Deadhorse surprised the hell out of me. How this book made it under my radar is beyond me, but now that it’s been brought to my attention I will be paying close attention to the series as it progresses. The book reminds me of other comics like Chew, Fell and even a short-lived mini called Pigtale, but not in the typical way. That is to say that the book can draw comparisons in story structure and art style, but it’s influences are not that transparent and it doesn't barrow any of those series concepts. The story opens in Denali, Alaska in the year 1877. A team of five men find a camp site with a huge group of dead bodies. The younger Gadsworth finds his father’s dead body clutching a box with the writing “DamuAbi Lu” on it, and snatches it from the dead man’s hands. Afterwards he lights the camp on fire to burn all of the remains. In present day Anchorage, a man stands in his shower trying to reason with a beetle that sits upon his toilet seat. It’s clear that the man, Mr. Pike is a germaphobe that doesn’t want to touch the bug, in a strange act the bug jumps into the toilet and allows him to flush.
Mr. Pike prepares to leave his apartment for the first time in a long while after receiving a letter from his deceased father. He needs to track down a man his father thinks he can trust and figure out what’s going on with the strange letter. As he leaves one of his neighbors invites him in for a quick sandwich that his wife made. Reluctantly Mr. Pike enters their home, only to have them try to kill him. Thankfully the elderly couple is terrible at killing and Pike is able to get away after jumping down from the building.
I can’t quite describe why this book is so good; it’s a strange comic that just really caught my attention with its quirkiness. The mystery of the Gadsworth Company and Mr. Pike was instantly interesting and I can’t wait to see how more of it progresses. Writer Eric Grissom does a great job of making Pike a strange character that is very interesting due to his strangeness. Grissom does a great job with the pacing of the story and the overall structure of the issue. I don’t know if he’s written other comics before, but this work does not come off as a newcomer wrote it.
The art style is to die for. I loved it immediately and it won me over when it exceeded my expectations. Grissom is a good storyteller,but his counterpart Phil Sloan does a tremendous job with the visuals. Sloan adds tons of personality to the characters that would otherwise be missing from the story. The style has an edgy cartoon look to it that is familiar, but I can’t quite peg where I’ve seen something similar. The art really sold me on this book and again doesn’t look like a newcomer to the comic scene.
I almost feel guilty telling you that this book is only available digitally right now… and that it’s free! Head over to the Deadhorse site to get the full scoop, but you can pick it up pretty quick from Graphicly. The second issue is also available there for just a dollar; I strongly suggest you check it out considering I’ll be reviewing it later this week as well. Overall this book is pretty damn good and I’m looking forward to future issues already.
Writer: Eric Grissom Artist: Phil Sloan You can now get the first volume on Comixology Submit for $9.99