Family, Loyalty, And Haunted Drugs: Bone Parish Volume 1 SC

by Brendan M. Allen

A new drug is sweeping through the streets of New Orleans—one made from the ashes of the dead. Wars are being fought over who will control the supply, while the demand only rises.

While the crime families wage war, users begin to experience terrifying visions of the dead coming back to life—through them.

Eisner Award-nominated author Cullen Bunn (The Empty Man, The Unsound) and illustrator Jonas Scharf (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) team up for Bone Parish, a haunting blend of horror and crime that takes an unflinching look at how we connect to—and disconnect from—the world around us.

With Bone Parish Volume 1, Cullen Bunn has taken all the appeal and obstacles of running a successful illicit drug operation and thrown in a brilliant supernatural twist.

This new drug Ash offers the ultimate experience in escapism. What better way to dissociate from unpleasant, boring, arduous, scary, and banal aspects of daily life than to actually step into the memories and experiences of another person? Someone bolder. More successful. Richer. Better looking. Someone who actually lived, but is no longer among the upright and breathing.

The exclusive proprietary method for producing this particular stimulant requires human corpses. Not just any corpses, either. They have to be bodies of folks whose stories junkies want to relive. Musicians, poets, porn stars, that kind of thing. The higher profile the grave that’s being robbed, the more attention it’ll attract from local and national law enforcement and press. And of course, the major crime syndicates will want a piece of the action. There might also be a few horrifying side effects. It can’t be perfect, can it?

Cullen Bunn is well established as a master of horror, but it’s the complex familial relationships that really sell this piece. The tension between siblings. The grieving materfamilias trying to move on but unable to let go of the shadow of her late husband. Mafia capos and cartel lugartenientes jockeying for position. All of it plays really well as necromantic family crime drama.

Bone Parish’ artwork is stunning. Jonas Scharf and Alex Guimaraes deliver an aesthetic that flips easily from reality to hyper saturated ash trips. The set pieces scream Big Easy, from the streets and alleys to the historic graveyards and plantations. Characters are distinct and unique, with great use of expression and ambulation. Flashback sequences read like 8mm reels flipping through a Kodak Brownie 8. Bone Parish goes down some deep, dark holes and the art team doesn’t miss a visual beat.

Bone Parish is a compelling occult noir with notes of horror, crime procedurals, and mafia tropes. It’s like Breaking Bad and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein had a beautiful and horribly twisted baby. It’s hideous and gorgeous, mean and emotional. It’s a story about family, in the best and worst possible ways. And haunted drugs.

Bone Parish Volume 1 collects chapters 1-4, BOOM! Studios, released 01 May 2019. Written by Cullen Bunn, illustrated by Jonas Scharf, color by Alex Guimaraes, letters by Ed Dukeshire, cover by Lee Garbett.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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