Eric, one of our contributors, is actually a good friend of mine off the site. After I posted about Renegade Art Entertainment’s “Buy it all cheap” sale, he was kind enough to gift me the set of Renegade books that included all of their number one issues. Sadly, I’ve yet to read through all of them, but I did sit down and enjoy Channel Evil. The story is about a man who has his own cable show. It’s the typical format of celebrity interviews with mostly unknown stars that are on the up and up. This particular show, he has a blonde beauty that’s becoming very popular. His first question is about her nervous flatulence which completely throws her off. He continues to press her about the matter until she farts on air. Embarrassed the woman runs from the stage and forces our host Jez Mason to take a break. That’s the big difference between Mason’s show and other talk shows; he’s there to embarrass the guest. In a way he’s a bit like a radio shock-jock, trying to get a reaction and not caring about what happens to anyone else just his ratings.
After the show Mason and his girlfriend head to a Channeling. Mason’s girl wants to go and he’s curious to see the performance to book the act on his show. The woman who performs the channeling is named Conni Verona and everything about her act has Mason in a fit. He’s convinced that she’s just a scam artist and invites her to his show after he’s convinced he can debunk her. The next day he sits down with Conni and of course hits her with the hard questions first. She deflects them by asking Mason to try to channel, saying that anyone can do it. Sure enough, Mason makes contact with someone who threatens everyone in sight. He snaps out of it, but he can’t remember anything that he said. Conni warns him that he's awoken something old, dark and powerful.
I really liked this book. It wasn't perfect, but it was very good. There’s definitely a lot of pacing issues with the story. Parts of it seemed very unnecessary, like the entire page dealing with Conni’s bodyguard. I really like the concept and I’m looking forward to how it plays out. Writer Alan Grant does a good job of making the show believable and loading Mason’s character up with a huge prick factor. Nothing about this guy comes across sympathetic and that’s a very good thing. With one issue we already know Mason and now we can join him on his journey rather than try to figure out what makes him tick. The girlfriend is an under-developed character for sure, but I think she’ll come as more of a Beatty Ross to Mason’s Hulk. “No Mason, don’t do it!” and then Mason leaves and we follow him more. In a way the story reminds me of werewolf stories. The character is bitten and doesn't know it and then starts attacking people.
I enjoyed the black and white art style of the book. A lot of the times indie books try to do color pages and the results look terrible due to the colorist. Channel Evil is in all black and white and it makes the book look so much better than if it were in color. Shane Oakley creates some wonderful pages that deviate from the modern panel set up in comics today. Each page has a very open feel to it as if Oakley created the entire two page spread as one and tried to have the entire page flow together. It’s very stylized with its thick black inking and character designs.
Channel Evil has a pretty cool concept behind it and I’m looking forward to what path Mason heads down as this issues leaves him at a crossroads. You can pick the book up either from Renegade in digital or print or digitally from Graphicly if that's where your collection is, sorry no Comixology on this one. I enjoyed this book and will definitely check out the second issue after I work my way through the rest of the pile. It’s a fun concept for a thriller/horror title making for a fast and enjoyable read.
Writer: Alan Grant Artist: Shane Oakley Publisher: Renegade Arts Entertainment Price: $3.99