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Written By: Matthew Spatola Art and Letters: Jason Ossman Colors: John D. West “DADICUS” The Venger:dead man rising created by matthew spatola series and character designs created by jason ossman


The Venger: Dead Man Rising #1. June 2005. Published by Ronin Studios. The Venger: Dead Man Rising is ™ and © 2005 Matthew D. Spatola. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced by any means without the expressed written permission of the copyright holder except for artwork used for review purposes.

“...and so the recent increase of violence in the city continues. According to information from the police department’s public liaison officer, violent crimes have increased at the staggering rate of over 200%. Murder, rape, arson and robbery have all more than doubled in the last three months.” “at today’s press conference, police chief gary donahue offered no explanation for the sudden increase, labeling it more as a ‘statistical anomaly’ and not a disturbing sign of a new crime trend. he implored the city’s citizens to continue their support of the department and their vigilance through what he calls a ‘temporary crisis’.” “the mayor’s office, represented at the press conference by the mayor’s chief of staff and public information officer brian gall, has been in contact with state and federal emergency management authorities in developing a task force to attack the violence problem.” “citizen’s groups have been highly critical of both the mayor and the police chief throughout this crisis, labeling them as ‘ineffective’ or even ‘unconcerned’. some political insiders have joined in with the citizen’s groups calling for numerous resignations in the mayor’s administration from the mayor on down.” “naturally all of this turmoil has given fodder for a variety of theories from internet conspiracy buffs, ranging from the crisis being the mayor’s attempt at a power grab to a foreign terrorist plot at destabilizing our city to the supernatural belief that ‘there is an evil at work’.”



Written By: Matthew spatola art & Letters: Jason Ossman colors: John D. West “DADICUS”

The Venger: Dead Man Rising #1. June 2005. Published by Ronin Studios. The Venger: Dead Man Rising is ™ and © 2005 Matthew D. Spatola. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced by any means without the expressed written permission of the copyright holder except for artwork used for review purposes.

this afternoon’s press conference was in response to the public outcry over yesterday’s arson and murder at saint luke’s catholic church. the body of father robert kauffman, 64, was found in an alley behind the rectory by a parish employee. at the same time firefighters were called to the scene to battle a blaze that had engulfed half of the church by the time the first responders had arrived.

“initial reports by the police crime scene team list the cause of death for father kauffman as multiple gun shot and stab wounds.”

“damage estimates for the two hundred year old landmark are in the millions.”

“father kauffman’s vicious murder is the latest in the series of unrelated murders plaguing the city during this crisis.”

“parishioners of st. luke’s have scheduled a CANDLELIGHT CEREMONY tonight in remembrance of father kauffman and all the victims of the recent violence.”

father kauffman’s killing brings the murder toll to 11 and still police do not believe that these deaths are in any way CONNECTED or the work of a serial killer.

please stay tuned to bennett news for continuing coverage of: a city in crisis. and now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

This city IS in crisis my dear...Just like before...

‌just like before.

All of this has happened before; the violence and the deaths.

I was a part of that violence. And I know what this means; he’s coming back‌again. Damn him. This time though I will send him to hell myself.

But…so much has changed over the years. Like this city and the people and even me. Look at me. The years have ruined me. Back then I was young and strong and now I am just old…well this body is old anyway. But I can’t do this alone. No one is going to listen to some old man.

And I’m still the only one who understands what is happening.

Michael and Andrea are here. He is a good man; very dedicated and strong. Too much like his father though …all that hope and optimism …always by the rules.

But he should know that in this world and in his job sometimes the rules don’t work.

Life can be good like he thinks it is; all pretty and happy.

For some people it is maybe. But that comes with costs.

He’ll need to see things my way…the way they REALLY are…before he’ll be of any use.

you realize that this crisis is not some stupid ANOMALY like Donahue said don’t you? every little instance and incident is part of a much bigger plan.

granddad...listen i know you believe that for some reason you have this understanding of what’s going on but...

you need to realize that michael. we can stop and I... together.

...i don’t know why you think you know so much. everyone on the force and even the feds are working this case. and this is at the same time we are on the mattias finn trial. this shit is just too random.

no dammit, i have seen this before. but everyone in this city seems to forget what it used to be like. how they were afraid and the crime and violence was controlling our lives. the police couldn’t protect us back then either.

Yeah i’ve heard you tell these stories a million times--

they are not stories dammit! it’s the truth. there was a time when we had to save this city from the horror and the terror. now no one cares or even cares to remember.

alright fine, all the stories you told were true- even the ones about the criminal geniuses and the Nazi plots and all that other stuff. so what does that...

sorry pops but i guess we have to go now. i don’t want to leave like this though. sorry to interrupt such a pleasant conversation but mike- we need to get going...our reservation is in an hour.

look, we can talk more about this next time if you want. OK? sure if we all are still alive... bye mr. cabot! maybe mike and i can take you out with us some time next week?

granddad, come on; this is what i’m talking about.

fine, whatever you say, just go. i’ll be fine.

