Written by: Jesse Grillo
Art by: David Brame
Colored by: Heather Breckel
Lettered by: Carey Kelley
Published by: Action Lab Comics
Reviewed by: Kristian Horn
DON’T. DO. DRUGS.
That’s pretty much the first thing that anyone who reads The Trip is going to take away from the book. The second thing that readers of The Trip are going to get from the book is the fact that they have possibly just read one of the better horror comic projects to come out in a while.
While some of you out there may have been thinking that The Trip may have been a comic book adaptation of the old Roger Corman movie written by Jack Nicolson and starring Peter Fonda I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. While Corman’s The Trip and Action Lab’s The Trip both touch on the subject of what can happen when indulging in the practice of taking psychedelic drugs, the Action Lab trip takes readers down a darker and more sinister path than Nicolson and Fonda ever did.
During a road trip a group of college kids end up destroying their stash of drugs when they are suddenly pulled over by a state trooper. Desperate to find a substitute for their abandoned hallucinogens one of the group finds a teenage kid willing to sell the Mystery Van rejects his grandfather’s supply of super potent peyote. Of course there’s more than meets the eye to this special brand of Native American wampum and some very dire happening occur once the ol’ college gang starts ingesting the stuff.
While much of the plot of The Trip may be somewhat typical of the modern horror genre the execution of the storytelling within the book is not. What seems like a somewhat uninspired plot is interestingly turned around by writer Jesse Grillo and artist David Brame. The characters are fleshed out enough that you care enough about them to not want them to be pitched to the kindling of horror casualties. There’s also enough of a secondary subplot to make up a bit for the lack of originality of the main plot. Artist David Brame is an absolute find here. His style is perfectly suited to the tale and his frenetic brushwork adds to the tone of the story. I found Brame’s work to be extremely engaging in places. His work is fast and loose and there were some panels or pages that I thought could have been tightened up a bit but despite that, I really think that Brame is someone to keep an eye on. His style reminds me very much of a cross between Paul Pope and early Mark Texeira. If he continues to put out solid work like this and works on expanding his craft a bit he could become a major comic book superstar in the next several years.
Kudos must also do to colorist Heather Breckel. She does a terrific job of complementing Brame’s artwork and playing up to his strengths as an artist. She helps establish the feel of the book and is able to cement the mood of slowly creeping terror that is placed into the foundation of The Trip by Grillo and Brame. The colorist is an integral part of any comic book but is most especially important to a horror book and Breckel proves that she is a fundamental part of the team on this comic with the work she’s done here.
All in all The Trip is a very solid little horror read. It takes a somewhat typical story and takes it into somewhat new territory. If you are a fan of horror fiction or if you work for an anti-drug campaign I’m sure you’ll find it very much to your liking.