Scout Comics 2018
Written by Matthew Erman
Illustrated by Lisa Sterle
Piper discovers the secrets to The Sound, the unfathomable world beyond Hazel Patch, as Frances fights to survive her abduction by the strange people living in Hazel Patch. Joanna continues her bizarre plans and has captured one of the strange beings that dwell in the forest outside town. What is she planning and how does The Mountain fit into all of this?
I can say with the utmost sincerity and honesty that Scout Comics has found and encouraged some of the most talented creators and allowed them to bring their stories to life. I have yet to read a book that they publish which I haven’t enjoyed. Matthew and Lisa have taken something that felt so interestingly innocent and turned it into something that comes from your worst nightmares. We were introduced to two estranged sisters who receive an odd summons, or invitation, to go home to a town they left for their mother’s birthday. Then it all went downhill.
The writing here is exceptional and the fact that two women who had an odd childhood and went their separate ways are being reunited (and it feels so good) and getting to know each again is done perfectly. Sisters sure but friends not so much and a familial bond can stretch and break and takes something like this for them to get back to a place where they trust, need and love one another and there is this really nice aspect inside this horror story. The way that this is structured and how it’s pacing is done make this what it is.
I am also a fan of the characterisation within these pages. I think that we have seen Piper go from this introverted scared of everything person become a stronger more confident woman. The transformation doesn’t happen overnight but throughout the story and its still happening as we move forward I cannot wait to see her in her final incarnation. If you want a damn good story that delves into the supernatural with a mystery and some long overdue family bonding then you really need to be reading this. Volume 1 is out in trade form and I am positive your local shoppe can order it all. The ebb & flow and the way characters are introduced and what purpose they serve is incredibly well done.
Lisa has grown on me more and more with each new issue of her work that I see. This is deceptively simple looking to me and yet the facial expressions convey so much emotion. The linework can be subtle or bold depending on what she wants us to see. The creativity and imagination level here is fantastic as we see the creatures in this other place or how she has portrayed the locals after Joanna has “cured” them. The utilisation of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off her very strong eye for storytelling. The way backgrounds are utilised here do so much to expand the moment and make such an impact on me, page 7 is a great example, and give us this great sense of size and scope of the story.
There are parts of this that take me by complete surprise and others that seem somewhat more predictable and the way those two aspects play off one another is pretty brilliantly done. You can feel that the end of the story is coming whether you want it to or not and getting emotional about that already is such an indication of how well this series has been told. This is a (little bit of Mardi Gras in my life) wonderfully thought out and executed book that has a light that shines through the darkness and gives off this feeling of hope through the sisters and it’s that spark you lash onto and keeps you going.
This is what I live for, finding books, creators and the companies that give them a shot to be exposed to the world. Such a good, strong and powerfully told story that you need to experience.