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Kolchak The Night Stalker 50th Anniversary Main

"Kolchak: The Night Stalker - 50th Anniversary" Comic Review

Written by Zach Rosenberg

Published Monstrous Books

kolchak the night stalker 50th anniversary poster large

Edited by James Aquilone
Written by David Avallone, Jonathan Maberry, Peter David, R.C. Matheson, Kim Newman, Gabriel Hardman, Steve Niles, Rodney Barnes, Tim Waggoner, James Aquilone, Nancy A. Collins, and James Chambers.
Art by Julius Ohta, Zac Atkinson, Marco Finnegan, J.K. Woodward, Paul McCaffrey, Szymon Kudranski, Jonathan Marks Barravecchia, Clara Meath, Colton Worley, Warwick Cadwell-Johnson, Jerry Ordway, and Tom Napolitano
2022, 188 pages
Graphic Novel released on October 21st, 2022

Review:

When it comes to horror television, from The X-Files to Supernatural, many have their roots back with Darren McGavin’s dapper-dressed, pork-pie-hat-wearing reporter Carl Kolchak. The television occult detectives, the government agents, the chosen heroes, all owe a debt to the man known as “The Night Stalker.”

Carl Kolchak isn’t the Chosen One. His parents weren’t murdered by the dark forces. He’s not a trained hunter. He’s just a reporter seeking the truth and doing his best. Armed with nothing more than his wit, investigative skills, and scraps of lore and history he’s pieced together, Kolchak debuted in the 1970s TV movie The Night Stalker when he realizes a serial killer stalking Las Vegas is a real vampire. From there, Kolchak reappeared in a second TV movie, The Night Strangler and the inventive television series where he fought an eclectic host of monsters that ranged from werewolves to aliens to Rakshasas loose in Brooklyn.

On the 50th anniversary of Kolchak’s debut, James Aquilone brings a wonderful graphic novel with an associated host of writers and artists to capture Kolchak’s origins, his ends, and numerous tales in between. It does not disappoint.

Opening with Kolchak’s early days in the 1930s and ‘40s, a young and inquisitive man who has his first strange encounters with the supernatural, including overseas when a mysterious and beautiful young woman might be more than she appears to German soldiers hunting the young Kolchak.

The art is frequently a highlight, the team changing for each story. The best in the volume takes the reader to the 1970s in “Interview with the Night Stalker” by Kim Newman. Kolchak, having hunted down the vampiric Janos Skorzeny, is gifted with an exclusive interview on the fiend’s origins. Newman’s nimble blending of horror canon takes the reader to Richard Matheson’s Hell House, and delivers a knockout tale that offers a tantalizing notion of what lurks in the seediest underbellies of Las Vegas.

Kolchak’s character is written consistently through each story; sardonic, even weary from the progressive and horrors through the decades, he never loses his sense of strong morality and pursuit of the truth. Culminating in the final story in near modern-day, Kolchak is set upon by the vampiric father of Skorzeny who seeks to condemn Kolchak to a horrific unlife. Forced to decide how he will unmask the supernatural and risk losing his humanity, the story serves as a final capper to Kolchak’s life when a reporter becomes part of the story. This ended as maybe the most disappointing story, without much by way of emotional catharsis and serves as an unfitting send-off to such a heroic and iconic character.

Overall, however, more adventures of Kolchak are always welcome. After this long, Aquilone and all his allied writers and artists prove that Carl Kolchak still has the bite he always did.

Click here to purchase Kolchak: The Night Stalker - 50th Anniversary directly from Monstrous Books.

Grades:

Story: Fourandahalfstars Cover
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Art: Fourandahalfstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
Zach Rosenberg
Staff Reviewer - USA
Zach Rosenberg is a fantasy and horror writer living in Florida. He appreciates the ocean, wildlife and his love of literature was constantly nurtured growing up where he practically lived in the libraries, reading every horror and fantasy book he could get his hands on. His print debut short story "The Teeth Of the Deeps" is featured in the fifth short story collection from Dead Sea Press.
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