Blood and Gourd is an independent comic series self published by indie publisher Dead Peasant. Blood and Gourd found its life through absolute will and determination of the Dead Peasant team along with crowdfunding from avid fans.
The Dead Peasant team consists of writer/creators Jenz K Lund and DH Shultis. The art is done by Juanan Ramirez who has experience working for major names like Marvel, Dark Horse, and DC Comics. The vibrant colors are done by Fran Gamboa who has also worked with some heavy hitters in the world of comics including IDW, Image, Zenescope, and Dynamite.
Blood and Gourd is definitely a unique story and fresh approach to the horror genre. The Henderson family farm has been in business for years. With the farm’s future taking a big turn the family drama going on behind the scenes of their standard fall festival is a bit messy. A new player in the running of the farm, looking every part the villain, has manipulated the pumpkins to not only be sentient, but to seek vengeance on the human’s who have used them for their own devices. The first issue starts a war between the clean and pure organic vs big chemical companies (Seminal?).
The story is inventive and fun. The characters react appropriately to their ridiculous yet horrifying situation. The absurdity of it all is handled well. Blood and Gourd never feels like a parody and only a few of the one liners feel forced. At an impressive 52 pages the first issue sets the stage nicely and executes a perfect comic book cliff hanger.
Fun as the story is, a couple issues do come to mind while reading it. First off, Halloween is fast approaching which is a fantastic time to vilify jack-o-lanterns and other fall traditions. Is there longevity to this story? Is it better served as a mini series to capitalize on fall and Halloween? It doesn’t necessarily mean the comic book can’t work out of mid to late October, the writer’s just need to have something serious up their sleeves.
A personal nitpick on the writing is also all the swearing. Bringing the comic book the equivalent of an R rating seems misplaced when the PG-13 audience would absolutely devour this quality made comic book. Maybe being a comic book the ratings system isn’t as in your face as movies, or maybe this is just censorship. Having cursing throughout the story isn’t wrong, it just feels like a way for parents to put a stop to their middle school aged kids reading a fun bit of clever horror.
While there was a couple bumps in the road as far as story, not so much the telling of it, but in some other small details. The artwork is flawless. Modern cartoons and even a lot of comic books have art that just looks lazy, Blood and Gourd is nothing but quality. It’s astonishing to think a single individual did all the drawing while another made them leap off the page (screen). I’d believe it took an entire team of artists from all sorts of training backgrounds to pull off such a cleanly polished piece. The characters are all well proportioned, well drawn, and unique. The other leading horror comic right now, The Walking Dead, has a serious issue with every male character looking the same. Blood and Gourd keeps the art work professional and clean.
Blood and Gourd should be checked out by any comic/horror fan. The artwork is stunning and the writing fairly strong, especially for a new story. As the story develops it will find even firmer footing. A bit of silliness in horror works when the material is handled seriously. If longevity can be found in the specific time of year set story the folks at Dead Peasant have a fun book that should find its audience.