Scout Comics/Black Caravan 2021
Written & Coloured by Jon Clark
Illustrated by Travis Williamson
Lettered by April Brown
Something is fighting its way through the floor and has broken into Star-Mart. Something very vicious, something very hungry. Store clerk Javier, and his fellow employees thought they were survivors by contending with the onslaught of excited customers racing to secure the right prize on Black Friday, but they had no idea what real survival was, now they're about to find out.
Thankfully this is such a unique story that it was easy to remember what happened in the first issue even though it came out such a long time ago. That it all came flooding back looking at the first page is a testament to how well Jon wrote that issue and how beautifully illustrated Travis made it. The idea behind this is so strong and so interesting and while who knows what attracts this kind of evil to a location but if it’s going to happen a big box kind of store on Black Friday is certainly a place for it to happen. That this is so dark and so creepy and yet the artwork is so light and reminiscent of Shel Siiverstein makes it one of those standout stories it’s becoming.
I am a huge and of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development is utterly sensational and as we see the dialogue, the character interaction and how they act and react to the situations and circumstances they encounter continue to flesh them out as people we know. The pacing is superb and as takes us through pages revealing more and more of the story as well as the twists & turns along the way keep on the edge of your seat.
How we see this being structured and how the layers within the story continue to grow, evolve and strengthen while new ones emerge is so great to see. These layers is where a lot of the tension, depth and complexity make themselves known. It really does make such an impact to have them weave around and through the main arc as they do. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow and how it moves the story forward is so well achieved.
The interiors here are really rather lovely. It has this very simple illustrated feel to it that I find hugely appealing. Then add into that these creatures that are also in that same vein yet are able to utilise the readers imagination to make them more terrifying and it’s beautifully done. With this being a big box store I do wish we’d see the backgrounds showcase this and make the aisles feel smaller and more cramped as that would really add to the tension and fear for the reader and the characters. Still the depth perception, sense of scale and that overall sense of size and scope to the story are showcased well. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a talented eye for storytelling. I really like the colour we see as well. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work works well here. Also I’m a huge fan of the way that the linework influences how we see the colour as well and makes moments appear darker than they actually are which is superb!
There are so many wonderful moment that happen throughout this book and while the horrors of what they see drive them to action, once the sheer and utter shock has worn off that is, are portrayed extremely well. This is probably as close to a real life reaction as we’re going to see in comics and I fully applaud this direction. This is guaranteed to leave an impact upon the reader for any number of reasons and for me a big one is that pinup page revealing that face and those teeth with the pointed fingers. This is a phenomenal book that need to have in your library!