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‘Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog, Volume 1: The Fire Next Time’ (review)

Written by Rodney Barnes
Art by Jason Shawn Alexander,
Well-Bee, Patric Reynolds

Published by Image Comics


Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog is a gripping read. Set in the same universe as Killadelphia, it shares a violent tone with that work.

While Killadelphia had dark moments, it occasionally would drip with macabre humor. Nightmare Blog just feels relentless.

The story opens in Baltimore. Let me take a moment to appreciate the setting of Killadelphia and this book. An urban horror tale set in an Eastern city that is not New York is a rare feat.

Both books flourish in part because their urban settings spring to a dark life, with a personality of their own.

The book opens up with a promise of showing us the Baltimore of Freddie Gray and Edgar Allen Poe.

In showing the repercussions of ground level violence, while also exploring the metaphor of demons and the supernatural, it lives up to that promise.

Nita Hawes is a college professor who spends her night talking to the ghost of her murdered brother. To say that Nita’s life has been tragic is an understatement. Her parents murdered; her brother also stricken by violence. Her brother’s ghost drives her to start a blog as a means of having people reach out to her.

This first volume features a demon named Corson.

He possesses the body of an older man who is in a catatonic state. Howling Henry was famous in the region, but never reached a level of stardom. Once they no longer have use for him, his benefactors cut him off. But not without taking the rights to his music. Taking away the music he created, and the means to care for his family, Henry is justifiably angry. Driven by the need for vengeance, a deal is struck.

The demon Corson, possessing Howling Henry’s body, gets to deal out bloody vengeance.

As Nita Hawes is driven to solve this and drive back Corson, she gains unexpected allies. Detective Brady is skeptical and distrustful. The famous trickster God Anansi is there to help and to bring some humor to the proceedings. She will need all the help she can get. Her battle against the demon Corson takes her to unexpected corners in a battle that not many could survive.

Rodney Barnes also wrote for HBO’s Winning Time earlier this year. Talk about range.

Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog is full on horror, a whole different world from the humorous, hyper world of Winning Time. In Nita Hawes’, we are seeing a full-fledged character. The story shows us how her grief keeps her brother on this plane. This first volume is a trip through her grief as she battles the supernatural. It is at times harrowing and brutal, but Nita is a character I would want to continue following.

The artists on the issues collected are Patric Reynolds, Well-Bee, and Jason Shawn Alexander. The art manages to be fully detailed. Often a monster in a comic book can come of silly, but the various demons are detailed and scary. The parts of the Baltimore region shown all come off as haunted and fearsome.

Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog, Volume 1 contains the first six issues.

A worthwhile read that you should not read too late at night.

Trust me.

I am writing this review at an ungodly hour because I could not put it down and just forget about it.



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