Pick Up Some Scary Comics For A Happy Halloween!
October 31, 2016
Joshua Williamson is currently keeping his and artist Mike Henderson's horror chops strong with NAILBITER, but a year before, Williamson really started his horror work with the series GHOSTED, featuring art by Goran Sudzuka and Davide Gianfelice, among others. This four-volume series is at once a ghost story and a heist tale, something like if Ocean's Eleven was set inside The House on Haunted Hill. Master thief and con man Jackson Winters is sprung from prison by a mysterious wealthy benefactor to assemble a team of experts to steal a ghost from a haunted house with a particularly murderous history. The thing about haunted houses is that the ghosts inside are always looking to add to their numbers.
The two genres blend together organically in GHOSTED. One of the major features that is paramount in both genres is a deep sense of unpredictability. GHOSTED is a story that plays this element up by throwing Jackson into a roller coaster ride of an adventure. A rollicking blast for fans of either genre, GHOSTED is a lot of fun and stands among the most purely entertaining books in Image Comics's ever-expanding line of horror books.
While GHOSTED initially keeps its paranormal activity inside a haunted house, Tim Seeley and Mike Norton's REVIVAL expands the supernatural scope to the small town of Wausau, Wisconsin. On an event dubbed as Revival Day, the recently deceased have mysteriously returned to walk amongst the living. Thanks to a military quarantine, all the pent-up tensions and grudges that come with small towns claw their way to the surface very quickly. Of course, the Revivers themselves are not a stabilizing factor. They have some sort of mysterious, deep-rooted rage driving each of them. Being wrenched from their eternal rest has left some of them murderously angry.
At its core, REVIVAL is a murder mystery in the Twin Peaks tradition. The story's protagonists are the Cypress sisters. Dana, the older sister, is a police officer under her father, the town sheriff. Em, the younger sister, was murdered right before Revival Day and returns with no clear memory of who killed her or why. As the Cypress sisters investigate Em's murder with suspects amongst the living and the previously dead, it becomes clear that Em's killer may be linked to what brought about Revival Day in the first place...
In addition to REVIVAL, Seeley co-created HACK/SLASH, starring Cassie Hack. Cassie, a young woman in the vein of Halloween's Laurie Strode and Scream's Sidney Prescott, decides to turn the tables on slashers by hunting them down and dispatching them with her trusty baseball bat, Inglourious Basterds-style. Accompanying Cassie is her loyal companion Vlad, a hulking masked figure and a nod to Friday the 13th's iconic slasher. Both a love letter and meta-commentary on the slasher genre, HACK/SLASH recently crossed over with several titles, including Williamson and Henderson's NAILBITER.
The Salesman, the villain of SEVERED, does not appear to be part of the world we know, which is a big portion of what makes him so terrifying. Sure, we get hints about his origin and the true nature of the skin-wearing, seemingly immortal man in gray with an insatiable hunger for the flesh of children, but that's not what's important here. What is important is that The Salesman loves to play with his food before violently devouring it, and he is starting to get hungry.
Years before scaring comic book readers alongside Jock with WYTCHES, Scott Snyder first brought his sense of comic book horror to Image Comics with the miniseries SEVERED. With co-writer Scott Tufts and artist Attila Futaki, Snyder explored the backdrop of America in the 1910s, shortly before World War I. The nation is still emerging out of industrialization with much of the country remaining untamed, and the team seized on a national sense of naiveté that would quickly erode to real-world horror.
A big thing that elevates SEVERED is that Futaki's use of light and shadow is particularly effective, creating a sense of dark menace even during the daytime sequences in the book. Snyder and Tufts' slow burn is aided greatly by the mounting visual tension with Futaki's work.
A great horror comic is a book you can't put down because you simply have to know what happens next. When the tension is elevating and you can feel your pulse pounding faster, you have to keep reading, no matter how late it is. Just know that after you're done, you may want to invest in night lights before you go to bed...
--by Sam Stone