While you wait for more King of the Unknown, might I suggest checking out macabre adventures of occult detective Ezekiel King over at Midnight Mystery.net? It’s done by my good friend and talented gent, Bernie Gonzalez, who already has several stories up for download up at the site.
Looking to know more you say? Here’s my quick review of the first two stories “The Nature of the Beast” and “The Burning Bride of Calcutta”:
Conjuring up lazy Saturday childhood viewings of “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” reruns filtered through the lens of the hardest of hard boiled pulp heroes lies Ezekiel King; the gruff, heavy drinking, cigar smoking, supernatural investigator for hire in Bernie Gonzalez’s first comic outing titled “Midnight Mystery”.
In the two Ezekiel King’s adventures I read, the hard-nosed detective’s cases included “The Nature of the Beast”, wherein his client Ms. Palmer requests Ezekiel’s help to end her recent affliction of vampirism. In ole Zeke’s second adventure, “Burning Bride of Calcutta”, he is hired to help a recently engaged man from Calcutta rid himself of his deceased first wife’s spirit who has been haunting him with increased frequency as the date of his second wedding fast approaches.
Both adventures end up having a few “Twilight Zone” type twists in store for the reader that, without spoiling anything, cause you to sympathize a bit with the antagonists of the tales by their respective story’s end. That’s not to say you won’t root for ole Ezekiel as he puts his supernatural experience to use to dispose of his tragic foes, but you’ll also be genuinely concerned with how he’ll get out of the latest pickle he got himself into as the odds are quickly stacked against him.
Drawing from the pulp comics of old, Ezekiel King is a character that gets hurt and bleeds, and feels legitimately challenged by the foes he encounters despite his tough guy appearance and characterization. Things don’t always go according to plan for this guy, and there are times when he has to throw out his initial strategy and play things by ear to take down his foe. For example, when ancient charms and trinkets ultimately have no effect on the fiery spectre in “Burning Bride of Calcutta”, Zeke has to dig deep into his occult bag of tricks to throw a Hail Mary to finally put a stop to the spirit.
On the art side of things, Bernie Gonzalez features storytelling from the Toth and Eisner school of comics, i.e., the guy knows his stuff and would rather tell you a story through comics instead of bombard you with in-your-face pin-up pages. That said, the art itself is also gorgeous to look at, and feels like some glorious love child of Samurai Jack’s Genndy Tartakovsky and animator/comicker Darwyn Cooke. In Bernie’s work you get the shapely figure work you find in a Tartakovsky production along with the bold brush work of a Darwyn Cooke comic. It’s an interesting style to behold, and you may find yourself reading through Ezekiel King’s adventures again just to get another look at the beautiful art that accompanies his macabre case files.
If you long for the days of classic horror where vampires were known for looking like ghoulish Noseferatu of the night instead of glittered cover models, and if you prefer your stories a bit on the pulpy side to enjoy while you sip on your day old cold black coffee and puff on your stale cigarettes, then “Midnight Mystery” is the comic for you. To make sure you have this comic to read on those cold, rainy evenings, when your stomach sours with that feeling of dread from the things that go bump in the night, head on over to Midnight Mystery.net to snag a copy and for more info on all things Ezekiel King. To check out a preview of the comic click here.