Dia De Los Muertos Review
By: Rob Gruszecki
Annual excursions to a reality beyond living comprehension, a therapist specializing in facilitating a harmonious coexistence between those alive and the non-corporeal and finally a lonely musician singing every note for his lost angel. Each separate tale celebrating the Day of the Dead whether it be as an attempt to reconnect with lost loved ones shambling down the streets of a land of death, an opportunity to glance into the space spirits inhabit and watch over us from, or a pedestal upon which you sing out to the long since gone in the hope that for just tonight you could hold them close once more. A myriad of tales that are birthed through death comprise Dia De Los Muertos.
Presented by Calgary’s Riley Rossmo (Bedlam, Debris, Rebel Blood, Wild Children, Green Wake, Proof) Dia De Los Muertos is a new anthology series of ghost stories and other tales of death as told by several talented writers like Alex Link (Rebel Blood), Dirk Manning (Nightmare World), Christopher E Long (X-Men Unlimited) and many others like Joshua Williamson, Ed Brisson, Alex Grecian, Kurtis Wiebe, Joe Keatinge and Jeff Mariotte who will have stories appearing in future installments all of which feature the incredible artwork of Rossmo himself. What we are treated with in the first edition of Dia De Los Muertos is an incredibly ambitious and startling display of creativity and bold storytelling.
The story kicking off the collection is ‘Dead but Dreaming’, one of Katrina, a young girl with an interesting scar that takes her on a journey in an entirely different plane of existence, searching the labyrinth of life elsewhere for someone lost and thought gone for the rest of time. Scripted by Alex Link, this short is a road trip of the soul featuring some great and poetic exposition as a curious girl tries to find her wings. This surprisingly heartwarming and beautiful story was one I read several times over and was designed perfectly to showcase Rossmo’s incredible talent in full-page panels chronicling the adventures outside of the living.
Following up is ‘Reflections’ by Christopher E Long, a clever twist on Exorcist yarns where Zan, a paranormal intuitive life coach, investigates a man’s alleged haunting resulting in his current state in the hospital. The method upon which a connection can be made to the specter’s world is by utilizing an artifact of Houdini’s and a common mirror to catch traces of the creatures that are terrorizing the family. An interesting ending tying together the paranormal presence is delivered with a smooth flow and great finished art by Jean-Paul Csuka. Rossmo’s layouts are greatly complimented by Csuka’s work but the highlight of the story for me was the color work also by Rossmo that add a whole new layer and dynamic to the story.
Finally is a beautiful story of a tortured musician who recently lost the love of his life in ‘Te Vas Angel Mio’. As Juan sings anthems for her a year after her death he sees an angel walk amongst the crowd who looks identical to his former lover and one last attempt to reach through the paper thin walls separating his life and her eternal soul’s home will consume his being even if just for the night. Dirk Manning scripts this celebration of life and love with spectacular imagery of the Mexican holiday depicting an abandoned artist getting a few more moments with the muse of all his creations.
This first issue of Dia De Los Muertos begins the year with three great and imaginative stories all concisely crafted and spectacularly illustrated by a gathering of some of the brightest talent in the industry today.
Rob Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior
Follow him on twitter @Ghost_Factory
Listen to his music www.ghostfactorymusic.com
Read more of his comic reviews (Dear, Ghost Factory. What Should I Read?) or listen to the Comics Round-up weekly Podcast both found at www.flashfact.org