Thursday, April 4, 2013


THE TRIP (Original Graphic Novel)
Written by Jesse Grillo
Art by David Brame & Heather Breckel
Action Labs Entertainment


    We open with a  Native American Tribe giving the drug known as Toloache, also known as Demon Weed. The drug is supposed to enhanced the vices and fears of the taker. So much so that they seem real. Horribly, the young man who takes it cannot deal with his own fears … dealing with snakes.

   We meet a group of college kids, focusing on a young woman named Karen. She seems jumpy for some reason. Yet, her roommate drags her along on a trip with a group of friends. One of the college kids ends up getting Toloache, aka Demon Weed after losing their original party drugs.

            After the group takes the Demon Weed, things slowly go from trippy to horrifying. And all the while, something that Karen is afraid of is all too real and affecting her life. The Demon Weed shows the descent of the group of friends which lead to some dramatic and frightening conclusions. I know you hate me right now but not giving spoilers.


            David Brame style is very messy and thick. Yet, he uses it very well in this story that deals with both horror and dramatically dark imagery that people who have hallucinations people can have while tripping on drugs. And boy, he succeeds in that with spades. The book if filled with scary, vivid and dark imagery that manifest from the college kids.  There are some truly thrilling and haunting pieces in this graphic novel. From the snake in the beginning to the crazied muscles going out of control.

            While some panels seem a bit on the lazier side but those a few and far in between. Most of the hurried panels are the mundane scenes. Yet, Brame captures the overall tone and horror of the story. Heather Breckel’s color really breathes life into Brame’s art and the story.  The color choices throughout the hallucinations really make the book the psychedelic trip that its title implies. She really brings out the darker elements of Brame’s style to really engross the horror elements while the mundane life elements look good.  There is a sharpness to Brame’s work that really works well with the story and Breckel really breathes life into it. Well done by both.


            Jesse Grillo delivers a well paced,  interesting story. The Trip very much seems to follow the classic teen horror movies. Yet, while the tropes are there, Grillo keeps it fairly fresh. The characters feel authentic. The story feels like its straight from a movie. Yet, this is a very good horror movie. Everyone one’s fears are actually a little more unique than the norm (always worried about conspiracies and people out to get you are not norm in horror movies) and Grillo builds up not only Karen but some of the other characters as well.

            The elements that lead to the effects of Demon Weed feel very realistic. The dialogue also felt very real.  And the mixing of people’s own fears with actual horrible things is used to Grillo’s advantage a few times in The Trip, which makes it even more enjoyable.  And while the conclusion is satisfying, there are definitely elements that work within the story that state that this could easily be a movie. A stand up job by Jesse Grillo.


            The Trip is a horrific, great ride that deals with responsibilities and overcoming fears before they kill you. The art really works on the horror elements and the writing felt authentic. It certainly creeped me out and it is an enjoyable story. While I didn’t feel like it was “oh my god so innovative”, it took a simple approach and slightly twisted the teen horror trope for this.  A good graphic novel that will hold your interest and is a lot of fun.


            The Trip definitely lived up to its name. It’s a strong showing and you should all read it. I give it an 8 out of 10. 

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