Review: Winnebago Graveyard #3

Darryll Robson Darryll Robson
Expert Contributor
August 14th, 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 #3
Comics
0
Price:
Gore Fest

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On August 14, 2017
Last modified:August 14, 2017

Summary:

Bound to be a major hit with Horror fans and lovers of great comic book art. A horrific, jaw dropping instalment of a gripping genre tale. A must read.

Price:
Gore Fest

Reviewed by:
Rating:

5
On August 14, 2017
Last modified:August 14, 2017

Summary:

Bound to be a major hit with Horror fans and lovers of great comic book art. A horrific, jaw dropping instalment of a gripping genre tale. A must read.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

The penultimate issue of Image Comic’s Winnebago Graveyard is released this week. As the horror steps ups so does our contributor, Darryll Robson, to review this issue. Will he make it to the end?

Review: Winnebago Graveyard #3

Horror is sweeping the shelves in comic book shops with a range of titles all exploring the modern world in their own unique way. Boom has Victor LaValle’s Destroyer, Aftershock have Babyteeth and the upcoming Dark Ark, even Marvel have Monsters Unleashed. Add to that the recent Image release of Redlands, a superb new comic about gender politics and witchcraft, and it may be difficult to know where to start.

Well, I have your answer here. Winnebago Graveyard is a full on horror comic told in an invigorating way. It is steeped with nods to the genre covering decades of movies, comics and novels.

Warning: Gore and potential spoilers ahead. Cue the thunderstorm and eerie music.

Synopsis

Chased out of town by a hoard of robe wearing locals, Christie and her family finally find the titular Winnebago Graveyard.

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But something else has found them, something far from friendly.

Let the gore commence.

Credit: Image Comics

Analysis

Steve Niles and Alison Sampson have so far produced an exciting, horror homage which makes fun of the boundaries set out by the traditional comic book format. And they continue to employ this simple concept with the third issue; surpassing the heights of the previous months.

Shifting focus, uncomfortable points of view and some ingenious compositions make this comic a joy to read. Although the story itself is anything but joyful. Niles turns up the shock factor this month. He allows the characters to uncover some of the secrets and reasons behind their situation but then throws them, like lame cattle, to the wolves. The unnerving terror of ‘the ordinary people’ that has been the focus of the story so far, especially for the chase sequence in issue two, is replaced with jaw dropping gore.

The Satanists take a back seat and the demon runs amok. This allows Sampson to illustrate some really horrific scenes; panels that will make you wince in sympathetic pain. Without wanting to give too much away, the fate of some of the characters is not a pleasant one. However, the violent deaths aren’t just visual disturbances, they serve a greater purpose. Through the blood soaked panels Niles and Sampson are able to show the closeness of the family unit, illustrate the feelings that each member of the group has for the others. Moments in previous issues have indicated a tenseness between the interloper step father, but in this issue tragedy brings them closer; even if it may be a little too late.

There is also a sense of hope buried within the gore fest. Remember in Predator when Arnold Schwarzenegger says “If it bleeds, we can kill it”? There’s a moment like that in this issue. A story that started with unwilling sacrifices to raise evil takes a turn when a willing sacrifice brings hope. The depiction of these similar actions is a clever trick to highlight the complexities of the horror genre. It is often over looked, in the mainstream, but schlock horror can have subtleties and depths just like any other narrative genre. In Winnebago Graveyard the nature of fear is addressed: violence and persecution are compared and contrasted. The unfathomable Demon can kill but it’s human nature that drives the murderous actions but also human nature that stands and fights the fear. The Demon is a pawn under the control of someone who looks just like you or me, an everyday person but is hell bent on destruction. On the flipside, the frightened, seemingly useless, family are able to protect what they hold dear, even if it comes at a great cost. It may seem, from the violence and the horror, that Niles has no regard for these characters but that is not true. He lifts the central characters up on a pedestal and draws the reader’s attention to them. “Look at what we can do for each other” he is saying in this issue.

Credit: Image Comics

As per previous issues the artwork by Sampson, and the coloring by Stephane Paitreau, is a key component to the story telling and is beautiful even in its grotesqueness.  The change in color palettes from deep, natural blues to harsh electronic oranges also marks the emphasis between natural and unnatural. The family, the valley and the clear night sky are all natural things but inside the camper vans and the attack of the demon are unnatural. The battle between the two is at the heart of the story and brought to the forefront by a clever artistic design.

It’s difficult to use the word subtle in relation to this comic, especially after the events in this issue, but there is a subtly to the narrative; an emotional one. As is true in many tales of horror, dating back to the sublime gothic horrors of Dracula and Frankenstein, the events unfolding are merely shocking window dressings for the turmoil buried within the central characters. Dan is tried and tested in this issue, Christie is forced to fight her fear, and Bobby has something brewing inside; Rage? Revenge? It’s not quite clear yet. These aspects of the characters are laid bare by the natural script and detailed facial work.

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The transitions from panel to panel, page to page, flow like blood and the occasional breaks in the gutters make the characters’ leap from the page. In the same way that the color changes, the compositions become more challenging when the family are in danger. Complex, perspective altering view-points create an uncomfortable atmosphere for the reader. And when the violence comes it’s not hidden in darkness but played out in full Technicolor. Sampson appears to be taking some delight in shocking the reader, just like the Crypt Keeper in EC’s Tales from the Crypt stories. She fills the pages and panels with gore, making sure the focal points are at the centre of the horrific scenes. There’s no escaping them unless you look away or turn the page. Like Glen’s death in The Walking Dead, the reader is forced to watch helplessly as the story unfolds in the gleeful, controlling hands of Niles and Sampson.

This comic is nearing its end but there’s still a lot of fight left in the Winnebago Graveyard. I heartily recommend picking up issue 3 from your comic book store and ordering the final issue while you’re at it. This comic won’t disappoint horror fans and may even manage to shock a few; everyone else will definitely want to look away when they reach the ‘Winnebago Graveyard’. *

*Imagine this in the voice of Vincent Price. Followed by a deep, belly laugh.

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

 

Winnebago Graveyard #3

  • 5

Gore Fest

Bound to be a major hit with Horror fans and lovers of great comic book art. A horrific, jaw dropping instalment of a gripping genre tale. A must read.

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