Tenth Anniversary Edition
Oni Press 2015
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Illustrated by Noel Tuazon & Scott Keating
Honestly I think I was aware of this only peripherally, by the name alone and that isn’t saying much. However being a part of Oni Press on their press/review list has given me the opportunity to start this, which by the way you can find weekly chapter releases on Comixology.
We open with a group of kids doing what they do, playing and chasing each other. This is Elk’s Ridge, West Virginia. From the look of it it’s a very old world town with modern conveniences. We get a really nice opening narration from one of the kids who lives here and even a really kind of creepy thing happening during it. Even more revealing than his narration is seeing John at the dinner table with his folks.
There’s something off and terribly wrong with the town of Elk’s Run. Why it was founded, who lives there and that seemingly no one ever leaves well yeah that’s weird. Plus as we learn from John there are seventeen boys and only four girls. Of the girls three are seven years younger than he is so that boys being boys is kind of hard unless they come of age experimenting together. This makes at least John want to leave, go to college and explore the world his father dragged him to.
The boys do what boys do and that’s break the rules and explore the tunnels. I mean they are at various ages of their teenage years and stuck in stifling town and they have this innate desire for more. So exploring the mining tunnels that close at night, which of course are supposed to be off limits, when a tragic accident occurs starts off a new nightmare for John as he’ll finally learn what it means to be part of this community. It isn’t going to be pretty and he isn’t going to like it but the real thing I can’t wait to see is how he reacts and what he what he does with that information.
I have a few ideas thanks to the narration and the dialogue of what kind of town this is and who runs and why they stay but I want to experience this story as it unfolds. So I’ll try not to think about what I want or expect to happen. My advice is to get each chapter as it comes out and wait to read the entire thing in one sitting and be simply amazed at what these guys have brought us. I wish I had known about Fialkov ten years ago because from what i’ve read of his this is classic stuff and I can see how he’s evolved from here.
while the artwork is more on the simple side of things it’s still very powerful in this setting. The eerie, creepy nature of the town and tunnels come through nicely with this style of artwork. There are a couple of magnificent two page spreads here that really go above and beyond in telling the story without the need for much if any words.
Horror fans rejoice this is the kind of subtle yet in your face story that exudes creepy and leaves you with an anxious feeling. There’s something not quite right with all that we see and yet once you start this there is no turning back!