“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.