AfterShock Comics has announced Croak, a new series coming this fall that blends elements of horror and romance. The creative team for the series includes writer Paul Tobin, artist Andy MacDonald, colorist DJ Chavis, and letterer Taylor Esposito. The story, set in a world in which nightmare monsters escape from dreams into the real world, follows a woman as she, aided by her daughter and a troll named Croak, tries to find true love.
Here’s how AfterShock describes Croak:
Seven years ago, an attempt to weaponize dreams resulted in holes being punched through the world we know and into the world of dreams. Nightmarish creatures now stalk the land, sprouting from (and killing) anyone unlucky enough to dream. The only way to save the world is for certain people to have their dreams come true.
Which is how Risa Harumi finds herself not only fighting monsters, but forced into finding true love. Monsters and modern dating? It feels like a nightmare either way, and the only help Risa has is a friendly-ish monster named Croak and her pre-teen daughter, Machi.
In a statement announcing the series, Tobin described his inspirations for the series as boiling down to “a life of being a weird kid,” reading books about mythical monsters, watching The Dating Game on TV, and browsing dating horror stories on the internet.
Tobin and MacDonald also both shared stories about less than stellar dating experiences:
“When I was in college I had a crush on a woman named Gloria, a sort-of coworker at a janitorial job. I asked her out, and she very enthusiastically said “yes” and told me she’d pick me up because she wanted to surprise me on the date. That sounded great to me! So, she ended up driving me out into the country to a “tent revival” meeting, where everybody was kissing each other on the lips in “religious exchange of spirit,” and we were told that we should pray for the best parking spots, and angels would come down and reserve the spots for us (they were all REALLY into parking spots for some reason; it came up several times during the sermon). There was a part where all members were expected to tithe 50% of their earnings. And there was a part where several people fell down and were speaking in tongues, etc, etc. Wild, unsettling scenes. At the end of this “date” Gloria dropped me off at my house, and in a serious voice told me, “I think I love you, but the only men who can touch my body before marriage are Jesus and God.” In my entire dating life, Gloria is the only woman I ever ghosted.” – Paul Tobin
“Ages ago, I asked someone out for coffee and they agreed. We got coffee and ended up walking through half of Manhattan. We talked most of the time, but I was so bad at seeing social cues that I had no idea how the date was going and we just kept walking. For hours. A more aware person probably would have either offered to drop in somewhere for dinner or just end the date, but I did neither. And we kept walking. For hours. Until one of us broke out the “Here’s my train stop. Bye” and we parted. Ugh. First date/last date.” – Andy MacDonald
Croak is the latest AfterShock work for both Tobin and MacDonald. The third issue of Tobin and artist Andrea Mutti‘s horror series Bunny Mask was released just last week, while a collection of MacDonald and writer Zac Thompson‘s series I Breathed a Body is due out in stores next month.
Check out an unlettered preview for the first issue of the series, as well as a variant cover for the issue by James Harren, below. Croak #1 is set to arrive in stores in November.