I'm a fan of Mike Wolfer's various works, so when I heard he had a Kickstarter going for a creation of his known as "Ragdoll" titled, "The Curse of Ragdoll," I was very interested. I interviewed him about the Kickstarter, past comic-works by him I've enjoyed, and what future projects he had coming up. Well, the comic is done and it along with any other extras folk pledged for are in the process of being shipped with digital copies already in supporter's hands via their Laptops, Kindles, iPads, or whatever folk are using today to read their digital comics (I myself enjoy the iPad).
Having now read "Ragdoll" I can say that while some plot elements bugged me, it is overall a highly enjoyable read. Mike Wolfer writes and illustrates it, with some gray-tones done by Dan Parsons and lettering by Natalie Jane. It centers on the titular Ragdoll, with her adventures being told through various chapters of her journal discovered in an ice cave by the adventurer Peter Wyndham. Wyndham and his reading of the journals serves as a sort of framing device for the book, with him appearing primarily at the start and finish. The real star of the show is of course Ragdoll herself. Sewn from the parts of various women who died in murderous ways, Ragdoll goes about getting revenge for them as a paranormal righter-of-wrongs. Various chapters of her journal lay-out her violent missions, and generally whenever we see an evil man the odds are good Ragdoll will soon be ending his life.
|Some mysterious men appear in the story.
With "Ragdoll" being a horror-revenge story hinting at a mystery the plot is quite enjoyable. What about the art though? Well, I was familiar with Wolfer for his art before his writing, and I've always thought it to be stellar stuff. An interesting thing about the artwork is how Wolfer says in the introduction to the book that much of "Ragdoll" was actually originally contained within an Avatar Press anthology known as "Raw Media" before having some parts re-drawn for this collection. "Raw Media" contained stories that at times got X-rated, and Wolfer wanted "Ragdoll" to come back, but operate more as a general horror story as opposed to a pornographic one. Therefore, "Ragdoll" collects installments from those issues of "Raw Media", but with the new artwork and lettering--and the X-rated stuff replaced.
|The Ragdoll herself/selves
One thing that bugged me about "Ragdoll" was a chapter that seemed almost completely removed from the rest of the rest of the book and went against the usual routine to somewhat confusing results. Basically, there is a part of the book where Ragdoll thinks back to the past of one of her body-parts and it actually involves two evil women who are vampires--posing as nuns, no less. In this chapter the nuns are in fact the ones who murders the woman that finds one of her body-parts put into Ragdoll, and one non-nun escapes stating she plans to attack the town. Then....the chapter just ends and is never mentioned again. Clearly, this threw me off and felt a bit odd, having this section of the book that seems disconnected from the rest of the story. However, one of the mysterious part-gathering men does appear, and Wolfer has announced that the next volume of "Ragdoll" will be titled, "Orgy of the Vampires," so I am pretty sure my concerns with this bit feeling removed from the main book is more a case of foreshadowing future chapters as opposed to Wolfer forgetting to follow-up on this segment.
|Nuns, the last people you expect to be vampires...
so in way it makes perfect sense.
One thing that isn't a complaint so much as a hope for the future would be that we didn't see as much of the interesting Inspector Pike as I would have liked. If "Ragdoll" is more of an antagonist, and Wyndham is used as a framing device for some of the stories, then it could possibly be argued that Inspector Jason H. Pike is the closest thing to a "good guy" in the story. Despite being on a vacation his skills are needed by his fellow British policeman, taking him back to work attempting to solve a string of strange murders that have been occurring--which we as the reader know of course relate to Ragdoll. Reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes, Pike is a man with a keen deductive mind, and an extremely morbid wit--I often enjoyed his purposely-terrible puns about the mutilated bodies they would find of Ragdoll's victims. Pike is another character the book makes clear will be in future installments of "Ragdoll", so while I wish he had been within the book more I look forward to seeing him again.
|Inspector Pike is wonderful.
In closing, if you're someone who enjoys the work of Mike Wolfer, horror comics, or just a person who enjoys great art I would say to go ahead and give "The Curse of Ragdoll" a read.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
A digital copy of "Ragdoll" was provided for review purposes before my physical copy arrived as I supported the Kickstarter also. As I've reviewed other books I've funded on Kickstarter, and reviewed works by people I've interviewed this is not out of the norm for my journalistic standards. I'm always my good ol' brutally honest self, but just of course want to let you, my readers, know about these things.