Writer: Steve Niles

Artist: Kyle Hotz, Nick Stakal, Casey Jones

Colorist: Michelle Madsen

Cover Artist: Fiona Staples

Ah, Cal McDonald. The cranky, drug-addled hunter of supernatural miscreants. I’m going to assume that most of you are familiar with Criminal Macabre already, and if you’re not, well you need to remedy that, ASAP. Criminal Macabre is one of those classic indie titles that swims with the likes of Preacher, Hellblazer and Hell Boy. It’s just way more fun to battle with ghosts, vampires, werewolves, ghouls and various otherworldly evils when the hero is a little rough around the edges, showing his own battle scars, often self inflicted. And don’t forget Mo’Lock, Cal’s always composed but never quite dead, ghoulish side kick. Mo’Lock always shows up unannounced, ready to assist in whatever way he can, even if that means giving Cal a good ass kicking to get him back on his feet.

This trade collects Criminal Macabre Volumes 4-6, the one-shot story Feat of Clay, “The Creepy Tree” and “The Trouble with Brains” from MySpace Dark Horse Presents, and “Hairball” from Dark Horse Presents #102-#105. There are so many great stories in this book and personally I always find a little extra satisfaction having my favorite works collected in TPB or hard cover. They just look pretty on the shelf and it’s easier to brag about your collection when you can just point and smile. This is 368 pages of pure fun, fantastic horror writing and edgy artwork.

I think my personal favorite in this collection is Two Red Eyes. This particular story starts with Cal getting the living shit beat out of him by a powerful local official with police ties, his girlfriend being hunted by an ancient vampire and a legion of ghouls showing up to be his own personal army. The story reveals Cal’s lowest lows; his ability to love is still alive and well, if buried deep below a thick layer of pills and alcohol. The art is gritty and heavy, but realistically detailed.

Criminal Macabre Omnibus Volume 2 is available now through Dark Horse comics. This is, most definitely, one worthy of a prime spot on your bookshelf.

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