokes of traveling salesmen and the like, Kitty has got claws. It is truly great fun to read a monster tale that not only follows a female lead in Kitty but one that is strong and confident, heroic, and actually tries not to make dumb decisions in her attempt to save not only herself but as many others as possible. If only more comics had Kitty!
It’s clear from page one that Lund and Shultis are fans themselves and that joy shines brightly through. Inspired by the likes of such great works as Night of the Creeps, The Re-Animator, Fright Night, and of course the godfather of the modern horror genre himself Stephen King, Blood and Gourd never feels like it’s traipsing dangerously near well-trod territory. Instead, it feels new and bright and exciting, clearly imbued with childhood inspiration whilst still pushing ambitiously forward with total originality.
Speaking with Lund, he has a crystal clear image of what goes on the page. “I’m an insanely visual person,” Lund shares. Not only though does he see it all play out in his wickedly clever imagination, he understands that, regardless of the nature of the threat, commitment to the stakes of that universe is all that matters. “I recognized early on that relating to characters and getting lost in their world is what it’s all about. Even in a silly comic book about killer pumpkins. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous your premise is, as long as your characters take that threat seriously.” And frankly, when pumpkins with teeth are devouring heads left and right, it’s hard not to throw away every single Jack-o’-lantern you own.
These guys wanted to make a comic that was “fun, colorful, and a little bit goofy” and, in doing so, truly made an original and absorbing tale that is as much fun as it is creepy as all hell. The artwork by Juanan Ramirez and colors by Fran Gamboa add another level of fun and froth to an already exciting story.
Speaking to the recent and tragically all-too-soon passing of Steve Dillon of Preacher fame, Lund said, “The loss of Steve Dillon is a huge deal. Preacher is the gold standard of any comic book series…Ennis and Dillon were a dream team.” Well look out because Lund and Shultis are a pair we as an audience can only hope will continue to dream up more pumpkin madness and beyond.
Find it here: http://www.bloodandgourd.com
Also on Comixology! Click here!
It doesn’t end there! The guys at Dead Peasant have graciously signed 3 copies (Book 1 & 2) of the comic for us to give away! Stay tuned on our Facebook this week for details on how to win a copy!