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Indie Comics spotlight: Spreading Fast

I just finished issue 4 of Spread, a recent Image Comics release. Despite the first story arc not being over, I felt a need to write about this very cool,very bloody book.

Writer Justin Jordan (The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode,Green Lantern:New Guardians) and artist Kyle Strahm(Hack/Slash,We Will Bury You)decided at New York Comic Con a few years ago to collaborate on a creator owned book. Skip forward a couple of years and the product has been flying off of the shelves at comic shops everywhere. In a time where the hottest comic book of the last 10 plus years is The Walking Dead,a survival horror book set in a nearly empty world,many books have tried to emulate the formula,and died on the vine. Jordan and Strahm have given us a book set in a similar situation,but have created it so far apart in tone and story,that they have given Spread a chance at not only continuing,but flourishing. Where in The Walking Dead most of the characters are archetypes of real people, Spread’s world is populated with freaks and loners ala Mad Max.

No is the focal character. A very stoic survivor of the ten years past event that decimated our population and introduced an infection that turns its victims into gruesome creatures. Creatures that have one mission,to spread their filth and disease. No says little,and is trying to eek through this nightmare world alive. As issue 1 ends, No discovers a very special baby,who’s tears and saliva are apparently the only thing that can destroy infected creatures. No keeps the baby with him,as he treks through the frozen tundra landscape,trying to avoid the infected,while running into the worst that humanity has to offer. There is another faction searching for the baby, led by the narcissistic Ravello, leader of a group of marauders that No has already had a brush in with. Ravello’s interest may stem from a hint that he could be the child’s father. Crazy Molly,therefore named so for the fact that she seems insane,travels with No after he rescues her from some slavers,and as she is lactating and seems to know the baby,claiming to be the mother. The story is narrated in a flashback narrative by the grown baby, so we can hope that No manages to protect her at the least.

Jordan and Strahm pay tribute to so many of their influences in this story,from the landscape and creature aesthetic of John Carpenter’s The Thing,to the post apocalyptic punk look of Ravello’s crew,borrowing heavily from The Road Warrior.Strahm’s style is excellent in capturing the gore and violent motion that the infected move with. Several of the infected creatures have been more than impressive in concept and execution. As in any story of this ilk, no matter how frightening the creatures are, it’s the humans that are the true villains. Ravello is a ruthless man who will stop at nothing to claim the baby. Another character we meet who runs a human community is Fat Jack,and we learn quickly that his methods for procuring meat are nefarious. This is a book where danger lurks around every and any corner and comes in any form.

If you haven’t given Spread a chance, hit your local comic shop and ask for it. As of this writing there is not a set date for the first trade,but keep an eye out for that too. Remember that the next time you go to a comic shop and pick up a Marvel or DC book,don’t forget to peruse through the smaller imprints like Image and Dynamite, you may find something that you’ll love.

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About John Amenta (74 Articles)
Born and raised in Central Connecticut. Raised on the good stuff, such as Star Wars, Marvel G.I. Joe comics and a heaping spoonful of Saturday morning cartoons. Many years later, still sticking to the ways of younger life, to counteract the terror of adult existence.
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