Insane Comics 2015
Written by Bradley Golden
Illustrated by Tolen Tino
Lettered by Chris Allen
This is my introduction to Insane Comics and I have to say that there’s a reason i’m such a huge fan of small independent press comics. As the title implies this is a horror comic and i’ve been a lifelong horror fan so this for me was a real treat. When I was a wee lad my cousins used to leave on the television when we stayed over and they had these old black and white horror movies playing, mostly to scare me which it did so this evoked those memories in me and took me back to a time when horror stories were about more than slasher films. This first issue solidly puts the story in the driver’s seat and Tolen’s interiors create this throwback feel so that you could end up sleeping with a light on again.
We open with a brutal killing of a child and her mother in a nice suburban neighborhood in New York. The killer is a man seemingly scarred with an almost zombie-esque appearance to his face. It’s clear he relishes what he does and that in itself is terrifying. Thankfully most of the bloodshed is done off camera so the readers imagination is forced to fill in the blanks and that is the most effective tool when dealing with a horror story. Hitchcock knew that and it’s why we saw so little actual evisceration in his movies.
I also have to say that it seems that Tolen uses computer generated artwork for the interiors and blends real life imagery with his own artistic talent. This creates the illusion of some clear reality really grabs your attention. The cop car, a picture frame with two boys in it and other instances where we see more real life imagery inserted help to make this seem more cinematic and realistic than through just drawing alone. This kind of mixed media work is stunning in this format.
The lead Detective, Gary, is a smoker which for me is another throwback who gets the call sees the crime scene and sees the work of a man he witnessed put to death eight months ago. Thomas “Butcher” Lassey. So could this be a resurrected now supernatural killer on the loose and the bane of Gary’s existence or is this a copycat killer with a sick fascination or connection the original? Odds are after seeing his face i’m gonna go with the former but that’s purely conjecture.
What this does do however is set up the good guy versus the bad guy in a timeless story we’ve seen before. The big difference here is that this seems like the old school noir horror done in a new fresh way with excellent characterization. Find the killer and put him down once and for all but when the world believes you’re dead well it’s easier to go on another killing spree. Plus that leaves very few clues for the cops to follow. Which gives us already in this issue that sense of urgency and creepiness that is needed to really get under your skin.
This is a horror lovers dream come true. Old school sensibility with new world implications keeping it fresh, innovative and wickedly fun.