If you’re a horror buff and haven’t started Home Sick Pilots yet, you better step to it. The series is an original take on the haunted house idea with some incredible visuals and colors by Caspar Wijngaard. Along with writer Dan Watters, letters by Aditya Bidikar, and design by Tom Muller, the series has been deeply thoughtful and invigorating. The third issue drops this week and in it, we learn a bit more about the lead character Ami and her current plight.
As the cover suggests, Buzz is the lead character in this issue who navigates a much different world since a week ago when Ami and a rival band went missing. We know from the first issue the haunted house ate the band and took Ami. Buzz seems to know this too. This issue follows him around and shows he hasn’t given up on Ami, even if her other friend has, and he wants to find answers. Those answers lead him to the house, taking notes, and coming to some conclusions.
Meanwhile, Watters and Wijngaard continue to show us Ami’s point of view as a ghost hunter. She’s finding old bits of the house that were taken and returning them. A lamp and an old refrigerator are just two items, and as she finds them, we learn what these items did to people who acquired them. It’s not pretty.
As the story pushes forward we learn more about the house and more about Buzz’s life after Ami was taken, creating a sense of uneasy discovery. It’s interesting to find out what is going on, but it’s also upsetting and at times weird. This issue delves into a different kind of punk scene which is interesting and likely from one of the creator’s lives. There’s a genuine nature to it that’s strangely alien but you can tell it’s real.
The imagery by Wijngaard continues to be highly effective, whether it’s in commiserating with Buzz or presenting strange monsters you could never have fathomed on your own coming to light. Put simply, this book is innovative and imaginative.
The use of color continues to be an exciting element of this series. From a scene with Buzz outdoors — a dull haze cast over the suburbs behind him and his skin nearly blue like a corpse — to an unreal purple hue cast over the Dead End Video store — a sunset off in the distance and darkness setting in — there’s so much atmosphere and storytelling going on outside of the words and lines. It can seem odd when a character is literally red or green while others are more natural, but it’s very striking.
Speaking of letters, Aditya Bidikar continues to add value to every word said thanks to the hand-drawn word balloons. In a world cast in odd colors and darkness, the word balloons offer some of the only respites from the evil nature of much of the book.
Home Sick Pilots continues to be a deeply moving horror story that’s filled with clever ideas and well-written characters. Teenagers in the punk scene is an often underlooked world, and Watters and Wijngaard have done a great job lifting it up in an interesting way.
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