Now and then we all come across a film, album, or perhaps a comic book that feels like it was created based solely on our own personal tastes, as if the creators knew exactly what we wanted in terms of entertainment. This is the exact feeling that Random Acts of Violence invoked inside of me. An ultra clever take on the Slasher sub genre of horror from legendary authors Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey, Random Acts of Violence is the perfect combination of horror and comics, and truly feels and plays out like an authentic Slasher film. The last time I found myself so drawn in by a graphic novel was my first time reading The Crow, die hard horror fans, look no further for the next book to submerge yourself into.
Random Acts of Violence follows two comic creators / best friends named Todd and Ezra, who aspire to be famous comic book creators. Their first major published work Slasherman, starts to gain a fan base at an alarming rate sending them into a spiral of success and fame. They embark on a signing tour across the South West and start to bask in the glory of hitting the big time, but this satisfaction is short lived when bodies start turning up in each town they visit. It soon becomes clear than this gruesome serial killer has taken the persona of the main character from Slasherman, and is trying to grab the attention of his creators turning the two friends lives upside down.
I loved this graphic novel so much, that honestly I am unsure where to start with the list of all the reasons this book has filled me with a warm horror nerd glow. Early on in the book, they do a great job at introducing the creators as two real horror fans, who understand the genre, and not just two guys hoping to capitalize on the genre. Also, very early on we are given our first Easter Egg, in the form of a poster for the gore classic City of The Living Dead hanging in the background. From the start, I knew I was reading a genre piece created by people who honestly get what it is all about and are up to date with the industry and the mindset of its fan base. The story plays out in such a fashion that it authentically feels like you are watching a classic Slasher film, a vibe many series have tried to create, but few have been successful in doing so.
Another feature that I loved is the books portrayal of some of the various types of fans that can be found in the crowd of every convention or genre event. We get the crazy internet nerds who hang on to over the top rumors, one asks the guys in the comic if it is true if their comic was printed with blood mixed in with its ink. You have the hardcore feminists there to make sure you know the genre is degrading and geared towards chauvinistic males without girlfriends. Lastly, you are exposed to the typical want to be shady movie producer, who talks you up bragging about the fact he has three films in pre-production on IMDB, but not mention they have been in that stage for years. This really added an extra layer of realism for me that caused me to get totally lost in the book as I was reading it.
Random Acts of Violence takes the psychotic fan scenario to a new level of extreme that truly makes for a haunting read, especially for any artist out there dreaming of the day they become noticed and amass a legion of loyal fans. In addition, the way it ends felt like it came straight from an issue of Tales From the Crypt, but in a good nostalgic way. I cannot recommend this book enough to die hard horror fans looking for something to read that comes from people that completely understand who they are and the genre they call home.