There is a lot of debate over the good or bad that the internet has brought to the world of comics, but there is no denying that it has made it easier for creators to bring their visions to life. Long before the internet was a thing, the world of self published comics was a frequently seedy and anarchic place populated almost entirely by books printed in black and white with much left to be desired in terms of quality of work. The majority of them were in that place because of stories or art that were simply impossible to publish and distribute under the Comics Code Authority.
More often than not, writers and artists who had ideas and visions that weren’t “outrageous” but didn’t meet socially acceptable standards just never saw their work come to fruition. Today things are different. With the advent of web sites like Kickstarter or Patreon, artists and writers can often bring their story to the public in the manner they wish to.
Just before the holidays I was away with my wife when I ran into a writer, Ian Mondrik, that did just that. His day job behind the bar at a Pennsylvania meadery made it easy to strike up a conversation that inevitably led to comics and writing about them, and within a moment I had a copy of “The Tomb of the White Horse” in my hands, the independent title he and his team had created through Kickstarter. This wasn’t a 1960s underground comic printed on newsprint in black and white and bound loosely together. This was a book as high quality or even higher than any book that you could pick up at your local comic shop.
Along with Mondrik, the creative team of Benjamin Æ Filby, Lesley Atlansky, and Zaak Samm have put together a winter horror story that introduces readers to a world under the shadow of a looming Biblical doom. There is nothing of holiday cheer to this tale. It starts with a man returning to work after losing his wife and newborn child due to pregnancy complications, on the same night that a mysterious box triggers horrible visions in each of the men working that night after they touch it. The horror escalates rapidly, and it isn’t long before the only one left alive is the widower under the ruins of his workplace as he watches a skeletal monstrosity break free from its prison, promising that his release is only the first tragedy to befall the planet.
I never determined why Mondrik and crew decided to publish “The Tomb of the White Horse” through Kickstarter, and it is surely not due to the quality of the book itself. The writing and art are on par with anything published by any of the major independent publishers and is better than a lot of horror I have read in the past.
The vision sequences are immersive and gut wrenching, and the whole thing draws you in even as the story moves forward without slowing down. It certainly deserves a follow up and anyone that reads it and enjoys the kind of horror it depicts will surely be left hoping for more. Of course, the easiest way to achieve that is by visiting their Kickstarter at kickstarter.com/projects/ianmondrick/tomb-of-the-white-horse to get the first issue and throw in a few bucks to get production started on the next issue. The internet has made the world of comics a strange place in many ways, but this is one way it is has made it much better for readers and creators.
Contact William Kulesa at email@example.com
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