Written by Patrick Purcell and Carl Purcell
Art and Color by Pablo Verdugo Munoz and David Aravena Riquelme
Winter City Productions
Release Date: May 16, 2012
Cover Price: $1.99
Winter City is the physical representation of the word “gritty.” When comics like Spawn and Preacher were hitting shelves, they were always described as “dark,” “violent,” and of course “gritty.” Winter City is a love letter to those comics that set the bar for the dark places comics could take us. For their time, Spawn and Preacher shocked readers with their darkness. Now in 2012, as readers, we have become desensitized to acts of violence carried out on comic panels. It takes completely atrocious brutality to provoke a reaction from Generation Y. Winter City‘s need to emulate classic “gritty” comics, is its biggest flaw. For a comic that clearly wants to be seen as hyper-violent and shocking, Winter City is surprisingly tame.
I do not have a strong stomach. In fact, I try to stay away from comics that embrace brutality and hyper violence. That being said, reading comics for long enough will give the most squeamish person a thick skin. For any person who has ventured beyond The Big Two’s comic catalog, buckets of blood and spilling guts quickly become commonplace. Issues 1-3 of Winter City all portray a blood-spattered logo with one or more characters covered in gore. Judging this comic by its cover would be, as we have been taught since birth, a big mistake. Winter City is violent and definitely not all-ages. But for a comic that really pushes its violence from the start, it goes out of its way to censor most death scenes. The effect is similar to a horror film cutting to darkness moments before someone is cut to pieces.
Now that that is out of the way, Winter City is a well-written and overall compelling murder mystery comic. There are many loose ends that this comic needs to tie up. However, if writers Patrick Purcell and Carl Purcell continue on the path that they are currently on, Winter City will wrap up as a satisfying independent comic. Winter City takes places in an ice-covered city where a rash of murders are being committed by a grim reaper-inspired killer. The rest of the comic follows two detectives as they try to uncover the mystery behind the recent deaths. Everything about the writing in this comic is tight. Characters are planned and placed in Winter City for a reason.
Winter City is a focused and professionally planned indie comic. This is a comic that would have been a hit with publishers like Dark Horse and Image if it weren’t so similar to already published titles. A green eyed, cloaked skeleton, hunting evil men in a dark and lonely city has already been done, and done well. Competing with the likes of Spawn, Winter City is fighting an uphill battle. But for all the obstacles it faces, this is a comic that has a lot of fight in it.