dsc03935_22In this edition of The One Hitter we will be taking a look at two comics from Asylum Press: DTOX and Undead Evil. Frank Forte is the publisher and founder of AP, as well as an illustrator and the companies main scribe. Forte says that Asylum Press is “dedicated to cutting edge comics, trade paperbacks, and art.” This was my first experience reading anything published by Asylum, and the stories I experienced were original and disturbing! Forte writes both comics and Nenad Gucunja provides the illustrations.

DTOX #0dsc039341

While this over-sized issue is short in quantity,  it’s an in-your-face story jam packed with quality action. The setting is Detroit in a post-nuclear world where police and hospitals are nonexistent, and the “rape and consumption of women and children has become common place.” Due to radiation and chemical filled air, many people have mutated into sex hungry, flesh eating mutants. Enter DTOX: a tank driving, camo/bio hazard suit wearing, blow up doll loving bad ass whose mission is to detoxify the Earth’s monstrous mutations. DTOX’s ammunition is laced with an acid that eats away at the freakish mutants, melting their bodies into a sterilized bubbling green goo. Like DTOX says, “You can never be too clean.”

What this issue lacks in length (11 ad free pages of story) it makes up for in spectacle. The art is colorful and energetic, the characters unique, weird, and detailed. The action is gruesome and intense. I was left longing for a full page shot of DTOX’s kick ass tank, but a hilarious shot of a giant hand/dog mutation flipping him the bird made up for it.

This issue is magazine size, so the panels are larger than usual, and nine pages of concept art and character sketches give the reader a special look behind the scenes of DTOX. Since being published in July 2007, no subsequent DTOX issues have been released, so pick this issue up for a fun and gruesome read!

3/5 stars

Undead Evil #0 dsc039391

 

This is a tale of an awkward young man’s quest to forge the gap between the living and the dead in order to save his bloodline from an evil magic. The story is told as a narrative that eerily reeks of Poe and Lovecraft, presenting a dark take on one of America’s most tragic natural disasters…

When Alfred Carter’s mother died, he was left alone, shutting himself inside his old house. Forced to rummage through his late mothers belongings, he finds a skeleton key. This key is Alfred’s ticket to a place forbidden to him his entire life; the dsc039411attic. What have his parents been hiding from him all these years? Now, for the first time, Alfred holds the power to reveal his family history and learn the answers to his darkest questions.

The writing and art of this issue is vivid, assaulting the (six) senses, allowing the reader’s imagination to run wild. Forte does a great job scripting a dark, twisted tale that is filled with surprises. He questions the power of prayer (and the beings who listen to them), claiming that taking matters into one’s own hands is sometimes the best action, if not the only action… Gucunja’s black and white images take the time to detail the horror and stress that Alfred experiences on his journey. The inking is fantastic, showcasing intense close ups and chilling full page shots. One such shot depicts the remnants of a place that has suffered through Mother Nature’s wrath. Alfred reflects on the scene, “It was only a matter of time.”

dsc039423Undead Evil #0 has a creepy feel from the first page to it’s abrupt, cliffhanger ending. The comic will leave you pondering the dark secrets of your own family history, so be sure to look for it in comic shops come December 2009.

4/5 stars

 DTOX and Undead Evil aren’t comics to give to the kids, as these titles are loaded with gratuitous violence, nudity, and (gasp!) cursing. Forte’s style of dropping the reader into the thick of the action is conductive to these two tales. The stories are to the point, with minimal exposition, providing an experience that allows the reader to enjoy what is presented. What’s even better is that you can kick back and read these comics from cover to cover without ever having to take a commercial break; ads never interrupt the story!

Keep coming back to Mint Condition for upcoming Asylum Press reviews! For more info on Asylum Press, please visit AsylumPress.com. Click on the following AP links to theUndead Evil Blog and the DTOX Blog.

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