A Fun Freaky Funky Fever Dream: Reviewing ‘Gutt Ghost: Trouble With The Sawbuck Skeleton Society #1’
by Cesareo Garasa
As seen in HEAVY METAL magazine, a special one-shot of everyone’s favorite intestinal ghost. Gutt Ghost finds himself mistakenly in debt to a long standing organization cloaked in violence and hellfire. Welcome the SAWBUCK SKELETON SOCIETY with their horrific means to advance an undead agenda and collect on all living debts in a most violent way. Can good ol’ Gutt talk his way out of this one or will he have to call upon some unlikely friends to get him out of this bone hacking predicament?!
Don’t bother expecting a coherent review of Gutt Ghost: Trouble With The Sawbuck Society #1. There isn’t one. There can’t be. It’s weird, it’s freaky, it’s funny and creepy and gross, and it’s fantastic. This review isn’t intended for anyone familiar with the character; this is for the uninitiated.
MInd you, you have to be of a certain mindset to get on its wavelength. If the thought of a trucker cap-wearing Captain Howdy from The Exorcist imparting metaphysical self-empowerment wisdom to a ghost with guts for legs appeals to you, then this title is for you.
Yes, that’s right: “gut gams.”
But as bonkers as all that might sound, you go with it. Why? Because this one-shot from Scout Comics is a surreal shotgun blast to the face of dreamlike monster movie absurdism. Scenes and scenarios double over and melt into themselves. There’s no ramp up. We’re all in the pool from the very first panel and left hanging after the last, like a hitchhiker let out of a car that never stopped moving.
The imagery is relatively bloodless and curiously sanitary for the grotesque amount of guts, bodily fluids, and killing that abounds. The art is detailed but childlike and the coloring is rendered in dreamy soft pastels (the richest colors limited to the fantastic Mike Mignola cover art). The lettering is drawn in an almost jittery font, adding to the overall light-hearted, goofy feel.
By the third time I reread Gutt Ghost: Trouble With The Sawbuck Skeleton Society #1, I started picking up little details — an actual list of real-world video stores, titles on a videotape collection that range from Street Trash and Re-Animator to Amadeus, character designs by a 6-year old named Abbott (who is probably real), the realization of “Hey, that’s Captain Howdy from The Exorcist!” — that revealed a whole new level of cleverness. A whole lot of work was put into this to make it appear so effortless.
The less you know about it, the better. Like I said, this is a specific tonic for a specific kind of reader. If you spent years binging horror movies on VHS, like Dead Alive or The Evil Dead, and devouring Creepy, Eerie and Heavy Metal Magazines (the latter being where Gutt Ghost premiered in issue #288), then you’re going to dig this. I sure did. This is a love letter from creator Enzo Garza to his own nostalgia and he’s created a funky fever dream — the comic and its namesake — that’s a whole lot of fun.
Gutt Ghost: Trouble With The Sawbuck Skeleton Society #1 (one-shot), Scout Comics, released July 29, 2020, Written and illustrated by Enzo Garza, cover by Mike Mignola, Scout editor: Wayne Hall, Scout production: Richard Rivera