Friday, 15 August 2008

Love in a hurricane of blood: Raising Hell

I came across Raising Hell while looking over Transmission X, a worthwhile and experimental collective I'd found out about via Butternutsquash and if Koala Wallop no longer grabs my attention then this is a far more interesting substitute, no fey cartoony cute meanderings or surrealism masquerading as a plot. This strip in particular leapt out at me, or rather it assaulted my eyes with the virtuosity of the whole bloody confused mess, still, this is no starter strip and there's been some planning behind it and this unified vision makes a nice change (Road Waffles anybody? geeze).

The first thing that hits you is the colour scheme , it's very understated but when it gets violent red is used like a knife in the eyes, you can almost see the hemoglobin sizzle as it encrusts on the walls into a deeper vermilion red. If nothing else, this strip makes mindless violence look exceedingly good.

I think by now you can tell that zombies are my one true vice and this strip delivers a zombie apocalypse in the middle of a Halloween booze-fest and a lover's tiff. There's something very noir about all this while it's grounded in indie disaffected slacker styling (Stuff Sucks, Butternutsquash, Questionable Content) and it feels more adult than these strips, like the Dropkick Murphys dropped in for an impromptu gig at your house and your keg internally combusts out of pure joy while your little brother smashes a beer bottle over his head. By that I mean it feels like there's no computer geek DNA at all in the genesis of this strip, the counter-culture pulp twist is like a slice of lemon in your drink or the last twist of the knife in your back.

I like the motley collection of riffraff & human debris that make up the characters here, an injection of grit, noir and hoodrat sleaze into what is typically a subset of action or horror.There's also some surreal touches where Andy B's line work flexes with the story In the middle of the tempestuous relationship drama the zombie attack makes the drama ricochet. The 'love story' that's the backbone of the story is both ridiculous and touching.
We're not far enough into the narrative to see if the Zombie invasion has affected the planet and whether this will turn into a 'survivor/brain eating Apocalypse' storyline and the origin story for the zombies isn't apparent, but frankly I'm glad that Josh Fialkov has decided to keep everything tight under wraps. Most of the zombie strips I've read so far are purely over-influenced by the genre, this is a webcomic is willing in inject some hipster fun into the mix.

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