Something that is abudantly clear is Eibon Press isn’t even remotely interested in trying to appeal to a mainstream audience, their titles are only available from their website . The reason for that is their aimed squarely at a niche audience. An audience that’s interested in horror comics with a capital H. That should serve as indicator that this isn’t like anything you’ll find on the shelves of your local friendly comic shop. The nearest thing to Eibon Press is the erratic offerings from Avatar Press. I’ve mentioned them before a while back.
Bottom Feeder from writer Stephen Romano and art team Pat Carbajal and Javi Laparra (based on a screenplay by Romano) is a sleazy grindhouse exploitation film as a comic.
Lieutenant Joe Angell is a hard drinking, coke snorting, dirty cop in the festering city of San Lucifer, California. What should be a regular night cruising the backwaters of San Lucifer turns into something else when Angell stumbles upon someone dumping barrels of hazardous chemicals in the San Lucifer bay. What follows is what lays the foundations for the story as Angell finds himself entangled in a sequence of events that will have far reaching consequences.
Angell isn’t just a dirty cop though, he’s a self loathing military veteran haunted by the loss of his young daughter to a kidnapper. Wracked by nightmarish hallucinations he stomps around the distinctly unsavoury mean streets of San Lucifer in a chemical haze, when he’s not embracing the various prostitutes he’s met in his line of work.
One of the things that really stands out is how good the art team is here, at various points in the story there’s a lot going on, but it never becomes a bewildering mess. Carbajal and Laparra are equally adept at depicting evisceration and entrails as they are at depicting Angell’s misadventures in shadowy corners of San Lucifer. A decision to intentionally mute the colours and inks gives the book a film noir touch, as Romano notes ‘We considered actually making Bottomfeeder a black and white book at one point, but settled on the idea of “black and white in colour”.
Another curious thing is the incorporation of real world actors as characters in the story, Joe Angell the dirty cop at the centre of the story is actor Joe Pilato and various other actors best known for working in cult films also feature.
Bottomfeeder benefits from shifting mediums, the only limitation on the medium of comics is the imagination of the writer and the ability of the artist. As a film it would undoubtedly encounter myriad problems just being made due to its hardboiled noir meets gratuitous exploitation creature feature aesthetic.