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Friday, January 13, 2017

Jeb Clucker's 100 Acres of Hen. Kim Roberts (Writer), Gabe Ostely (Art), Chris Allen (Letters and Colours) WP Comics (2017)

Very funny and horrifyingly gory, a clever take on a horror staple that uses a simple change to give allow humour and gore happily work together. A tourist party on a camping trip take a wrong turn and find themselves camping in a unscheduled location. It does not go well.
The fact that the entire cast are chickens is a simple and very smart shift in story. The room for chicken related jokes is taken at every opportunity by Kim Robert, who does so without every killing the central joke. In a very short space the cast are introduced, and different enough so that they are clearly individuals, the reader has enough chance to register them before the inevitable happens. The story structure correctly follows a familiar format, the ideas are used very effectively to counterpoint the inherent absurdity of the cast.
Gabe Ostley's art, from the wonderful cover and throughout the book is a joy to read. It manages the difficult task of being completely absurd and satisfying forceful, the cast are chickens acting like humans who are involved in savagely violent events. A tricky balance has to be maintained all the time for the story to be successful, the element of parody has to be respected and the gore has to have a genuine impact. Gabe Ostley achieves this balance with confident skill and amazing detail.
Chris Allen's colours are bright and exuberant, not horror colours at all, they work fantastically in the context of Kim Roberts smart story structure and Gabe Ostely's art. They give the vivid expression to the absurdity and the gore. The sound effects are exactly the right side of cartoony.
What makes this comic work is that beneath the bright and wild story there is real menace arising from the tension between the story structure and the delivery. A very funny story that never forgets that it is a horror story.
Chief Wizard Note: This is a review copy very kindly sent by Kim Roberts. To purchase a copy of Jeb Clucker's 100 Acres of Hen, you should to usher in the 2017 with a really good comic and give yourself the best possible start, it is available from

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