When Jerri Bartman loses her job as a reporter at a major network, she retreats to the local station owned by her family – but it’s not long before her alcoholism-instigated behaviour causes enough of a stir to get her demoted. Reluctantly agreeing to help out when the station’s midnight creature feature presenter – Count Crowley – goes missing, Jerri soon discovers that monsters are very real indeed. Battling against her alcoholism, will she take up the mantle of Count Crowley to also battle the creatures she’s just discovered are not actually fictional?

Written by actor David Dastmalchian – a lifelong comic book fan, who has appeared in both Marvel and DC movies, most recently and perhaps notably as Polka Dot Man in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad – it’s a fast, slender read; the story is told at quite a pace over just four relatively short issues. Though Jerri isn’t a particularly likeable character at first, there’s a dark, tragic story behind her self-destructive behaviour, not to mention her alcoholism – which makes her an awful lot more sympathetic by the story’s end (there’s a bit of personal experience here from Dastmalchian, who – as an ex-heroin addict – certainly understands the demons of addiction). In fact, the tale is so slight that it wraps up just as it feels like we’re kicking into high gear, though it does function perfectly as a way to fully flesh out the woman behind the cheap makeup and costume that forms the look of late night host, Count Crowley.

Lukas Ketner’s luridly stylised art for the 80s-set tale is absolutely perfect though, being full of period appropriate details, great character design and really cool monsters. There’s some classic faux comic ads dotted throughout too, that are perfect parodies of the real thing – especially for comic fans who grew up devouring Marvel and DC titles in the 70s and 80s.

So despite a brief length, with a story that feels like it’s just setting up the character for future adventures, it’s well worth a read – being well written and appealingly illustrated with a good eye for detail from Ketner. Volume 2 has recently been announced, so hopefully we’ll see Dastmalchian’s unusual monster hunter get to deal with much more in the way of classic monsters – shorn of the need for too much exposition, now that her origin has been told.

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