Review: Black Mass Rising by Theo Prasidis and Jodie Muir

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cover of Black Mass RisingBlack Mass Rising by Theo Prasidis and Jodie Muir
TKO Studios (May 2022)
170 pages; $19.99 paperback; $7.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Theo Prasidis is the author of The Doomster’s Monolithic Pocket Alphabet (Image Comics), Black Mass Rising (TKO Studios), and Swamp Dogs: House of Crows (Black Caravan). A fantasy devotee and cult media specialist by degree, he’s a zealous propagator of the magical and the mystical, the nostalgic and the psychedelic, the pulp and the weird. He lives a rather undramatic life in his hometown Drama, Greece, with his wife and two sons, heirs to a kingdom of horror books, heavy metal vinyl, and more band t-shirts than any sane person should ever be allowed to own. Jodie Muir is a freelance illustrator, based in the UK. Having previously worked in comics (Marvel, TKO) and concepting, she is currently an illustrator on Magic: The Gathering. Their newest book is Black Mass Rising, a sequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Black Mass Rising deals with a world a year after the death of Vlad Dracul. Hope is finally returning the land after almost one hundred years of terror. A young peasant woman, Aurelia, hopes of a better future, but when a child is murdered by a demon and comes back to life, she and a wandering healer hunt the cause of this living evil. They run into Wilhemina Murray who has taken up the sword against evil, or so they believe. However, as the chapters unfold, readers realize all is not as it seems, and the world becomes increasingly saturated with unbridled evil. 

Black Mass Rising is a fascinating take on the Dracula legend. The bulk is set in the Carpathians and while 19th century London is alluded to, the book is primarily a rural nightmare in agricultural communities that technology hasn’t touched. This world is gorgeously illustrated by Jodie Muir, whose art takes on a soft, natural coloration, almost like watercolor paintings at times. Furthermore, Prasidis’ writing is layered and lush, and the parallels to Biblical tales and European legends are well thought out and developed. While some readers might get lost if they aren’t familiar with the original novel, this new sequel should work well enough as a stand alone book.

Dracula is officially 125 years old. There’s no more fitting way for readers to celebrate than by reading the original novel with a glass of heavy red wine as an accompaniment. Once they’re through with the original and thirsty for more, Black Mass Rising is the next logical choice. It’s a sequel set in the year after the original novel and it’s as layered and complicated as the original, if not more so. Prasidis has taken a classic horror monster and injected it with new life. Muir’s art only serves to drive this tale forward, and horror readers of all types will absolutely want to read this collection.

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