Saturday, March 12, 2016

Blood Feud - a Southern Horror Comic

What if the Hatfields were a supernatual-lovin' cult that engaged in ritual sacrifices and the McCoys were vermin who became blood-thirsty vampires?  And what if this family feud became a blood feast that spread beyond their feuding families and into the community and beyond?

Well, if you've ever asked yourself this question and thought you'd never have the answer - wonder no more!  Just go out and pick up the 5-issue mini-series from Oni Press comics, Blood Feud!

Now, I'll admit - I picked up this mini-series because I love a good horror story.  The premise of this one seemed fun, so I figured I'd give it a try.  Plus, the back cover tributes to various horror flicks through the years certainly added to the charm - from Friday the 13th, to Evil Dead, to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to Fright Night, to Phantasm - how could I pass it up?

While the story deals with the family feud between the Stubbs and the Whatleys, the main characters are actually two country boys, Cecil and R.F., and an out-of-place college girl by the name of Sue.  Cecil and R.F. have always lived in Spider Creek, but Sue came there to study -- what else? -- spiders.  Shortly after the two men run into Sue on a back road, things start to happen.

Like the legion of spiders trailing along the country road.

Like the dead frogs that were still wiggling and squirming.

Like the near-dead Seth Stubbs that they find in the woods.

Like the Stubbs children who have been transformed into hideous, blood-thirsty vampires...

And all of that is just in the first issue alone!  So that should give you a pretty good idea of how the rest of the series goes.  It moves at a pretty good pace, but not so fast that you don't get to know the characters. one of my favorites being Jack, the "muscles" of the group.  He's not your typical dumb jock, either.  He's smart, he can handle himself in a fight, and while I don't want to spoil anything, let's just say he proves himself in a number of ways throughout the series, making him a true hero.

As the story progresses, it at first appears that the Stubbs are just victims to the Whatleys' evil ways, since the feud has been going on so long that no one can really remember how it all began.  But as we learn more about what's really going on, it becomes clear that perhaps the Whatleys' are just as much victims as the Stubbs.  It all leads up to a thrilling, and very satisfying conclusion (although, I will admit, I would have preferred a happier ending than the one given (you'll have to read it to find out what I'm talking about), but the ending definitely makes sense and gives the story closure.

I've never heard of the creators before - Cullen Bunn, Drew Moss, and Nick Filardi - but after reading this, I have no doubt I'll be hearing more from them.  Excellent story telling, both narratively and artistically, and the art most certainly fits the story.  It's not all doom and gloom (although it is horror, so there is plenty of bloodshed), as, like any good horror movie, there are moments of humor, as well as touching moments of human emotion.  And each issue ends with the perfect cliffhanger that leaves the reader salivating for more and impatient for the next issue!

A great read, well worth the money spent, and I look forward to seeing what these guys have in store next!

RATING:  9 feuding vampire clans out of 10 for a good ol' boy horror tale that doesn't pull any punches.

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