Darren “Decay” Koziol hits out with issue one of another local collection of fifth, depravity, and zombies on the Aussie comic scene. Naturally we were all over it quicker than Mikey Meyers facing a new family member. In between various cool features, and a hive of hosts, we got five stories ranging from zombie apocalypse to your standard horror morality play. More on those later. Oh and a zombie cat yarn, and how to draw your very own comic panel, at least according to artist Adam St John.
The comic arrives in over sized format, there's probably a name for that, with full colour covers and black and white interiors. Running to 46 pages it certainly presents a diversion to your normal activities, I'm right behind in my burning of unbelievers quota due to this magazine. Guess we should open the covers and see what Koziol has delivered unto us!
The cover artwork would be your typical garish colour display of absolute horror madness, naturally I loved this as it involved zombies, dismemberment, and total chaos. I was already assuming the cover for issue one related to Oz Zombie, and I wasn't wrong when I opened the covers to peek timidly inside. Decay was on my good side with the cover, who doesn't like some zombie apocalypse artwork sitting on their coffee table.
Annoying autobiographic paragraph: When I was a young fella, yes those pesky dinosaurs roamed the earth at the time, the only exposure to comics we got locally was via Disney bollocks and those Classic comics that assumed every tween really wanted to dig on Jane Austin and the like. Dude, I'm talking cultural wasteland here. About the only shining light on the horizon was the odd Marvel comic that might arrive once in a blue moon at our local corner diary. For no apparent reason the guy who ran the diary didn't believe in getting each edition of a comic, so you would get like Spiderman battling the Sandman, a month later Spidey would be up against something else, and we never got to read how he overcame the first adversary. Enter a Knight is shining armour, in the form of an Uncle who through some dubious means took trips Stateside every couple of months. Never did learn the why of that. Maybe he was fighting the Communist scourge, or had something to do with Area 51, but probably something less exotic. Anyway he used to bring presents back for the kids, as all good Uncles should do. Everyone else got these amazingly cool toys that were unavailable Downunder in any form, I usually got packages of Creepy and Eerie, which was like the best thing ever. Receiving my first delivert of Decay magazine issues reminded me of those bygone times. The magazine is larger than standard U.S comic book size, and repeats the black and white format of the comics I used to receive on a regular basis. For some strange reason I really thought Creepy was full colour, talk about your rose colour glasses Bro! So if needing a comparison for Decay, then think Creepy or Eerie.
Decay #1 opens with an editorial by Darren Koziol that is not overly taxing to read and for mine kicks off the new franchise in just the right style. Then we meet the first of our hosts, a decaying digger named Rank, gedidit! Not entirely sure I agree with multiple hosts to be honest, tends to confuse more than ease you into the story about to kick off. Regardless I would be quite happy for Rank to stick around through the next few issues.
The first story we get hit with is the excellent Oz Zombie, a sort of Downunder Walking Dead experience. So the zombie apocalypse has gone down and we're travelling with a couple trying to survive the aftermath. Plenty of what you expect from a zombie outing with a solid Aussie settings. Fingers crossed we get zombie Roos at some stage, such an awesome concept. Anyway before I digress too much, Oz Zombie looks to be an ongoing journey through the Romero wastelands that will have me ripping open each new edition of Decay. Darren Koziol is on script duty with Thomas Green drawing and inking. Naive school, don't expect a lush treatment, but gets the job done in style.
Story two, Reap What You Sow, by S. Carter and Antoinette Rydyr kicks it up a bit by hitting the old social expectations angle. We have religious types battling what looks to be harpies, yeah the Greek mythological ones, with plenty of talk about faith etc going down as the apocalypse rages. Hell yeah! The panels are fairly brimming with information, but I dug the overall Creepy feeling to things, with the script stretching things beyond what you are look and learning. Which is just as well as Darren Koziol and Adam St. John turn in what is one of the sicker things you will ever run across in a comic with story three The Skinned Man living up to it's title. A number of readers might find the twist in the tale here over the top and beyond social acceptance, take a teaspoon of cement and harden up kids, this is a horror magazine not a Twilight fanzine. Decay showing with this story that it can get into the trenches with the best denizens of extreme street.
If you aren't sold on the magazine yet, then you deserve a smack in the mouth, but wait there's more.
Just to ensure we know that Decay is going to play in the deep end of the social commentary pool Darren Koziol delivers Slam, which has a lot to say about moral crusaders and the sort of people who make a living out of exploiting various charities and relief efforts in the third world. This one kind of caught me off guard as Koziol proceeds to strafe the lifeboats of the moral crusaders. Without naming names, Koziol gets his point across fairly graphically, (see what I did there).
Finishing our story selection in style is the Sci-Fi/Horror retro awesomeness of Carnivore, a reprint of a 1992 story by the SCAR team of S. Carter and Antoinette Rydyr. There's all sorts of excellence going down here, for those of us that can remember Sci-Fi periodicals from back in the day. Hint for those who can't, they used to be full of the most gory stories you could poke an ET at, while having the added advantage of young ladies with super racks. And people didn't know what geeks got up to when the lights went out in suburban homes across the Nation. Without getting too far off the beaten track, Carnivore is a real gem in issue one of Decay magazine, and along with Oz Zombie makes the price of admission seem very cheap indeed. I can't say enough about Carnivore, retro goodness just drips off the panels folks.
Rounding out our Decay experience, and yes have been sequentially going through the magazine, we get one of those maze games, a pictorial on the 2010 Adelaide Zombie Walk (keep your smart arse comments to yourself), Adam St. John showing us one way of making a comic panel, and a Splatt the Zombie Cat short.
So overall we get a big solid horror orientated magazine with some very diverse ways of looking at the genre. You have to be happy with life under these circumstances, and more than pleased with your investment in Decay. Darren Koziol has kicked off in style here, and I'm certainly excited to see what the next issue may deliver based on the excellent content of the inaugural outing. There's content that will have the moral majority up in arms, no doubt people are already gathering outside Koziol's place with tar and feathers, certainly more than enough blood splattered goodness to have horror fans chomping at the bit, and a streak of social satire that will have non genre fans prepared to have a peak between the covers. While I'm not going to say there's something for everyone here, I will definitely say the Doctor is in the house for dark genre wanderers.
Personally I had a lot of fun with Decay #1 and am looking forward to dialling into the second issue, which even now rests uneasy in my review pile. While this review was a sort of sequential walk through of the magazine, I'll get down to our normal approach on subsequent editions. There have been a total of seven thus far. Yeah it reminded me of Creepy, that's a good thing, but with a distinctly Downunder flavour that was well received around my place. I'm looking forward to a long relationship with the magazine. Was this the publications our teachers warned would turn us all into blood drenched maniacs?
We don't have comic shops here on the bogan coast, it would interfere with the expansion of Maccas and tattoo parlours, but they can tell me Decay is available at all reputable Comic Emporiums across the clever Country. If you can't hit the high street or are not in Australia then don't despair, set your browse to Dark Decay Central and use the “Contact Us” button on the left hand menu to demand copies. Each issue is going to set you back $8 AUD, if ordering via the net you will need to add some P&H.