Epic Beards of Review: Joseph Merrick, the Elephantman

The only knowledge I’ve got of Joseph Merrick, the Elephantman, is from the brief, silly mention of him in the Barenaked Ladies song “If I Had $1,000,000.” It’s been rumored that Michael Jackson owned them at one point, but you know how celebrity gossip can be.
If I had a cool million, however, I’d invest heartily in “Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman” by Tom Ward, artist Luke Parker and letterer Nic J. Shaw. Merrick follows the somewhat true story of Joseph Merrick blended with gaslamp fiction in this 1880s Victorian comic tale of carnival freaks and the occult.
Beautiful blacks and blues portray this first issue as a stepping stone into the life of Merrick, and the slippery slope he’s about to take into the London underworld. Paneling is inventive, and really creates a sense of urgency.
There’s a lot of talk here, but it’s dragging us deeper into Merrick’s story, along with some abominable characters. Everyone seems to be friends, which is nice, but there’s certainly a dark undertone to their kinship that’s raising the hackles on the back of my neck. Not to mention the haunting surprise guests creeping in at the end.
Even if this wasn’t a beautiful work of art, the fact that you can get it for free makes it a no-brainer.
What’s that? This Kickstarter project is giving away a download of the first issue FOR FREE?!
Yes, true believers!
Be sucked into the sensational story!
Feast your eyes upon the unbelievable art!
Languish in the lovely lettering of this work!
Of course, with any crowdfunding project, they’re looking for you to help contribute as well, and they’ve made the booty tantalizingly attractive. They’ve got your normal rewards such as PDF and print copies available to pledge for, but there are also nifty incentives and add-ons like a special illustration book called Skull Culture by Parker, a chance to be edited by their editor Clare and a reproduction of the original autobiography of Merrick himself!
Head on over to their Kickstarter page and watch as Liverpudllian Tom Ward sits by the fire with a glass of some exquisite alcohol to tell you all about Merrick and what he’s put into it. If you’ve got yourself a coupla bills to throw around, stop by and pledge to this horror/adventure tale.