The Closet #1 – anchored by bestselling writer James Tynoin IV and artist Gavin Fullerton – is a familiar tale of horror. A little boy named Jamie is afraid of the monster in his closet. He and his parents are also in the middle of a cross-country move. The bedroom closet and the things of the past continue to haunt the family of three. But these familiar tropes don’t weaken the premise of The Closet #1, but rather the creative team uses these tropes to develop a deeper meaning of fear itself.
The three-issue miniseries–out this week–starts when Thom moves his family to Portland, Oregon, a classic attempt to keep his family from falling apart. The cracks are made evident as Thom drowns in his troubles at the local bar, pouring his quiet despair to a listening ear. Right from the get-go, fear has already entered the scene. Here is a husband afraid of disappointing his wife, and on top of that, afraid of never appeasing his son’s fear of the bedroom closet.
Tynion and Fullerton create a sense of domestic tension, focusing on the humanity of Thom’s small family. Readers anticipate the pressure of how Thom will ultimately deal with both the monsters in the closet and in his past. But we also anticipate Jamie’s side of the story, the young boy afraid to sleep in his bedroom alone. It’s a familiar situation that is often downplayed and brushed aside. But by the end of The Closet #1, the soft reassurances from Jamie’s parents will quickly prove meaningless if all is left as they are.
Tynion masterfully presents the family’s flawed, relatable situation. Across multiple panels, Thom is reckoning both with himself and his wife, Maggie, on the pressure of his life. There is tension between the slow burn of household frustrations and a potential supernatural turmoil.
Fullerton’s art complements Tynion’s writing and captures the honest, commonness of a small family’s life. Masking tape, a bare apartment, packed boxes. Not only is domestic life presented so unglorified through the setting, but Fullerton also focuses on desperate and frustrated exchanges between a husband and wife, a father and a son.
Chris O’Halloran’s colors also work remarkably well with the rest of the presentation. Using mute, dark colors and dim lighting creates a perfect aesthetic for a horror trope, while also complementing the internal struggles of Thom’s family. And letterer Tom Napolitano also emphasises the uncomfortable, silent outbursts and frustrated whispers between Thom and the people around him.
Overall, The Closet #1 sets the story with deep unrest. Whether that’s from Thom and his desperate attempt at keeping his family in one piece, or Jamie’s fear of the monster in his closet – the insights that are gathered in this opening issue promise a disturbing, enticing journey for the rest of the miniseries.
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