The comic book industry is generally dominated by major companies. Marvel and DC have the ability to advertise their books in every area of the media, giving them the lion’s share of the market. Marvel and DC, however, aren’t the only comic book companies out there. And they are definitely not the only companies producing great work. I find an independent comic series or graphic novel once a week that blows me away, that has that right combination of compelling, funny, and/or interesting story and strong expressive art that just deserves to be talked about by the whole comic community. These are the kinds of books that make me say to myself . . .
EXTINCT by Fabian Rangel, Jr. and Jethro Morales
At the heart of 215 Ink’s EXTINCT is a werewolf story. At first glance one might even think it is a fairly typical werewolf story, not the written type but the kind you expect to see pouring out of Hollywood and onto the big screen. But EXTINCT is much more than that – it is a funny, action-packed horror romp that pokes fun at horror stereotypes in many ways while ensuring that this seemingly typical story is anything but.
The series is set in the mid 1980’s and follows an socially-exiled teenager named Jimmy, his best friend Nick, and his neighbor Lauren as they try to stop their town from being overrun by werewolves on the first full moon of the year. While that may seem like a rather basic approach to werewolf horror series writer and creator Fabian Rangel, Jr. adds a twist early on that really sets the tone for the whole tale. You see, this town is overrun by werewolves. When I say overrun I mean OVERRUN. It feels like 40 – 50% of the townspeople are werewolves. Fabian Rangel, Jr. manages to create a feeling of amusing eeriness because you have no idea who is and is not a werewolf in the first three issues! This eeriness is complimented by a story that is WAY deeper than what it initially appears to be. A pair of werewolf hunters join the fray in very action-packed way, leading to a series of twists. I don’t want to give anything away but let’s just say that there is a reason Jimmy is the school outcast . . . and it has something to do with the aforementioned hunters!
The humor in EXTINCT is in all of the right places without feeling forced. EXTINCT is full of chuckle-worthy one-liners and darkly humorous action bits. This allows the severity of the situation – being trapped in a town taken over by werewolves – to be more fun than scary. In short, Rangel, Jr. has done what Hollywood very rarely does well – he’s crafted a teenage horror-comedy that works.
Series artist Jethro Morales’ pencils are the perfect compliment to Fabian’s story. Morales’ facial expressions and body language are very strong, and each character and situation feels exactly the way it should feel visually. Morales’ werewolves are equally as cool-looking, maintain a slightly cartoonish dog-like nature while looking fierce and deadly. The panel layout is inventive as well, keeping even the conversational scenes visually well-paced and never boring to the eye.
EXTINCT is a horror comic winner. It has all of the right elements to make it a cult classic horror comedy and deserves to be on your shelf next to your Hack/Slash and Army of Darkness graphic novels! It is that good. You should be reading this!
To find out more about EXTINCT check out the official website at http://www.extinctcomic.com/!
To pre-order EXTINCT go to your local comic book shop and ask them to order you a copy! It’s on page 304 of this month’s PREVIEWS. Or you can order a copy of EXTINCT at http://www.comicbreak.com/wordpress/store/#ecwid:mode=product&product=7530378!