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Orc Stain, Vol. 1

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  997 ratings  ·  98 reviews
For a million millennia the world has cracked and convulsed under the indomitable mob of the orc. Savage, bloodthirsty creatures, they are without number, staining nearly every corner of the globe. The mighty Orc Tzar, newest leader of the mob, marches ever north to find the lost organ of a forgotten god. Only a lone, one-eyed orc with a mysterious gift can find the key to ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published December 14th 2010 by Image Comics (first published July 2010)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  997 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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[NOTE: Spoilers below...]
Opening the cover and flipping through the pages of James Stokoe's 'Orc Stain: Volume 1' was one of those rare instances that the artist's style triggered a cerulean blue thunderbolt of aesthetic revelation, arcing from printed page to optical cortex. In the last several years, there's only been a handful: Michael Deforge's 'Lose'; Jesse Jacob's 'Even the Giants'; Theo Ellsworth's 'Capacity'; and Rafael Grampa's 'Mesmo Delivery'. Other artists -- some of whom I like just
Sam Quixote
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Orc Stain is set in a world run by Orcs where they’re as savage and stupid and conflict-driven as they’re portrayed in other media. Broadly the story is this one orc chieftain, the Orctzar, has risen to power and is uniting the other clans by taking them over but he’s especially concerned with finding a one-eyed orc who happens to be our protagonist, One-Eye.

Broadly. Because when you’re told the reasoning at the start of the book, the whole thing doesn’t really make any sense. A seer or someone
Jan Philipzig
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Underground-inspired, detailed and colorful but ultimately rather pointless fantasy parody or homage or something.
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-indies
This my first time reading anything from James Stokoe. Orc Stain is pure fantasy, created on the drive of Stokoe wanting to give a fitting background to every Orc we ever encountered on the popular fantasy franchises (especially Lord of the Rings, being the reason of Stokoe wanting to create Orc Stain in the first place). He thinks Orcs are more than purely evil and unethical beings, so he creates a fantasy series dedicated to them only.

It's fun, it's exceptionally designed and colored, I mean
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It is rare for me to finish a book or graphic novel so quickly these days. I finished this in two sittings and want more. This book is the right kind of crazy. Beautifully drawn and colored with a story that is just amazingly over the top. Forget the usual fantasy tropes... this book tosses them all out the window or reshapes them in unusual and inventive ways. I absolutely loved this!
Matt Trowbridge
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for an incredibly drawn, thoughtfully presented, humorous fantasy story, Orc Stain is it. Within its genre, I give Orc Stain four stars. Still rather revolting, though, but I guess that's part of its point. ...more
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Creator owned comics, especially those written, coloured, and illustrated by the creator, are the best out there. Orc Stain is no exception, except that it is the cream of the crop. The art is a labor of love, incredibly detailed and the color that sings between the ink is a welcome change from Stokoe's usual black and white fare.

The Orc Tzar, a Genghis Khanesque Qin wannabe, is marshaling his not inconsiderable forces to unify the orc nation. Fickle and moronic, the orcs cannot remain cohesive
Mark Desrosiers
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
This gets an extra star because it includes a kick-ass punchline -- the orc currency (the "chit") is actually the sliced-up penises of dead orcs. The appendix includes detailed, illustrated descriptions of how this is done. I had no idea. There are heroic castrations of corpses, sure, I figured that was an analogue to scalping, but nowhere did I see these man-dangles getting turned into currency... nowhere did I witness a "chit" changing hands. And of course, after reading the appendix, my quest ...more
Adrian Lopez
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Adrian by: Sheldon Vella
What completely blows my mind is that James Stokoe is the writer, illustrator, AND inker for this entire series. You can tell after the first issue that Stokoe is really passionate about the story he's telling here. He's injected a bit of himself into every page. I cannot get over how ridiculously sick his artwork is. Just absolutely wicked. The last time I was this impressed with artwork was when I first saw Sheldon Vella's stuff in KILL AUDIO. The subject matter is very simple, but really fun ...more
Paul Smith
Feb 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Possibly the craziest fucking thing I've ever read. But damned fun. Look forward to more. ...more
Kurtis Wiebe
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'd give my gronch to work with James Stokoe. ...more
Oct 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Lots of orc penis. Like, it's central. Gruesomely central. ...more
Jan 01, 2014 rated it liked it
One of the weirdest, grossest, but best indie comics I've read in a while. ...more
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This.... is... just... wow... So, I like fantasy RPGs, I like some fantasy fiction (not much actually), I like to read graphic novels, and this alternative take on orcs sounded kind of fun. What I did not expect is some of the best art I've ever seen -- the character concepts are amazing, the environments are amazing, the colors are great, the level of detail is to die for...

One thing I really don't like about a lot of graphic novels is when effort and detail is disproportionate between the mai
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Orcs are hyper-violent, penis-obsessed, blustering idiots, and somehow this book manages to make them... not sympathetic, because it never excuses them, but interesting and worth spending time with. The art is hypnotically detailed, so even things that are grotesque are beautifully rendered. The main character is an orc who gets glimpses of a better way of living, while still surviving in the savage reality of his world. He follows the basic Hero's Journey of Mad Max, stumbling into a plot that' ...more
Grant Cousineau
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
There's a sort of Dr. Seuss quality to the oddness of the worlds Storoke creates, in vivid detail, marked by rich color gradients. There's almost so much detail that you could read through it several times and observe new things, like details in the background or smart foreshadowing. It's beautifully drawn and probably one of the most visually appealing comics on the market.

