From bog people to werewolvian love-triangles, artist Riley Rossmo and writer Alex Link’s Drumhellar has a cornucopia of freakishly bizarre characters and eccentric storylines to offer the perhaps more peculiar, but not strictly discerning, comic book lover.
Beginning as an idea from Calgary-based artist and comic illustrator Rossmo, Drumhellar (published through Image Comics) is a series following a detective of the same name whose rather astute detective abilities are most fruitful while he is high on psychedelics; a feat which is not relatively out of the ordinary considering the oddball situations in which he often finds himself.
Rossmo’s creative partner in crime, Calgary-based ACAD English professor Alex Link, helps to elucidate Rossmo’s fantastically off-the-wall imagery with a poignantly witty script. Link laughingly describes the partnership with Rossmo for Drumhellar by saying, “He’ll produce a set of parameters within which to work; he’ll say, ‘I want to be able to draw some of this,’ or ‘I want to be able to have some of this.’ The way we once presented it was that he just essentially barfs in front of me and I dig through it looking for good things.”
In other words, Link designs whatever Rossmo’s imagination cooks up, and they usually end up sending drafts back and forth to one another.
Rossmo’s choice for Drumhellar, especially its small-town locale in the comic, was inspired by his staying in the city for some time to get a feel for its particular eeriness. Link argues that it’s that eeriness that is often overlooked by comics that focus particularly on bigger-cities—fashioning them within the neo-noir genre.
“The freakiness of the small town is often neglected, and so we wanted to draw on that in some manner. The title is interesting because for the people there [in Drumheller], it resonates for them as well,” Link says.
This choice has made Drumhellar not only uniquely original but also incredibly familiar for those that read it; its Twin-Peaks vibe with all of the benefits of magic mushrooms is enough to get any comic reader hooked.
By Therese Schultz
Illustration: Courtesy of Image Comics