Ashes is a 6-book comic series of John Bergin's work currently released by Caliber Press. A fair amount of the material previously appeared in Bergin's zine Brain Dead, as well as other publications. Some of it is new.
The production of the series is first-rate, with beautiful color covers and that "saturated black" look that Bergin has mastered. The themes of Ashes are similar to those in Brain Dead: horror, delivered with extra twists of the knife, portraits of down and out psychos, and more-bitter-than- sweet love stories. Some of them are as brutal as a rip saw (to steal an image that Bergin seems to like), but like that modern power tool, they are used to construct windows onto other worlds (or twisted versions of our own). I don't think I'd like John Bergin to be calling the shots in my dreamscapes, but taken at a voyeur's distance, his pitch dark visions are powerful and thought-provoking. I also find Bergin's sense of design and composition to be spell-binding. Being trained as a graphic artist, I can't help but be in awe of his considerable composition skills. Long after I've finished reading one of his comics, I'll find myself picking up an issue and randomly browsing, just to be soothed by one of his page designs. (He's the kind of guy you used to hate in art class).
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