If you like horror and unconventional storytelling, you’ll probably like The Silver Coin. It’s a series drawn by Michael Walsh and written by a different writer for each installment, featuring a different cursed coin tale in every issue. The only thing is, Walsh and company have slowly revealed these stories may be interconnected, which has never been more obvious than with this week’s The Silver Coin #10.
Similar to August’s The Silver Coin #5, this issue is written, drawn, and lettered by Michael Walsh. He takes over here to reveal this ongoing story has been taking place for over a century. Before it gets to the gore and horror though, we’re introduced to four high schoolers, one of which seems to be able to talk to animals. Or so she thinks. She’s the weird one in the group and is soon tromping through the woods following a talking crow.
Following crows tend to end badly, go figure, and soon she’s asked to help a strange woman in the woods. From there we get a seance, some violent interactions between these kids, and some familiar faces from previous issues. Using high school kids, Walsh invokes horror from our cinematic conscience to great effect. Will these kids survive? Certainly not, but it’s fun to see how they meet their demise.
The book is also incredibly scary, with great use of subtle shades of black with grotesque beasts hiding just beyond our vision. This lack of color and shadow work forces the reader to linger on horrific panels which takes a moment to realize what you’re seeing. Once you realize what it is, it’s as if the imagery snuck into your brain.
Walsh colors too and is joined by color artists Toni Marie Griffin. There’s a definite color story going on where with clear shades of green to start and hues of blue in the horror portion of the book. The use of shadow on faces is also evident with shade work being well done with lighter blues in the darker scenes. Blood tends to be not quite as bright as one would expect, which tends to give it a grimmer feel.
Another impressive element of the issue is lettering. I found myself noticing sound effects hit differently in the issue. It’s also a book that appears to be hand lettered, which adds a lot of grit to the story. Word balloons are never perfectly round, either, further making the story feel organic and handmade.
If there was a gripe it might be the talking animals. It’s not exactly clear what the purpose is, but I could wager a guess based on the final page. Likely it has something to do with the lead character’s imagination, but it’s hard to gather if it’s the monsters of the tale manipulating her either. It ends up feeling uncertain on some scale.
Closing out the issue is an interesting two-page interview by Aditya Bidikar between a cop and a special agent. There’s a great play between each of these speakers and the text will make your imagination come to life. Bidikar uses details like “Sounds of drinking” and “recording pauses, then resumes” which read like stage directions on some level, but also suit the found audio feel of the tale. It’s always cool to see mixed media in comics and it adds to the overall package.
The Silver Coin continues to be a comic guru’s dream come true as Walsh shows doing it all pays off. Issue #10 doesn’t feel like anything you’ve seen before, while supplying further exploration of the world so carefully crafted. It pulls off the trick of being accessible with every issue, yet feels incredibly important in the craft of comics.
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