They just do not understand. Michael should know that there is something going on.

He should know to believe me. He just thinks I’m an old man who is either crazy or senile.

I’m going to need his help to stop him.

I‘ll just have to find a way to make him understand.

it was really nice going out tonight, what with everything going on. it helped to clear my head. you know the finn trial is really moving quick...i think i’ll be up and testifying some time next week. depends on how long the cross examinations take.

You know i don’t want to talk about it... the whole thing worries me.

stop it honey, everything’s fine.

but hon, maybe finn is the reason all this horrible shit is happening. maybe he is doing it to try and get out of his trial somehow?

mattias finn only wishes he could stop this trial. he might be big but he sure as hell is not smart enough for that. he’s just some thug in a suit. he’s not getting out of this trial.

i don’t know what is going on but i do know it is not him anyway.

maybe your grandfather is right then and all this means something...

i don’t know about that but i do know what seeing you like this meanscome here baby.


hi,’s me mike....were you asleep? sorry.

i’ve been going over the transcripts of the trial so far and comparing them to our timeline and my notes and all... just want to be sure we have everything covered, you know what i mean?

what? yes i am serious. like i said-- you’re awake now right? well since you’re awake now there are a couple of things from the finn trial that i want to go over...

Yeah...yeah... i know it’s late. kent i really want this conviction. there’s no way finn walks from this... no damn way.

well it sure sounds like snoring... ok, well do you remember the other day when hutchinson was giving his testimony?

kent? are you snoring? yeah i got it now... ok hutchinson is being questioned about the murders of lutz and what’s his name...Serrano.

anyway, the ADA is really working to nail down that finn ordered them to seal his control of the waterfront area.

hutchinson talks about a conversation finn had with him where he says that...hold it... what is that car doing?

what the hell?

he said something about... i have that transcript over there, hold on a sec...

holy shit! andrea get down!

mike! mike! what the hell is going on?

mike! oh my god! oh my god!

andrea just stay down!

trust me... i’ll take care of this.

i’ll take care of this ok? trust me; i’ll take care of this.

later still...

hello...michael? are you ok? i was up and heard the call over the scanner...and how is andrea? that’s good; i’m glad she’s fine. so what’s your feeling on it? finn?

No...what? i’m not obsessing over was MY night?

don’t you think that if it was a hit they just would have come in and shot you in your sleep or something? it seems awfully sloppy to me; if you want to listen to a crazy old man.

are you trying to change the subject? fine, i went... to the store and after that took all my damn pills and sat down and listened to my life ticking away.

no michael i’m not ‘starting’ again. i’m just trying to say that you shouldn’t be quick to put it on finn and that maybe this is part of... well how SHOULD i sound? you don’t ever listen to me...

what? i said you don’t ever listen to me. Yeah, that’s real funny.

you need to go? well fine... i just hope you start thinking about what i’ve been saying. maybe now you’ll see things my way.



...back then.

The good old days.

There were no questions. We knew what was right and what had to be done. As they say desperate times, desperate measures.

But that was a different time.

I think I’m the only one left. Agent America disappeared before the end of the war.Jask Lantern died a few years back from cancer. And’s been so long.

All the work we did. All our victories. I won’t see it destroyed by him. Trust me my friends, I’ll take care of this.

Warehouse 24, 51st Street Business District, 8:10 am “sorry i’m late... been a busy night. so tell me what we got kent.”

i have uniforms canvassing the area for any witnesses but because of the time who knows what we’ll get from that.

“security found the body during shift change. ken deckman, 36, divorced. according to the management of the place he rents space here for some kind of computer or internet company that he’s been putting together.”

great kent, let’s head in. i want to get the pre-lim from the m.e. before we go anywhere with this case. another murder in this city is just going to increase the pressure from the brass. and send the people over the edge.

ok. did the M.E. check the body yet?

yeah, she’s down there now. forensics just left. they don’t think they got much though.

what’s his name, uh, mackay...the tall thin guy...he’s the lead on this one for them and said he would call first sign of anything.

angela’s OK then? she’s doing alright?

it’s ANDREA, Kent; but yeah she’s ok. Not knowing what is going on makes it hard. we didn’t get any workable evidence- bullets and some spent casings, yes; and how’s your grandfather doing through all this? everything is the same with him‘someone’s out to destroy the city’ blah blah and ‘No one understands’ blah blah. hell i’m surprised he’s not on the streets with his ‘REPENT NOW THE END IS NEAR’ sandwich board. ha ha... seriously?


