"Immortality was no mine forever, the price of the gift was to gather other souls." - Thomas
So the team might have been taking things easy over the last couple of years, but for sure Dark Oz Productions' Darren Koziol hasn't been allowing the moss to grow under him. We're talking a stack of Decay issues released, that's going to take us a month of Sundays to get through, a completely new magazine release, Retro Sci Fi, team members are already arguing about who gets to fire their lasers at that one, and the long await standalone Sisters release. Guess you could say Sminds will be knee deep in Dark Oz publications for the foreseeable future. Next month we'll start working our way through the other releases, but for now I'm focused on the blood curdling Decay, and in particular issue number 18.
As you would expect from a collection the contents range over a number of dark genres in various styles. So if you enjoy all things horror, and we're talking vampires, werewolves, ancient gods, demons, animal attacks, and zombies then DK has you covered. If you prefer Sci-Fi, well there's a bloody decent story included that will have you phoning Star Fleet to express your approval. And if dark humour or irony is your thing, then dig on in. Yes all this and more folks, all wrapped up in blood drenched pages that will have you demanding more. Issue number 18 builds on the solid foundation of previous issues, which means you are getting an excellent book to read. Keep this between you and me, if news of this gets out its going to get damned difficult to get future issues before they are sold out. I might have to start thinking about a subscription to be honest.
Before getting stuck into the actual content, and don't worry I'm not going to hit every story - there's simply too many for that, let's get the skinny on the actual publication out of the way. As usual with Decay issue 18 is slightly larger than U.S standard, giving you a real magazine feel to things. The covers are in full colour, the back cover in particular is brilliant, nice lupine work by artist Chris Wahl. There's some black and white pages inside but you get the feeling this is more due to subject matter requirements than saving a few dollars on production costs, the vast majority of the issue is in full colour. To sum up you get one of the most professional publications in horrordom Downunder, and definitely a comic that rivals anything the Yanks are throwing at us. Okay the final stab of the knife on this beauty is zero advertising! Yes folks no advert content, though I wouldn't have a problem if DK wanted to have this happening, would certainly guarantee the magazine's future, while providing an avenue for local dark genre producers to push their wares. What do you think folks, a bit of advertising adds to the magazine's content or nay?
Okay let's get a mag on about the artwork, before I run out of space. In places stunning, in others highly interesting, but in all cases good solid drawing to bring across the story contents and ensuring we keep our interest in what we are reading. Regular Aussie comic readers are going to recognise some of the names associated with the issue, Steve Lehmann, Tanya Nicholls, and Hayden Fryer for example. I was particularly impressed with the art in a number of stories. Federico de Luca brings an interesting and unique feeling to Class of 2014, there's excellent pencil work by Steve Lehmann in the werewolf charged Bacchus Marsh, more on this one shortly, and Ken Best brings that old time U.S comic book feel to Blood of the Phantom Cat while giving it a distinctly Aussie look and feel. The artwork ranges from trad comic, though na´ve, to downright surprising; you can't say DK isn't casting a wide net on this aspect.
As we have come to expect from Decay the current issue under discussion ranges through any number of horror corridors, while spraying the walls with blood, and bringing new ideas to at times moribund sub-genres. In fact the issue kicks off with two separate Sisters stories, and for sure creator DK has breathed some life into vampires with these three blood thirsty gals. See what I did there. I'm looking forward to checking out some Sister action in the stand alone graphic novel once I've gotten through the current Decay pile. I was more than happy to have some werewolf action going down with Bacchus Marsh, an intense teaser for a promised Werewolves of Melbourne, and have my fingers crossed this might be an ongoing series. Speaking of were, uhmm things, The Selkie threw a nice curve into your more traditional myth orientated story, with DK doing his part for animal liberation, in a particularly gruesome fashion of course. If you can't find something to get infused about in this issue then you are never going to be satisfied. I was pretty much happy with every story, had an evil grin splattered across my face at the dark humour and irony, and was grooving to the dark concert sent in my direction. A singly gripe folks, where's me Oz Zombie at, didn't we leave our zombie busting duo holed in a downtown Adelaide mall?
Now that we've sliced and diced the issue up let's put it back together Frankenstein style. We get a whole bunch of stories interlaced with more horror than a movie marathon on Halloween night. Besides blood drenched stories of mayhem there's some exceptional artwork and the promise of more to come in future issues. But I guess what I appreciate the most is how the horror is taken out for a spin through a uniquely Australian setting, this is a magazine for the Downunder faithful to appreciate, it's a horror comic with an Aussie accent, and editor DK is for sure not apologetic for that in any fashion. That doesn't mean our friends outside Oz can't enjoy the magazine, in fact you lot might just appreciate the exotic nature of things. U.S publication Heavy Metal has featured stories culled from the pages of Decay, so for sure International markets are aware there's something happening in the darkest heart of Oz, and it ain't just Mick Taylor ensuring the Outback will be devoid of noisy tourists. Drop your linen folks; this is one hell of a publication that will have you ordering every issue once you dip your toes into the carnage filled pages.
So you are no doubt getting over this review and want to know where you can get your copy of Decay magazine issue 18. Get your bum down to your local comic book specialist and demand a copy, if they don't stock it then time to get a better supplier. If still having issues then go directly to the source, www.darkoz.com.au, and order this issue as well as a complete back catalogue of past issues. The cover price is $8 AUD, but allow some additional coinage for postage and handling. For foreign purchasers simply contact the team at Darkoz and they will sort you out quicker than Micky Myers can track down a relative.
Editor's Note: Sorry for the intrusion, I've moved States and haven't got an office setup yet, ergo the artwork for this review has been pulled from the net. Please note it is the intellectual property of Dark Oz Productions and is reproduced here for review purposes. If wanting to use the artwork for Avatars or whatever seek permission from Dark Oz first.