Dan Dougherty is an accomplished cartoonist and illustrator who can handle anything from humor to horror and, believe it or not, a mashup of the two. His latest project takes a decidedly dramatic and intriguing tone, a tale about a woman with a most disturbing version of the Midas Touch, now available at Beardocomics.com.
In his own words, Dan provides the details:
I’m proud to announce an exciting new project: Touching Evil. It’s the first comic book I’ve fully written since Cyclone Bill and the Tall Tales. It’s also the first time that I’ve had my illustrations colored by a professional. Wesley Wong has done color work for years, most notably on the Marvel Masterworks series. He inked and colored Touching Evil, and has really taken my work to a new level that I couldn’t reach on my own.
So what is Touching Evil? The quick pitch is this: “An unsuspecting single mother stumbles upon an ancient curse. As the bearer of the curse, she can kill anyone simply with the touch of her hand – provided that the person is evil.”
If that piques your interest, that’s only the beginning! For not only does she have the dilemma of being a defense attorney, she is also completely unprepared to carry something so powerful. And power has a funny way of attracting those who want it. And those who want it tend to do whatever it takes to get it.
The first story arc of Touching Evil will be five to six issues in length, and – if it is successful – will be the basis for an ongoing series. As you can imagine, this idea is ripe with possibilities.
But before I get too carried away with it, I need to begin at the beginning. And I’m hoping you’ll join me for the ride. Issue one of Touching Evil is now available on my website, http://www.beardocomics.com/store . It’s only $5 plus shipping, and if you order it, I’ll throw in a copy of issue one of Cyclone Bill and the Tall Tales, which is long since out of print.
If you DO order it, follow the prompts on the order form. Once you see the screen that gives you your order number and says, “Your order has been correctly sent and will be processed as soon as possible,” then just scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on the “Buy Now” button that will take you to Paypal. You don’t need a Paypal account to pay, it will take a credit card.
I’ve attached the cover image (done by Stephen Bryant) for issue one to show you the kind of quality that went into this book.
Visit our friends at Beardocomics.com.
If you have not yet read what Charles Burns has been up to lately, don’t panic. You have options. There are two installments of his current wild ride, “X’ed Out” and “The Hive.” Both graphic novels can work as stand alones and you will do fine whether you read one first or the other. Essentially, this is a story that follows the main character mostly through flashbacks and alternates with his doppelganger in a parallel story set in a more cartoony and sinister world. Enjoy it as a multi-layered horror story. We’ll focus here on “X’ed Out,” the first graphic novel in the series which came out in 2010. And you can then proceed to a review of “The Hive” in the next post.
“X’ed Out” is as much about the angst of Generation X as it is a horror story. The two themes actually compliment each other rather nicely here. You will find equal amounts of supernatural horror and the self-inflicted horror of disaffected youth. Consider any art school crowd of a generation ago (or any generation, really) and you will find an inner core of self-loathing malcontented rebels ready to set the world on fire. What will it take? Start up a band? How about a magazine? But what will it ultimately take to make the pain go away? What happens when raw idealism and Prozac aren’t enough?
We begin with the cartoony doppelganger. He is sitting up after a restless sleep in an old fold out bed. He has a bandage across the side of his head which can’t be a good sign. He has no idea of where he is. And, once he makes his way out into the outside, we see that this is a very strange place he has found himself in. As we progress through the story, we see that this world is more real in some ways than the hipster world that Doug and his girlfriend, Sarah, are so enthralled by. It’s as if the chickens have come home to roost, as if all those extreme misfits staying up late at night have finally summoned up the Devil. There’s a hint that Sarah may have actually done something like that. And then there’s that strange bandage across the side of Doug’s head.
It really is easy to enjoy both of these installments in either order. Although you can sense the force of the narrative progressing from the first book to the second, the numerous transitions in both books can act as so many elements building up, providing clues. Who is the old man in the creepy cartoon world that Doug’s doppelganger is spying on? Wait, now we have a scene with the old man followed by a scene with Doug and they’re all wearing the same purple bathrobe . Is it a much older Doug in one scene? Maybe. But, in another scene, we know the old man is Doug’s father. “X’ed” will definitely leave you wondering about what will happen next, who is who, and what is what. It’s when the last book in the trilogy, “Sugar Skull,” arrives in 2014 that the sequence will be clear and the resolution unmistakable.
“X’ed Out” and “The Hive” are available in bookstores, comics shops and online. You will find in many shops that both books are neatly displayed side by side. Visit Pantheon Books.