January 20, 2020
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis
Hello to one and all from your old pal Skull! Today we have something that we don’t get a lot of here in the Skullcave, a graphic novel. Not only is Stay Alive a graphic novel, but it is one that combines Horror, Crime, Sex, and Showbiz into one vibrant and tasty package. YUM! If you’re not a fan of those things and don’t much care to laugh at the society we’ve become, then I’d recommend that you get the hell out of here now. Everyone else, come along and take a peek at what the twisted trio of James C. Harberson III (author) , Mackie Wildwood (author), and Stephen Baskerville (artist) have created for your viewing pleasure.
I’m gonna do my best not to toss any spoilers in, but there’s a lot of detail and action going on here and I want to give you a solid sight line of the big picture. So hold tight, and concentrate to get what I’m spinning. There is a private sector funded assassination group called UKILL and what they do is hunt down and kill creepers, pedophiles, and rich stars who indulge in animal cruelty for fun and profit. The way they decide who to kill next is by taking a public poll of their viewers. Once the numbers are in, it’s time to set about taking out whoever is chosen. As UKILL puts it. “Death Does Discriminate!” These are folks who most of us wouldn’t mind having gruesome deaths after all the hell they’ve put their victims through.
That is until Jane Morgan, a failing movie starlet with a checkered past, decides to take her agent’s advice and go on an opposing show called STAY ALIVE in which she’ll try to avoid being killed by UKILL. All the action will be followed 24/7 by TV cameras and blasted all over social media. While Jane is kind of sexy naked, she doesn’t spend a lot of time using her brains, so this could be a very short show indeed. Except the STAY ALIVE crew have stacked the deck heavily in Jane’s favor. There’s all kinds of professional help, including one Moses Rabkin, bodyguard and soldier of fortune extraordinaire. This guy has amazing instincts and is a powerful ally to have on your side. But keeping Jane alive isn’t going to be a cakewalk…
UKILL is huge and has its hands inevery part of our society all the way up to the good old FBI. Plus, it’s a monster many people take into their lives willingly because they believe in the cause, or maybe just like seeing folks die in imaginatively gruesome ways. This isn’t just a couple of tough guys who talk funny offing people. Plus, there’s a zany wildcard that UKILL is more than happy to spring from the secure mental health facility where he’s been cooling his heels and focusing on his hatred for none other than Jane Morgan. Kenyon Kraft is crazy as they come, but he’s also crazy smart about how to kill people violently, painfully, and with plenty of blood splatter. Just having this wackjob after you would be reason enough to be scared, but when he’s assisted by a huge organization, terror is too small a word.
Rating? We’re talking 5 STARS here folks! The action moves fast and dialogue is funny in the snarky way that only horror can produce. There are many small jokes included in the big picture and quite a few jabs at stereotypes. Buccaneer Magazine being featured here is a tip of the hat to Stephen King who sold a lot of stories to men’s magazines in his early days. If you haven’t guessed by now, this graphic novel is for mature audiences. STAY ALIVE’S great characters and multiple storylines rocket along all the way to the finish line. Maybe if we’re lucky, there’ll be a sequel in the works! Thanks for checking out Damaged Skull Writer & Reviewer’s review of Markosia Enterprise’s graphic novel STAY ALIVE! Special thanks to James C. Harberson III for his time and help with this review. Be sure to check out his great collection of short horror, A Disgusting Supermarket of Death, which is also currently available from your favorite booksellers and highly recommended by this reviewer in a previous post. Need more info? Then check out Markosia at www.markosia.com and James C Harberson III at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19908137.Jim_Harberson