If you’re a fan of horror comics and gorgeous art, you can’t go wrong with Daniel Brereton’s Nocturnals. This series follows Doctor Nicodemus Horror (or Doc Horror, for short), his daughter Evening (Eve, for short), and a ragtag group of monstrous misfits in several limited series adventures. I was definitely late to the party on this series. I had seen Brereton’s art digging through longboxes, but my first exposure was a Superman/Batman World’s Finest book I won from a local comic shop’s dice roll gimmick. (A $20 purchase wins you a dice roll to get something off the wall. Sometimes it’s awesome, but most of the time it’s a crappy #1 like Nascubs.) Soon after that, I picked up Frankencastle #17. I had kept up with the series vicariously through friends who were reading it, but after seeing Brereton’s art on this issue, I had to have it. It’s one of my favorite back issues from the past few years and has survived several back issue purges in my collection.
But back to Nocturnals. The series has gangsters, monsters, science, and a fun noir vibe that never disappoints. The first story arc, “The Black Planet”, is among the best of the bunch. My favorite story is “The Witching Hour,” since it features my favorite Nocturnal, Eve, or Halloween Girl.
I love everything about Halloween Girl. I mean, she’s called Halloween Girl. She is a heroine tailor made for a monster-lovin’ girl like me. Her dad is a guy named Doc Horror, and she gets to hang out with her bodyguard, Gunwitch (one of her dad’s creations). But the absolute best part of Miss Eve and her Halloween Girl powers is this–she carries around an old school jack o’lantern pail filled with monster toys. “So what?” you say. “Big deal.” Yeah, but there’s more. She can make these toys into actual monsters that help her fight. Um, yes please! (Her dad thinks they may be lost souls looking for a friend.) Eve has a knack for getting herself (and often the rest of the gang) into predicaments, but that’s what makes her great.
Other characters include Polychrome, a ghost girl (wraith, actually) who acts as a scout and team clairvoyant. Komodo is a dragon/man hybrid (like Trogdoooooooooooor!) created by an evil corporation. The Raccoon is another creation of the corporation, and he is a lot of fun. The aforementioned Gunwitch has mysterious origins and is a man of few words. Starfish, an amphibious, almost “Creature from the Black Lagoon” girl, is one of the most beautiful characters. And of course, Doc Horror, the leader, has a rich past. He’s a former Mafia enforcer and a brilliant scientist, and though he looks human, is from a dark otherworldly dimension.
I’m not saying much about the stories, and that’s completely on purpose. Nocturnals is something you have to experience on your own. Brereton’s art is lush, gorgeous, and suits his storytelling very well. I can get lost in panels of Eve’s room, as they feature homages to classic monster toys and ephemera. The easiest way to get your hands on these stories are in the collected works published by Dark Horse. Volume I features “The Black Planet”, my favorite story “The Witching Hour”, and other stories and art. Volume II features “The Dark Forever” and a Gunwitch solo story. These two volumes compile almost all of the Nocturnals stories, but I’m hoping another volume is in the works sometime soon.
As a side note, over the summer, Brereton lost a huge toy/art collection to a storage building fire. It was heartbreaking to see the aftermath (after befriending him on Facebook). Mr. Geeky V and I sent him a Mego Magnetic Batman to replace the one he lost. He responded in kind by sending me a box of goodies, including an original Frankenstein sketch. I don’t tell you this to brag at all. I tell you this to say that Dan is not only an amazingly talented artist, he’s also a super gracious guy. I sincerely hope our paths cross at a convention so I can tell him in person. In the meantime, I’m going to revisit Nocturnals during the Halloween season!
Only one more Weirdo Wednesday left, and I’m saving my favorite monster comic for last. What will it be?