"This is something different. I've never seen them like this before." - Captain of the ill fated SS Gronnskjegg
Issue 12 of Decay magazine takes a complete 180 degree turn from the normal content we have come to love and cherish through the preceding issues. The magazine is devoted solely to the Cthulhu mythos, so don't expect zombies, vampires, or psycho killers, we're in H.P country now. What you do get in the first of the Decay "specials" are four stories, one of which in a first for Decay is in full colour, and an extensive full colour gallery of Cthulhu full page pin-ups. Who doesn't love a good Cthulhu read, question is can Editor/Writer Koziol deliver original yarns that don't deviate markedly from the established mythos, let's check it out and see what might be slithering our way.
Ironclad, script Darren Koziol, art John Stewart, sees Decay venturing into the realm of full colour. This actually led to quite the debate in the ScaryMinds bunker that raised the horrible spectre of the wars over whether or not T-Rex should have gone electric. When you aren't used to a book hitting full colour then it can come as quite a shock, regardless of how good the story and illustrations are. We do have some traditionalists amongst the crew who slammed the move from B&W, though I'm always on board a change up if it adds to the experience. Overall I was up with the crew of an icebreaker facing a behemoth in the artic. Besides which we're talking a special edition, some differences are to be expected.
The second story in our journey through the mythos again sees Koziol hitting the writing duties, this time with Glenn Lumsden weighing in with some artwork that reminded me at least of the art adorning the pages of those old Commando comics. They still publishing those? A squadron of Lancaster bombers during a World War 2 raid into Germany come under the sway of, I guess, Cthulhu himself, as the tentacle one seeks to escape his underground prison. A couple of points with this story that need to be made. First up full thumbs up for the mixing of the Nazi concept with the supernatural, that doesn't get enough coverage in my opinion. That old nut Hitler was crazy for the occult thing, and invading European countries of course. And secondly full marks for the line, "A … A mountain? That's madness", if you don't get the reference then hang your head in shame and immediately hit some H.P. Lovecraft remedial reading stat! I also have to say I liked the final panel, brought to mind some of those 1950s movie endings, you'll need to read Decay #12 to get what I'm on about there.
Proving that Decay is journeying far and wide in their evocation of the mythos, the third story, The Mine, sees Darren Koziol touching bases with the fanatic cult followers of Cthulhu, an aspect of the story series that largely gets overlooked outside of Downunder preoccupations with all things H.P. Cristian Navarro chimes in with the artwork as miners in the U.S old West discover there are some places you shouldn't really dig, especially when there are cultist about summoning all manner of primordial elder gods. I would probably hoist one criticism, in the more common sense, on this story, some of the dialogue didn't ring with that authentic period feel. Though it has to be said that Decay, bless their depraved hearts, have never been pinned down with conventions when it comes to dosing the reader up on mayhem. Nice dark and brooding art going down in this story to match the sombre nature of things.
Our final story for Issue #12, The Waterfall on the Edge of the World sees mariners discovering the world is indeed flat, and just what might be lurking beyond the edge. I was kind of digging the concept of would be rescuers discovering you should sometimes let things happen, as you just never know what you might unleash if you disrupt local ceremonies. Darren Koziol rolled out the script while Decay regular Tanya Nicholls added the ink work. Nice way to round out the fiction section of Issue #12, with the two page final panel rocking the house down.
For the sharp eyed amongst you, the number of Artists featured in Issue #12 would indicate something pretty special is going down, and you will not be disappointed with an extensive gallery of mini posters featuring mythos visions in the issue for your pleasure. There's a wide range of local talent included with even Jan Scherpenhuizen featured. The magazine is worth the price of admission on the gallery alone kids, dive on in there and have some fun, ensuring fingers are kept within the magazine at all times.
The cover for the issue comes from the imagination of Lee Smith and is one of the best yet that Decay can boast about. Showing even the best Editors can miss something, the inside of the front cover can inform us the magazine was released "April 2011", just thought I would point that out as it amused us for no apparent reason.
I was more than pleased to get the Cthulhu special issue in the mail and dived straight in to see what dark delights Editor Darren "2011" Koziol had delivered up for our delectation. While the stories and art are fully within the mythos, the question poised at the start of this review was answered in the affirmative, we get original takes on what is becoming a crowded corner of the dark genre sideshow alley. I was rocking on with the stories, grooving to the art, and have booked a seat on the Decay train of unholy delights. While I'm looking forward to getting back into standard Decay sensibilities next issue, hey number thirteen can we expect something devilishly deviant? - I'm also not opposed to another special edition hitting my reading menu sometime in the future. Oh sorry, full recommendation to Cthulhu fans and lovers of Downunder comic visions, as well as anyone out there who enjoys good wholesome slaughter at the hands of honking big monsters. Got to love a magazine that doesn't take a backward step in throwing down the horror gauntlet to the reader, harden up Princess and get reading.
Decay #12 is available online from Dark Oz for the winning price of $8 plus P&H. Or, if in Australia, hit your local comic emporium in the main centres. If your store doesn't stoke the magazine, and shame on them, then threaten biblical retribution unless they remedy that situation stat! It's all about the violence and holy terror kids. Okay I'll be sitting next to the ScaryMinds letter box waiting on the next issue of Decay. Is it here yet?