Aftershock Comics 2019
Created & Written by Zac Thompson
Created & Illustrated by Arjuna Susini
Coloured by Dee Cunniffe
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
The 1990’s. Tragedy strikes the Beharrell family in the form of a debilitating stroke. Now the youngest child in the family is convinced his paralysed father didn’t truly fall ill but is possessed by something sinister. He believes a demon, THE REPLACER, has come to take away his jolly, agreeable, tech-obsessed Dad. But no one seems to see the monster — and with every passing day, his father falls deeper into the clutches of evil.
I was looking forward to this one as a big time horror genre fan. Right off the bat we open up with a little narration and a look at the house as it’s remembered on that day when everything changed. I have to admit I loved this and the difference in Marcus’ room compared to his sisters as well as that time it became all the rage for everyone to have a television in their room. Kids mainly for video games I suppose but growing we would never have had a television in our bedrooms, even now I have one and I never turn it on. So my point is that the opening is exactly what it needs to be it’s the introduction to the family before anything happens, which makes us want to see more.
I like the way that this is structured. After the introduction we move into a real time scenario as it’s remembered. I love seeing all this because honestly it is a beautiful representation of middle anywhere in the world. A family having dinner, the mum & pop doing what they do and the kids arguing it’s all very mundane in a sense so unless you already knew what this was about, which we do and we still somehow kind of get lulled into this false sense of security. I love how Zac and Arjuna are able to convey this so easily for the reader.
Arjuna and Dee do some stellar work on the interiors here. That feeling of normalcy that it gives us in regards to the family is what make the horror that much more significant and I gotta say it really does make the creepy so much creepier. Also the imagination and creativity that we see here is on display really well and effectively. The linework is gorgeous and how the varying weights have been utilised in bringing out this delightful attention to detail. Also the weight loss transformation we see is beyond sensational!
The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show off this superb eye for storytelling. The way that we see backgrounds being utilised here is also stupendous in expanding the moment, increasing the characterisation and bringing a size and scope to the story. Also huge shout out to Dee as the wallpaper or tie-dye shirt are seen to us as well as the use of shading, shadows and even the colour gradation that he does is utterly remarkable.
This story takes so many different twists and turns as well as ushering us through the massive life changes that take place throughout the story. I mean one trauma in the family can have a cascading effect naturally but add into it something supernatural in nature and things tend to get exponentially worse. So the changes in personalities of these characters we see here is mindbogglingly good and it all feels as if this happens in such a natural way. This is as much a psychological horror story as it is straight up horror and either way you experience this story it will leave you a different person than when you started.
So Aftershocks use of oversized stories in novella form is definitely one of the great uses of storytelling in this industry.