The Comic Exotic: Empire of Blood by Enrique Alcatena

A semi-regular column about great comics you probably don’t know about. These could be Indie comics, comics with small print runs, or foreign comics. As reader and lover of comics for over 35 years, I’ve accumulated a huge collection. And this collection runs deep with the weird and the esoteric.

Enrique Alcatena is one of the most exciting artists working in comics today. He has an extensive library of graphic novels to his credit, mostly published in Europe and South America.

Alcatena-books

He’s also done some amazing work for American publishers, his Conan stories being some of my personal favorites.

conan-pg-001   conan-pg-002   conan-pg-003

Recently, Graphic India started publishing EMPIRE OF BLOOD, featuring Alcatena on art. Just look at that cover! It’s so, so good!

Empire-of-Blood-001-cover

Now, for whatever reason, this is a very hard comic to find. I shop at two different shops and neither of them ordered copies. Luckily, I was able to find a copy online (at www.mycomicshop.com).

EMPIRE OF BLOOD is one of the most vibrant and original comics on the stands today, a comic that you should at least be made aware of. Don’t believe me? Here are a couple of the opening pages.

empire-001       empire-002

Obviously, this is an “alternate history” story, centering on England’s colonization of India, and these first few pages are loaded with exposition. Thankfully, the heavy text is balanced by Alcatena’s lush artwork, making the history come alive. He always brings just the right amount of detail to the figures, the faces, the setting.

Empire-003     Empire-004

We are introduced to a young man named Tom, a white-skinned “pureblood” who is a bit naïve about the ways of the world. His father is a staunch supporter of the British Empire and views the Indian people as second-rate humans. This is all conveyed in a scene taking place in the father’s den, which Alcatena really does a fine job of rendering.

Empire-005      Empire-006

We learn that “Aqua Vitae” is the secret to keeping the Indian people under foot. It’s a red serum that keeps the whites super-strong and super-healthy. What is “Aqua Vitae” really? This beautifully designed page might just hold a clue. Spoilers!

Empire-007

So we have an “alternate history” story set in India that features vampires.

And mechanical suits of armor.

Empire-008

Man, I love that page! Such beautiful design work.

Have you noticed the rather striking color palette? That’s all Alcatena’s doing. The effect of the coloring is perfect, evoking a bygone era while being boldly modern at the same time. His use of red is especially jaw-dropping on these pages.

Empire-009   Empire-010   Empire-011

There are three issues of EMPIRE OF BLOOD out currently.

Empire-of-Blood-002-cover      Empire-of-Blood-003-cover

It’s a damn good comic and I think more people should be reading it.

‘nuff said.

Next time in The Comic Exotic: I can’t wait to show you the work of this young, emerging Italian artist. He’s going to blow you away!

See ya’ next time!

Questions, comments, insults, send ‘em here: dubcomicsjon@gmail.com

Jon Vinson is the writer of the graphic novel Edge of the Unknown and recently launched the new comics series Nightingale and the Finch. He is the Founder & Publisher of DUB Comics.