Publisher: Deadbolt Comics
Writer: Thomas J. Campbell
Artwork: Wayne Lowden
Cover Colours: Sean Callahan
Logo & Lettering: Ken Reynolds
Available to buy digitally on Buy Small Press and to Stream on the Comichaus App and Globalcomix.
The stars are right and the old ones have risen, bringing madness, death, and destruction with them. Forced to run for their lives, a sister and her brother must avoid roving bands of cultists, traverse woods and forests teeming with the children of Shub-Niggurath, and skirt coasts that are frothing with the spawn of the deep ones.
Well I honestly wasn’t expecting that! This week my editor was good enough to pass me Abyssal Albion to take a look at, and I think I have something of a hidden gem on my hands.
Imagine if you will a story that is similar to The Walking Dead, but instead of zombies shambling across the pages, you have the creeping, insidious horrors spawned by Cthulhu and the rest of his star-spawned family. Okay, I’m not saying that this is another Walking Dead, but it definitely has a similar vibe, and the same potential to be an epic saga given half a chance.
Thomas J. Campbell’s first issue handles its world building really well, if economically, perhaps more in the vein of 28 Days Later than The Walking Dead, and delivers a gripping story along the way. Honestly, I’ve become quite bored with the plethora of zombie epics out there, and while there are an equal number of Lovecraftian Lovecraftian comics out there, it is very rare to see one that is set in the aftermath of the rising of the elder gods.
I’m also grateful to see that for once we have a story set in England and, to be fair, with the way 2020 is going, I wouldn’t be overly surprised to see headlines on Christmas morning of Azathoth’s blazing eye -pewing cosmic radiation over Buckingham Palace, or Dagon leading his army of Deep ones up the Thames, maybe even swarms of Mi-Go carrying away the brains of hapless Britons in shining metal cylinders. There is a huge Pantheon within the Mythos for Campbell to draw from, and bringing the monsters out from their eternal slumber gives the opportunity for some great visuals on the page.
Wayne Lowden’s inks on this story are superb, and I’m pleased that they chose not to embellish them with colour. I also like an artist that can draw good trees. I know, I know, it’s a weird proclivity, but I love really well drawn woods and forests or monstrous gnarled oaks standing alone on hilltops. There are some superbly detailed panels and pages here, and Lowden delivers a forbidding and darkly shadowed forest that still has an almost fantasy genre feel to it in places.
I thought the diversion into Earth’s Dream Lands was well done, and instantly recognisable. The artwork as a whole is reminiscent of the kind of stories I used to read as a kid, back in the days when 2000 AD and the like were producing some fantastic horror stories inked by the likes of Carlos Ezquerra and Colin MacNeill.
Both Campbell and Lowden clearly have a firm understanding of the Lovecraftian Mythos and a genuine enthusiasm for telling this story, and it shows in what has been delivered in this first issue. I seem to be saying this a lot at the moment, but this series is only slated for four issues, which is something of a shame, because if what I’ve seen of this first issue is anything to go by, this team could produce a near endless series of books in this world they’ve created.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek