BLAKE NORTHCOTT

Everglade Angels

Here’s a project I’m glade to be finally be able to write about now that it’s available to the general public via Scout Comics. This book was crowdfunded on Kickstarter last year, and I eagerly backed it (although my name was erroneously was left off the Thank You credits inside, but oh well) due to Blake Northcott’s involvement as co-writer.

Co-written with Scott Lobdell, this story is set in 1997, and features a group of appropriately ethnically diverse teenage girls in Florida who are all members of a high school baseball team, The Everglade Angels. We’re quickly introduced to each girl as they’re in the middle of playing the second to last game of the…playoffs? Finals? Sorry, I don’t really know much about baseball or it’s rules, so I’m not sure what they call it. But this is “game six” and then they’re said to have one more game, “game seven”, which is the big deal, because some of the hoping to go pro after high school, or get a college scholarship. We’re quickly introduced to our lead character and see their defining personalities.

There’s Gemma, the coach’s daughter and star player on the team, Grace, the Asian girl who has trouble maintaining her focus during the game, Lacey, the trash-talker, Portia, who tends to choke under pressure, and Naomi, the tough Black girl.

Since Game Seven is in Miami, the girls need to drive there. Gemma’s mother lets them use her van by themselves, so they can spend some more together before the season and school ends and they go their separate. Of course this is despite Portia’s father noting that the “South Florida Slasher” is on the loose, which if this a known thing at time it makes it pretty odd that none of the adults object to sending these teen girls on the road by themselves. Nevertheless the girls take off. They stop at a remote gas station to fill up, and the attendant invites them to a nearby rave that he says is going to be awesome, and gives them directions. At the urging of Grace, the girl’s agree to check out the party, and follow the directions to a spooky old house in a remote area of the Florida swamps. And it’s late at night. But then their van gets stuck in the mud. When Gemma gets out to ask for help, she suddenly finds herself surrounded by 5 tall men wearing gas masks…

I don’t want to say to much more and spoil this, because this book takes several surprising twists before it comes to its end. Up til this point it is very much in tone of a classic slasher horror film. But it subverts the genre in some very clever ways. Blake and Lobdell have crafted a truly memorable story here, with some believable and relatable characters. Artist John Upchurch, whose work I enjoyed in an earlier comic-book series VESCELL, also does a splendid job here, his style matches the shifting tone of the story, from the bring and sunny baseball to the dark Florida swamplands.

If you like horror, sports, and action, check out Everglade Angels. Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS

AVAILABLE ON SCOUTCOMICS.COM

P.S. My Kickstarter copy contains some nice extras, including some sample pages from a film script that Blake and Lobdell have co-written based on this comic, and some extra artwork with an original pin-up by Jae Lee, and a 6-page short story called #TRUTHBOMB written by Blake and drawn by Upchurch. But I’m not sure if any of that is included in the Scout Comics version.

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