The Grave Diggers Union Volume 1
Writer, Flashback Artist: Wes Craig
Artist: Toby Cypress
Colorist: Niko Guardia
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by Jim Allegro
It’s not a good time to work for the Grave Diggers Union! All hell breaks loose, figuratively and literally, in The Grave Diggers Union Volume 1, the first trade paperback edition of the weird and fun horror comic from writer Wes Craig and artist Toby Cypress. Volume 1 collects the first five issues of the story of an unusual brotherhood of monster fighters who dig graves and protect humanity from the vampires, ghouls, and zombies that sometimes crawl out of them. The problem is that the undead seem to be rising more often, sending our pick-and-shovel-wielding heroes–Cole, Ortiz, and Haley–on an adventure to stop the Black Temple cult from unleashing the Dark Gods on humanity.
Craig gives the reader a sly take on the supernatural genre by focusing on a working class brotherhood who stumbles upon a conspiracy to bring about the end times. The obstacles that stand in the way of exposing this plot are as witty as they are ghastly, such as willful bureaucrats, sarcastic witches, yuppie vampires, numb middle-class consumers, junk golems, ghost storms, and all other manner of monster. The gruff and exasperated faces penciled by Cypress onto the overall-clad characters contribute to the comic’s surly and humorous mood, as does Guardia’s overlapping shading and textures, which blur into each other to give the comic a creepy feel, as if nothing makes sense right now in the world of grave digging.
The writer makes the reader work for the story by interweaving three separate narratives that converge in the final issue. These arcs range from the cosmic to the personal, and include a flashback, drawn by Craig, about a space monkey’s encounter with humanity. The main story follows the Grave Diggers as they search for a celebrity whom they believe to be the leader of the syndicate of rich occultists who are intent on releasing the old gods upon the earth. The third story foreshadows the role that family and loss may play in the comic’s second volume, by revealing that the leader of the Black Temple cult is Morgan, the estranged daughter of the brotherhood’s leader, the widower and hero Algernon Cole.
Verdict: Yes. Just Yes.
This comic is a solid BUY if you enjoy clever and imaginative comedic horror. Craig and Cypress put an original spin on an overdone genre. The Grave Diggers Union Volume 1 includes a cover gallery and a short story from Craig about the Grave Diggers. The Grave Diggers Union #6, which also drops this week from Image, so pick that up too, while you’re at it.