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"Lonesome Days, Savage Nights" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by TKO Studios

article-cover

Written by Steve Niles & Salvatore Simeone
Illustrated by Szymon Kudranski
Lettered by Thomas Mauer
2020, 160 pages
Graphic novel released on November 17th, 2020

Review:

Stu Manning's life was changed forever when he ran into a werewolf. He was run off the police force and labeled as a lunatic, then there was the new monstrous side that kept tugging at him, pulling him into the darkness. He would have lost it all if it wasn't for Audrey. She kept him grounded. She kept him human. When she's gunned down in the street, there's nothing keeping the monster in check. Get ready for a bloody tale of vengeance.

Lonesome Days, Savage Nights begins as a by-the-book private detective story, albeit with a werewolf twist. Stu is down on his luck and just scraping by when the one bright spot in his life is snuffed out. That's when the book gets serious. Writers Steve Niles & Salvatore Simeone take us through a mob thriller packed with action and so much bloodshed.

Stu is far from your typical hero, but he means well. I'd stop short of saying he has a heart of gold, but he understands the difference between right and wrong. The way the mob has been swarming this city and putting innocent people in danger is unacceptable. He has the tools that can put a stop to them where the cops can't or won't.

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Artist Syzmon Kudranski is a tour de force in Lonesome Days, Savage Nights. This is a dark book in the literal sense. I'm sure there's an occasional sunrise in this city, but we never see it. Instead, the story swims in the shadows. It would almost be a black-and-white comic if it wasn't for all the blood. This leans into the noir tone of the story very well.

The design for the werewolf is akin to Lon Chaney's classic depiction in Universal's The Wolf Man, albeit most definitely updated for a modern age. When he transforms, Stu towers over the henchmen that come his way. His claws are about the size of their heads. More importantly, Stu seems to lose his humanity completely when in this form. His pupils disappear. He's an outright monster.

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What separates Lonesome Days, Savage Nights from your typical werewolf story is how Stu communicates with the beast within. It's always there, just beneath the surface. It urges him to let loose and give into this animal nature. Letterer Thomas Mauer shows this is in succinct caption boxes as Stu lets us know about his own dark passenger.

My favorite part of Lonesome Days, Savage Nights is that the door is left wide open for more stories. The book is subtitled “The Manning Files Volume 1”. so I certainly hope we get to see more from this werewolf private detective. If his future cases are anything like this, we're in for a treat, although I do have to wonder what pushes him on after he achieves his vengeance. Will he lose his edge? Even if we never get more from this world, this stands on its own as a solid, terrifying tale from beginning to end. It's like a werewolf version of Hard Boiled.

Grades:

Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK.
Art: fourandahalfstars
Overall: 4.5 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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