Maribel and Anthony are siblings on a road trip to visit the grave of their father. And although both brother and sister have strong and mixed feelings when it comes to the man, both feel that maybe some sort of closure will come with the visit. But something far more sinister, frightening and disturbing awaits them at Burwood Cemetery. Maribel and Anthony are about to find out the proprietors of the cemetery, the Malrot family, harbor a different notion of life and death, one that will enter their lives like a hallucinatory nightmare that may never let go.
Written by: M.L. Miller
Art by: James Michael Whynot
Colors by: Dee Cunniff
Lettered by: Jim Campbell
Published by: Black Mask Studios
Horror comics are a passion of mine and it’s hard to find a good one because, without the sensory overload that other mediums provide, horror in sequential art relies heavier on pure story and visuals. In its story, Gravetrancers definitely succeeds. M.L. Miller has crafted a story that is equal parts relatable, frightening and captivating. It’s relatable in the sense that the protagonists, Anthony and Maribel, are a very real and fleshed out sibling duo. The opening scene with them driving in the car will be recognizable to anyone who has a brother or a sister. The relationship is very real and the way they talk to each other is one of the highlights of the writing. It’s frightening because once the setup and concept have been executed (and I will avoid spoilers!) it’s truly horrifying (I will say if you do know why Vikings did Funeral Pyres you will get and idea). And it’s captivating because as fucked up as the Malrot family is, you can’t help but be drawn to who and what they are. This is a first issue that hooks you completely by the end.
The entire art team of James Michael Whynot, Dee Cuniff, and Jim Campbell really bring this book together too. The linework in the pencils is rough in all the right ways. It really conveys the intensity of the story. The layouts are also excellent and I love the uneven and hand-drawn look to the panel borders.
The coloring is equally fantastic and immediately brought to mind the look and feel of classic horror comics from the 50s/60s. And like the pencils, they felt refreshingly handcrafted.
There is also some great work done here with the lettering. The word balloons have crisp fonts and the ‘sound effects’ lettering is again akin to classic EC Comics style and execution.
You can add Gravetrancers to two lists now. The list of awesome titles being put out by Black Mask Studios, and the list of awesome new horror titles. There are a great mythology and story being created in this book and it is well worth your look when it hits in December.