cover image Red Room: The Antisocial Network

Red Room: The Antisocial Network

Ed Piskor. Fantagraphics, $22.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-68396-468-1

Piskor (the Hip Hop Family Tree series) luxuriates in gruesome, abundant violence in this collection of torture-porn horror. The dark net proves the perfect background for a modern chiller: interconnected stories of murder and torture, via live webcasts where victims are graphically disemboweled, flayed, or ground up in machinery, all fueled by Bitcoin contributions from bloodthirsty online fans. Each of the four chapters focuses on a different cast and perspective of “Red Room” broadcasts, but running through is the descent into depravity of corpulent Davis Fairfield, a fan of—and later participant in—the Red Room. “It’s hard to admit out loud to being... so damned evil,” Fairfield muses, and he’s not alone: corrupt cops, cocksure hackers, and violent thrill-seekers are all sucked into this ghastly world. Piskor cites in the intro his antecedents, including splatterpunk 1980s comics like Tim Vigil’s Faust series and slasher films such as the banned Cannibal Holocaust, and 1950s EC classics. In this tradition, there are no heroes to be found and no morals to glean, just the requirement of strong nerves and a black sense of humor to appreciate sordid satire. This one’s for deep horror fans eager for ultimate gross-out nightmare material. (Nov.)