Thursday, July 21, 2011

Last Train to Deadsville: A Cal McDonald Mystery, by Steve Niles & Kelley Jones

(pb; 2004, 2005: graphic novel, which "collects the four-issue series Last Train to Deadsville - A Cal McDonald Mystery, published by Dark Horse Comics." Introduction by Tom Jane)

From the back cover:

"When a demonically possessed teen redneck shows up on his doorstep, detective of the weird Cal McDonald hardly bats an eye. After all, in recent history he's battled a brain-sucking misanthrope, sent a perverted corpse-mangler up the river, and squashed a monster conspiracy to take over the world - all with the help of only his living dead sidekick [Mo'lock!] and an unhealthy appetite for intoxicants.

"Cal knows that the mulleted mook on his porch isn't anything to worry about. But the sex-crazed succubus the poor, horny kid summoned in a love spell gone wrong - she's a problem. Especially now that she's turned the entire male population of the kid's hometown into a throng of murderous monsters who are willing to do whatever the she-beast desires. As if that wasn't enough to deal with for a day, an even greater evil rears its head when Cal's girlfriend starts hinting at commitment. Demonic possession? That Cal can handle. . . but a demanding girlfriend? Cal's definitely over his head this time."


Niles' humorous, flip-scripting homage to horror and noir is just as exemplary and engrossing, if not more so, than its predecessor, Criminal Macabre: A Cal McDonald Mystery.

The reason for this improvement lies not only with Niles, but also with his change of artists: this time it's Kelley Jones, whose classic-with-new-influences work I prefer to Ben Templesmiths' too-murky/sketchy style, who brings Niles' shadowy, sometimes icky visions to vivid life. Also, I'm an admirer of any writer/artist who avoids a 'sophomoric slump' in their work - Niles has not only done that with Train, but his expansion on his characters' personalities opens up fertile avenues for future Cal McDonald stories.

Wonderfully EC/Creepy-esque and chuckle-worthy read from Niles and Jones; and, again, worth owning.

Followed by a at least five other Cal McDonald graphic novels, as well as three Cal McDonald novels, all penned by Steve Niles.

1 comment:

Mama Zen said...

This has my husband's name all over it!

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