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‘Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter’ (review)

Written by David Dastmalchian
Art by Lukas Ketner, Lauren Affe
Published by Dark Horse Comics


At hand we have the collection of Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter as well as the first two issues of a follow-up series, Count Crowley: Amateur Midnight Monster Hunter.

These are some fairly traditional horror comics, although with some modern PG-13 touches. The writing, by David Dastmalchian, is nicely paced and the characters well-worked out to be both original, yet recognizable. The art, by Lukas Ketner (with color by Lauren Affe) reminds me at different times of that of various 1970s and 1980s comics artists including a lot of Val Mayerik and a little of Mike Ploog…and maybe even a touch of Bret Blevins.

Our heroine, Jerri Bartman, is a disgraced TV news reporter with a drinking problem.

When her brother gets her a new gig replacing her small town station’s missing horror host, Count Crowley, she becomes a big hit, which surprises no one more so than Jerri herself!

The gig also leads to her being attacked by a couple of meth-addicted werewolves and a zombie-like creature as she slowly pieces together the fact that her missing predecessor was more than he seemed. Because of her reputation as an alcoholic, of course, no one is inclined to believe her so she ends up investigating the eerie goings-on herself.

This involves a trip to the original Count Crowley’s “nerd monster museum” of a house—where she is adopted by his mysteriously perceptive cat—and a nursing home where the aged horror star Vincent Frights offers her some reluctant advice. He believes her story but doesn’t believe women can fight monsters.

Some nice realistic touches give Jerri a bit more depth than the average 1970s Marvel horror comics female but the story still has that vintage feel to it. As perhaps the first alcoholic comic book hero since Tony Stark back in the day, Jerri’s inner struggles with her addiction, and her lies to herself about it, reveal both her weaknesses and her strengths. As she realizes something truly strange is going on, she wants to drown herself in the alcohol, but not as much as she wants to remain clear-minded and figure out what it all is.

In the end, the Count Crowley books are stories about addiction, but in and of themselves, they offer an addictive horror comic serial that will be enjoyed by old and new monster kids alike. I hope I get to see more!

Booksteve recommends.


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