Filed under: Comic Reviews, Indie Comics | Tags: Black Hearted Press, David Alexander, David Braysher, horror, James Devlin, Jason Mathis, John Farman
It’s the first part of our Black Hearted Press week long feature, starting with Gary’s review of the first two issues of John Farman’s School of the Damned.
I can’t remember the last time I read a horror comic, but given the open-minded approach the CA team have to all things comic – there is pretty much nothing we won’t read. Horror title, School of the Damned is another in a growing list of titles coming from the Glasgow indie scene and a title we were more than willing to add to our regular stack.
School of the Damned is a horror comic in the best sense of the word, giving us a real old-fashioned homage to the most recognizable characters in movies gone passed. That’s monsters AND the recognized actors who played the most recognizable horror characters on the big screen and for me SOTD manages to capture that feel, but with an air of freshness to it. No mean feat as John Farman writes a horror story with a family of monsters taking on The Nazi’s during the 30’s – sounds familiar but with a great sense of wonder and intrigue across it – akin to the excitement some of the classic Hollywood horror movies of the 30’s were able to generate, but it’s been a while since anything has felt the same, be that movie, comic or anything else for that matter.
The art across both issues from James Devlin (#1) and Jason Mathis (#2) are spot-on too – the choice to have it in black & white adds to the whole SOTD vibe – only thing missing is that crackle of static from an old movie reel and they’d have captured the real-life movie experience. A gloomy but highly detailed approach to the art is made all the more vital as the moments of terror are given that claustrophobic, edge-of-your-seat feel, mixing in perfectly with the dialogue and it’s hint for the theatrical.
An all-round hit in my eyes with more than a few nods to classic movies like Nosferatu, Bride of Frankenstein, some Omen and even some of Freaks filtering in for good measure. Thankfully we don’t get a mish-mash of characters thrown together to fill pages nor do we get redundant scenes or wasted dialogue. Kudos to Farman for bringing this all together, especially since we get a hint of a love story and everyday life intermingled with the horror momentum. Two issues in and I’m keen to see what #3 will bring after that issue #2 cliff-hanger (you’ll have to read it to find out more) plus we’ve got the added bonus of Children of the Damned coming soon as a sort of spin-off.
Special mention has to go to the 2 back-up stories in these issues – by Farman again and with just as much attention to that horror vibe, albeit within a shorter page length. Good to see a change of art-work between the main and back-up tales too – Dave Alexander (#1) and David Braysher (#2) proved the artistic flare and talent for these ones.
Well worth a read as the list of indie titles to look out for continues to grow in 2012 – no surprise then that SOTD has been optioned for a film – which has to be a clear hint of the talent on show here – fingers-crossed that it all works out.
Make sure and come later today where we’ve got an interview with John Farman on all things BHP.
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