Review: Drumhellar #1
Co-Plotters: Alex Link (Script) and Riley Rossmo (Art, Colors, Story)
I really really enjoy a good supernatural mystery. So after reading several reviews of this book, where the word “Psychedelic” was used with 1960’s frequency, I finally decided to pick up the first issue. I was not dissappointed – although to be honest, this is not a book for everyone.
Drumhellar follows the story of Drum Hellar, a “psychedelic detective” on a mission. As the issue unfolds, it’s clear that Drum doesn’t know exactly what the mission entails, and only a loose plan for how to see it through.
The first four pages depict Drum in a purple robe, holding a golf club over his head as he gets hit by lightning. This is quickly followed by the emergence of a peacock from a puddle, the laying of a golden egg, and a vision of a nice sunny swamp with pink swirls. It’s no wonder that one reviewer described the series as “too weird for its own good”.
Drum seeks help from an ex-girlfriend, talks to his partner – a spirit that looks like the Cheshire cat, and searches for a Bogman. A lot to take in for a first issue without an explanation as to why. As Drum Hellar continues his “investigation” the why’s continue piling on top of each other, and continue unanswered. There’s not a whole lot of explanation for anything Drum does, and it’s best to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
The unfocused nature of the first issue, rather than detracting from the experience, instead mirrors the meanderings of Drum and adds another layer of strange to top off the narrative and artwork. Rossmo’s art is really fun, whether he’s drawing one of Hellar’s colorful visions or drawing a mobile home in the dessert. The colors are bright, bordering on psychedelic (when needed) and the dotted shading adds a little something extra in defining the comic’s style.
The book isn’t for everybody, particularly is you like your supernatural detectives to be taciturn, edgy, and dark. For me, I’ll settle for colorful, weird, with a hint of magical substance abuse.