Review: ‘Gravestown’ – A Deliciously Spooky, Perfectly Paced, Gorgeous Looking New Fantasy Horror From The Creators Of Harker

Gravestown is a new full-colour horror-fantasy series from Roger Gibson and Vincent Danks, creators of my favourite crime procedural drama, Harker – well, damn, this one was always going to be a great book.

They’ve successfully funded the first issue (of four) on Kickstarter already and were kind enough to send a pre-print review copy over. And damn, it’s so bloody good.

It’s a spooky and fun adventure, packed with Gibson’s great dialogue, just enough- although never too much – of Gibson’s comedy touches, and pitch-perfect storytelling. And then there’s Danks’ lush, gorgeous artwork that you’ll know from Harker.

It’s a mystery, it’s a chiller, it’s a series that’s going to feature strange things, all about the weird stuff on the nightmarish side… vampires, faeries, UFOS, ghosts, and zombies (and that’s all in the first issue.)

Here’s an idea what it’s all about, from the back cover…

But most of all, this one’s absolutely perfect in delivering a delicious sense of tension, from the moment our lead, Emma, and her wisecracking friends begin exploring an old house, hunting for an offbeat party location, right through to the end with Emma realising she’s in some serious trouble. Between them, Gibson and Danks have delivered something that’s just a completely wonderful bit of storytelling.

And, of course, if you know Danks’ art from Harker, you won’t be surprised when I tell you it looks just… well, stunning doesn’t really capture it. So, here, have a gander at the first page…

Bloody hell. That really is something, don’t you agree?

So, a few beats from the story to set the scene for you now. Emma and her mates have decided to check out the big old spooky house, scouting for a house party… with Gibson’s typically sparky and humorous dialogue bouncing off Danks’ absolutely superb architectural artwork…

In they go, doing their best to wind each other up, to scare each other, with absolutely no idea what’s lying in wait for them…

Oh, it’s all fun before the screaming starts…

But, before the screaming does start, there’s the discovery of a strange bit of machinery in the corner of one of the rooms, letting Emma shine a little bit of light on things…

And I’m not giving away anything here, because a lot of the big reveal comes in the first six pages or so – it’s another way that Gibson and Danks are setting this up in a real cinematic fashion, building up the ideas and the tension in those first few pages, all leading up to the huge first switch – it’s the cold open done just so well, building everything up until that first reveal that Emma and her little gang have gone someplace very strange indeed.

Once they’ve found themselves in the new, huge space, with all those dark corridors and ancient doors leading into who-knows-where, they do the one thing you should never do, classic horror movie mistake, and split up. It doesn’t end well at all.

No, Emma. It’s not all good. It’s really not. You’re in deep, deep trouble right now.

By the end of it, Emma, our sassy lead, finds herself without friends and in a very strange new place, far, far away from the simple little haunted house mystery we all thought we were getting into. Gibson and Danks manage to scale this up beyond imagination within just 32 pages – quite an achievement.

We’re left with more questions than answers at the end of the first issue, but not in the way that frustrates. No, this is all meticulously done, perfectly done build-up, where the questions just make you eager to get your hands on the second issue.

For example, who or what is this and where’s Emma now?

And what the hell’s going on here?

It’s paced perfectly, it’s sumptuously drawn, with great colouring, and it’s a real page-turner from start to finish. Gravestown really is a book you have to get – you won’t find a bit of horror fantasy done better this year. One of the best debuts I’ve read in a long, long time… probably since Harker.

The issue #1 Kickstarter is over and done, but don’t be too dejected – the Kickstarter for Gravestown #2 gets going in January and there’s the option to add issue #1 in there. And yes, I’ll let you know when it’s happening!

In the meantine, be sure to follow Roger Gibson and Vincent Danks on the socials… Roger’s Twitter and Facebook, Vincent’s Facebook and FB Page.

Gravestown Issue 1 – co-plotted by Roger Gibson and Vincent Danks, script by Roger Gibson, art and tones by Vincent Danks, colours by Andrew Richmond

Now, because the opener is so damn perfect, that cinematic cold open that I was talking about, the thing that really did everything it needed to do to hook me into the comic, I can think of no better way to end than to show it to you and hook you in too…

Now, deep breath for the reveal… time to go wow at the amount of incredible, beautiful work that Vincent Danks has put into this…

3…

2…

1…

Wow…

 

Oh yes, now they’re definitely not in Kansas anymore.

 

Gravestown is a new full-colour horror-fantasy series from Roger Gibson and Vincent Danks, creators of my favourite crime procedural drama,COMICONRead More

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