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Lewis & Clark as a Horror Comic Will Make You Care About American History

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
Lewis & Clark as a Horror Comic Will Make You Care About American History

THE SECOND VOLUME PROJECT

“MANIFEST DESTINY”: THE PITCH

THE SECOND VOLUME: AMPHIBIA & INSECTA

As the first storyline focused on an encounter with what could possibly be called plant zombies and minotaurs, this second book takes us into a world with a giant frog creature attacking the boat in the river, while a vicious set of insects take human hosts on land.

Dingess’ story starts off with a bang. The boat our cast of characters is traveling on suddenly comes to a halt. While the cause of this stoppage is investigated, a party takes towards the land in a failed attempt to tow the boat free. The aforementioned giant frog takes over the river, though, separating the landing party from the boat. The story takes place with the cast split in half, working on separate problems but trying to get back together.

On the boat is Lewis, the more studious of the pair. His role in their mission is to catalog the events of the trip and the creatures they find along the way. He records his findings in journals — the more official one and the other that tells all the dirtier truths of the trip.

On land is Clark, the military veteran who doesn’t hesitate in handing out punishments with a whip and twenty lashes. He’s a good shot, a man’s man, and a violent strategist.

THE ART OF MANIFEST DESTINY

I’d buy an art book based off of Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni’s pages, as well as any sketchbooks and development images they have laying around. It’s that strong.

THE COLORS

“Manifest Destiny” is also one of those books that’s a true artistic collaboration between its artist and colorist. Owen Gieni — who you might know from “Shutter,” amongst others — does the coloring in the book, and transforms Roberts’ art into something it couldn’t otherwise have been with someone else.

Gieni’s color palette is perfectly subdued for this book. The only bright primary colors show up in the soldiers’ red and blue dress uniforms, which are rarely on display, anyway. Everything else picks up more of the rustic or earthen tones, as befits a series that takes place in the wilderness along the banks of a river.

THE LETTERING

Pat Brosseau’s lettering might look like a typical modern computer lettering job at first glance, but a closer look will give you a better appreciation for it.

Most importantly, he picks a readable font for Lewis’ journal entries. They adopt a scripted font written in brown on a yellow background, which is also a tough color combination to pull off. It evokes the feel of older paper like we might see preserved in a library or a museum today, though I wonder just how yellow the paper of 1804 or so was originally. Doesn’t matter; it feels right, so we go with it.

THE FUTURE

The third volume of “Manifest Destiny” is already out. Titled “Chiroptera & Carniformaves,” it bundles together issues #13 – 18 of the series. It also has the coolest and perhaps most unpronounceable subtitle in recent comics history.

I haven’t read it yet, but will be attending to that absence in my life later this week.

I don’t know how long the series is planned to continue on for, but the 23rd issue has been solicited for a September release already. It’s part five of a six part “Sasquatch” storyline. I’m guessing we’ll see the fourth trade paperback in time for Christmas.

SECOND VOLUME SUMMATION

If you liked the first volume of “Manifest Destiny,” you’ll definitely like the second. The creative team remains intact, which is no small feat in this day and age. The story is new and fresh, but does build up on some things we learned in the first volume, as well as focusing a little more on some of the new characters added from those events.

The shorter story at the end of the volume where we get to see the secret origins of the Lewis and Clark trip as well as some foreshadowing of darker things to come is also a much welcome addition to the mythology of the series, so long as it doesn’t take over completely.

The first trade paperback is only $10, while the second and third are available today for $15 each. I think it’s a great series and well worth the time and investment if you don’t mind some icky creature/horror elements.

I’m very happy to have finally read the second volume and look forward to the third as soon as I finish writing this column. I imagine it’ll continue to pull together some of the recurring elements while giving us an entertaining monster story.

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