GRIM, ISSUE #1
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Publisher: Boom! Studios
WHAT IS IT?
A death-defying tale of mystery and horror.
Think YuYu Hakusho meets The Sixth Sense.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Bryan wakes up in the snow after careening into a ravine. His car is wrecked, but thankfully he’s ok, at least that's what he thinks until he meets Jessica Harrow, a reaper meant to take Bryan to the afterlife. The man initially resists and tries to run from Jessica, but accepts his fate. The two arrive in the afterlife where Jessica leaves Bryan to be processed. As she walks away, she realizes her scythe, the key to entering and exiting the afterlife is missing, and so is Bryan.
Phillips’ story sets up multiple intriguing mysteries that will hook readers right away.
Balancing details are strengths in Flaviano’s line work. His detailed characters stand out excellently against more abstract backgrounds.
Renzi uses a minimalist style that excellently highlights the focus of each panel. Jessica’s red outfit sticks out among the primarily blue and yellow backgrounds.
Napolitano’s lettering is creative and excellently molds the art while directing the reader’s eye seamlessly.
Some pages have thick gutters on mostly yellow backgrounds that make these panels really pop.
The art makes excellent use of inset panels to show additional motion and slow the pace before big reveals. This allows the reader to savor these moments.
Phillips weaves the worldbuilding into conversations, dropping little nuggets along the way to keep readers enticed.
The book manages to depict grim reapers and the afterlife in a broad enough way that it doesn’t lean heavily on any single religion.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
One part of the story is fairly monochromatic and contains mostly panels of the character’s faces. It drags the story a bit and more variety in color or the scenes could have helped this.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Grim is a fun, fresh take on the classic question: what happens after one’s death and could it be reversed? This issue is an excellent starting point to finding out those answers with an emotional journey along the way. Phillips masterfully sets up multiple little mysteries concerning Jessica and the overall world of reapers and the afterlife. Along with a cool concept, the book has already established that coming to terms with loss will be a major theme and emotional core.
The art team seems like a match made in heaven. Flaviano’s thick lines and balance of detailed vs. abstract art pair marvelously with Renzi’s focus on flat colors with subtle shading. The combination of linework and coloring craft the story’s mood and tone perfectly in each panel. Napolitano’s lettering is the thread that sews it all together while adding a bit of contrast with some thinner sound effects peppered throughout.
This book is perfect for any fan of thoughtful, emotional horror that stems from creative worldbuilding.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Nuclear Family by Stephanie Phillips & Tony Shasteen
The Butcher of Paris by Stephanie Phillips & Dean Kotz
Karmen by Guillem March
If you like the art:
Low Road West by Phillip Kennedy Johnson & Flaviano
I Am Groot by Christopher Hastings & Flaviano
Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder & Francesco Francavilla
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Stephanie Phillips (@Steph_Smash) – Writer
Phillips is an established talent, for nearly every major comics publisher but is most known for her work on Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman.
She holds a Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition and an MA in English and has taught writing courses at the collegiate level.
Phillips is also a Muay Thai fighter and hockey player.
Flaviano (@Flaviano_arm) – Artist
An established talent, Flaviano has drawn several books for Marvel and Boom! Studios.
He won the Napoli Comic Con’s Attilio Micheluzzi award in 2010 for “Best Webcomic”.
Flaviano hails from Italy.
Rico Renzi – Colorist
Having a prolific career, Renzi has worked for every major publisher but is most known for his work on Marvel’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Spider-Gwen.
He has also done cover art and pencils for Marvel.
Rico designs apparel and stickers which he sells through his site No Longer Mint.
Tom Napolitano (@TENapolitano) – Letterer
Having a successful career, Napolitano has lettered multiple books for DC, Lion Forge, Vault & Humanoids.
He is also a colorist with his work currently being published in Tales of the Night Watchman.
Napolitano also letters for Deron Bennett’s AndWorld Design.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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