In this country, for whatever reason, we have a morbid fascination with serial killers. Well, if you are one of those individuals, or you are just a crime-noir junky, well then, do we have a chilling five-issue comicbook series for you. Murderthon by James Babbo is a compelling story about a cross country contest between a pair of serial killers that is underway. The story is written in the vein of crime novelist Richard Stark as filtered through the sensibilities of indie film director Roger Corman — that’s right, an indie suspense movie delivered in comicbook form. The two killers have been pitted in competition against each other by a pair of mysterious billionaires. The killers are Billy Shakes and Seth Bloom — Billy is pure adrenaline, a red-neck who literally likes to get right to the point, while Seth is a cold psychopath, who believes in the game because it fits his world view. In his mind, there’s a conspiracy going on all the time and he kills in order to make sense out of it.
However, the story is not so much about the twin killers as it is actually about Mark Saxon, the “contest’s” referee. Mark has been tasked with the job of ensuring that the game runs smoothly. However, a monkey wrench has apparently been thrown into the mix when Mark learns that one of the potential victims has ties to his own dark tormented past — the target is a beautiful woman named Marabelle Santos. But this all begs the question, of precisely who is saving whom? It seems that while Marabelle can take care of herself and doesn’t actually want anyone to help her, Mark is intent on doing just that.
So the question remains, can the referee stop the game in order to save a friend?
So now we have a pair of serial killers, a dashing hero, a beautiful heroine, an on-going interstate chase with muscle cars, gore, and a fair amount of blood all of which is set in the world of 1986 (no cell phones, no Internet). Throw in quite a few other colorful characters, as well as a gorgeous Bettie Page-like pin-up queen and some rockabilly music and you have Murder-Thon! Given the pedigree of the story, what you wind up with is Deathrace 2000 meets Natural Born Killers, The Cannonball Run meets Silence of the Lambs, The Gumball Rally meets No Country for Old Men.
The artist on the series is Ken Knudtsen, creator of the indie book My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer. He’s worked on Wolverine for Marvel, for Slave Labor Graphics & various other publishers & film media. According to Babbo, “When I initially came up with the concept for MURDER-THON, I knew Ken’s style would fit perfectly with the noir-setting of this violent world…Ken sets a mood that will carry the story throughout the entire five issues.
This project will only be funded if at least $3,700 is pledged by Sunday Sep 15, 2013.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular comicbook articles and reviews.