cover image The Nasty: The Complete Series

The Nasty: The Complete Series

John Lees and Adam Cahoon. Vault, $19.99 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-63849-209-2

This rollicking dark comedy from Lees (the Mountainhead series) and Cahoon brings Britain’s 1980s “video nasty” moral panic into the spotlight in a delightfully updated way. Shy Scottish teen Graeme “Thumper” Connell loves B-movie horror films so much that he seemingly conjures his favorite star, a masked slasher called Red Ennis, to be his imaginary friend. As Red follows Graeme through his young adult life, the narrative also tracks the rise of conservative activist Cynthia Crudgill, who sets out to destroy the media she believes is corrupting England’s youth. Graeme, along with his best-friend-in-scares Meera and a cast of fellow teenage “murder club” enthusiasts, sets out to save his favorite video store from closure by making their own “video nasty” to bring in crowds. But after a rare, cursed tape breaks in the video player, Red starts to become gradually more real—and Graeme must reckon with greater threats than losing his favorite hobby. With wry art that alternate betweens goofy and gory, the narrative dips slyly into the politics of censorship, and celebrates the passionate community that comes from rebelling against it. The result is a perfect blend of history, heart, and kitsch. (May)