AWA Upshot Studios 2020
Written by John Lees
Illustrated by Dalibor Talajić
Coloured by Lee Loughridge
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
You won't find it on any map, but if you happen to be driving down Route 66 late at night and you're truly desperate for shelter, sanctuary or secrecy, you might see a battered sign on the side of the road: The Pierrot Courts Hotel – where many check in but few check out.
Welcome to the Hotell California, any time of year, you can find it here…. Yeah this really is apropos and I have to say this is creepier than anything the song suggests. I absolutely LOVE what John is doing here with this concept, story and the book overall. This is the modern equivalent of House of Mystery when Cain was the host. That is how it feels to me, it checks off all the boxes we want when it comes to a horror book with a host where the Hotell itself is such a mystery and god cannot help you should you find it.
I love 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 laid down so expertly well. With the way that this is structured highlights just how important certain moments are to how we see what’s going on. I love seeing Sean again and hearing him tell his story to Kristen. This leads me to the character development that we see here. The personalities on display are amazing in how fully formed they feel and how they continue to demonstrate their ever evolving traits. The overall anxiety and obsession that we see here from different folks is without a doubt showcases some of the most extraordinary writing I have seen. The pacing is superb and how we see it take us through the pages revealing the twists and turns along the way shows how well that everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow.
I am so utterly impressed with this book. The creators and the company that is putting this out as the market needs books like this right now. The industry needs this level of talent and quality in every aspect of it’s storytelling to be seen and enjoyed. I am putting every ounce of support behind this and if you don’t enjoy then I dunno what to say.
The interiors here are phenomenal! The linework is truly exquisite and how we see the varying weights being utilised to bring out the detail that we see here is really quite extraordinary. How we see the backgrounds being utilised here enhance the moments, add elements of mood, tone and feel to the scenes as well as bring us this great depth perception, sense of scale and that overall sense of size and scope to the book. The colour work is divine! How we see the flashback colours being more sepia toned like an old photograph and yet still show that amazing shading, highlights and shadow work is impressive. The hues and tones that we see within the colours being utilised to create the shadows, highlights and shading from light sources or the creation of light sources is really amazing.
If John’s going to keep himself in this horror genre lane then I fully support this decision. The smoothness of the storytelling lulls you into this false sense of security until these moments come that can shake you to your core. Full of suspense and tension filled encounters this is the kind of storytelling that should win awards, and I do mean from the writing, artwork and lettering here.