My valentine to Gold Medal paperbacks and 70′s crime flicks, Gravedigger is a hardboiled crime comic, illustrated by the Eisner Award- winning artist Rick Burchett (Batman Adventures, Batman/Huntress, Blackhawk, The Black Hood, Green Lantern, She-Hulk, Queen & Country Declassified), featuring “Digger” McCrae, a professional thief.
Hard, brutal and ruthless – with a weakness for hot women and cold cash – McCrae is the consumate criminal. Whether it’s an armored car hijacking, bank robbery, art heist or a kidnapping, you can depend on “Digger” to handle every obstacle and double-cross with professional cool and a complete lack of conscience. And that “Gravedigger” nickname? Well – don’t ever call him that to his face, or you’ll find out where that monicker came from… the hard way.
The first story, the critically-acclaimed “The Scavengers,” appeared in a now-out-of-print one shot from Rorschach Entertainment, and featured two variant covers by artists Rick Burchett and Fred Harper, and was the best-reviewed comic I’ve ever written. In fact, it was named “Best One-shot (Adult)” comic of 2004 by Alan David Doane of Comic Book Galaxy, and “Best Crime Noir” comic of 2004 by Andrea Speed of Comixtreme.
We’re starting here with a re-presentation of the original Gravedigger story, “The Scavengers” because it’s been so long since it was last seen (online & in print) that it will be new for a lot of readers.
Once we’ve completed serializing “The Scavengers,” we’ll begin an all new caper: “The Predators,” which begins with our tough guy on vacation in South Florida, and ends up… well, that would be a spoiler.
– Christopher Mills
Critical Acclaim for Gravedigger:
“Chris Mills and Rick Burchett have created an instant crime comic classic. Briskly told with all best aspects of a pulp story presented with panache and the proper measure of meaness. I love this comic!”
– Chuck Dixon
Writer: Detective Comics, G.I. Joe, Nightwing, El Cazador
“First-rate hard-boiled caper comic much in the spirit of His Name is…Savage, Sleeper and Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score. Mills delivers a note-perfect script full of treachery and double-dealing, and Burchett’s gritty Pop Noir stylings puts him in the same class with Darwyn Cooke and Sean Phillips. The only complaint I have about this issue is that it’s a one-shot — I’d love to see more of this, now, please…”
– Alan David Doane
Comic Book Galaxy
“With any luck, we’ll see more stories in this vein from these two in the future, but even if we don’t, Gravedigger: The Scavengers stands out as an achievement to be proud of. 8/10″
– Randy Lander
The Fourth Rail
“This is what new readers of comics are going to turn out for, the kind of entertainment they enjoy in movies and TV. Mills drives us through his paperback underworld at breakneck speed, and gives Burchett the raw-knuckled story he was born to do. I hope this team stays committed to a life of CRIME!!”
– Jeff Parker
Writer/Artist: The Interman, Agents of Atlas
“…a deliciously noir crime story…8/10!”
– Don McPherson
The Fourth Rail
“‘Gravedigger’ McCrae claims this is his last job, but for the sake of crime fans – I hope it’s not. Mills & Burchett have put together a fantastic noir comic, and it would be a crime if they stopped here.”
– Jay Faerber
Writer: Dodge’s Bullets, Noble Causes, The Hat Squad
“Gravedigger: The Scavengers is the great lost film Lee Marvin coulda (and shoulda) done – straight up hard stuff, no chaser. It may go down easy, but it packs a punch like a set of bloody brass knuckles. Let’s hope Mills and Burchett serve up another round of murder and mayhem real soon.”
–Kevin Burton Smith
January Magazine Rap Sheet
“The one-shot Gravedigger: The Scavengers from Christopher Mills with pencils and inks by Rick Burchett is a beaut. Crisply rendered with deft thick-and-thin lines, dramatically composed panels and page layouts (bound sideways), toned various grays (by Mills), and with a Lee Marvin look-alike in the lead. A brutal, amoral tale but expertly done.”
– R.C. Harvey
Comics Historian and Critic
“Gravedigger is pure homage to Richard Stark and Lee Marvin. It’s the unofficial sequel to Point Blank that we never got to see. The story by Mills is loaded with rip-offs, double and triple crosses, brutal violence and steamy sex. The artwork by Rick Burchett is crisp and clean and presented the way noir should be presented: in black and white and shades of gray. (The look of the book reminded me a bit of Kubrick’s The Killing.) The “hero” of the story looks just like Lee Marvin in an aggravated mood (did he have many others?).”
– Terril Lee Lankford
Author: Earthquake Weather, Shooters
Screenwriter: Armed Response, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers
“Mills is an underappreciated writer. He has solid skills and uses them to good effect here. Digger and the other characters are well-realized, even those destined to play but minor roles in the caper. The pacing is solid, the writing appropriately hard-boiled. He threw some good curves, too; I saw one of them coming only to be fooled by the second. Solid. Artist Burchett is a consummate storyteller as well. All the visual elements – character designs, panel and page construction, backgrounds – are in service of the story. That he draws so well adds to the quality of the presentation.
Gravedigger: The Scavengers #1 picks up four Tonys.”
– Tony Isabella
Comics Buyer’s Guide
“…a good tale about a bad man… All in all, Gravedigger is a swell little crime fiction vignette – a tight package. Highly recommended.”