Publisher(s): Mad Robot Comics, Madius Comics
Writer(s): Matt Hardy, Rob Jones
Artwork: Russell MacEwan, Will McLaughlan
Currently on Kickstarter until Saturday July 18th (CLICK HERE)
Set during the Battle of Stalingrad, Russian troops have broken through the lines of the 6th Army and are herding the remnants of the German army into a pocket that the cannot escape. Those at the heart of this boiling cauldron are fighting a fierce and desperate battle which will ultimately see the tide of war turn against Germany on the Eastern front. Amidst this chaos, Ernst and Vassily – two soldiers on opposite sides of the war – find themselves thrown together to fight something more sinister and evil even than Hitler’s insane machine of death and far, far more ancient.
Ok, let’s get the important bits out of the way first before I share my thoughts. Hell in Stalingrad is currently running on Kickstarter, and I’m sure to nobody’s surprise it was fully funded in less than 24 hours. If you haven’t already backed it, you’ve still got plenty of time as the campaign runs until 18th July and you can find it by CLICKING HERE.
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I have in my grubby mitts the preview pack for Hell in Stalingrad and at some point I may forgive Rob Jones for the fact that it only covers the first twenty pages of the eighty page graphic novel. My first instincts on reading this was to flash back to my childhood reading Commando Comics with my grandad, and the print version is going to be presented as an A5 format collection which just fits perfectly with maintaining that feeling. This series is also promoted as a pulp horror comic and from what I’ve seen so far, it’s certainly going to live up to that claim, but more on that in a moment.
The artwork is simply superb. I love to see good old fashioned pencil and ink artwork. There is something about this style that for me, just feels grittier and darker. Russell MacEwan and Will McLaughlan do a great job of bringing the horror, tension and fear of war to life – and that’s before we even get to the real horror in this story.
What I’ve seen so far of the writing is fantastic. It’s just as dark and gritty as the artwork, and packed full of action and gallows humour. The main characters that we’ve been introduced to so far are solid, real, believable characters. These are men not driven by doctrine or party doggerel, they don’t glory in war or see it as an opportunity to become great heroes. They fight the threat in front of them and they fight for the men at their side, and mostly they’re just fighting to get home.
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My historical knowledge of The Battle of Stalingrad is patchy but it’s safe to say that it was horrific and a pivotal moment in turning the tide in favour of the Allies on the Eastern Front. If you combine this backdrop with a demonic horror story then seriously, there is no way this can’t be a winner!
So, having digested the preview of Hell In Stalingrad, I firmly believe that what these guys have produced is what you’d get if Event Horizon was set in the middle of one of the bloodiest most horrific battles in the history of modern warfare. I reiterate, that’s based on just the first twenty pages.
If you haven’t backed this, don’t miss out, you will regret it!
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek