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"Dead Dudes" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Oni Press

article-cover

Written by Christopher Sebela
Illustrated by Ben Sears
Colored by Ryan Hill & Warren Wucinich
Lettered by Crank!
2020, 130 Pages
Graphic novel released on October 14th, 2020

Review:

When your ghost hunting TV show's ratings are going down the drain, you have to pull out the big guns. Trev, Kent, and Brian pull out all the stops for one big event at the most haunted place in the world: Edgeway Penitentiary. This place is super creepy and it looks like they've finally found real proof of the existence of ghosts. It only costs them their lives.

Dead Dudes sits right on the line between comedy and horror, although it leans a bit more to the former than the latter. This is made abundantly clear early on with the relationship between the three ghost hunters and how they speak. They're all a little dumb and every other word out of their mouth is “dude,” but I found myself caught up in this story. How are these idiots going to make it out of this? What could they possibly do next?

The dude-heavy dialogue in Dead Dudes is shown in a mix of traditional word balloons and more rectangular ones. I didn't realize it at first, but the dead people have the oval balloons while the living have the rectangles. It's a nice effect from letterer Crank!

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Click images to enlarge

Writer Christopher Sebela wastes no time getting to the meat of the story. These guys die in the first chapter. The rest of the book has them figuring out how to do stuff as ghosts and then planning their next move when a rival ghost-hunting crew comes to do a special of their own investigating their deaths.

The rules are made pretty clear as to what they can or cannot do as ghosts, however Sebela explores the boundaries of these parameters through the eyes of these dudes. It takes a lot of work to move stuff in the physical world, but it's possible. Also, they'll be able to hang around longer if they consume other ghosts. That's what makes the spirits of the inmates and the warden so scary.

Artist Ben Sears' style is on the cartoony side, which is a perfect fit for this book. The characters are a little blocky and the style mutes some of the scarier moments. For example, someone gets decapitated and the severed head looks a bit silly, especially since the guy's tongue is hanging out. That's the kind of vibe Dead Dudes gives off.

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Click image to enlarge

There is a big bad at the climax of Dead Dudes and Sears leans more into the horror side of things here. It's gross and creepy, although it still maintains the humorous element.

Colorists Ryan Hill & Warren Wucinich set an eerie tone for the Edgeway Penitentiary. It's dark, drab, and cold, which makes sense because of all the ghosts. When the spirits tap into their abilities, there's a glowing light that emphasizes the supernatural side. This is like a sign telling you you're about to see some spooky shit.

Dead Dudes is like a bro version of Ghostbusters. It's a testament to how close horror and comedy are on the genre spectrum. Most of all, it shows how you can have both in one story. It's just plain fun.

Grades:

Story: fourstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK.
Art: threeandahalfstars
Overall: 4 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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