Written by Chris Sides
Art by Freja Steele
Lettering and additional artwork by Chris Travell
“Tell him to hold on…”
The Book: Northern Phuket, Thailand. Local fisherman Chen enjoys a rare ocean excursion with his estranged son, Kai, off the coastline of a popular holiday resort. As Kai excitedly makes the first catch of the day, the shoreline suddenly recedes, leaving Chen’s boat stranded. Chen knows this is bad news – gathering Kai, he makes to run, but something in the sand catches his eye. Something he can’t ignore. Something with a message…”
The Review: Whispering Sands is a 40-page one shot horror thriller, inspired by the large number of bizarre supernatural occurrences that took place after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in Thailand. It’s a story of disaster and hope when all is seemingly lost.
Put together by the small press company Redshift Press (the guys responsible for last years horror anthology Dark Matter, reviewed here), this is a comic that at first lulls you into a false sense of security. The blue of the sea and sky feature heavily in the first segment, before the carpet is pulled out from under you and you are yanked out of your comfort zone. The warmth and beauty of this holiday destination shifts dramatically both with the arrival of the Tsunami and the horror that follows. The world gets turned upside down for Chen, caught between the reality of his world and a strange ghostly moment between stillness and disaster.
Whispering Sands manges to create fear through old-fashioned ghosts and undead creatures as well as the guilt of the survivor in this horrific real world event. It illustrates how the starkness of reality can haunt us in worse ways than horror tropes can.
The book also features a back up story (handled by the same team) about an attempted escape from an end of the world cult –also a story that will stay with you and plays with your preconceptions of people and place.
Both of these tales are handled masterfully in the writing stakes. Chris has a great mind for horror and plays them off against personal moments with a really individual style. the bleak nature of each of the stories are handled well in the art departments too.
Many thanks for reading.
Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer - his hips don't lie.