Dread Central is thrilled to exclusively launch two special cover variations for the upcoming five issue comic book series, Swamp dogs: the house of crows.
The first pays homage to the original poster for John Carpenter’s horror classic in 1980 Fog and was made by Casey Parsons for Things from another world. The second play was produced by Johnny Desjardins for Rabbit Comics.
Swamp dogs: the house of crows is the latest addition to Black Caravan, Scout Comics’ horror comic book imprint. The miniseries follows a lesbian couple and a metal band called The Grunch as they cross paths with the Swamp Dogs. “The best way to think [the Swamp Dogs] the aesthetic is like civil war / voodoo cenobites, ”says co-author JM Brandt.
The series will serve as a launching pad for more stories to unfold in this spooky, sometimes funny, grindhouse-inspired universe.
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Brandt further explained his process and influences for the upcoming series in an email to Dread Central.
“Once Theo and I mutated my original take on the monsters, the Swamp Dogs themselves, the plot almost felt like it was writing itself,” says Brandt. “We’re both horror movie fanatics – who also have a college education in horror and cult movies – and we wanted the miniseries.” Swamp dogs: the house of crows to reflect a good classic horror movie.
“There’s something liberating about playing with the formula and the rhythms we’ve both seen hundreds of times before,” Brandt continues. “We have the cute encounter, the ominous harbinger of bad news, the sacrificial idiot at the start, the creepy rural guys who more or less spell ruin, the flashback revealing the legend, the introduction of more meat puppets . And then we have a bloody, bloody catharsis. Any true horror fan will feel right at home with this book.
Brandt says the monsters have changed throughout the process. Initially, his story was informed by a movie pitch he made which was loosely based on Armando de Ossorio. Tombs of the Blind Dead. (“So it started with relatively dumb undead Confederate soldiers with no big personalities,” he explains.) But when he turned to the comic, that’s when that each Swamp Dog is brought to life with its own unique personality and rich stories.
“Because they all had such a solid foundation steeped in Civil War history and traditions, we couldn’t just have them as heavy, eyeless monsters,” Brandt continues. “So we turned them into liches: voodoo, cruel, ruthless, sadistic. They are stronger, faster and smarter than they were in life. The Swamp Dogs were evil to the core of life, and being undead only rotted the little shreds of decency and humanity they had to start with. And while the Swamp Dogs that we’ve revealed so far see zombie-ish, they gradually get weirder and more unique.
Of the team’s horror influences, Brandt says, “I think the horror of the hills like Tourist trap and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre aid. As for aesthetics and in a way, this desire for “beautiful destruction” comes from the Hellraiser series and Event horizon. Believe it or not I thought about Charles Band a lot Puppet master films while thinking of the sets for the killings. And I really like the post-modern game with and the subversion of expectations, seen in movies like Cabin in the woods and Scream. “
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Co-writer Theo Prasidis added:
“Writing with JM is a joy, mainly because we know exactly what we want our readers to get out of this book. Thinking back to the scripts we’ve written, I usually can’t tell who wrote what, which I think is pretty awesome.
Conceptually and aesthetically, Swamp dogs: the house of crows is largely influenced by operating horror movies and heavy metal music. Euro horror nuggets like Tombs of the Blind Dead, horror / biker mashups like Werewolves on Wheels, blaxploitation and joyrides sexploitation like Sugar hill and Faster, Pussycat! To kill! To kill!, but also Stephen King movies from the 1980s, as well as some of those tasty firsts Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson.
Musically, the muddy grooves of Southern doom / sludge metal, along with the more fuzzy psychedelic journeys of stoner rock, played a huge role in shaping the overall feel and iconography of the book. But if we’re talking about more direct influences, as far as writing style goes, I can’t overlook Jason Aaron and Jason Latour’s harsh epic, Southern Bastards. “
Black Caravan co-editor Joseph Schmalke said: “These five issues are just the start. We have big ideas for this franchise.
The Parsons variant cover goes on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. PST on The site of Things from another world, with a limited edition of 500 copies in total available. Desjardins coverage is now available for pre-order through Rabbit Comics. Hurry, because there are only 250 copies available. Swamp dogs: the house of crows number 1 hits comic book stores in October.