Comic Book Review: 'Blood & Gourd' Issues 1 & 2

By: Heather Seebach

Most adult horror fans today grew up on fare like Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt, which were themselves inspired by EC Comics of the 1950s, so it is only natural that the inspirations should come full-circle. Indie web comic Blood & Gourd seeks to follow in the footprints of those groundbreaking horror comics while revisiting the humor and monstrous creations that defined so much great horror of the 1980s. With only two issues so far, the comic series is already hitting that mark admirably. It's got gore, originality, humor, and the palpable passion of the horror fans who created it.

Said creators are Jenz K. Lund and D.H. Schultis, who started a crowdfunding campaign for their first issue of Blood & Gourd back in 2013. They set out to create the kind of comic they would want to read, and what developed was a tale about homicidal pumpkins. Issue #1, published in April 2015, takes place on Devil's Night on Henderson Farms in Olympia, WA. The hay rides and cider tastings are cut short when something awakens from the soil and the pumpkins begin their violent attack. The first issue is one giant bloodbath and it is wonderful. Full of humor, gorgeous illustrations, and gruesome kills, it leaves the reader immediately eager for more.

Vengeful vegetation is of course not a new concept: from the schlock classic Attack of the Killer Tomatoes to Jason Eisener's short Treevenge, it has been done. Fortunately, this comic series is much more than a one-note gore gimmick. While there are hints at the pumpkins getting revenge upon the human beings who have carved and gutted them all these years, Lund and Schultis have crafted a much more in-depth lore. Furthermore, the pumpkin menace takes on numerous, unique forms. It was clearly important to the writers to not simply rehash old monsters by way of the pumpkin, but rather to give the Halloween staple its own original mythology.

 Issue #2 (which found its footing on Kickstarter in 2015) delves deeper into the history behind the pumpkin menace, with undertones of H.P. Lovecraft. The follow-up also sees more emphasis on the survivors of the Henderson massacre, some of whom will presumably be continuing characters in the larger story. My favorite thus far is Kitty, the pumpkin-ass-kicking heroine. According to co-creator Lund: "It's really about making your heroes flesh and blood...and then stripping them of the flesh, and then draining them of the blood." [source] So maybe don't get too attached to anyone.

Lund has said he drew inspiration from 80s horror classics Night of the Creeps and The Return of the Living Dead, with a desire to bring the fun back to horror. To that end, Blood & Gourd certainly succeeds, from its sight gags to over-the-top deaths to the straight-up bizarre (e.g. a telepathic toy unicorn). There is also a dose of agro-corporate satire, the surface of which has only just been scratched in the first two issues. There is no doubt a lot of great material on the way from this comic series. It is a gorgeous, gory good time for fans of Halloween and/or splattery horror films. The Kickstarter for Issue #3 will be landing soon so do yourself a favor and follow B&G at these links:

Until then, you can read Issues #1 and #2 yourself here on Comixology!

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