And Then Emily Was Gone #0
Creators: John Lees & Iain Laurie
Story: John Lees
Art: Iain Laurie
Colors: Megan Wilson
Letters: Colin Bell
Cover: Ryan Stegman
It should be noted that this issue also has a fun look at ComixTribe's time travelling maniac, Oxymoron, created by Tyler James and Alex Cormack. However, for the sake of consistency and length I will only be discussing the title story. And Then Emily Was Gone has been getting a steady increase in popularity since it's initial release. The series now has one full trade out (which I will podcast about soon enough). The series features strange Twin Peaks-esque characters as well as grotesque creatures to produce true terror with a totally immersive experience. John Lees has been working with ComixTribe on the titles Oxymoron, The Standard, and Scamthology. He has an excellent grasp on horror motives and situational dialogue. Iain Laurie has an art style is completely unparalleled! I have never seen anything like it... and it's EPIC! Laurie has worked on some very independent comics in the past including Gonzo Comics, a Craig Collins collection, and Last Caress.
And Then Emily Was Gone #0 is a prequel to the first story arc (which ended last year) and tells the story of Billy McTaggart who keeps getting nightly visits from a strange and frightening man. His parents are in disbelief of these claims, and as Billy's fear grows he comes to the conclusion that this creature is the legendary taker of children, Bonnie Shaw... who gets closer to his window every night. If you'd like to know Billy's fate and the reason Bonnie Shaw has chosen him, you will have to read this issue.
Lees further cultivates the series sense of dread through the disbelief of the parents and the scared dialogue of Billy. He also gives the story a very noticeable build up to an ending that isn't entirely unpredictable, but is definitely rewarding. There is an interesting effect within Lees storytelling that makes the reader believe more and more in Bonnie Shaw as the story goes on. With a window of opportunity that is closing on Billy and parents that refuse to believe his tale, there is a sense of dread that creates stress and helps mount the fear. See more of his crazy art by visiting Horror Mountain!
As I mentioned earlier, Laurie's art is something I have never seen before. The characters aren't particularly attractive, but as most stories might find that to be a detriment, Laurie uses it to his benefit to further convey the level of creepiness that many horror stories fail to reach. The way the backgrounds are drawn at night give a sense that there is something in the darkness, with Billy's window being an intense and sudden answer to "What is going bump in the night?" For a story like this, to actually scare an audience and produce images that really make shock folks, it couldn't possibly have had a better artist. Laurie has found a great genre to contribute to, and I can't wait to see more as time goes on.
If you want to be scared silly then go ahead and find yourself a copy of And The Emily Was Gone #0. I'm sure some comic stores still have a copy or two left and it is also available online for pretty cheap (at least for now). You can read a short preview here as well. If you dig this issue then you can also order the trade of the first arc. With Lees and Laurie at the helm of this series you are guaranteed to think, enjoy, be scared... and possibly even wet yourself.
You can also download the first issue off of good 'ol Noisetrade right here.