This week it’s a double dose of Image Comics with Steve Niles new series Winnebago Graveyard and Kill The Minotaur!
Winnebago Graveyard #1 (Image Comics)
Steve Niles has been making a name for himself as the “creepy comics creator” for quite a while now. As the creator of 30 Days of Night and Criminal Macabre, he’s pretty much one of the go to guys when you want a comic book to scare the crap out of you. After dealing with Vampires and other monsters, he’s turning his attention to Satanic Cults with Winnebago Graveyard, a comic that sounds goofy, but is anything but.
The main plot for this opening issue focuses on a family on a road trip that stops at a weird carnival in the middle of nowhere. If you’ve seen enough horror movies than you know what to expect next, but Steve Niles’ script does a fantastic job of really building tension and mood. This isn’t the bloody horror Niles that wrote 30 Days of Night, this is a Steve Niles that is really working to get under your skin and leave a lasting impression. There’s real sense of foreboding doom sitting just underneath the plot, and the fact that we know what’s coming only adds to the fear that we feel for this family.
Also adding to that fear is Allison Sampson’s art, which does wonders at creeping you out. Sampson is able to convey both truly unsettling images and really genuine family moments easily. Winnebago Graveyard is probably the only comic out that features both a human sacrifice and a step dad trying to reach his stepson, and Sampson is able to give both aspects of this story the care and attention that they need. Sampson also does a tremendous job of playing up the creep factor of the Carnival, especially when the sun goes down and the family’s Winnebago goes missing.
If there’s one thing about Winnebago Graveyard that’s a negative, it’s that it’s over way too soon. Just as I was really settling in to the creepiness of the story, it was over. But Niles and Sampson have really created something intriguing here. Growing up in a pretty secluded area of New Hampshire, I see a lot of similarities with Niles’ fear of abandoned places that are just off the main roads, and the tension in this opening issue alone guarantees I’ll be back for more.
Kill the Minotaur #1 (Image Comics)
The Greek myths have always been used to inspire many of our modern heroes and stories, but there’s been a lack of Greek Mythology tales in comics. Whether it’s because there’s no market for them or because they are so widely known, there’s definitely a major hole on the comic shelves when it comes to sweeping mythical epics. However, Kill The Minotaur by Chris Pasetto, Christian Cantamessa, and Lukas Ketner could be just the thing to usher in a new batch of Greek stories in comics.
As you can probably guess from the title, Kill The Minotaur is a new telling of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. It’s not exactly new ground for anyone who took Latin in high school, but the real draw here is Pasetto and Cantamessa’s take on the story, and the character of Theseus. Both writers do a fantastic job of getting us into the mindset of Theseus, who in this story is brash and unaware of why his subjects would ever hate him and his family. When he’s told of a way to stop King Minos from abducting more of his people for his mysterious sacrifices, Theseus jumps at the chance to help his people. But of course, it doesn’t go exactly as planned.
Even if the script wasn’t compelling, the art from Lukas Ketner would make Minotaur a must buy. Though we don’t see the mighty creature in this issue, judging by Ketner’s art in this opening issue we’re going to be in for a real treat when we finally do. Ketner is able to fill Minotaur with so much excitement that even the panels where characters are just talking and planning seem alive with motion. I can’t wait to see what he does next.
It’s safe to say that Kill The Minotaur is one of the best debut issues of the year. It may be covering well tread ground, but this book is very much worth your time. There’s plenty of interesting ideas to be mined from this story, and it’ll be really interesting to see what these creators do next. Here’s hoping they plan to take on some other Greek myths when this is wrapped up.