Cover Image: Dead Seas

Dead Seas

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Member Reviews

I haven’t read a lot of horror comics in my time, but when I saw Dead Seas from Cavan Scott and Nick Brokenshire, I knew that I wanted to check it out.

I’ve pretty much only seen Scott and Brokenshire working in the Star Wars universe, so it was great to see their talents shine elsewhere. I got to see them dabble in horror with the Return to Vader’s Castle and Shadow of Vader’s Castle. But, this was going to be a full embrace, and I was excited.

The story is set in a world where ghosts are real. They are so real, in fact, that their ectoplasm is collected and sold, because it can cure a lot of diseases. Our main character, Gus Ortiz is a prisoner who is willing to take on a risky job collecting that ectoplasm on a dangerous ship in the middle of the ocean

Why? He wants early release, so he can get it to be with his daughter.

What happens? Hijinks. Ghost hijinks!

I think this could be a cool movie, too. My preference would be animated, but I think you could make this a pretty good live-action movie as well. If it was live-action, I don’t know if I would want to go the straight horror route or maybe try and do like a comedy horror? Actually, I take the bag. I would 100% go down the comedy horror avenue. I think that could be really good.

Dead Seas is excellent, and I highly recommend it.

Thank you Netgalley and IDW Publishing for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. This is a unique graphic novel that I was not at all aware of. I'm usually drawn to how a comic or graphic novel looks and what the story is about.
This one is drawn pretty well, and I really like the color palette a lot. It feels like reading a comic from the 80s, and the story has some interesting directions. In its simplicity this is a ghost, horror story. It has elements of action to it, and unique characters I think the comic and horror community will appreciate.

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I love Cavan Scott and Nick Brokenshire for their star wars work, which made me interested in this series. I must say that maybe this genre isn't necessarily my cup of tea but this didn't grab be all that much

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I was a little unsure of the supernatural angle at first (and Nick Brokenshire's character art) but the world-building around the explanation for the ghosts worked enough to hold my interest, along with the main character arcs (some a bit more fleshed out than others).

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Listen, I’ve read a lot of books with ghosts. Most of those books have perfectly pleasant worlds I would live in with no problem. Dead Seas is not one of those books. It is not a happy world and does not have nice ghosts. Dead Seas is a gritty, slasher horror filled with ghosts, corrupt and powerful men, and covert commentary on the industrial prison complex. At its best moments, Dead Seas feels like a 90s slasher film. It’s unflinching, sometimes terrifying, and purposely a bit ridiculous. If you’re a fan of horror films, progressive storylines, and bittersweet endings, then this is a great pick-up for your collection.

For this graphic novel, Scott teamed up with artist Nick Brokenshire, also known for his work in the Star Wars universe. The colors used throughout Dead Seas captured the eerie feeling of the story while remaining colorful and, surprisingly, a bit playful. I loved how Brokenshire matched scenes and dark themes with equally dark colors and palettes. It’s effective and moody and works well in this comic. Scott and Brokenshire are the perfect comic pairing.

I really enjoyed Dead Seas and Scott's overall vision for the story. I wish he'd had a couple more issues to fill out the story because it felt a bit rushed at the end. Altogether, I quite enjoyed the finished product and would love to see more original non-fandom content from Scott and Brokenshire in the future.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Thanks to IDW for providing me with a review copy of this graphic novel. All the above art assets belong to them. All thoughts above are my own.

The full blog review will go live on Back Shelf Books on Thursday, December 7th, 2023 at: https://backshelfbooks.com/2023/12/07/graphic-novel-review-dead-seas-by-cavan-scott-and-nick-brokenshire/

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Prisoners on a floating ghost ship! Dead Seas reminded me of a grimy 1980s exploitation movie. It's as if Ghostbusters and Con Air teamed up to invade Speed 2. The prisoners wander the ship and try to collect ectoplasm for pharmaceutical companies, and I love how the ghosts and monsters look in this book (see below). Nick Brookshire's illustrators are incredible, taking full advantage of the ship and spectral moods, and there's more on his website. The story kicks in halfway through and takes full advantage of its ocean setting. Fun stuff! Thanks, IDW and NetGalley, for the advanced review copy.

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I loved this story. The concept was original, interesting, and fun. The artwork was beautiful. I will definitely recommend this title to my students and will likely add it to my classroom library.

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**Disclaimer: I recieved a free eARC of this through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this opportunity.  This was an interesting collection.  I had a hard time getting into the story, but I ended up really enjoying the end of it.  It was just kind of hard initially to keep track of the characters.

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Thank you to netgalley and IDW Publishing for providing me with the earc of this book.

This was such a fun graphic novel. It was fast paced and easy to read. I really loved the premise and I actually wish it was bigger so we could see more of this world.

Being stuck in the high sea in a boat filled with ghosts... Name a better book for spooky season, I'll wait.

