REVIEW: “The PLB Halloween Special 2013”

(PLB Comics, 2013)

Review by Brad Gischia

WRITERS: Josh Shockley, Brian Spicer, Miranda & James Dufendach, and Cheltsey Vann
ART: Josh Shockley, Brandon Spicer, Ryan Thompson, Nikkol Jelenic, and Cheltsey Vann
LETTERS: James Dufendach & Ryan Thompson

This started out as a review of one comic, and I’ll get there, but it seems that I have more to say about PLB than just what is contained in the issue at hand, please bear with me.

Where to spend that hard earned dough?  That’s one of the problems you come across when perusing titles from independent comics’ companies.  There are so many small publishers producing quality work that sometimes just focusing on a company is hard, much less on their individual titles.  PLB Comics has come up with a great solution, publishing a “Halloween Special”, a yearly collection with their big guns up front, so that any reader can get a good idea of what’s going on over there at PLB.

PLB has ultra-serialized their books, which is an innovative way of doing it.  Each issue of a title contains small portions of larger stories.  For example one issue of “The Fall” will have five short serials, and the next will have the continuation of those five tales. This makes for an easy read, not only drawing in new readers with the one-shots but providing back story for those readers who are coming back to find out what’s been going on since last issue.

In the Halloween Special we’ve got four shorts, “Home” starring John the Swamp Dude, “Home Fires Burning” starring PLB vigilante The Fall, and “Sometimes You Get What You Need”, “To Be Loved”, and “A Tale With Teeth”, three shorts.

“Home”Story and Art: Josh Shockley, Letters: James Dufendach
This is a story of longtime PLB character John the Swamp Dude, a humanoid creature living in a time when his people are at war with a competing tribe of Amazonian women/warriors.  “Home” is a classic tale of familial love, of sacrifice, and shows that a person’s appearance does not define who they are.

“Home Fires Burning”Story and Art by Brandon Spicer, Letters by James Dufendach
From a PLB fan standpoint, this was the story I was most looking forward to, because it is a story of “The Fall”, the vigilante hero of the PLB universe.  It also is the introduction of a new character to the mythos, Lt. Adrian Coburn, a newcomer on the vigilante stage.  He is poised to take his vengeance on Halloween night, complete with creepy mask and pumpkin, when The Fall confronts him.  Could this be an ally to The Fall, a competitor, or perhaps the first “super” villain he will have to face?  Only the big brains at PLB know, and we’ll have to wait until next issue to find if he reappears.

“Sometimes You Get What You Need”Story by Miranda and James Dufendach, Art and Letters by Ryan Thompson
Here we have a morality tale, and a major switch in art styles.  Ryan Thompson brings a more cartoony and manga-type style to this short, which tells the story of a rich nobleman and a small theater performer.

“To Be Loved”Story by Josh Shockley, Art by Nikkol Jelenic, Letters by James Dufendach
Nikkol Jelenic brings a distinctively horror-comic style to this story, with detail and fantastic line work.  The story is creepily perfect for Halloween, and has the kind of twist ending that reminds me of Tales from the Crypt on HBO.

“A Tale With Teeth”Story and Art by Cheltsey Vann, Letters by James Dufendach
The last tawdry tale in our group of Kar-mic books (sorry, too much Tales…) is a fairy tale, written from the point of view of a witch, and drawn so that the tale is less scary and more fun.

PLB’s Halloween Special is a sample platter of the kind of book they put out.  They have mainstays, such as The Fall and Gideon and Sebastian, which continue to impress, but the shorts at the end of the Special are fun as well. It shows that one book can contain a wide range of different art and writing and still be successful.  The folks at PLB love comics, making them and reading them, and that is one of the most important qualities in a company.

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Visit PLB Comics for this and more:
http://www.plbcomics.com/

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Follow Brad Gischia on Twitter:  @comicwasteland

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