I should start this by saying that I’m a rabid Terry Moore fan, and will happily bore you for hours should you give me the chance to talk about his work. However, I will also say that, whilst I enjoyed Echo, the series that came before this, it never quite hit the height of Strangers in Paradise for me, so I approached this with excitement but also a little trepidation.
Horror and comics is a combination I haven’t had a great deal of experience with. The walking dead is great, but not scary horror. In fact, there aren’t any ‘proper horror’ comics I can think of, not since Sandman twenty years ago. I am thrilled, and a little creeped-out to announce that Terry Moore does horror as well as he does people, and relationships, and funny.
The story, in a winding way, introduces us to our heroine, who dies, only not really, and her friend, who does much the same. Through her, we discover that the town in which she lives has not always been the peaceful little place it now is. It has a history of terrible happenings, a history which is coming back to haunt it, quite literally.
The question is, why is it scary? Well, first off, the actual ideas are scary. The little girl who kills people, the old dude whose very dead wife still occupies her old armchair, waking up buried. These things work, and are drawn beautifully. It feel cold when I read these comics and walk through the snow with the people who inhabit them.
Secondly, the character reactions, are, once again, spot on. It’s not all mad hysteria, and each person has their own way of reacting, responding to the insane things happening to them. What’s key, is that you believe them, in who they are, and why they do what they do. Except the old dude, he’s just nasty.
Third, the comic medium is again put to excellent use. The more outlandish parts of the story are supported by wonderful breaking of the panels, whole page reveals and edgy, challenging artwork. Terry also excels in telling moments using silence, a page of nine panels revealing a very simple task that provides lulls in the comic. Even those, though, have my skin crawling as I wait for something to happen.
My best moment so far? The kindly vicar offering a hand to a poor little girl. Such love, such kindness. Hehehe.
I’ve said it before, but if you like comics, you should be reading Terry Moore, and if you like good storytelling, the same applies. I can now happily add to that, if you like horror, you should be reading Terry Moore.