Blaise and Gaia are planning the celebrity wedding event of the year. There’ll be champagne flowing, friendships rekindled, reunited family members, and a homicidal maniac waiting to hack them all up! Wait, what?
Writer/Artist Juan Doe (Dark Ark, World Reader) cordially invites you to witness a social experiment gone horribly wrong when two people decide not to use social media for 24 hours. It’s a gritty, twisted horror comic that exploits the gift/curse that is the internet.
Bad Reception #1 starts with New York Times bestselling author and techno ethicist Blaise Bordeaux-Davis going on a radio show called Tech Talk to discuss his latest book called “#Hashtag Off the Grid: How to Unplug From Social Media and Connect to Your Primal Self.” During the conversation, Blaise and host Seth Friedkin talk about the effects social media has on society and also the announcement of his wedding to superstar actress, singer, and social media star, Gaia (think Kim Kardashian). Blaise and Gaia are planning an off-the-grid wedding at an undisclosed location where digital communications of all forms with be strictly prohibited — I can’t see that blowing up in their faces. What they don’t know is that a large, brooding murderer the likes of Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers is currently residing in the same isolated location they plan to have their wedding.
From the moment the radio interview between Blaise and Seth begins, this book instantly commands your attention. Doe crafts together an exciting, creepy horror tale that embodies the nostalgia of great ’80s slasher flicks like Friday the 13th or April Fools’ Day. The first few pages are just text over a black background that keeps us interested with witty dialogue about social media and what it essentially has done to millions of us who indulge in it on an everyday basis. It concludes with a bloody silhouette of a woman being dragged, which could be foreshadowing or just something to let the reader know that there will be blood!
Doe spends time showing us the type of individuals Blaise and Gaia are, as well as a little about their respective backgrounds. The mysterious killer also gets a bit of an introduction through an innocent deer that he kills at the beginning of the story. The killer spends time butchering and then eating the deer raw, which lets the reader know right away this person has a few screws loose. The remainder of the story is a trippy setup of watching the bride and groom check off a list of confirmed guests that we know will end up as a body count for the unsuspected killer that awaits them in their secluded location.
Doe, who is pulling double duty as writer and artist for this Aftershock series, gives the book a gritty, old school horror movie vibe right from the start. You know Doe’s no stranger to penciling amazing visuals for creepy characters if you’ve ever checked out his work on Dark Ark. Here, one of the coolest features that make his artwork stand out is his impressive balance between good and evil in his panels. One minute we see characters happy and reminiscing about good times, and the next a deer is being torn to shreds by a machete. The curiosity of the unknown evil that awaits keeps the reader enticed enough to continue following the story.
All in all, Bad Reception #1 is a great start to what looks like an impressive horror comic thus far. Doe nails the dialogue and builds up the plot perfectly. His pencil work is solid and I can’t wait to see the creative way he makes the unsuspecting bridal guest take a dirt nap. If you love movies like Halloween or Sleepaway Camp then you’ll love this comic. If you’re just a fan of horror in general, you’ll want to run to your local comic shop and grab this one today.