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‘Snarl:’ Comic Book Review

Earlier this summer, publisher Alterna Comics released the intriguing title, Snarl, a supernatural thriller that straddles the horror and crime genres with ease.  Telling the story of veteran police detective Bevil and the chilling case that had plagued Washington state, the reader follows along on a suspenseful procedural that is reminiscent of the monster-of-the-week episodes of The X-Files.  With a mounting body count of victims mauled by someone (or something) larger than life, it’s up to Detective Bevil to solve the case before all of Washington’s population falls victim to the mysterious killer.

Snarl co-creator/writer Kelly Bender succeeds in maintaining a slow, but suspenseful, build in the development of the story, allowing the reader the opportunity to piece together the clues to the case as Bevil and his partner, Detective Sagun, uncover them.   Additionally, Bender should be commended for peppering the story with interesting references and language that are unique to the native cultures and people of Washington, which add a lived-in and familiar sense to the characters and setting. 

The artwork by co-creator/illustrator Nathan Kelly was truly the stand-out star of the comic, as the characters were so uniquely depicted and clearly grizzled by the harsh crimes that befell their community.  Likewise, I would commend Kelly for his inclusion of an extraordinarily diverse cast of characters, which gave a more realistic feel to the story.  In addition, the moody and earthy tones of Josh Jensen’s coloring gave the entire comic a sense that you were at home in the dreary Northwest, which also set the framework for the noir-ish crime drama. 

If I were to offer any criticism of Snarl, it would be the predominant depiction of its female characters in extremely revealing outfits.  From a prostitute in the police station at the start of the comic to the nearly naked victim of the comic’s villain, far too often were Snarl‘s women portrayed as cartoonish male fantasies with large breasts and skimpy outfits.  While Detective Sagun was a welcome departure from this occurrence, the latter was much more common and out of place in an otherwise realistic crime comic.

With that minor criticism aside, I would definitely recommend Snarl to fans of dark crime dramas like The X-Files and Se7en. Snarl is currently available on ComiXology, as well as through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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