Joe Hill’s Hill House Comics has been on haitus, but is back this week with Refrigerator Full of Heads. The imprint got its start in 2019, and in the new series, one should expect some ties to Hill’s similarly-titled Basketful of Heads. The new series is written by Rio Youers with art by Tom Fowler and features some cursed objects, some shady bikers in a small Maine town, and a horror story that goes best with a slight chill in the air.
If you enjoyed Basketful of Heads you are pretty much guaranteed to like this comic. It features a similar turn of events as well as a New England vibe that’s unmistakable. As you can see in the preview, a few thugs are after a magical item that eventually goes missing. Cut to 1984, Brody Island, Maine, where a couple is vacationing for the summer.
Youers does a great job from the very start, with good acting by Fowler to give readers a realistic feel for the characters who look and act as they should in the given circumstances. From the intense life-or-death opening to the casual couple scoping out their new cabin, there’s a level of realism that enhances the danger when it rears its head.
The plot progression is a touch slow and there are some lucky coincidences that move things along, but it’s too early to know if those coincidences weren’t coincidences at all.
A key element of this issue is a character acting way too careless in a town he’s unfamiliar with. It leads to a breakneck chase sequence well choreographed by Fowler complete with creepy-looking trees and a high-stakes choice that needs to be made. If you like the movie Jaws, you’ll likely adore what Fowler cooks up visually here.
I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but the use of sound effects enhances the chaos of an attack on a boat and the incredibly creepy new friend the couple makes. One can kind of guess how this friend will be used and the final moment is pretty darn cool given the sound effects that flood the page around it.
Bill Crabtree colors the issue, who gives the book a solid sense of realism. The color choices are grounded so that when supernatural elements appear, or those sound effects I was talking about pop up, they really pop. Letters by AndWorld Design are always good for strong emphasis as needed and solid tails on word balloons — there are a few that slice across the page, making reading dialogue between characters very easy.
Refrigerator Full of Heads #1 came right in time to add to your read pile for Halloween. It captures a lot of what makes ’80s horror great while building on Basketful of Heads too. Refrigerator Full of Heads is a jolt of horror and nostalgia that’ll leave your teeth on the floor.
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