M.L. Miller has something special for you horror fans this holiday season: a brand new horror comic mini-series with a morbid backdrop and a story to make even the most ardent horror fan cringe. It’s called Gravetrancers and the first issue of the four part series, issued by Black Mask Studios, releases December 13th, 2017.
Gravetrancers is, in its own way, a perfect holiday release. It’s got family dysfunction and daddy issues galore with a healthy dose of murder and drugs to round it out as evidenced in its official synopsis.
Maribel and Anthony are in search of the grave of their dead father, not knowing that they are stumbling into a graveyard owned by an eccentric clan of grave-robbers who’ve devised a highly-addictive drug made from human remains–and the fresher the corpse, the stronger the dose. What started out as an attempt to reconnect with the past becomes a descent into a psychedelic, neon-colored nightmare—will Maribel and Anthony find their way through the hallucinogens or will they become the next hit?
I’ve read the first issue and it has everything a great horror comic needs: a strong story, beautiful yet gruesome artwork, and a stylish look reminiscent of Weird Tales and Vault of Terror. What makes it even more gut wrenching is the fact that Miller based the story, in part, on a real life crime that was uncovered a few years ago in a cemetery just south of Chicago where the owners decided to make extra money by reselling cemetery plots while dumping the bodies of the homeless and unclaimed in a giant pit at the back of the property.
“I thought that was so heinous, but I was also sort of fascinated by what would motivate people to do this,” Miller explains. “I have always wanted to do a story about graverobbing as I feel it’s a sub-genre of horror that hasn’t been plumbed much yet. The drug angle came later.”
That angle was again inspired by reality when a friend of Miller’s told him about a man he’d met in rehab who had tried smoking anything and everything he could get his hands on in the hopes of getting high. At one point, he’d gone so far as to even smoke the plastic cover that goes over an oven light.
“If someone would go to those lengths to get a high,” the author points out, “the idea of smoking human bodies isn’t really a giant leap.”
Once those elements came together, the rest began to fall into place quickly, and before long Gravetrancers was born.
Miller, whose previous comics have included Pirouette and Jungle Book, brings the story to life with a talented team including artwork by James Michael Whynot, coloring by Dee Cunniffe, and lettering by Jim Campbell.
This is one morbid holiday treat, you don’t want to miss.
*–The website posts the release date at November 29th, but Miller assures me that proper date is December 13th.