Advance Review – The Nasty #1 (Vault Comics)

Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer: John Lees
Artist: George Kambadais
Colours: Adam Cahoon
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Release Date: 5th April 2023

Thumper Connell is an 18-year-old horror movie fanatic, and a member of an exclusive club of like minded people who are intent on tracking down every film banned by the British Moral Decency League. I say exclusive, but really it’s just him and his mates that meet up at the local video store ”The Monster-Dome.” The video store however is in trouble, but proprietor/expert in Video Nasties Deb thinks she’s found the answer. House of Creeping Flesh is the ultimate video nasty, a film so reviled that nobody has ever seen it. See, Deb has found a copy, and plans to host this year’s Halloween Horror Fest and draw in record crowds by delivering a special viewing of the film.

When things inevitably go wrong and the video is apparently destroyed, the gang must come up with a ludicrous last-ditch plan to save the festival and avoid being savaged by the coffin collective. Oh, and since they tried to play the tape, weird supernatural things have been happening. Oh, and Thumper has an imaginary friend, who is also the serial killer from a slasher movie, who might also not be as imaginary as he first thought…

Okay, so let’s get it out of the way, this is a John Lees title so I would buy it sight unseen and know that I’m going to love it. John is one of a very small number of writers who hits me where I live every single time, and as I’ve mentioned a few times in previous reviews, is a surprisingly nice, polite and charming bloke considering some of the filth, horrors, and atrocities that he has committed to the page over the years.

If your formative years were the late 80s/early 90s then The Nasty is going to provide a comfortably familiar world; the treasured/legendary hang out being closed/bulldozed/converted into a Starbucks and the dysfunctional, oddball group of friends coming up with a harebrained scheme to save it. We’ve all seen at least one version of this story, but never quite like this. Only Lees could take this story template and spin into it video nasties, slashers and other horror movie monsters, managing to make it fun and scary and something you’ve not seen before! I’ve been exceedingly lucky to have been sent the first two issues to preview and honestly, I cheered and laughed and did a wee dance at the end of the second issue.

The characters in this story are, as you’d expect, well written, all have their own personalities and quirks, and all probably have an unwritten bio going back to early childhood. It’s this kind of attention to the fundamentals that always, for me at least, makes John’s characters seem so real and three-dimensional, which then makes everything else seem much more real and keeps you in the story for the whole ride. Take Mr. Dig, arguably one of John Lees’ most well-known characters, a fox mask wearing vigilante patrolling the Glasgow suburbs with a weaponised shovel. From the first moment you saw him, you knew there was a complete standalone comic of his backstory waiting in the wings (which, I’m delighted to say, 10 issues later we now have). John writes characters that are flawed, broken, dysfunctional, insane, irreverent, lovable, and real.

In many ways, if you picked this book up and just had a quick flick through in your LCS you’d be mistaken for thinking it was a YA title, and if you did, I imagine that by the end of issue three you’d be paying for little Johnny’s therapy bills. The artwork courtesy of George Kambadais is bright and stylised and over the top and it just works so damn well! This is an over the top kind of story though, and it makes the horror FUN!

There are many, many genres of horror, and there’s always that person in the group who claims to be a devotee of High Art Horror, but let’s be honest, when you’re sat in your PJ’s with junk food and cheap alcohol what you’re really going to want to put on is something fun and trashy, and almost certainly from the 80s. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for evocative, artistic, or high-concept horror, but trashy and fun is where most of us live.

So yes, it’s another John Lees title that I have unashamedly donned the cheerleader outfit and Pom-poms for (pictures available on my OnlyFans.) But let’s be honest, am I ever wrong about a Lees title? I’m pretty sure that John is incapable of putting out an average comic never mind a bad one, so get out there and grab a copy. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Rating: 5/5.

The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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