Spectre Show #1 is an interesting independent comic that I found out about when speaking with the comic’s writer, Shaun Avery about the horror anthology project I’m currently working on. The description of the comic provided on the Comicsy website, when combined with the cover, piqued my interest. Fortunately, he and artist/letterist/cover artist David Broughton sent me a digital copy to review and share with you, and I’m back with the results!
SPECTRE SHOW #1. Remember where you were the day the gates to the afterlife collapsed? The day humanity discovered that the spirits of the dead could possess their bodies at will, and that those spirits were very, very angry? No? Well, we can’t say we blame you for blocking it out of your mind . . .all that murder, torment and carnage. Let writer Shaun Avery and artist David Broughton and a psychotic TV host called Ted E. Scare be your memory. But be warned – what you discover might scar you, and there’ll be no going back . . .
To sum it up, the comic is based in a reality where the gates to the afterlife have closed which means that heaven AND hell are both off limits. Spirits, rather than simply being stuck in limbo, go on massive possession and murder sprees. Ted E. Scare is a homicidal maniac who has managed to get a television program on the air which revolves around the stories of people’s lives after the gates to the afterlife closed. The structure of the comic reminds me somewhat of the DC comics release Joker’s Asylum 1 which featured the Joker hijacking an on-air game show television broadcast, and I also see elements of the Joker in the characterization of Ted. …This is probably because I’ve been a Batman fan for most of my life, and because there are only a few instances of homicidal television show hosts that come to memory. Regardless of why the association came to mind, it’s definitely a positive one that endeared me to the comic that much more.
The art, as you can see from the above cover and the left image of Ted E. Scare is very gritty. I think it’s perfect because it reflects the desolation of the time the characters live in. I find Broughton’s style incredibly appealing. The initial story features military presence, so in that regard (and in terms of appearance) it reminds me greatly of the art from THEM by M.D. Massey. I liked that comic, and thoroughly enjoyed this one. The “commercial breaks” they worked in between the stories were also a nice, humorous touch that kept the book light despite the heavy content. There are elements of possession, science fiction, and plenty of action and violence to keep any horror fan’s interest.
The stories featured feel real and complete, and the artwork is consistent which is something that I look for in indie comics, especially. I look forward to seeing more from both Avery and Broughton, and the next comic in this series.
You can order Spectre Show from Comicsy, it is currently the only vendor selling it. Comicsy ships out physical copies of the issue and isn’t offering digital downloads at this time, but it’s worth the postage to have a hard copy of this lively issue on your shelf! More of Shaun Avery’s work can be found online through Descent Theatre and in the Demonic Visions anthology series, and more of David Broughton’s work, including his other comics, can be found on his blog: https://www.dbroughton.blogspot.co.uk/ or on his Facebook page.