“HOAX HUNTERS: CASE FILES #1” (Comic Review)
The world is full of strange things. Bigfoot, aliens, ghosts, demons; the stuff of horror goes on and on. Thanks to the fascination of all things morbid, many television shows are taking advantage of humans’ natural fear of the unknown and turning a pretty hefty sum investigating claims of paranormal activity. But what if there was a show that debunked all that? A type of MYTH BUSTERS, but for things that go bump in the night?
Such is the premise of HOAX HUNTERS, a comic that takes that exact idea as it follows the adventures of four TV hosts who spend their time disclaiming unearthly monsters and spooks. But, unbeknownst to everyone outside the show’s staff, all the creatures they come across are, in fact, real – and while disparaging their existence to the audience, they also cover up any trace of them. An interesting twist on a classic Scooby-Doo style tale, HOAX HUNTERS has proven that occult adventurers can still bring in readers of all types.
HOAX HUNTERS: CASE FILES is a side collection to the main storyline in the HOAX HUNTERS universe. While the regular series has our protagonists fighting evil gnomes and possessed houses, this series takes a look at some earlier cases, each drawn and written by a different team of creators. The first issue follows the strange and thrilling tales of the four heroes: Regan, a former child star endowed with magic; Jack, a one-time FBI agent; Ken Cadaver, a scientist whose re-animation serum turned him into a zombie; and Murder, a space suit full of crows. With seven mini-stories to round out the issue, we are treated to beasts from the deep seas to mystic men with just their brains for weapons. As spookiness and hilarity ensues, we slowly start to understand the dynamic behind this oddball team and the true weight of their mission.
One of the more interesting aspects of this comic is that this is a series that can be read without having to pick up the parent comic. As far as stand-alones go, this is a good introductory book for those who wish to dive into HOAX HUNTERS but are unsure where to start. Though the main series itself is only ten issues deep, it’s refreshing to know that the story is strong enough to support a spinoff. But CASE FILES itself is a fantastic read. Without the restrictions of the other comic, CASE FILES is allowed to stretch its wings a bit and not take everything too seriously. The quirky, bite-sized tales are perfect for a quick read while enticing the reader to pick up future issues of both collections. You get all the fun without the commitment, similar to silver and golden-age horror comics.
As mentioned, each story in the comic is drawn and written by a different creative team. Among the writers, one of the most notable is Tim Seeley (HACK/SLASH) who does a take on the HOAX HUNTERS as a classic superhero team complete with guns, tights and bad attitudes. Another is Nick Pitarra (MANHATTAN PROJECT), who – along with Tim Daniel – wrote and illustrated a strange tale involving multiple Bill Murrays and his (their?) unyielding pranks. Art ranges from newcomer Keith Burns’ deeply-brushed swamp landscape about a really ugly unicorn to that of quirky artist Gabo in a one-page fishing story. A well done book with a fantastic array of creators, HOAX HUNTERS: CASE FILES is the perfect stepping-stone into a world of the macabre.