HEAT VISION

How 'Knock 'Em Dead' Brings Horror to Stand-Up Comedy

Knockemeade Main - H 2020
Andy Clarke with Jose Villarrubia/AfterShock Comics
AfterShock Comics' next series is a supernatural horror based in the early days of a comedy career.

As the saying goes, comedy is hard, dying is easy — something that’s never been more true than in AfterShock’s new comic book series, Knock ‘Em Dead — a supernatural horror book about the comedy business.

Written by Eliot Rahal (Hot Lunch Special, Midnight Vista), the series centers around Pryor Brice, a wannabe comedian who’s finding it harder than he’d hoped to break into the industry — until an accident changes everything, and makes it all too clear that there’s more of a price to fame than Pryor could have realized.

According to writer and co-creator Rahal, the series is about “fame, family, and addiction. It’s a supernatural horror story about a stand-up comedian and the grind of trying to make it — the mistakes you make and the people you hurt along the way.”

It’s a story born of his own experiences, he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I began my journey as a writer performing and writing stand-up comedy,” he recalled. “I was a cast member at Chicago’s iconic Lincoln Lodge. And that experience was very formative for me. It’s the time in my life where I made the most mistakes.” He’s looking beyond autobiography for the series, however, naming Stephen King and Jason Aaron as influences, and describing the finished product as “King of Comedy meets The Frighteners.”

The series is illustrated by Mattia Monaco, who explained that he wanted to “convey a sense of speed, dirt and an almost aggressive feel” with his artwork for the book. “I tried to alternate detailed environments, with black and white backgrounds,” he said. “Sober faces, with grotesque, almost funny faces. Sharp shadows with strong lights. All surrounded by lines that become darker with the story itself."

The series will debut Dec. 2 with a first issue featuring cover artwork by Andy Clarke and Jose Villarrubia, with a variant cover by Tony Harris.

LATEST NEWS