As for the story itself, it's exciting and solid, though borrows shamelessly from well-worn plot devices. Stoic hero seeks
Federico Marchisio
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Punk, psychedelic and full of pulp material! In a fantasy world a warlord orc is trying to create an empire, and the only way to achieve his goal is to obtain the magic and powerful eye of another orc. Our hero, one-eye, will try to save his life killing anyone and anything that comes his way.

This comic is a joy for the eyes 😍 The deaths are creative and incredibly gory, orcs’ junk is partly currency, partly war trophy in this sick world, and orcs came up will sort of ways to get it! One-eye is
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
Penises as currency? Women being almost nonexistent outside of "love nymphs"? Rampant misogyny that's pretty much unremarked on? Hmmm, pretty fucking awful.

But... interesting worldbuilding? One cool female character? Art that did it for me? I'll actually resort to a reaction image for once:

I can't in good conscience give this more than two stars because I was gritting my teeth the entire time I was reading it, which sucks! I did like the art, I was sort of interested in the storyline (enough so
Jared Millet
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
There's an element within SF&F that I would describe as "deliciously scuzzy," the kind of feel you get from B-movies and the bootleg dealer stands hidden in the nooks and crannies of every SF convention. Orc Stain reeks of that atmosphere, and I love it. To paraphrase Mel Brooks, this comic "rises below vulgarity." Every page is overstuffed with oozy little details, like a Heavy Metal version of "Ren & Stimpy."

This volume contains the first five issues of the comic. Only two more issues were eve
Chris Lins
Oct 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
I dislike this comic. The art style is unappealing to me and confusing visually. Almost no contrast. Just about everything in the frame is a random gradient of the same 3 or 4 colors arranged differently. Clothes, skin, wood, blood, smoke, plants. It's all a red, green, purple seemingly arbitrary gradient. The writing was uninspired. Apparently they're orcs, but other than a nonsense word added here and there they talk normally. There's a weird fascination on orc genitalia. The whole thing just ...more
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
After my last read of Godzilla I decided to dig this one out and reread it. This is a kind of post apocalyptic Orc story. It is heavy on atmosphere and story and the art here is unbelievable! You have to read this one to believe it. It hurts me deeply that Stokoe didn't do more of this. The eye patch wearing main character doesn't say much and yet delivers a wonderful presence here, just because of the way he is drawn. The Orc Tzar who is the villain, well you just hate him immediately. This one ...more
Jeff Lewonczyk
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gnarly fantasy weirdness courtesy of a master stylist. The story is brash, bloody and barbaric, revolving around a nasty-brutish-and-short culture of orcs whose social status and currency system revolves around castration - some entertaining world-building, even if many of the details skeeve me out. But the art, the amazing art! Each panel is blown out with mind-bending levels of detail, yet a line never feels wasted - it's a truly immersive visual experience, and, despite the ugliness of its de ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book has gorgeous, grungy art, and a very silly story which I find difficult to fully enjoy. Delight in its indulgent, comix-steeped, trichromatic ugliness if you can. It has too many abused testicles in it for my liking, but it's still good fun. ...more
Shawn M.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is what I crave in comics. A creator that uses both sides of his brain! It's beautiful from cover to cover. Too bad he hasn't continued the story in years. But I'll keep an eye out if it ever does.

Viva la Gronch!
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This one breaks my heart. I love the art, the weird-but-compelling universe, and I'm dying to know what happens to One-Eye, Bowie and Zazu, but it seems unlikely Stokoe is gonna add to this universe any time soon. ...more
Jared Lancaster
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A brief reprieve for my brain, which has been deadlifting some heavy brain weights since since July.

A fun bloody, interesting, and (I mean this in the nicest way possible) anti-Tolkien book. Bummer that we probably won’t see more issues from Stokoe, but you gotta love the art he does.
Jesse L
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
meh it was ok. I liked the art but it was....okay. I don't get the hype, story was meh, writing was meh. ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
This gross-out graphic novel takes a close look at a world populated entirely by a society of violent orcs. The hero, a wily roguish one-eyed orc, is unusually talented at breaking stuff.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic graphic novel. The culture of the Orks really comes through. The art is detailed down to the individual hairs on the characters. I can't wait for Vol 2. Hurry up already! ...more
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you've been following along with my book reviews this year, so far I've read a number of comic volumes - The Autumnlands, Rat Queens, From Under Mountains, and more recently Pretty Deadly, and while I enjoyed some more than others, one defining feature seems to have a profound correlation with how much I enjoy the book - the artwork. As I've said before, I'm not a comic-guru, I haven't read much outside of Star Wars comics, and I don't have a preference for style when it comes to comic book o ...more
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James Stokoe (born September 4, 1985) is a Canadian comic book artist who is known for his work on such titles as Wonton Soup, Orc Stain and Godzilla: The Half-Century War.
Along with Corey Lewis, Brandon Graham and Marley Zarcone, he's a part of a studio/collective called "Yosh Comics".

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