In Review: This Comic is Haunted #2

Review by Luke Williams

This Comic is HAUNTED #2 Main Cover by Paul McCaffrey
This Comic is HAUNTED #2 Main Cover by Paul McCaffrey

From the stable of titles that is The77 Publications, comes This Comic Is Haunted. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that it’s a horror comic, it has a strong editorial identity and behind a beautiful cover from Paul McCaffrey it benefits from hosting strips than run the gamut of all that is creepy and (or) gory.

Issue One was clearly a bit of a hit, and the second follows pretty much the same format with the odd editorial tweak. Sensibly, it has a mix of ongoing series and one offs to attract the new reader.

Kicking things off, Jo Heeley and Ian Stopforth conclude the two part “The Lodger”, a tale of a haunting in a tower block. Atmospheric, moody art and a contemporary setting make this more than a run of the mill haunted house story, but it ends (?) quite abruptly; more a trailer for a longer serial.

“The Lodger” part 2, by Jo Heeley and Ian Stopforth
“The Lodger” part 2, by Jo Heeley and Ian Stopforth

British comic legend Alan Hebden and Lee Milmore return for Part Two of “The Drummer From Hell”, which takes a bit of a left turn from Part One. Occasionally, the dialogue is toe curlingly dated, but it rattles along well and exits on a great cliff hanger. Milmore’s art is clean enough to eat off. Perhaps for a horror strip it could do with being a little earthier, but there’s no doubting his talent.

A Doctor Van Helsing Mystery: The Collector” by John H. Short and Chris Askham, lettered by Andrew Richmond is a period mystery with appealing ligne claire sepia tinged art. Holmesian in tone; with a touch of the Tales of the Unexpected and classily done in one.

FML” has remarkable greytone art by cover artist McAffrey, written by editor Dave Heeley and with lettering by the omnipresent Richmond. Another of the one shot strips, zombies, the end of the world and a thick seam of black humour are the order of the day.

Despite being in black and white the “Only One” succeeds in the having the most visceral horror, in the package. Ade Hughes wades in beautifully rendered gore, but Christopher Davidson’s story of a seemingly unhinged reporter hints at a greater horror, doesn’t go anywhere and stops with a teaser.

Dave Heeley and Mark Marden’s saga of family history and redemption “Bones of Winter” brings the folk horror. It benefits from having a longer page count allowing the plot to develop at a natural pace.

Wrapping up the package, Lew Stringer’s one pager “Short Sharp Shocks” riffing off Frankenstein is fun in a macabre vein.

Design and lettering are often overlooked and can make or break a title, Andrew Richmond’s work in these areas (he lettered all but two of the strips present) is to be commended.

Less scattershot and most consistent in theme of The77’s comics, the title’s editorial team have clearly thought about what horror can be and presented a variety of chills accordingly.

This Comic Is Haunted is a great package. Roll on Issue Three.

Luke Williams

This Comic is Haunted #2 is available to order here from The77 Publications web shop

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