• Katie Liggera

I WALK WITH MONSTERS, ISSUE #1

Writer: Paul Cornell

Illustrator: Sally Cantirino

Publisher: Vault Comics

I Walk With Monsters, Issue #1, Cover by Sally Cantirino, Vault Comics, Cornell/Cantirino

WHAT IS IT?

A quiet, minimalistic horror story that explores the intersection of men and monsters. Two individuals attempt to purge their world of psychological and physical abusers in this dark suspense tale about trauma.


Think Promising Young Woman meets the emotional core of Split.


WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

(Minor Spoilers)

Jacey goes from town to town, luring child predators to her. Using herself as bait, she taunts these men while her friend, David, silently lurks in the shadows. When the abusers attempt to harm Jacey, David emerges in the form of a powerful monster, bloodily decimating the predator.


Jacey and David work in tandem, locating child predators and seeking justice. But the lingering beasts of Jacey's past have traumatized her, and her battle for vengeance leaves her weary. In childhood, a sinister man stole her brother. Though she's forgotten his face, Jacey can't forget her anger. Will Jacey find the monster she's really hunting?


WHAT WORKS?

  • Paul Cornell's limited use of dialogue allows Sally Cantirino's intimate art to speak a thousand words. The characters speak succinctly while the art reveals unspoken meaning.

  • Cornell leaves readers to infer information and finer plot details through Cantirino's haunting and expressive imagery. Her art does some heavy-lifting in this comic but does not detract from the importance of each word spoken.

  • Both depictions of the monsters resonate deeply when taking in the breadth of Cantirino's talented attention to artistic detail.

  • Dearbhla Kelly's red-and-black color palette intertwines with muted-earth tones to convey the plot's thematic, eerie seriousness.

  • Kelly's color choices are immensely significant, as they establish both time and mood. Kelly washes the flashback sequences with a garish yellow color, clearly distinguishing the non-linear time jumps for the reader.

  • AndWorld Design uses slightly bent lettering in the speech balloons to further push the anxiety-inducing tone of the issue. It's crisply readable, but the tilted letters provide that permeating sense of fright.

  • When Jacey's father speaks, the speech balloons always appear directly over his shoulder. This conscious placement is notable in producing his vile character traits.

  • SFX works tremendously well in portraying bloody, disturbing scenes that often occur off-story.

  • Jacey and David are introduced without explicitly stating their relationship, yet the art allows small gestures to explain the emphatic bond between them. Their relationship doesn't require immediate explanation to produce empathy.

  • Horror elements are mixed with psychology and fantasy, creating a sublime narrative that feels chillingly plausible.

  • The entire team astutely mesh their talents together in order to capture the menacing tone and the unsettling feeling of lurking evil that the horror genre demands.

  • Trauma and abuse are serious subjects that require careful storytelling. Equating monsters with abusive men, as well as including a protagonist who physically transforms into a monster, are perfectly balanced concepts in this issue.


WHAT DOESN’T WORK?

  • Content Warning: Frightening images and gore are scarce, but do appear at the beginning of this issue. David can turn into a terrifying monster that murders child predators, so this is a critical plot device that is likely to carry over into further issues.

  • This comic's narrative revolves around implied abuse and trauma, which could prove a heavy or triggering subject for some readers.

  • Some backstory elements could be confusing if skimmed over too quickly. Art plays a huge role in this issue, so skipping over the many wordless panels present will hinder reading comprehension.


I Walk With Monsters, Issue #1, Page #3, Vault Comics, Cornell/Cantirino

WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

I Walk With Monsters blends fantasy, horror, mystery, and psychology together with terrifyingly emotional results. This narrative about a woman battling the aftereffects of trauma and her vengeful mission to prevent other young girls from sharing her pain generates profound emotions for a reader. We fear the monsters in fairy tales, but this comic persists on enlightening readers that real monsters also exist in the shape of demented, horrifyingly human, predators.


Trauma manifests itself in the main protagonist, yet her resilience to save others from her fate will inspire readers. I Walk With Monsters #1 is a suspenseful tale that sincerely explores the physical and mental damage monsters can inflict on their prey.


WHAT DO I READ NEXT?

If you like the writing:

  • Wisdom: Rudiments of Wisdom by Paul Cornell, Trevor Hairsine, & Manuel Garcia

  • Saucer Country Vol. 1 by Paul Cornell, Jimmy Broxton, Goran Sudžuka, & Ryan Kelly

  • Home Sick Pilots by Dan Watters & Caspar Wijngaard


If you like the art:

  • Last Song by Holly Interlandi & Sally Cantirino

  • We Have To Go Back by Jordan Alsaqa & Sally Cantirino

  • Atlantis Wasn't Built For Tourists by Eric Palicki & Wendell Cavalcanti


ABOUT THE CREATORS


Paul Cornell – Writer

  • Award Winner: Winner of several awards in different mediums, from film to novels. He wrote Captain Britain and MI: 13 for Marvel, with the third trade winning having been nominated for the 2010 "Best Graphic Story" Hugo Award.

  • Prolific: Writer of several British Comics for both Marvel and DC, and has written a vast amount of Doctor Who television episodes and fiction.

  • Outlander: He is British and hails from the UK.


Sally Cantirino – Illustrator

  • Hails from New Jersey and self-publishes many of her own comics including We Have To Go Back.

  • She is the wonderful artist for the comic Last Song from Black Mask Studios.


Dearbhla Kelly – Colorist

  • They are an extremely talented illustrator, colorist, and designer.

  • Known prominently for coloring comics such as Paradiso, Red Sonja, and Pantomime.


AndWorld Design – Letterer

  • AndWorld Design is a lettering, logo design, font creation, page layout, and graphic design company founded by Deron Bennett.

  • Lettered for many comics, including Quixote, Girl Over Paris, and Gold Medal Rabbit.


HOW DO I BUY IT?

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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 I Walk With Monsters characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Paul Cornell and Sally Cantirino or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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