The Silver Coin continues to be a horror series with constant new ideas, ingenious art style, and a can’t-miss anthology of a sort. Each issue is drawn, lettered, and co-colored by Michael Walsh with a story by a rotating list of incredible writers. The only requirement of each story is that it somehow integrates a cursed coin. While each story is a fresh take, over 13 issues, Walsh and his collaborators have revealed a growing universe as the coin destroys lives in every issue. All that said, The Silver Coin #13 may just be the scariest tale yet.
The Silver Coin #13 is written by Johnnie Christmas, who you might remember from his excellent sci-fi series Tartarus. This issue isn’t sci-fi, however, but focuses on childbirth. It’s recommended to avoid this issue if childbirth, including the potential of miscarriage, might be something that disturbs you. Similar to past issues–like the excellent diner issue–the theme of birth and being a mother in a relationship are key focuses in this tale.
The story opens innocently enough, with a young couple likely not ready for a kid, let alone becoming adults. They’re happy, though, and yet a few months later, on the second page, we see things have gone terribly wrong. The boy in the relationship is with someone else. He doesn’t even want to own up to the kid, and the mother is seriously losing it in a fit of rage. Stuck at a payphone–it is 1999, after all–she finds a mysterious coin that sets the already disturbing story into something far more mind-bending and disturbed.
Walsh and Christmas take this story to a place that’s surreal and trippy. It’s a nightmare of what the girl assumes is her baby fetus. Walsh draws its mutated face and body like a giant monstrosity, and its dialogue suggests it’s trying to speak but has yet to truly learn. It’s messed up, followed by another panel of the mother with dark blood stains on the crotch of her pants. The nightmare doesn’t end here and the anxiety of the situation never lets up. It’s heartbreaking and unsettling all at once.
Things get weirder from there to the point where I was thinking Christmas should be writing for Raised by Wolves or something even scarier. Aside from weird environments, there are weird flesh clothes featured as well. There are a lot of visual ideas here that reminded me of films like The Cell, and it works to create something truly disgusting in the best way horror can.
It doesn’t stop there, though, capping off with a twist on top of a series of twists. I won’t spoil it, but a lot of time and attention went into some epilogue-style explanations for what really happened. This helps solidify what happened really did happen and wasn’t in the mother’s mind while also expanding on the in-world response to something unexplainable. The fact that the last page isn’t as horrific or disturbing as anything in the book may simply suggest the creators knew the reader needed a break after pushing our blood pressure up so high.
Capping off this issue is Adam Gorham’s backup series, now in its third chapter. This tale is intriguing as it plays with the concept of those who may have been close to finding the coin but never actually got their hands on it. It also has some creepy imagery that keeps the characters outside the main one, mysterious and unknown. That creates a sense of fear of strangers as well as the outdoors due to the locations. This tale is certainly short, so it doesn’t have a lot to add, but it’s only part of a larger story.
The Silver Coin #13 is so scary it may be too much for some, making it a must-read experience for horror aficionados. If the themes of motherhood and miscarriage are too much, I implore you to skip this, but for those willing to push themselves in seeing how far visuals can raise your pulse, I recommend you check it out.
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