Semiautomagic is a frighteningly beautiful book.
Alex de Campi, best known these days for her 2015 Darkhorse series “Grindhouse”, is back with Semiautomagic a supernatural adventure story drawn in a beautiful classic comic style by non other than Jerry Ordway. Before I can talk about the story I have to talk about the art. The whole package; the title pages, Marissa Louise’s colors, the lettering, is so evocative of 70’s horror that it is literally picture perfect. Jerry’s art pulls you right back to those books you sneaked peaks at on the candy store spinner rack. Those books you bought when your parents weren’t looking — or maybe went looking for in those dusty comic shops of the 70’s and 80’s. Though his work isn’t as crazy detailed as say Wrightson, it carries classic echoes of Wally Wood and Hal Forester. The story wears this style well, bringing the reader to a place where neither story nor art is uncomplicated.
Firmly sets itself up as being “for grownups”
Her name is Alice Creed, and besides being a professor at Yale she also kills monsters. Now before you start with the Buffy comparisons don’t bother. It’s refreshing to read a comic that so firmly sets itself up as being “for grownups.” This a book about an adult in an adult world. Hell one of the first pieces of exposition we get is “In New Haven, 100 kids are waiting for me to talk about Crowley, Blatavasky, and the Personality Cult in the Late 19th & early 20th cen.” This isn’t some teen angst book. And though I loved Buffy (and Angel for that matter) the weekly “weight of the world” teenage drama was a bit much. Alice is a grown up, she’s been involved in some things, done some things, had some things done to her, and she’s still out there trying to do for others. And as it would for an adult this definitely gets in the way of her day job, but when a friend needs help she jumps right in, and finds herself in one hell of an old gods world ending type situation. A situation that more than once really did seem hopeless, and truly frightening.
Collected for the first time in trade
Originally appearing in Dark Horse Presents they’ve collected the story arcs, Semiautomagic: The Bomb That Will Bring Us Together and Semiautomagic: Throne of Blood for the first time in trade. The pacing of the story is so smooth I thought it written for monthlies, and yet it reads so well in trade. They’ve included some behind the scenes art and a four page preview of Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight — Slay Ride as well. At a $12.99 cover price this 90 plus page story plus the additional content is a great buy. It’s also a creepy, scary, wonderfully mesmerizing book. After I read the first half — in mere moments — I found I had to go back to marvel over more than a few pages of excellent writing or arresting art, when you read as many books as I do that’s a rare thing.
If you’d like to see more of this preview head over to Darkhorse.com
Writer: Alex de Campi
Artist: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Marissa Louise
Cover Artist: Jerry OrdwayGenre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Horror
Publication Date: June 29, 2016
Format: FC, 104 pages; TPB, 7” x 10”
Age range: 16