Review by: Mike Peluso
Contributing Artists: Chris Ruggia, David Wilson, Bruce Small, Cody Schibi, Jessica Correa, Mark Nasso, Amanda Rogers, Jessica Grundy, J. Michael Stovall, Chris Sweet, Josh Alexander, Austin “Redbeard” Rogers
Publisher: The Underground Forest
Release Date: November 7th
Rating: 8 out of 10
Synopsis: Doom Ranch 5000 features 12 talented illustrators representing all corners of the lone star state. Texas is a mysterious place with many supernatural legends dating from the time when Native Americans ruled the land. Each artist selects a tale and interprets it through their own unique style while leaving the reader to decide what is fact or myth.
Our Thoughts: Growing up, there were very few things I enjoyed reading more than a good comic book. To be honest, the same holds true to this day. But I must say if there was one thing that rivaled my fascination with the artistic literature within a comic book it was the reading of classic urban legends. I was totally consumed with collections of folklore and ghastly tales that had been passed down and reinterpreted for generations. Authors like Alvin Schwartz had an uncanny way of putting his own spin on cryptic folklore to make it even more unsettling than the prior generation’s interpretation.
Doom Ranch 5000 is a compilation of short stories that takes me right back to nights where reciting urban legends by a campfire was summertime normalcy. These 12 tales featured in Doom Ranch 5000 gave me a nostalgic uppercut to the brain that has me on a quest to dig up the folklore collections that haunted my childhood. The Texas based legends within Doom Ranch 5000 are refreshing and exotic compared to the standard urban mythologies most of us are used to. There were obviously a few tales within this Texan tomb that stood out from the rest.
“The Ottine Swamp Monster” by David Wilson is a heart wrenching tale about an abomination of nature in search of companionship. “The Donkey Lady” by Austin “Redbeard” Rodgers is the one tale from this collection that was most reminiscent of something retold by Alvin Schwartz. This passage was easily my favorite of the group due to its simplicity and methodically eerie feel.
“LA LLORONA” by Jessica Correa was another classic myth where tragedy gives birth to something menacingly macabre. The majority of the story art in Doom Ranch 5000 is excellent and properly suits the legend written beside them.
The presentation as a whole isn’t flawless. Some of the stories feel a little repetitive and lack substance. Also, not every art frame totally captures the feel of the story it’s based on. While these minor miscues are present they aren’t enough to take appreciation away from this folkloric compendium.
Overall, Doom Ranch 5000 was an entertaining collection of Texas folklore that will truly remind you what originally made marshmallows, bonfires and ghost stories such an excellent combination. This throwback anthology defines the word “campy” and truly rekindles the magic frightening folklore use to deliver. I most definitely recommend checking out Doom Ranch 5000, it’s available NOW!