Love And Monsters: AfterShock Comics Announces New Horror Fantasy Series ‘Croak’

by Olly MacNamee

Writer Paul Tobin, artist Andy MacDonald, colourist DJ Chavis and letterer Taylor Esposito come together for a new horror fantasy comic book series, Croak from AfterShock Comics:

“Seven years ago, an attempt to weaponize dreams resulted in holes being punched through the world we know and into the world of dreams. Nightmarish creatures now stalk the land, sprouting from (and killing) anyone unlucky enough to dream. The only way to save the world is for certain people to have their dreams come true.

Which is how Risa Harumi finds herself not only fighting monsters, but forced into finding true love. Monsters and modern dating? It feels like a nightmare either way, and the only help Risa has is a friendly-ish monster named Croak and her pre-teen daughter, Machi.

From Paul Tobin (BUNNY MASK) and Andy MacDonald (I BREATHED A BODY, Multiple Man), comes a unique story of one woman’s quest to save the world, if only she could learn the difference between love and monsters.”

Now, this being an AftreShock Comics release, mens we get a little bit more information on this new book. Fisrt, Tobin elaborates on the basic principle, telling us more about this new series below:

“Croak is about finding monsters and true love, and learning to tell the difference. It’s a world where dream research has ripped a hole between realities, and now legions of legendary monsters stalk the lands. The only way these dream portals can be closed is if certain people quit having nightmares, if they find peace, and lead character Risa needs…to fall in love. We’re talking TRUE love. Helping her (mostly) is Croak himself, a troll with (maybe) her best interests in mind, but he’s ALSO fond of how she finds and kills monsters, because Croak eats monsters, and he’s always ravenous. So Croak—the comic—is Risa’s story of trying to navigate a world that’s both full of monsters, and monstrously bad dates. She isn’t sure which she’d rather face.” 

Then, we also get a lowdown on the inspirations behind Croak:

“Oh dang! SO many! All the books on mythical monsters I used to check out of my grade school library in Floyd, Iowa. Internet stories of terrible dating experiences (gosh DANG you people are weird) and some of my own friends’ experiences. My memories of watching The Dating Game when I was a kid, and how creepy everyone felt. My nights of reading scary stories and then turning off the lights and staying awake for hours, speculating about the origins of every strange noise. Basically, my inspirations are a life of being the weird kid.”

As for disastrous dates Tobin has himself been on…

“When I was in college I had a crush on a woman named Gloria, a sort-of coworker at a janitorial job. I asked her out, and she very enthusiastically said “yes” and told me she’d pick me up because she wanted to surprise me on the date. That sounded great to me! So, she ended up driving me out into the country to a “tent revival” meeting, where everybody was kissing each other on the lips in “religious exchange of spirit,” and we were told that we should pray for the best parking spots, and angels would come down and reserve the spots for us (they were all REALLY into parking spots for some reason; it came up several times during the sermon). There was a part where all members were expected to tithe 50% of their earnings. And there was a part where several people fell down and were speaking in tongues, etc, etc. Wild, unsettling scenes. At the end of this “date” Gloria dropped me off at my house, and in a serious voice told me, “I think I love you, but the only men who can touch my body before marriage are Jesus and God.” In my entire dating life, Gloria is the only woman I ever ghosted.” 

Artist, Andy MacDonald, chimes in with three reasons to pick up this book:

“Comic fans!  Fans of love, fans of coming together in the face of nightmare monsters from other dimensions! Fans of creating happiness for oneself and others!  Fans of monsters eating other monsters because it’s the right goddamn thing to do!  EVERYONE should pick up this book because in these tumultuous times we all need to see that we can get through it together! Even if being together means almost being eaten by nightmares, having a monster give questionable life lessons to your kids and endless horrible dates.”

As to his artistic approach…

“In I Breathed A Body all the strings connecting reality had to be cut and let slip into madness. It’s fun to draw madness, and there’s a surprising amount of fungi in there as well!  In Croak we’re tasked with sewing up the holes in reality to close off the nightmare realm from reality.  Artistically, this involves grounding these characters in reality and humanity as much as possible. Even the monsters. I’m working to make everything grounded so that the reader can hopefully feel invested in the real-life concerns of our protagonists. Even while they are under constant attack from interdimensional nightmare monsters.”

And finally, not be be left out, MacDonald shares a memory of one of his own disastrous dating experience:

“Ages ago, I asked someone out for coffee and they agreed.  We got coffee and ended up walking through half of Manhattan.  We talked most of the time, but I was so bad at seeing social cues that I had no idea how the date was going and we just kept walking. For hours. A more aware person probably would have either offered to drop in somewhere for dinner or just end the date, but I did neither. And we kept walking. For hours. Until one of us broke out the “Here’s my train stop. Bye” and we parted. Ugh. First date/last date.”

Croak #1 is out Wednesday 10th November from AfterShock Comics

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