Friday, October 23, 2009

High Moon, by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis

It seems like everybody is trying to scrimp and save these days--but if you're a comics fan, it can be hard to give up that regular trip to the comics store. Take heart, though: you can read some pretty great full-length comics online for free!

There was some skepticism at first about whether DC Comic's online imprint Zuda would have anything worth reading, but with people voting on the titles that they like the best, a few really exceptional ones keep floating to the top. In fact, the highest vote-getter--High Moon, from writer David Gallaher and artist Steve Ellis--also just won this year's prestigious Harvey Award for Best Online Comics Work.

High Moon is a perfect read for the week before Halloween, a sort of werewolf Western. With a supernatural-horror aesthetic that's much closer to the Deadlands roleplaying game than the Will Smith-ian vision of the "Weird Wild West," High Moon livens up a lot of old Western tropes. The Pinkerton Detective Agency, damsels (at least seemingly) in distress, and Man With No Name-type heroes are balanced out with steampunk gadgetry, intriguing hoodoo, and a legion of slavering beasts, demons, and other associated villains.

The series has some dramatic reveals, both major and minor, and I don't want to spoil any of its secrets--but rest assured that you'll want to go back and re-read each installment for the story to fully sink in. There are three parts on the site now, which you can get through in about an hour using Zuda's enjoyable in-browser reader (with a full-screen mode and the ability to zoom in and out of the art). Or if you're feeling flush, you can also now buy the first part of High Moon in print! (Watch for a bound graphic novel version of all three parts in December.)

If Western horror isn't your thing (or you just loved High Moon and want more), make sure you also check out Zuda's Night Owls, I Rule the Night, and Bayou.


SkinnerBox said...

Thanks for the review. I've seen ads for Zuda Comics all over the place, but nothing made me want to check it out until I read your review. Now I'm hooked on several of the titles published there - mostly Dual. Do yourself a favor and catch up on that one!

Paul Hughes said...

Thanks for the tip! I'll check it out. Yeah, it seems like there are quite a few decent titles there--and I'm really surprised at how nice the reader is. It's not like having a print comic, but it's getting closer.