***TRIGGER WARNING: SELF-HARM***
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Illustrator: Jack T. Cole
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
WHAT IS IT?
A razor-sharp, psychedelic twist on the classic “Insane Asylum” sub-genre of horror.
The sanatorium horror of Stonehearst Asylum or Shutter Island mixed with the color palette of Suspiria.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
It’s Ashli’s first day on the job at the local sanatorium. As with most asylums, this one has a dark history and, as it goes in most movies that take place in a venue like this one, things quickly go off the rails.
To escape sudden danger, she and her co-workers have to trust one of the inmates, who always hides his face behind a paper plate mask. Can she ignore the danger all around her or the vivid, razor-blade laden visions she keeps having? Can she make sense of the events unfolding that threaten her and others stuck in the asylum?
If you’re a horror fan, you need to read this comic.
The first issue sets up all the rest of the story’s events quickly and efficiently before bursting right into non-stop action for the rest of the graphic novel
The art balances the mundane and the surreal with ease, creating environments both awe-inspiring and uncomfortable at the same time
The story and visuals create a truly unsettling experience – it was the first comic to truly creep me out
The title got picked up for more issues recently!
While there are truly violent moments, it doesn’t go overboard on gore
Bunn is a horror and comics veteran – he knows how to tell a good story, and this one sticks with you
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Not good for individuals triggered by self-harm
Negative portrayals of mental illness can be problematic
In order to keep the story moving fast and furiously, characters’ backstories are sacrificed and some characters arguably don’t reach their full potential
The ending felt like a little too easy, though this (and the previous bullet) is the perfect set-up for a revisit to the world in a sequel where the stakes are raised in classic horror fashion
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
As I mentioned earlier, if you liked to be creeped out, you need to pick this one up. Cullen Bunn is the Comic Book King of Horror, and you can tell he and Cole really enjoyed making this one. So, clear the next couple hours and strap in for a bloody, psychedelic ride.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Harrow County, Vol. 1 by Cullen Bunn & Tyler Crook
Ghosted, Vol. 1 by Joshua Williamson, Goran Sudzuka & Miroslav Mrva
Redneck, Vol. 1 by Donny Cates, Lisandro Estherren & Dee Cunniffe
If you like the art:
Epicurean’s Exile (webcomic) by Leia Weathington & Jack T. Cole
The Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth & Mike Dringenberg
Angelic, Vol. 1 by Simon Spurrier & Caspar Wijngaard
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Cullen Bunn – Writer
Most often writes horror comics for creator-owned titles and superhero comics for Marvel
Also writes novels and short stories
He recently launched a YouTube channel with fellow comics writer, Dennis Hopeless (which mentioned yours truly in episode 3!)
Jack T. Cole – Illustrator & Colorist
New Face: He’s very new to the comics medium
Co-formed “Deep Engines” as a Portland, OR, comics creator group
His art focuses on “lush, immersive environments” and “scenes of the fantastic,” and tends to be mostly digital
Jim Campbell – Letterer
Outlander: Hails from the United Kingdom
Multitalented: Also enjoys the art side of the creative world
Dream Team: Often does lettering for writer, Dan Whitehead
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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