Pullbox Reviews: Zira, Cosmic Queen & Hunter of Ghosts

  • Zira, Featuring…
    • Terror of the Conjure Cube
    • The Living Graveyard
  • 819 Comics
  • Written & Penciled by Nathan Pinsoneault
  • Inked by Colin Richards & Nathan Pinsoneault
  • Colors by Stacie Pinsoneault
  • Letters by Nathan & Stacie Pinsoneault
  • Edited by Keith Pinsoneault
  • Zira Created by Team Pinsoneault & Colin Richards
  • Dedicated to Valmik Campbell & Edith Pinsoneault

“Take a seat, Stranger. Come a little closer, closer to the lantern. Let me see you. Hmm, yep… you look trustworthy enough. Sit back for a bit, ‘cause I have a humdinger of a tale to tell…” (from the introduction to Terror of the Conjure Cube)

That opening paragraph, found on the first page as we’re introduced to Zira and her crazy world, should bring about certain thoughts or feelings. If you’ve spent even a passing amount of time going back to check out old titles like Eerie, House of Secrets, or Tales From the Crypt, there might be something familiar. That’s no accident as the creative team of Stacie & Nathan Pinsoneault and company (henceforth to be referred to as Team Pinsoneault) have cited many of those old comics, along with the original Conan stories written by Robert E. Howard for Weird Tales Magazine, as influences in their new title.

I am a sucker for the classics…

A while back, I was given a copy of Mister Marsh, and in the first couple pages I started hoping that Nathan & Stacie were going to be around a while. The artwork has so much of comics’ Silver Age, with all of the bombastic and over the top attitude, that I immediately wanted more of it. Happy I was then, when I got an email from the two creatives that included a copy of their new title and labor of love… Zira, the Cosmic Queen, Ghost Hunter, and explorer of hidden places!

The toughest part in writing this review is separating the various elements. The story and writing, which I get the impression is a far more collaborative effort than the credits imply, are throwbacks to the influences listed above. Dialogue is as over the top as should be expected in this kind of comic, without quite so much cheese. Nathan’s illustrations, inks by Colin Richards, colors by Stacie come together to create worlds of fantastical and cosmic scope, and those worlds are being populated with a growing range of classic character types.

Not at all dated in their approach, Team Pinsoneault give all due respect to the greats who came before, without totally parroting them. As their skillsets grow and evolve, it’s going to be really cool to see where the crew takes their newly conceived comic universe. The other thing I have to say about Team Pinsoneault and 819 Comics is that they’re creating comics with so much love that the page can hardly contain it all. Love, not only for Silver Age works from the greats like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, but also from a much more personal place as Zira was created as a sort of love letter to their newborn daughter.

It might not have all of the polish and refinement of the established comics out there, but Zira has everything the discerning reader could want. Every page is full of candy for the eyes as a growing universe is explored. From the “haunted” house in Terror of the Conjure Cube to the more traditional adventure of The Living Graveyard, there are splash pages and quips aplenty. And Zira’s self-swinging axe, so very aptly named “Fantomax” just gives me a chuckle.

Final Score: (Wait for it…) 11/13

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