“Hope ya don’t ALL change.”
Hey, this is D.C. here to throw down with my thoughts on Image Comics’ one-shot tale, The Belfry.
The Belfry caught my eye when I first read its solicitations some months ago. It’s not too often you see any book heralded by one person. In this case, Gabriel Hardman was in control of delivering this one-shot in both art and story.
The question was…did Gabriel Hardman deliver?
Simply put, The Belfry tells a tale of a flight crew and its passengers crashing landing in a forest, being hunted by creatures of the night. Basic enough.
Right away, I was captivated by Hardman’s art. The dark color tones and moody pencils fit in so well with the horror and suspense genre. Even the onomatopoeia used by Hardman are lettered in such a scratched and macabre way to give a sense of terror. The sounds in my head reverberated unpleasantly as I read the sounds, and I think that worked. With regards to art, I think The Belfry delivered very well.
It is clear that Hardman is in his element when drawing this story.
Story-wise, however, The Belfry was a severe disappointment.
In a one-shot, I expect a little more depth in a story to get to its point. Hardman’s writing is so scant here that I was left with far more questions than answers. By the end, it’s obvious what happens to most humans who are bit by these creatures, and how they repopulate. But as for everything else?
Who are the victims? Did they have some importance, or were they just cannon fodder? Couldn’t they have been both?
Who exactly are these creatures? Why do they capture and transmute humans? Is there a goal in mind, aside from simple repopulation? Why do those that don’t turn get blinded? What’s the significance there? More imporantly, why are those blinded enslaved?
Hardman simply wrote a horrid situation for the passengers of a crashed plane that may be just another week in the lives of the unnamed creatures. In this case, I can see that delving into the characters’ backgrounds isn’t key. Nonetheless, I felt that there was too little given on both ends to give the story satisfaction. Unfortunately, the art could not carry what was, in my opinion, a lackluster story.
Gabriel Hardman can really bring the horror in The Belfry. His art is truly terrifying. Hardman excels at capturing horror-suspense in every corner of his art, right down to the sound effects. However, the story was far too short and left far too little information to understand anything about the monsters to deliver a satisfying one-shot. The Belfry might have worked better as an anthology of tales that would have given the readers some depth into the history and motivation of these creatures.
Still, I think think this story is worth a pickup for anyone looking to delve into the horror genre. Give a go, and share your thoughts.
Hey, hey. This is D.C. Jackson here for another throwdown.
Like some people, I grew up on a certain genre of film, television, etc. While I love comics as a medium, my most favorite genre in any medium as always been horror. It’s in my blood.
So, eventually I was going to read something like this:
Vertigo’s Wolf Moon came out last year, and is the brainchild of writer Cullen Bunn and artist Jeremy Haun. The 6-issue mini-series involves a man’s hunt for a werewolf that ruined his life. However, protagonist Dillon Chase is not the only man hunting the werewolf.
Da Good Stuff
Wolf Moon is BRUTAL. I can’t emphasize that enough.
I don’t recall ever reading something so horrendous, so violating, and so disturbing.
The very graphic nature of the werewolf is given ample spotlight, the coloring by Lee Loughridge help to enhance the horror brought by Haun’s art. In all its incarnations, the werewolf is not a hunter, but a malicious, sadistic murderer that, as Chase says, hunts for pleasure, rather than necessity.
Every death committed by the werewolf is so horrendous.
I love learning about folklore and myths, and I’m sure everyone is familiar with werewolf folklore in some form. However, Bunn introduces aspects I’ve never been aware of, and I was thankful for that. I enjoyed how the werewolf curse was not passed by a bite, as seen in other media. In Wolf Moon, how the curse passes from person to person emphasizes the difficulties Dillon Chase has in tracking and ending the curse.
Bunn also does a good job making you understand how these people have been affected by the werewolf curse. None were left unscathed, and all were changed forever. No time was given to overload the read on flashbacks of one character, not even Dillon, and that was a very well-thought out plan on Bunn’s part. You see what the character thinks, how they felt, how they got to their emotional point, and why you should understand and care about them.
Flashbacks are plentiful in Wolf Moon. I loved the distinctly bloody hue of the flashbacks provided by Loughridge. Nothing says horror than crimson. Simply put, each flashback was written in a meaningful way.
The ending, in true horror fashion, leaves you almost elated, until you see just how wide-reaching the werewolf curse really is. I was left feeling dejected by the end of the story, but in a good way. And I believe that if Dillon knew how meaningful his obsessive quest truly was, he would have felt the same.
Da Not-So-Good Stuff
The only thing I can even consider a problem was the climax of the book. There is one character who hunting the werewolf just like Dillon, but for other reasons. I would have liked to have had a little more time on a couple of characters. Nonetheless, none of the characters’ time in Wolf Moon, or lack thereof, did little to diminish the quality of the story.
Wolf Moon was an incredibly quick and incredibly satisfying horror by Vertigo. Cullen Bunn wrote each character very simply with just enough background to understand the motivations and emotions behind the important characters. I only wished for a little more development on two characters, but it is something I could easily overlook look that when faced with the creative team’s success at delivering a visual and literary dark tale.
Kay also read this before me and loved it, and I couldn’t help but agree. If you’re looking for a good-quality horror experience, we both highly recommend Vertigo’s Wolf Moon.