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New WV-produced comic draws on urban legends

By Staff | Sep 24, 2014

A West Virginia writer is launching a new comic book company with a horror story about an 8-year-old boy who can command the killers of urban legend.

“The Monsters of Jimmy Crumb” is an original, 64-page graphic novel written by Parkersburg resident James Patrick and drawn by Jen Hickman (“The Dead”), with a cover by Goni Montes (who has done covers for BOOM! Studios’ “Robocop” and “Clive Barker’s Next Testament”).

“‘The Monsters of Jimmy Crumb’ is about a little boy who can control monsters that are of the slasher variety,” Patrick said. “He’s getting revenge. And the question is, will Jimmy become a monster himself?”

Patrick has worked for DC Comics on “Batman Confidential” and “Green Arrow” and written stories of pop culture properties like “Star Trek” and “Angel,” as well as creator-owned comics like “Death Comes to Dillinger.” He’s serving as, essentially, the editor-in-chief of 21 Pulp, a Parkersburg-based comic company looking to make a splash at the national level with well-known and up-and-coming creators.

“We will be producing top-quality comics in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” Patrick said.

The idea for “Jimmy Crumb” came as Patrick was looking for a “very commercial book” to be 21 Pulp’s first offering. The title character has learned to control the monsters of urban legend, like Bloody Mary, the campfire-tale killer Cropsey and the Nightmare Killer.

Many of these stories have inspired other familiar pop culture monsters – the origins of Jason Voorhees from “Friday the 13th” can be traced to Cropsey, while Freddy Krueger is a variation of the Nightmare Killer of stories in Japan and the Philippines to explain sudden deaths of people while sleeping. Rather than basing new characters on existing properties, Patrick said he’s going back to the original archetypes for Jimmy’s monsters.

“I started realizing, I could use the actual legends,” he said.

And those legends are at the beck and call of a young boy who should inspire thoughts of innocence, not horror.

“That’s a juxtaposition I’ve always been fond of,” Patrick said.

One of the first places the book debuted was on Kickstarter. The project exceeded its $4,000 goal by raising $5,467 in a month this summer, but Patrick said Kickstarter was used more as a marketing tool rather than a way to get the project off the ground.

“Kickstarter to us was one way to hit five or six different things,” he said. The process offers potential readers more than they could get through traditional comic distribution companies in the form of autographed copies, posters, exclusive trading cards and more. It also gets the materials to the fans and the revenue to the company without a middle man.

“The Monsters of Jimmy Crumb” is expected to be available in comic shops soon as well.

It is recommended for mature readers due to violence and language.