The 1980s were the golden ages of the late-night horror movie shows with the comedic host (Elvira is the biggest one.) Of course, there was this joke that went around that said the hosts hated their jobs and did this because they were forced to do it.
Comic writer David Dastmalchian saw took this idea and ran away with it in “Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter” with art by Lukas Ketner. In 1983, TV reporter Jerri Butler’s drinking problem and big mouth get her fired from her gig. Her boss gives her a second chance by having her replace missing horror tv show host Count Crowley. With mounting bills, she takes the gig but unbeknownst to her, the gig comes with some extra supernatural baggage.
This is an interesting take on the mistaken identity story with the angle that the person was dragged into this situation. The first issue nicely sets up the story and introduces the reader to a protagonist who hates horror movies getting dragged into a real-life one. There are many ways that this story can go and some are the ways that’ll lead to disappointment.
Of course, Dastmalchian may surprise even the horror fan who’s seen it all. The artwork is reminiscent of the 1950s/1960s horror comics with some obvious “Tales From the Crypt” influence. This style is perfect for a story like this since it is supposed to be making fun of the horror tv show host. Jerri’s design as Count Crowley fits perfectly with the 1980s fashion and what a vampire looks like. You can hear Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Tuesday Knight’s “Nightmare” when you see her.
The first issue of “Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter” sets up a story that may delight the 1980s horror fans or even horror tv marathon shows with a funny setup and art that is a love letter to the classic horror comics. Put on any of the thousands of “horror” 1980s rock ballads, hide under your covers and read this comic as if Reagan were still in office.