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First look: Cullen Bunn tinsels your world in terror with AfterShock's first graphic novel, Witch Hammer

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2018

AfterShock Comics is one of the newest and most electrifying indie comics publishers around and its emergence in the market has been nothing short of a reckoning since launching in 2015, drawing on an enviable pool of talent and pushing out bold titles from superstar creators like Cullen Bunn, Brian Azzarello, Donny Cates, Mirko Colak, Zack Snyder, Garth Ennis, Simon Coleby, Steve Orlando, Marguerite Bennett and many more.

Now AfterShock is proudly parading out its very first original graphic novel, a hardcore horror mystery from Cullen Bunn and Dalibor Talajic titled Witch Hammer, and SYFY WIRE is proud to present an exclusive look at the first 16 pages alongside comments from one of its main architects, the prolific and always captivating writer, Cullen Bunn.

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Credit: AfterShock Comics

Part gritty police procedural splattered with an equal measure of occult terror, this unsettling offering hits comic shops on Dec. 19 and will put a sinister spin on the sparkly yuletide season. It's delivered in a deluxe 64-page hardback edition with colors by Sebastijan Camagajevac and lettering from Marshall Dillon. Here AfterShock has summoned a sensational new volume of vividly rendered magic and mayhem to launch their fresh line of graphic novels.

Dispensing with the obligatory image of witches as bent-over hags wearing black robes and crooked hats and stirring bubbling cauldrons, Witch Hammer's black magic practitioners live amoung us as our cherished friends, neighbors, and family members. Within this secret brood of witches, some diabolical being is slaughtering them one by one. Agents Frontenac and Guinness are hot on the serial killer's trail and as they descend into the clandestine magical world surrounding them, they begin to question whether or not these murders are a necessary evil.

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Credit: AfterShock Comics

Bunn and Taljic worked together previoulsy on Marvel's Deadpool Kills The Universe and Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe Again and they'd often talked about doing a creator-owned series together.  

"The original pitch for Witch Hammer was, like, one line, I think," Bunn tells SYFY WIRE. "It probably read something along the lines of 'A pair of federal agents race to stop a masked serial killer/vigilante who stalks witches, all the while struggling with the possibility that his murder spree might be justified.' Of course, there's a lot more to the story, but that's where it all began." 

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Credit: AfterShock Comics

In these opening pages deep down in the full gallery, Bunn wanted to see their killer at work, and hoped to show that his victims are everyday, average people living in a grounded world.

"We also wanted to see that these people are also calling upon ancient rituals and infernal names to protect them," Bunn explains. "Not all is as it might appear at first glance. From there, we introduce our readers to the agents who are chasing this killer. One is a woman of faith. The other has his doubts. Both her faith and his disbelief will be challenged as they delve deeper into this murder spree."   

Leviathan is the name Bunn and Talajic have bestowed upon the horned killer who is murdering "witches" in this haunting tale and he's a fearsome new villain that makes an immediate imapct on the intense storyline and your rattled nerves!

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Credit: AfterShock Comics

"I don't want to give too much away about him, but while he is given this name, it is not who he is," adds Bunn. "He is ruthless and cold and calculating. He wears this horrific mask to strike fear into his intended victims, to show them the futility of their course of worship. This character should raise a good many questions with readers, making them question if he is right or wrong in his bloody crusade."

Fly into our exclusive look at AfterShock's Witch Hammer and tell us if this disturbing new supernatural story sounds like the perfect brew for a cold winter's reading.

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