The last issue of Year of the Goat by Spellbound Comics gave us a little look at the blue-eyed stranger, someone we’ve come to learn as being called, John Doe. For the fourth installment, we get to peer even further into him (as this issue teaches us his new name), are introduced to a few more faces that should make reoccurring appearances in the future.

This new issue, about to come hot off the presses and into readers’ hands, is a small departure from the previous formula of story: murderous goat rampage, little more story, more goats and ridiculousness. A departure that was necessary to continue to grow the comic’s presence as something more serious than it intended to be. Something Spellman and his team have been diligently building:

Besides deciding the horrific way the goats will make their next attack, the most fun I have with this story is writing the Stranger’s (John Doe) storyline in a way to keep readers guessing about his intentions and involvement. Just when he does something to make us think he’s our hero, something questionable happens that makes us second guess him. Alongside the storyline of evil, demented goats taking over the world, is the story of the Stranger, who he is, where he’s from and why he is here. It will be interesting to see how the two stories intertwine.

Like every review I’ve written so far, the fan support for this series spreads like wildfire, and serves to be even more encouraging to Spellman and co.

I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to increase the number of backers each campaign.  I hope that means backers who were there from the beginning like the story and are invested in reading the next issues, and the cover art and storyline are exciting enough to bring in new readers.

What he says is true. Backers for the campaign have instantly donated to continue supporting the series, meaning that Spellman is hitting all the right notes for a successful series that could get even bigger as the story continues to unfold.

The true impact it has on the future of the story is that since Year of the Goat now has following, I need to make sure I deliver an amazing story and the product team delivers amazing art. I also believe that when potential backers see you are on to your 2nd, 3rd, 4th issue, they believe you are in it for the long run. I always be sure to let fans know that Year of the Goat is here to stay and though issue 4 is currently in print, many future issues are already written and planned. We also, for the first time, hit a stretch goal which is very cool.

year of the goat 5

A preview of the cover for Year of the Goat #5.

If Year of the Goat continues to grow, Tom Spellman and Spellbound Comics will continue also, becoming another independent comic press that let’s larger publishers know that writers, artists, and letterers are still unhappy with how the commercial process of comic publishing works. His latest project, Trip Green launched a few weeks ago, and while it’s not exactly in the realm of horror, it’s proof that the backer system is working. Producing comics through crowdfunding like Kickstarter, and now the growing presence of Patreon—sort of like a 21st century kind of art patronage through the internet, a tradition that had seemingly died with the birth of capitalism and the dawn of reproduction—more people are being connected to creative individuals they believe in. Connecting in this way continues to send that message that artists and writers should be paid fairly for their work.

Although Year of the Goat isn’t yet attempting to reveal some awful truth about the world through the vehicle of horror (or is it?), it is certainly a fun and daring project that will continue to turn heads, and likely continue to blow them off. Oops…spoilers! In my interview with Spellman, he discussed the future of the John (the Stranger), who is promised to come back again…and probably again.

In the last page of issue one, we see some random dude walking through the middle of the desert. In the end of issue 2, we find out he is headed to San Pueblo to retrieve something he has left behind. In the end of issue three, Blue Bell notices he is wearing the Psychiatric Center wristband. I figured for issue 4, I could have goats kill a whole bunch more people or I could shed some light the Stranger’s background. I chose the latter and decided to tell his story through the eyes of Joe, a security guard at the center. The end of issue four brings us back to our Blue Bell story line, so after flashback story detour, we are back in the present. And I promise, we will see Joe again very soon.

Yet, there was another character that seemed to be missing, and I was hoping in the end, hinted to. Yes, I am talking about El Diablo. El Diablo, who seems to now be lurking in the corners, and anyone’s guess, might be the mastermind behind the whole Goatocalypse. In the end of issue 4, we are given a glimpse of a goat who seems to be in dire straits—and not the “chicks for free” kind.

The goat teased in the end of issue 4 is chained to a wall, bloody and his horn is cracked. He is an important character in issue 5, but he is definitely not El Diablo. He is coming soon as well. I will say this, I’ve already written the issue that we first meet him in and trust me, he comes in with a bang!

Finally, and I’ll warn you that there may be some spoilers ahead, I had to ask Spellman about an interesting event that occurs in the beginning of the comic. Something so horrible, it even made me cringe and say out loud, oh, you did not just do that!

An excerpt from page 3 of this next issue.

An excerpt from page 3 of this next issue.

 Let’s talk about Mr. Winky. It reminds me a little bit about one of my favorite German cannibals (Armin Meiwes, who was convicted of murder after eating a man’s…well, you know). Was there a particular inspiration behind this incident?

Hehehe…to me, Mr. Winky is the love child of Hannibal Lector/Lorena Bobbitt. I needed something horrific that would set the tone for the issue right from the start. Also, I needed some type of event to happen to play into the story. First, I needed to show that some questionable things all of the sudden begin happening with the patients in the Psychiatric Center. Next, I needed to show Joe not being to handle these types of situations well. Also, since Mr. Winky’s cell was directly next to the Stranger, it helped him with his escape idea. I also needed to show that in an event like this, how the medic crew and others guards would react.

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