Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Characters Created by:(s): Mike Mignola, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell
Story, Art and Colours: Warwick Johnson-Cadwell
Letterer: Clem Robins
Release Date: 26th January 2022
It has been many years since the fearless monster hunters have heard from their friend and companion James Falconspeare. However, when a series of mysterious notes arrive at their doors, Professor Meinhardt, Mr. Knox, and Ms. Van Sloan set off to answer the question that’s haunted them for 15 years, what happened to Falconspeare.
Falconspeare is the third entry in a series that I fell in love with when I first picked up ‘Mr. Higgins Comes Home.’ Even as quite a young child I was a major horror fan, and I fondly remember being treated to Hammer Horror and Universal Monster movies by my uncle if he ever looked after me and my brother. While many of my friends were aspiring to be Superman or Spider-Man, I really, really wanted to be Van Helsing, specifically Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing, and this series of books really hits me in the nostalgia.
The adventures of Professor Meinhardt and his companions is a whimsical love letter to those movies that I have grown to love over the decades. For all that it’s a horror title that started life as a collaboration between Mike Mignola & Warwick Johnson-Caldwell, it’s also one that has humour, warmth and charm. This particular chapter in the series is also one that is tinged with sadness.
Warwick Johnson-Caldwell’s artwork in these stories is fantastic. I know it’s not exactly what we would call the traditional “Mignolaverse” style, but I think it’s absolutely perfect for the story that is being told, and it also fits very well with the stories that it’s paying homage to. In a lot of ways the artwork reinforces that feeling of being in a 1970s Hammer Horror movie, being reminiscent of the European illustrators that walks a knife edge between the more serious outings and the out-and-out camp that the later Hammer films seemed to embrace.
I have found that the two books that precede Falconspeare elicit something of a Marmite reaction. People either seem to love them or hate them, and I understand that to a point. This is not Hellboy, and it’s not the usual Mignolaverse kind of story. If like me you’ve been a reader of Hellboy since the very beginning, there is a certain style and tone that you’ve come to expect, so something that differs from that could easily put you right outside your comfort zone. That being said, I recommend that everyone gets out of their comfort zone once in a while. Indeed, one of the nice things I’ve found about getting involved so much with the indie and small press community is that you’re always finding new things to love, so picking up something different from a publisher and creative team with such an Incredible pedigree should be a no-brainer.
I loved ‘Mr. Higgins Comes Home’, I loved ‘Our Encounters With Evil’, and Falconspeare is yet another title to add to the growing list of books by Warwick Johnson-Caldwell that I absolutely love. If you aren’t already reading these, I’d recommend you check them out without any hesitation.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek