I Hate This Place, But We Loved These Issues: Single Minded for May 18th, 2022

Some short reviews of this week's comics by Sean

I Hate This Place #1 by Kyle Starks, Artyom Topilin & Lee Loughridge and published by Skybound, an Image Comics Imprint
As soon as I heard that Kyle Starks was going to have a new horror-tinged series with Image this summer I was immediately sold on the idea. Last years's Old Head apparently was not enough for the seasoned scribe because this year he sets his sight on horror once again, and this time he's joining forces with newcomer Artyom Topilin doing illustrations. As sideways-bonkers as Starks' stab at horror in Old Head was I Hate This Place is sure to take it to the next level. Image is calling this the series "for fans of Gideon Falls and Home Sick Pilots". I'll go one step further and add Sex Criminals to that list, but instead of sex being the gag ..it's ghosts and jump-scares. 

But, to be fair, that last comparison may be a bit far-reaching for you since naming the common denominator between sex-jokes and campy-horror is this book. But if this describes you then you probably haven't read Sexcastle

Nonetheless, if you are following where I'm going with this exaltation you will not be disappointed with what you get here. The bar has already been set with comics by Kyle Starks; we know what to expect and we get what we've grown to love to not be able to live without. The piece here left to be uncertain is if the visual storytelling match the witty banter that will obviously ensue. Let me be first to tell you that after reading the debut issue we have nothing to fear, folks. Artyom Topilin is exactly the caliber artist that one would expect to see imagine a Kyle Starks story to life. We are in good hands. 

As story goes, I Hate This Place gets things going in a hurry. After a quick first page prologue (that will make sense to the reader during the splash page final reveal) we meet our main duo cast members, Gabby and Trudy. It comes to be known that Gabby will inherit a farm house, and hundreds of acres full of cows and wilderness from her great-aunt. Naturally, she takes her partner, Trudy, along for a ride that will hopefully be the beginning of the rest of their lives. 

Little do they know that the rest of their lives may not be what they are expecting. 

Kyle Starks, the scribe to the script for this series, has a way with words and a way with plot formation that always lends a hand to humor in the slightest and most unique of ways. With I Hate This Place (or ..for the collectors who seek out variants: F*ck This Place) Starks and the rest of the creative team here are on the brink of a horror book that is not only scary AF, but flat out fun too. 

All the tropes are here, folks. Every faceted horror thread that could ever be finds it’s way into this debut. Aliens, UFOs, ghosts, monsters, a haunted house, scary woods, the supernatural, and a persistently roaming slasher all make their way onto the pages in this first issue, and I’m thrilled to keep reading this story. Keep current with this one, dear comic readers. Let’s make Starks and Topilin household names. (SCC)

The Shaolin Cowboy #1 by Geof Darrow & Dave Stewart and published by Dark Horse Comics
There is a lot going on in the SCU. Wait ..the SCU? Excuse me while I say upfront my apologies for not being aware of the Shaolin Cowboy Universe. What have I been doing with myself and where have these cowboys been hiding all my life? 

Ok. First things first. I took a peak at this debut from Dark Horse out of pure curiosity based entirely off of the gorgeous cover. The hyper-texturized style that is Geof Darrow's is something that I'd like to call: my sweet spot. My general taste is a bit all over the place, but my specific taste in comic art is exactly where Geof Darrow resides. Cue my entrance and make way for another series to read. 

No harm. I read this first issue only to discover ..THAT THERE ARE OTHER SHAOLIN COWBOY COMICS!? 

Mind you, I really have no idea what else is going on in the SCU. But I really didn't mind because this was a freakin blast. Talking lizards. A roundhouse kicking Buddhist cowboy. A manbaby riding a gigantic flying jellyfish. I mean the premise cannot get much weirder. That's ok though since these landscapes are ones to get lost in and these characters are (strangely) captivating leaving me drooling for more. Oh and there are talking lizards, did I mention that part? 

I really have zero idea where this story is going, but I can tell you this: I will be reading more of this series. Both the new issues of this new chapter, and the ones from previous. This is one hell of a ride! (SCC)