Writer: Jeff Lemire
Illustrator: Andrea Sorrentino
Publisher: Image Comics
WHAT IS IT?
Every few years, a black barn appears in a small town, causing chaos, bloodshed and misery. Not everyone can see it, but those who can are haunted by it.
It's happening again. No one is safe.
Gideon Falls is a horror comic that touches on mental illness and (potentially, since it's still early) religion through local mythos and one unreliable narrator. It's dark, fascinating and stylish, a fresh twist on the classic "Haunted House" concept. Also kind of like The Mist in that "highly localized haunted happening" sort of way.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
A black barn appears to people in the town at odd times, and out of nowhere. It’s haunted the town for centuries.
One small group has gathered the stories from its past appearances and is trying to make sense of them. Separately, there's a pastor who's new to the town. He doesn’t know how much he believes in the barn and the stories surrounding it. He’s just trying to settle in and start fresh in a new place, replacing the last pastor who died suddenly. But you can’t live in Gideon Falls without getting dragged into the black barn’s business... Meanwhile, another individual, who seems to be deeply paranoid and possibly psychotic, keeps finding what look like remains of the barn near trash piles all over the city. It could be he's crazy crazy. Or, he could be the only one with the answers. Can all these disparate people and groups come together to solve the mystery of what’s been plaguing the town for generations? Do they want to? Or are they putting their own lives in danger just by acknowledging the barn at all?
The story creeped me out hard
I couldn’t put it down; it was addictively terrifying
Sorrentino’s art has a very specific style that works massively well with this story
While being more “photo-realistic,” it also plays with a magical realism when it comes to backgrounds, framing of certain items in a panel, rotating images to build a sense of discomfort...it’s brilliant (see below)
Stewart’s colors are no less than perfect, with a limited, desaturated palette that makes the red really shocking when it’s used -- it’s the perfect match for Sorrentino’s style.
Steve Wand’s letters are solid — his dialogue bubble positioning is smart, and helps direct the eye to avoid confusion in places where the panel layout may not make it obvious
Also, his thin dialogue bubble tails reduce the “comic booky” tone of the medium and somehow play up the direness of the story even more.
Lemire’s writing is so, so good and organic
The people feel real and three-dimensional
Often, Lemire writes stories that feel like character studies within indie films, where the plot is secondary to the characters and their inner monologues, and while we still get that here, it serves more to build the terror of the black barn and the happenings in the town.
It's already so successful, it's being adapted for TV
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Cursing, blood & violence, so it's probably not for kids
Doesn't show mental illness in the best light
Don't read it if you don't want it to haunt you
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
It's hard to do something new in the horror genre, but Lemire, Sorrentino & co. have done it, and it's incredibly effective. The brilliant artwork and compelling story and characters make this one title you absolutely don't want to sleep on. Although, if you read it, you may not want to sleep at all.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Descender, Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen
Ghosted by Joshua Williamson, Goran Sudzuka & Miroslav Mrva
Cold Spots by Cullen Bunn & Mark Torres
If you like the art:
Old Man Logan, Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire & Andrea Sorrentino
Outcast, Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman & Paul Azaceta
The Black Monday Murders, Vol. 1 by Jonathan Hickman & Tomm Coker
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Jeff Lemire – Writer
Prolific: Has released a truly stunning number of quality comics in a fairly short amount of time
Multitalented: Often both writes and does art for his comics using his signature watercolor style
Is good friends with Matt Kindt, who also writes and illustrates his comics with a style similar to Lemire's
Andrea Sorrentino – Illustrator
Known for his unique style of creative layouts and heavy inks
Dream Team: Has also worked with Jeff Lemire on other projects for Marvel & DC
Outlander: Lives in Italy
Dave Stewart – Colors
Award Winner: Has won a ton of Eisner Awards for his coloring work
Dream Team: Often pairs up with illustrator Gabriel Bá
Steve Wands – Letterer & Design
Multitalented: Also writes the indie comics series Stay Dead
Most of his work has been for DC Comics titles
Dream Team: Also lettered Lemire's comic, Descender
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Click one of these:
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Image Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Image Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED