This issue concludes the arc, and I have to say, it’s excellent. The artwork is creepy, the writing is top-notch, and there are some great twists as the story ties together nicely.
The issue begins with an image that seems oddly out of place, with the caption reading “This is not an ending.”
It is later revealed that this is a poster from one of Charlie’s books and part of a flashback. I’ll say no more so as not to spoil the story. Suffice to say that it has a symbolic meaning in the overall storyline.
Charlie and his daughter Sailor manage to escape from the realm of the wytches, which is an underworld entered through a hole in a tree. There is strong symbolism with this imagery. In shamanism, practitioners would enter other realms by projecting their spirit bodies (or subconscious) through a portal, which could be a hole in the earth, a hole in a tree, a pool of water, or such. Charlie and Sailor are in a terrifying realm deep in the subconscious and are struggling with their internal demons as they attempt to crawl back to the surface (ordinary reality). The associated images are torn from the darkest and scariest parts of the psyche.
To sum up, this is a graphic novel that addresses the psychological effects of fear, remorse, and selfishness. As a parent, there are aspects of this series that are particularly disturbing, especially regarding the twist in this installment (again, I’m not going to spoil it for you). I will say that this is one of the best pieces of psychological horror that I have read in a long time and it is definitely worth reading. One final note: there is some fine bonus material at the end of this issue, including original ink sketches and unused promo art. There is also a “pledge” that the graphic novel will continue with a new arc that “will focus on Sailor, and the Irons, but at its core it will be about issues as personal as this arc has been.” And here’s my pledge—when the next arc comes out, I will read it and let you know my thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!!
I have always found trees at night to be things of intense mystery, the way branches claw their way through the darkness. As a kid, I would go into the woods at night and bask in the feeling. I think there is something skeletal about the way trees look at night, and being in the dark woods taps into some primordial part of the brain where fear lurks.
This issue certainly does a great job capturing the imagery of trees at night and tapping into the visceral fear that these images can stir. For me, that is the true brilliance of this comic, although the writing is also very good. But the artwork is truly from another realm. I keep finding myself drawn into the nightmare along with the characters. Definitely gets two thumbs up in the horror department.
This comic continues to deliver quality psychological horror. In this issue, as Sailor’s parents continue searching for her, it seems like their grip on sanity is beginning to slip. The creative team does something that works really well. They splice together fragments of storyline to instill a sense of confusion. As I read through this, I felt like Sailor, trapped in a dark space surrounded by macabre images, struggling to get out, but unable to. All the while, unable to shake the feeling of fear and dread.
I feel like I should be writing more about this issue, but frankly, I am at a loss for words. Probably because, for me, the issue is more about creating a sense of fear as opposed to telling a narrative tale, so while the story is progressing, for me, the story is overshadowed by the feeling that the images and structure of the comic evoke. For me, that’s the real artistry in this graphic series.
If you are following this tale, I would love to hear your thoughts.
This is definitely the creepiest comic I have read. Reading the pages and looking into the artwork is like coming across a dead animal or a car wreck. You don’t want to look at it and you know it will disturb you if you do, but you can’t help yourself. It really feels like I am having a nightmare when I read this. The images are that disturbing.
The other thing that gets me at a visceral level is the powerlessness that the parents feel. It is a parent’s worst fear to have something happen to their child. This comic really plays on the psychological horror experienced by a parent as he or she witnesses their child slowly drawn into the realm of insanity, or worse…
In this issue, Mr. and Mrs. Rook search for their daughter, Sailor, who has disappeared in the woods. There is a great section where Sailor’s dad discovers her cell phone with a cracked screen. He reads her diary entry on the phone. The illustration shows the lines of text broken and fragmented by cracks in the glass, representing the cracks in Sailor’s sanity as her world begins to splinter.
There’s a house in my neck.
That’s what it feels like. A hollow with a second me living in there. A sick me with her own thoughts, her own dreams.
All she wants is one thing.
To go back to them, the things in the woods.
Sometimes, I think I can hear her screaming in there. Screaming for her parents. I can almost see them, out there in the trees. Waiting behind the branches. They have faces on the sides of their heads, to peek around at me. If I listen I can hear their teeth.
Mom and dad think I’m crazy. And maybe I am. I hope I am. I pinch the lump.
And it’s just a lump. It has no teeth.
I hope it’s a tumor.
Let it be a tumor.
Please be a tumor.
Someone cut it out.
I don’t want to go out there. I hear their teeth at night. Hungry.
Chit. Chit. Chit. Chit. Chit. Chit. Chit. Chit. Chit.
Visually, this comic is disturbing. The artwork is something right out of a surrealist nightmare. I don’t know what it is about the colors, the superimposed images, the collage of shapes, but reading it feels like I am in a macabre dream from which I cannot wake up.
The storyline is working well for me also. It has a basic thread which it is following—the young girl Sailor is pursued by some evil entities that dwell within ancient trees and are connected to a “pledge” which has not yet been clarified. But the story weaves and twists, just as I would expect in a dream. So while the events are basically linear, the story feels disjointed and this is heightened by flashbacks in the characters’ memories.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story. Suffice to say it is excellent and if you are a fan of surrealist horror, you will love this. Check it out and let me know what you think.