Review: Winnebago Graveyard #2

Darryll Robson Darryll Robson
Expert Contributor
July 23rd, 2017

Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.

Review: Winnebago Graveyard #2
Comics
0
Price:
Delightfully disturbing!

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On July 23, 2017
Last modified:July 23, 2017

Summary:

Winnebago Graveyard is a brilliantly crafted, artistic beauty. It may not be the most original of idea's but it's look is like nothing else currently on the shelf.

Price:
Delightfully disturbing!

Reviewed by:
Rating:

5
On July 23, 2017
Last modified:July 23, 2017

Summary:

Winnebago Graveyard is a brilliantly crafted, artistic beauty. It may not be the most original of idea's but it's look is like nothing else currently on the shelf.

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Continuing the journey into the heart of the American Horror genre, our contributor Darryll Robson takes a look inside issue 2 of Image Comic’s Winnebago Graveyard.

Review: Winnebago Graveyard #2

After the opening issue last month Steve Niles picks up where he left off with the family, stranded without their mobile phones and about to enter an eerie, dead town. Modernernity is dealt a powerful blow by being removed at the first opportunity so that the story can better emulate classic movies and tales of terror. The memory of 30 Days of Night haunt the narrative but the grotesque vampires are exchanged for faceless demon worshippers. The creators pull no punches and the sense of 'no-one here gets out alive' is prevalent throughout.

Credit: Image Comics

Credit: Image Comics

Synopsis

Christie, Dan and Bobby find themselves alone and stranded in an empty town. The streets are deserted and all of the shops and bars are closed; even the local police station. The tension builds as Dan starts to lose his cool and batters against the police stations’ doors.

Eventually a sheriff makes his presence known but he proves to be ineffectual at best. With a platitude as empty as the town, the family are sent off to the nearest motel to find somewhere to stay.

As they approach the Motel they should realise that their night will be a long one. The Motel hints at being the twin of the Bates Motel and the proprietor is a mysterious old woman who seems to have forgotten how to deal with customers. And the Motel has no other guests. A sign to run to the hills if ever one was needed.

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As Christie, Dan and Bobby prepare to make the best of a difficult situation things go from bad to worse: remember the devil worshippers from issue 1? Well, they’re knocking at the door.

Analysis

This issue is pure 1970’s schlock horror. The stranded family, the unwelcoming motel, the fire wielding mob, and the disfigured, man-shaped demon. It has all the elements needed for a Sam Raimi movie and Steve Niles writes it with style.

There may not be much substance to the story in this issue; family check into motel and are chased out by demon worshipers; but what there is is crafted with style and grace. Niles slowly builds up the tension by moving the family around the deserted town and making sure that the people they do meet are sufficiently creepy. Not villains outright but obstructive in their indifference. The Sheriff and the Motel owner are written like figments there to serve a purpose in guiding Christine and her family but they have no tangibility, no substance. Like crafted impressions of characters, hollow apart from their function in the immediate story. In other stories this would be a flaw, a problem with the narrative but here, in the pages of Winnebago Graveyard, they are another dimension of the suspense that Niles is building.

The shroud bearing, identity lacking, torch burners work on mass as a single character who streams throughout the Motel and town like an unstoppable river of hate. The black cloaks and hints of white flesh below allow the reader to identify them as human but that is all, for the most part they are indistinguishable from the long shadows they cast. This is an exquisite piece of narrative to keep the ever impending sense of destruction central to the chase. There seems to be little hope for the family, especially when the shadows turn to bloodletting and demon raising.

Image Comics

Credit: Image Comics

But, all in all, this issue is mostly just a chase through an empty town. True, a detailed and thought out chase, but a chase none the less. However, the artwork is outstanding. From the very first page, with the warped, uncomfortable setting to the very last smoke shrouded demon, Alison Sampson knocks this out of the park. The twisted perspective and flat foreground/background blends make this entire comic feel uncomfortable and unwelcoming. In the same way that the townsfolk are there to distance the characters from their situation, the artwork creates a difficult landscape for the reader to digest. At one moment Christine opens the curtains on the Motel room and the angle of the panel makes it look like the window is on the floor, with Christine staring down into the horror below, as if she is staring into the pits of hell. This panel not only disorientates the reader but also helps create the feeling of descending into a world of horror.

The images have a brilliant lyrical appearance with swirling flames and bending trees. A number of silent panels lead the reader from the top of the page to the bottom via a collection of flicks and curls; a streak of color which can be followed allowing you to read the page without the need for narration. Stephane Paitreau’s colors complement Sampson’s illustrative style and together they create a horrific landscape for Niles to throw his vacationing family into.

Like the EC horror comics of old, Winnebago Graveyard only works because the atmosphere created by the art allows the readers suspension of disbelief. The demon introduced at the end is ridiculous, a man in a rubber suit, however by the time that scene comes the reader is already deeply invested in the terror of the situation and our hearts are in our mouths, ready to be horrified by whatever the creators throw at us next.

Winnebago Graveyard is a delightful bound through nostalgic horror clichés in an entertaining and tense narrative which is brought to life by some stunning artwork. With the slew of horror titles currently on the shelf, this one is definitely worth picking up.

Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Occasionally he remembers his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson

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Winnebago Graveyard #2

  • 5

Delightfully disturbing!

Winnebago Graveyard is a brilliantly crafted, artistic beauty. It may not be the most original of idea's but it's look is like nothing else currently on the shelf.

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