The Warden – a new Anthology by Steven Hudkins and several other collaborators promises to bring us some all-new, all-pulp comic stories……and I take a look at the first of those stories…..Swamp Magic.
Opening in Henryville, Alabama in 1904 where our protagonist Gabriel is meeting up with Father Sandon in the local church we soon find out that he’s been sent by the Church to look into some strange goings-on. Father Sandon explains to him the latest case surrounding local woman and suspected witch Candaba. The town’s attempts to take care of their witch problem brings them more problems though and it’s Gabriel’s job to find out more.
Cue a wander into the swamps, a run in with some Gators and some home truths being spelled out by someone who turns out to be just as mysterious as you’d expect but also the victim in this story. This brings new evidence to Gabriel and everything becomes that little bit more obvious as the penny starts to drop, bringing him face-to-face with the a familiar face from centuries ago as the demon in town needs to be taken care of.
While I’m a sucker for any title with a pulp vibe I tried to approach this just like any other title and while I got sucked into the story pretty quick there’s no denying that my pulp-liking mind crept in to make sure I was on-board. Some great characters from Steven as he balances the forces of good & evil well with enough variation in the other cast members to keep things interesting throughout. Another plus from this first story is the artwork from George Sellas who has set the bar high for those other stories in the anthology. There’s a stunning amount of detail and there’s a definite air of Eric Powell across some of those panels but it’s definitely Sellas own style that shines through. While the copy I’ve read is in black & white I’ve also seen glimpses of some of the pages with colours and they look equally as good, if not more so, bringing a great deal of optimism for how good that final release will look.
Here’s a look at the covers from those other stories in the Anthology:
The anthology will see Steven being joined by George Sellas, Alex Cormack, Sean Forney, Carlos Trigo, Jack Lavy, Jen Hickman, Jules Rivera, Sebastian Piriz & Mat Lopes combining to bring us some more Pulp adventures with a strong leading character and some slick looking art. I recognize some of those names and after that first story – I’m in!
Check out Steven’s website for more on this and have a read of that first book too. Keep tabs on the progress of the book over on The Warden Facebook page and of course take a look at the Kickstarter too.