It used to be you’d get a couple horror comics around Halloween and then have to wait another year for a heavy dose of scares. Not so anymore–luckily, too, as horror comics have never been better. There are a few ongoing series out there, but also great miniseries, like Image Comics’ new series Winnebago Graveyard. We recently had the chance to speak to the artist Alison Sampson, who had some revealing thoughts on the series that made us want to read it even more.
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Alison Sampson
Publisher: Image Comics
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
An American family traveling on vacation finds themselves stranded in a small town with a sinister secret.
Why does this book matter?
A four part series written by Steve Niles who has written his fair share of excellent horror stories–we’re in good hands as far as the scripting. Then we have Alison Sampson who offers a style that’s incredibly unique and adept at telling stories that unnerve.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is the kind of horror comic that’s not slow or pulling any punches. Right out of the gate we get a scene that thrusts the reader into a moment where satanists do a little ritual that’s gory and unsettling. Something is happening and it’s not normal, And we’re not even talking about the gushing blood! The comic instantly creates a situation that doesn’t make sense and revels in evil. Cut to a family on a road trip. Uh oh…
They seem pleasant…
Niles and Sampson infuse this book with a lot of the Americana we’ve all come to know and love: Road trips, carnivals, the uncompromising belief you can trust strangers. The comic introduces our main characters well who are very much an average family complete with a kid who is on his devices too much and is hard to please. This leads to the carnival, which is unnerving in its own right, but isn’t that part of why it’s fun?
Alison Sampson draws this carnival scene with a creepiness and weirdness that unnerves. The family seems to think it’s normal, or at the very most a tad unsettling, but the reader can see this is a strange sight indeed. This leads to a scary moment at night we’ve all had–trying to find a vehicle, and eventually some help–and that’s scary. This all comes after the incredibly gory and evil sequence of the satanists, which adds a layer of unease to this innocent family’s predicament. There’s also some fantastic imagery when it comes to things both seen and unseen. Just check out the cloud in the page below and you’ll see what I mean.
So maybe these Satanists aren’t just pretenders eh?
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a quick read, though it does impart a lot of visual horror goodness. It’s effectively two sequences, both with a lot of interesting imagery, but if you flip through comics without a lot of words on the page you might find this to be over and done before you know it. As a setup issue all the main details are dropped to get you thinking, though where it goes from here is a bit of a mystery. That’s of course on purpose, but it did leave me wanting.
Is It Good?
What an excellent first issue, offering up various horror tropes in a visually stunning package. Alison Sampson seems to have been born to draw unnerving and realistic looking imagery, and Steve Niles reminds us once again he’s a horror master with great ideas. The concept of this book should entice fans of Americana and horror alike.
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