Created by Robert Geronimo
What if the dark and creepy art & vibe of centuries old woodcut prints came to us via the textural nostalgia of newsprint comics? That is partially what is happening in the exquisite first issue of Blood Realm published by Alterna Comics. Written and drawn by the superbly talented Robert Geronimo (is that not one of the coolest names in comics?), this book is a fantastical tale in the tradition of something kinda like Game of Thrones, but it is so much more than that too. This title might be one of this year’s best pieces of visual art as well. Beautifully twisted, the art is nightmarish in that the imagery will no doubt produce horrible nightmares…I love it!
As most stories go, this issue is very much a beginning. Exposition heavy while not relying on too much text (there is a helpful glossary in the back of the comic too!), the art conveys huge swathes of mood and plot. A scrawny mysterious little character by the name of Meek narrates the opening chapter as he catches us readers up on the gory history of territories being described. The classic good vs. evil setting of kingdom’s Voragoth and Satryia start our journey. The kingdom of man, Voragoth, falls to bloodthirsty barbarian goat warriors, Satryia, lead by the killer General Gorn on a quest to find ultimate dark power hidden away in far off fortress in the form of a monster’s black heart. By the end Meek tells us three sisters, Sisters of Silence, have been tasked with getting to the dark relic before Gorn and destroying its unholy power.
This is the bones of the story. The art is the reason why this is a must have comic. A color palette of black, “white” (really just empty space – gray due to the newsprint paper stock), and red is perfect in choice because the story feels as if it is ripped from ancient texts found in crumbling gothic castles. Alterna Comics is a fantastic indie publisher too. Their philosophy on using newsprint and keeping comics under $2 an issue is a jolt of fresh air in a world of ever increasing cover prices. I cannot recommend this title enough. Maybe the sleeper hit of the year!
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