By Dr. Zaius
Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 at 1:00 pm
John Carpenter’s Asylum Volume 2 Paperback
Created by John Carpenter, Thomas Ian Griffith and Sandy King
Written by Sandy King and Trent Olsen
Pencils and Inks by Leonardo Manco
Colors by Kinsun Loh
Lettering by Janice Chiang Storm King Comics
Release Date: October 11th, 2016
Cover Price: $24.99
“There’s a war coming to the City of Angels.”
John Carpenter‘s name is synonymous with horror. For five decades, he has given fans nightmares with his legendary films, characters, and music. In 2013, one of the greatest horror movie directors of all time, Carpenter, stepped into another medium for his genre; comics. Along with his wife and co-writer Sandy King as well as actor/writer Thomas Ian Griffith (John Carpenter’s Vampires), the Halloween patriarch created his Storm King Productions line of comics, namely, Asylum. Asylum tells the story of a down and out priest Daniel Beckett, a man who sleeps around, smokes, curses, and has lost his connection. He is a demon hunter, and soon he’s the suspect in brutal murders chased by flawed but effective LAPD cop Jack Duran. When Duran’s son is kidnapped by a demon, enemies become partners and Duran and Beckett race against Hell itself to save him. Beckett is much more than meets the eye it turns out.
Released last October in time for Carpenter’s favorite holiday, Asylum 2 picks up where Beckett and Duran left off. The new compendium of issues 7-14 begin not with either main character but with King Leo, Beckett’s blind and mysterious wanderer friend. He ventures into a hellscape between Heaven and Earth to find where Father Leone’s soul is residing. This is a world of stunning visuals from the crew of artists, including Leonardo Manco, Tom Mandrake, Mariana Sanzone, et. al. It reminded both of Carpenter’s own film In the Mouth of Madness (1994), and the work of HP Lovecraft, of which the former was inspired.
Beckett and Duran were surly adversaries in the first book, Duran the no-nonsense tough guy, and Beckett the wise cracking, sardonic anti-hero. In this book they are more in tune with buddy cop duos, Duran has his eyes open wider and Beckett moves into full sarcasm mode. Together, along with King Leo, Father Leone, and others they must work to stop a slew of child murders and kidnappings and slay demons, hunt Satan, and redeem their past sins. I really liked Volume 2, not more or less… but differently than book 1. Book 1 was visceral horror with barely any time to breathe. This darted between genres, obviously living in the world of spectral demonic horror, but there were elements of crime drama, buddy cop comedy, mystery, and western thrown in. Make no mistakes though, the last half is just an all out war of spectacular violence with insane graphics and artistry. The colors and images are just eye-popping.
I would love to see Carpenter and friends turn the Asylum comics in a film, or better yet a TV series on cable a la Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. Those two comics cover similar territory. John Carpenter is my favorite horror director, and has a better mind for various forms of horror than anyone in the last 40+ years. His transition into the world of comics and graphic novels is so far extremely successful, and I look forward to more trips to the Asylum.
Asylum Volume 2 is available new on Amazon.com for $24.99.