Walking into the New Hartford Barnes and Noble bookstore one’s never quite sure what you’ll stumble upon. You might find something quite amazing, something others might have overlooked before or something perhaps that you yourself have just overlooked. Perhaps you and your friends have had this experience, this writer is sure of this. Certainly the busy workers at the Barnes and Noble New Hartford branch are aware of this happening to their customers. It might just so happen that you stumble upon a great new series that interests you, something say like “Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse; Birds, Bees, Blood & Beer”, created, written and drawn by Ben Templesmith.
Templesmith is most known for his artwork and influence on the “30 Days of Night” series and the movie of the same name. His artwork is phenomenal and anything but your typical style. Ben does everything, in his first volume he actually shows you his steps for creating a page. Like most he does very small thumbnail sketches of each page; breaking down where each character and background element is; he works on toned Bristol board paper providing for extra texture, his rough pencils are light, loose and sketchy; from their he inks using brushes and nib pens as well, he doesn’t fully erase some of the pencilled lines creating different elements on the page for the reader to find; in this series he implores the use of Adobe Photoshop for colors and mood mostly. Ben uses all real world textures to enhance his artwork not to cheat and have it do the artwork for him. His color scheme is monochromatic, using dark colors to create his beat down, dark alley, shady characters feel to it; very moody atmospheres.
The beginning of the book brings us in with a short story setting up the characters and their roles in this universe. Next we step right into the plot, the page turns and the first big thing happens; a demon-like creature busts out of some random man’s wife and eats him alive while somewhere the mastermind behind this laughs as he gathers his army of weird alien-demon looking monsters. If that doesn’t peak your interest the witty British charm of Wormwood, Pendulum and his pseudo-eye-candy bodyguard will! This one sets it up for the rest of the series creating a convincing universe and loveable characters. Pick up the series and let the enjoyment begin!
Mike D. Burke
Illustrator and Writer