The Horror Honeys: The Spread: "Does this look infected?"

The Spread: "Does this look infected?"

A Comics Honey Review by Shannon

Title: Spread Volume 1: No Hope
Author: Justin Jordan 
Artist: Kyle Strahm, Felipe Sobreiro, Crank!
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: April 2014

Artwork 5/5
Layout 5/5
Writing 5/5
Characters 5/5
Entertainment 5/5
Total:  5 Bloody Tentacles out of 5!

Ten years ago, we dug too deep. We unleashed something ancient that couldn’t be controlled. Something that couldn’t be stopped, twisting everything it touched into more of itself. The Spread. Humanity was nearly destroyed before we found a way to slow the Spread to a crawl. Now, deep inside the quarantined zone, one man has found the key to stopping it forever: a baby girl. And if he can save her, he might save the world. 

Volume 1 contains issues #1-6

In between all of my summer shenanigans and packing for vacation, I end up behind schedule as usual, and wound up Honey Hustling to get all the work done before the weekend. Being frustrated by some of the comics I had picked up recently, on impulse I grabbed SPREAD Volume 1 from Image Comics and I think you folks will be in for a visual treat!

Artwork & Layout
The first thing that caught my eye, obviously, was the visually striking artwork - with illustrations by Kyle Strahm, colours by Felipe Soberiro and lettering by Crank! (the exclamation is part of the name- and what's with all the mononyms?)
The world of Spread is a post-apocalyptic arctic wasteland. Humanity is all but destroyed by an ancient entity known as The Spread, a mass of blood and viscera, moving its way through the world, absorbing every living creature within it, making humans into meat puppets. Sounds a little familiar right?

Kyle's artwork evokes the stark bleakness of the Arctic a la The Thing through use of spartan landscapes and solid panel backgrounds, compared with The Spread as highly detailed, writhing, slimy flesh creatures. His lines detailed with thick and thin strokes of brush pens and paired with Felipe's palette of icy blue hues for the winter setting, and visceral reds for the creatures.

The influence of John Carpenter and David Cronenberg is very apparent in the artwork, and Kyle Strahm has written about his childhood love of horror films in the 80's with all of their gory details. The creative team wear their influences on their sleeves, and still manage to make it their own wonderful take on the post-Apocalyptic genre that does not involve Zombies, or the Desert!

Uhhh... you should get that checked. 
The story is written by Justin Jordan, and if that name rings a bell, that's because I reviewed his other creator owned comic: Strange Talent of Luther Strode. Needless to say, I was already well into the story by the time I started reading and I am really liking this guy's work.

The story is written as if The Thing had escaped from Antarctica and started, well, spreading throughout the world. The writing is rich in detail about how The Spread moves, expands and consumes everything around it, as well as details of how Humanity survives in the ten years The Spread has terrorized the earth.

The main plotline is about a lone man who ends up finding the key to destroying The Spread and encountering people who want to obtain it, destroy it or use it as a weapon... and that key, is an infant girl.

I always knew being a parent can be dangerous, but Holy Shit!

The main characters is a scavenger named NO, and through the first issue you read, you get a Clint Eastwood/Man with No Name vibe to him, and the arctic setting further serves the Western feel very well.

One day NO was wandering the land when he comes upon a gravely injured woman, she says to him, that the Raiders stole Hope from her. As you can see where this is going, he finds the Raider camp, kills them and discovers Hope, a baby girl with a special ability to not only be immune to The Spread but also kill it.

In case I lost you here: Spread is as if Clint Eastwood stars in Wolf and Cub, set in the Arctic of The Thing. The comic spreads (ughh) through many genres.

The first volume is of NO and Hope travelling through the world meeting up with scavengers, cannibals, theives, a fabulous looking dictator, and a creepy looking preacher, straight out of Poltergiest III

Another character that enters the series is Molly: a paranoid, schizophrenic woman, who ends up being the most human part of this story as she befriends NO and becomes the adoptive mother of Hope. This is a really nice touch, as we are so used to seeing mentally ill characters over-used in the Horror genre as antagonists.

Speaking of unconventional characters, NO caught me by surprise when I realized that this character is Gay. The beginning revealed this with him finding his dead boyfriend, and in case you missed that detail (like me) this panel below should give you a hint.

A well written script can say a lot with very few words.

I have to say that I am sorry I missed out on this comic earlier, but I will say, you need to read SPREAD: A fantastical horror comic that blends genres and bends tropes, with beautiful visuals, borrowing from its influences and making it into an exquisite monster.