BLOOD AND GOURD ISSUE 1
The first bumper issue of Jenz K. Lund and D.H. Shultis’ Blood and Gourd looks like a schlocky cash grab, riding the recent waves of horror nostalgia. But dig beneath its vines, and there’s playful debut that sends up genre tropes as only true fans can, and weaves an engaging, funny and entertaining story.
Like Day of the Triffids meets Shivers, Blood and Gourd sees seemingly sentient and categorically hungry pumpkins burst from the fertile ground. It’s the day before Halloween, and the spooky festivities see locals gather at a pumpkin farm fare, but are soon preyed upon by the veggies they’ve come to judge. It’s reminiscent of Re-Animator, and indeed the mad scientist conjures up Doctor Herbert West at his most maniacal.
There’s plenty of great characters, if short-lived, but bickering brothers Tristan and Mason are a highlight. The former is testy and preoccupied with getting in as many selfies as possible, while Mason, on the other hand, is a bit of an oddball, and a welcome surprise with his stuffed talking unicorn. Kitty, however, steals the show and is the driving force behind the first issue with her check shirt and pitchfork. Lund and Shultis manage to have their pumpkin pie and eat it by writing dynamic character interaction and thumping good body horror.
Dave Acosta clearly loves drawing gore, and there’s plenty of it to get stuck into, adding a garish red to the blotches of orange dominating the pages. The dialogue is sharp, and full of inventive insults (‘butt crumbs’ being our favourite). The humour is often slapstick, but mostly its witty asides that’ll leave you in stitches.
Blood and Gourd is slice of Americana, and who’d have thought the pumpkin is such a devilishly good squash for subversion. Whether it’s taking pot shots at commercialisation or the death of rural America, it’s a surprisingly tight and clever tale. It does feel rushed, and more characterisation and interaction would have helped to make the subsequent carnage pack more of a punch. But it’s a strong start to a series that has plenty of potential that’ll make a stem head out of you.
INFO: WRITER: JENZ K. LUND, D.H. SHULTIS / ARTIST: DAVE ACOSTA, FRAN GAMBOA / PUBLISHER: DEAD PEASANTS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW