Dark Horse Comics 2018
Created & Written by Nick Keller
Illustrated by Conor Nolan
Coloured by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Lettered by John J. Hill
As summer comes to an end, three friends start senior year with a bang by exploring the mysterious past of their school. But before the night is over, their adventure turns into trouble when the kids set loose an evil that seeks to prey on their worst nightmares.
Sometimes something looks intriguing and when you get to it you can either be disappointed or beyond happy, yes it always stay in the middle but that’s another story. This looked interesting and it exceeded all expectations I had for it. I’m an old guy and I grew up way before Goosebumps but I do know of it and I know enough to say what Nick has created here is the next level for those Goosebumps fans. It is smarter, has a stronger edge to it and there’s another reason I'll touch on shortly not to mention it has this really interesting aspect to the story.
What may have impressed me the most is what Nick has decided to do with these characters backgrounds. Each one of them is damaged in some way, shape or form and it leads me to that theory that like minded people find each other, shared history in the manner that they go through similar experiences and may not talk about them but leaves them haunted. It is like that you recognise people intrinsically that let you know they’ll be your friends/family from here on forward. To understand their personalities you have to understand their pasts and the way that is presented to us is a huge wow factor.
The way that this is structured is pretty awesome. We’re introduced to the kids, a trio of mischievous teenagers, as they search for a door. Now I liked this for a number of reason and you’ll more than likely find your own reasons to but the door, the idea, the mythology of the school and all that jazz while it feels taken from other franchises still feels rather unique and fresh. I think Nick nails the teenage mindset in a way few others have been able to do and that each generation thinks the ones before it were stupid and messed things up for them and they are the ones to do it right. Yeah it is the truth that’s how we all felt at that age you can lie about it but we all know the truth.
I like the interiors here they have a comic book/fantasy/illustrated novel feel about it. Between Conor and Kelly this is the kind of work that makes a story standout and be noticed. It blurs the boundaries between novelization and comic books and that’s gorgeous to me, plus it reminds me of work that used to be done by illustrators for the covers of my teenage books. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off a great eye for storytelling. I love that the we see so much backgrounds in use here to really expand the moments we’re in. Also I think there’s some interesting use of creativity and imagination here and that hits at one point and you’ll know when you see it.
Already I love this it crosses over the generational gap nicely and teens and adults will find it relatable and exciting. It has that ring of being a next generation franchise of horror aimed at the Goosebumps generation. I think this much smarter and far more interesting than that franchise and falls almost into the Three Investigators realm of mystery, intrigue and scares. Absolutely incredibly well written with some stunningly gorgeous interiors this is one you kick yourself over if you miss out on it.