The Family Graves is a four-issue comic series from Timothy Bach and Brian Atkins (the former wrote it; the latter drew it) that explores the sci-fi superhero adventures of a family of monsters.
Together with his dysfunctional, mismatched family of monsters, Phil Graves, an alchemical engineer recently turned unpredictably shifting werewolf, must race across dimensions to collect a set of magical mirrors in order to stop a chronal vampire from devouring the space-time continuum and destroying reality. But can the family hold together even as reality falls apart?
The Family Graves is a book for anyone who loves monsters, family, and unabashedly fun comics! Although spooky, it’s more heroic than horror, combining big sci-fi adventure with a love of classic monster movies to create lots of supernatural action.
Timothy was kind enough to share the first issue with me, and I really enjoyed it. (You can read a 10-page preview of the issue’s middle act here, but fair warning – Phil doesn’t wolf out in these pages.) The logline proffered was “The Munsters meets The Fantastic Four, with a dash of Locke & Key”, but my impression was more like “The Incredibles, if Bob Parr was a self-absorbed tech billionaire werewolf whose monster family tolerates his sci-fi bullshit while consistently outclassing him.” Phil, you need to spend less time looking at your floating orange screens and more time with your family and / or as a werewolf. And figure out your damn bloodwork!
The art has all the flash and colour of a superhero comic, but the monstrous aspects of the cast’s designs are rendered with an eye for creature-based horror, and there were a few little details that made me smile every time I saw them. There’s something very funny and good about a zombie infant with perpetual bags under his eyes.
Story-wise, I was more engaged than I expected to be, as a person who doesn’t really get into superhero comics. I was especially happy to find no explanation for why the immediate Graves family contains so diverse a cast of monsters (werewolf, gorgon, siren, merman and zombie). They’re monsters, and that’s fine. I don’t need an origin story for characters I’ve just met. Whatever happened to them doesn’t seem to be unique, either. There are plenty of supernatural creatures in background roles, which lends a pleasantly brisk in media res feeling to the story’s world.
The first issue comes out in real, tangible form on September 19th (order it from your local shop with Diamond code JUL182141). You can get all four issues right now from Source Point Press, or digitally from Comixology and DriveThruComics.