Deadbeats by INJ Culbard, Chris Lackey & Chad Fifer

deadbeatsLovecraftian monsters meet a jazz trio with a pants-challenged drummer. Sounds odd and it is, a weird concoction in the good sense of the words.

A group of jazz musicians on the run from the Chicago mob accept a gig at a funeral that isn’t a funeral, jam it up a bit too much, and manage to summon something that then proceeds to cause all kinds of mayhem. The tone of this jazz-age tentacular spectacular is light and comedic throughout (see recurring jokes about pants), but the roots of the story are seriously lovecraftian.

The characters are well developed (for a comedy) and act like sensible people when facing the compulsory lovecraftian monstrosity, as in that they don’t really face it, but get the hell out of Dodge when the situation gets too hot to handle. Lesser minions of course get their asses properly kicked in a wonderfully gratuitous manner.

Culbard’s ligne claire drawing style and excellent coloring are as attractive as ever, with special mentions going to the elegantly deformed villagers and a two-page glimpse of the big bad at the end of the book. However, there are sections that seem a bit rushed, and scenes where the action borders on the incoherent. But then again, Deadbeats is Culbard’s second full length graphic novel published this year, and all the madcap nonstop action would be hard to capture even for a more action-oriented artist. So, minor quibbles.

All things considered, the book is a fine fun read, with a suitably nonsensical approach to all things unnamable and indescribable, and in all honesty, one of the better original lovecraftian graphic novels that have appeared over the years. And what a great cover design as well!

**** (4/5)



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