well he HAS been through a lot: his wife...your parents. he’s not the only one. i lost them too. he just makes me worry. he’s in fantastic health physically, but when he talks like that you can’t help but wonder about him, you know, mentally.

he’s fine. he just has his own way of thinking. he’s been like that for as long as i’ve known the two of you.

anything else?

time of death i’m guessing, based on body temp. and level of rigor mortis, is about 8 to 10 hours ago.

there’s also abrasions on his hands so we know he struggled and that he’s just not a slob.


well the victim has multiple puncture wounds and signs of blunt trauma to head and chest. amount of blood tells me puncture wounds were pre-mortem.

i’ll give you more after i do the post mortem and screenings. but that was my quick pre-lim.

thanks jen. i’ll be downtown later today for the finn trial so i’ll stop in and see what you have then.

ok guys let’s go ahead and bag him and put him on the truck. you know what? i’m working way too hard lately...

tell me about it; my wife has been complaining about being a single parent. lisa’s going crazy doing everything for the kids, taking them to a million different things and all that.

i bet she is. six kids are hard enough when you got both parents and are not doing it all yourself. hopefully she’ll find them a nice stepfather...

you’re so not funny. just wait; someday you’ll be a parent too and then you’ll see how it is.

well right now i want to focus on clearing all these murder cases and finding who tried to kill me.

“trust me... i won’t stop until i find who it was.”

what the...!

get down lady! get down!


hh h nn n


drop to the floor or we’ll fire!

shut up PIG!

hello detective!

nu h

what’s the matter? not feeling good? well consider me your angel of mercy and unfortunately your prognosis is...




shut up!





THAT’S got to hurt...


...but not as much as this!

this has been so much fun detective.

drop it and back away! drop it and back away dammit!

but it is time for you to go bye-bye.

shots fired! warehouse 24, 51st street! officer down! officer down! suspect on foot- caucasian female, early 20s, 130 pounds, all black outfit, armed and extremely dangerous!

repeating: officer down, officer down!

mike! mike!

everything will be o...

circa 1946

circa 1948

circa 1952


Dead Mail Rising... Dead Mail Rising... 3 June 2005 The very first thing I would like to do is to thank you for purchasing this comic. We, the creative team, truly appreciate your support and interest in our project. It has been quite an experience for me and series artist Jason Ossman. As two lifelong comic book readers this process has been extremely fulfilling. To have ideas, pictures and words transferred from our minds to paper has been very exciting to the fanboy inside both of us. Personally it is hard to believe after all the many hours spent working on it and the seemingly thousands of emails sent between us that it is finally finished, published and out there for you the readers. I believe that all readers, be it of books or of comics in this case, have their own stories inside of them. We all do this when we go through ‘what if’ situations in our head- ‘what if Jean had gotten together with Logan’ or ‘what if Batman killed the Joker’. These ideas or plot fragments are how all stories are formed. Writers and artists take these ideas and fragments and start working on them, adding and subtracting until a finished plot/story/comic is created. And that’s how the concept behind The Venger: Dead Man Rising began. My idea was born from wondering what would happen to a ‘super-hero’ who now was too old to fight but was the only one who knew what was happening to those around him. How would people react to him? How would he react himself? Starting with those idea fragments I began to add and explore; throwing in things that I felt naturally grew out of those fragments such as using a ‘pulp-style’ character as the basis. The characters and story of the Venger have been bouncing about my head for years. I have a whole universe of characters and stories in my head and written down in various old-school style marble composition books. In the fall of 2004 I found out about a new comics company during my many sessions posting away on Millarworld. Ronin Studios, founded by Noble Larimer, was a company focusing on helping independent creators to get published. After submitting my pitch for the series and a few emails back and forth I was given the green light. However I still needed an artist and after posting several internet ads I still could not find one who I thought would ‘get’ what I was trying to do with this series. Then Jason contacted me and I knew immediately that he had what I was looking for. Well it took some time to convince him to commit to being the regular artist. He has the busiest life of anyone I know! But I wore him down and I couldn’t be happier. I have found a true partner in the development of the series. His style and art is going to blow you away! We have some big plans for this series my friends. Every issue will have action and surprises as well as bonus features and back-ups we know you will love. Thank you again for buying The Venger: Dead Man Rising and joining Jason and I on this great ride. -Matt

LETTERS- please send all comments to ORDERING- To order this and future issues of THE: VENGER DEAD MAN RISING please visit these links: Extra thanks and kudos to John D. West (aka DADICUS) for his capabilites of working under the shortest deadline in the history of indy rock!


1 00 2. $ Limited Edition CHAPTER i The Venger:dead man rising created by matthew spatola series and character designs created by jason ossm...