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this was a really fun graphic novel, I wish the text was a little bigger. well done with a retro style

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I received an eARC of Dead Seas in exchange for an honest review. Dead Seas was such a phenomenal story that I wish it was longer! The premise is so interesting, and I can only hope that Cavan Scott can build on this world to tell more stories. Ghosts suddenly roaming the world? The design for the specters is so interesting. I love how malleable and dynamic the ghosts were. The art really helped to set the tone and feel of the comic too, somewhat reminiscent of early 90s comics, but with a certain grotesquely where it counts. The story was very interesting, and the characters! every single character, was interesting as well. I wish that some of the dialogue was translated, but that's only because I really wanted to know more from the characters. I truly hope to see more from this world!

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The idea behind Cavan Scott's Dead Seas seems to be b-movie schlock - which I don't hate! I'm a big fan of horror, from arthouse to craphouse. There's a charm to that b-movie horror schlock though; the acting may not be great, the characters and script nothing but tropes, and the effects may be cheap, and the script lacking, but it somehow all comes together into the same sort of warm charm you get from something like Clown in a Cornfield, or Dead Seas.

The idea behind the story is that ghosts suddenly appear one day, corporate greed finds a way to profit, and prisoners are sent to these ghost warehouses to clean and collect the gold (ectoplasm) in exchange for reduced sentences. Through in a major storm and a couple of modern pirates and there is a trope-filled cast of characters and events. All of which I, honestly, enjoyed! But could it have been better? Less focus on side characters, more on the main character would have been one major improvement.

Not a bad story - would make a fun movie!

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My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher IDW Publishing for an advance copy of this graphic novel that takes place on the high seas, in a modern tale of pirate, hauntings, exploitation of the body and of souls in the afterlife.

The world that we have allowed to be created puts a value on everything. Freedom seems to mean living in fear. Decisions that affect millions can be bought by a private airplane ride to a fabulous vacation. Children get to learn history by being allowed to work in mills, just like children in the 19th could. Retirement is just a dream as Walmart can also use a 90 year old greeter to stop shoplifters from using self-checkout machines. Even our bodies, as spent as they might be by the gears of capitalism have value. If in the corrections system one can make calls for Police Benevolence groups, or raise money for volunteer firemen all over America from a Supermax in Colorado. Or the bodies, can be used to test firearms for the military or to see how disease spreads. An maybe someday soon, even the souls of the departed can be used to make money for a billionaire, with prisoners again doing the heavy lifting. Dead Seas written by Cavan Scott and illustrated by Nick Brokens is a modern horror story about the the prison industrial complex, the commercialization of death, of family debts and not living up to them, pirates, ghosts and of course, survival.

Gus Ortiz is a prisoner without hope, trying to do the right thing for his family, in a world that has changed in many ways. Ortiz has volunteered to shave some time off of his sentence, by working for a corporation in their private prison tanker on the high seas, where Ortiz will be sharing room on only with other convicts and corrections officers but ghosts. Poltergeists roam the Earth, and the Ectoplasm they leave behind is money. A corporation just has to find a group of people brave enough to scrap it. Or desperate enough. Within hours of landing, Ortiz has seen enough ghosts for a lifetime, and seen the lengths that people will go to to get away. Things only get worse when the wayward daughter of the Corporation's CEO comes on board. And pirates start circling the boat. For there are traitors on board, and something scarier than ghosts might be coming, along with a tropical storm.

A spooky story that has a lot of ideas, and a lot to say about life in this century. What people will do for cash, how quickly people will sell themselves, and how everything can be assigned a value even the souls of the afterlife. There are a lot of characters, and that might be a problem as many of them are just there, stereotypes in a way, or in some ways a little too heroic for what they were. The story is spooky, and the art reflects that, with a style that is almost retro in some ways, European in others. I could see where people might have a problem with it. Definitely not for kids, and don't get attached to any characters as a warning.

For horror fans. I could see a movie made from this, as it is a nice atmospheric haunted house story, set at sea, with a clever twist of the ghosts being exploited by the humans. A scary tale for an October night.

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Great ghost story and a lesson on how found family can be better than the people who actually birth you. Love it.

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Not for me. I didn’t like the old comic style artwork and the story was rather chaotic. If I had liked the artwork then it would have been easier to read this. This is of course my personal taste.

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A decent plot hook dragged down by a completely inane story and art that looks like something the edgy kid drew in a notebook instead of paying attention to his 7th grade teacher.

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It starts as Con Air meets Lockwood & Co., on a boat. Proceeding to throw in the boss' daughter, pirates, giant waves... Sometimes, originality does come just from mixing up enough different pieces, but here, no matter what goes into the blender, we mostly end up playing through the standard beats, from someone telling their foe "We're the same, you and I" to the mysterious yet terribly familiar Compartment Zero. The tragedy is that buried somewhere under this panicky overabundance of event there's an excellent central idea which says unpleasantly true things about capitalism in general and the prison industrial complex in particular, but - much like those lucratively captive ghosts - it never gets to breathe. Still, at least the art is good for the undead, and occasionally manages a John McCrea echo for the living too, even if more often the latter look rushed and plasticiney.

(Netgalley ARC)

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