Exclusive Reveal of ‘The Fog’ Homage Variant Cover for Upcoming Comic Book Series ‘Swamp Dogs: House of Crows’

Dread Central is thrilled to exclusively debut two special variant covers for the upcoming five-issue comic series, Swamp Dogs: House of Crows.

The first pays homage to the original poster of John Carpenter’s 1980 horror classic The Fog and was done by Casey Parsons for Things From Another World. The second piece was done by Johnny Desjardins for Rabbit Comics.

Swamp Dogs: House of Crows is the latest out of Black Caravan, the horror comics imprint of Scout Comics. The miniseries follows a lesbian couple and a metal band called The Grunch as they cross paths with the titular Swamp Dogs. “The best way to think of [the Swamp Dogs] aesthetic is as Civil War/Voodoo cenobites,” says co-writer J.M. Brandt.

The series will serve as a launchpad for other stories to take place within this creepy, sometimes funny, grindhouse-inspired universe.

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Brandt further explained his process and influences for the upcoming series in an email to Dread Central.

“Once Theo and I mutated my original vision for the monsters, the Swamp Dogs themselves, the plot almost felt as though it wrote itself,” Brandt says. “We are both horror movie fanatics—who also happen to have an academic background in horror and cult film—and we wanted the mini-series Swamp Dogs: House of Crows to mirror a good, classic horror movie.”

“There is something freeing about playing with the formula and the beats that we’ve both seen hundreds of times before,” Brandt continues. “We have the meet-cute, the ominous portent of bad tidings, the sacrificial dolt in the beginning, the creepy rural types that more or less spell doom, the flashback reveal of the legend, the introduction of more meat puppets. And then we have bloody, gory, catharsis. Any true horror fan will feel right at home with this book.”

Brandt says that the monsters changed throughout the process. Initially, his story was informed by a movie pitch he’d made that was loosely based on Armando de Ossorio’s Tombs of the Blind Dead. (“So, it began with relatively mindless undead Confederate soldiers without much personality,” he explains.) But when he pivoted to making it a comic, that’s when each Swamp Dog came alive with their own personalities and rich backstories.

“Because they all had such a strong foundation steeped in Civil War history and lore, we couldn’t just have them be lumbering, eyeless monsters,” Brandt continues. “So, we made them liches: voodoo-wielding, cruel, ruthless, sadistic. They’re stronger, faster, and smarter than they were in life. The Swamp Dogs were evil to the core in life, and being undead only rotted whatever small shreds of decency and humanity they had to begin with. And while the Swamp Dogs we’ve revealed to-date look zombie-ish, they get progressively more weird and unique.”

Of the team’s horror influences, Brandt says: “I think hillbilly horror like Tourist Trap and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre helped. As with the aesthetic and sort of this desire for ‘beautiful destruction’ comes from the Hellraiser series and Event Horizon. Believe it or not, I thought a lot about Charles Band’s Puppet Master movies when thinking of the set-pieces for the kills. And I really love the post-modern playing with and subverting expectations, seen in films like Cabin In The Woods and Scream.”

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Co-writer Theo Prasidis added:

“Writing with J.M. is a joy, mainly because we know exactly what we want our readers to get out of this book. Looking back at the scripts we wrote, I generally can’t tell who wrote what, which I think is pretty great.

Conceptually and aesthetically, Swamp Dogs: House of Crows is widely influenced by exploitation horror movies and heavy metal music. Euro horror gems like Tombs of the Blind Dead, horror/biker mashups like Werewolves on Wheels, blaxploitation and sexploitation joyrides like Sugar Hill and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, but also 1980s Stephen King films, as well as some of that tasty early Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson.

Musically, the muddy grooves of Southern doom/sludge metal, as well as the more fuzzed-out, psychedelic trips of stoner rock, have played a huge part in shaping the general vibe and iconography of the book.But if we’re talking about more direct influences, as far as writing-style is concerned, I cannot go without mentioning Jason Aaron and Jason Latour’s hard-boiled epic, Southern Bastards.”

Co-publisher Joseph Schmalke from Black Caravan said, “These five issues are just the beginning. We have some big ideas for this franchise.”

Parsons’ variant cover goes on sale tomorrow at 10 am pst on Things From Another World website, with a limited run of 500 total copies available. Desjardins’ cover is now available for preorder through Rabbit Comics. Act quick, because there are only 250 copies available. Swamp Dogs: House of Crows issue #1 comes to comic book shops in October.



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