Count Crowley Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter #3 – David Dastmalchian, Lukas Ketner, Lauren Affe & Frank Cvetkovic (Dark Horse Comics)

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Some much quoted and long forgotten pseudo-philosopher and wanna-be mystic once said that you have to hit rock bottom before you can start to claw your way up. If that really is the case, then former hot shot reporter turned small town television station Horror Host Jerri Bartman is about to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of her rapidly disintegrating life. Picking up where the last issue left off, this time, having rescued her missing predecessor’s cat and after being attacked by a monstrous, vaguely cadaverous Golem like creature that probably doesn’t have anything to do with Victor Frankenstein, Jerri finds herself at the mercy of the local constabulary following a rather embarrassing convenience store incident involving a bottle of bourbon. 

The hits just keep coming though as her familial benefactor, after learning of her indiscretion, heaps further humiliation on poor old Jerri by cutting her loose and taking away the only thing that still made some sort of sense in her increasingly crazy world; her job. On her own, with nothing left to lose and the scent of a story lodged firmly in the newshound  part of her brain, Jerri does what she best and goes on the attack. Determined to find the truth about what’s happenng, she sets out in search of the stations original Monster Movie Maverick and is shocked to discover that she might be the only person who can prevent the end of the world. All Jerri wanted was a drink and now she’s supposed to stop all of creation going to hell in a monster driven hand cart. It may not have been her career of choice, but as she’s rapidly discovering, the life of a Horror Host is never boring.

Three issues in and Count Crowley Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter has firmly established itself as my favourite book of the year. Funny, sharper than the knife that Michael Myers expertly used throughout his “career” and packed full of references to, and nostalgia for, the final days of an American entertainment institution, David Dastmalchian’s story of things that go bump in the night and the unlikely heroes that keep them at bay keeps going from strength to strength. Aided in his quest to conquer the comic’s universe by the devastatingly talented artistic wunderkinder Lukas Ketner and Lauren Affe, who, between them, bring Count Crowley to horrifically detailed and delectable life and give it an indelible sense of period, Dastmalchian continues to deliver one of the most enjoyable, witty and wonderfully entertaining books of the last half decade. Fangtastic… Tim Cundle

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