Spook’d by Stevenson and Damoose, reviewed by Alicia Curtis

Remember Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the campy horror video from the days when Jackson himself wasn’t so terrifying? Complete with zombies, Vincent Price, and dancing, Thriller crossed genres and became a huge success. Jeffery Stevenson and Seth Damoose’s horror humor comic Spook’d, hosted at Movie Poop Shoot, provides a similar experience, only in two-dimensions. With Spook’d however, the zombies in the graveyard aren’t just shaking their groove things, they’re also aping pop culture and throwing back a few. Spook’d is a comic correctly billed: The horror humor comic that lets Dracula, Frankenstein, and other movie monsters get real.

Spook’d is a weekly full-page comic that has recently passed its thirtieth week. The creative team of Stevenson and Damoose also collaborate on Brat-halla, a Norse mythology humor comic with more than eighty strips. Additionally, the pair has created three print comics, carried by Digital Webbing: Arazel and Xarenia, Party Crashers, and Steampunk Faeries. Links to information on these projects can be found on the Spook’d front page or the main site.

Before discussing the comic, there are a few comments to be made about the front page itself. The archive and quick jumps work fine and the news blog is frequently updated with Spook’d news as well as items of interest to horror and comic aficionados. However, the links on the top of the page for a basic premise, character information, and creator biographies are defunct and merely return the viewer to the main page. If you’re interested in finding such information, follow the link in the top right-hand corner to the Dakora.net main site and browse through the links on the top of this page. You’ll find another blog, tips on scripting comics, and information on the creators themselves.

Although there have been guest artists, most notably Szymon Kudranski on a later strip, grayscales on the earliest strips by the talented J’amal Watson and frequent bouts of clever colorization by Anthony Lee, the artwork on Spook’d is typically drawn and inked by Seth Damoose. As can be seen in an episode of "Documentary: The Monster League of Naturalized Americans," a particularly funny story-arc narrated by a Michael Moore-esque demon, Damoose’s art is full of detail, emotion and humor. Jeffery Stevenson’s scripting is well-paced with convincing dialogue that is a welcome addition to the rollicking art. Stevenson is particularly clever at mixing his word play into the frequent pop-culture satire that appears in Spook’d. The latest storyline – "Survivin’" – is particularly indicative of Stevenson’s talent.

In general, Spook’d delivers is a great production: good art, good writing, tons of laughs, and enough pop-culture references to keep you hunting the background detail of each panel for more. Old-school monsters are in abundance, as well as hobbits, denizens of a galaxy far, far away, and DC superheroes. Not to mention the ubiquitous hot women. I preferred the first two story arcs ("Lifetime Achievement" and "Documentary: The Monster League of Naturalized Americans") over the current "Survivin’" arc, but this is solely due to my own disinterest in the Survivor franchise. Fans of reality television who enjoy good satire will love this installment as well as the first storylines.

Humor and horror fans alike should check out Spook’d. It’s crass, well-crafted, and extremely funny. If you’ve ever wondered what Dracula would look like drunk, or merely considered what your favorite monsters might do after hours, read Spook’d. It’s a frightfully good time.

Alicia Curtis teaches history and special education at JLHS in the Bronx. She is currently persuing her Masters in Secondary Education at Mercy College, also in the Bronx. Her poetry and prose has appeared in several journals, including Blithe House Quarterly and Agnieszka’s Dowery. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her boyfriend and their hamster.