Werewolf Press recently kicked off under the all-seeing eye of former Candlelight label owner , October File bassist and Plastic Head kingpin Steve Beatty. The first publication to rattle of its printing presses is Realm of the Damned.
Set in a world where vampires rule, but otherwise it’s not far from our current existence, the Vatican is attempting to fight back and regain control for humankind. Their most famous fighter takes his name from the classic Dracula being one Van Helsing. So far so “heard it before”, but this is a well-told tale which throws in plenty of extra little twists including the unleashing of a demon by some ill-advised young metal fans…
The comic was initially serialised in the Judge Dredd Megazine but is now available as a graphic novel. From someone who reads a lot of comics, this is well worth a read and I enjoyed it from beginning to end. The artwork is superb – coming from a man who’s had his work on the cover of 2000AD on numerous occasions, this is hardly surprising. Detailed without detracting from the fast flow of the story, it’s nicely gruesome where needed yet somehow manages to be humorous at points where things in the story get Evil Dead kind of silly.
Dialogue manages to be gritty with an edge of humour and never comes across as cheesy. The characters are a little bit out of the stereotype moulds (the troubled but tough hero, young and misguided followers of evil…) but this doesn’t detract from the story. It’s definitely adult content, though – you’re left in no doubt of this from the third word of the third panel. Don’t go leaving this around for your younger kids to read unless you want to get in trouble from their mother! Unless you are their mother, in which case you should certainly know better!
I don’t want to go into too much detail for fear of spoilers, but there are some great sequences in here. Some of them make me wish there was a possibility of a decent film version, just to see if a decent CGI crew could carry them off. Between these and the nice old-fashioned gore and horror, there’s the makings of a great series here. Certainly Van Helsing is an interesting character – I’d like to find out more about him.
It’s a self-contained story, though there is definitely room for a sequel if this one is popular enough and I hope it is. The band featured within the pages – Sons of Balaur – also has an album due out in October so you could regard this as a huge and rather impressive advert for its release. You’ll also spot the likes of Behemoth, Emperor and Mayhem within the pages.