Written by the two hosts of the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast, Chad Fifer and Chris Lackey, and drawn by the idiosyncratic and immensely talented INJ Culbard – whose credits so far include SelfMadeHero’s fantastic adaptations of At The Mountains Of Madness, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, The Shadow Out Of Time and the Lovecraft Anthology Vol 1 – you don’t even have to get as far as the synopsis to have a pretty damn good idea what sort of territory Deadbeats is covering.
Sure, it’s a tale of necromancy, zombies, sinister rituals and awakening horrors in the 1920s, but tonally it couldn’t be further removed from the brow-furrowing anxiety of Howard Phillips’ ouvre.
As eagerly inspired by Thirties Hollywood crime capers, and classic Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson slapstick splatter comedy, as it is by the indescribable terrors of the Mythos, Deadbeats follows a trio of musicians on the run from the mob – that one spends much of the narrative looking for a pair of trousers speaks volumes about the atmosphere of unspeakable dread herein – and forced to take a gig playing a note-perfect piece of music and what they’re told is a funeral.
When the trumpet player sees an opportunity for a wicked jazz interlude he throws the whole ritual off and a unleashes untold supernatural chaos into the backwoods of the rural Midwest, meanwhile, a dame plucks at his heartstricks, bumbling hicks fight off the walking dead, and a gat-toting mob thug tracks our heroes down.
Given SelfMadeHero‘s incredible track record when it comes to producing top tier Lovecraft adaptations that look, smell and read great, to have their first original entry into the wider world of the Cthulhu Mythos – one already trod by such undisputed heavyweights as Clive Barker, Robert Bloch, Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell – be such a gloriously radical departure from tradition, yet still treated with every inch the same level of love and professional pride will inspire giddy delight in all fans of horror, HP Lovecraft, bespoke graphic fiction, and trumpet solos.